Globe Trot
An American flag in the sand of Omaha Beach, western France.
Associated Press/Photo by Thibault Camus
An American flag in the sand of Omaha Beach, western France.

Globe Trot: Remembering ‘democracy’s beachhead’


D-DAY: Stunning color images of the invasion of Normandy capture the before and after of the Allied assault 70 years ago. And watch 93-year-old veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin take to the skies over France again—what President Barack Obama in his speech at the American Cemetery this morning called “democracy’s beachhead.”

AFGHANISTAN: The frontrunner in Afghanistan’s presidential runoff, Abdullah Abdullah, survived a suicide bomb attack—as the Taliban threatens to undo next week’s election.

Eyewitnesses to Bowe Bergdahl’s time in Afghanistan continue to provide stories of a soldier intent on leaving his post. As Charles Krauthammer points out, the big question is whether Bergdahl was a deserter or a defector to the enemy. Krauthammer also makes a fair point that, yes, we do negotiate with terrorists. But a major and overlooked problem with the U.S. negotiations and swap for Bergdahl’s release is this: By legitimizing Taliban “officials” in the process, we have undermined President Hamid Karzai, whom the Taliban wants to eliminate, the Afghan government we paid for with blood and treasure, and perhaps the upcoming elections.

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SUDAN: As Meriam Yahya Ibrahim’s case—and imprisonment—drags on, Sudan’s churches have begun to empty. “The church is now contaminated with terror,” said a Khartoum Christian. “You don’t feel safe in prayer.”

NIGERIA: Our latest on this week’s violence at the hands of Boko Haram, who slaughtered at least 200 in northern Nigeria earlier this week and has forced thousands into the hills without food or shelter.

VATICAN: Someday we may call on the Pope to fix Obamacare. Pope Francis replaced an all-Italian panel overseeing his anti-money laundering agency with a new group drawn from four different nations, including a Harvard professor and former official in the George W. Bush administration. The pope pledged “honesty and transparency” in a cleanup campaign that comes amid persistent financial scandals linked to the Vatican.

INDIA: At least two dozen newly elected members of Parliament took oaths of office in Sanskrit, the ancient language barely used in modern India. One scholar calls it “a symbolic act” of the now-dominant BJP party to assert Hindu nationalism over pluralistic democracy.

AROUND THE WORLD: I’m just catching on to the Out of Eden Walk, National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek's 21,000-mile trek—“an exercise in slow journalism.” It’s a seven-year journey that began in Ethiopia and now has him trekking through Jerusalem and the West Bank. Leaves me jealous.

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