Yazidis and Christians face existential threat in northeast Syria following Turkish intervention and US pull back of troops

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) heard last week that President Donald Trump’s partial withdrawal of American troops from northeast Syria in 2019 created a vacuum in which Turkey and Turkish-backed militia have been able to threaten local vulnerable civilian populations including Christians and Yazidis. Condemning Turkey’s latest airstrikes and ground operations in the region, the USCIRF called for the US government to “utilize all diplomatic and economic leverage to protect vulnerable religious minorities in northern Iraq — as well as neighboring northeastern Syria — from Turkey’s indiscriminate military operations,” the Christian Post reported.

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IMF Downgrades Global Economic Forecast

As governments around the world battle the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published a further grim forecast, predicting a 4.9% contraction in global GDP (gross domestic product) for 2020, a lower figure than the 3% forecast in April, CNBC reports. The IMF also downgraded its GDP prediction for 2021, lowering it to 5.4% from the 5.8% forecast in April.

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At UN, Arab League head warns of ‘religious war’ if Israel annexes in West Bank

The United Nations, European Union countries, and the Arab League joined Wednesday in calling for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, as the Jewish state’s envoy to the international body insisted the step would not stand in the way of peace with the Palestinians.

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Knesset advances bill to enable Shin Bet surveillance in coronavirus fight

The cabinet and the Knesset voted on Wednesday to advance legislation that would enable the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to use its digital tools to track coronavirus patients. The bill passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum by a vote of 44 to 33, but still must pass additional readings in a Knesset committee and the plenum next week in order to become law.

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Under Trump’s peace plan major Israeli archaeological sites would be located in future Palestinian state

According to a survey conducted for the Shiloh Policy Forum, US President Trump’s Mideast peace plan would place hundreds of Jewish archaeological sites inside a future Palestinian state, CBN News reports. Among the sites concerned are Shiloh and an ancient synagogue discovered in Shomron, the Biblical capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel.

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