The Massacre the World Ignored

What last month's attack is Baghdad says about us. (And how to do better.) Read More

The U.K. has named a new prime minister, and she's the first woman to hold that office since the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher. In fact, Theresa May will only be the second woman ever.

May is replacing the soon-to-be previous British PM David Cameron, who decided to resign following the country's Brexit vote.

Of course, many people will rightly celebrate the fact that May is a woman. But perhaps more interesting is that the new leader of Britain is a committed Christian. She is actually the daughter of a Church of England vicar and has remained an active Christian throughout her life.

"I grew up the daughter of a local vicar and the granddaughter of a regimental sergeant major. Public service has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember," she told the BBC.

Her faith influences her politics and plays a large role in why she stays involved in politics. Like many other British politicians, she tends to favor keeping faith out of political conversations.

"[My Christian faith] is part of me. It is part of who I am and therefore how I approach things," she told BBC's Desert Island Discs.

May has campaigned for the limit to abortions to be decreased from 24 weeks of pregnancy to 20 weeks based on scientific studies that show a premature baby could survive at 24 weeks—she generally describes herself as pro-choice. She has also voted against assisted suicide's legality in Britain.

She also has spoken out about social injustices and inequalities in society while serving as the Conservative Party leader. She said:

If you're born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you're black you will be treated much more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you're white. If you're a white working class boy, you're less likely than anybody else to go to university. If you're at a state school, you're less likely to reach the top professions than if you're educated privately. If you're a woman you still earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there's too often not enough help to hand.

When asked on Desert Island Discs for her eight songs she would take as a castaway, two of her choices were Christian hymns: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "Therefore We, Before Him Bending." Discuss

Britain's next prime minister will definitely be a woman—25 years after Margaret Thatcher stepped down from the position. The race for the position has come down to Theresa May, the current home affairs secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister.

In a preliminary election of only Britain's Conservative Party, May secured 199 of 330 votes, Leadsom got 84 and the third candidate, Michael Gove, the current justice secretary was eliminated by only getting 46 votes.

The winner of the election will take over in September for David Cameron, who stepped down in the aftermath of Britain voting to leave the European Union. The next prime minister will have to help the country out of the current state of financial and political instability in the aftermath of the U.K. voting to leave the EU.

May was passively on the side of remaining in the EU, but has said that if she becomes prime minister, she will move forward with the people's wishes to leave the EU. Leadsom was a leader on the side of leaving the campaign.

With the U.K. being destined to have a woman prime minister, the possibility of Hillary Clinton being the president of the United States and Germany being governed by Chancellor Angela Merkel—by next year, three major world powers could be led by women for the first time ever. Discuss

Ideological debates over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) reached a new level recently, with more than 100 of the world’s most recognized thinkers openly opposing one of the world’s most well-known environmental organizations.

A group of 110 Nobel laureates—mostly in the fields of science and medicine—signed a letter to Greenpeace, asking them to drop their opposition to GMOs. Specifically, they are urging the group to stop trying to prevent a crop known as “Golden Rice” from being grown and distributed in the developing world. The strain of rice has been engineered to reduce Vitamin-A deficiencies in an effort to prevent malnutrition, blindness and death in children in poor parts of the world. In the letter, they wrote,

Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.

Greenpeace has spearheaded opposition to Golden Rice, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 - 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.

They added, “How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a 'crime against humanity'?"

Greenpeace has long opposed GMOs, calling the technology “genetic pollution.” Though, most scientific studies have found them safe for human consumption. In a response to the letter, Greenpeace claims that Golden Rice is already available in some parts of the world and says it doesn’t address Vitamin A Deficiency. They claimed that “Corporations are overhyping ‘Golden’ Rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops,” adding, “This costly experiment has failed to produce results for the last 20 years and diverted attention from methods that already work.”

As this 2013 story from NPR notes however, “A single bowl of this new golden rice can supply 60 percent of a child's daily requirement of vitamin A.” Discuss

Earlier this week, the body of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani was found along with the man he was representing and their cab driver after leaving a courthouse in Kenya. Kimani, who works with the U.S.-based human rights organization International Justice Mission, was fighting “blatantly false charges by an abusive police force.” Just days after they were abducted, the three men were found murdered.

Now, IJM is asking supporters and activists to sign a petition addressed to Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta, asking him to ensure that the murderers are brought to justice. As they explain on their site,

In Kenya, it is far too easy for a corrupt or incompetent police officer to frame and imprison an innocent person, who must then wait in jail, often for years on end, for a chance to prove his or her innocence. According to a Kenyan government report, the number of crimes reported to the police in 2015 involving the police increased by 34 percent.

This corrupt system has packed Kenyan prisons full of innocent men and women with no way out and no lawyer to fight for their release—and the police who abuse their power are not held accountable.

You can go here to learn more about the case and sign the petition. According to the country’s Director of Public Prosecution, "There are three suspects in custody and they will be arraigned in court on Monday,” though it is not yet clear what charges they will face. Discuss

There’s a heartbreaking update to report about the human rights lawyer working for the organization International Justice Mission, who was abducted in Kenya last week. According to a report from IJM the bodies of Willie Kimani and his taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were found murdered. The man Kimani was representing in court, who was also kidnapped, has still not been found.

The trio was kidnapped after a court case in Nairobi, where Kimani was representing a local taxi driver who had accidentally been shot by a police officer. According to The New York Times, local law enforcement attempted to retaliate, “by pursuing false charges against Mr. Mwenda, including drug counts and accusations of petty crimes like riding a motorcycle without a helmet.”

In a statement, International Justice Mission CEO Gary Haugen said,

We are deeply mourning the loss of our colleague, Willie, and taxi driver, Joseph, and strongly condemn the perpetrators of these murders and the horrific violence inflicted upon these men. IJM exists to protect the poor from violence, and Willie’s life was taken while courageously pursuing that mission.

As we work to provide comfort and support for the families of Willie, Josephat, and Joseph, we are grateful to the U.S. embassy, the local Kenyan police, and our partners globally and on the ground who responded swiftly and professionally to our requests for help. We are deeply grateful to our colleagues on the ground who bravely worked in dangerous conditions to try to locate these men, and we are as committed as ever to our IJM Kenya team and to their struggle for justice in their nation.

We will seek justice for Willie, Josephat, and Joseph, and will not cease in pursuit of this case until that end is secured.

IJM has teams of lawyers, activists and social workers around the world who help poor communities, preventing violence and fighting for justice. Discuss