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

Rehab gone wrong

International | London attack raises questions about the handling of ISIS detainees
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/02/19, 12:38 pm

BRITAIN: The London Bridge attacker was depicted as a success story in the rehab program where the convicted jihadist launched his knife attack Friday. He killed two people and wounded three others before bystanders chased him down and police shot and killed him. The case of the assailant, recently released from jail, again raises questions for Europe and the United States over what to do with foreign fighters for ISIS detained in Syria and Iraq.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for Friday’s assault.
  • Out of 196 terrorists sentenced in France, more than half will be released in 2020.

BURKINA FASO: An attack on a Protestant church in the eastern town of Hantoukoura has killed at least 14 people. Similar attacks have killed more than 500 people in the past year.

IRAN: A destroyed bank is just one sign of the worst protests in 40 years since Tehran’s Islamic Revolution. At least 180 people have been killed, yet protesters continue to overrule a harsh government crackdown.

IRAQ: The Iraqi parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, just over a year after he took office, following two months of protests with more than 420 people killed by security forces.

UKRAINE: President Volodymyr Zelensky again denied that he and President Donald Trump ever discussed a decision to withhold American aid to Ukraine—part of an alleged quid pro quo at the center of the impeachment inquiry in Washington. Zelensky also said Trump’s characterization of Ukraine as “a corrupt country” impedes efforts to win back the Crimean Peninsula and other areas seized by Russia in 2014.

ALBANIA: Churches are at the center of a recovery effort after two earthquakes rocked the country, damaging buildings, killing at least 47 people, and injuring 750 others. The magnitude 6.4 quake on Tuesday was the worst in decades. The Albanian Evangelical Alliance is coordinating aid across the country, providing hot meals, tents, blankets, transportation, and other care for traumatized victims.

HUNGARY: A three-day conference on Christian persecution hosted by the Orbán government drew 600 participants from 40 countries, including clergy from hot zones like Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told the gathering:

“The Hungarian government rejects the approach that often appears on the part of the international community, according to which Christian phobia and any form of anti-Christian sentiment is acceptable.”

TURKEY: Ahead of NATO’s 70th anniversary summit in London, which begins Tuesday, Turkey is banking on keeping its Russian air defense system separate from NATO defenses. Such an arrangement technically violates the treaty alliance and comes after the United States eased sanctions over the S-400 system. It also comes amid reports that Turkish forces are constructing a concrete separation wall inside Syria and with a new report documenting attacks on civilians in the area.

SRI LANKA: The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa threatens a return to Sinhalese Buddhist hegemony, and Christian pastors warn that churches may face a new wave of persecution. Easter Sunday terror attacks this year killed 257 people and targeted three churches.

EGYPT: The raid on a leading independent news outlet and arrest of its senior editor last week underscore the state’s choke on press and other freedoms. According to a recent report, at least 546 websites have been blocked by the Egyptian authorities—including BBC News and U.S.-funded Alhurra News.

ITALY: Pope Francis urged followers to continue public displays of the Nativity in a statement signed Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, in the town of Greccio, where St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 created the first crèche.

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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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