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

Kashmir on lockdown

International | Plus, reports on U.S. shooting deaths, China sentencing John Cao, and other worldwide news
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/05/19, 01:03 pm

INDIA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday revoked semi-autonomous status for the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir region, locking down the territory. Authorities placed local political leaders under house arrest. They also cut phone and internet service, closed schools, and ordered “no movement of the public.”

UNITED STATES: Authorities are treating Saturday’s Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 people dead as an act of domestic terrorism, and the FBI said it has made 100 arrests in the last nine months related to incidents like the weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio. The shooters’ “twisted motivations” may be too convoluted to sort into clear ideology, but tracking and rooting out the white supremacist bent of “semi-ironic lost boys floating around the ether” is overdue.

The founder of 8chan, the site where multiple mass shootings have been announced this year, called for taking down the site.

CHINA’s central government has intensified its crackdown on Christians, pressuring local officials to keep a tally of citizens who believe in God and to monitor them, according to a new report.

  • A court in China has upheld the seven-year sentence against pastor John Cao, a permanent U.S. resident whose case has received little notice in U.S. media.
  • Evidence suggests China is forcing prisoners of conscience into donating their organs.

IRAQ: Supporters of Iranian-backed militias blocked the main highway between Mosul and Erbil, threatening further conflict. Iraq said it will replace the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) militia with Iraqi army units after the United States last month announced sanctions against two PMF commanders and others.

IRAN seized another tanker in the Gulf, an Iraqi ship it said was smuggling fuel perhaps as retaliation for Iraq’s bowing to U.S. interests.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence demanded Iran free a 65-year-old Christian woman sentenced to a year in prison for “propaganda against the system.”

TURKEY said it will carry out military operations in northern Syria, threatening an area controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The border area it plans to occupy as a “safe zone” includes Christian, Kurdish, Yazidi, and other communities long under threat.

ISRAEL: Lawmakers used a procedure normally reserved for urgent measures to approve construction of 715 housing units in the West Bank, part of what many believe may be an annexation plan—with U.S. approval—ahead of September elections.

COSMOS: Baking chocolate chip cookies aboard the International Space Station is full of risks.

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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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