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World news in brief

02 December 2016

Lambeth Palace

Call for peace: The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes the ecumenical delegation of the South Sudan Council of Churches, last Friday, after their visit to Pope Francis at the Vatican, to promote peace in South Sudan, earlier this month. The Minister of the Crown Court of the Church of Scotland, which has close ties with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Sudan, the Revd Philip Majcher, was also present (far left)

Call for peace: The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes the ecumenical delegation of the South Sudan Council of Churches, last Friday, after their visit...

Woman killed at French missionaries’ care home

A WOMAN was stabbed to death at a retirement home for Christian missionaries, in Montpellier, France, on Thursday of last week. A former member of the French army’s parachute regiment, aged 47, was arrested near his home, about ten miles away, after a police and helicopter search, and charged with the murder. The body of the woman, 54, who was not named, was found in the laundry room at the care home, where she worked. The local prosecutor, Christophe Barret, said that the motive of the attacker was unknown, but thought to be unrelated to “Islamist terrorism”.


Forced conversions criminalised in Sindh

THE Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) in Pakistan has welcomed the Provincial Assembly of the Sindh’s passing of the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act, on Thursday of last week. It recommends a five-year prison sentence for perpetrators. Facilitators are to be handed a three-year sentence, it says. The director of CLAAS-UK, which supports persecuted Christians in Pakistan, Nasir Saeed, said: “The police do not normally take action [to prevent forced conversions], fearing the reaction and pressure from the Muslim community, but now they will have to take action. . . It will help to reduce such crimes and also build confidence among the religious minorities.”


Five men to hang after mob-murder case

FIVE men were sentenced to death, and fined 200,000 rupees (£1538) each, in Pakistan, last week, for the murders of a Christian couple burnt alive in a brick kiln in 2014. The charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that a further eight men were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for their involvement. Shama Bibi, who was pregnant, and her husband, Shezad Masih, were killed by a violent mob in the village of Kot Radha Kishan in Punjab, after Ms Bibi was falsely accused of blasphemy. The chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, welcomed the convictions, “though CSW does not endorse the death penalty in any circumstance, and we note that others who may have had a hand in this crime have not been charged”.


Maori illustrated children’s Bible launched

THE New Zealand Bible Society has launched the first illustrated children’s Bible in the language of Maori — the indigenous population of the country. The release of Taku Paipera, on Thursday of last week, was marked by pupils at Middle School West Auckland with a powhiri (a Maori welcoming ceremony), the Anglican Communion News Service reported. Pupils were presented with copies of the new Bible. An elder (kaumatua) of Maori, Matt Hakiaha, said: “For Maori children, it’s their language put to print. The stories of the Bible from thousands of years are now conveyed in their sacred language. It will help build their self-esteem and pride.”

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