A new book, Christ's Samurai, tells the story of early Christianity in Japan during the feudal era in the 17th century, when some Christians were branded with hot irons, dipped repeatedly in boiling water and crucified, for being part of an uprising.
Believers were also straddled with straw coats made of grass and set on fire, says the book, Christ's Samurai: The True Story of the Shimabara Rebellion, by Jonathan Clements, a Visiting Professor at Xi'an Jiaotong University in China, according to Japan Times.
Clements also describes how a pregnant woman was kept in a submerged cage leading to the death of both mother and the baby, an incident that might have triggered the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising in southwestern Japan lasting from December 17, 1637, to April 15, 1638, during the rule of Edo bakufu, the last feudal Japanese military government. more >>
Barack Obama departed Saturday afternoon for his first trip to Vietnam and Japan. As a goodwill gesture, Vietnam's Communist government released a Catholic priest from prison, but the president agenda might press for the release of more political prisoners while making no mention of a new highly restrictive religion law being enacted in that country.
Obama will arrive in Hanoi on Sunday evening and later visit Ho Chi Minh City, spending three days in Vietnam before leaving for Japan, Asia's second-largest economy, to attend the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima.
Obama is the third U.S. president to visit the country since the Vietnam War ended 41 years ago. The president will also visit Hiroshima, and become the first president to visit the city. more >>
China Aid has reported in its 2015 Annual Report of Religious and Human Rights Persecution in China that as many as 20,000 people suffered religious persecution by the Communist Party throughout the year. Despite imcreasing persecution, however, the number of Christians in the country continues to grow.
"In 2015, China Aid documented 634 cases of persecution in which 19,426 religious practitioners were persecuted, representing an 8.62 percent increase from 2014's 17,884 religious practitioners persecuted," the report stated.
"A number of factors led to the increases, including a widespread, barbaric round up of China's human rights legal professionals, activists and family members in July 2015," it added. more >>
The parents of a 12-year-old girl chained their daughter and locked her in a room for several days in their house after she refused to marry a 40-year-old man, according to local press.
The girl, identified as Shazia Chandio, who is a class V student, was rescued by police, who raided the house in Larkana city in the northwest province of Sindh, a Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, reported this week.
The parents had been promised Rs.100,000, or $950, by the man who wanted to marry their daughter and had given part of the money in advance. more >>
Official announcements regarding the 2016 Philippine elections will be made next month but world leaders already expect Rodrigo Duterte to be announced as the new president, including United States' president Barack Obama, who recently reminded the rough-talking politician on the importance of human rights.
On his last campaign rally before the May 9 elections, Duterte, who is famously called "Digong" in his country, told his people to "forget human rights" and push for a strengthened system against crimes.
His comments, as well as previous other remarks regarding the "killing" of drug pushers, rapists, and other criminals, have gained significant criticism from various human rights groups and leaders. more >>
Darwin, Australia seems to be dealing with a problem of saltwater crocodiles that becoming more and more vicious and fearless as the days go by. A few days ago, two men who were vacationing from Bendigo, Victoria, went mud crabbing in Leaders Creek, Darwin. Their vacation ended in tragedy for one of the men, who drowned when a group of crocodiles attacked them on their boat, causing it to turn over. The other man, a 72-year old, made use of a spanner and spark plugs to fend off the attacking reptiles after he fell into the water, according to a report in BBC.
The man who died was said to be also in his 70s. Both men went mud crabbing on Tuesday morning. The survivor was rescued by other fishermen in the creek who heard his cries for help. Some professional crabbers found him hiding in the mangroves where he was able to climb up from the water when the tide changed. He was found three hours after their boat capsized.
The fishermen also managed to retrieve his friend's body and brought him to a boat ramp. After calling Careflight, an air ambulance service, the survivor was treated for "severe shock, dehydration and exposure" to the elements. He was released on Wednesday morning. more >>