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Undivided 2012

Today (5 April) sees the start of the IFES Europe student evangelism conference in Gyor, Hungary.

I’m planning to trial Storify as a means of documenting the event based on what is being discussed and shared online. I’m not at the event myself, but I hope the storify stream below will help give a flavour of what is happening and how people are responding. I see potential in using storify as a means to document other IFES events as they happen around the world. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Pray for Niger.

Please join us in praying for Niger.

Military junta seizes power in Niger coup: the junta, called the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, has captured the president and his ministers. – The Guardian

Pray for our brothers and sisters, the members of GBEEN, the IFES movement there. Pray that they would be assured of God’s sovereignty in the midst of this situation and that “nothing shall separate them from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

And here is another update from The Guardian. This further highlights the need to pray for Godly leaders, for Christians who will live out their faith in all areas of society; this is a goal towards which IFES is working.

moldova’s CIS presidency to concentrate on better life for citizens

The key focus of Moldova’s CIS presidency this year will be raising the well-being and living standards of Commonwealth citizens, said Efim Chilari, Ambassador at Large of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, as he presented the programme of Moldova’s presidency in the CIS at a session of representatives of CIS states and agencies on January 30.

The Republic of Moldova has chaired the Heads of State Council, the Heads of Government Council, the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Economic Council, and the Council of Plenipotentiaries since January 1, 2009.

According to the Ambassador, taking into account that Moldova values cooperation with both the European Union and the CIS, Chisinau plans to pay priority attention to topics vital for the CIS and Europe as a whole: alleviation of consequences of the global financial crisis, energy security and resolution of regional tensions and conflicts.

Moldova also intends to focus attention on such priorities as the completion of the free trade zone establishment, tighter cooperation in transport policy, enhancement of food security, enhancement of cooperation in youth affairs as 2009 has been declared the Year of Youth.

There are plans to step up efforts in the area of scientific and innovative cooperation, to promote a system of information and marketing centres, to encourage the development of electronic trade. Preparations for the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory will continue.

» source: NLIP of Belarus

moldovan christmas beauracracy

This story captured my imagination when it was sent from a friend in Moldova last week – is there no limit to beauracracy in some parts of the world?

I have included an update to the story below it, too.

Moldovan police arrests Christmas tree

The Christmas tree, which the Chisinau mayor ordered to be set on the Great National Assembly Square in the capital, has been arrested by Moldovan police.

Info-Prim Neo, today at 16:30

Chisinau (IPN) The Christmas tree, which the Chisinau mayor ordered to be set on the Great National Assembly Square in the capital, has been arrested by Moldovan police. The incident occurred this morning. The driver carrying the fir tree was halted by police officers in Cojusna, the locality where the tree was bought from a private company, Info-Prim Neo reports.

The City Hall issued a release reading that the police asked the driver to present the acquisition contract and more related documents. The driver was held up for over an hour, since he did not have the ecological endorsement paper. Officials from the Green Spaces Municipal Company say no ecological endorsement was needed, the communique reads.

Later the police instructed the driver to go to Straseni town and stated the fir tree was arrested, the communique informs.

The Chisinau City Hall announced Tuesday it would set the Christmas Tree on the central square at 10.00 a.m. It also announced the way by which the truck would have brought the tree.

Last year, the Christmas tree placed on the central square as ordered by the mayor on December 9 disappeared at night. Several hours later it was placed near the Triumph Arch and then it was placed in front of the City Hall.

And a recent update:

Greceanyi tells reporters to stop making ‘such a fuss’ about Christmas tree

“There shall be a tree, a big, nice tree, which will have its lights switched on at the appropriate time”, Greceanyi said.

Info-Prim Neo, today at 17:34

Chisinau (IPN) Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanyi advised the press to “stop making such a fuss about the Christmas tree, it’s not worth it”, saying that people have other concerns to take care of ahead of New Year’s Eve, like “taking their salaries and pensions on time”.

“There shall be a tree, a big, nice tree, which will have its lights switched on at the appropriate time”, Greceanyi said.

She went on to add that the population would learn later how much the tree cost.

On Tuesday evening, December 16, a 19 meters tall fir tree was erected in Chisinau’s central plaza. The Government’s spokesperson, Vitalie Condratchi, told the agency Info-Prim Neo the tree was brought from Calarasi district and would be inaugurated on Friday, December 19.

Earlier on Tuesday, the municipal authorities reported the tree they bought for the same central square had been arrested by police on its way to the city because the driver hauling the fir failed to produce an ecological authorization requested by the police.

My friend comments: I thought I would stop holding you all in suspense about our Christmas tree – if that story caught your interest at all.  The communist Prime Minister of Moldova told people to stop worrying about the Christmas tree.  The “big, nice, tree” with its light on in the center of the capital city will not be the one purchased by the non-communist mayor of the city (it is still under arrest), but one purchased and set up by the communist national government.  The sad thing is, if people have more important things to worry about as we approach new parliamentary elections, doesn’t the government, too?

Vladimir Voronin: Moldova will not give up its language and Communist past

Republic of Moldova President Vladimir Voronin opposes the idea that his country could adopt the Romanian language or could give up its Communist past just for the sake of simplifying the European integration. His declaration is a reaction to the statements made by Romania’s representative at the Munich conference on global security issues.

Voronin said that in a 2004 referendum, 84% of the population wanted to keep the historic name of the Moldovan Republic. He emphasized that in one year, Moldova will celebrate 650 years of existence while Romanian only 170.

Even though he admitted that both languages are identical, he argued that each country has the right to name it as it considers best.

» source: hotnews.ro

Could Kenya become Rwanda?

Mwai Kibaki, an ethnic Kikuyu, was declared the winner of Kenya’s disputed presidential poll in December to the anger of supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is from the Luo community.

The fallout has fuelled ethnic tensions in the country which has more than 40 ethnic groups – and up to 900 people have died in the post-election violence.

Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, spoke to the BBC about the parallels that some are drawing with what happened in Rwanda where such divisions ended in the 1994 genocide and the killing of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

» read more (BBC)

UN Secretary General Visits Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon has said that the world should never witness any genocide, adding that the United Nations and the international community is haunted by the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda.

“The Rwandan genocide will haunt the UN and the international community for generations,” he remarked after touring the Rwanda Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali Tuesday at the start of his two day visit.

» read more (allAfrica.com)

Rwanda urges Kenyan army to act

Paul Kagame, whose rebel army took power in Rwanda 13 years ago putting a halt to genocide, came close yesterday to calling for a military coup in neighbouring Kenya.

In remarks unprecedented for an African leader, Mr Kagame, now president of Rwanda, said army intervention might be the only way to curtail the violence that has erupted in the aftermath of last month’s flawed elections in Kenya.

“It might not be fashionable and right for the armies to get involved in such a political situation. But in situations where institutions have lost control, I wouldn’t mind such a solution,” he said in an interview in Kigali with Reuters on the eve of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

» read more (Financial Times)