In another shooting by suspected Islamists in Karachi, five female health workers vaccinating children against polio have been killed in Pakistan. Masked men on motorbikes committed four of the murders—a pattern in targeted killings used particularly against Christians in Pakistan this year. One victim was a 17-year-old schoolgirl volunteer.
Birgitta Almby, a 70-year-old Bible teacher and director of a Christian-run technical training institute in Pakistan, died Dec. 12 of wounds she sustained in a Dec. 3 shooting in Lahore. Again, unidentified assailants on motorbikes shot Almby, who has worked in Pakistan for 34 years. She was flown to her native Sweden for treatment and died there.
The good news hiding behind the bad news, points out Elizabeth Kendal in an excellent end-of-the-year report, is that “escalating persecution we are witnessing is Satan’s response to Church growth.” Christianity is no longer the White Man’s Religion: “In 1960 the Church was predominantly white, Western and middle-class. Today the Church is some 80 percent coloured, non-Western and poor. These Christians—who include many converts—live as counter-cultural, vulnerable religious minorities in increasingly hostile environments in states with poor human rights records.”
Police around the world are heightening security at places of Christian worship ahead of the Christmas holidays—including at 38,499 registered churches across Indonesia.
Russia’s parliament today gave overwhelming preliminary approval to a measure banning Americans from adopting Russian children. The move is in retaliation for President Obama’s signing last week of a bill allowing sanctions against Russia for human rights violations. A third reading in the State Duma is due on Friday.
South Korea has in today’s elections selected its first female president, Park Geun-hye. She is a member of the current governing party but is expected to reopen talks with North Korea.
French actor Gerard Depardieu was spotted shopping in a Paris cheese shop today—apparently stocking up on French staples before quitting the country. The actor this week surrendered his passport and says he will live elsewhere to escape his country’s punitive tax system. Depardieu says he paid 85 percent of his income in taxes last year.