President Barack Obama Friday authorized new economic sanctions on North Korea, which the White House says was involved in the hacking of Sony Pictures to retaliate against the company's film, "The Interview."
Obama Friday signed an executive order imposing additional sanctions against some of the reclusive country's leaders, denying them access to the U.S. financial system and preventing their entry into the United States, according to Reuters.
"The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others," Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, according to CNN. more >>
The controversy between Sony Pictures and North Korea has brought the dictator-ruled nation back into the spotlight, and in an editorial released Thursday, the CEO of Open Doors USA describes Christians' torturous living conditions in the oppressed nation.
David Curry, the head of Open Doors USA, an organization that aides persecuted Christians throughout the world, emphasizes that North Korea is a horrible place for believers to live and highlights that 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps.
"Christians in North Korea face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life," Curry said in his editorial titled "North Korean reality not funny for Christians" that was published in USA Today. "Forced to meet only in secret, they dare not share their faith even with their families. Anyone discovered engaging in secret religious activity may be subject to arrest, disappearance, torture and even public execution." more >>
A group of Christian surfers in New Zealand saved a mother and her two sons from drowning on Christmas Day after the family was caught in a near-lethal rip tip tide off the shore of a beach an hour west of Auckland.
The five surfers, who are all members of a local Christian surf club called the North Shore Christian Surfers Group, saved the mother and her two teenage sons who were allegedly close to drowning when the surfers rescued them, The New Zealand Herald reported Thursday.
The surfers, Darren Celliers, Caleb Lemkus, Olly Mason, Lewis Mennie and Troy Duckworth, arrived at Bethells Beach around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday when they were quickly told by a beachgoer of the swimmers in distress. more >>
Forty-one passengers of AirAsia Fight QZ8501, which crashed on Sunday with 162 people on board, were reportedly members of a single church in Indonesia, reports have said. The search for the bodies of the victims in the Java Sea meanwhile continues around much grief and tragedy.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that the 41 Christians were members of the Mawar Sharon Church of Surabaya, part of one of the largest megachurches in the region, with 30,000 members.
A pastor at the church, Philip Mantofa, said that he was shocked to learn of the big loss to his parish. He urged relatives of the victims not to allow the tragedy to shake their faith. more >>
A young Korean family of Christian missionaries was among passengers on board AirAsia flight QZ8501 when it crashed on Sunday.
Park Seong-beom, 37, his wife, Lee Kyung-hwa, and their 11-month-old daughter, Park Yuna, relocated to Indonesia in September where they had been doing missionary work. They were teaching Korean and computer skills in the town of Malang, in the East Java province and were traveling to Singapore to renew their visas but sadly met their fatal end, according The Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, rescue workers found wreckage from the plane and recovered 40 bodies off of the coast of Borneo. The Airbus AIR.PA A320-200 had departed Surabaya en route to Singapore with 162 people on board, but 42 minutes into the flight it lost contact with air traffic control after experiencing bad weather conditions. more >>
AirAsia has confirmed that debris from Flight QZ8501 has been discovered in the Karimata Strait, south west of Pangkalan Bun in the Borneo province of Central Kalimantan. At least 40 bodies from the 162 passenger list have already been recovered, leaving grieving family members devastated.
"The warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," an Indonesia navy spokesman said, according to Fox News.
AirAsia confirmed that the debris and the bodies, found six miles from the flight's last point of contact, are from the missing aircraft. more >>