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World news in brief

03 April 2020


A Sudanese man wears a face mask in Khartoum, Sudan, earlier this month. Although there are no reported cases in neighbouring South Sudan, eight people have now tested positive in Sudan, two of whom have died

A Sudanese man wears a face mask in Khartoum, Sudan, earlier this month. Although there are no reported cases in neighbouring South Sudan, eight peopl...

WCC: South Sudan should respond to Covid-19 threat

THE World Council of Churches’ general secretary, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse, has urged the new government of South Sudan to “take the proper measures” to protect its people against coronavirus. In a letter to the South Sudan Council of Churches and member Churches in South Sudan on Monday, he wrote: “Borders have been closed and a nationwide curfew declared, but these measures, though necessary in the fight against the virus, will also worsen the existing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, with so many people displaced, impoverished and dependent upon external aid. In that vacuum, inter-communal conflicts, insecurity, lack of access to food, shelter and essential services, and endemic corruption have continued to prevail. And in the absence of effective local governance and coordination of the pandemic response, the virus will proliferate.”


Churches’ Zoom conferences are trolled

VIRTUAL church gatherings, worship, and Bible study on the Zoom conferencing app in the United States are being interrupted by “trolls” who join the call uninvited, shout expletives, and in some instances, post pornographic images, ENS reports. Andrew Merritt said that his church group had been subjected to such abuse on a recent conference call. “It was generally chaotic and impossible to stop. It was a huge wake-up call for me because I’m an elementary public-school teacher, and I don’t want the children in my class exposed to any of the pornographic images that trolls sent us.” He had originally posted the Zoom conferencing link on the church website so that anyone could join in Bible study or worship. He removed it and set up a new link to be shared on its private members-only Facebook group. “I think places of worship need to be really careful when they put public Zoom links on their websites, especially if those links are to meeting spaces where there will be young children.”


Chinese authorities remove more crosses

THE Chinese authorities continued to remove crosses from dozens of church buildings during coronavirus lockdown last month, local media report. Crosses were removed from 14 church buildings in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces in south-eastern China, and another church in Jiangsu was demolished. Authorities have reportedly said that the crosses were “too high and too bright” and therefore a safety hazard.


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