NEPAL: In “a purely anti-Christian act,” a Hindu neighbor has killed a church elder he had summoned to his home multiple times for prayer. The gruesome killing comes as the tiny Christian minority (1.5 percent of the country’s 30 million people) have seen church growth and have been optimistic about new freedoms ahead of Nov. 19 elections.
WORLDWIDE: Cardinal Timothy Dolan opened this year’s convention of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with remarks on violent persecution against Christians. More than a million people have been killed solely due to their faith in Jesus Christ since the year 2000, he said. But as commentator Terry Mattingly points out, coverage of the speech, especially this Baltimore Sun report, was misleading.
PHILIPPINES: Good news emerging from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan includes this rescue of a commanding Air Force officer in Tacloblan, along with a 7-year-old boy who washed out to sea by his side. Writer Jessica Zafra got through to her family in the disaster zone via Facebook, though all power lines were down. Relief workers are struggling to get supplies into the storm-devastated area and are warning survivors to leave for somewhere else. We’re following progress via Campus Crusade (Cru), which has 200 staff members in the country and a pulse on what’s happening (including giving recommendations).
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11, writes Robert Reilly in a long-read essay. Reilly served as director of the Voice of America, worked as a special assistant to the president under Ronald Reagan, and served as a senior advisor to the Iraq Ministry of Information. His detailed account of VOA’s board of governors-eliminated strategic broadcasting is especially insightful. In quoting the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Homeland Security Project, Reilly points out that “Al-Qaeda’s core may be in decline, but “al-Qaeda-ism … continues to resonate and attract new adherents,” and in twice as many geographic areas of the world as it was five years ago.