The certainty of escape. Michelle Knight, one of the three women kidnapped in Cleveland by Ariel Castro and held for more than a decade, told her former captor on Thursday she and her fellow victims always knew they’d escape. During a statement delivered before a packed courtroom, the 32-year-old said she wanted Castro to spend the rest of his life in prison: “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.” Knight also revealed more details about some of the psychological torture the women endured: Castro would routinely go to church on Sunday morning and then come home and abuse them. “What does God think of you hypocritically going to church each Sunday and then coming home to torture us?” Despite what she endured, Knight told supporters in a video posted online last month that she still believed God was in control.
A teaching moment. A Glendora, Calif., Catholic high school fired a gay teacher this week after photos from his wedding ceremony appeared in the local newspaper. Officials from St. Lucy’s Priory said in a statement that Ken Bencomo’s marriage violates Catholic teaching: “As a Benedictine school, St. Lucy’s is a community for those who wish to express Christian values in education and develop personal and academic excellence.” But Bencomo’s supporters say the school knew he was gay, and in a relationship, for years. Bencomo wants to settle the matter without going to court, but that seems unlikely. The question will be, did the school really know that he was violating Catholic teaching all along? If so, why was he allowed to continue teaching for so long?
What human rights? U.S. officials traveling in China say the country’s human rights record is only getting worse, despite Beijing’s claims to the contrary. During recent talks, Chinese officials have been less than forthcoming about the whereabouts and conditions of a number of dissidents in detention, said Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. China’s longtime critics wonder why the U.S. State Department is surprised. They have maintained for years that talking to Beijing about human rights abuses is more public theater than substantively useful. “It has not had any discernible impact in recent years,” said Maya Wang, a researcher in Hong Kong for Human Rights Watch. “These talks are more of a diplomatic exercise than a serious tool to press China on the issues.”
Embassy threat. The U.S. State Department has ordered all of its overseas embassies that would normally be open on Aug. 4, a Sunday, to remain closed. The order, which came in response to a specific threat, mostly affects embassies in the Middle East, where Sunday is a workday. Officials did not say what kind of threat they had received. The embassies or consulates ordered to close include those in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.