Cyprus became the fourth eurozone country to receive a financial bailout after Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. An emergency deal reached in Monday’s early morning hours provides $13 billion to the country’s strapped banking system. In return, the deal requires its second largest bank to shut down and may wipe out deposits above $130,000—which currently remain frozen.
Cyprus got into this bind in part by making risky loans to Greece to further its bailout. As the eurozone’s financial stability grows weaker the question is, who will be next—whose credit will be pushed to the brink—as a result of the Cypriot bailout?
Thousands took to the streets in Paris in an ongoing protest of a proposed law to legalize same-sex “marriage.” There are some reports that overall protesters in France have numbered 1.4 million. In light of the growing opposition to the law, Lionel Roosemont, a pro-life organizer in Brussels, asked me this morning: “Where are the Christians in the U.S. standing up for traditional marriage in view of the Supreme Court case on Wednesday? … I have a very high esteem about what Americans Christians are doing for their society—you have been a big model for us!—but to me it is puzzling that we do not hear much about Christians protecting marriage.” The Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases involving marriage this week, the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
Syria’s main opposition group is on the verge of fracturing just as it receives official recognition from the Arab League. Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition, resigned in frustration just hours after the Arab League extended an invitation to the opposition group to attend a summit in Qatar next week—suspending the membership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and recognizing the coalition as the legitimate representative of the people of Syria.
Dozens of villages in southern Afghanistan, a persistent stronghold for the Taliban, have begun an uprising against Taliban fighters and in support of the government. Nearly 100 village elders vowed at a public meeting last week to keep the Taliban out as the new fighting season sets in. Worth noting, in light of the onslaught of bad news from Afghanistan: “In interviews, villagers and local officials said that although the uprising grew out of villagers’ anger at Taliban brutality, it gelled because of the growing strength of the Afghan security forces and a particularly active police force in the region.”
Good news from Iraq, too: Registration is now open for the third annual Erbil Marathon, to be held in October—a fascinating way to see perhaps the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. And next week women will gather in Erbil for the third annual women’s conference on crisis intervention and Christian ministry. It’s part of an ongoing program sponsored by ITeams/Canada.
“There was a writer named Chinua Achebe in whose company the prison walls fell.” That was Nelson Mandela, speaking of the effect of Achebe’s novels during 27 years in a South African prison. The Nigerian novelist, who died last week in Boston at age 82, was considered the father of African literature. The New York Times offers a summary of his life, plus links to understanding more about his work and legacy (including his Christian upbringing).