STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED… AND WHY THEY MATTER

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By Donnelly McCleland Jesus challenged His disciples to be aware of what was going on around them (Luke 12:56) and to respond to changing times from His perspective, rather than seeing things through their human understanding. 2020 was one of those monumental years – on a global scale. Covid-19 has quite possibly impacted every person…

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SAUDI ARABIA EAGER TO ACHIEVE FAIR SOLUTION FOR PALESTINIANS

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In a phone call on Sunday 6 September, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told US President Donald Trump that the kingdom was eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue.  The conversation between the two leaders comes a month after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel announced they had reached an…

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A CHANCE REMAINS FOR PEACE IN YEMEN AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

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By Donnelly McCleland THE UN envoy who is negotiating a peace settlement to end the civil war in Yemen has said that there is still “a chance for peace”, despite the Yemeni government’s rejection of his latest draft deal. The civil war in Yemen, which has forced millions to the brink of famine, has entered…

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CORONAVIRUS PROMPTS DRAMATICALLY DOWNSIZED HAJJ

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Only 1,000 people will be allowed to participate in the Hajj – the Muslim journey to Mecca – this year as Saudi Arabia continues to struggle with the coronavirus. The annual pilgrimage usually brings millions of Muslims to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. The week-long celebration usually brings in, on average, $12 billion for the Saudi…

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CHURCH BUILDINGS – DO THEY MATTER?

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By Donnelly McCleland Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unprecedented decree (10 July) converting Hagia Sophia once again into a mosque continues to reverberate across the region and beyond. It elicited sharp criticism, despair, and disappointment from both Christians and non-Christians alike. The 1,500-year-old UNESCO-listed site was initially an Orthodox Christian cathedral that was turned into…

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YEMENI SEPARATISTS SEIZE ISLAND OF SOCOTRA

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The Southern Transitional Council (STC), a group of Yemeni separatists, has taken control of the island of Socotra, ousting its governor in an action the Saudi-backed government described as a coup. The STC claimed control of the southern part of Yemen in April, complicating efforts towards a permanent ceasefire, in a war that has dragged…

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SAUDI ARABIA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY FOR MINORS AND FLOGGINGS

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By Donnelly McCleland Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered an end to the death penalty for crimes committed by minors, according to a statement Sunday [26 April] by a top official. The decision comes on the heels of another ordering judges to end the practice of flogging, replacing it with jail time, fines or community…

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SEPARATISTS DECLARE AUTONOMOUS RULE IN SOUTHERN YEMEN

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The Southern Transitional Council (STC), a group of Yemeni separatists, has claimed autonomous rule in multiple southern provinces in Yemen. The claim to power is in violation of the Riyadh Agreement, a power-sharing deal signed in November 2019 between the separatists and the Yemeni government. The deal included an agreement to reorganise the government and…

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WORLD CANNOT AFFORD TO CONTINUE IGNORING YEMEN

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On Monday 30 March, all fighting groups in Yemen agreed to a nationwide ceasefire due to the coronavirus outbreak, after a call last Wednesday from the UN secretary-general for an immediate end to hostilities. However, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen carried out several air strikes on Monday on the capital Sanaa,…

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SAUDI ARRESTS AND OIL PRICE WAR

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On Friday 6 March, Saudi authorities reportedly arrested former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Ahmed bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, on the grounds they were plotting a coup. Many Saudi analysts, however, believe that the arrests were simply a consolidation of power by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.  The current crackdown comes at a…

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