North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accepted an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend a ceremony in Moscow in May to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. This is set to be Kim's first official overseas trip as leader of his country, and follows indications from Putin that he wants closer ties between the two world leaders.
"North Korea is seeking to deepen both diplomatic and economic ties with Russia at a time when its political relationship with China remains chilly," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The celebrations are intended to mark the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The visit will be Kim's first to a foreign country since he became North Korean leader in 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. more >>
It's been so cold in Birmingham, Alabama that they've had stuff shivering they didn't know could shake.
It was especially bitter on the afternoon of January 7th and a good many folks had taken a respite from the cold by grabbing lunch at the Chick-fil-A on Highway 280 in Inverness.
One of the diners who came in that day was a bit unkempt. He was wearing jeans and a hoodie – hardly the kind of clothing for a day like that. Most folks just figured he was a homeless fellow. more >>
Five years after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Christian ministry Compassion International reveals it is on track to erect 30 new school buildings by this spring despite setbacks. The schools, built with the $31.2 million sponsors and donors from around the world gave the organization following the tragedy, will restore education and a pathway out of poverty for the more than 25,000 Compassion-assisted children who were affected by the disaster.
Compassion employed engineers from El Salvador and even created its own construction company in order to build 30 schools that can withstand future catastrophes by January. Compassion's U.S. communications director, Tim Glenn, said some structural problems have extended its completion date to April. Still, the organization is proud of what it has been able to do.
On January 12, 2010, Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that reduced several structures in its densely populated capital, Port-au-Prince, to rubble — including many church-run schools. more >>
Pope Francis has said that his continued criticism of the global financial system is not because he supports Communism, but because of Jesus' call for Christians to serve the poor. The Vatican meanwhile is set to publish a report titled "This Economy Kills," highlighting the damage that the world economy brings to impoverished populations.
"Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth," Francis said Sunday in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa. "Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel."
"Jesus tells us that it is the 'protocol' on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me." more >>
Although the U.S. Constitution states that impoverished citizens cannot be jailed because of their inability to pay fines and other debts, a church music director in Alabama and his wife were jailed because they were incapable of paying court costs that stemmed from expired license plate violations.
Tim Fugatt, a music pastor at Valley View Church of God in Sylacauga, and his wife, Kristy, were going through a financially tough time in December of 2010 when they were both pulled over and cited for having expired license plates in the town of Childersburg.
The couple had recently found out that their new-born son, Cole, was diagnosed with a rare brain disease that forced them to keep their son in the hospital. With Kristy not working, and Tim living off a modest church music director pay, the two appeared in Childersburg municipal court and pled for the judge to rule them "not guilty" and explained the situation with their son and their financial struggles. more >>
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which counts the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among its founders, is based in Atlanta, Georgia but has branches across the country. One of SCLC's missions is to eradicate environmental classism and racism wherever it exists. This past winter, we experienced one of the worst cold snaps and storms in recent memory, which highlighted the challenges we still face on managing weather events. You may recall the news coverage of impassable highways and of commuters stranded for hours in their cars.
The dramatic images on television certainly provided a glimpse of the immediate impacts of the storm but there were other impacts that were not seen but are still being felt from extensive power outages or increased utility bills throughout the South. All told, Americans east of the Mississippi spent $14 billion more on their power bills last winter than they did the year before. In some areas, power costs rose a jaw-dropping 1,000 percent. Sadly, the effects were especially pronounced among our most vulnerable brothers and sisters: the poor, the sick, the mentally ill and others that suffer hardship each day.
While we know weather events like last year's polar vortex can truly make a bad situation worse, what would happen if the outcomes we experienced last winter—namely, less reliable and more expensive electricity—become a regular occurrence? If not stopped, that's exactly the reality we will face as new, largely unrealistic environmental regulations from Washington, D.C. could leave us facing widespread power outages and increased energy costs, even when we're not in the midst of extreme weather. more >>