For 28 years, Kim Hye Sook languished inside North Korea’s oldest concentration camp. She saw daily executions, mass starvation, and mothers killing their children to survive. Kim is perhaps the longest serving prisoner ever to escape from North Korea. “I went to the prison camp when I was 13 years old and I got out when I was 41,” she said. One morning in 1975 North Korean agents burst into her home and dragged away all the members of her family. She recalled “Some were taken to the mountains; others put in labour camps all because my grandfather escaped to South Korea during the Korean War.” Kim and some of her family were sent to Re-Education Centre No.18, also known as “Bukchang.”

“I lost seven members of my family, including my grandmother, mother, brother, and my husband,” Kim said. Today she wears dark glasses to conceal her identity because she still has two sisters and a brother in the camp. Bukchang holds some 50,000 prisoners. It’s one of six political prison camps operated by the North Korean government. Human rights groups estimate some 200,000 North Koreans are languishing behind the walls of these secret internment camps. “I attended indoctrination classes in the morning,” Kim said. “In the afternoon the children were sent to push trolleys in the coalmines, often without any safety gear.” Kim said she was forced to work 16 to18 hour work days with no rest.

“People were dying in the mines. There were numerous mine collapses, many injuries, people who lost their legs, many who were buried alive,” she recalled. “It was horrible.” “I was treated like a slave and worse. I hardly slept. It was inhuman,” she said. “But I never complained. I just followed all the rules. I had to find a way to survive.” Prisoners didn’t have enough food to eat. Kim said a family of seven was usually given just 10 pounds of corn a month.” 1996 was horrible. That year many people died of starvation. There was nothing to eat. There was no grass, no plants were growing,” Kim said. You looked around and there were bodies littered throughout the camp,”she said.

“At first I was shocked but then you become numb to it all.” In a television interview Kim said there were days when she felt that it was not worth living. Perhaps she thought of killing herself. “Yes, I thought of committing suicide thousands of times in those 28 years,” she admitted. “But the way the camp is set up there is always someone watching you. Each prisoner is assigned to watch four or five other prisoners so if anything happens, the other prisoners would alert the guards because they didn’t want to get into trouble themselves” Kim said. Kim told CBN News that she witnessed countless public executions. “Often these prisoners were killed over petty things like stealing food,” she explained.

“The guards would always gather other prisoners to watch the execution. It was a form of intimidation,” she said. “The command was then given to fire at the prisoners.” Perhaps most chilling is Kim’s account of fellow prisoners killing their own children to stave off hunger. “One time a mother put her 9-year-old daughter who had died in this big cast iron pot and boiled her,” she said. “She was a too big for the pot so the mother had to chop her legs and head to fit the body in the pot. On another occasion, a lady killed her 16-year-old son, chopped him into pieces and took him to a butcher shop to get some corn in exchange,” she said.

Kim said talking about these gruesome details wasn’t easy. “It is hard to talk about but I want the world to hear my story,” she said. She escaped from Bukchang in 2003 and now lives in South Korea. “I’m thankful to be alive but I can’t get over the fact that I’ve lost half my life,” she said. Last September Kim flew to Washington, D.C., to testify before a United States congressional panel about the beatings, starvation, and brutal executions that she witnessed in Bukchang camp. “We have to shut down these labour camps and set the prisoners free,” Kim testified. “Every day people are dying. Every day people are killing each other,” she said. “I am living proof that there are no human rights in North Korea.”

Source: Charisma News

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Church of England priests will not be allowed to bless gay and lesbian weddings, or marry someone of the same sex themselves, according to new guidelines issued by the church, which is struggling to heal divides over homosexuality. Same-sex marriage became legal in England on 1st April, posing a dilemma for the Church of England, which is the mother church of the world’s 80 million Anglicans and maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman. A church working group suggested last year that clergy allow gay and lesbian couples to mark and celebrate marriages held under the new legislation, as well as civil partnerships, in a religious service.

But following recent meetings, the church’s bishops have ruled “Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways,” said the guidance from the House of Bishops. The Anglican Communion, which links Anglicans across and beyond the English-speaking world, has been split for years over gay rights and biblical authority, especially since its U.S. branch – the Episcopal Church – ordained a gay bishop in 2003. African traditionalists are strongly opposed to growing acceptance of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion and to a Church of England proposal for “facilitated conversations” on homosexuality.

The House of Bishops also said people in a same-sex marriage should not be ordained as bishops, priests and deacons, nor should those in the ministry enter gay marriage. “The House is not willing for those who are in a same-sex marriage to be ordained” the bishops said.” In addition, it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage.” Earlier the Church of England had announced that it would address the issue of sexuality, saying it was aware it needed to reflect rapid changes in society and to address falling attendance rates and especially a failure to attract young people to the church.

The British parliament passed laws last year to allow gay marriages from 2014 in England and Wales. Scotland followed suit last month, becoming the 17th country to allow same-sex marriages. Copies of the guidelines were sent to bishops and archbishops in other Anglican churches around the world,accompanied by a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu. They acknowledged the divisions in the church on homosexuality but said same-sex marriage was a “new reality” with implications for the Church of England that had to be discussed and addressed.

Source: Charisma News

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The size of Iran’s most contested uranium stockpile has declined significantly for the first time in four years following a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in November, the U.N. atomic agency has reported. As a result, Iran’s holding of uranium gas enriched to a fissile purity of 20percent – a relatively short technical step from the level required for nuclear weapons – is now well below the amount needed for processing into a bomb. The stockpile is closely watched. Israel, believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed power, warned in 2012 that if Iran amassed enough such refined uranium for a single bomb it would be a “red line” for possible military action.

Iran agreed under a November 24 deal with six big powers to stop its 20-percent enrichment, which it began in 2010, and has since diluted some of the material to a lower concentration and converted some into less proliferation-prone uranium oxide. “That decrease has been quite important,”a senior diplomat familiar with Iran’s nuclear program said. “That progress has been quite substantial in terms of inventory.” A  report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also showed that Iran was meeting its commitments under last year’s interim agreement with the six powers to curb its most sensitive nuclear work in exchange for some easing of sanctions.

“Things are progressing as planned,” the diplomat said. The IAEA report was issued to member states just hours after Iran and the six countries – the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – ended negotiations in Vienna aimed at a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over the nature of Tehran’s nuclear activity.  U.N. nuclear inspectors are playing a critical role in monitoring that Iran is living up to its side of last year’s six-month accord, designed to buy time for the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement over atomic activity that Tehran says is entirely peaceful but which the West fears may have military designs.

Iran’s reserve of 20-percent uranium fell to 354 pounds in February from about 431 pounds in November, the IAEA said. About 550 pounds is needed for the core of one nuclear warhead, experts say. Pray that God will remove all obstacles and fulfil His redemptive purpose in the potentially explosive”triangle” formed by Iran, Israel, and the U.S. Intercessors know that Iran remains shrouded in mystery and contradictions. Ask God to give supernatural wisdom to squelch Iran’s stated purpose to destroy Israel. Let a united Church press in with strong, prayerful intervention. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel.

Source: The Washington Post

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Pro-life advocates say that public opinion, and the tide of history, is turning decisively against abortion-on-demand even though abortion advocates at the Guttmacher Institute and other pro-abortion institutions say they are”fighting back,” introducing more legislation to expand access to abortion than in any year in recent memory. Elizabeth Nash, State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, announced that more pro-abortion legislation has been introduced this year than at any time in the last 20 years. So far, 14 states have introduced 51 pieces of legislation to expand and strengthen women’s access to abortion, she said, up from 32 bills in six states in 2013.

Amanda Allen of the Centre for Reproductive Rights told Bloomberg News however that 2014 is a “tipping point” in American legislative history. She said “there is a significant difference between bills introduced and those enacted,” Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Americans United for Life, told LifeSiteNews. “Last year, for example, more than 350 bills related to abortion were introduced in state legislatures, but only about 20percent became law and most of them were pro-life. The Guttmacher Institute admitted that while dozens of new abortion-expanding bills had been offered,”thus far this year none have been enacted.”

“Last year two proactive bills in California were enacted,” Rebecca Wind, Senior Communications Associate at the Guttmacher Institute said. Last October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing non-physicians – including midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants – to perform abortions during the first-trimester by suction aspiration. The same day, he signed a bill exempting abortion facilities from more stringent health codes required for other ambulatory surgical centres. “Between 2010-2012, there was not much in the way of proactive legislation,” Wind said. “although we have started to see much more in 2013 and 2014.”

On the other hand, more pro-life laws have become law in the last three years than in the previous decade combined. States passed 205 pro-life laws from 2011 to 2013, and only 189 in the preceding 10 years. The largest number, 82, passed in 2011. Last year, governors signed into law 70 newpieces of legislation that sought to restrict access to abortion services.”Pro-life legislation is more in tune with the views of the vast majority of the American public who do not approve of the unlimited and unregulated abortion license sought by abortion advocacy groups,” said Burke.

Source: LifeSiteNews

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In a year announced in Uzbekistan as the ‘Year of the Child’, Christian children have been targeted by police in major cities just weeks into the New Year. The police visited an unknown number of schools, collecting mobile phones from children as they moved through the classroom. Those found with the Bible on their phone had the device confiscated. Their parents were then called to the school and students denounced in front of classmates as belonging to a ‘dangerous sect’. The state heavily controls religion in Uzbekistan. Protestants in particular are labelled as ‘extremists’ and Church services are in constant danger of interruption with members facing harassment, detention and arrest for attending.


*   for spiritual strength for all children who were denounced in front of their classmates as a result of the police inspections. Pray they will not feel the weight of peer pressure and will stand firm in their faith despite the intimidation

*   for pastors trying to lead their churches and congregations with very limited resources

*   the situation in Uzbekistan will turn around and all Christians in the country will soon be able to worship freely.

Source: Open Doors

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In a highly publicized ruling, Bolivia’s Constitutional Court handed down a surprise ruling which continues to protect the unborn.  The court ruled that “everything that has life or ‘could potentially generate life’ is protected by the Bolivian constitution.”  In other words, it noted, abortion-on-demand should never be permitted and is a crime during the later stages of pregnancy. The Bolivian justices “followed the lead of the Inter-AmericanCourt of Human Rights’ in determining when life begins. In a ruling about the legal status of embryos, the Costa Rica-based Court decided that human life does not begin at conception, when an embryo is formed, but when the embryo is implanted in the uterus.”

Source: LifeSiteNews

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A new law criminalising homosexuality has been passed in Uganda. Those convicted of homosexual acts could face life imprisonment. The law would also make it a crime not to report people who are homosexual. U.S. President Barack Obama has strongly criticised the bill, adding that it could complicate relations with the United States. Last month, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a bill that envisages lengthy prison terms for those engaging in homosexual activity. It also criminalises membership in gay organisations. Homosexuality is illegal in about two thirds of Africa’s 54 nations/

Source: Compiled by APN from media sources

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Angelina Jolie, director of the film “Unbroken,” said destiny that had been living next door to her for years without her knowing it. That destiny was famous WWII hero and renowned Christian Louis Zamperini, the subject of Jolie’s film. Jolie said she was “lost” as to the direction of her life asking ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I want to do something important… I need some help. I need some guidance. Where is it?’ And it was right outside my window.” Zamperini appeared with Jolie on the interview and clearly the two have developed a close relationship, With Zamperini’s well known reputation as an outspoken, passionate Christian, one can believe that Jolie has been hearing the Gospel message.

Source: Breaking Christian News

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