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The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a bill aimed to increase pressure on North Korea to improve its human-rights practices. The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, as passed by the Senate, will provide for a human-rights envoy, writes UPI. According to the Korea Times, "It also allows Washington to supply up to $20 million per year to individuals and NGOs around the world who are helping North Korean refugees in third countries. In addition, it permits North Korean defectors to the South to apply to immigrate to the United States."

In July, the House of Representatives passed a more moderate version of the bill that "provides some humanitarian assistance for North Koreans, conditioned on improved transparency and monitoring." The bill will now go to back to the House for a final vote. According to The Washington Post, it's only a gesture, but one that's needed.

In South Korea, many are arguing that the bill will make it more difficult to work with the North Koreans. The Korea Times reports, "The ruling Uri Party, which had been silent on its official position on the issue until now, expressed their doubts Thursday on the passing of the North Korean human rights act, saying that it could aggravate inter-Korean relations and exert a negative influence on the Korean economy." The paper also warned that the nuclear standoff would be further complicated, and it would damage the six-way talks that have already been "derailed."

However, Korean Christians in the U.S. have recently been praying for the passage of the bill. At a meeting in Los Angeles of 2,000 Korean pastors in the U.S. and Canada, Koreans urged the ending of the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.

"We are your servants, Lord. Show us your miracle," said Peter ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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Senate Passes North Korea Human Rights Bill
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