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

U.S. airstrike targets al-Shabaab in Somalia

International | Plus, reports from the Philippines, Mexico, Syria, and more
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/21/19, 01:43 pm

SOMALIA: The U.S. military on Saturday carried out its deadliest airstrike in Somalia, killing 52 jihadists at an al-Shabaab stronghold—following a deadly terrorist attack in Nairobi last week and the jihadist group’s attack on Ethiopian troops near the joint U.S.-Kenya-Somalia base. Al-Shabaab affiliates with al-Qaeda, which also claimed a weekend attack on a UN base in Mali that killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers.

PHILIPPINES: Mainly Muslim areas of the predominantly Catholic Philippines are taking part in a referendum to decide whether power should be devolved to a locally elected administration in one of Southeast Asia’s most conflict-torn regions. The vote is the culmination of a peace process aimed at ending sectarian violence, including the rise of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has abducted Westerners and in 2016 pledged allegiance to ISIS.

CHINA: Economic activity has slowed sharply, the lowest economic expansion in the world’s second largest economy in 28 years.

MEXICO: Lead lawmakers in Mexico are calling for an investigation of accusations revealed in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal courtroom last week, saying drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman bribed former President Enrique Peña Nieto to the tune of $100 million.

INDIA: There’s fresh snowfall in Kashmir, as the embattled mountainous region hits “Chillai Kalan,” the 40-day harshest period of winter. The Hindu nationalist-led government is pressing its campaign to repatriate Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus forced out by Muslim-led violence in the 1990s.

SYRIA: U.S. President Donald Trump’s unilateralist stand in world affairs risks boundaries “defined by power, not principles,” writes Dennis Ross. And, it’s little different from Democrats’ foreign policy (with important discussion about the difference between being the world’s policeman and playing an active role on the world stage).

Empty seats at this weekend’s Arab League summit reveal a region gripped by serious dysfunction.

MLK DAY: From Mainz, Germany, to Memphis, Tenn., more than 1,000 roadways worldwide are named after Martin Luther King Jr.

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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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