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World news in brief

01 December 2017


Missionary dies after singing ‘Amazing Grace’

THE British missionary Ian Squire, whose death was confirmed by the Foreign Office last month after his kidnapping by militants in the Niger Delta, was shot dead after singing “Amazing Grace”, it has been reported. Mr Squire, an optician from Shepperton, in Surrey, had been abducted with three others from the New Foundations Christian medical charity, which is based in Delta, during a raid in the early hours of 13 October (News, 10 November). His colleagues David and Shirley Donovan, who were later released, told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday that Mr Squire had begun playing the hymn during the raid. “It was the perfect song, and at that point things began to look not quite as bad. But then, after Ian finished playing, he stood up, and a salvo of gunshots killed him instantly. We didn’t see who did it, but it was obvious that someone in the gang had shot him. It was terrifying to see. We jumped out of the shack and into the water as we thought they were coming for us next, but a member of the gang came and put us back in there with Ian for the rest of the day.”


Christians protest at treatment of Manus Island refugees

FIVE Christians in Australia, including the Ven. Rod Bower of the Anglican parish of Gosford, in New South Wales, chained themselves to the front gates of the official residence of the Prime Minister, in Sydney, this week, in protest against the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island, in northern Papua New Guinea. Fr Bower posted on Twitter an image of himself and four others chained to the railings by their necks, on Monday. “One thing we all agree on is the need to treat people the way we want to be treated ourselves,” he later told reporters. “The relentless abuse of people by the government for political purposes not only diminishes these vulnerable refuges, it diminishes all Australians.”


Mauá families avoid eviction in São Paulo

MORE than 200 families from the Mauá community in São Paulo, Brazil, have been saved from eviction from the abandoned hotel in which they were living in the city, after the local government agreed to buy the building from its private owner for about £4.6 million, CAFOD reported this week. The charity had launched a petition to prevent the forced eviction of about 1000 residents living in the building, which will now be turned into social housing to meet their needs. CAFOD’s programme officer for Brazil, Emily Mulville, said: “A great injustice has been avoided. . . Families will have a roof over their heads for Christmas.”


Chinese human rights lawyer sentenced

THE Chinese human-rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday of last week on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported. But the campaign group believes that the conviction was given for his human-rights work, including representing religious communities. Mr Jiang’s licence was revoked by the Beijing authorities in 2009, but he continued to provide legal advice to victims of human-rights abuses, for which, CSW reported, he had been repeatedly harassed, detained, and beaten. He was put on trial in August. The chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “This sentence is a reprisal against Jiang for years of dedicated work defending human rights and rule of law in China.”

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