Globe Trot: Mudslides bury three villages in rainy Sri Lanka

by Mindy Belz
Posted 5/18/16, 11:25 am

SRI LANKA: At least 200 families are missing after mudslides buried three villages in central Sri Lanka, where rains are the worst rescue crews have seen in at least six years. “Rescuers would have to get there by foot and start digging with their hands before we can get any heavy equipment into the site,” said a Red Cross worker.

VENEZUELA: In 2013, The New York Times carried a breathless obituary of Venezuela’s socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, which stands in marked contrast to its report this week on the public health emergency wrought by Chávez’s socialist revolution. From the Times:

Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

BRAZIL: Cast and crew of an acclaimed Brazilian drama are using their stage at the Cannes Film Festival to protest what they say is a coup at home. President Dilma Rousseff left through the front door last week after the Senate voted to begin her impeachment trial. She was impeached (subscription required) by the House in April over breaking her constitutional budget responsibilities. Russian media accuse the United States of being behind it.

IRAQ has appealed directly to the UN Security Council for immediate intervention to prevent genocide. As we’ve reported, no steps have been taken, nor has the issue been raised in high-level U.S.-Iraq talks in Baghdad, though the United States, Britain, and the EU have formally declared genocide underway. In recent weeks, more than 50 mass graves have been discovered in predominantly Yazidi areas of northern Iraq once captured by ISIS, and Christians have been newly threatened (and some executed) in cities under ISIS control.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command and the top American military officer in the region, today went public with his concern that ISIS bombings in Baghdad are forcing Iraqi forces to pull back from the fight in Mosul and other areas. “We are seeing them see opportunities,” he said. “We have to respect our enemies and respect their ability to adapt and adjust on the battlefield.”

PAKISTAN: Blasphemy laws are used as a weapon, and Elizabeth Kendal’s latest is a must-read (I don’t say that often) to understand how they are wielded. The Christians of the village known as Chak 44 tried to appease the Muslims by offering their apologies, only to have the Muslims present their conditions for “peace”: hand over the blasphemer so he can be burned alive in front of the church.

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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