SYRIA: Hardships are mounting for refugees inside and outside Syria.
“It is as if we are living on Jupiter or Mars,” said Qusai Zakarya, a spokesman for an opposition council in Moadhamiya, south of Damascus, where the government has not allowed aid convoys to enter for nine months. “Everyone is looking at us from the window and we are in a separate world. Everyone left us alone, every single person on this planet.”
Another ancient Christian village has come under attack in Syria by al-Qaeda linked rebels.
POLIO: Yesterday was World Polio Day, and the disease is making a comeback, thanks in part to the fake polio vaccination campaign the CIA set up in Pakistan to find Osama bin Laden. Three new polio cases were confirmed in Pakistan yesterday, and 22 suspected cases have been reported in Syria—another sign of deteriorating conditions in the war-torn country.
WEST AFRICA: A U.S. oil supply vessel overtaken by pirates off the coast of West Africa has been recovered, but the search for the two Americans taken hostage continues.
SUDAN: Voters in the troubled border region of Abyei finally this Sunday have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on whether they will join Sudan or South Sudan. The provision was part of a 2005 peace agreement, but violence in the area plus intransigence in Khartoum have left the issue unresolved.
Satellite imagery has confirmed troop movements by the Sudanese army for an offensive into the area if the vote does not go Khartoum’s way. Aerial assaults in nearby South Kordafan, too, have increased over the last month.
KAZAKHSTAN: A 66-year-old Presbyterian pastor in Astana has been released from prison to house arrest pending a November trial. In the country’s crackdown on religion, mosques too are being closed down.
WE’RE FOLLOWING: The plight of refugees in and out of Syria, and the work of Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator in talks over Iran’s nuclear regime.
I’M READING:In the Shadow of the Sword by Tom Holland.