Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "The plots thicken," Jan. 12, 2008

The dead include Jonah Kule, a physician from Bundibugyo who was the first local to become a physician in 30 years. Sponsored by Philadelphia-based World Harvest Mission, he returned to work in the community, becoming the first doctor to respond to remote cases of the then-mysterious fever last year. He leaves a wife who is seven months pregnant and five children.

In the wake of the epidemic are other casualties, too: Six children died of anemia in the area last week, their families afraid to bring them to the same hospital as Ebola victims for treatment. "The Ebola impact is so much greater than the 36 deaths recorded in the official toll," said World Harvest Mission pediatrician Jennifer Myhre. "The fear that keeps people from coming to the hospital, the fear that keeps staff from working, the isolation that impacts our blood bank supply, these things are more difficult to measure."

Zoe's Ark

Six French Zoe's Ark humanitarian workers, who were sentenced by a Chadian court to eight years of hard labor after attempting to kidnap 103 African children, will have their sentences adjusted in a French court on Jan. 14. The individuals, including Zoe's Ark head Eric Breteau (right), returned to France in December to begin serving their prison terms while prosecutors determined how to convert the hard labor sentences into local terms. The six maintain that they were deceived about the origin of the children they were trying to help.

Hindus attack

Anti-Christian violence in India's Orissa state has left at least four Christians dead and many injured. According to All India Christian Council (AICC), Hindu militants burned 65 churches, destroyed 600 Christian homes, and forced hundreds of Christians to flee into forests in clashes that began Christmas Eve.

Tensions between the Hindu majority and tiny Christian minority erupted over conversions to Christianity. One home that rioters set ablaze belonged to Radhakant Nayak, a Christian member of India's parliament, reported Compass Direct.

Murdered

U.S. and Sudanese officials initially downplayed the shooting death of a U.S. diplomat in Khartoum. John Granville, 33, an officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was gunned down along with his driver in the early hours of Jan. 1. But the incident recalled the 2002 shooting death of USAID official Laurence Foley in Amman, Jordan. Like Granville, Foley began public service with the Peace Corps. In Foley's assassination, a Jordanian court later convicted in absentia Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, organizer of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Human Race

By Kristin Chapman

RELEASED: After languishing more than a year in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit, American Eric Volz is free. Volz, 28, was convicted in November 2006 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Doris Ivania Jiménez, despite the testimony of 10 witnesses who said he was out of town at the time of the slaying. Two Nicaraguan judges overturned the conviction on Dec. 17, sparking outrage among locals that Volz received special treatment. Nicaragua's Supreme Court is now investigating whether the judges acted inappropriately. Volz, who left Nicaragua on Dec. 21, is now living in hiding due to death threats.

PERSECUTED: The leader of a prominent Chinese house church in Henan Province was forcibly removed from a church service and tortured for several hours by police officials at an undisclosed location before he was released. Pastor Liang Qi Zhen, vice president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, suffered bodily injury during the assault, which was part of a larger Christmas crackdown on house churches across China. In Jiangsu Province, police raided a Christmas service and detained four female members, assaulting one until she was unconscious.

DIVIDED: In a story reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case, the life of a 16-year-old comatose girl hangs in the balance. Javona Peters is in a vegetative state after undergoing brain surgery at a New York hospital on Oct. 17. Her father, Leonard Peters, wants his daughter to remain on life support, but her mother, Janet Joseph, told the New York Daily News she wants to pull the feeding tube to let her daughter "go in peace." Joseph is also seeking full custody of her daughter in order to sue the hospital for malpractice. A guardianship hearing is scheduled this month.

SERVED: La Chureca ("the scavenger"), a dump on the outskirts of Nicaragua's capital, is home to about 2,000 people. They sleep in trash at night and scour for food during the day; many of the children spend their days sniffing glue and their nights in prostitution. Jesse Roberts of Oregon and his wife Maria, a Nicaraguan native, developed an after-school program and a rehabilitation center where addicted boys and girls get food, counseling, mentoring, education, and vocational training. Their mission "is to rise them up, to help them live a better life"-the inspiration behind the ministry's name, Rise Up.

SUED: High-school sophomore Chad Farnan and his parents are suing a Mission Viejo, Calif., history teacher for allegedly making anti-Christian remarks in the classroom. Farnan, 16, tape-recorded instructor James Corbett making such statements as, "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth," while he taught Advanced Placement European history at Capistrano Valley High School. The lawsuit charges Corbett with violating the Establishment Clause by promoting hostility toward religion. -with reporting by Christopher Stollar

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