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Ukraine Truce Breached, Remembering Abducted Schoolgirls, GoPro In Space

Ukraine Truce Breached, Remembering Abducted Schoolgirls, GoPro In Space

SEPARATISTS BREACH UKRAINE CEASEFIRE

The Ukrainian military accused pro-Russian separatists yesterday of using heavy weaponry that is supposed to have been withdrawn per a ceasefire both parties agreed to in February, Reuters reports.

  • One Ukrainian soldier has been killed and six wounded in rebel-held territory since yesterday, Ukraine military spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk Photo: Ukraine Crisis Media Center said. “The rebels have not stopped firing at Ukrainian positions,” he said. “Over the past day, the enemy has used weapons banned under the Minsk agreements.”
  • In response to the surge in fighting, French, German, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers gathered in Berlin late yesterday for discussions, The Guardian reports. The four parties expressed “grave concern” about the situation and called for the ceasefire to be “more comprehensively” respected.

EXTRA!

Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust joins the rest of the world today in marking the first anniversary of the terrorist organization Boko Haram’s abduction of 276 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok. There are 219 still missing. The anniversary coincides with an extensive Amnesty International report showing that the Islamist sect has abducted more than 2,000 women and girls. Describing the group’s brutal methods, the organization says that many of the abducted have been forced into sexual slavery and even trained to fight. Read more on our 4 Corners blog.


SOMALIA EDUCATION MINISTRY ATTACKED

Gunmen blasted their way into the the higher education ministry in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu this morning, the AFP reports. Local police reported a car bomb explosion, followed by heavy fighting. According to witnesses, several people were killed. No group has yet claimed responsibility, but al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab rebels have carried out several similar attacks in the Somali capital and in neighboring countries.


VERBATIM

“How does one have to behave at 65? They can see it how they want to, and I’ll see it the way I think is right.” In an interview with theGerman newspaper Bild, 65-year-old Annegret Raunigk, a mother of 13 who is now pregnant with quadruplets, defended her decision to seek out a high-risk pregnancy through in vitro fertilization.


ON THIS DAY


The first Volvo was introduced in Sweden 88 years ago today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.


UN TO VOTE ON HOUTHI SANCTIONS

The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution imposing an embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels and their allies, who are fighting government supporters backed a Saudi-led coalition, Al Jazeerareports. The draft resolution says the rebel forces must “immediately and unconditionally” end all violence and withdraw their forces from the capital Sanaa and other areas they have seized since September 2014.

  • Houthi militias are blocking humanitarian aid from entering areas in Yemen, according to Al Arabiya.

EX-BLACKWATER GUARDS SENTENCED

A federal judge sentenced a former Blackwater Worldwide guard to life in prison and three others to 30 years yesterday for killing 14 unarmed civilians in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007, The Washington Post reports. The massacre led to worldwide outrage and criticism of the presence of the private military company in Iraq. The defendants claimed they opened fire in self-defense. But the the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement that “in killing and maiming unarmed civilians, these defendants acted unreasonably and without justification.”


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



RUSSIA TO SUPPLY IRAN WITH MISSILE DEFENSE

Russia has lifted a ban on supplying Iran with a sophisticated missile defense system, starting an oil-for-goods swap with the Islamic Republic. This comes days after six world powers, including Russia, reached a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon officials have expressed concern about the Russian move, the BBC reports. The defense system in question is a surface-to-air missile system that can shoot down jets and other missiles.


ISIS LOSES GROUND IN IRAQ

ISIS has lost 25% to 30% of its urban territory in Iraq since U.S.-led airstrikes against the terror group began in September, according to the Pentagon.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As La Stampa’s Maurizio Molinari reports, Israel’s harsh Negev desert is a scientific frontier where the country is using emerging technology and human ingenuity to find solutions to the planet's food security needs amid severe environmental challenges. “At the Hatzeva research station, Noa Zer accompanies us to the greenhouses where more than 40% of Israel's agricultural exports are produced,” the journalist writes. “As far as the eye can see, there are fields of fruit, vegetables and flowers, where even the most diverse can grow ‘thanks to the human ability to invent solutions,’ Zer says. He points out the wet mattresses, which are strategically placed in several directions ‘to allow the temperate air to circulate’ via fans that take advantage of the desert air.”

Read the full article, In Israel's High-Tech Desert, Food Solutions For The Third World.


OKLAHOMA OFFICER CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER

Robert Bates, the 73-year-old volunteer sheriff's deputy who fatally shot a black man after reportedly mistaking his gun for a Taser, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, The Tulsa Worldreports. The charges carry a prison sentence of up to four years. The incident follows a series of killings of black men by white police officers in the U.S., sparking anger across the country.


RUBIO LAUNCHES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

One day after Democrat Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will run for president, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced his 2016 presidential bid Monday, The Miami Herald reports. He is the third Republican, after Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, to officially announce a White House bid.


GOPRO FROM SPACE

NASA attached GoPros to two of its astronauts working on the International Space Station. Join the spacewalk.

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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