The roughly two million or so transgendered people in India will be recognized as a third gender following a ruling by India's Supreme Court.
"It is the right of every human being to choose their gender," the Supreme Court said, according to BBC News. The ruling also mandates the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities.
Estimates state that there are close to two million transgender people in India, who are often discriminated against and ostracized by the rest of society, forced to live in poverty. more >>
While the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has gone on for more than a month with no breakthrough, investigative sources are now claiming the co-pilot of the plane tried to make a "desperate call" with his mobile phone after the jetliner was diverted from its scheduled route.
The plane was flying about 200 nautical miles northwest of the west coast state of Penang on March 8, at an altitude low enough for the nearest telecommunications tower to pick up signal from co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's phone, says Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper.
However, the call ended abruptly, it adds. "The telco's (telecommunications company) tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one," the sources were quoted as saying. more >>
A Chinese social media survey from the beginning of April suggests that there may be more online conversations about Christianity than Communism.
According to data from Foreign Policy taken from a Weibo search on April 3, God received over 150 million mentions, while Mao Zedong was only referenced around 10 million times. In a table created this week, the publication juxtaposes Christian terms with their Communist Chinese "counterparts," suggesting that the Bible may be more popular than politics.
According to its findings, Chinese Congregation received 40 million mentions to the Communist Party's roughly eight million and the Bible was included in posts 17 million times, compared to the less than 60,000 posts referencing former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's famous Little Red Book, featuring his sayings and beliefs. more >>
Defense lawyers for Singapore megachurch pastor Kong Hee have insisted that no evidence exists to prove that he and five other City Harvest Church leaders misused church funds to pay for the popstar career of Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho, as the trial entered its 42nd day.
Six City Harvest Church leaders are facing prosecution for their involvement in the alleged misuse of funds, accused of spending close to $41 million on Ho's career. Pastor Tan Ye Peng, members Chew Eng Han and Lam Leng Hung, accountants Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan ShaoYuen, and pastor Kong all face 10-20 years if convicted.
Two more Muslim majority countries have opted to ban Darren Aronofsky's Noah, citing concerns of unrest and fear of controversies.
Malaysia and Indonesia have joined the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain in censoring the film from theaters. However, Egypt, which had suggested that it might too ban the film, announced on Monday that its board of censors had approved the film for release.
A Christian couple was sentenced to death in Pakistan on Friday reportedly for committing "blasphemy" via text messages. Lawyers said they will appeal the ruling and fight for the man and woman who are said to be illiterate.
"We are seriously concerned. Cases like these are common and cause great suffering. We continue to pray, while the issue remains unresolved," Fr. Aloysius Roy, Superior of the Pakistani province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, told Fides News Agency in a report on Monday.
"We express our solidarity, but Christians keep a low profile, because life is full of difficulties and dangers, and for us the first commandment is to survive. Christians are afraid and they move with extreme caution." more >>