Showdown in Venezuela
International | Guiadó begins his ‘final phase’ to oust Maduro
by Mindy Belz
Posted 5/01/19, 11:58 am
VENEZUELA: Months of unrest entered a new and perhaps a showdown phase, as opposition leader Juan Guiadó surrounded himself with military supporters and called for street protests Wednesday to oust rival President Nicolás Maduro. Violent protests broke out across the country ahead of planned rallies. Guiadó claimed authority as Venezuela’s president in January, and he has gained support as the country experiences economic failure, mass starvation, and regular power outages. He tweeted that he is beginning the “final phase” of his plan to topple Maduro.
JAPAN: Emperor Akihito became the first to abdicate the throne in 200 years. He obtained legal permission to abdicate, citing his failing health. His son Crown Prince Naruhito has succeeded him as emperor, beginning a new Imperial Calendar in the world’s oldest monarchy. Akihito was the first emperor to take the throne after World War II, but under a new constitution the emperor’s role became largely symbolic.
NEPAL: The frightening ordeal of pastor Dhurba Kumar Pariyar underscores increased targeting of Christian leaders, who are watched, assaulted and extorted for money.
NORWAY: A tamed beluga whale found off the coast wearing a special Russian harness was probably trained by the Russian navy for a “combat role.”
POLAND: On Thursday, eight U.S. officials, in a bid to combat anti-Semitism, will lead for the first time an American delegation to the annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. The Israeli-led march features thousands of students and commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day.
ISIS: The first appearance in five years of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—via a video released on Monday—will likely serve both as a morale boost for Islamic State supporters and remaining militants and as a catalyst for individuals or small groups to act. The Easter attacks in Sri Lanka—more than 3,000 miles from Syria—was in retaliation for the terrorists’ rout last month from their last stronghold in the Middle East, Baghdadi said. Authorities believe the ISIS leader is in a remote desert area of Iraq.
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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.