North Korea has reportedly executed 80 prisoners across several cities, some for offenses like possessing a Bible, with a human rights group calling the executions a sign that the regime of Kim Jong-un is increasingly fearful of its own people.
"These executions are a reflection of two things at work: First, unlike his father, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong Eun has had to work aggressively to consolidate power once his father died. Remember that Kim Il Song had prepared for the transition to his son, Kim Jong-il and he was already in major leadership roles when Kim Il Song died," Suzanne Scholte, president of human rights group Defense Forum Foundation, said in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"Second, this is a reflection of a regime that is increasingly fearful of its own people and has to send a powerful, brutal message by doing high profile public executions. We have certainly seen these public executions used in the past by Kim Jong Il." more >>
A Christian North Korean missionary group dropped 50,000 balloons carrying Bibles and religious tracts into the heavily persecuted North Korea last year.
"Every time we fill up one of these balloons, we hold it and we pray together in English, North Korean and South Korean," Eric Foley, the co-founder and CEO of Seoul USA told Fox News. "We pray loudly and always with tears."
The sophisticated handmade balloons, created from "farm plastic," pumped with hydrogen, filled with New Testaments and stories of faith from North Korean believers, are guided by timers and GPS technology that determine when and where the balloons are dropped. more >>
In what has been described as one of the worst storms ever to make landfall, Typhoon Haiyan has claimed the lives of thousands of people. However, amid the terrible and tragic devastation, small miracles are still possible, and news has emerged that one heavily pregnant mother not only managed to survive the horrendous storm, but also gave birth to her child as the typhoon devastated the area around her.
Reports from the Philippines reveal that Emily Sagalis was able to give birth to a "miracle baby" girl in an airport that was devastated during the storm and which had been converted into an impromptu medical clinic.
"She is so beautiful. I will name her Bea Joy in honor of my mother, Beatriz," Sagalis, 21, told AFP. "She is my miracle. I had thought I would die with her still inside me when high waves came and took us all away." more >>
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is raising emergency donations for close to 4 million children believed to be affected by the catastrophic typhoon Haiyan, which has caused widespread damage and killed thousands.
"We are rushing to get critical supplies to children who are bearing the brunt of this crisis," said UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi.
"Reaching the worst affected areas is very difficult, with limited access due to the damage caused by the typhoon to infrastructure and communications. But we are working around the clock to find ways to get these supplies to children as quickly as conditions allow." more >>
As relief efforts are on the way to help survivors of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, believed to have killed over 10,000 people in the Phillipines, Pope Francis has sent an aid contribution of $150,000 to families and victims pleading to the world for help.
"Deeply saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the super typhoon, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this storm and its aftermath," read a telegram by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.
"He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes. In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm. He invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation for the Nation." more >>
Authorities in the Philippines were counting bodies on Monday morning amid acute shortage of electricity, food, water and medicine for survivors, days after Super Typhoon Haiyan caused unprecedented devastation. The storm is now ripping through northeastern Vietnam.
Haiyan made landfall in northern Vietnam, near the Chinese border, after weakening to a tropical storm, carrying gusts of up to 98 mph.
About 883,000 people in Vietnam's 11 central provinces have been moved to safe zones, according to the state media, which also said at least 11 people had been killed in the country ahead of the storm. One of those killed was a journalist who died in an accident as she was traveling to cover the storm, according to BBC. more >>