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

Myanmar inches toward war

International | The military is attacking civilians
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/01/21, 06:26 pm

MYANMAR: Two months into anti-coup protests, the military is attacking not only protesters in main cities but ethnic minority civilians in remote jungle areas. The escalation in Karen state includes attacks on civilian targets, with casualties, and the threat of all-out civil war—latest from my colleague Angela Lu Fulton.

MOZAMBIQUE: An Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate that claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack in Palma has left beheaded bodies in the streets and controls the city of 70,000, with thousands missing. Army soldiers, Christians, and foreigners appear to have been targets in the attack. Palma had become a hub for those displaced in other militant attacks across Cabo Delgado, and it’s the center of a multibillion-dollar natural gas project that’s one of the largest in the world.

SUDAN: The transitional government and a key rebel group signed a document that paves the way for a final peace agreement by guaranteeing freedom of worship to all while separating religion and the state. “The state shall not adopt official religion,” it reads, making a way for talks toward a final settlement. For decades, Sudan operated as an Islamist state under Sharia law under President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in 2019.

SIERRA LEONE: Mystery fires continue, this one destroying a slum in Freetown last week that left about 7,000 people homeless, but caused no deaths. In Bangladesh, UN Refugee Agency workers are on hand to assist the International Organization for Migration and other aid groups in helping 48,000 Rohingya refugees who lost their shelters and belongings in a fire on March 22.

UNITED STATES: Secretary of State Antony Blinken reversed Trump administration policies that denied assistance to health facilities performing abortions, saying contraceptives and reproductive care are global human rights. Blinken also shuttered the Commission on Unalienable Rights set up by his predecessor.

CANADA: Ontario is seeing record ICU admissions for COVID-19, and officials announced a new lockdown would begin on Saturday. Experts warn of a surge in cases particularly affecting young people with the dangerous new U.K. variant. Brazil’s unchecked spread of coronavirus is leading not to herd immunity as the government forecast but to dangerous new variants that could spread globally. Yet even as the virus renews momentum, a study in the United States—where 16 percent of the population is fully vaccinated—is confirming how effective the vaccines are in preventing COVID-19.

GLOBAL: Investments tied to Archegos Capital Management and its founder Bill Hwang look to be in trouble after he defaulted on a margin call that triggered a $30 billion liquidation of stocks. That’s bad news for ministries and churches who have benefited from the Christian investor’s Grace and Mercy Foundation.

  • The reality is that Christianity is a majority nonwhite religion, most often carried on in Spanish—an update worth your time from the World Christian Encyclopedia.
  • In the United States, the proportion of Americans who consider themselves members of a church, synagogue, or mosque has dropped below 50 percent for the first time.

EGYPT: Let’s recap how dredges and tugboats working with the force of a Worm Moon wrested the Ever Given from the banks of the Suez Canal (though, yes, an investigation is underway into how it got stuck).

HOLY WEEK: “You are the best lung in which our Syriac Church breathes,” said visiting Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan to 20,000 Palm Sunday worshippers gathered in Qaraqosh, one of the Iraqi towns devastated by ISIS.

He is risen, happy Easter.


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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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