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

Travel crunch

International | The world’s largest human migration begins for Chinese New Year
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/17/20, 03:46 pm

CHINA: With the approach of Chinese New Year, the world’s largest migration begins this weekend. An estimated 3 billion trips will be made over the next three weeks, as Chinese revelers flock to be with family and friends.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed “phase one” of a trade deal with China, lowering tariffs on some imports in exchange for intellectual property protections and increased agricultural purchases by China.

TAIWAN: A U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, a show of support after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won reelection in a landslide, campaigning to stand up to China and its claims for the island.

RUSSIA: An opposition leader has called on Russians this weekend to protest sweeping constitutional reforms floated by President Vladimir Putin. Putin took his own government by surprise, and it resigned after he proposed changes that weaken the presidency but beef up a state council Putin likely will lead after his term ends.

POLAND: The European Union has come to the defense of Poland after Russia’s Putin tried to blame it for the outbreak of World War II.

UKRAINE: With Ukraine at the heart of an impeachment trial underway in the U.S. Senate, Ukraine’s prime minister submitted his resignation Friday to President Volodymyr Zelensky, days after he was caught on tape saying Zelensky knows nothing about the economy.

Authorities in eastern Ukraine have banned 12 books—including a popular translation of the Gospel of John.

IRAN: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave his first Friday sermon speech in eight years, calling the United States “an arrogant power,” dismissing protesters as American “stooges,” and praising Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander killed in a U.S drone attack in Iraq. I spoke with WORLD Radio this week on the sinking sands of time for the ruling ayatollahs.

SYRIA: Around 350,000 Syrians have been displaced by fighting in Idlib, the last major holdout of rebel and terror factions in Syria. A Russian-backed offensive has trapped nearly 3 million Idlib residents.

BRITAIN: Christopher Tolkien, the youngest son of author J.R.R. Tolkien and keeper of his legacy, has died at 95. He was “Middle Earth’s cartographer and scholar,” said Tolkien Society chairman Shaun Gunner, praising his commitment to his father’s work: “Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to him.”

FRANCE: Rebuild the roof of Notre Dame with wood, said a leading French architect. “Had it been built in concrete or steel it would not still be there,” he said.

NOTE: With the latest issue, WORLD Magazine has a new look. Also, Globe Trot will take a study break on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, returning on Thursday.

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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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