It's been nearly seven months since Boko Haram kidnapped roughly 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria, launching the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Today, Nigerian officials announced they had reached an agreement to secure their release and implement a ceasefire between the Nigerian military and the terrorist group. "Commitment among parts of Boko Haram and the military does appear to be genuine," a Nigerian security official told Reuters. "It is worth taking seriously."
Boko Haram raided Chibok boarding school in northern Nigeria in April, taking nearly 300 schoolgirls with them when they left. Some 50 girls managed to escape early on, and the rest have been trapped ever since. While the news of their freedom is very good news, experts have warned that the emotional, physical and sadly likely sexual trauma will take time and effort to mend ... Discuss
Groups of police officers in Hong Kong tore down tents, used batons, pepper sprayed crowds and forced protestors out of a prominent commercial district today as the tension between government authorities and pro-democracy activists continues to heighten.
The clash between protestors (many of whom are students) and authorities comes just a day after a top government official offered to discuss demands with members of the Occupy movement. A member of the Federation of Students told the crowds, “They said they want to resume talks, but then they swept away the streets today. If [the government] continues to clear protest sites gradually under the disguise of removing barricades, it would only provoke more people to take to streets" ... Discuss
According to a new report on global wealth by the group Credit Suisse, if you have $3,650, you are among the wealthiest half of the people on the planet. As the Telegraph notes, “This is net wealth—so, once debts have been subtracted.” Their research found that though global wealth has grown at a record pace over the last year—by 8.3%, totaling $263 trillion—most of it is in the hands of a very select few. Half of the entire population (more than 3 billion people) own less than 1% of all the global wealth. The top 1%, those who have at least $798,000, owns 48.2% of all of the planet’s money. The problem of income inequality grew worse in 23 countries in the last year alone ... Discuss
The global coalition getting together to stop ISIS is finding allies in unlikely places, but perhaps no place less likely or more profoundly awesome than this. "No Surrender" is the name of a Dutch motorcycle gang that has decided that only way to dispel outlaw justice is to do it yourself. Reportedly (and seen in tweets like this) members of No Surrender are biking into Syria and Iraq to give the Kurds fighting for their lives a little backup muscle. No Surrender's chief Klaas Otto confirmed to a Dutch TV station that several members have temporarily set up shop in Iraq.
Unlike some biker gangs, No Surrender seems pretty racially inclusive and less prone to fascist sympathies (their Facebook page features a quote from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel about the importance of fighting injustice) , which might be why the Dutch government is being so chill about all this. "Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it's no longer forbidden," public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told reporters.
Something tells us that No Surrender doesn't really care about the legality of what they're doing one way or the other ... Discuss
ISIS has an English language publication called Dabiq which recently ran an article titled "The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour." In it, ISIS' spokesmen make the case that the Yazidi minority group should be turned into slaves, and that doing otherwise counts as apostasy. According to Human Rights Watch, women and girls are sold to ISIS fighters as sex slaves, while boys are forced into the ISIS military. Men are also turned into slaves, but it is unclear to what horrible ends.
It was ISIS' assault on the Yazidi that convinced U.S. officials to intervene, and although the ISIS advance has been halted for now, tens of thousands of Yazidi remain in refugee camps, and an unknown number remain slaves to ISIS fighters ... Discuss
After mysteriously disappearing from public view for more than a month, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has resurfaced. In the Tuesday edition of the government’s official newspaper, the 31-year-old was seen in pictures at a new residential development site and energy institute in Pyongyang. Though the images showed him walking with a cane and seated when several of his aids were standing, Kim appeared to be smiling and didn’t show any signs of serious health problems. For weeks, analysts have speculated that the young ruler had either become gravely ill or had been deposed by political rivals after he missed several important events, but the new images seem to suggest he is still firmly in control of the reclusive country ... Discuss