Globe Trot

Globe Trot 08.03


Syria remains at the top of the news ticker, with continuing reports that Syrian Sunni jihadists who have been fighting with al Qaeda

against U.S. forces in Iraq are returning to fight at home. President Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Shiite sect known as Alawites. As Elizabeth Kendal notes, "The West called them 'terrorists' in Iraq. In Syria it calls them 'rebels', 'insurgents' and 'opposition.'"

Yesterday the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan resigned, blaming world leaders as well as Assad and Syrian rebels for failure to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict in his six months' tenure: "As an envoy, I can't want peace more than the protagonists, more than the Security Council or the international community, for that matter."

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Last month's successful attack on Israeli targets in Bulgaria revealed a rising threat of Shiite terrorism, directed by Iran and Hezbollah. "Iran and Hezbollah have waged a determined campaign to strike their enemies in retaliation for attacks on the Iranian nuclear program and the killing of a Hezbollah chief, counterterror officials say."

Remember Iranian Christians in prison:

  • Last month Youcef Nadarkhani marked 1,000 days of incarceration in Lakan, a notorious prison in northern Iran.
  • Protestant pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeri (33, married with two children) was arrested in 2010 and sentenced in March 2012 to six years in prison, reports the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin. Last month an Iranian court upheld both the verdict and six-year prison sentence, and Farshid is scheduled serve the remainder of his sentence in section 350 of Evin Prison, where already he has spent 100 days in solitary confinement.
  • Protestant pastor Benham Irani (41, married with two children) is imprisoned in Karaj's notorious Ghezel Hesar Prison. Convicted in 2011 of crimes against national security and sentenced to one year in prison, but authorities later extended the term to five years. Irani is in poor health.

Bahrain arrested over 40 protesters today, including the daughter of a leading anti-government activist, as its volatile uprising movement seeks to press its case on the streets despite repeated crackdowns.

Almost one week after five armed terrorists kidnapped Ponnachan George from a Bible school campus in Assam, India, the Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor was freed this week.

An outbreak of Ebola in western Uganda has killed at least 16 people. WHO officials say the deadly virus is being brought under control.

Wojdan Shaherkani, 16, became the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympic Games. It was the first time the Saudi judoka had competed publicly, as women haven't been allowed to play competitive sports or attend sporting events in the kingdom. "It was the opportunity of a lifetime," Shaherkani said, according to quotes provided by Olympic officials.

French President François Hollande has made good on a campaign pledge to make the wealthiest in France pay up to 75 percent income tax.

Mexico is working to retool its drug-war image, and tourists are buying it. Despite record numbers of dead due to drug-related violence, in 2012 the country "is on course to set a new record in tourists from the U.S."

We are watching … Edith Schaeffer, 97, ailing widow of theologian Francis Schaeffer, is reportedly near death in Switzerland.


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