Around the World
  • International Adoption Rates Plummet in U.S.

    Just as the new year began, Russia banned American citizens from adopting its orphaned children. The adoption ban was a tit-for-tat, politically motivated move in response to the Magnitsky Act, a new U.S. law that imposes sanctions for human rights abuses in Russia. It meant instant heartbreak for hundreds of Russian orphans and the American families currently in the process of adopting them. U.S. families adopted more Russian children than any other country, about 60,000 since the late 1990s.

    Russia’s adoption ban puts a further dent in the number of international adoptions overall in the United States. Since 1999, Americans have adopted more than 233,934 children, mostly from China, Ethiopia and Russia – an average of 17,995 children per year. International adoption reached a high in 2004, when 22,991 adoptions were processed. The numbers have fallen precipitously since then. In 2011, only 9,319 children found new homes with American families. Worldwide, adoptions of children from

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  • Global Gay Rights, from Marriage to the Death Penalty

    A lawmaker called it “a Christmas gift to the people.”

    But the proposed law late last year in the East African nation of Uganda was not a reprieve on taxes or better social services. It would add harsher punishments for convicted homosexuals, even up to a life sentence in prison.

    Uganda’s treatment of homosexuals is one end of a wide range of approaches to gay rights around the world. Even as several U.S. states recently voted on same-sex unions, and the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in two different cases, rights for the LGBT community differ from country to country, from full recognition of same-sex marriages, even up to the death penalty for homosexual acts. As gay rights supporters push for more acceptance, the issue is increasingly being framed worldwide as one of fundamental human rights.

    The Netherlands was the first country to recognize gay marriage about a dozen years ago, and now 12 countries, mostly in the developed world, recognize same-sex unions. But a

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  • Christiane Amanpour’s Journey in the Footsteps of Moses

    This week on “Around the World,” we have another exclusive sneak preview of Christiane Amanpour’s very personal journey for her two-part ABC News special, “Back to the Beginning.”

    It’s a journey in the footsteps of Moses, who received the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, in one of the most well-known stories from the Bible. Christiane and her 12-year-old son Darius travel to the Sinai Desert in Egypt where the current political situation makes for a perilous hours-long trip through the arid plains. Setting out in the middle of the night, they make the arduous trek up to the 7,500-foot peak of Mount Sinai, still a challenge for the modern-day traveler.

    “Back to the Beginning” is a journey back in time to explore the history and the mysteries of some of the oldest stories ever told: those of Abraham and Moses, King David and Jesus. Christiane and Darius visit the great sites common to the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In exploring the ancient

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