NEW YORK – The World Evangelical Alliance called for the protection of Syria's minority Christian population ahead of the major Geneva II conference on Wednesday, which is set to discuss solutions to the ongoing Syrian crisis.
"The reality is that this is just part of the process. They are not going to get everything accomplished in these two days, so we need to measure our expectations," said Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the WEA, in an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday. "At minimum we are looking for a cessation in the armed conflict, that people will stop dying, that they can come to an agreement that they can stop the killings."
The conference, which is sponsored by the U.N. along with Russia and the U.S., is hoping to bring together for talks a delegation representing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and representatives of some of the opposition forces looking to topple his administration. The civil war in Syria, which has been going on since 2011, has killed over 100,000 people and displaced over 9.3 million, according to U.N. estimates. more >>
The United Nations is urgently calling on the nations of the world to donate $6.5 billion this year to combat the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, noting that this aid is the difference between life and death for millions.
"Humanitarian aid is the difference between life and death, hope and despair. It has already assisted millions of people affected by this crisis," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference on Syria in Kuwait on Wednesday. "I count on you to show the Syrian people that the world is here to help."
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has reported of "shocking" conditions at the vast refugee camps in the Central African Republic, where people fleeing the widespread violence are living "like animals" and pastors are victimized.
"People live like real animals. There is no latrine. People are living in over-crowded conditions," said an Open Doors co-worker who witnessed the conditions in two camps around Bangui, the capital, where around the airport alone there are at least 100,000 people. The co-worker, who remained anonymous for security reasons, shared that the Christians at the camps are gathering together in worship despite the hardships they face, but many are in serious need of help.
"I have met many pastors who have been victimized who are in dire need of assistance. Our discreet assistance to others previously has made a big difference and I hope that we can make the same difference for these pastors I recently met," the Open Doors co-worker said. more >>
A Roman Catholic Archdiocese plans to release its files on priests under its jurisdiction reported to have committed sexual abuse.
In a January edition of the Chicago Archdiocese's newspaper Catholic New World, Cardinal Francis George wrote that the files on 30 priests will be released as part of a legal settlement.
"All these incidents were reported over the years to the civil authorities and claims have been mediated civilly. Almost all of the incidents happened decades ago, perpetrated by priests whom neither I nor many younger clergy have ever met or talked to," wrote George. "Nevertheless, the publication puts the actions of these men and the archdiocese itself in the spotlight. Painful though publicly reviewing the past can be, it is part of the accountability and transparency to which the archdiocese is committed." more >>
Churches and faith-based organizations immediately responded to the West Virginia chemical spill by gathering drinkable water and other basic needs by the truckloads soon after bottled water became a commodity and a state of emergency was declared last week.
Relief efforts began to pour in to the state on Friday, a day after over 7,000 gallons of the chemical known as 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was discovered in the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., leaving more than 300,000 people in Charleston and various surrounding counties without clean water.
"Our disaster response team departed Friday with initial shipments…these included four semis [trucks] and a box truck carrying almost 200,000 pounds of bottled water and other beverages and more than 8,500 pounds of paper products, plus two of Matthew 25's disaster relief vehicles," stated Matthew 25 Ministries, an Ohio-based international aid and disaster relief organization, on their website. more >>
Susan G. Komen suffered a 22 percent drop in donations last year, which may have been due to the controversy it recently had regarding its monetary ties to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.
A spokeswoman for the breast cancer awareness organization acknowledged a strong decline in donations, according to the Associated Press.
"Citing audited financial statements posted on its website this week, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based breast cancer charity said contributions - including donations and corporate sponsorships - dropped from about $164 million from the fiscal year ending in March 2012 to $128 million in the year ending March 2013," reported the AP. more >>