UKRAINE: Newspaper front pages this morning downplayed news from Ukraine. But The Wall Street Journal calls it what it is: “Ukraine says Russia has invaded.” Moscow has reportedly sent more than 1,000 troops backed by heavy artillery into eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pledged Ukraine “can defend itself.” As he has done elsewhere, President Barack Obama declared U.S. intentions way in advance: “It is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States in this region,” he said. That left Germany backing off even sanctions and NATO calling the troop movements “an incursion.”
RUSSIA has returned to Soviet-style propaganda in its quest for more territory in Ukraine. Russia’s UN ambassador proposed a ceasefire agreement to the UN Security Council, which led to a confrontation with U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who accused him of lying:
“One of the separatist leaders that Russia has armed and backed said openly that three or four thousand Russian soldiers have joined their cause. He was quick to clarify that these soldiers were on vacation. But a Russian soldier who chooses to fight in Ukraine on his summer break is still a Russian soldier. And the armored Russian military vehicle he drives there is not his personal car.”
IRAQ: ISIS confrontations with Christians in Nineveh Province are up close and personal. Mikha Qasha, a Christian from Qaraqosh, says he was given a week to think about whether to leave, convert to Islam, or be killed—all with a gun pointed to his head.
One of the Dominican sisters from Qaraqosh, now displaced, reports on conditions now one month into being forced out of their homes:
“Things are moving very slowly in terms of providing shelter, food, and necessities for the people. There are still people living in the streets. There are still no organized camps outside of schools that are used as refugee centers. An unfinished, three-story building has also been used as a refugee center. For privacy reasons, families have made rooms using UNHCR plastic sheets in these unfinished buildings. These places look like stables. We all wonder, is there any end in sight?”
LIBYA: Western governments that overthrew Muammar Qaddafi but declined to disarm Libya’s militias are now condemning allies in that fight, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, for intervening this week. All pointing to Obama’s “grand strategy,” writes Hoover Institution fellow and Foreign Policy contributor Kori Schake: “Step away, do nothing, pat self on back.”
EBOLA: Senegal is reporting its first case of Ebola, and a doctor treating Ebola patients in Nigeria has died, the first such case outside Lagos, in Port Harcourt. That’s in the heart of the country’s oil industry, where most expat oil workers are based.
LONG WEEKEND READ: Dayani Baldelomar Bustos and her family work hard and long hours in Central America’s largest market, the Oriental in Managua, where 53 Walmart Supercenters would fit inside its roughly 225 acres. All the while, they’re earning below Nicaragua’s poverty line: If she sells every banana, she’ll earn $1.70 a day.
NOTE: There will be no Globe Trot on Sept. 1, and Globe Trot will return Wednesday, Sept. 3 with a new face. Jamie Dean, WORLD’s news editor and an astute world traveler and observer, will carry Globe Trot to you in coming weeks as I take a sabbatical. We all will welcome her insights.