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

U.S. officially out of climate accords

International | Plus election news, terrorism in Europe, and pandemic peaks
by Mindy Belz
Posted 11/04/20, 12:00 pm

BRAZIL: No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, formal American participation in the Paris climate accords ends today. President Donald Trump declared his intent in 2017 to withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is administered from Rio de Janeiro. But under the terms of the agreement, any country seeking to withdraw had to wait three years from the date it became international law on Nov. 4, 2016, and then allow a one-year cooling-off period.

The 12th-largest ozone hole on record will remain into November, but declining levels of chlorine in the stratosphere, scientists say, means it is about a million square miles smaller than it would’ve been 20 years ago.

UNITED STATES: Not only Americans but also the whole world needs patience as remaining ballots are counted this week. “In some ways, it’s the world’s election,” said Shivshankar Menon, India’s former national security adviser, as front pages around the world carried news of the election stalemate. Where things stand here.

AUSTRIA: Islamic State (ISIS) claimed credit for the shooting spree in the city center of Vienna that killed four on Monday and wounded at least 14 others, including seven with life-threatening injuries. Kujtim Fejzulai, the 20-year-old alleged gunman, was well-known to authorities and served time in prison for attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS. The United Kingdom raised its terror threat level to severe as French assaults also signaled an uptick in terror attacks.

PANDEMIC: Top health officials are sounding a warning about another wave of coronavirus cases. The U.S. reported its second-highest number of cases on Election Day. The seven-day average is now double what it was on Sept. 4.

  • “We are entering the most difficult phase of the pandemic right now,” former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said last week. “We are much better prepared to deal with it, but it is going to be a hard stretch ahead.”
  • “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” warned the National Institutes of Health’s Anthony Fauci on Friday, saying the country needs an “abrupt change” in public health practices and behaviors in the coming weeks.

PERU has the world’s highest per capita COVID-19 death toll, its health system tested by years of underinvestment, and 7 of 10 Peruvians say they know someone who has died of the virus.

BELGIUM is second in the COVID-19 per capita death toll worldwide and could hit its capacity for hospitalizations by the end of this week—as hospitals across Europe again cope with exponential ICU demands.

CHINA: Dissident pastor and ChinaAid founder Bob Fu—in hiding with his family since an online harassment campaign prompted protests at his Texas home—has filed a demand for retraction against GTV Media Group and its founder, Guo Wengui. Twitter suspended several accounts associated with Wengui, but only after the Chinese billionaire was tied to the leak of a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden—not during the weeks of threats against Fu and other dissidents.

MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME: Andrew Walther, president of EWTN News and a long-time Catholic activist on behalf of the persecuted church, died Sunday of leukemia. He was 45. Walther was a trustworthy source for journalists like me. While working for the Knights of Columbus during ISIS occupation of Iraq and Syria, he helped lead its efforts to raise $20 million in aid for displaced Christians in the Middle East.

I’M READING Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (and getting ready for WORLD’s upcoming books of the year issue).


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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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