Prayer fuel: News from the UK and around the world

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK and around the world included in the May issue of EN. May these encourage us as well as spur us on to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world facing severe persecution.

3-parent babies
In March, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) advised the government to permit the use of an IVF technique that would result in the creation of children with three parents.
The controversial technique, known as ‘mitochondria replacement therapy’, can only be used for research purposes under current legislation, and involves transferring both parents’ DNA into a donor egg. Supporters of the therapy claim that it will stop genetic diseases being passed down from mothers to their children through faulty mitochondria, structures which supply power to cells. If this legislation is passed, the UK would be the only country in the world to allow it currently. Christian Concern

Online safety
All the major internet service providers have agreed to a one-click filter system to block adult content which will be introduced by the end of 2013, it was reported in March.
The filter, made at network level, will block adult content on all internet-enabled devices in the home. Public wifi will be cleaner, as providers are to be offered a package blocking porn, and the mobile phone industry is reviewing its current block on adult content to make it more robust. Fellowship of European Broadcasters / Safermedia

Talents in the pew
Richard Steel took a new approach to raising funds for building work to Kirkheaton Parish Church in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in March.
Inspired by the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14), he handed out £550 in £10 notes to his congregation, and his confidence in them was rewarded as they handed back nearly £10,000 at the end of the Lent period. Bible Society’s Newswatch (Daily Mail)

Africa: uprising
A three-month-old rebel uprising in the Central African Republic swept into the country’s capital on March 24, ousting the president and leaving ransacked Christian homes and churches in its wake.
A source close to the Episcopal Conference of the Central African Republic said that many Christians’ properties were looted. The main cathedral of Bangui, the premises of Caritas charity, and the houses of a number of religious communities were targeted by armed men. The rebellion swept out of the north, where the country’s Muslim minority is concentrated, giving it a militant Islamic character, experts said. World Watch Monitor

Iraqi-Kurdistan: conversion
The Kurdish news agency, Rudaw, reported on April 1 that a Muslim leader had converted to Christianity in Dohuk.
Confirming this news, an official in the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of Iraqi Kurdistan said that the Fatwa Committee in their ministry do not execute those who convert from Islam to any religion. Mohabat News

India: released
After eight years in Jharkand prison, Pastor Samuel was released on March 13.
Originally falsely accused of Naxalite (Maoist) activities in 2004, Pastor Samuel was cleared of all charges in the summer of 2010, but strikes and delayed court hearings prevented him from returning to his wife and eight-year-old daughter. Instead, he faithfully continued sharing the gospel with the other prisoners around him. Many prisoners chose to follow Christ through Pastor Samuel’s efforts. Gospel for Asia

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