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World news in brief

09 May 2014


Hands on: the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe (right in photo), embraces a statue of St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Sunday, as his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, looks on

Hands on: the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe (right in photo), embraces a statue of St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain,...

North Korea should release detainees, say charities

AN INTERNATIONAL coalition of Christian organisations is calling for the release of all detainees in North Korea, the establishment of an independent tribunal, and sanctions against officials responsible forhuman-rights violations. The statement from the Religious Liberty Partnership comes after the publication of a report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, which found that "the gravity, scale and nature" of the violations of human rights in North Korea "reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world" (News, 21 February).

Date set for Asia Bibi's appeal hearing

THE appeal hearing for Asia Bibi, the Punjabi Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad, will take place on 27 May. The last hearing lasted only ten minutes because the prosecution lawyer failed to attend (News, 4 April). The British Pakistani Christian Association is calling on the Pakistan government to ensure that judges "feel safe enough to allow justice to prevail".

US pledge of solidarity with Middle Eastern Christians

CHRISTIAN leaders in the United States have signed a pledge of solidarity with Christians and other religious communities threatened in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. The pledge, launched on Wednesday, was signed by about 150 leaders from different denominations. It speaks of Churches that face "an existential threat to their presence in the lands where Christianity has its roots". These have been "largely ignored by their co-religionists in theWest. . . American religious leaders need to pray and speak with greater urgency about this human-rights crisis."

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