Taiwan left off religious freedom alliance
International | The United States offers observer status instead to the crucial Asian ally
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/17/20, 03:54 pm
TAIWAN: The U.S. State Department blocked Taiwan from joining 27 other nations in a U.S.-led International Religious Freedom Alliance. But according to Taiwanese officials, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback did issue an invitation for the nation to join as an observer. Brownback’s office hasn’t responded to queries on why Taiwan has been blocked from the highly touted initiative. Taiwan is America’s 11th-largest trading partner and a crucial Asian ally, but since 1979 has held non-state status. Donald Trump as president-elect in 2016 appeared ready to change that, stirring controversy in a first overseas call to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
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IRAQ: The Iraqi government may be building a new camp to house ISIS families, currently detained at al-Hol Camp in Syria, located in Nineveh, the province where ISIS in 2014 destroyed Yazidi and Christian communities.
PAKISTAN’s continuing plague of locusts is forcing the country to import grain and other food supplies, sparking shortages and rising prices. The infestation since last year has destroyed 40 percent of Pakistan’s crops.
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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.