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Justin Bieber’s Mom Prays for Him after He Gets into a Fight

Justin’s Bieber’s mother recently spoke about her relationship with her son and tweeted a prayer that the Holy Spirit would “come and teach” him after he reportedly was involved in a fight during an NBA finals game.

“Holy Spirit come and teach us each who you are. Amen,” Pattie Mallette, Bieber’s mother, tweeted.

Mallette, who is an author and managed Bieber’s career before he became a superstar, had a rough childhood. She dealt with sexual abuse and raised Bieber as a single mom. She became a Christian at the age of 17, shortly before she got pregnant with Bieber.

Mallette and Bieber have not always had a close relationship since Bieber’s career took off.

A couple years ago when Bieber was going through a rebellious period that even landed him in jail, their relationship became very strained.

Bieber says of that time: “I was distant because I was ashamed. I never wanted my mom to be disappointed in me and I knew she was,” he said.

Bieber has since said he is turning his life around, even telling Complex magazine in an interview, “I just wanna honestly live like Jesus.”

He says his relationship with his mother is getting better as well: “We spent some time not talking, so it takes time to rebuild that trust. She’s living in Hawaii now, so it’s hard, but getting better.”

On Bieber’s birthday in March Mallette tweeted, “22 years ago I was 18yrs old, pregnant & scared. But God. Lord encounter @justinbieber for his bday! Give him all I couldn’t, in Jesus name.”

Mallette also said that, although it is difficult as a parent, she tries to give her son the space he needs to grow:

“You have to sort of let them make some of their own decisions. Me, personally, I would love to be with him all the time and to be able to ground him and deal with his problems and do all of that stuff, but at some point the parenting style changes. I hope to still be a respected voice in his ear.”

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A 7-month Pregnant Christian Woman Drenched With Petrol by Bajrang Dal: Silence of the Lambs

New Delhi: On April 17, Pastor Dinbanhu Sameli and his seven-month pregnant wife Meena were attacked by militant Hindutva group Bajrang Dal in Bastar in Chhattisgarh. Around 7 pm in the night, two men had approached the pastor outside of his home, initially claiming that they hailed from the nearby Methodist Church. But later, quite dramatically, they bought a sword to pastor’s neck and forced him to say ‘Jai Siya Ram.’. They even tried to belittle their faith in Jesus and smirked at their ignorance for not having faith in Ram instead. When the couple did not chant ‘Jai Ram’ or stamped it on the Bible, the goons set alight the church and even doused the couple with one litre of petrol. The couple had to flee as the church silent burnt. Such anti-Christian violence in Bastar, Chhattisgarh is not a new phenomenon and Christians have been facing these treacherous atrocities for the past few years, traumatizing them to an extreme level.

In the districts like Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Rajnandgao, Bastar, Sarguja and Raigarh is around 1% each. At the same time, the population of Hindus has grown dramatically in Chhattisgarh, even higher than the national average. But there are allegations, especially in the Bastar region that Christians are carrying out evangelical activities and targeting the tribals. Hence, a law was passed to prevent the conversion, though, ironically the same law does not create any hindrance to those who were originally Hindus and had converted but want to return to their original faith.

In 2014, 40 radical Hindutva militants from Bajrang Dal had targeted a church in Bastar. The church leader had immediately issued an email which stated how Christians were attacked when they had assembled for a prayer meeting in the church at 4 pm. Many had to flee, few were seriously injured and the others hid in the jungles nearby. Immediately, the Sajan George who is the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) stated that the Hindu fundamentalists who were involved in the brutal attack of the 12 Christians should be immediately arrested. On 26th October 2014, when a group of Christians had again assembled to discuss an appeal to the High Court regarding the anti-conversion law, instead of the police being present, the Bajrang Dal goons appeared again and attacked the Christians with knives. Sajan George strongly stated that the Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Act 1968 is being used as an anti-conversion law and exploited by the Hindu fanatics so that they can imprison the Christians.

On February 13, 2015, once again a church at Akaltara in Chhattisgarh’s Janjgir-Champa district was attacked. Few items in the church were set on fire. The police lodged a complaint of ‘theft’ instead of a criminal activity or trespassing. Arun Pannalal who is the President of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CCF) had questioned why time and again the police fails to support their cause and why such incidents are seen under the purview of theft. He even asked that what anyone would gain by stealing when the brutal attacks have been much worse in their impact.

Anto Akkara, who has been meticulously following the anti-Christian attacks in India since Kandhamal riots in 2008 states that the victims practice the culture of ‘silence of lambs.’ He spoke of how the persecuted Christians try to embrace the violence and forgive it, as taught by Jesus Christ instead of taking action against it. They adhere to the Old and the New Testament in which Jesus Christ has stated that the followers would be persecuted if they follow his path and hence, consciously, they actually expect to be persecuted in their lives, as a price that they have to pay for following Christianity.

Though, Akhilesh Edgar who is the National Manager at the human rights body called as Alliance Defending Freedom stated that the atrocities and violence against the religious minorities should be prevented. But Vishwa Hindu Parishad believes that it is the Christian community which is stirring the communal tensions in Chhattisgarh. There have been strikingly large number of religious conversions of Christians back to Hinduism from the tribal belts of Chhattisgarh. In fact, Bastar Lok Sabha MP, Dinesh Kashyap also celebrated the so-called ‘ghar wapsi’ or ‘homecoming’ of the tribals back to Hinduism by washing the feet of the local tribals. The Chhattisgarh unit of the right-wing Dharam Jagran Manch has already chalked out a plan through which they aim to convert all the Christians in Chhattisgarh back to Hinduism by 2021.

Instead of reassuring the Christian community, BJP and the members of the Legislative Assembly have participated in the religious conversion ceremonies. Secretary of the EFI Religious Liberties Commission wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh stating how the Christians are living in constant fear, unable to safeguard their faith or even the place or worship. He stated that how the condition has worsened dramatically in the past few months. He mentioned how the militant Hindu fanatics have also coerced the village heads and other officials. Thus, the police in Chhattisgarh shows its nonchalance against the security of the Christian minorities. There is a growing nexus in between the political organizations, hoodlums of the ground and also the politicians who are in the higher office. On October 9, 2014, local BJP MLA Dinesh Kashyap celebrated the conversion of 33 Christians from 10 families into Hinduism at an event in event at Kunkuda village.

It is quite unfortunate that when it comes to attack against the religious minorities in India, the Christian community is blatantly ignored and they remain as a footnote to the narrative of communal tensions. Such activities are definitely against the spirit of democracy and secularism which is enshrined in our constitution and it is a matter of grave concern how these recurrent incidents are not fetching any justice, media attention or concern at a larger scale.

Courtesy: The Citizen

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Gospel for Asia Sued for Fraud

A Dallas-based law firm filed a class-action lawsuit on Feb. 8 against Gospel for Asia Inc. (GFA), alleging the Texas-based international ministry has engaged in fraud and racketeering.

GFA has claimed that hundreds of millions it has received in donations have gone to help the poor and preach the gospel. The lawsuit, though, alleges that ministry leaders were “covertly diverting the money to a multi-million dollar personal empire.”

Gospel for Asia officials did not immediately return phone calls and emails Tuesday and Wednesday requesting comment.

The lawsuit, filed by the Stanley Law Group on behalf of Matthew and Jennifer Dickson of Rogers, Ark., asks a U.S. District Court to order money returned to unwitting donors whose well-intentioned contributions were, according to the lawsuit, misappropriated.

The lawsuit accuses GFA founder and leader K.P. Yohannan of funneling millions of dollars into a variety of for-profit businesses and a lavish 350-acre compound that is home to GFA’s sprawling headquarters in Wills Point, Texas.

GFA promised donors their contributions would be used for specific purposes the donors themselves selected, the lawsuit notes, such as buying blankets or camels for poor families or motorbikes for missionaries, especially in regions of South Asia, where the ministry concentrates most of its work. GFA did not keep such promises, the lawsuit contends.

“K.P. Yohannan and his Gospel for Asia inner circle have been exploiting the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians around the country for years,” said the plaintiffs’ lead attorney Marc R. Stanley in a prepared statement. “Gospel for Asia should return all the money it’s taken from donors who thought they were contributing to charity.”

Last year, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) booted GFA from its membership after an investigation found the ministry did not meet ECFA’s guidelines.

The ECFA found GFA hoarded as much as $259 million during some months rather than spending the donated funds on church-planting, missionary work, or charitable relief for the poor.

Former GFA board member Gayle Erwin resigned his board position on Oct. 3, 2015, the day after the ECFA revoked GFA’s membership.

Erwin recently said he grew suspicious when Yohannan became reluctant to discuss details of ministry practices with him and other board members.

“There came a time when he stopped talking and everything became a veil of darkness,” Erwin said. “And for that I confronted him a lot.” Yohannan eventually lashed out at Erwin, according to the former board member. “I was pretty much insulted in every way possible. … In talking with others, I have found out that’s how he leads. He is a bit of a bully.”

The class-action lawsuit applies to tens of thousands of donors who donated a combined hundreds of millions of dollars to GFA, said attorney Martin Woodward of the Stanley Law Group, who added that the lawsuit aims to hold GFA accountable: “When a charitable organization promises donors that all contributions will be spent only as the donors direct, that organization is obligated to keep its word. Gospel for Asia made all sorts of explicit guarantees to donors and then broke its promises. This case is about righting those wrongs.”

 Courtesy: WORLD News Service

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Israel to provide India with better, cheaper health care

A new program by a World Bank-associated group could see local firms get a foothold in one of the world’s most emerging economies

Already close collaborators in areas like defense and agritech, Israel and India will soon be working together on health technologies, through the good offices of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

Following a deal signed last Wednesday, Israel’s Economy Ministry is to join the IFC’s TechEmerge program, which seeks out innovative tech solutions for the developing world.

Under the deal, “TechEmerge will identify top health technology innovators and match their services with interested healthcare providers in India,” the IFC said. The organization runs programs throughout the developing world to help modernize and develop economies.

Companies chosen for the program will receive funding, as well as guidance on how to succeed in the Indian economy. The Israeli firms will build up new business relationships, while Indian health providers will get access to advanced medical technologies.

The agreement was signed at the second annual Foreign Trade Conference, sponsored by the ministry’s Foreign Trade Administration. The FTA hosted hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors who came to meet representatives of the 41 Israeli trade delegations spread around the world.

According to the IFC, India is in great need of advanced medical tech to reduce the cost of care. The vast majority of the country’s hundreds of millions of households pay for healthcare expenses out of pocket; with advanced care expensive and the average Indian earning less than $5,000 a year, many people go without the care they need. With that, the Indian healthcare market is expected to grow to $280 billion by 2020.

While Israel’s biggest trading partners have traditionally been in Europe and the US – and more recently, in China – Israeli trade officials believe that there is a lot of opportunity for Israeli tech firms in emerging markets. According to Ohad Cohen, head of the FTA, Israel is already making inroads in places like Africa and South America. Israel, for example, is an observer in the Pacific Alliance, a free-trade organization consisting of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and has free-trade agreements with the latter two countries as well.

In Africa, said Cohen, Israeli medical technology has been welcomed with open arms – as has Israel’s administrative knowhow in healthcare.

“For medical technology to be usable, you have to have a working healthcare system,” Cohen told The Times of Israel at the Conference. “That’s really the first step, and we’ve found that African governments are very interested in using our models of health care fund administration in their own countries.”

But the real “prize” for foreign trade expansion remains in the East. “We have a lot more work to do in Asia, especially in China and India, which within a decade and a half will be responsible for 40% of the world’s GDP.”

While China is already doing a good amount of business with Israel, said Cohen, there are many areas of the country that are still in great need of the mobile, cleantech, and communications tech that Israel can offer. But in India, Israel’s presence outside of the agritech and defense industries is very small. “Both offer substantial opportunities for trade expansion. These are the markets we have to reach, and the Foreign Trade Administration is ready to help any exporter achieve those goals,” he said.

India is a prime emerging market. Over the past four years GDP growth in India has averaged about 7.5% but economists warn that a general slowdown in the world economy could drag India down too, chopping its annual GDP growth in 2016 to 7%.

Ministry officials are enthusiastic over the program. “Our life sciences industry is ranked first globally for the number of medical device patents per capita, and Israel, being well-positioned in the life science realm, could take an active and meaningful role in the TechEmerge program,” said Amit Lang, director of the Economy Ministry.

“I firmly believe that this fact coupled with other proven strengths of the Israeli life science industry will allow for it to significantly engage in the program. This is our first agreement with IFC, and we see it as a milestone in our collaboration with the various international financial institutions. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with IFC.”

“Developing countries are struggling to expand access to quality health services and to cope with increased demand associated with communicable diseases as well as aging populations and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases,” said Alzbeta Klein, IFC director, Global Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services. “Israel and other partners in the TechEmerge program will help emerging market health systems adopt innovative technologies that can drive greater access to health services.”

Courtesy: The Times of Israel

 

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CPM lawmaker dares Rajnath Singh over magazine quote that wasn’t; Outlook admits mistake

A statement by CPM lawmaker in Parliament left Home Minister Rajnath Singh “deeply hurt” and angry. It also led to Lok Sabha being adjourned multiple times during the discussion on the much-hyped ‘intolerance’ issue.

It began when the CPM member said that in the wake of BJP’s stupendous victory in the last general election Rajnath had claimed that Narendra Modi will be first Hindu ruler in 800 years after the centuries old era of Prithviraj Chauhan.

Rajnath challenged Salim saying he never made this statement and the MP must authenticate where and when he had made it, else apologise to him and the House for making an irresponsible statement. In his defence, Salim produced a copy of the 16 November edition of the Outlook magazine with the cover ‘The Pakistan-isation of India’. The longish cover story of the magazine has a one-line reference to it: The current strife is uncharted territory. It has the imprimatur of the “first Hindu ruler after 800 years” (to quote Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Modi’s election victory).

A senior BJP leader told Firstpost that Outlook “would now be served a rebuttal and a notice” either by Rajnath Singh’s office or by someone from the BJP. “It had not come to our notice so far, at least the Home minister was not aware of publication any such statement attributed to him. The magazine and the writer concerned will have to do a lot of explaining. Do you imagine if he had actually said so this would have become big national and even international headline? It could not have been noticed only by the writer in Outlook magazine.”

After the controversy broke in Parliament, Outlook clarified the quote was wrongly attributed to Rajnath and tweeted: “It was not our intention to denigrate the home minister or Parliament. Outlook sincerely regrets the embarrassment caused to Mr Rajnath Singh and Mr Mohammad Salim.” The tweet provided a link to a page where Outlook said, “… A remark (‘first Hindu ruler after 800 years’) made by the late Ashok Singhal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was erroneously attributed to… Rajnath Singh.”

Rajnath was visibly angry as he got up for the second time to interrupt the CPM leader. “In my long parliamentary life I have not been hurt like this. I have never said anything like this. I know what I speak. My words are always measured. If anyone makes a statement like this he has no right to be Home minister of the country, least of all myself. I am deeply hurt. People of minority community also know that Rajnath Singh can never speak like this.”

Salim’s arguments in defence, later incidentally supported by Left Front’s arch rival in West Bengal TMC’s Saugata Roy, cut no ice with the ruling party. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudi insisted that Salim withdraw his statement.

Attribution of such a statement to Rajnath by implication means that he is not just a blind Modi bhakt but also an irrational, irresponsible, rabid and highly regressive Hindutavadi mainstream leader who did not accept any of Indian ruler before and after Independence as Hindu, not even Atal Bihari Vajapyee during whose tenure he held various ministries at the Centre and was also Uttar Pradesh chief minister. He is bent on setting the record right, more so because he holds the high post of Home minister and is the designated Number Two in the Modi government.

A generally measured and quiet Rajnath Singh has become this upset for the second time in the last 16 months and threatened to quit if the charges against him were proved right. In August 2014 he was angry against a group of anonymous persons for spreading rumours that his son Pankaj was fixing deals. He had reacted, saying: “In the last 15-20 days, there have been continuous rumours in the air about me and my family. I thought rumours have no basis and these will end in some days. But I am seeing that these are gaining momentum by the day. I want to assure the nation that the day allegations, even prima facie or even small, are proven against me or my family, I will quit politics and public life and sit at home.”

In today’s instance, he was accused of making an irresponsible and condemnable statement. Singh knows the implication if it is allowed to go uncontested. He has consciously cultivated his politics as a moderate leader, even as he has internalised the broad contours of Hindutva, and he has good rapport with all in the current political spectrum. He represents Lucknow, a city which boasts of communal amity. It was thus supremely important for him that the record was set right. This time within Parliament.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Mohd Salim talks about his side of the story.

He says that he was keen this discussion goes on record since the House had been adjourned multiple times already. He says “ they tried to force me to withdraw” which he refused. He stresses that he is not alleging, rather he is “quoting” from a magazine and that “they” must deny this quote if they stand against it.

“The Sangh Parivar’s teaching is that they were slaves for hundreds of years and I wanted to bring that to the nation’s notice. Let them deny publicly that this is not what the Sangh Parivar’s teaching is,” says Salim.

Salim claims there is no difference between what the government says are fringe elements and what its own core ideology is.

“The Sangh Parivar network from the top trains its cadres in this fashion,” he told the newspaper.

Salim says the ruling government is trying to “distort” the discourse by saying that the intolerance debate is a “section’s” view but in fact it is not.

“Even in his ( Modi’s) speech in the Lok Sabha on Friday, apart from his body language, he did not come to the current challenges. Modi should have spoken against the incidents. He did not do so,” says Salim.

Courtesy: Firstpost

 

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World Religious Leaders Condemn Paris Carnage

paris-hugging

World religious leaders and institutions – from Pope Francis to the leaders of Al Azhar University in Egypt – condemned the series of attacks overnight in Paris which left more than 120 people dead.

“We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the pope and all those who love peace,” Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman said in a statement on Saturday (Nov. 14).

“We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people,” Lombardi said. “This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”

In Cairo, Al-Azhar University, the preeminent, thousand-year-old seat of Sunni Muslim scholarship, called the attacks a criminal act, and said that “Islam denounces any violence,” the Arabic news site Al Arabiya reported, quoting Egypt’s state news agency MENA.

Reports said the cry “Allahu Akbar” was heard from the gunman, and ISIS supporters praised the violence on social media while many other Muslims condemned the bloodshed.

On Saturday morning, French President Francois Hollande said the attacks were an “act of war” carried out by ISIS militants.

In Ireland, the imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre in Dublin said his thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris “and every other place on earth plagued by sick men with weapons and bombs.

“Terrorists have no religion whatsoever,” said the Muslim leader, Umar Al-Qadri. “Their religion is intolerance hatred for peace.”

In the United States, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, called upon “all Episcopalians and people of good will and faith to pray for those who have died.”

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani cancelled a meeting with the pope at the Holy See, as well as the rest of his European trip which included a visit to Paris.

Rouhani had been due to arrive in Rome on Saturday for meetings with the pontiff and the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi.

The Iranian leader called the attacks “crimes against humanity.”

Multiple terrorist attacks in the French capital targeted civilians at a concert hall, restaurants and a sports stadium where President Francois Hollande was present. At least eight attackers also died, seven reportedly blowing themselves up while one was shot by police.

Courtesy: Religion News Service

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Three Christians Arrested in India and Accused of Converting Locals

Three Christian men in India have been arrested and held on charges of converting the local people to Christianity in the village of Motawa in northern India.

The Indian Express reports that the three men, Stephen Rajkumar, Anil Kumar, and Harilal, are volunteers for Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS).

Right wing activists accused the men of going against anti-conversion laws and attempting to convert the local people to Christianity, as well as showing a Gospel film.

Others accused the men of baptizing villagers and encouraging them to read the Bible. There were also reports of women who were healed of various ailments after attending medical camps organized by GEMS.

GEMS spokesman, Mariyosh, denies the accusation, stating that “The action was premeditated. No one was being converted to Christianity.” Mariyosh added that GEMS has been active in northern India since 1972 providing humanitarian aid.

Mariyosh also claims that the three men were not showing a Gospel film, but a film with a social message about peace.

Christian Today reports that the battle for religious freedom in India is particularly intense as Hindus lobby to make Hinduism the country’s national religion.

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