VENEZUELA: Readers rightly have chided WORLD for ignoring the crisis in Venezuela that’s been unfolding for two weeks. The scenario is an admittedly familiar one: Peaceful student protests turn deadly when an oppressive government decides it’s had enough. Despite deaths, hundreds of injuries and at least 500 arrests, the protests are growing—and the military’s use of force escalating.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday evening gave a powerful presentation on the crisis, highlighting the problem of coddling Cuba, which is directly supporting the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro: “It is shameful that only three heads of state in this hemisphere have spoken out forcefully against what’s happening.”
His 15-minute presentation is clarifying, especially starting at about 5:30, with graphic images showing the mayor of Caracas being hauled to jail.
ALGERIA: Could Algiers be the next site of street protests and mass sit-ins? That’s the question following the announcement that Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will run for a fourth term in office. The 76-year-old suffered a stroke last year, and opposition leaders say he lacks the physical abilities to continue his 15-year rule.
CHINA: Millions of Chinese are becoming Christians and churches are popping up everywhere, according to the head of a “theological famine relief” project that delivered works by R.C. Sproul and others to church leaders.
AFGHANISTAN: With elections set for April 5, President Barack Obama warned Afghan President Hamid Karzai he plans a full pullout of troops from by the end of 2014 unless the United States can renegotiate a security agreement with Karzai’s successor. Shaming a head of state, as Obama has repeatedly done with Karzai, is bad diplomacy that gives Obama domestic cover but does little to build faith in a strategic part of the world. As in Iraq, the United States has repeatedly moved the goalposts in Afghanistan, but all bets are on for a precipitous pullout similar to Iraq.
SWEDEN: In Nordic countries, where deicing can start in August, airports are defying snow in this long winter. In 50 years, Stockholm’s Arlanda airport has never closed due to snow. (For the world’s largest snow blower, don’t miss the accompanying video.)