News reports from Iraq, Andrews University, Zimbabwe, Trinidad, England, Jamaica, Florida and Nigeria.

From Adventist News Network (ANN): The first Adventist church building in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, was officially inaugurated on Sunday, Feb. 25. The congregation worshiped by themselves on Sabbath, the day before. They were joined by a representative of the government for the dedication ceremony on Sunday who congratulated them for the new building. The first Adventists began working in Mosul in 1923 and by the 1960s there were four local churches, 200 members, schools and a hospital. In the 1970s the government nationalized the schools and hospital, but the local churches continued to be free to operate. During the wars that began in the 1980s, members left the country and the churches closed. In 2011 a small group of Adventists began to meet privately in Erbil and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) started meeting the needs of displaced families and refugees.

Andrews University has broken ground on a new, 76,000 square foot Health & Wellness Center. The facility will cost approximately $17.5 million. “The (current) facility was made for when we had 800 students and today we have over 3,000. So we’ve had four times the amount of students, so it was necessary for us to think about something larger,” said VP for Advancement, David Faehner to local TV station, WSBT 22.

Zimbabwe’s Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister has officially commissioned a new Adventist College of Education near the city of Gweru in the Midlands province of the country. Zimbabwe’s The Chronicle reported that the institution is due to open in September with 300 students training to be primary (elementary) school teachers. The school is projected to have capacity for an enrollment of 1500.

The murder of a retired history teacher in Trinidad has hit headlines in the nation. Michael Scott was killed along with three tenants at his house on Tuesday. Scott was a member of the nation’s Point D’Or-based La Brea Seventh-day Adventist Church. The 69-year-old was allegedly beaten to death after coming to the defense of his tenants. Trinidad’s Daily Express newspaper reported that Scott also served as assistant manager of the NGC La Brea Nightingales Steel Orchestra. The paper said that the orchestra ‘issued a statement mourning his death, saying he was a community stalwart, respected educator, historian and member of the La Brea Seventh Day Adventist Church.”

An Adventist Church in Lancashire, England has launched an online store offering vegan, organic and fermented foods. The online shop opens each week from Thursday at 8pm until Sunday at 8pm. Orders are available to collect the following Wednesday from the community center at the Adventist Church in the town of Grimshaw. The business hopes to support local farmers and serve as a source of organic vegetables that are difficult to find in other local stores.

An Adventist church in Pennington, Jamaica has held a funeral for a deaf man in Jamaica who was gunned down during a robbery of a bar. Omar Newton was killed because he “disobeyed” an order from the robbers to lie down on the floor of the bar. At his March 11 funeral, Newton’s Aunt called on his killers to confess and repent of the murder. reported that an Orlando jury has awarded $2.9 million in damages to a former Florida Hospital lung transplant surgeon. On February 23, a jury found that Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry was terminated for reporting a fellow surgeon’s allegedly reckless behavior on the job. One such incident involved a surgeon who, according to Chaudry’s documented complaint, dropped a wad of felt into a patient’s left ventricle and left it there despite Chaudhry’s protests. The patient then suffered a stroke.

The Christian Post reported that 12 Christians, including some from the Adventist denomination, were killed in Kasuwan Magani in northern Nigeria in retaliation for their attempts to rescue Christian girls from forced conversions to Islam. The Christians had tried to rescue two girls that had been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam about a month ago. In addition to the 12 Christians that were killed, a further 20 were injured in retaliation for the attempted rescue.