Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

A brutal anniversary for 1 million refugees

International | Myanmar’s brutal military crackdown began two years ago, driving Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/26/19, 01:26 pm

BANGLADESH: Rohingya refugees Sunday marked two years since the start of a brutal military crackdown on their villages in Myanmar, also known as Burma, forcing 1 million mostly Muslim Rohingya into the world’s largest refugee settlement. A U.S. State Department statement on the anniversary also highlighted wider-spread atrocities against Burmese minorities: “The lack of accountability and civilian oversight of the military means that military abuses continue today in Rakhine State, as well as Kachin and Shan States and elsewhere in Burma.”

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: In a three-hour raid on the town of Boga, rebels abducted 200 women and children, including a doctor and a lab technician from the Anglican Mission Hospital. Residents who fled face an Ebola outbreak to the south and warfare to the north. Anglican Bishop William Bahemuka said Allied Democratic Forces rebels had “never been active” in Boga. ISIS claimed in April its first attack in Congo using ADF rebels as proxies and launching what it called the “Central Africa Province of the Caliphate.”

IRAN: The Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its CEO, Mark Dubowitz, for “propaganda” against the Islamic regime. The action amounted to a fatwa threatening a U.S. citizen, noted foreign policy experts, and was issued just as Western leaders welcomed Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to the G-7 summit in France over the weekend.

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on Zarif. FDD has conducted extensive research into Iran’s nuclear capability and missile technology, and last year launched an in-depth “Profiles in Iranian Oppression” project. In a statement, the think tank said it considers the move “a badge of honor and looks forward to the day when Americans and others can visit a free and democratic Iran.”

CHINA announced Friday it was raising tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. imports, and President Donald Trump pulled out an obscure federal law to “order” U.S. businesses to cut ties with the world’s second-largest economy, as the trade war goes another round.

HONG KONG: With protests entering a 12th week, demonstrators who plan to be on the front line now come prepared, with gas masks, protective goggles, and helmets. Hong Kong police have fired 1,800 rounds of tear gas this summer, along with beanbag rounds. But on Sunday police used live gunfire for the first time, made arrests, and shut down some subway stations.

BURUNDI: A malaria outbreak has killed 1,800 and hit 6 million people (out of a population of 12 million), prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a top-level travel alert for the central African nation.

ZIMBABWE: “Our living conditions have become a health hazard,” said doctors preparing to go on strike. Decades of dictatorship and mismanagement of the economy fuel Zimbabwe’s inflation rate—at 175 percent the highest in 10 years—and with drought are pushing an estimated 5 million people to starvation.

SEALAND: Though no country formally recognizes Sealand, the pint-sized nation’s sovereignty is hard to deny.

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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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  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 08/27/2019 11:59 pm

    The Sealand story is weird and interesting. So on seeing this note, I wondered, is Sealand in the news again for some reason?  

    Apparently not, at least nothing recent pops up on Google. 

    So may I ask, what brought Sealand to your attention, Mrs. Belz?