Survivors of Totalitarianism Denounce Beijing Games

WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 10 —In a column in the business daily, three survivors of state terror denounced plans to hold the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

Gerhard Loewenthal wrote that the 1936 Games in Nazi Germany boosted Hitler's power and aided the regime that ultimately threw Loewenthal in a concentration camp.

Vladimir Bukovsky wrote that the 1980 Games in Communist Moscow were a similar propaganda windfall for the Soviet government that imprisoned him for 12 years.

Finally, Chinese dissident and labor camp survivor Wei Jingsheng argued, “Beijing will surely use this opportunity to oppress those Chinese who fight for human rights and democracy.”

Church Radio Station Opposes Angolan Government

ASSOCIATED PRESS, July 11—Radio Ecclesia, a Catholic station serving Angola, rejected a government accusation that its reporting was “subversive,” the wire service reported.

The station announced that it would continue providing “unbiased, reliable and truthful” news, despite the government crackdown on independent reporting in the country, which has been racked by civil war since 1974.

Belarus Drops Cases Against Christians

KESTON NEWS SERVICE, July 4—In a heartening surprise for religious believers, Belarusian officials have dropped charges against volunteers who distributed an interdenominational Protestant newspaper, the religious-freedom news service reported.

The editor of the Christian newspaper Slovo (Word) also learned that charges against him were dropped.

Philippine Army Captures Muslim Terrorist

NATIONAL POST, July 10—Philippine troops captured a senior officer of the Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf, the Canadian daily reported.

Abu Sayyaf is holding U.S. and Filipino hostages in the south of the country, where the group claims it seeks to establish a Muslim homeland in the mostly Catholic nation. Abu Sayyaf uses kidnapping to promote its political ends.

Nadzmi Sabdulla, arrested with three other Abu Sayyaf members, was the highest-ranking member ever arrested, and was considered “the brains” of the group.

Greek Catholic Patriarch Dies

THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, July 9—Patriarch Maximus V Hakim, who for more than 30 years was the head of the Greek Catholic Church, died at age 93 in a Beirut Hospital, the international daily reported.

Maximus V, elected in 1967, vigorously sought closer ties with the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was the head of 600,000 followers, mainly in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon, who accept the authority of the Pope but worship in Arabic according to Orthodox rites.

Islam OKs Cell-Phone Divorce

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, June 27—Islamic religious scholars announced that husbands in the Gulf emirate of Dubai can divorce their wives by sending mobile phone text messages, the English daily reported.

Under Islamic law, a man may divorce simply by saying “I divorce thee” three times. Scholars ruled that a man who sent his wife the message, “I divorce you because you are late,” had validly ended his marriage.