Pastors in prison and other tragedies
International | Good guys and bad guys made international news this week
by Mindy Belz
Posted 11/09/18, 03:39 pm
MYANMAR: A crackdown on Christians in Wa state has landed Chinese missionary pastor John Cao in prison with scant outside intervention—despite a history of successful church and school plantings in Myanmar. Cao, married to an American with two sons attending U.S. colleges, is a Chinese citizen and therefore not eligible for formal U.S. consular services.
TURKEY: Caught at the center of a NATO crisis involving terrorism and Middle East policy, American pastor Andrew Brunson withstood the isolation of prison and the threat of a death sentence with an honest internal battle and a forceful public declaration of his faith. Brunson is WORLD’s 2018 Daniel of the Year.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban designates for the first time took part in a Russia-led peace conference, but Taliban leaders at the same time reiterated the militants’ longstanding refusal to negotiate with the Afghan government.
UNITED STATES: Ian David Long, 28, the former Marine who opened fire in a California bar on Wednesday night, killing 12, served in Afghanistan and likely suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Police came to his home seven months ago because of a disturbance, but a mental health expert said he did not meet the criteria for involuntary commitment.
SYRIA: In northwest Syria, the army has seized key positions at Hama, killing at least 22 militants, in what was supposed to be a demilitarized zone under a September agreement to prevent all-out fighting in Idlib province. In the Northeast near the Iraqi border, Islamic State (ISIS) elements have had success fighting U.S.-backed forces in Deir Ezzor, despite controversial U.S. airstrikes.
YEMEN: Aid organizations are not equipped to feed an entire nation, reports one aid worker on the ground in Hodeidah, where airstrikes and fighting are moving toward the city’s center.
MEXICO: Drug cartel leader Juan Francisco “Kiko” Trevino Chavez was sentenced to five life prison terms plus 20 years in U.S. federal court in Waco, Texas, on Thursday and fined $4 million. The hefty punishment followed his July conviction as leader of a drug gang that has, over the past 10 years, shipped $1.8 billion in cocaine into the United States.
- A U.S. district judge in New York refused the request of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to be allowed to embrace his wife when his trial gets underway next week. The alleged leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the world's largest drug-trafficking operation, has twice escaped from Mexican prisons, including a maximum security facility in 2015. El Chapo’s ongoing network means the jury is likely to be sequestered throughout his trial, which is expected to last months, and New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge will be shut down each time he is transported.
- On Thursday in Chicago a Guzmán protege pleaded guilty to trafficking thousands of pounds of cocaine and heroin into the United States using speed boats, submarines, and jumbo jets.
I’M READING The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast by Michael Scott Moore.
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