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Roman, Russian patriarchs to meet in Cuba

The first-ever meeting of the Roman pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is scheduled for 12 Feb. in Cuba, both churches have announced. RT reports that the subject of their conversation will be "persecution of Christians in the modern world."

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is the only patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox churches whom the Roman Pontiff Francis has not yet met. Kirill has planned a visit to Cuba, and Francis will stop there during his travel to a planned visit to Mexico.

“The situation in the Middle East, in northern and central Africa and in some other regions where extremists are perpetrating genocide of Christians, requires immediate action and even closer cooperation between Christian churches," Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief for the Orthodox Church, was quoted by RT as saying.

Egypt returns confiscated SAT-7 equipment

Egyptian authorities have returned all the equipment they had earlier confiscated from SAT-7 local offices, the Christian broadcaster said earlier this week (Feb.2).

This comes more than three months after the country’s censorship police raided the channel’s Cairo offices, seizing computers and production equipment.

On October 10, 2015, the authorities came to the SAT-7 Cairo offices with a search warrant. Country director Farid Samir was briefly detained on charges of operating a satellite TV channel “without the necessary licenses.”

The returned equipment on Jan. 28 signals a return to full production in Arabic.
“The work of the Egypt team has been limited since the raid,” a SAT-7 statement said. “However, the ARABIC and KIDS channels have been able to screen live programs from SAT-7’s Lebanon studio as well as programmes produced by partners.”

While SAT-7 is still not clear about the legal nature of the prior action by the Egyptian authorities, the returned equipment suggests charges against the leading Christian broadcaster could soon be dropped.

First launched in 1996, SAT-7 has pioneered work in the field of Arabic Christian media, becoming a household name among many Christians in the region. It has since expanded to include channels in both Farsi and Turkish.

Indian priest in critical condition after attack

An Indian priest is in a critical condition in hospital, after he and three lay officials were attacked by a mob in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, reports UCAN.

Fr. Jose Kannumkuzhy and the laymen were attacked by a group of around 35 men, as they waited in a car outside a police station.

Meanwhile, a Hindu man was beaten in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh following rumours that he had converted to Christianity.

Awadesh Savita, 35, was attacked by around 20 men, who made a barber shave his head, as well as half of his moustache and one eyebrow, reports UCAN. The police have arrested 20 suspects and promised to make more arrests.

His wife denied that they had converted. The rumours began after they took their seven-year-old son to a Christian hospital. Conversion is not illegal in India, but anti-conversion laws exist in a handful of Indian states to guard against “forced conversions”. These laws are often abused by hardline Hindus, who accuse Christians of attempting to convert Hindus by force.

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