Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches. Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made the announcement in mid-July, sparking criticism from top Christian clerics who warned of shrinking worship space in the mainly Muslim and Arab north. After South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many Christians moved to the newly formed country, which has a large Christian population. But a sizable number remained. Abdullah argued there is no need to grant plots of land for new churches since the existing ones were enough for the remaining Christians. Kori Elramla Kori Kuku, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, said the government’s intentions were shocking and misleading.
Employers told to notify workers about change in contraceptive coverage. Employers that intend to drop coverage for some or all forms of contraception in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision must notify employees of the change, according to a notice posted on the U.S. Department of Labor website. It appeared as a new “frequently asked question” about the Affordable Care Act, the health care law passed in 2010 and still being implemented. The Supreme Court ruled closely held corporations whose owners have religious objections to offering certain types of birth control in their health plans must be allowed to opt out of the government’s contraception requirement.