Globe Trot
An Afghan woman walks past a wall plastered with pictures of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah.
Associated Press/Photo by Muhammed Muheisen
An Afghan woman walks past a wall plastered with pictures of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah.

Globe Trot: Will Afghanistan’s election be decided in a back-room deal?


AFGHANISTAN: Perhaps one of the best living photojournalists remembers one who recently died—David Guttenfelder discusses the work of colleague Anja Niedringhaus, the AP photographer killed in Afghanistan on April 4.

Lead vote-getters in last weekend’s presidential elections, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashrif Ghani, appear headed to a runoff. But a lot can happen between now and then: Preliminary results from the first round of voting aren’t expected until April 24, and there’s precedence for a back-door deal to select a single winner.

INDIA: National elections are underway this month, and the Hindu nationalist party, BJP, has a commanding lead, according to polls. One of its likely changes to foreign policy will be backing away from India’s “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons. BJP head Narendra Modi, who could be India’s next prime minister, also is likely to be at best indifferent, perhaps hostile, to the rights of India’s Muslim and Christian populations.

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MIDDLE EAST: Open Doors’ Middle East field director gives a helpful overview of the current persecution of—and gains for—Christians in Egypt, Syria, and Iran.

SYRIA: They city of Homs was one of the first battlefields in Syria’s three-year civil war, and it remains fierce today. Two car bombs on Wednesday killed at least 25 and wounded more than 100, just days after Dutch Catholic priest Frans Van der Lugt—a resident of the city for 50 years—was shot dead at his home. Van der Lugt had refused UN evacuation in February. In a January video (in Arabic, excerpted with translation here) he described near-starvation conditions and said, “We don’t want to drown in a sea of hunger, letting the waves of death drag us under. … We love life. We want to live. And we do not want to sink in a sea of pain and suffering.”

AIRLINER: With a fifth week coming to a close since the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, here’s a photo recap. Australian officials say they are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing jet’s black boxes.

I’M READING: A history of Christianity in Iraqby Suha Rassam, discovered in Baghdad. It’s available in the United States, but I confess to buying the last new copy presently available from Amazon. I’m also reading Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of her childhood in Iran.


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