|Timbuktu sites and their damage|
1) Under a great deal of controversy and against the recommendations of preservation experts and religious leaders, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was inscribed to the World Heritage list under an emergency provision. Palestinian officials have already stated they intend to expand use of the World Heritage program. You can read U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion's statement about the Church of the Nativity here. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's reaction can be seen here along with an opposing viewpoint from the editors of Bloomberg News here.
2) In Mali, a faction called Ansar Dine, which seized control of Timbuktu last week, have attacked some of the World Heritage sites in that city despite international outcry. You can read more details here. UNESCO's statement can be found here, and a reference to a U.S. statement can be found here.
3) During its meeting in St. Petersburg the World Heritage Committee designated 26 new sites (including the one in Bethlehem) to the World Heritage program. You can see the full list here.