Monday, February 21, 2011

Child prostitutes rescued in Ghana

Ghana (MNN) ― A million children get involved in the sex trade every year, and the country of Ghana is no exception to the rule.

Ghana does, however, have a problem that you may not have considered in regard to child prostitution: "Many underage girls--teenagers under 18--are turning to prostitution to make money to pay their school fees."

Lorella Rouster with Every Child Ministries says Ghanaian prostitutes from junior high ages and up often come from homes where one or both parents have died, and where they face extreme financial hardship. Often ECM has found that the young girls are hiding their side jobs from their parents, only working in order to continue attending school.

The numbers of girls involved in the trade are high. "We have seen statistics that show that girls who end up on the street (we minister to many like that) or run away from home usually end up in prostitution within 48 hours of landing on the street," says Rouster.

In response to this severe problem, ECM has been actively reaching out to underage prostitutes in Ghana for the last 10 months. Husband and wife teams are sent out to get to know the girls.

"Our workers usually go and approach the prostitutes on the streets where they're working, or at bars and hotels that are catering to that industry," says Rouster. "The workers go and chat with the girls. They try and find out what's driving them to prostitution, and then they try to win them to Christ."

This program is helping girls find self-esteem, a purpose, and the Truth, but it cannot expand without necessary funding. If you would like to help ECM's efforts to rescue child prostitutes in Christ's name, click here.

Read more of this article at Mission Network News

The Kimyal People Receive the New Testament in their own language for the 1st time!

The Kimyal People Receive the New Testament from UFM Worldwide on Vimeo.

China Stops Pro-Democracy "Jasmine Revolution" Protests

Last updated at 7:47 PM on 20th February 2011

Chinese authorities moved quickly and with force to quash a pro-democracy 'Jasmine Revolution', believed to have been inspired by the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

More police than usual were scrambled to line the streets today, and there were a number of activists detained after online sites had organised staged protests in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities.

Citizens were urged to shout: 'We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness' - a slogan that highlights common complaints among ordinary Chinese.

Many activists said they didn't know who was behind the campaign and weren't sure what to make of the call to protest, which was first posted on U.S.-based, Chinese-language website

China's authoritarian government has appeared unnerved by recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.

It has limited media reports about them, stressing the instability caused by protests in Egypt, and restricted internet searches to keep people uninformed.

In Beijing and Shanghai, hundreds of people gathered today but were dispersed by police in both places.

In Beijing, people gathered in front of a restaurant in Wangfujing Street, but were ordered to leave by officers.

In Shanghai, crowds gathered around the People's Square at the same time - around 2.00 p.m.

Three people were detained by police, after a man aged around 30 began a speech at the intersection of Yunnan Zhong Road and Hankou Road.

However, yesterday's call to protest did not seem to garner much traction among citizens.

There were no reports of protests in other cities where people were urged to gather, such as Guangzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan and Chengdu.

Ahead of the planned protests, more than 100 activists in cities across China were taken away by police, confined to their homes or were missing, the Hong Kong-based group Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Families and friends reported the detention or harassment of several dissidents, and some activists said they were warned not to participate.

Today, searches for 'jasmine' were blocked on China's largest Twitter-like microblog, and status updates with the word on popular Chinese social networking site were met with an error message and a warning to refrain from postings with 'political, sensitive ... or other inappropriate content.'

And mass text messaging services was unavailable in Beijing due to 'technical issues', according to a customer service operator for leading provider China Mobile.

In the past, Chinese authorities have suspended text messaging in politically tense areas to prevent organising.

The call for a Jasmine Revolution came as President Hu Jintao gave a speech to top leaders yesterday, asking them to 'solve prominent problems which might harm the harmony and stability of the society'.

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Christians Making A Difference Behind The Scenes In Hollywood

LOS ANGELES – In a hotel suite overlooking Universal Studios in Hollywood this past week, a hodgepodge band of Christians from around the world gathered for prayer, asking God for servants' hearts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and for transformation of the entertainment industry.

And if the next day's red-carpet events in the same hotel are any indication, God has been answering those prayers.

Ministry leaders from New York City and Germany, scriptwriters from Wisconsin and New Zealand, representatives from as far away as Hong Kong and Japan were gathered with Hollywood insiders – and those who simply appreciate the power of cinema – at the Universal City Hilton outside Los Angeles to pray in preparation for Moveguide's 19th Annual Awards Gala and Report to the Industry.

The event marked more than two decades of prayer and hard work by Movieguide – since its inception in 1985 – to re-instill Christian values and faith-friendly messages into the movies.

In his organization's 80-page statistical analysis and report to the entertainment industry, Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of MovieGuide and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, gave evidence of the transformation he's been praying for:

  • According to the report, the number of R-rated films Hollywood produces has declined dramatically from 81 percent of the major movies released in 1985 to about 40 percent in 2010.

  • Among the year's top 25 best-grossing movies, 12 were R-rated in 1996, compared to only 4 in 2010.

  • And while R-rated films are in decline, the percent of films with positive moral content is on the rise, from 26 percent of major movies in 1991, to 62 percent in 2000, to 84 percent in 2010.

  • The percent of films with positive Christian content is also on the rise, from 10 percent in 1991, to 41 percent in 2000, to 60 percent in 2010.

"There is good news in Hollywood," the Movieguide report states. "Since we started to redeem the values of the mass media of entertainment, we have seen more and more of the results of our strategic efforts to clean the screens because 1) the number of pro-Christian movies has increased dramatically; 2) Hollywood studios have developed working relationships with us; and, 3) more and more top Hollywood executives and creative talent have joined with us to produce better movies and entertainment."

The report continues, "There are now more family movies and more movies with positive Christian content and positive Christian worldviews than since the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1966."

Wounded Iraq Veteran Jeered For Giving Speech

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

More than half of the students who spoke at the meeting -- the second of three hearings on the subject -- expressed opposition to ROTC's return. Many of the 200 students in the audience held anti-military placards with slogans such as, "1 in 3 female soldiers experiences sexual assault in the military."

The university has created a task force polling 10,000 students on the issue, but would not release the vote tally of the 1,300 who have already responded

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Biggest ever solar storm could cause power cuts which last for Months

The world is overdue a ferocious 'space storm' that could knock out communications satellites, ground aircraft and trigger blackouts - causing hundreds of billions of pounds of damage, scientists say.

Astronomers today warned that mankind is now more vulnerable to a major solar storm than at any time in history - and that the planet should prepare for a global Katrina-style disaster.

A massive eruption of the sun would save waves of radiation and charged particles to Earth, damaging the satellite systems used for synchronising computers, airline navigation and phone networks.

If the storm is powerful enough it could even crash stock markets and cause power cuts that last weeks or months, experts told the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The chances of a disruption from space are getting stronger because the sun is entering the most active period of its 11 to 12-year natural cycle.

The world got a taster of the sun's explosive power last week when the strongest solar eruption in five years sent a torrent of charged plasma hurtling towards the world at 580 miles per second.

The storm created spectacular aurorae and disrupted radio communications.

Professor Sir John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser, said: 'The issue of space weather has got to be taken seriously. We've had a relatively quiet period of space weather - but we can't expect that quiet period to continue.

'At the same time over that period the potential vulnerability of our systems has increased dramatically, whether it is the smart grid in our electricity systems or the ubiquitous use of GPS in just about everything we use these days.

'The situation has changed. We need to be thinking about the ability both to categorise and explain and give early warning when particular types of space weather are likely to occur.'

Solar storms are caused by massive explosions on the sun.

The explosions release waves of X-rays and ultraviolet radiation which smash into the Earth within minutes, disrupting radio signals and damaging the electronics of satellites.

They are followed ten to 20 minutes later by a burst of energetic particles which cause even more havoc with satellites - and then 15 to 30 hours later by supercharged plasma which collides with Earth's magnetic field.

The plasma create the aurora - or Northern Lights - and can induce electrical currents in power lines and cables.

Jane Lubchenco, head of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said: 'This is not a matter of if, it is simply a matter of when and how big.

'The last time we had a maximum in the solar cycle, about 10 years ago, the world was a very different place. Cell phones are now ubiquitous; they were certainly around but we didn't rely on them for so many different things.

'Many things that we take for granted today are so much more prone to the process of space weather than was the case in the last solar maximum.'

Lybia In Chaos: Fighter Jets Attack Protestors In Tripoli

Military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al-Jazeera television reported Monday.

A Libyan man, Soula al-Balaazi, who said he was an opposition activist, told the network by telephone that Libyan air force warplanes had bombed "some locations in Tripoli."

He said he was talking from a suburb of Tripoli. No independent verification of the report was immediately available.

The report came as protesters celebrated in the streets of the country's second largest city Benghazi, claiming they were now in control after days of bloody fighting and after anti-government unrest spread to Tripoli, the capital, for the first time Sunday.

Human Rights Watch said Monday that at least 233 people had been killed since the protests began last week, but opposition groups put the figure much higher. Most were in Benghazi, a region where Gadhafi's grip has always been weaker than elsewhere in the oil-producing desert nation.

Gadhafi's son vowed Sunday that his father and security forces would fight "until the last bullet."

An analyst for London-based consultancy Control Risks said the use of military aircraft on his own people indicated the end was approaching for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"These really seem to be last, desperate acts. If you're bombing your own capital, it's really hard to see how you can survive, " said Julien Barnes-Dacey, Control Risks' Middle East analyst.

Read More from MSNBC

Democratic Senate Members Still No Show To Vote As WI Union Demonstrations Grow

The 14 Democratic members of the Wisconsin Senate remain at large, with a handful vowing in interviews from undisclosed locations to stay in hiding as long as necessary to prevent a vote on a budget proposal opposed by government union workers.

But with only one Democrat needed to bring the measure up for vote and Republican resolve deepening, the standoff seems set to soon turn into a showdown.

Meanwhile, labor activists from around the country continue to flock to Madison to join the protest of the legislation which would increase state workers’ contributions to their retirement and health benefits and make future pay raises beyond standard cost-of-living increases subject to a public vote.

Tens of thousands of union marchers, many bussed in from around the Midwest, showed their opposition in a weekend march on the governor’s mansion and mass demonstrations. Government workers planned to use their Washington’s Birthday holiday for sympathy protests in Iowa and other states.

But amid the high-stakes standoff, there are signs that the union-Democrat coalition is showing some strains.

Union teachers were urged to return to classes by the head of their statewide labor group after repeated complaints from parents who have seen schools in many districts closed since the middle of last week as teachers call in sick. While out of state groups can replace the manpower for the sit-in protest at the capitol, the end of the sick out is a sign that public tolerance of the labor unrest is growing thin.

On the table now is a plan from a centrist Republican senator that would make the curbs on public employee unions in Gov. Scott Walker’s bill temporary. Union leaders declare the measure unacceptable because Republicans could vote to extend the restrictions in 2013, but it increases the pressure on Democratic senators to emerge from hiding and to allow the Senate to resume.

Extremist Cleric calling for Muslims to 'rise up and establish Islamic state in America'

A hardline Muslim cleric who sparked anger across the U.S. with his anti-American comments in a television interview this month is to hold a protest outside the White House.

British extremist Anjem Choudary - who once said 'the flag of Islam will fly over the White House' - has announced he will lead a demonstration calling on Muslims to establish the Sharia law across America.

The rally, planned for March 3, is to take place just weeks after his on-screen row with Fox News presenter Sean Hannity.

Mr Choudary, 43, called Americans 'the biggest criminals in the world today.'

The former leader of outlawed group Islam4UK told the Daily Star 'we expect thousands to come out and support us.'

Mr Choudary said the March rally was organised by the Islamic Thinkers society, an extremist group based in New York.

Two other British extremists, Abu Izzadeen and Sayful Islam, have also been asked to speak at the demonstration.

Izzadeen is the hate preacher who caused fury last year when he called British soldiers 'murderers' the day he was released from jail after a three-and-a-half year sentence for inciting terrorism.

Mr Choudary told the newspaper: 'The event is a rally, a call for the Sharia, a call for the Muslims to rise up and ­establish the Islamic state in America.'

However, whether the three will be able to enter the U.S., especially Izzadeen, remains to be seen. Even a tourist visa requires applicants to answer questions on whether they have been involved in acts of terrorism or plan to commit crimes in the U.S.