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 >>
Thousands of Christians in China formed a human wall Friday evening to protect the newly built Sanjiang Christian Church in Zhejiang province from government plans to demolish it. Believers in the region say the Christian faith is having a very positive effect on their lives.
"We are not seeking a violent confrontation," said one Christian protester, South China Morning Post reported. "We are holding a peaceful sit-in, praying to God for help."
The Protestant church cost an estimated $4.6 million to build over a six-year period in the city of Wenzhou, which has one of China's largest Christian populations. The Chinese government is claiming, however, that it used illegal structures and violated its building codes. more >>
About a month after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, an Australian navy vessel fitted with U.S. Navy black-box detector picked up two extended signals Sunday in an area in the Indian Ocean that is about 300 nautical miles away from where a Chinese patrol vessel received a "ping" signal twice on Friday and Saturday.
The naval ship Ocean Shield picked up two signals that were consistent with the pings emitted by an aircraft's black-box flight recorders, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of the multinational search, announced Monday.
The first signal was held for more than two hours in the southern Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia, where Flight MH370 is believed to have crashed after disappearing from civilian radar on March 8, The Wall Street Journal quoted Houston as saying. The second signal was picked up on a return trip along the same path of the ocean and held for around 13 minutes. more >>
North Korea fired about 500 artillery shells into South Korean waters on Monday – which the U.S. called "dangerous and provocative" – and the South responded by firing back. The tension on the border forced evacuations in five front-line South Korean islands.
The two rival nations traded fire into the Yellow Sea, north of the Koreas' disputed maritime boundary, according to The Associated Press.
The North fired 500 rounds of artillery shells for over three hours, and about 100 of them fell south of the sea boundary, according to South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok. The South also fired about 300 shells into North Korean waters. more >>
Three weeks after the mid-air disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, an Australian navy warship with a U.S. black box locator Sunday joined the search in the Indian Ocean. However, a U.S. Naval Officer says the search could take years.
The search involved 10 ships and 10 aircraft in the Indian Ocean far off the coast of the western Australian city of Perth on Sunday, the day the Australian defense force ship, Ocean Shield, and its flight recorder detector started for the location where the Boeing 777 is presumed to have crashed.
Many objects have been spotted since Friday, when Australian authorities moved the search about 700 miles after a new analysis suggested that the plane flew faster and therefore burned fuel at a quicker rate than previously estimated. However, investigators have not been able to confirm if any of the objects sighted were actually from that flight. more >>
Pakistan's opposition parties protested and international human rights groups condemned the death penalty given to a Christian sanitation worker about a year after he was accused of blasphemy.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party and the Pakistan People's Party on Friday strongly protested in parliament the sentencing of 27-year-old Sawan Masih, who was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad while conversing with a Muslim friend in the eastern Lahore city's Joseph Colony in March last year.
Ghulam Murtaza Chaudhry, additional session judge of Lahore, sentenced Masih to death Thursday, saying he "must be hanged and fined," Reuters quoted the lawyer of the accused, Nameem Shakir, as saying. The sentencing includes a fine of Rs.200,000 (roughly U.S. $2,050). more >>