Two leaders of the Christian community in Aleppo, Syria, remain missing despite conflicting reports yesterday. Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted Monday near the Turkish border while on a mission to negotiate the release of other kidnapped Christians. Muslim and Christian leaders in the region are calling for the two men’s release, but neither rebel groups nor government forces have claimed responsibility.
Large-scale displacement in the Middle East is a growing concern, as the number of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere multiplies, writes UN commissioner for refugees António Guterres.
Clashes following a Sunni protest north of Baghdad, and Iraqi security response, have left at least 29 dead. The fighting broke out in Hawija, a former insurgent stronghold.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his Middle East tour, arriving today in Egypt for talks with top officials, including President Mohamed Morsi and top military officials.
Under the new Egyptian government, an increasingly lawless Sinai is becoming a haven to al-Qaeda, Bedouin criminal gangs, and human traffickers. Among the victims of lawlessness are Christian refugees from Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia—and by some accounts up to 4,000 may have died there.
France became the 14th country to legalize gay marriage yesterday, by a vote of 331 to 225 in its National Assembly. But protests continue, as the measure has divided France’s Catholic and growing Muslim population from pro-gay activists.
North Korea has nightlife, who knew?
“They’ve just renovated Taedonggang Bar No. 3,” says Simon Cockerell, describing its former incarnation as “like someone had gone to a beer hall in Germany years earlier and was trying to remember what it was like.” Now, he says, it’s making a valiant attempt at joining the rest of us in the 21st century, with “big-screen TVs and an exposed brick wall.”