—A bill banning the production, distribution, and possession of "missionary" material passed a preliminary reading in Israel's Knesset 21 to 7 on February 19. "This is a bad law, an infringement of the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech," says Chuck Kopp, head of the United Christian Council in Israel. "This could seriously damage relations between Israel and the international church." Leaders of Israel's Messianic Jewish community held a day of prayer March 23 to protest the proposed law.
—Portugal's Parliament defeated a bill February 20 that would have permitted unrestricted abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy by a vote of 112 to 111, with three abstentions. The predominantly Roman Catholic nation has one of the most restrictive abortion policies in Europe, but 16,000 illegal abortions are performed each year. A second bill extended the legal period for abortion in cases of fetal deformity or serious illness through the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy, and in the case of rape through the fourteenth week.
—A stick grenade thrown into a praying crowd at a crusade meeting in Kampala, Uganda, killed six people, including three children, on January 12. At least 30 other Christians, who were praying at the time, suffered serious injuries in the blast.1