Authorities in the Donetsk region of Ukraine confirmed that a Malaysia Airlines "Boeing 777" aircraft carrying nearly 300 people en route from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed after it was shot down Thursday near the border between Russia and Ukraine.
Details on what happened were still emerging Thursday morning but an Interfax report said the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ukraine confirmed the incident. Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said all 280 passengers and 15 crew members aboard had been killed. The flight was shot down at an altitude of about 10 kilometers.
"Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow," noted the airline in a Tweet Thursday that was retweeted more than 50,000 times in less than an hour. more >>
A 3-year-old girl from the Philippines, who reportedly woke up during her funeral Saturday after being declared clinically dead on Friday, sparked claims of a miracle and inspired her family to abandon her empty coffin in a church.
According to a local blog, shocked mourners began taking pictures and video after Zamboanga del Sur, 3, from Aurora "woke up" as mourners prepared to bury her at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
Zamboanga was pronounced dead at about 9 a.m. Friday. more >>
Several family members of a prominent Chinese pastor who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last month have eluded state authorities and safely made their way to the United States, China Aid has confirmed.
Zhang Shaojie's daughter, Zhang Huixin, son-in-law, Sun Zhulei, and 1-year-old granddaughter, Sun Jiexi, were aided by Chinese Christian convert and activist Bob Fu's organization, reported the Associated Press. The family was originally based in Southeast China before arriving in Dallas, Texas, on Monday.
Zhang's controversial sentence blamed the pastor for gathering crowds to "disturb public order," a decision which ChinaAid argued constituted religious persecution and the Chinese government's attempt to hold back the growth of Christianity. more >>
The high-profile trial of Singapore megachurch pastor Kong Hee and five other City Harvest Church officials for misusing millions of church funds to pay for his wife's popstar career, resumed on Monday. Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho, is expected to take the witness stand this week.
Channel NewsAsia pointed out that the trial, which began in May 2012, is turning out to be one of the longest-running criminal trials in the country. Kong and the five other officials are accused of musing 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) in donated money. The defense has argued that City Harvest's church board never passed a resolution that indicated who exactly has the power to make decisions regarding the funds.
Sun Ho has not been charged herself in the case, though was temporarily removed from her position as executive director of the 30,000 member City Harvest, which was founded by Kong in 1989. The singer is expected to be one of the witnesses called to the stand this week, along with the first of the six church officials on trial. more >>
An Australian judge has suggested that legalized abortion and the availability of contraceptives may strip away the stigma surrounding incest and lead to its legality one day.
Judge Garry Neilson argued that incest is still a crime only "to prevent chromosomal abnormalities" in any potential pregnancies, "but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion," as reported by The Sydney Morning-Herald.
Neilson, who sits on the district court in New South Wales, made his comments while presiding over a case of a brother accused of raping his younger sister. The defendant had pleaded guilty to raping his 10-year-old sister in the 1970s. The two were also accused of having sex in 1981 when she was 18 and he 26, a charge to which the brother has pled not guilty. more >>
Pastor Creflo Dollar of World Changers International Church has joined the list of megchurches using satellite technology to spread the Gospel and expand their ministries globally, by planting a new congregation on Australia's Gold Coast, his ministry's first-ever international plant.
While the megachurch pastor already has a presence in Australia through his Creflo Dollar Ministries, the church is the premiere World Changers fellowship, or satellite church to launch in the Asia-Pacific country. Just two months after Dollar revealed his plans for the new congregation, World Changers Church International Gold Coast officially launched on Sunday, June 22.
Dollar does not minister at the church in person, but instead his sermons are streamed live from World Changers Church International's New York City campus during Gold Coast worship services. Live broadcasts or high-definition videos have been long employed by U.S. churches with multi-campuses in the United States and abroad as a means of unifying congregations. more >>