AFGHANISTAN: Jerry Umanos, one of three Americans killed at a hospital in Kabul run by Christian NGO CURE International, made a 7,000-mile commute to serve those in need. In 2010, I made rounds at the hospital with Jerry.
SYRIA: Inside Maaloula, the ancient Christian town recently retaken by the Syrian government, landmark churches have been turned to rubble by war.
Syrian government forces are also on the verge of retaking Homs, which represents an important turning point for Syria.
Once a vibrant mercantile and cultural center, Aleppo is a city physically partitioned and traumatized by war.
“It stands as exhibit A in what Syria’s civil war has become: A ghastly, grinding stalemate in which noncombatants are paying the highest price. ‘We are destroyed; may God punish whoever is responsible for this.’”
ISRAEL: Left and right scoffed at the breakdown of the Obama administration-led Middle East peace talks. “The administration should seriously be asking itself how it screwed things up so badly,” tweeted Foreign Policy editor Blake Hounshell, quoting former Bush diplomat Elliott Abrams, who said also: “The pipe dream was Kerry’s belief that he could quickly reach a final status agreement; that was a vision based almost entirely on vanity.” Israel broke off talks on Thursday after the Palestinian Authority re-cemented its ties with Hamas.
ASIA: President Barack Obama spent the day in Seoul, as satellite imagery suggested North Korea may time a nuclear test to his trip.
HONG KONG: The Wall Street Journal has a must-see multimedia exploration of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, once the most population dense place to live on Earth.
VIETNAM: Vietnam’s road back from war is fueled by hard work at—guess what?—low wages.
“What I found most encouraging was to learn of this living example of the resiliency of free market capitalism—even as we abandon it at home. While, in the U.S., self-serving pundits and politicians foment envy over rising incomes among successful Americans, Vietnam is busy closing the gap at the bottom, using its low-wage comparative advantage to attract investment from global manufacturers. Slowly but surely these manufactures are working their way across the planet as wages rise, leaving a growing middle class in their wake.”