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

Sealed borders and soft openings

International | Dealing with the ongoing pandemic at home and abroad
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/30/20, 02:14 pm

UNITED STATES: With grim milestones reached this week—more than 60,000 Americans dead, 1 million confirmed having COVID-19, and 30 million unemployed—President Donald Trump said he will not extend federal guidelines set to expire on Thursday on limiting activity. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated to reporters the government has no immediate plans to reopen borders.

Upheaval at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement instigated by immigration hardliners doesn’t bode well for combating child separations at the border: “Kids endure irreparable harm as safe placements grind to a halt.”

NEW ZEALAND has eased its coronavirus restrictions, believing its outbreak is “currently” eliminated, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The island nation imposed some of the most severe lockdown procedures in mid-March, and through enforced quarantines and limited contact tracing has managed to reduce the rate of spreading the disease to fewer than one other person per case. The government on Wednesday began a partial reopening of schools and businesses and a slight easing of movement but will continue to seal its border.

OCEANIA: Sparsely populated islands in the Pacific and a few other locations are about the only places in the world not reporting cases of the new coronavirus (North Korea, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, in my view, are simply not reporting). South Sandwich Islands, anyone?

IRAQ: ISIS fighters “are confident enough now to conduct attacks in the daytime,” said a Diyala security officer following a spate of attacks near the Iranian border.

LIBYA: The Libyan National Army has arrested an Egyptian considered the most dangerous terrorist in Libya and responsible for bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt. Many consider Mohammad Mohammad Al-Sayyid, also known as Mohamed Al-Sanbakhti and Abu Khaled Munir, a trusted lieutenant of Hisham Ashmawy, a prominent Egyptian officer turned Islamist militant. Egyptian authorities executed Ashmawy last month over bomb plots targeting Egypt’s president and others.

Ashmawy is the subject of a drama series, The Choice, currently popular during Ramadan. And, yes, Ramadan soap operas are a thing.

EGYPT will extend its state of emergency three more months to deal with “dangerous” conditions brought on by the coronavirus outbreak and security threats. April marks three years since the country has been under a continuous state of emergency.

SOUTH KOREA and China plan to fast-track business travel and ease border controls starting on Friday.

CHINA: Social distancing hats are the latest thing for the kids.

ECUADOR: Mincaye, one of the Waodani warriors who speared to death Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries intent on reaching the unreached tribe, has died. The 1956 incident made news around the world, but the work by survivors after the killings reaped untold rewards as one-fourth or more of the once-murderous tribe—including Mincaye (watch his testimony)—became Christians. “He was a man so dramatically changed by God and His Word that it’s hard to believe that he was one of the men who killed our dad and his four missionary colleagues 64 years ago,” said Kathy Saint Drown, daughter of slain missionary Nate Saint.

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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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    Posted: Fri, 05/01/2020 01:11 pm

    I love the Chinese kids hats and the history lesson. But I didn't understand what was going on until I read thru the twitter feed and then went back and looked at the hats again. Great fun that is.