Globe Trot: Diplomacy fails amid Syria's 'apocalyptic disaster'

by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/12/14, 11:20 am

INDIA: The worst violence against Christians in the 21st century took place in India’s Orissa state at the hands of Hindu nationalists, according to testimony yesterday by leading journalist John L. Allen, Jr. In the attack, “as many as 500 Christians killed, many hacked to death by machete-wielding Hindu radicals, and thousands more injured and at least 50,000 left homeless,” Allen told the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Attendees at the hearing pressed President Barack Obama to fill the post of ambassador-at-large for religious freedom. The president left the post vacant until midway through his second year in office, nominating Suzan Johnson Cook in June 2009. She wasn’t confirmed until April 2011, then resigned in October of last year—meaning the post has been filled only about half of Obama’s time in office.

Meanwhile, the United States will end its boycott of Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, a BJP candidate for prime minister in upcoming elections, with U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell scheduled to meet with him this week. The United States has denied Modi a visa since 2005 for failing to stop religious riots that killed 1,000 in Gujarat, where he was the top elected official.

SYRIA: President Obama acknowledged diplomacy in Syria is failing, while Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. told lawmakers the war, which has killed more than 110,000 and displaced millions, is an “apocalyptic disaster.”

No one was evacuated from besieged Homs yesterday, where starvation due to an aid blockade is growing. But photos today show bags of flour arriving in the area, amid sniper fire and mortar rounds.

We received word yesterday that 10 Christians held hostage in Homs had been freed. More to come.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: A Washington Post journalist watched as a Muslim mob brutally murdered a Christian man on Sunday, as violence spirals out of control in Bangui, the capital.

ARGENTINA is the first country to deploy on a large scale the grisly techniques of forensic anthropology. Investigating human rights abuses during the country’s “Dirty War," scientists have so far exhumed and identified 600 skeletons using DNA samples provided by the families of those still missing.

VIETNAM: Told via the sad Twitter feed of indie game developer Dong Nguyen, the sudden demise of Flappy Bird is a cautionary tale of social media gone mad.

Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

Read more from this writer