Foreign news in brief

10 December 2009

Awash: Beama village, in Oro province, Papua New Guinea, after severe flood­ing, a fortnight ago. Anglican sources in the area reported on Wednesday that the estimated 10-15,000 people affected have not yet received food aid.

Chinese Christian imprisoned for 15 years

A CHINESE Christian, Alimujiang Yimiti, whose detention a year ago was described as “arbitrary” by a UN working group, was sentenced to 15 years in prison at the end of October, it has been revealed. Mr Yimiti was con­victed for “instigating separatism and revealing state secrets,” says Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Its director, Tina Lambert, on Tuesday called for his release, on the grounds that the charges against him were ill-defined. The UN working group on arbitrary detention had concluded that he had been detained “solely for his religious faith and religious activities”. Mr Yimiti, a Uyghur Christian, is an agricultural worker.

Russia forges diplomatic ties with the Vatican

THE Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has told the Russian Foreign Ministry to transform its consulate in the Vatican into an embassy, after his first visit to Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday last week. The Vatican communiqué expressed pleasure on both sides “at the cordial relations that currently exist between them”, and stated that “it was agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation.”

Misionary shot dead in South Africa

A FRENCH Roman Catholic priest from the Society of Missionaries of Africa, Fr Louis Blondel, aged 70, was shot dead on 7 December in his home in Dieplsloot, north of Johannesburg, South Africa by boys who broke into his home next to the church. Fr Blondel is to be buried on Saturday. He was the fourth RC priest killed by criminals in South Africa since March. The Revd Guido Bourgeois, also 70, and a Canadian, was wounded in the attack.

Diocese would leave ACNA over women

THE former Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker, has said that his congregations would withdraw from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) if it authorised the ordination of women bishops. “Essentially, the ordination of women as priests and bishops is schismatic,” he said.

Colorado pastor makes come-back

THE Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, a former leader of the 14,000-strong New Life Church, Colorado, has begun to take services in a barn next to his Colorado Springs home, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. Mr Haggard resigned in 2006 after confessing to “sexually immoral conduct” with a male escort (News, 2 March 2007). About 100 people come to the weekly service that he conducts, helped by his wife, Gayle, who has remained with him.

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