Joni Eareckson Tada, an international advocate for people with disabilities, had unsuccessfully pleaded with Brittany Maynard to reconsider ending her life under Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. Maynard's decision to end her suffering from terminal, inoperable brain cancer on her own terms prompted critics to lash out at her decision. But Tada, a quadriplegic and breast cancer survivor, says the focus should not be on Maynard or her family, but on the organization that used the 29-year-old as "a poster child" for its right-to-die cause.
In a CP Newsroom discussion this week, Tada, who has been a quadriplegic for 48 years, reminded those critical of Maynard's decision "that it was 'death with dignity' advocates, like Compassion & Choices, who drove the attention surrounding Brittany."
"They used Brittany's family, they used her as a poster child for their cause. So I don't fault Brittany so much or her family so much. They were persuaded by a strong right-to-die advocate group to not only seek physician-assisted suicide, but to go public," said Tada. more >>
A former Islamic State commander, currently locked away in a Baghdad prison, is now a key informant for the Iraqi government and has provided crucial intelligence that has aided the liberation of strategic areas that were once under ISIS control.
After being arrested by the Iraqi government at the end of 2013, Abu Shakr, ISIS' head of security operations in the town of Fallujah, was given a choice by Iraqi security officials.
The 36-year-old Sunni extremist said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that the offer was if he aided the Iraqi government in defeating ISIS, he would be provided special prison privileges including free roam of his max-security prison and quality free time with his five children. more >>
Family members of the Pakistan Christian couple burned to death say they are being pressured to drop their calls for a criminal case and demand the government to protect them, in a recent press conference.
Shahbaz Masih and wife Parveen are petitioning the government to get justice for his brother Shehzad Masih and sister-in-law Shama, who was believed to be pregnant when a mob, allegedly led by Muslim clerics, burned them alive in a kiln. So far regional Kot Radha Kishan police have arrested 44 people in connection to the incident.
However the Masih family says they are receiving threats to drop their pleas for an investigation. The family said they have also been offered bribes of land and money to end the case. But they are determined to get justice for their family. more >>
For the first time since the Islamic State seized most of the Nineveh province in northern Iraq over the summer, a Christian mass was successfully held at a church in a small Iraqi village nearly 20 miles north of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul this past Sunday, Iraqi News reports indicate.
Although reports coming from Iraqi news outlets originally said that the mass was held at the Mar Yacob Church in the Christian village of Telskuf, Father Paulus Thabit Makku, a Chaldean priest in Mosul, told Fides News that the Eucharist was held at the only other church in Telskuf, Saint Georges Chaldean church.
"We celebrated the Eucharist this Sunday in one of the Nineveh province's villages – the first time since locals were forced out last August by ISIS jihadists," Father Makku said. more >>
WASHINGTON – A "tsunami of confusion" exists regarding religious liberty in the United States Armed Forces, according to panelists testifying before Congress.
Experts told the panel that the military is caught between a strong desire not to condone or coerce religious doctrine on soldiers and an equally strong desire to protect speech, especially religious speech, in the military. more >>
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled Wednesday that he wants to establish closer ties with North Korea in hopes of improving regional security. Leader Kim Jong Un, meanwhile, is facing a new U.N. resolution accusing his administration of crimes against humanity.
"We maintain friendly relations with one of our neighbors, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Putin said in welcoming North Korea's new ambassador to Russia, Reuters reported.
"A further deepening of political ties and trade and economic cooperation is definitely in the interests of the peoples of both countries and ensuring regional stability and security," Putin added. more >>