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

Yet another vote on Brexit

International | Brits decide on a prime minister—and their country’s future
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/12/19, 04:46 pm

BRITAIN: Voters are at the polls throughout the U.K. on Thursday in what is essentially a(nother) Brexit referendum. The Conservative Party’s Boris Johnson has held a consistent lead over Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, but it had narrowed in closing days of campaigning.

  • A liability for Corbyn is that British Jews believe he is anti-Semitic.
  • As with the United States, U.K. government spending will rise no matter who wins.
  • With hours to go before polls closed at 10 p.m. GMT, there’s a playlist for anxious voters.

FRANCE: Railway workers said there will be no Christmas break in transport strikes, as President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reform the pension system.

MALTA: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is under pressure to resign over his role in the investigation into the murder of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The 53-year-old, a brazen journalist who brought down criminal networks, including those tied to the Panama Papers scandal, was killed by a bomb planted in her car in 2017—the only murder on the tiny Mediterranean island that year.

BURMA/MYANMAR: The United States imposed sanctions on military leaders over human rights abuses against the Rohingya and other minorities—just as Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, defended the military’s role in her testimony at The Hague. Attacks against the Rohingya are ongoing, and more than 1 million have been forced to flee to Bangladesh.

CHINA: Monday marked the first anniversary of the crackdown on the Protestant church network Early Rain. Pastor Wang Yi, detained on suspicion of state subversion, likely will be tried soon.

HONG KONG: Sunday’s flashlight rally—at 800,000 people—was the largest in months of street protests over China’s crackdown on freedoms.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Health workers fear a resurgence in Ebola cases after rebels in late November killed three health workers in eastern Congo.

IRAQ: Demonstrations continue with the deadline for parliament to select a new prime minister only days away, and Christians in Tahrir Square have erected a Christmas tree with photos of those killed in the protests. This video report gives a good overview of the scene.

LEBANON: Protesters in Beirut aren’t fazed by flooding brought by heavy rains. The Greek Orthodox archbishop of Beirut in a speech on Sunday spoke out against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, saying, “Lebanon is being ruled by one person [who rules] by means of weapons.”

SYRIA: Iran’s rapid buildup of a military base at Syria’s border with Iraq is a cog in its larger wheel of influence—a must-read to understand what’s at work in the battle over northeast Syria.

RUSSIA: Attorneys for ADF International have filed a petition on behalf of Russian pastor Vitaliy Bak at the European Court of Human Rights over the raid and forced closure of his house church in 2018.

SLOVAKIA: The Christmas market in Bratislava is the stuff of dreams.

I’M READING: Dominion by Tom Holland and (continuing) The Thirty-Year Genocide by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi, one of two winners of WORLD’s 2019 Book of the Year in the Understanding the World category.

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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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