IN IRAQ: Iraqi security forces today halted even charity deliveries of food supplies in the impoverished Baghdad Al-Jidida district, also known as New Baghdad, due to threats. Reportedly five residents were abducted from their homes there today as I accompanied Canon Andrew White, rector of St. George’s Church near the city’s Green Zone, on one of his regular rounds of visiting with families and delivering food supplies. We were able to visit two homes, including one with three severely disabled sons in their late twenties and thirties, before having to leave. The families have no other assistance, said White: “Whatever we must do and however we must do it, we have to help them.” The district includes mostly poor Shiite families and some Christians, and threats there have been on the rise leading up to general elections at the end of this month.
IN LEBANON: The small New Vine Church in Bekaa Valley is marshalling resources to meet the overwhelming needs of Syrian refugees coming across nearby borders by the thousands every day.
UKRAINE: In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, “federalism” is a code word for rule by Moscow, and rhetoric is one reason the United States and its allies are getting fooled into accepting “democratic” solutions in Ukraine.
CHILE: Aftershocks have rattled Chile after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake on April 1 killed 6. The quake damaged several thousand homes and has affected nearly 1 million.
EGYPT: Cairo’s nearly extinct Jewish community—now numbering 14—has lessons for Egypt’s now threatened Christian community, the largest remaining in the Middle East.
RWANDA: Rwandan President Paul Kagame in this interview elaborates on the forgiveness and reconciliation at the root of rebuilding his country: “There is forgiving in a sense, but I don’t think people have forgotten. They are willing to forgive for a purpose, the purpose being that they want a better future.”
On the 20th anniversary of the genocide, eyewitnesses say the images remain disturbingly sharp.
AFGHANISTAN: One day before nationwide elections, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for the Associated Press has been killed while covering elections preparations.
ENGLAND: The main railway line linking Cornwall and Devon along the British coast has been reopened for the first time since it was damaged in a winter storm in early February.