China declares war on Hong Kong protesters
International | Unrest prompts State Department to issue travel warning
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/08/19, 11:55 am
HONG KONG: Chinese authorities working with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam this week declared war on protesters. Their strategy: to launch “preventive” arrests, deploy online trolls to promote contempt for young protest leaders, and use the army if needed. The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Hong Kong, following nine weeks of pro-democracy unrest and more than 500 arrests.
SOUTH KOREA: Lines formed outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul after the United States issued an abrupt change, canceling visa waivers for South Koreans who have visited North Korea even once since 2011.
RUSSIA: New York banks are cooperating with U.S. House committees and the state attorney general’s office in turning over Trump Organization records linked to possible dealings with Russia. And a mystery name in a U.S. Senate report could mark the first mention of a Russian military officer involved in election interference from within the United States.
COLOMBIA will grant citizenship to more than 24,000 children of migrants fleeing Venezuela.
IRAQ: Jimmy Aldaoud, 41, an Iraqi-born longtime U.S. resident deported to Baghdad in June, has died there. Aldaoud, a diabetic with mental health problems, was among more than 100 Iraqi Christians I reported on in 2017 taken in Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids at a Detroit Chaldean church and elsewhere and held in an Ohio detention facility. Aldaoud and friends claim he was unable to get insulin in Baghdad and died as a result. The case raises questions over how U.S. authorities manage deportations to war-torn countries.
SYRIA: The Assad regime has rejected an agreement reached Wednesday between the United States and Turkey to establish a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria. Turkey has threatened to invade the area over the presence of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, straining relations. The U.S. position largely has focused on defeating ISIS, to the exclusion of ensuring security for Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, and others living in the region.
BRITAIN: I missed it, but earlier this summer reporters uncovered how M15 and police in 2015 foiled an Iranian-linked terror plot—just after the U.K. signed the Iran nuclear deal. The Hezbollah operatives had stockpiled on the outskirts of London 6,000 pounds of explosives, more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. The government’s decision not to reveal the plot appears tied to efforts to keep the U.K. in the Iran nuclear deal.
VIETNAM: Danger Close, a film set for November release in the United States, highlights the overlooked role of Australian units in the Vietnam War—and veteran reactions to it underscore the problems of altering history for entertainment’s sake.
ITALY: You’re not Audrey Hepburn, and sitting on Rome’s Spanish Steps now will cost you $450 in fines.
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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.