Article Oct 10, 2016

Top 5 international stories of last week

Every Monday, we bring to you the top five international stories of the week, with a particular emphasis on religious liberty, justice issues, and geopolitical issues that impact liberty and justice.

Hurricane Matthew strikes Haiti, killing at least 100 and as many as 400. According to some reports, the hurricane, which struck Florida over the weekend, has killed at least 400 people in Haiti. The storm is the most powerful to hit the island nation in over a decade. In one province alone, 30,000 homes were destroyed.

UN Security Council unanimously nominates António Guterres to be the UN’s ninth Secretary-General. For the last 11 years, Guterres has served as the UN High Commissioner on Refugees. From 1995 to 2002, Guterres served as the prime minister of Portugal. Guterres will go to a vote before the entire UN General Assembly later this month, and if approved, he will take the helm of the United Nations at a time when the world faces a number of intractable problems.

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The prize was awarded for Mr. Santos’s efforts in working to negotiate a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, a leftist rebel group. The deal would have brought an end to 52 years of civil war in Colombia, but the deal was rejected by Colombian voters, who remain deeply divided on how to deal with FARC. The Nobel prize was awarded 5 days after the deal was rejected, apparently in an effort to breathe new life into the peace negotiations.

US suspends talks with Russia over Syria as tensions over Syria increase. Two weeks ago, the U.S. warned Russia that it would break off talks over Syria unless Russia halted bombing in Aleppo. The Russian air campaign has continued and in some areas intensified since that time. This has led to a marked deterioration in relations between U.S. and Russia. From the NY Times: “Just a month ago, it appeared that Secretary of State John Kerry was on the verge of securing the long-sought cooperation of Russia on Syria through an agreement with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, that called for a reduction of violence, access to humanitarian aid and the joint targeting of jihadist groups. But no sooner was the agreement announced than it began to fray — first because of the accidental bombing of Syrian troops by the American-led coalition and then because of what the United States claimed was a deliberate bombing by Russian aircraft and Syrian helicopters of a humanitarian convoy headed to Aleppo.”

Philippines President Duterte compares himself—in a “positive” way—to Hitler. Mr. Duterte was speaking of his drug enforcement program, and understating the number of Jews killed by Hitler, said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews… there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Jewish leaders, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the World Jewish Congress, condemned the remarks. Foreign Policy has an intriguing take on the situation, suggesting that many in the developing world don’t have the same negative impressions of Hitler as the West does.

Have suggestions for a top 5 article this week or think there’s an issue we should be covering? Email me at twussow@erlc.com.

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