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

Overseas U.S. voter turnout high

International | World leaders have much riding on this election’s outcome
by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/28/20, 06:46 pm

ELECTION 2020: Voter turnout for nearly 5 million Americans living abroad looks like it will be higher than usual. Among world leaders, perhaps no one has more riding on next week’s election returns than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but this breakdown shows how other leaders will be affected, too.

IRAN: “You cannot trust Democrats,” said a hardline official not quoted by name in this analysis suggesting a President Joe Biden would face a wary Tehran government reluctant to dismantle its nuclear enrichment and restart negotiations, as Biden has suggested he would do. “Not much compromise should be expected from Iran’s side,” said an Iranian security official. “If Biden wins, don’t expect too much bargaining room from [Khamenei].”

BRITAIN: A British Facebook group with more than 17,000 followers is the latest sign the U.S.-based QAnon movement is exporting its loopy conspiracy theories to Europe.

PANDEMIC: A rise in COVID-19 cases across the Northern Hemisphere is testing hospital capacity in Europe and parts of the United States. The World Health Organization on Oct. 24 reported its biggest single-day rise of 468,409 cases. At its Oct. 26 press briefing, officials warned that positivity rates and deaths also showed upticks. “The positivity rate cannot lie,” warned Dr. Michael Ryan, and he said getting such rates (the percentage of those tested who test positive) down is critical to making vaccine programs successful.

Indigenous communities in Canada, unlike the United States, are showing dramatically lower rates of infection than the rest of the population.

Syria’s embattled Idlib region has seen a tenfold increase in COVID-19 cases in the last month.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police rearrested pro-independence activist Tony Chung, along with others, after the group made a dramatic bid for asylum at the U.S. Consulate and were turned away.

CHINA: President Xi Jinping and members of the Central Committee are meeting to formulate economic and social policy goals for the next five years. The fifth plenum comes as members of Congress and U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien appear poised to accuse Xi’s regime of carrying out genocide in China’s Xinjiang province against ethnic Uighurs.

SUDAN: More than 180 delegates, including Western diplomats, are participating in an international religious freedom roundtable hosted in Khartoum by members of a transitional government that in 2019 replaced the country’s Islamic regime. The event underscores Sudan’s progress that led to its removal last week from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list.

The agreement hinged on Sudan’s agreement to pay $335 million to U.S. victims for its involvement in 1998 embassy bombings. But Saudi Arabia—not Sudan—is the source funding the compensation package.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in 2011 found that Sudan “harbored and provided sanctuary” to al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks, leading to the U.S. terror designation and extended settlement procedures.

Victims’ representative Eric Sapp clarified the arrangement does compensate some foreign nationals, but “at a rate less than 10 percent that of native-born Americans” while “it doesn’t compensate any of the foreign national families, who were the majority of the judgment holders.” Foreign national employees and their families received judgments from Bates in a two-year process that were on average 25 percent higher than U.S.-born victims, said Sapp, because they were more badly injured. Those judgments, overruled in the deal, were based on the severity of injury and loss for the employee and family members rather than upon nationality of birth.

ARMENIA: Christian communities in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh are bearing the brunt of the crisis as Turkey has stepped in on behalf of Azerbaijan to wrest the region from Armenian control—and churches 200 miles away are feeling it, too.

BELARUS: Olympic basketball star Yelena Leuchanka is among prominent figures jailed after joining protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. Protesters overflowed the streets of Minsk on Monday calling for national strikes.

MEXICO: Hurricane Zeta made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula north of Tulum before heading to the United States. It sent rain and high winds to areas of the Caribbean Sea struck just three weeks ago by Hurricane Delta, causing landslides in Jamaica that killed at least two people.

ITALY: The Sicilian town of Salemi is the latest to offer up dilapidated properties for less than the cost of an espresso.

I’M WATCHING how a Sudanese migrant made his way to South Africa, where he became leading doctor Emmanuel Taban, whose bronchoscopy treatment for COVID-19 patients is being followed all over the world. And READING Literary Occasions by V. S. Naipaul.


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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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