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Mourning in Armenia and India

A genocide declaration by President Joe Biden soothes old wounds


War veterans holding a Yezidi flag attend a memorial for Armenian genocide victims. Associated Press/ Photo by Grigor Yepremyan/ PAN

Mourning in Armenia and India

ARMENIANS around the world who commemorate April 24 as a day of sorrow celebrated Saturday as President Joe Biden announced that for the first time the U.S. government recognizes the Armenian genocide. Previous presidents shied from a formal declaration to avoid angering NATO ally Turkey, which denies the mass killings. Besides righting history, the move may serve as notice to the regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over its recent aggression in Syria and the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

The Armenian genocide changed Eastern Christianity forever, killing 1.5 million Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek believers, plus green-lighting Hitler’s Holocaust strategy. More background on the atrocities here, plus a book I highly recommend.

ASIA

India: As COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday officially surge past 200,000, workers say there are so many dead bodies to burn they must cut down trees in city parks for kindling. India is now recording over 350,000 infections per day, more than any other country has since the pandemic began. New Delhi has a positivity rate of 36 percent, or more than 1 in 3 people infected. The United States and other countries are providing assistance, but keeping aid workers safe is proving a challenge: A World Vision spokesperson told me 70 staff members are battling the virus, with at least three deaths this week.

China: President George W. Bush once called chimeras one of “the most egregious abuses of medical research,” but scientists are crossing ethical boundaries anyway, with breakthroughs in developing embryonic cells containing both human and monkey DNA. The latest research took place in a state biomedical research lab in Kunming.

Beijing censored news of Chloe Zhao’s Oscar win for Nomadland, the first time a Chinese woman has won the award for best director.

NEAR EAST

Iraq: The government will investigate a massive fire at a Baghdad hospital that left 82 COVID-19 patients dead and dozens injured. Amid another wave of infections, Iraq is losing physicians to the coronavirus, including last month a young doctor who was pregnant and Dr. Nemam Ghafouri, whose work among Yazidis may be irreplaceable.

Egypt: Islamic State (ISIS) militants who kidnapped and killed a Coptic businessman, whose death was publicized in an ISIS video released last week, have also threatened his two sons, and Sinai Christians question the government’s security in the area. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission holds a hearing (virtually) on Thursday on “Human Rights and U.S. Policy in the MENA Region Ten Years After the Arab Spring.”

AMERICAS

Canada has deployed its military to Ontario to support a flagging healthcare system amid an ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases that also saw provincial shutdowns begin again in Nova Scotia.

Uruguay: An aggressive variant from Brazil is turning Uruguay into one of the world’s worst COVID-19 hotspots.

EUROPE

United Kingdom: The government used new powers for the first time to sanction 22 people from Russia, Africa, and South America accused of involvement in embezzlement, colluding with terrorists, drug trafficking, and fraud. Two Russians, Dmitry Klyuev and Andrey Pavlov, were sanctioned in the United States in 2014 and 2017, and have been frequent visitors and lavish spenders in the U.K. since. “This was an 11-year struggle that came to fruition today,” said Bill Browder, who campaigned for such sanctions. Browder worked for slain Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who inspired similar laws in the United States in 2012. “The U.K. is the world center of money laundering and corrupt capital, so these sanctions will have an outsized effect, even if it’s a country of only about 70 million people.”

UPCOMING: A blood moon is coming May 26 (good explainer here), followed by a June 10 solar eclipse visible in parts of the Northern Hemisphere.


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.

@mcbelz

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