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Contrasting disasters

Monsoon rains that hit the central-western region of Nepal have killed at least 200 people, with another 400 still missing. Hundreds have been injured, 10,000 families have been displaced, and 35,000 homes have been flooded or damaged.

According to residents, this is the worst environmental disaster in 70 years. Many are still without basic necessities and clean water and fear the possibility of skin diseases, diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery.

Meanwhile in northern Nepal, drought for the last six months has caused severe famine. Particularly affected is the Humla district where volunteers from NGOs have begun to leave to reduce food consumption.

In both disasters, pray for physical and spiritual relief. Pray for the swift return of Jesus and the end to the Earth’s groaning (Romans 8:22).


Churches sue government

An ongoing demolition campaign targeting churches in China is a ‘crime against Christianity’ a group of Chinese lawyers has warned.

Hundreds of churches in Zhejiang province have suffered partial or complete demolition this year as part of what activists describe as a major crackdown designed to slow the growth of Chinese congregations.

Fourteen lawyers are now attempting to sue authorities over the violent invasions as a breach of the Chinese Constitution. In an open letter to local security chiefs, they demanded that those responsible for the “atrocity” be brought to justice.

Zhejiang’s governor defended the "Rectify Three, Demolish One" policy, which has destroyed churches and crosses. He claims that its primary objective is not the destruction of religious buildings, but urban renewal through removing illegal constructions. Many are sceptical however, noting that, in their neighbourhood, churches are demolished while other illegal buildings are left alone. Others claim the police told them they could keep the building if they promised to stop holding religious meetings there.


New Prime Minister for Thailand

Thailand's junta (military group that rules the country after taking power by force) leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has been named the new prime minister of the southeast Asian nation.

General Prayuth, 60, was nominated on Thursday morning after all 197 members of Thailand's National Assembly cast their votes in his favour. It only took 15 minutes since he was the only candidate.

The general was the head of the army when he led a dramatic coup in May following months of intense political deadlock between Yingluck Shinawatra's government and opposition parties that resulted in protests and clashes.

The assembly's choice is expected to be approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej later, and the General has made it clear there will be no new elections until at least October 2015.


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