The ten-member medical team killed in Afghanistan last month included a German, a Briton and six Americans who brought their varied skills in health care and in regional languages to remote parts of the poverty-stricken country. Several of the volunteers had spent years in such perilous missions.
The Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, a long, mountainous region on the border with Afghanistan, may be the world's most violent area. I asked Mano Rumalshah, bishop of the Church of Pakistan's 70,000-member NWFP diocese, "How do you serve as a Christian in this hostile region, where violence has become the norm and you’re held down economically, socially and politically? How do you incarnate Christ when you live here?"
With the release of 19 kidnapped Korean Christians taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the leader of the national church council in South Korea said that the traumatic, 40-day event may stimulate church debate in that nation on ways to plan safer and more effective missions.
You don’t have to knock before entering Shkiba’s flat in the southern section of Kabul. Just walk up three flights of poorly aligned stairs in a vacated school building, and avoid the rubble and large holes caused by rocket explosions. Shkiba lives in what was once a classroom; the space is large, but the windows are without glass.
After a particularly heavy U.S. bombardment of Kunduz, al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters initially refused to surrender. Northern Alliance factions argued over how to arrange the surrender of Kunduz, provoking one U.S. official to describe the situation in and around the city as “chaotic.” His word reminds me of an exchange in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons.
Star-crossed toys: Although reluctant to seize bank accounts of terrorist organizations, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has been diligent about intercepting what its government regards as illicit contraband. For example, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce recently confiscated a shipment of 10 million bags of potato chips from Thailand.
Feb 26, 2015
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).