Globe Trot

Globe Trot 05.11


Are we watching the slow unraveling of the European Union? The EU's troubled economies are trying to roll back austerity, and Germany is having none of it. In a speech to the German Parliament today, the foreign minister said Greece could stay or go but it will have to stick with austerity measures like spending cuts and tax hikes if it wants to keep its EU/IMF loans. Greece, France, and others find themselves in political crises: Vowing to end austerity measures may be a ticket to political victory at home, but it makes it tough to sit down at the negotiating table with the outsiders who hold your purse strings.

Kuwait's parliament has passed a law making blasphemy punishable by death and broadening the definition for the offense. And it is one of the "progressive" Arab states. The Gulf nation and U.S. ally is majority Muslim, but about 14 percent Christian-many of them expatriate workers.

Before the Syrian uprising against the government-which has left 9,000 dead-began over a year ago, there were an estimated 40,000 Christians in Homs. Now less than 5,000 are left according to Open Doors, and many in the exodus have been driven out by the extremist rebel groups that are there as "freedom fighters." With the upheaval across the country, and growing deprivation due to Western sanctions, most of these Christians have nowhere to go and few resources.

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Despite ongoing peace talks, Sudan resumed aerial bombardment of South Sudan this week, deepening a humanitarian crisis in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas of South Sudan. "The Sudanese government forces are conducting indiscriminate bombings and abuses against civilians," Human Rights Watch reports. All continues despite the UN Security Council passing Resolution 2046 last week, calling for ceasefire in the cross-border conflict and withdrawal of forces.

From time to time readers question Human Rights Watch reporting, and their concerns about leftward bias have a basis in reality. But from following the group's work in South Sudan now for more than a decade, I can attest that its on-the-ground reporting is some of the most comprehensive available.

Nearly everyone breathing now knows who Joseph Kony is, thanks to a viral (and controversial) Invisible Children video released earlier this year. But do you know about Congo's Terminator? Human rights groups are calling on Congo to arrest Bosco Ntaganda, a war criminal wanted by the International Criminal Court who is leading a group of ex-soldiers in attacking the government. Ntaganda stands accused of recruiting child soldiers and other abuses, like Kony, but unlike the leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, Ntaganda operates openly in Goma-and no one has the guts to capture him. Enough Project has a full report on Ntaganda and a helpful timeline.

Upcoming in WORLD: A full report from Cairo ahead of the Egyptian presidential elections, including how evangelical and Coptic Christians are handling political transition.


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