Globe Trot: Syrian nuns free, chemical weapons still in custody

by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/10/14, 05:40 pm

SYRIA is expected to miss a major deadline in the destruction of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, we’re watching overnight reports that the 13 nuns from Maaloula held by rebels have been released. The Associated Press is reporting residents in the predominantly Christian Damascus neighborhood of Qassaa welcomed the nuns before they went to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, where they will stay.

MALAYSIA: There appears to be no new word on the vanished Malaysian jetliner. The lone American adult on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was an IBM executive described as a devout Christian and world traveler.

In Malaysia, Christians are facing specific court threats despite constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.

SAUDI ARABIA is outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood, along with Al Nusra Front and ISIL. Though the Saudis have encouraged their own to fight on the side of rebels in Syria, many have returned only to attack government installations and threaten Saudi royalty.

AFGHANISTAN’s first vice president died of heart attack on Sunday, less than a month before presidential elections. Hazaras are emerging as the crucial voting bloc, with four of six candidates having Hazara running mates. This is a development worth watching, as notable conversions to Christianity have happened among Hazaras.

YEMEN: A girl only leaves her house twice—when she marries and when she dies, so a Yemeni saying goes. Told in photos, here’s the life of a girl in Yemen.

EL SALVADOR: Sunday’s election is too close to call, with former Marxist guerrilla leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the FLMN and Norman Quijano, the former mayor of San Salvador, both claiming victory. A win for Ceren, analysts say, is “dangerous” because he is a hardline leftist likely to affiliate with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Cuba, fueling socialist unrest.

ISRAEL: Yoga is increasingly popular in Israel, but is revolutionary in this Orthodox Tel Aviv neighborhood.

TRAVEL: I’ll be in Colorado Springs this week to speak at the Summit Ministries winter conference. Let me know if you’ll be there.

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.

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