More COVID-19 milestones worldwide
Meanwhile, Brazil stops counting the number of cases and deaths
ITALY: The global toll of recorded deaths due to COVID-19 topped 400,000 and total confirmed cases passed 7 million over the weekend. The United States has nearly 111,000 confirmed virus-related deaths. Pope Francis warned, “Don’t cry victory too soon,” as Italy and other European nations reopened and the pontiff again recited prayers from his balcony at the Vatican.
BRAZIL: The Bolsonaro government has stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections, an extraordinary move that hides the true toll of the disease in Latin America’s largest nation. Brazil is running the second highest caseload in the world after the United States.
PAKISTAN: Christians and Hindus are being denied access to food aid as a new form of persecution under COVID-19 lockdown guidelines.
NEW ZEALAND: Authorities ended all economic and social restrictions, except for border controls, saying New Zealand has eliminated the spread of the coronavirus.
SYRIA is seeing a resurgence of ISIS attacks in the northeast region where Islamic State militants were “defeated” in 2019. In Deir Ezzor province, at least 638 attacks have been recorded since March 2019—exacerbated by Turkey’s invasion and attacks on Syrian Democratic Forces in the region. An in-depth study of incidents shows ISIS strength “just under that seen in 2012, when it was trying to build momentum in the early stages of an eventual recovery from the defeat of its predecessor group years before.” In 2013 ISIS took the Syrian city of Raqqa and in 2014 invaded Iraq, taking Mosul and other areas.
HONG KONG: An open letter drafted by church leaders and signed by more than 2,400 Hong Kong Christians repents of church apathy and inaction in the face of Beijing’s crackdown on new security laws over what was once an autonomous territory:
“When facing the authority’s strong governance and the persecution and suppression towards the dissidents, churches often chose to protect themselves. They engaged in self-censorship and remained silent towards the evil deeds of the authority, with their only wish being the smooth and uninterrupted operation of church ministries.”
IRAN: Beset by poor handling of its coronavirus outbreak and continued unrest, a so-called honor killing last month, where a father beheaded his 14-year-old daughter, also has set off a nationwide debate.
ENGLAND: “The sun never sets on someone demanding justice for George Floyd,” as waves of protests continue around the world. London police officers faced off against violent protesters, too, over the weekend who defaced statues of Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (!!) in ongoing protests against racism and police brutality. Thousands are expected on Monday in Houston as the body of George Floyd is laid to rest on Tuesday.
GUINEA: West African Catholic Cardinal Robert Sarah thinks the world could do with a little more silence:
“Words often bring with them the illusion of transparency, as though they allowed us to understand everything, control everything, put everything in order. Modernity is talkative because it is proud. …”
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