JAPAN: President Barack Obama has ‘pivoted’ to Asia and begun a trip delayed 7 months after the government shutdown. The president will visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where protesters already are primed for him.
CHINA: Four decades after Chairman Mao’s death, scholars believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s No. 1 economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
Yang presented his initial findings at a Georgetown University-sponsored symposium on Christianity and freedom in Rome last December, and that paper is due for publication sometime this spring.
NIGERIA: Lack of action defines the Nigerian government’s response to a dramatic uptick this month (if that’s possible) in terrorism directed by Boko Haram, the militant group that wants to impose radical Islam on the country.
After the group abducted nearly 300 girls from a secondary school in Borno state, parents and volunteers formed a search party that quickly led them to a forested base camp. But without military backup they were unable to confront their daughters’ heavily armed captors. An estimated 39 girls have escaped this far, and about 230 are still missing.
TONY BLAIR: The Middle East matters, said former British PrimeMinister Tony Blair in a speech today in London, and he said the threat of radicalized Islam continues to represent “the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st century.” Blair said the West will regret not intervening in the “unmitigated disaster” of Syria, and laid out a case for imposing a no-fly zone (something he acknowledges should have happened two years ago), while also recognizing that a negotiated settlement that could leave Assad in power temporarily is at this point the best likely outcome.
Full text—worth reading—is here.
LIBYA: The 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans might never have happened if the U.S. government hadn’t facilitated a flow of $500 million worth of weapons into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked rebels during Libya’s 2011 revolution. There’s a reason this story won’t go away.