Lunchtime Links: January 11, 2010

A New Zealand pastor is giving away his million-dollar home to raise money for a church and related building. Visitors to the home pay a fee and the winner will be chosen by lottery. Smith is doing it out of generosity, having visited poverty-stricken locations around the world and felt the need to change his and his wife’s lifestyle. The home is located in the same picturesque region of New Zealand where the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed.

For the eighth consecutive year North Korea tops the list of 50 countries regarded as the worst persecutors of Christians.

A federal trial which may reshape the gay marriage debate in the United States gets underway today in California. It is the first federal case to challenge gay marriage legislation, in this case the 2008 vote on California’s Proposition 8 which overturned the state’s law codifying gay marriage.

The Jay Leno Show” experiment is over for NBC. Withered by poor ratings, the show will be cancelled just before NBC begins its Winter Olympics coverage Feb. 12. After the Olympics, Leno will occupy the traditional 11:30 p.m. ET slot filled by “The Tonight Show.” Leno will be on for a half-hour, followed by Conan O’Brien on “The Tonight Show” at midnight. O’Brien may leave for another network, including starting up late-night comedy programming for Fox.

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is set. In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens will looks for the momentum from their win at New England carries over to playing at Indianapolis, while the New York Jets will try and parlay their upset of the Cincinnati Bengals into a win at San Diego. The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their shellacking of Philadelphia to face Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in one NFC matchup, as Arizona travels to top conference seed New Orleans following its first-round overtime win against Green Bay.

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