IRAQ: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is wreaking havoc wherever it goes—and has been for months, without intervention, preceding its June takeover of Mosul and current march through Nineveh province. One casualty: a recently built cath lab in Fallujah, now thoroughly destroyed by the militants. The lab—providing essential heart care at Fallujah Hospital in an area populated almost entirely by Muslims—was paid for by the Iraqi government and opened in July 2012 with support from American missionaries.
SYRIA: In areas captured by ISIS, “there is no water in the pipes,” an aid worker in Iraq told me. And a leading U.S. health official warns Syria and Iraq are poised for an infectious disease crisis. Polio already has crossed into Iraq.
PAKISTAN: Mounting protests in Islamabad are calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down. At the same time, challenger Imran Khan said his car was shot at but he was not hurt.
UKRAINE: Dozens of Russian military vehicles are massed at Ukraine’s eastern border as an alleged humanitarian aid convoy sent from Moscow awaits Red Cross inspection. A dozen armored personnel carriers have accompanied the convoy, all 260 trucks’ worth, fueling suspicion it’s a cover for a Russian invasion.
KOREA: Pastor Chae Yoon-kwon, a boy orphaned by the Korean war, has dedicated his life to loving orphans and spreading the gospel. Pope Francis is in South Korea, the first visit to the peninsula by a pontiff in 25 years, an occasion highlighting the situation for Christians living in North Korea. Many human rights groups regard North Korea as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world—and these days that’s saying something.