Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), died February 17. He was 90. Born in Romania, Wurmbrand spent 14 years in prison for his ministry with the underground church while Eastern

Europe was under communist rule. VOM assists persecuted churches worldwide.

Trans World Radio, an international Christian broadcasting company based in Cary, North Carolina, can now be heard over 217 local FM and AM stations throughout Ukraine, Europe's sixth most populous country with nearly 50 million people. "We believe this is a serious breakthrough in the field of Christian broadcasting for the Ukraine," said Johann Wiens, director of the company's Russian-area ministries. "To be able to transmit through the main state channels means reaching a wide non-Christian audience with the best signal."

An international conference sponsored by World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) last winter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, drew leaders from 18 countries to discuss globalization. Participants at the International Consultation on Globalization examined the responsibility of the church "in aligning values pointed toward stability, economic development, social justice, and increased freedoms," said Jun Vencer, WEF's international director. "As we learn from each other, we can help local churches respond to social change." Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, an opponent of Western dominance of financial markets, spoke to the delegates.

Ninian Smart, one of the world's leading scholars of comparative religion, died January 29. The former professor was 73. Author of more than 30 books, Smart taught religion at the University of California-Santa Barbara for more than 20 years. Raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Smart studied at both Oxford and Yale universities. He called himself an "Episcopalian-Buddhist" to suggest that no religion has a monopoly on the truth.

Scripture is now available in 2,261 languages, an increase of 28 over the last year, reports United Bible Societies. The Bible is available in 383 languages, while New Testaments have been published in 987 more languages. Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America claim the largest share of Bible translations. Researchers estimate there are at least 6,500 languages in the world.

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