Trump tackles religious persecution
International | The rest of the world instead focuses on climate change at the opening of the UN General Assembly
by Mindy Belz
Posted 9/23/19, 01:36 pm
UNITED NATIONS: Top U.S. officials will skip a climate summit opening this week’s UN General Assembly. President Donald Trump instead will be at UN headquarters in New York hosting a “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom.” U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback was on hand for an on-the-record briefing on the event Monday afternoon.
IRAN: President Trump’s last-minute decision not to retaliate against Iran for shooting down a U.S. drone in June may have emboldened Iran to attack oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this month. Britain on Sunday joined the United States in concluding Iran was responsible for the attacks, but all sides appeared to be tamping down a confrontation. Iran released a British oil tanker on Monday, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called the attacks “an act of war,” said on Sunday, “We do want a peaceful resolution of this.”
ISRAEL: Lawmakers representing Israel’s Arab minority played a decisive role in weakening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grip on power. Netanyahu, with a slim lead over rival Benny Gantz in building a parliamentary bloc after last Tuesday’s election, has yet to secure a governing majority of at least 61 legislators.
BRITAIN: The collapse of legendary tour company Thomas Cook has left hundreds of thousands of tourists stranded. About 600,000 people were traveling via the company’s four airlines in 16 countries on Sunday when it ceased operations, and Britain is looking at its largest airlift in peacetime history to get Brits back home.
Religious freedom advocates welcomed the appointment of Rehman Chishti as Britain’s new special envoy for freedom of religion and belief. The Pakistan-born Muslim and Conservative member of Parliament championed the release of Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi and her asylum in the U.K.
KENYA: At least seven children are dead after a primary school collapsed in Nairobi.
World Vision is making a dramatic change in the way it initiates child sponsorship—allowing children in Africa to choose their sponsors.
LIBERIA: A small mission hospital at the center of the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is making a dramatic comeback from massive deaths and stigma associated with treating the virus—helped by the Americans who returned after themselves contracting Ebola.
WEST PAPUA: Deaths are reported in the latest round of protests, as demonstrators face off against government forces amid an information blackout in this province of Indonesia. West Papua was a Dutch colony until the 1960s—and the story of how some indigenous tribes of what was Dutch New Guinea went from cannibalizing Christian missionaries to becoming Christians is amazing.
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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.