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Globe Trot: Putin signs into law bill scrapping religious freedom

The new law requires permits to preach and restricts evangelism to church buildings

RUSSIA: Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law an “anti-terror” package that includes measures eviscerating religious freedom. The new law requires government permits to preach and teach the gospel, and restricts evangelism essentially to registered church building sites.

The law targets Protestant churches more directly than Orthodox ones. Also, in a gotcha clause, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, “If the law produces any undesired outcomes, the government will introduce measures accordingly by presidential decree.”

UNITED STATES: Last night’s sniper attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead and capped a week of racial tension made some international front pages. The city scheduled a noon prayer vigil in downtown’s Thanksgiving Square for the deadliest incident involving American police forces since 9/11.

CHINA: Widespread flooding has killed nearly 200 people and affected 32 million residents in 26 provinces still battling high waters—with 56,000 houses collapsed. The deadly typhoon spawning heavy rains has left Taiwan and may again make landfall in mainland China.

IRAQ: The death toll in the biggest single car bombing ever in Baghdad last weekend has reached nearly 300. The mostly Shiite area of Karada is also home to the city’s ancient churches, but of the identified victims I know of only one Christian, Assyrian Fared Bahnam. Reports are his mother died on hearing the news, and both were buried in their northern hometown of Dohuk.

The Guardian of London posted a striking Google map that charts suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad since the U.S.-led war began in 2003 (see map above). Attacks in Iraq this year have killed more than 600—that’s four Paris attacks, 17 Brussels, 42 San Bernardinos, and 12 Orlandos.

LEBANON: Noteworthy contrast exists between The New York Times and Associated Press coverage of the brutal—and targeted—killings of Christians in the border town of Al Qaa.

SYRIA: An ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 30 residents in the mostly Christian area of Hasakah, as the region—once both the Christian heartland and breadbasket of Syria—comes under an extended and seemingly unnoticed terrorist assault.

ISRAEL: Who wouldn’t want to go on a “Milk and Honey” tour of Israel?

BELGIUM: President Obama is in Europe to meet with NATO heads, and while the treaty organization takes its military band seriously, only the Americans (as with so much involving NATO) send musicians.

I’M READING perhaps my favorite cookbook diary, as it’s been a violent and discouraging week, but also my friend Seb Gorka’s really good Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.

Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine’s first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afghanistan, 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.



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Paul B. Taylor

They couldn't assassinate candidate Trump, and Britain has a Brexit.  We are making progress in defeating Putin's conspiracy.