A distracted nation
International | Foes challenge the United States on land and sea
by Mindy Belz
Posted 6/01/20, 02:33 pm
IRAN: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran all in recent days carried out provocations, taking advantage of a preoccupied United States—where 100,000 people have died of the coronavirus and six days of protests over racial injustice have activated military and National Guard units in 21 states.
Two of five oil tankers have arrived in Venezuela from Iran, resupplying the oil-rich nation despite U.S. sanctions and threats from the Trump administration. “We are two rebel revolutionary peoples that are never going to kneel before North American imperialism,” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said in a televised address.
SYRIA: A bombed-out home in Idlib now wears a mural depicting George Floyd and “I can’t breathe.”
UNITED STATES: “COVID didn’t close me, but this is going to close me,” said one Minneapolis shopkeeper, as at least 255 businesses in the Twin Cities have been vandalized, looted, or destroyed in six days of protest. The violence spread to 140 U.S. cities and around the world over the death of George Floyd.
Floyd left a gospel legacy in Houston.
SAUDI ARABIA: Mosques have opened their doors to worshippers for the first time in more than two months as the kingdom eased restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus.
THE WHO: The State Department asserts the United States is leading the global response to the pandemic, after it pulled out of the World Health Organization. European leaders are fighting the move, urging the United States to reconsider: “In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” said European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell in a statement.
SOUTH SUDAN: Five senior officials have tested positive for the coronavirus, including First Vice President Riek Machar and his wife Angelina. All members of the country’s pandemic task force also have contracted COVID-19. The country—which battled decades of civil war with Sudan before becoming an independent nation in 2010—is particularly vulnerable, lacking roads and adequate healthcare facilities.
BURKINA FASO: At least 35 people were killed when militants attacked a cattle market, as violence linked to Islamic terror groups spreads.
ENGLAND: A morning word from Charles Spurgeon to begin the week: “All the Lord’s beloved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and of mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and of delight.”
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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.