City Harvest Church finance manager Sharon Tan reportedly broke down on the stand during the trial of six church members, including Pastor Kong Hee, who are accused of misusing more than $19.2 million of funds for the popstar career of Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho.
The prosecution said in a cross-examination of Tan that emails have shown that she intended to cover up the Singapore megachurch's payments to Xtron Productions, the company behind Ho's career.
Tan's cross-examination wrapped up on Monday, Channel News Asia reported, with the prosecution arguing that she had conspired with other church leaders to execute a series of "round-tripping transactions." more >>
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who didn't show up in a meeting at Pyongyang's parliament for the first time since his father's death, is sick, according to North Korean authorities. Kim, known to be one of the world's most ruthless dictators, has gained weight and is reportedly under extreme stress.
North Korean authorities admitted Friday for the first time that the nation's 31-year-old leader was suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition," according to The Guardian.
"We expected to see him at the Supreme People's Assembly, because he had attended that session every time," CNN quoted Yoo Ho-Yeol, a professor of North Korean studies at Korea University in Seoul, as saying. "So we are speculating that he might have problems in his health." more >>
A Christian pastor accused of blasphemy was shot dead by police in a Pakistani jail in Rawalpindi. A persecution watchdog group has said this is the latest incident of blasphemy laws being used to commit human rights violations.
"This is a barbaric act," Xavier Williams of Life for All told The Express Tribune. "There had been threats. The court should have instructed police to ensure Bhatti's safety."
Zafar Bhatti had been imprisoned at Adiyala jail since 2012, The Express Tribune reported. His 70-year-old cellmate, Muhammad Asghar, who has a history of mental illness, was wounded in the shooting attack. Asghar has also been accused of blasphemy in the heavily Muslim country. The men had been receiving death threats both from guards and fellow prisoners. more >>
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, has written an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the 34th anniversary of China's one-child policy, condemning the continuation of forced abortions in the country.
Littlejohn wrote that it is time to end the policy, which has caused "incalculable suffering to hundreds of millions of women and families in China."
"It will not work to replace it by a 'two-child policy' as some of your advisors may be suggesting," the letter states. more >>
A T-shirt in the SM Supermall in the Philippines has been pulled by the mall's operators after causing an outrage with its slogan: "It's Not Rape, It's a Snuggle With a Struggle."
Writer Karen Kunawicz from Louisiana was the one who noticed the shirt, took a photo, and posted it to her Facebook page. It was immediately shared with other social media users and stirred discussion from an outraged public.
"Really SM Department Store? In the boy's section?" Kunawicz captioned the photo. "SM – the same mall that has the daily angelus and refused to show Tim Burton's 'Sweeney Todd' in the cinemas? Boys listen to Tita Karen – if a girl says NO and pushes you away, just err on the side of caution, she likely means NO. And go watch 'Sweeney Todd.'" more >>
Over 100 Christians, including children, were arrested during a major house church raid on Sunday in Foshan city in China's Guangdong Province. Close to 200 police officers stormed in during the service, eyewitnesses said, believed to be part of a large-scale crackdown on Christians in the country.
"We don't know exactly why they raided our church," a local believer told watchdog group International Christian Concern, which has been keeping track of the rising tide of persecution in China. "The government does not want us to get together and worship as a church."
Worshipers said that the church was raided without any warning, and that police only left behind a notice stating that people were detained for an "illegal gathering." More than 30 parishioners reportedly still remain in custody. more >>