|Zprávy HCJB 17.3.2003|
|PO ZAVRAŽDĚNÍ PREMIÉRA.SE SRBŠTÍ VĚŘÍCÍ OBÁVAJÍ PROBLÉMŮ|
| (Assist News Service/Washington Post) - Modlitbami a tradičními chorály tisíce lidí vyprovodily v jednom z největších chrámů na Balkáně svého zavražděného prmiéra Zorana Djindjice na jeho poslední cestě. 50letý muž vedl Srbsko na jeho trnité cestě k reformám. Ve středu 12. března byl zavražděn ostřelovačem, když vyšel z budovy předsednictva vlády. Pohřeb v bělehradské katedrále Sv. Sávy doprovázejí obavy církevních představitelů z návratu vražedných zločinných způsobů spojených s předchozím obdobím Slobodana Miloševiče. Toho po deseti letech balkánských válek vypudil právě prozápadní Djindjic a jeho spojenci. Při pohřbu vládla silná bezpečnostní opatření srovnatelná jen s obdobím Josipa Broze Tita, který zemřel v roce 1980. Mezi smutečními hosty byli oficiální zástupci desítek států. Pohřební obřad vedli nejvyšší představitelé pravoslavné církve považované za symbol naděje a inspirace v dobách krize této převážně pravoslavné země. Církev projevovala k Djindjicovi úctu a viděla v něm hlasatele usmíření. Srbský pravoslavný biskup Amfolohije řekl, že tento reformistický vůdce začal obnovu Srbska, „podával ruku k usmíření a míru“ a byl zavražděn „rukou nenávistného vraha.“ Baptisté a Adventisté se obávají, že Djindjicovo zavraždění by mohlo předznamenat návrat nacionalizmu a pronásledování jiných než pravoslavných skupin v Srbsku. Srbsko nyní nemá ani premiéra, ani voleného prezidenta. Očekává se že vláda do svého čela jmenuje 42letého bývalého jugoslávského ministra vnitra Zorana Živkoviče, což by naznačovalo pokračování vládní politiky prozápadních ekonimických a politických reforem započatých Djindjicem. Ten zanechal manželku a dvě děti.
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| 2 UZBEKISTAN CHRISTIANS MAY FACE NEW CHARGES FOR HOLDING MEETINGS
Pentecostals in Muinak in Uzbekistan's western region of Karakalpakstan fear that two church members, Kuralbai Asanbayev and Rashid Keulimjayev, may again face punishment under the administrative code for meeting together as Christians. This comes less than three months after the two were beaten and imprisoned for five days. Local officials denied that the two were beaten in December. The leader of the local Pentecostal community, Salavat Serikbayev, said that Protestants in the town have virtually no way of meeting together and live like the first "catacomb Christians" under the Roman Empire. Muinak is notorious in Central Asia as a symbol of one of the most devastating ecological catastrophes of the 20th century. Thirty years ago it was a major port on the Aral Sea, but today it is more 60 miles from the sea as the waters have receded. Almost all the town's population previously worked in the fishing trade. Muinak is one of the poorest places in Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, charges against a pastor of a registered Baptist church south of Tashkent for holding a small-scale service in a private home last December, have been withdrawn. "Although the administrative charges against Pastor Nikolai Obyedkov have happily now been dropped, persecution of Baptists is continuing in a whole series of districts of Uzbekistan," said Dmitri Pitirimov, spokesman for the Uzbek Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists. (Forum 18 News Service)
* HCJB World Radio airs weekly Uzbek broadcasts to Uzbekistan via shortwave. An estimated 15 million Uzbek-speaking people are within range of the broadcasts. Uzbek is also one of four languages that HCJB World Radio airs to Afghanistan from an AM station outside the country.
SERBIAN BELIEVERS FEAR PERSECUTION AFTER MURDER OF PRIME MINISTER
With prayers and traditional hymns, thousands of people gathered in one of the largest churches in the Balkans for the funeral of the assassinated Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, 50, who led Serbia on a painful road to reforms. He was shot to death by snipers Wednesday, March 12, as he approached the door of his government headquarters in Belgrade. The funeral in Belgrade's St. Sava cathedral came as church leaders expressed concern about a repeat of gangland style murders that marked the era of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic who was ousted by pro-Western Djindjic and his allies after a decade of Balkan wars. Security was high at the funeral, described as the largest since communist leader Josip Broz Tito died in 1980. Among those attending were government representatives from dozens of countries. The funeral service was performed by key leaders of the Orthodox Church, often seen as a symbol of hope and inspiration during times of crisis in this mainly Orthodox republic. Church leaders paid tribute to Djindjic, who they saw as a voice of reconciliation. Serbian Orthodox Bishop Amfilohije said the reformist leader had begun a renewal of Serbia and "reached out a hand of reconciliation and peace," and suggested he was killed by a "hand of hatred." Baptists and Adventists are concerned that Djindjic's assassination could mark the return of nationalism and persecution of non-Orthodox groups. Serbia is now left with neither a prime minister nor an elected president. The government is expected to name 42-year-old former Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic as prime minister-designate, indicating the government's determination to push on with Western-backed economic and political reforms spearheaded by Djindjic. He survived by his wife and two children. (Assist News Service/Washington Post)
COLOMBIAN CHURCHES INCREASINGLY TARGETED AS FIGHTING INTENSIFIES
Churches have increasingly become targets of violence perpetrated by both left-wing and right-wing groups in Colombia, said eyewitnesses to the worsening situation in rural areas. "The churches were once removed from the conflict, but no more," said Luz Marina Gómez, a human rights activist and member of a small independent Protestant church, at a recent forum at New York City's Interchurch Center. Gómez and Luís Teodoro González Bustacara, a Roman Catholic priest, said increased militarization was raising the level of bloodshed and crippling Colombian society. Today various clergy, including pastors of small independent Protestant or Pentecostal churches in rural areas who claim to be apolitical, have become targets of violence from both leftist guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitary units. Clergy, who simply offer safe haven to those fleeing from the intensifying war, can be interpreted as taking sides in the conflict, observers say. The situation is especially tense in Arauca, an oil-rich region near the Venezuelan border that is often the target of terrorist attacks. The militarization has crippled the region, paralyzing Arauca's economy and forcing people from their homes. "We have two options, either wait for death or leave," Gómez said. The activists called for a renewal of peace negotiations to end the nearly 40-year conflict and a redirection of military funding to assist with education in the region. (Episcopal News Service)
* Together with local partners, HCJB World Radio broadcasts the gospel on FM stations in four Colombian cities. The ministry also continues to air Spanish programs across the country and all of Latin America via shortwave from Quito.
CHURCHES EXPAND IN SAUDI ARABIA DESPITE HUGE MILITARY BUILDUP
Despite a huge military buildup in Saudi Arabia as war looms with Iraq, reports are filtering in that the number of Christians is growing. Saudi Arabia is one of the most anti-Christian nations in the world, but Lee DeYoung of Words of Hope says this isn't slowing church growth. "We have been noting an increased response from listeners who seem to be if not seekers, actually profess faith in Christ who are writing from within Saudi Arabia, especially women. There are even some fellowships in Mecca itself which is a place where Christians aren't even supposed to enter." DeYoung can only guess why. "God's spirit is at work there. Even though it's a place that's outwardly very hostile to anything that is not consistent with Islam. Radio is obviously one of the only ways we know of that there could be any ongoing contact." (Mission Network News)
MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS LEAD EFFORTS TO HELP INFLUX OF REFUGEES
Christians in the Middle East are preparing to reach out to the physical and spiritual needs of Iraqis in the event of war. World Concern' Kelly Miller says the ministry is partnering with churches in Jordan to help meet the needs of the expected influx of refugees once war breaks out. "The national church is actually leading this effort," Miller said. "We're here to provide key staff and funding as needed. But the local church has a lot of experience in relief response in that region in the last number of years. Our role is one of being supportive where we can collectively build up the national church there so they have a much-improved profile." Miller says this is a great time for Christians in the West to have an impact. "We're projecting about 60,000 people to come into one particular camp that we're working in that's just inside Jordan across the border with Iraq." (Mission Network News)
MISSION INITIATIVE AIMS TO ELIMINATE AVOIDABLE BLINDNESS BY 2020
Blindness is one of the greatest preventable health hazards. Each second one person goes blind; each minute one child loses his or her eyesight. Roughly 90 percent of all blind people live in the developing countries. Blindness could be prevented or cured by simple means in 70 to 80 percent of all cases, reports Christian Blind Mission (CBM). Some 20 million people, mostly in Africa and Asia, have lost their sight because of cataracts, the most common cause of blindness. A simple operation costing just US$30 in developing countries could restore the sight of millions. Trachoma, caused by polluted water and poor hygiene, has resulted in 6 million people going blind. This illness could be avoided by applying an inexpensive tetracycline eye ointment. If present trends continue, there will be 77 million blind people by the year 2020. In response, CBM has started an initiative called Vision 2020 to eliminate avoidable blindness. The number of blind people could be reduced to 25 million in the next 17 years. (IDEA)
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