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Founder of South Korean megachurch dies at 85

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Founder of South Korean megachurch dies at 85


Cho had been hospitalized since a collapse in June 2020, and died in Seoul after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 85.

Cho founded the Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958, which grew to be among the world’s largest churches with more than 480,000 attendees per week, according to Leadership Network, an international organization of church leaders.

Yoido has more than 500 church locations across South Korea, and has sent thousands of missionaries to different countries over the years, according to the church’s news release. Cho himself has participated in religious rallies and movements in 71 countries, said the release.

Born in 1936, Cho lived through the Korean War, during which he served as an interpreter between his school principal and the US military commander, the church said in its release.

In his second year of high school, he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and told he would not live much longer. During this time he turned to Christianity, a decision he would later credit with his “miraculous” recovery, according to the church.

Cho’s recovery prompted him to enroll in the Full Gospel Theological Seminary, and he established the Yoido church after graduating. The church began as just five members gathered under a tent in Seoul, according to the church’s website.

Christians attend an Easter service with social distancing at the Yoido Full Gospel Church on April 4 in Seoul, South Korea.

South Korea has one of the world’s most vibrant Christian — especially Protestant — cultures, with conversion gaining momentum in the mid- to late 20th century.

Minority Christian sects, as well as megachurches, boomed in the years following the end of the Korean War — and Yoido became perhaps Korea’s best-known representative, boasting more than 700,000 members by 1993, according to the news release.

Those numbers continued skyrocketing as the church went international, expanding to include a giant mountainside retreat in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province and a Christian university Cho founded in California. The church also established an international arm, headed by Cho, to connect with pastors and church leaders from 25 other countries, according to its website.

Within South Korea, Cho became a hugely influential figure; he founded a Christian daily newspaper, established a humanitarian NGO, and wrote several books, said the church release.

But he was also frequently the subject of controversy and scandal. In 2014, he was found guilty of embezzling $14 million in church donations to buy stocks owned by his son, at four times their market value, according to Reuters.

Cho’s wife died in February this year. The couple leave behind three sons.



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Emmy Awards 2021: See What The Best-Dressed Celebrities Wore On The Red Carpet

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Emmy Awards 2021: See What The Best-Dressed Celebrities Wore On The Red Carpet


The 2021 Emmy Awards have arrived and, yet again, the stars did not disappoint with the glitz and glamour. 

This year’s annual fete, the 73rd in Emmy history, marked the first time in two years that the ceremony took place in person. Some casts and production staff still chose to come together remotely, video conferencing in to the awards as they did during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some front-runners in the ceremony, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, include Netflix’s hit royals series “The Crown,” which racked up eight nominations, and “Ted Lasso,” which also garnered eight.

Here’s what the biggest and brightest stars wore on the red carpet:

Josh O’Connor



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Josh O’Connor attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Rachel Lindsay

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Rachel Lindsay attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Rachel Lindsay attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Nicole Byer

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Nicole Byer attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Nicole Byer attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Emerald Fennell

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Emerald Fennell attends the "The Crown" 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on Sep



LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Emerald Fennell attends the “The Crown” 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on September 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Gillian Anderson

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Gillian Anderson attends the "The Crown" 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on Se



LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Gillian Anderson attends the “The Crown” 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on September 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Ariel Dumas

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Ariel Dumas attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Ariel Dumas attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Emma Corrin

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Emma Corrin attends the "The Crown" 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on Septem



LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Emma Corrin attends the “The Crown” 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House on September 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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Body Found During Search For ‘Van Life’ Blogger Gabby Petito

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Body Found During Search For ‘Van Life’ Blogger Gabby Petito

An unidentified body has been found during the search for 22-year-old lifestyle blogger Gabby Petito, who recently disappeared while on a road trip in a van with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

News of a body’s discovery near Grand Teton National Park, which was the last place Petito was seen, was first reported by Fox News on Sunday, citing a local coroner. The Teton County coroner also confirmed to BuzzFeed News that a body was found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

The Teton County coroner did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for confirmation.

Petito was near the end of a “van life” cross-country road trip with Laundrie when she went missing. Her 23-year-old fiancé raised speculation about his involvement in Petito’s disappearance when he returned to his parents’ home in Florida on Sept. 1 without her.

Police said Laundrie was not willing to talk with investigators about Petito’s disappearance. He has since vanished himself, with the FBI launching an investigation into his whereabouts on Friday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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A Texas Doctor Says He Defied The Abortion Law, Risking Lawsuits

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A Texas Doctor Says He Defied The Abortion Law, Risking Lawsuits


Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021 in Austin.

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images


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Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021 in Austin.

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Texas outlawed abortions past the six-week mark in a law that went into effect on Sept. 1. Dr. Alan Braid, a Texas physician, says he performed one anyway just a few days later.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Saturday, Braid, who’s been practicing for more than 40 years, explained his decision as a matter of “duty of care.” The new law, known as S.B. 8, not only makes performing an abortion after about six weeks illegal, but makes it so that anyone who aids anyone else in getting one — by performing the procedure or even by giving them a ride to the clinic where they have the procedure done — runs the risk of being sued for at least $10,000.

Braid says he performed an abortion anyway on Sept. 6, on a patient who was still in her first trimester but further along than six weeks. That patient, he wrote, “has a fundamental right to receive this care.”

“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care,” his piece concluded. “I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972,” which was before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

The Supreme Court let the Texas law stand earlier this month while leaving the door open for future legal challenges.

Braid could be sued under the new law

In accordance with the new law, any citizen could now sue Braid for performing the abortion and, if they win, could walk away with a minimum of $10,000. In Texas, the law allows private citizens to sue without having any connection to the abortion in question. A website set up by the anti-abortion-rights group Texas Right to Life also makes it easy to anonymously report those suspected of violating the ban.

If he does get sued, the abortion-rights advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights pledged to defend him. The group is already representing Braid’s clinics in a separate lawsuit.

“Dr. Braid has courageously stood up against this blatantly unconstitutional law,” Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement. “We stand ready to defend him against the vigilante lawsuits that S.B. 8 threatens to unleash against those providing or supporting access to constitutionally protected abortion care.”

Texas Right to Life did not immediately respond to an email from NPR, but in statements to news outlets said it was “looking into this claim but we are dubious that this is just a legal stunt.”

Clinics that Braid owns are co-plaintiffs along with other abortion providers, physicians, clergy members, and others in an ongoing lawsuit to block S.B. 8. The Justice Department has also sued the state of Texas over the ban, while abortion-rights supporters have flooded a Texas Right to Life website with false reports.

Abortion providers have been fearing the worst

Even before the law went into effect, many physicians were worried. Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, a Texas-based OB/GYN and abortion provider, described the bill as being “100% about putting fear in physicians and putting fear in abortion funds and intimidating us.”

“This law threatens my livelihood,” she told All Things Considered. “It threatens my ability to care for my family. It threatens my career simply for doing what I was trained to do right here in Texas.”

Abortion providers in Texas are now turning patients away and directing them to obtain services in different states, something Braid said he has also had to do.

Historically, it isn’t uncommon for abortion providers to be subject to harassment and violence. Harassment against abortion providers saw a spike in 2019, according to the National Abortion Federation. The FBI reported last year that violent threats against abortion providers had risen partly because of a “recent rise in state legislative activities related to abortion services and access.”



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