The famously brutal terrorist group, ISIS, claims it will execute 180 Assyrian Christians who they kidnapped in February. The group demanded the Assyrian community pay $12 million for for the release of the captured Christians, but Assyrian leadership says the amount is “unbearable.” The Christian Post cited Osama Edward, director of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, as saying, "The negotiations ... have been suspended due to the unbearable demands of the terror group. ISIS threatened to execute the 180 hostages if we didn't pay the ransom."
The kidnapped Assyrians are part of a group of 230 ISIS captured back in February from the Khabur river valley in Syria. Discuss
White House officials are hoping that Internet users will join together to help the millions of refugees who have fled violence in Syria’s on-going civil war. In response to a request from the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, Kickstarter has teamed with the United Nations Refugee Agency for a one-week campaign to raise money for those effected by the crisis through crowdfunding. With more than six days still to go, more than $1 million has been brought in so far, but as the campaign notes, the need is massive:
This year alone, half a million refugees have found their way to Europe. Many of them arrive exhausted, malnourished, and carrying the few possessions they could save. Six thousand more are arriving in Greece each day. Globally, more than half of the refugee population is under 18. Often, children end up separated from their loved ones, lost in strange new places … UNHCR is helping, in Europe and around the globe. And you can help them. At the invitation of the White House, we’re joining the effort to support their important work. Any money you give through this campaign will go directly to USA for UNHCR to provide aid to people who need it — everything from food, water, and warm clothes to special care for children separated from their families.
They’ve even outlined different donation amounts, describing what impact as little as $30 could have in the life of a refugee. You can go here to give and learn more about the campaign to help Syrian refugees. Discuss
Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted 241-187 in favor of legislation to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood. As you probably know all too well, the country’s largest provider of partial-birth abortions is in the middle of a widely public scandal all centering on a series of sting-style videos by a group called the Center for Medical Progress. The bill proposes to move money that would go to Planned Parenthood to the thousands of other health centers that receive government funding. As it appears now, the bill doesn't stand much of a chance: Senate Democrats claim they’ll block the measure, and if they don’t President Obama promises to veto. Discuss
If you’ve ever wanted to see wild elephants up close, here's your chance (sort of). Google has partnered with the Save the Elephants research camp in Kenya to create new Street View areas at the Samburu National Reserve, showing where the elephants live. They also made a short film (the trailer is below) about the area, the elephants who call it home and the threats they face. According to google, in a recent two year period alone, more than 100,000 elephants in Africa were killed to obtain their ivory. They write, “Today, a visit to Samburu is a chance not only to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, but also discover a uniquely beautiful landscape where people’s live are interwoven with the landscape’s wildlife.”
You can go here to see the film and explore the park—while looking at images of the actual elephants—all through Google Street View. Discuss