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

Turkish authorities to release Brunson, place him under house arrest

International | Plus deadly election day violence in Pakistan and other international news and notes
by Mindy Belz
Posted 7/25/18, 09:43 am

TURKEY: Turkish news outlets report that authorities have released American pastor Andrew Brunson from jail and placed him under house arrest. No confirmation as yet from U.S. officials or any other signs that the transfer has occurred. The judges ruled for him to remain in pretrial detention pending his next court appearance on Oct. 12, according to Aykan Erdemir, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish Parliament.

As Erdemir argued last week in an article for WORLD Magazine, Brunson “deserves to be free not because of a deal, but because there isn’t a shred of evidence against him.”

UPDATE (10:29 a.m.): The American Center for Law and Justice, which serves as Brunson’s legal representative, confirmed Wednesday morning that Turkish authorities have agreed to release Brunson from prison and allow him to live at his home in Turkey. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback also confirmed the reports Wednesday morning in Washington at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

PAKISTAN: At least 29 people are dead following an election day bomb blast in Quetta claimed by ISIS. Voters are deciding between cricket great Imran Khan and the brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

NORTH KOREA: 38th North released satellite images Monday that appear to show North Korea dismantling parts of a key nuclear testing site, the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. The move would be “entirely consistent with the commitment” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made at the June summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But dismantling a test site is just one step. “They need to completely, fully denuclearize,” Pompeo said. Denuclearization will take patience.

THAILAND: All but one of the boys who were rescued from the Thai cave will spend nine days in Buddhist monasteries for “spiritual cleansing,” the BBC reports. Adul Sam-on, 14, is a Christian and will not enter the monastery as a novice monk. The boys are in good health after more than two weeks trapped in the Tham Luang cave, and now each will spend time meditating, praying, and cleaning the temple to which he’s been assigned.

GREECE: At least 74 people have died in wildfires that raged through seaside resorts near Athens, and hundreds remain trapped in the deadliest blazes in decades.

LAOS: A catastrophic dam collapse has left at least 20 dead and more than 100 missing, destroying houses and villages in southeastern Laos.

UNITED STATES: Here’s something you should know: Christians fleeing growing persecution are no longer finding safe haven in the United States. Over the past decade, the United States accepted nearly 20,000 Christian refugees annually, and is on track to accept fewer than 4,000 this year—a decline of more than 80 percent.

UNITED STATES: On the opening day of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by the State Department in Washington, D.C., U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback told delegates from more than 80 nations, “The right to live according to your own soul is under attack in the world.” Delegates also heard moving testimony from Uighur Muslim activists, who described Chinese authorities using advanced technology, including “forced DNA collection and mass surveillance of cell phones to control daily lives.”

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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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