A commercial airplane carrying 54 people crashed in a remote area of Indonesia this weekend. Rescuers have been attempt to get to the site, but there is no word yet if anyone survived. According to reports, the plane did not send out a distress call, and it had been flying in extremely heavy rain and fog in the mountainous region. The airline, Trigana Air Service, does not have a good safety record, and, according to Reuters, has been blacklisted by the EU due to concerns about how it operates. Discuss
The radical Islamic militant group ISIS—which is known for kidnapping and some cases, executing Christians in territories they’ve overtake—has freed 22 Assyrian Christians. The hostages, who had been held since February, were among a group of more than 200 who were part of a mass abduction in northeast Syria. A chairman for the Assyrian Federation of Sweden, who has knowledge the situation, told Aljazeera, “Most of those released are elderly and have health issues. Negotiations between Assyrian leaders and Sunni leaders who have pledged allegiance to ISIL have been taking place, and following an agreement they were released. No ransom was paid to ISIL through any negotiations.” More negotiations are taking place to free the remaining hostages.
Though he said that the hostages were not physically abused, they were forced to live in extremely tight quarters, fed “disgusting” food and were pressured to convert from Christianity to Islam. Large-scale abductions remain a common occurrence by ISIS terrorists. Last week alone, a group kidnapped more than 230, at least 60 of whom were Christians. Discuss
John Rhys-Davies, the 6-feet-1-inch tall British actor who played the dwarf Gimli in all of the Lord of the Rings movies, told comedian Adam Corolla that he fears the end of "Western European Christian civilization." And not because people are changing their minds about Christianity and religion, but because of direct threats by terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. In an interview on the comedian’s wildly popular show, Rhys-Davies said:
Basically, Christianity in the Middle East and in Africa is being wiped out. I mean not just ideologically but physically, and people are being enslaved and killed because they are Christians. And your country and my country are doing nothing about it.
There are varying reports about causalities, but at least 125 were injured and 62 killed when a massive truck bomb exploded in the busy Jameela market in Baghdad this morning. The radical Islamic group ISIS has claimed responsibility in a statement to Reuters, saying that it targeted the crowded market because it was a known gathering place of Shiite Muslims, which they referred to as “the charlatan army.” Discuss
A mysterious explosion at a port in Tianjin, China shook the city around midnight local time. The blast—which state media attribute to hazardous goods at the port, triggered a second explosion and shock waves that reached up to 6 miles away. The explosions killed at least seven people and injured up to 400. Several videos of the explosion showed up on social media, and they are pretty terrifying.