China’s new military might in the South China Sea
International | Plus Syrians survive grim escape and other news and notes from around the world
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/07/18, 12:30 pm
CHINA: Stunning new photos show the extent of China’s building—and militarization—on new islands in the contested South China Sea. The islands are formed out of seven reefs and now appear to be in the final stages of development as air and naval bases.
NORTH KOREA: “Show churches” use actors to cover up the extent of regime abuses.
MARS: Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday on its initial test flight, flying the world’s most powerful rocket since U.S. astronauts landed on the moon almost 50 years ago. Don’t miss footage of the launch, plus two of three boosters landing perfectly back on the pad.
GERMANY: After months of deadlock, Germany’s main parties have agreed to form a coalition. Importantly, it grants Social Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opposition, the finance, foreign and labor ministries. Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats, said the deal marks “a fundamental change of direction in Europe.”
SYRIA: The first weeks of 2018 have turned into one of the bloodiest periods of the nearly seven-year-old Syrian war, with hundreds killed in airstrikes, nearly 300,000 displaced in northwestern Syria, and 400,000 at risk of starvation in a besieged area east of Damascus that hasn’t received food since November.
In one of the grimmest episodes of the war, 15 Syrians were found dead after others—including a 3-year-old named Sarah who suffered from frostbite—survived climbing a mountain in a snowstorm to reach Lebanon.
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