Daily Dispatches
Karen Short, wife of Australian missionary John Short, holds a photo of her husband.
Associated Press/Photo by Kin Cheung
Karen Short, wife of Australian missionary John Short, holds a photo of her husband.

Midday Roundup: North Korea takes another Western Christian hostage

Newsworthy

Detained. North Korean officials have arrested another Christian missionary visiting the country, this time an Australian man who lives in Hong Kong. John Short, 75, is no stranger to spending time detained by repressive regimes. Short’s wife Karen, speaking to the Associated Press from the offices of the Christian publishing company the couple runs, said he’d been arrested several times in China, where he started traveling in the late 1970s. He went to North Korea as part of a tour group, but Karen Short made no secret of her husband’s intentions. “It’s not an open country and it doesn’t welcome Christians—yes, we realize that,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean we stand by and don’t do anything because we care for the situation and we pray about it but sometimes you have to do more than talk.”On Monday, a UN commission released a report detailing the atrocities the North Korean government perpetrates on its own people. The commission’s chairman, also an Australian, said it was time to hold Kim Jong Un’s brutal dictatorship to account with more than just words. Karen Short said she had faith her husband would soon be released, but North Korea has a history of holding Christians as political prisoners. The country’s high court sentenced American Kenneth Bae, originally from South Korea, to 15 years in one of its crushing hard labor camps. Several attempts to negotiate for his freedom have failed.

Far from Fahrvergnügen. A union boss at Volkswagen’s German headquarters threatened today to block any new plants in the American South after workers at the company’s only U.S. plant, in Chattanooga, Tenn., killed efforts by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to organize a union. Volkswagen workers voted Friday against unionization, despite the company’s support for a German-style workers council. A 20-member board in Germany, split evenly between labor and management, must approve any new factories the company wants to open. In comments to a German newspaper, Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council, blasted U.S. politicians for opposing the UAW’s efforts.“The conservatives stirred up massive, anti-union sentiments,” Osterloh said. “It’s possible that the conclusion will be drawn that this interference amounted to unfair labor praxis.”Tennessee lawmakers threatened to revoke subsidies for the plant if workers approved the union. Undeterred by their narrow loss, UAW representatives say they’re not giving up on organizing at the Chattanooga plant.

Greatest honor? A Tennessee court sentenced an 84-year-old nun to nearly three years in prison yesterday for breaking into a nuclear facility and defacing it with human blood. Megan Rice, and fellow anti-nuclear activists Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, are members of the pacifist group Plowshares. The judge sentenced Walli and Boertje-Obed to five years in prison. The break-in prompted the government to ramp up security at the plant, which processes weapons-grade uranium. The protesters’supporters pleaded with the judge when meting out punishment to consider the service the trio performed by exposing security lapses. But Rice said she didn’t want any special consideration. “Please have no leniency on me,”she told the judge. “To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor you could give me.”

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Indecent purchase. A Utah mom visiting her local mall with her two sons didn’t like the T-shirt display in the window of teen fashion store PacSun. When the store manager refused to take down the display, which featured shirts screen-printed with images of scantily clad women, Judy Cox bought every offensive shirt in the store—a $567 purchase. Cox claims the display violated Orem’s decency ordinance, and city officials are investigating. Cox plans to return the shirts on day 59 of the company’s 60-day return policy.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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