Recently, European countries have been facing a new kind of border crisis, as tens of thousands of migrants risk crossing the Mediterranean from Northern Africa to seek a better life in Europe. Over the weekend, Italian and French ships picked up more than 5,800 migrants attempting the trip in wooden and rubber boats. They also recovered the bodies of 10 migrants who had died during the trip. These are just a part of the estimated 35,000 migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year. More and more of them are losing their lives in the process. Just a few weeks ago, as many as 800 migrants drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya. And authorities say more than 1,700 have died while making the journey this year. A large contributor to this are the networks of smugglers that people are using to make the journey, many of whom promise migrants safe passage and then force them onto packed, flimsy boats in order to increase profits. Some migrants are even beaten by the smugglers and forced to give up their money and passports.
European Union leaders have said they will increase funding for operations by Frontex, an EU border agency, to rescue migrants from smugglers, but some say they need to do more. “Search and rescue efforts must be more comprehensive and supported by the European Union and its member states,” the director of the International Organization for Migration in Italy told the BBC. “This is a humanitarian emergency that involves us all and responses to it must be more holistic" ... Discuss
The newest member of Britain’s royal family came into the world on Saturday, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (otherwise known as Will and Kate, the darlings of monarchy fanatics), just announced the name of their daughter Monday morning. The full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, but the “spare to the heir”—who is fourth in line to the throne after her big brother, Prince George—will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Will and Kate are covering all their bases with the name, which honors the new princess’ grandfather (Prince Charles) great-grandmother (Elizabeth II, the current queen of England), and grandmother (the beloved Princess Diana, who died in 1997). Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte ... Discuss
Two gunmen were shot and killed by police after they reportedly opened fire on an art exhibit showcasing cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, submitted as part of a contest. Many Muslims consider depictions of Muhammad blasphemous. According to the reports, two gunmen drove to the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest" outside of Dallas and shot an unarmed security guard outside the event. Police returned fire, killing the shooters. The security guard, who was shot in the ankle, was treated and then released from the hospital. A bomb squad was also dispatched to the scene, though it is unclear if the suspects also had explosives.
Though police haven’t named the suspects or revealed a motive, event organizers drew comparisons to the shooting at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which two Islamic extremists killed 12 people after the publication released numerous cartoons of Muhammad. The president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pam Geller, told CNN, “The Islamic jihadis are determined to suppress our freedom of speech violently. They struck in Paris and Copenhagen recently, and now in Texas.” Copenhagen has also been home to violent attacks linked to radical Islam. Before the attack, an individual who supports ISIS on social media tweeted that an attack would take place in Texas. Geller and controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders—who was a keynote speaker—have been criticized in the past for their openly anti-Islamic statements and views ... Discuss
A poll by the Associated Press found that six in 10 Americans support the use of drones to kill terrorists. Nearly 75 percent support using unmanned drones to kill an American citizen who has traveled to another country to join a terror organization. The poll found that 13 percent of Americans don’t approve of the use of drones and 24 percent are neutral on the issue. However, 43 percent said they don’t approve of using drones in cases where innocent American citizens could be killed. AP conducted the poll just a few days after President Obama apologized for a January drone strike by the CIA that accidentally killed one American and one Italian who were being held hostage by al-Qaida. The strike also killed two American citizens who had joined al-Qaida, but the hostage deaths brought criticism about the guidelines for drone strikes. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that since 2004, the U.S. has carried out about 415 drone strikes in Pakistan, killing a total of anywhere from over 2,400 to 3,900—and somewhere between 423 and 962 civilians ... Discuss
According to the DC-area news channel ABC-7, a medical examiner has determined that Freddie Gray’s “catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van,” noting that the actual injury suggest he hit his head on a bolt. The news station cited a source who had been “briefed on the findings of a police report.” The report says that Gray’s severed spinal cord was not caused by his initial arrest by officers, but it does not indicate what caused him to be “slammed into the back of the police transport van.” The Baltimore police officer who actually drove the van two weeks ago has not yet made a statement to investigators.
The Washington Post obtained a police investigator’s document that quoted a prisoner—who was in a separate area of the van and couldn’t see Gray—and suggested that Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.” However, a day later, the prisoner told WJZ Baltimore that his quotes had been misconstrued by police: “All I did was go straight to the station, but I heard a little banging like he was banging his head. They trying to make it seem like I told them that, I made it like Freddie Gray did that to himself. Why the f*** would he do that to himself?" According to The New York Times, the city’s prosecutor has “probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges” against the officers involved ... Discuss
Just days after reporting that 200 girls and 93 women were rescued from a Boko Haram camp in the forest of northern Nigeria, the country’s military announced that more than 100 other hostages have been rescued from the radical Islamic group. A military spokesperson told CNN, “We are still working to verify the actual number of the rescued hostages, but I can say they include around 60 women and 100 children,” though he added, “Many of those kidnapped have undergone psychological trauma and indoctrination.” It is still not known if any of the hostages rescued in the latest operation were from the more than 200 abducted from the Chibok school that sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign ... Discuss