Chinese ambassador to Israel found dead at home

The Chinese ambassador to Israel, Du Wei, has been found dead in his home north of Tel Aviv, according to the Israeli foreign ministry and police.

No cause of death was given, and Israeli police on Sunday said it had opened an investigation.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that Du was found in the early morning by the envoy’s staff in his home in Herzliya.

He said police were at the scene investigating the circumstances surrounding Du’s death. 

Media reports said according to an initial assessment, Du appears to have died of a cardiac arrest, but there was no official confirmation.

Yuval Rotem, Israel’s director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he spoke with China’s deputy ambassador to express condolences and pledged to “help the Chinese embassy with anything they may need along the way”, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Du had arrived in Israel in February. He had previously served as China’s envoy to Ukraine, according to the embassy’s website.

He is survived by a wife and son, both of whom were not in Israel.

Israel enjoys good relations with China.

The ambassador’s death comes just two days after he condemned comments by visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who denounced Chinese investments in Israel and accused China of hiding information about the coronavirus pandemic. 

Pastors who refuse to collect tithe/offering should be investigated – Bishop Isong

National Publicity Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Bishop Emma Isong, reacting to people maligning the church on collection of tithe and offering said, “People who are saying that churches are not helping people are the same people shouting that churches should not collect tithe and offering at this time, which money are they going to use now? How will they get funds to sponsor humanitarian services? “They should not pay tithe or offering to churches, so which magical money will the church be using now? “It is right for churches to create applications for tithe and offering during Covid-19, do people not pay transport fare? People who buy food stuff in the market, is it free? So which service, spiritual or professional, that should be free during Covid-19?

“To give offering and tithe is part of your responsibility as a Christian. “Churches are run with money like other organizations, money is a liquid substance that runs organizations, the church is not exempted. “Even Ogboni, Freemason, Pyrates, KKK, market women association still collect dues from members; even witches and wizards are still contributing blood at this time. “Anyone with a different view should challenge me. I do not know about any organization that will function without its members contributing money.

“There is no taboo in churches collecting tithe and offering. Any pastor not collecting tithe and offering should be investigated, he may be getting money from an enemy nation or terrorist organization to carry out a nefarious activity. “We encourage our members to pay tithe and offering to our account at GTB, and we are able to use this money to carry our humanitarian services. “We have gone online to broadcast our services and God has made us to reach even more souls across the globe”.

Commenting on the allegation that people were disappointed that pastors could not heal Covid-19 victims, the PFN leader fired back: “You cannot heal people in a vacuum, you do not heal people in the entire atmosphere; you heal those who come to you, so is there any Covid-19 patient, who has gone to a true man of God and has not received healing? “You cannot sit down and want me to heal all the COVID-19 patients in the world. I am not a magician, you must desire healing first. “The two that I healed called me on phone and I prayed for them and healed them in the name of Jesus Christ. ‘So anyone saying this is just blackmailing men of God and it is cheap blackmail. The last patients you heard about in Akwa Ibom, I was the one that prayed for them and they got healed. “Churches are on lock-down and people say we should not meet, so how do we heal the Covid-19 patients? “Is it not a contradiction? Churches have been on lock-down, so how will they heal Covid-19, it is an error”.

South-South pastors disagree over ‘Covid-19 money’

Some clerics in the South-South have come hard on their fellow ministers who created online platforms to collect tithe and offering from members, especially during COVID-19 pandemic lock-down, describing it as ridiculous. Some of the pro-tithe/offering pastors, however, defended their position, saying it was proper to do so, but those against asked if the Lord Jesus Christ would take or give to the people at a time like this.

The pastors, who spoke, also sang discordant tunes on whether Covid-19 is a sign of end times. While some said there was nothing to worry about if a cleric did not heal Covid-19 patients as expected because pastors do not have the power to heal, but God uses them, some argued that Covid-19 has exposed fake pastors.

General Overseer of Promise Kingdom Ministry Inc Worldwide in Sapele, Delta State, Bishop Godday Okokporo, is one of the clerics who pooh-poohed the ministers who arranged online apps for payment of tithe and offering during the pandemic, saying they are not true men of God. Okokporo said: “Rather than helping their members at this time of pandemic which has shut the world down, they are demanding for tithe and offering. “This is not biblical, times are hard and the only thing we should be doing now is to give back to the people and not continue to take from them. “That is why I am condemning it totally, it is not proper for a man of God to keep demanding without giving back.” The cleric, fondly called Bishop Overflow, also said why pastors were unable to heal Covid-19 victims was not because their faith and power failed them, “but because the Church was beginning to lose faith in its own ability, in God’s power.”

He added: “It is totally wrong to say the Church was unable to heal Covid-19 persons and why the deaths were more abroad than in Nigeria was because we are all praying and God has been merciful.” Asked if Covid-19 is part of the signs of the end of age, the bishop replied: “No, I do not think so. I think God will still give us more time to repent, but I think the pandemic has taught the Church that we need to know that we should be prepared. God has been kind to us but we should be prepared for the worst.”

Coronavirus: Qatar starts enforcing mandatory face mask rule

Qatar began enforcing the world’s toughest penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment for failing to wear masks in public, as it battles one of the world’s highest coronavirus infection rates.     

More than 30,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Gulf country – 1.1 percent of the 2.75 million population – although just 15 people have died.     

Violators of Qatar’s new rules will face up to three years in jail and fines of as much as $55,000.

Men often lie to date actresses –Funke Etti

Actress, Funke Etti, has said that age does not determine whether an actor would be successful in the movie industry or not.

In an interview with Sunday Scoop, Etti said, “I don’t believe that one’s age makes an actor less sought after or less popular in the movie industry. I believe that one should always be happy about one’s age. I’m 41 but there is no role that I can’t play; acting is my area of specialisation and I love it. For one to be called a professional actor, one has to be versatile.

“For example, I know an actress who is 50 and she’s still very fit and on top of her game. One shouldn’t let one’s age make one look tattered. As a matter of fact, one shouldn’t look like one’s age. But one should also note that in the movie industry, nobody can be there forever; it’s just the grace of God for individual persons. I believe that as one is growing, one is becoming a legend, especially when one is good at what one does.”

The outspoken actress, who is also a television presenter, noted that acting goes beyond having a pretty face, attractive features and material possessions. She said, “Personally, I don’t believe that the movie industry favours people with attractive body features and pretty faces. There are a lot of pretty people but if a director gives one the opportunity to act and one doesn’t prove oneself, the director won’t use one. It’s what one can offer and one’s intellectual capacity that matters. If one doesn’t interpret roles well, directors wouldn’t use one and one would end up being dumped.

“I know a pretty actress that directors complain about. Whenever they gave her lines, she forgot them and with time, the directors couldn’t cope with her. Acting is beyond enviable materials possessions, though it could help one gain grounds faster if one is good at one’s job.

“One of the gains of being an actor is that one has the privilege of being attended to quickly when one needs to get some certain things done. People recognise one and willingly pave way for one. Acting has given me the opportunity to travel a lot and have a glamorous lifestyle. If I was in another profession, I don’t think I would have been popular. However, I believe one shouldn’t let fame get into one’s head. If one does, one would definitely miss it.”

Speaking about actresses who publicly call out one another for snatching their partners, Etti maintained that even the men in question should be blamed for not being transparent about their status and past rendezvous. She said, “It is wrong for actresses to call out one another over relationship issues. But when you research well, you would find that it’s not entirely the ladies’ fault. Some men are deceptive; they would not disclose their relationship status or confess that they are dating actress A, while they are going after actress B. These things are common occurrences. They would practically deny the existence of people they have dated in the movie industry just to get the new lady. I keep telling people to always apply wisdom when it comes to love matters. Ladies should not drag themselves on social media; it’s a matter that could be settled amicably between both parties, especially if they are not married.”

Obama criticises US coronavirus response

Former President Barack Obama criticised US leaders over the handling of the coronavirus response, telling college graduates in an online commencement address that the pandemic shows many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”.

Obama spoke on, Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition, a two-hour event for students graduating from historically black colleges and universities broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said without naming the president or other officials. “A lot them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Sunday service resumes in Australia after lifting of lockdown

Catholics in the Australian state of New South Wales were allowed to attend their first Sunday mass, after coronavirus restrictions were lifted, with only 10 people allowed to be in attendance.

Presiding over mass at St. Michael’s Catholic church in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove, Father Geoffrey Plant told Reuters that even though the number allowed is small, he considers the gathering as “a blessing.”

Australia has recorded just over 7,000 COVID-19 cases, including 98 deaths.

LGBTI vulnerable during pandemic – UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning of the increasing vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people during the COVID-19 pandemic on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Guterres said many LGBTI people who already face bias, attacks and murder “simply for who they are or whom they love … are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care.”

He said: “There are also reports of COVID-19 directives being misused by police to target LGBTI individuals and organizations.”