World Briefs

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More patients in the Netherlands ask to die

(WNS)–Doctors in the Netherlands helped kill 4.5 percent of all the people who died in the country in 2015, according to a recent review. The data published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows more people are requesting physician-assisted death, and doctors are more willing to grant their requests. In 1990, just 1.7 percent of deaths in the Netherlands came through euthanasia or assisted suicide. To receive a lethal injection or have a doctor prescribe life-ending pills, people from the Netherlands don’t need to have a terminal illness but must be “suffering unbearably.” Most of the people whom doctors helped die were elderly and had health problems, with an increasing number of people without terminal illnesses.


Haitian lawmakers vote to ban gay marriage

(WNS)–The Haitian Senate has voted to ban gay marriage and all “public demonstration of support” for homosexuality. The bill, approved by the Senate on Aug. 3, stated anyone found guilty could face three years in jail and a nearly $8,000 fine. Senate President Youri Latourte told Agence France-Presse that homosexuality is a Western practice only, and the vote reflects the opinion of the majority. “A country has to focus on its values and traditions,” Latourte said. Charlot Jeudy, president of the Kouraj group, which promotes homosexual and transgender rights, said the bill would further reinforce prejudice and discrimination in the country.


Indian Christians charged with kidnapping, forced conversion

(WNS)–As persecution intensifies in India, government officials in the state of Madhya Pradesh have charged six Christians, including some pastors, with kidnapping and forced conversion for chaperoning children on the way to church camp. Local police arrested the group in May along with more than 70 children en route to a summer Bible camp, according to International Christian Concern (ICC). Local Hindu radicals told railway police the party of Christians was trafficking children for forced conversion, a crime in that state. Police intervened, detaining everyone at a train station. Authorities released most of the children after three days. All the parents confirmed in front of a local court they had willingly sent their children to the camp.


Iran frees Christian woman arrested with Saeed Abedini

(WNS)–Iranian officials released Christian convert Maryam Naghash Zargaran last week after holding her for more than four years on false charges. They arrested Zargaran in January 2013 because of her work at an orphanage with Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini. She was a children’s music teacher. Iran falsely charged her with “propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Abedini was released in 2016 and returned to the United States. Iran is one of the most difficult nations for Christians, especially converts from Islam. Leaving Islam is considered apostasy and results in severe punishment from families, communities, and the Iranian government. Iran ranks eighth on the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of countries with high persecution. In spite of that, Christianity is growing dramatically in Iran.

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