UKRAINE: Ousted President Viktor Yanukovich made his first public appearance today, giving a bizarre speech saying Russia should use all means at its disposal to stop the chaos in Ukraine.
Mychailo Wynnyckyj, a professor in Kiev, posted on Facebook this reaction from his class as they watched the speech:
“Watching the Yanukovych press conference from Rostov-on-Don with my MBA students (we decided to postpone my organizational development class). At the start many believed that the person on the screen could be an actor, but with this level of demonstrated ineptness, absolutely outrageous statements (e.g. ‘I left the country because my grandson was threatened’), and illiterate use of the Russian language (multiple grammatical errors that are typical of Donetsk ‘surzhyk’), everyone is convinced that this clown is the real thing. This press conference has finally convinced anyone who still needed convincing that Yanukovych is finished as a politician in Ukraine. A great joke went around the class just now: Yanukovych keeps repeating ‘I am the legally elected President of Ukraine.’ There are several others in psychiatric wards who think the same …"
AFGHANISTAN: Try a vision of hope from former Air Force Capt. Farzana Marie, who wants Americans to connect with Afghanistan apart from the headlines in a way that both improves the nation and honors the sacrifice of U.S. families and military personnel killed there. Farzana has lived her vision too.
SWEDEN: The Facebook page for the Swedish midwife denied a job for refusing to participate in abortions is gaining support, while Ellinor Grimmark, the 37-year-old midwife, awaits a ruling.
SYRIA: Christians in the city of Raqqa have been asked to pay a fine and end expressions of faith to receive protection from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaeda splinter group that controls the region. This is classic jizya, the Muslim tax demanded of dhimmis to survive under Muslim rule. The group has also decreed changing the weekend to Thursday and Friday, and Christian leaders in Raqqa have reportedly signed a submission document. Response, U.S. State Department?
SOUTH SUDAN: It’s with great sadness I report that Akot Medical Mission, one of the oldest serving in South Sudan, has announced plans to evacuate all its expatriate staff and temporarily cease operations—a reflection of the uncertainty and violence persisting in the country.
IRAQ: Tomorrow marks two years since Jeremiah Small, an American teacher in Iraq and friend to nearly all (me included), was killed. A remembrance here.