U.S. favorite declared winner in Afghanistan
International | President Ashraf Ghani has supported American negotiations with the Taliban
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/20/20, 06:10 pm
AFGHANISTAN: Ashraf Ghani has narrowly won a contested election, officials announced after a five-month dispute over the vote. Ghani, clearly the U.S. favorite as it tries to conclude a peace agreement with the Taliban, won a second term by securing only 50.64 percent of the vote, and his rival Abdullah Abdullah says he may form his own government. Republican lawmakers are warning U.S. President Donald Trump not to draw down the troops too fast.
ETHIOPIA: International adoptions in the United States have fallen from 23,000 children to 4,000 in 15 years—largely due to government regulations and new fees. Bethany Christian Services last month announced it was ending its role facilitating overseas adoptions.
IRAQ: Tents are collapsing under heavy snow. Nearly all of Iraq’s Yazidis (360,000 out of 400,000) remain in tent camps six years after Islamic State (ISIS) forced them from their homes and three years after their villages were liberated. It’s a miserable sight.
NIGERIA: Christians are standing together as violent attacks increase.
CHINA: A new research paper by two Chinese scientists alleges the coronavirus may have originated with bats used at two labs in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The paper was quickly taken down Thursday. The scientific community repeatedly has pushed back against theories that state-run labs in Hubei province may have contributed to spreading the virus.
JAPAN: An infectious disease specialist with experience fighting Ebola epidemics in Africa said of his visit aboard the once-quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, “The handling of infections was far worse than in Africa or China.” Dr. Kentaro Iwata said, “I was so scared [inside the ship]. Everywhere could have virus and everybody was not careful about it.” As of Wednesday, tests showed 621 people out of 3,011 had the virus, making the ship the largest known site of the epidemic outside of China.
IRAN closed schools and enacted emergency measures after five cases of coronavirus in the country were confirmed and two Iranians with the virus died. The first cases of the virus reported in Africa and the Middle East renew concerns it may spread in less developed countries with fewer healthcare resources.
VATICAN CITY: For the first time in centuries, all 12 tapestries designed by Raphael hang on the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel as part of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death.
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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.