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

North Korea heads World Watch List

International | The rise in persecution affects 1 in 9 Christians globally
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/18/19, 06:35 pm

GLOBAL: The 2019 Open Doors World Watch List reports 1 in 9 Christians across 73 countries face severe persecution, compared to a year ago when 1 in 12 faced such challenges in 58 countries. North Korea again tops the list of most dangerous countries for Christians, with significant upticks in persecution in China, Nigeria, and elsewhere.

SYRIA: A surveillance video captured the moment a suicide bomber detonated a vest in a market in Manbij this week, killing four Americans in the deadliest attack on the U.S. contingent in Syria.

U.S. evangelicals who have supported President Donald Trump, together with Syrian church leaders, are pushing back against the president’s withdrawal plan.

RUSSIA: BuzzFeed senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold reports that Trump “directed” his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and encouraged Cohen to set up a meeting for him with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign. If true, the report (based on two law enforcement officials, Cohen’s testimony, and “multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents”) opens the president to possible charges of perjury and obstructing the FBI—two charges of impeachment brought by House Republicans against President Bill Clinton.

UNITED STATES: President Trump announced plans to revamp U.S. missile defense capabilities, calling North Korea an “extreme threat” and highlighting dangers posed by China and Russia as rationale.

GHANA: Gunmen shot at close range and killed an investigative journalist who helped expose corruption among high-ranking FIFA officials. A great book for understanding the stakes in the scandal involving the international soccer governing body is Ken Bensinger’s Red Card. As a result of the scandal, President Nana Akufo-Addo shut down the entire Ghana Football Association.

COLOMBIA: José Aldemar Rojas Rodríguez drove a car packed with explosives into a police academy in the capital city of Bogotá Thursday, causing an explosion that killed 21, injured 68 others, and shattered windows in nearby apartments. It was the deadliest attack in Colombia for the past two years, since the government signed a peace treaty with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

CHINA: China’s population will start shrinking in 2027, researchers announced, an impending crisis flowing from Chinese authorities’ nearly 40-year-old one-child policy to curb population growth. Now China might not have enough people to care for its aged and sustain the workforce.

THANKS, Globe Trot readers, for introducing yourself to me and for good conversations at Thursday’s Evangelicals for Life conference.

I’M READING On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior.

To have Globe Trot delivered to your email inbox, email Mindy at

Read more Globe Trot Sign up for the Globe Trot email
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.

Read more from this writer