UNITED STATES: Two years ago, adoption agencies warned that new State Department regulations and fees would spell the end of international adoptions. Now one of the largest agencies, Bethany Christian Services—with 15,000 international adoptions in its 37-year history—has announced it will end bringing children into the United States, where an international adoption now averages $50,000 in costs and fees.
CANADA: Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, for the first time released photos from her life in exile as she prepared for the launch of her autobiography, Enfin Libre!, published this week in French.
ISRAEL: Palestinians may not like the map, but they would have full independence under the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, writes Philos Project president Robert Nicholson. The 181-page proposal, in its own words “a package of compromises that both sides should consider,” conditions Palestinian statehood on full Palestinian recognition of Jewish people’s rights to a historic homeland in Israel. Palestinian leadership has every right to reject the plan, said Nicholson, but they should offer a realistic alternative for resolving the status quo.
- White House adviser Jared Kushner, who played a key role in drafting the plan, said he’s a realist in defending it: “I’m not looking at the world as it existed in 1967, I’m looking at the world as it exists in 2020. You have 5 million Palestinians who are really trapped because of bad leadership.”
- The plan is based on the Saudi-led peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, “with clear, if unofficial, Palestinian input,” noted Judith Mendelsohn Rood, professor emeritus of history and Middle Eastern studies at Biola University. It would grant Palestinians a sovereign state, with its capital in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, she noted, with Jordan continuing as the custodian of Haram al-Sharif, or the Temple Mount. It also configures the border with Jordan “in such a way that takes account of the Palestinian-Jordanian relationship.”
CHINA: Farmers picked cucumbers overnight to boost food supplies in quarantined Wuhan, as government officials took steps to alleviate food shortages brought on by efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Americans evacuated from the virus zone are in isolation at a California military base, as the number of deaths from the virus passed 170, all in China.
LAOS: Why has U.S. aid to Laos more than tripled in the last three years?
POLAND: On Monday, about 200 survivors of the death camp at Auschwitz—some wearing the blue striped caps now synonymous with the Holocaust—took center stage before world leaders and clergy at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of its liberation. Speaking to the gathering for perhaps a final time, they warned against forgetting the Nazi hell. “The 11th commandment is: Thou shalt not be indifferent,” said Marian Turski, 93.
WEEKEND LONG READS: An excellent summation of the “climate emergency” facing Christians in the Middle East, and a provocative piece by foreign policy expert Paul Miller on why an acquittal for President Donald Trump betrays the Constitution (read past the headline).
I’M WATCHING Nisman, the Netflix series that’s causing a furor in Argentina, where it has revived questions about the 2015 death in Buenos Aires of well-known prosecutor Alberto Nisman, or the Latin American Atticus Finch.
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