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Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
Pope Francis has stated that the international community must stop Islamic State militants on their quest for power and influence. The Pope says that it is the responsibility of all nations to unite against the extremists, not just one country to fight the evil alone. 
 
Francis did not say outright that airstrikes and bombs were the correct method to stop Islamic extremism, but he did not condemn the method either. 
 
"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said.
 
"I underscore the verb 'to stop'. I am not saying 'bomb' or 'make war', but stop him (the aggressor). The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the unjust aggressor is legitimate," he added.
 
Pope Francis said he was willing to travel to Iraq himself, but felt that the timing was not right for a visit to the nation. A senior cardinal is currently serving in Iraq on behalf of the Vatican, distributing funds and ministering to refugees. 
 
 
Publication date: August 20, 2014
An international medical organization maintains that collateral hardship from the Ebola epidemic has forced the cancellation of medical teams to various locations around the world.
 
Mercy Ships, which operates the world’s largest civilian hospital ship in ports on the West Coast of Africa, has canceled deployment to Guinea, where Ebola first broke out last December, but currently docked in the Canary Islands with crew and staff, Mercy Ship now waits for an end-of-August decision for field service in Benin.
 
The Mercy Ship was due to sail for the port of Cotonou, Benin, for its 10-month field service last week but has delayed that sail pending further assessment due to the aggressive nature of the outbreak in neighboring Nigeria.  
 
According to the charity’s president and founder Don Stephens, the ship is unequipped to treat viral epidemics.
 
“Africa is and remains our priority, but crew safety drives every decision,” Stephens said in a statement. “We request prayer as we consider all options to manage the risk, including deployment to other unaffected nations.”  
 
This ship’s crew consists of 400 staff members representing 40 nations, with up to 60 children onboard at any time.
 
“Mercy Ships has many, many friends in West Africa,” Stephens said. “In the meantime, our prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible epidemic, especially those in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.”
 
Stephens explained that the organization is closely monitoring the situation across the continent of Africa. 
 
 
Publication date: August 20, 2014
A thriller movie about the rapture, titled “The Remaining,” is slated to hit theaters soon. The movie is from writer, producer, director Casey La Scala and will tell the story of those left behind after the rapture.
 
Production company officials are saying that the movie is an accurate and biblical depiction of rapture.
Unlike the “Left Behind” film series or HBO’s “The Leftovers,” people in the movie who are raptured will leave their physical bodies behind.
 
"In really diving into the word 'paralambano'— the Greek word... what's interesting is that same word is used when the angel tells Joseph about Mary— 'Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,'" Affirm Films Senior Vice President Rich Peluso said.
 
"So obviously to take her... is not to make her disappear. It's another shade of this word, to bring someone into yourself— to receive them."
 
In the movie, those who are not raptured are chased by an evil force.
 
“Have you settled the things you need to say? Have you made decisions with faith?” La Scala said. “I want the audience to take away this idea of (considering) where are they right now— where are we with the people we love, where are we in our lives?”
 
 
Publication date: August 20, 2014

The Islamic State has reportedly made good on a promise that they would kill Yazidis who did not convert to Islam. The village of Kocho was invaded by the Islamic State late last week, where Yazidi men were murdered and women and children were kidnapped.

Last month, the Islamic State forced people in Mosul to either convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave or be killed.

“When the residents refused to do this (in Kocho), the massacre took place,” Yazidi politician Mahma Khalil said.

About 80 Yazidi men were shot to death. It is unclear how many women and children were abducted. The woman are usually sold by the extremists or married off. Some villagers managed to escape and flee to the mountains.

"They thought we were dead, and when they went away, we ran away," a wounded survivor reported. "We hid in a valley until sundown, and then we fled to the mountains."

Said Iraq Human Rights Ministry spokesman Kamil Amin: “We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them. We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values."

 

Publication date: August 20, 2014

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