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Putin power

"Putin power" Continued...

Issue: "The battle," March 24, 2012

Police have named the pastor as the "prime suspect" in the case and accused his son as a terrorist, and listed accusations against "more than 20 believers of our congregation and family members," Khan said. "This tragic event has taken us by surprise and we feel hopeless at the hands of law and local police."

Mob attack

A mob of about 200 people attacked a team of seven U.S. missionaries as well as a local pastor in rural Bangladesh Feb. 29, as the Christians were driving to a local church property. The mob surrounded the missionaries' van and smashed its windows, but the Christians, who prayed together under the onslaught, sustained only minor injuries. The missionaries, not identified for security reasons, reported that the mob eventually left to destroy some temporary structures on the church property. Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country, but missionary activities are officially legal.

Protecting North Korean defectors

The Chinese government arrested about 40 North Korean defectors last month, causing the South Korean government to protest to its usual ally. South Korea depends on China economically as its largest trading partner, and generally keeps quiet about Chinese oversteps. But now South Korea's parliament has passed a resolution demanding that China not repatriate the defectors, and lawmakers have brought the issue to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Crowds of South Koreans also have gathered at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul to speak out against China and possible repatriation.

This is the first arrest of North Korean defectors in China since Kim Jong-un has been in power, and South Korean activists fear what will happen to those who are repatriated. "The new leader in North Korea has said that if people try to escape, three generations of their relatives should be killed," Park Sun-young, a member of the South Korean parliament, told The Wall Street Journal. She and a prominent North Korean defector have been on a hunger strike across the street from China's embassy since last month. At Day 11 of the strike, Park passed out but recovered in a hospital.

Chinese officials stand by their decision to repatriate the defectors, saying they were in the country illegally to make money, not because they were refugees. China's Foreign Ministry said the South Korean media was hyping the issue for "political purposes."

Guilty

A Houston jury on March 6 found Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford guilty of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 30,000 investors in over 100 countries. Those bilked by the Baylor University graduate included charity organizations like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, amid allegations he also used some of the funds to promote evangelical outreach.

Gay marriage march

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a staunch gay-rights advocate, on March 1 signed a bill making his state the eighth in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry. The legislation narrowly passed the state's House of Delegates on Feb. 17 and the Senate less than a week later. But a referendum drive by opponents is likely to put the issue to a public vote in November. Washington state lawmakers passed same-sex marriage last month, but it also faces a referendum challenge. And February passage of a law legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

Knockdown

Authorities in Pakistan on Feb. 25 demolished the house in Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden lived for years and died last May in a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs. The destruction of the home where bin Laden lived for the previous five years kept authorities from having to manage it as a tourist site or shrine. According to The Wall Street Journal, local property dealers valued the home, which included the three-story house and garden and grazing areas, at $300,000. Polls show most Pakistanis don't support al-Qaeda, but some locals sought to commercialize the site to bring tourist revenue into Abbottabad.

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