Family members of imprisoned U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae have taken to the airwaves for the first time since his arrest six months ago in Rajin, North Korea, with his sister telling CNN that the Christian tour operator is not a spy.
Bae, an ethnic Korean and naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced this week to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp for alleged acts deemed threatening to the government. He was arrested Nov. 3, 2012, while in Rason City (formerly Rajin) reportedly while leading a tour with five Europeans. The government-run Korean Central News Agency, which announced the 15-year sentence, had revealed over the weekend that Bae was charged with "committing crimes aimed at toppling the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with hostility towards it," according to The Independent.
Two Presbyterian Churches have called upon Christians to engage in a "season of prayer" focused on the uncertainty found in the rising tension between North Korea and South Korea.
At a consultation meeting held last week, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK) issued a joint statement calling for a seasonal time of prayer that would take place during the summertime, from June 25 until August 15.
"For the people of the PCK, this season of prayer will be a time to remember the suffering of separated families on the Korean Peninsula; and to acknowledge that, since the partition of the peninsula, the Christian commitment to reconciliation has been compromised by the trauma of a fratricidal war; discipleship compromised by bitterness; and faithfulness compromised by fear and hostility," reads the joint statement in part. more >>
Sen. John McCain said Sunday that the United States must help the people of Syria who are potentially being attacked by chemical weapons, but warned repeatedly that U.S. troops on the ground would be the worst thing America could do right now.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, McCain, one of the most outspoken lawmakers on Syria, called for U.S. involvement in helping end that country's conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.
"The American people are weary. They don't want boots on the ground. I don't want boots on the ground," McCain said. "The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria." more >>
An American man, identified as a tour guide and a Christian, will be put on trial in North Korea for alleged crimes against the state, revealed the Korean Central News Agency in a report that comes six months after Kenneth Bae's initial detention.
Although his charges were not made completely clear, the KCNA (North Korea's official news agency) reported Saturday that Bae, a 44-year-old of Korean descent, had undergone a "preliminary inquiry" that revealed he had confessed guilt.
"In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it. His crimes were proved by evidence," states the KCNA report. more >>
The Boston Marathon bombings last week shocked America and served as a reminder that the threat of terrorism in the western world is still alive. While offering condolences to the victims, one group is pointing out that Nigerian Christians face such horrors every week in the face of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
In an open letter to the American people this week, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) wrote, "The evil of terrorism in today's world are now well-known and so too must be the demand of vigilance in the overall protection of the common good."
Laolu Akande, executive director of CANAN, is urging Americans to help protect Christians who are regularly attacked in Nigeria. more >>
New information regarding the Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Paul Yazigi has suggested that the faith leaders may still be captured and in danger.
"Currently there still exists tremendous confusion and anxiety worldwide about this case. The WCA continues to emphatically deny all rumors that they are freed until we have received unambiguous signs of life from the two spiritual fathers," The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) said in a press release, urging news organizations that had reported on the story to issue a correction.
Frank Mushmel, a close friend of Ibrahim, told The Christian Post on Thursday that he has been in contact with the family as well as the diocese office in Aleppo and there has been no news of a release. more >>