Sunday News

Religion Growing Under China’s Communist Rule
Eleanor Albert of the Council on Foreign Relations looks at the growth of religion in the communist country of China.

“Since the 1980s, China has seen a significant growth in Christianity. There are three state-regulated Christian organizations and many underground house churches which range in size from small to large ceremonies in unidentified churches. In 2010, the Pew Research Center estimated that there were sixty-seven million Christians in China, roughly 5 percent of the total population. Of these, Pew estimated that fifty-eight million were Protestant, including both state-sanctioned and independent churches,” she writes.

Southeast Asian Migrant Crisis Slows, But Only Briefly
In recent weeks the flow of Muslim Rohingya migrants has slowed due to the onset of the rainy season, but the slowdown from Myanmar is temporary and the southeast migrant crisis remains unsolved.

Murray Herbert of the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggests the United States, regional governments and the United Nations should seize on the opportunity provided by the monsoon rains in the Bay of Bengal to address the question of what is compelling these individuals to risk their lives by fleeing Myanmar.

Herbert says the first issue on the table is the treatment of the minority Royhinga, but it is one of the most difficult too.

“Convincing the Myanmar government to provide more rights for the Rohingya ahead of elections in November would undoubtedly be a challenge. Anti-Muslim sentiment among the majority Buddhist population is widespread and deeply held, so any effort to help the Rohingya could easily create a backlash,” he notes.

Secondly, Herbert argues it is vital to hold the smugglers “who have long made their livelihoods ferrying migrants from Myanmar to hook up with traffickers along the Thai-Malaysia border” to account.

He advises that a coalition of countries be formed to tackle piracy in a manner similar to the response to pirates in  the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.

The Child Preachers Of Brazil
Samantha Shapiro provides a fascinating insight on the thousands of child preachers who are tending to the spiritual needs from Sao Paolo to the small villages of Brazil.

While the child preachers are proving to be controversial, she says Pentecostalism is offering an appeal greater than the once-dominant Catholic liberation theologies.

Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on the supernatural, has proved far more appealing. Improvised storefront Pentecostal churches have emerged in unlikely places from gas stations to rooms in individual’s homes.

“Child preachers fill a special niche: They embody the charisma and showmanship of older preachers, but filtered through a child’s inherent innocence. As Andrew Chesnut, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of ‘Born Again in Brazil,’ explains it: ‘These child preachers are something that Assemblies of God have found that sets them apart,'” she reports.

When Is Cyber Espionage An Act Of War
The recent cyber attack on thousands of U.S. personnel records exposes another weakness in the U.S. defense capability and it also raises the question of when a cyber attack is actually an act of war.

Cyberattacks by nation-states are a relatively new phenomenon, and governments don’t have a road map of deterrents and responses.

“But is there a difference between stealing security clearance records and stealing nuclear-launch codes? What about a computer attack that shuts down an electrical grid or freezes all financial transactions?” asks Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.

“We should be very clear: China is at virtual war with the United States, and the threat is far higher than that of terrorism, which gets the lion’s share of attention — and, in the post-9/11 world, funding,” says Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer in an interview with Business Insider.

On the other hand, Matthew Aid, author of the book “The Secret Sentry” told Voice of America it is not that clear.

“There’s offensive war, which runs the gamut from hackers trying to steal your banking information, but also the use of intelligence agencies such as the NSA hacking into the governments of foreign nations and terrorist organizations to find out what their intentions and capabilities are,” Aid said.

Fleeing Civilians Forced Back By ISIS
Kurdish forces closed in on a strategic Islamic State-held border town in northern Syria on Sunday, prompting an exodus of fearful civilians attempting to flee to Turkey, who were then turned back by ISIS, reports BGN News.

The area’s mixed population of Kurds and Arabs were seeking refuge wherever it could.


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