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NK nuclear activity

A few days ahead of Barack Obama’s arrival in South Korea, the Pyongyang regime "has intensified its activities" around the Punggye -ri nuclear site. Sources in the South report fears of a new nuclear test during Obama's visit to Seoul. North Korea "could do so, or pretend to do so, to raise its stakes on its return to negotiations on its disarmament".

To date, the government in Pyongyang has conducted three unauthorized nuclear tests: in 2006, 2009, and 2013. The latest, in February of last year, resulted in a new tightening of international sanctions on the country.

Once again, pray for peace and openness in North Korea’s secretive and volatile government.


Preliminary Afghan results

While uncertainty remains over the final outcome of the Afghan election, analysts believe the vote is showing some promising trends toward democracy.

Partial results released earlier this month point to the likelihood of a runoff contest between candidates Abdullah Abdullah, who currently stand at 41.9 percent of the vote, and Ashraf Ghani with 37.6 percent.

Both men are former high ranking members of President Hamid Karzai’s government.  A runoff vote would be held after May 28.


Bangladeshi burnings

The home of a Christian family has been burned to the ground in an arson attack on Easter Monday.

The fire, in Gazipur District, started at about half past midnight. Fortunately, no one was present. The owner and his family, who had been living in the USA but recently returned home, are now living in the capital Dhaka. "We do not know who it was," he said, "but we demand justice and protection. We are being targeted again."

In 2008, the same family was hit by a major tragedy, forcing its members to leave the country. Their 14 year old granddaughter was raped by some young Muslims who then poisoned and killed her when she was in hospital.
Earlier this year, another Christian family lost their home to arson in the same area. After almost two months, the police have not yet identified the perpetrators.

Christians are an extreme minority in this Muslim country, and those in rural areas often face being ostracised or persecuted upon conversion.



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