UKRAINE: U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told the UN Security Council last night, “We are being bombarded by Russian disinformation and propaganda while the Ukrainians are being confronted by incitement and violence.” She said Russian media and government officials “are spreading fiction,” and the seizure of buildings in six towns in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia armed units mirrors the way the invasion of Crimea began. Anyone feel a red line coming?
A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for the pro-Russian militants to vacate occupied buildings has passed.
NIGERIA: A morning rush-hour bombing on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has killed at least 71 people and wounded 124. Violence, largely fed by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, has held steady all weekend. Sixty people were killed in attacks that included Christian villages.
ISRAEL: A Palestinian professor who took a group of students to Auschwitz has been put on leave for trying to expose Palestinian students to the reality of the Holocaust.
SYRIA: With the approach of the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Turkey is again aiding militants against Armenians, this time forcing thousands from the town of Kasab in northern Syria. Turkey’s role in ousting Christians could complicate security protocols in the region for its NATO allies.
Syrian forces say they have retaken the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, which fell to rebels last December. In Lebanon earlier this month, I spoke to refugees from Maaloula who said all of the Christians have been forced out of the area.
Here’s an aerial shot of what’s left of Homs, one of the largest cities in Syria, now devastated by the civil war.
LEBANON: Several have asked how to assist Syrians who have sought refuge in Lebanon. I suggest two groups that are doing serious on-the-ground aid work and partnering with local churches. Lebanese Society for Educational & Social Development and Heart for Lebanon are both local organizations that have registered U.S. offices, making your donations tax deductible.
BRAZIL: Derek Rabelo, a 21-year-old Brazilian, has learned to surf by faith and not by sight.