Saturday, August 27, 2011

Suppression of religion in Fiji a concern...

Suppression of religion in Fiji a concern...
  • Fiji_coup-600pxtugaue-small
    Suppression of religious meetings and the arrest of Methodist leaders in Fiji is worrying churches throughout the Pacific region.

    The Methodist President Ame Tugaue and General Secretary Akuila Waqairatu, have been arrested on charges of breaching Public Emergency Regulations for participating in a church standing committee meeting that had not been approved by the government. They pleaded not guilty and were later released on bail, but have been banned from preaching or speaking in public
    visionnetwork National Director Glyn Carpenter, who is also chairman of the South Pacific Evangelical Alliance, said the situation in Fiji is a huge concern to the church in New Zealand. "The situation is serious and we are very concerned about the instability."

    Mr Carpenter is hopeful that the faith of Fijians will stay firm. "When something happens that causes Christians to take a stand it can cause a revival of faith," he said. "It may cause some people to retreat and take the path of least resistance, but it will also cause some to stand up more boldly to speak out about the message of the kingdom of God."

    Among increasing crack downs on free speech and gatherings, in July the government banned the Methodist annual conference and annual choir festival, a national event that usually draws tens of thousands of participants.

    "[The banning of events is] making life almost impossible for a church whose spiritual lifeblood is based on gathering together," the British Methodist Church said in an August statement.

    The Fijian Methodist ministers will next face a pre-trial hearing on September 24, followed by a full trial on November 19, according to The Australian newspaper.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kiwi SAS trooper killed by Taleban has been named...

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    Kiwi SAS soldier killed by Taleban has been named

    :**:Kiwi SAS soldier killed by Taleban has been named ...

    The New Zealand SAS soldier killed in a Taleban attack in Afghanistan on Friday was Doug Grant, a veteran with extensive service in the NZ Army.

    The commando was killed in Kabul when a bullet hit him through an armhole of his body armour and probably pierced his heart, the Herald understands.

    As the man lifted his arms during the SAS's attempts to rescue British and Nepalese hostages at the British Council a bullet entered the side of his body through the armhole and passed through vital organs.

    The New Zealand Defence Force gave an undertaking to his family that he would not be named until today.

    He leaves a wife and two young children and is the first SAS fatality in Afghanistan in four deployments since 2001.

    His widow is also in the Defence Force and the pair are understood to have met while she was a medic serving alongside the SAS.

    The soldier was a long-serving member of the SAS.
    He had been to Afghanistan before and had just returned for another deployment

    Read more:

Australian Opposition leader, Tony Abbot, pays tribute to slain Kiwi SAS trooper killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, by the cowardly Taleban...
  • tony_220x147:**:"Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has paid tribute to the New Zealand special forces soldier killed in a Taleban attack in Kabul.

    Mr Abbott has spoken of the heroism of the Special Air Service (SAS) soldier, who is yet to be named, who was among nine people killed overnight in a raid on Britain's cultural centre in the Afghan capital
    "There's been another death in action in Afghanistan, not an Australian soldier but one of our trans-Tasman brothers ... who died heroically trying to rescue hostages in Kabul," he told reporters after addressing the State Liberal conference in Adelaide on Saturday.

    "I just want to say on behalf of the coalition, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of New Zealand at this moment.

    "And I am sure the thoughts and prayers of every Australian is with our friends in New Zealand at this sad time."

    Militants blasted their way into the British Council's Kabul compound before dawn on Friday, blowing up a car bomb at the gates and then detonating a second device.

    At least four Taleban suicide bombers got inside, unleashing a series of explosions as foreign and Afghan forces engaged in fierce gunbattles for the next nine hours until all of the insurgents were killed.
    New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the soldier's death, but said he knew little of the circumstances.

    "On behalf of the Government, I want to offer my condolences to the family of the soldier," he said.
    Expressing his appreciation, British Prime Minister David Cameron thanked Mr Key for the role New Zealand's special forces had played in ending the raid.

    It was the latest high-profile strike to underline fragile security in the Afghan capital as US-led Nato combat troops start leaving Afghanistan. They are all due to withdraw by the end of 2014.

    A spokeswoman for Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith later said Mr Smith had spoken with his New Zealand counterpart, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, to express the Australian Government's condolences at the loss."

    The NZ SAS contingent has been reduced to about 25, and the remainder will be withdrawn to NZ next March, 2012. The trooper's name should be released in the next day or so after next of kin have been informed of his death. NZ's non-combatant reconstruction force will remain for a further year or two."

    Such comments are appreciated by all New Zealanders - the people, the trooper's family, the military and the NZ Government. He has been named, and his identity will be announced in another post.

    Acknowledgements: - AAP