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According to reports from the region, more than 200 individuals were killed in the latest face-off between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram militants in the northern part of the country. The battle comes as Secretary of State John Kerry visited the capital city, urging officials to ensure that the nation’s upcoming elections will be peaceful and fair. Kerry visited with both candidates and told the leaders that the U.S. would offer more help in the fight against the brutal terrorist group if the democratic elections remained “credible, transparent and accountable.” Though many of the deaths in the latest attacks were Boko Haram fighters, according to The Guardian, the militants specifically targeted innocent civilians: “Survivors reported that the rebels rampaged through villages slitting throats of residents, looting and burning homes and abducting dozens of trapped women and children” ... Discuss

Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Not so much fallen as crashed, unable to pull out of a tailspin of their own making. SkyMall, the in-flight shopping catalog you read on the airplane when you forget to bring a copy of RELEVANT magazine along, has filed for bankruptcy. No more lawn ornaments shaped like an African safari. No more ergonomically designed chin lifters to ease the tension on your third vertebrae. No more craft pens shaped like Gandalf's staff. "With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog," acting SkyMall CEO Scott Wiley said in court papers, according to the Journal. So, what to do now? You're just gonna have to remember to bring that copy of RELEVANT along, it seems ... Discuss

A measure that would make abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal failed to pass the House of Representatives. Many in leadership felt that a requirement that rape be formally reported to police before the abortion could take place was unfair to victims. In cases of incest, the bill would only allow abortions after the 20-week mark if the victim was a minor. The rally against the mandate was led by Representative Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, who was one of several conservative women to vote against it. Ellmers explained after the vote, “The thing is—I am pro-life. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that life begins at the point of conception.” Ellmers said, “Millennials are with us on so many issues. But when we come off as harsh and judgmental, we stop that conversation. We need to do a better job.” Several states already have their own laws banning abortions after 20-weeks. Another bill renewing an existing ban on any federal funds being used for abortion passed instead ... Discuss

A major story is developing in Yemen, where the president and his entire government have suddenly resigned. With no one officially in charge, the opportunity now exists for Houthi rebels to formalize a takeover. The move comes after President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with the rebel group’s representatives in meetings hosted by the U.N. envoy to the country. As The New York Times reports, Armed Houthi fighters recently took over the capital city of Sana and several large regions in the northern part of Yemen. The meetings were seen as an effort to prevent a full military take over by Houthi, but with the mass-resignations, it appears that the agreements between the two sides have broken down. Gunmen from the rebel group are still holding a presidential aid hostage and have not with drawn from the capital ... Discuss

The Abortion Debate Needs More Grace

Why our rhetoric surrounding abortion needs to offer grace, not condemnation. Read More

It’s no big secret that smoking is terrible for your health, but according to a new study, it’s also really bad for your pocketbook. The financial social network WalletHub looked at the combined cost of insurance increases, healthcare prices and loss of income due to health issues related to smoking, and then added that to the amount of money smokers spend on cigarettes instead of investing. They found that over the course of a lifetime (from 18-69) American smokers lost more than $1 million because of their habit. In some states, where health care and tobacco costs are higher, that number is closer to $2 million. In other words, there's another good reason to go ahead and kick the habit ... Discuss

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