Gaylord Digital shut down by parent company, 85 laid off
Gaylord Entertainment, which owns the Grand Ole Opry as well as Word Records and other Christian entertainment media, is shutting down its Internet operation, Gaylord Digital. Its main Internet sites are Musicforce.com, a contemporary Christian music e-commerce business, and Lightsource.com, the Christian content partner for Yahoo!'s streaming media site Broadcast.com. (Our corporate Web site once partnered with Musicforce.com in the ChristianityToday.com store.) Gaylord has had its share of troubles in the Christian entertainment world lately. In June, the company had to shut down its Z Music Television cable channel, and laid off 22 Gaylord Digital employees in October. Gaylord Digital also includes Songs.com (which is devoted to independent artists) and MusicCountry.com. (See the company's press release on the closure and layoffs for a happy spin.)
Churches at forefront of Philippines president's impeachment
"As the country waits for Estrada's impeachment trial to begin Thursday in the Senate, the fight over the future of his presidency has turned into a battle of prayers—underscoring the power of faith and religion as political weapons in Asia's only predominantly Christian nation," reports the San Francisco Chronicle. President Joseph Estrada is accused of taking millions of dollars in gambling kickbacks and tobacco taxes, and of purchasing mansions for mistresses. And churches have taken the lead both in calling for Estrada's resignation and in defending him. Leading the fight against Estrada is the local Roman Catholic Church leadership—Manila Archbishop Jaime Sin was one of the first to tell Estrada to step down and the popular Father Robert Reyes has called Estrada the "apostle of Satan." But many charismatic Catholics—mostly members of the popular El Shaddai movement—say Estrada deserves the nation's loyalty. El Shaddai founder Mike Velarde has been Estrada's spiritual adviser for the past two years. Reyes and Velarde are expectedly dueling it out in the media, with Reyes suggesting that El Shaddai will be derecognized by Sin, and Velarde calling Reyes and other anti-Estrada priests "riotous men."
Christians evacuating Moluccas island
As Muslim raiders continue attacking Christians in Indonesia, Christians on the island of Kasiui, east of Ambon, are leaving in droves. More than 500 have reportedly been evacuated, fearing for their lives. Those Christians who haven't left are reportedly in danger. "The forced Islamisation of Christians in Kasiui island has been continuing since last week and by Saturday, a total of 93 people had been killed for refusing to convert to Islam," says Christian lawyer Sammy Weileruni. He added that more than 760 of Kasiui's Christians on the island had reportedly agreed to convert to Islam under threat of death. (See more from Australia's The Age newspaper.) Meanwhile, in Ambon, at least one person was killed and seven others injured when homemade bombs were thrown into a group of Christians who were singing hymns on their way to church.
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