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Denmark Terror, Egypt Strikes ISIS, SNL's 40th

Denmark Terror, Egypt Strikes ISIS, SNL's 40th

The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was still broadly observed this morning, but sporadic fighting persisted in some areas, especially in the city of Debaltseve, which is encircled by pro-Russian rebels, the BBC reports. A Ukraine army official said five troops had been killed and 22 wounded since the ceasefire went into effect at midnight Saturday. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are trying to seek full access to the areas where fighting hasn’t stopped. Pro-Russian forces denied them access yesterday. The European Union, meanwhile, added another 19 names of Russian officials and representatives of the self-declared republics in eastern Ukraine to its sanctions list. The Russian Foreign Ministry branded the new sanctions as “absurd” and accused Brussels of yielding to Kiev’s “party of war,” RT reports.

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On Feb. 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol became effective, setting internationally binding carbon emission reduction targets. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

The Egyptian air force conducted extensive dawn raids against ISIS targets in Libya, hours after the group published an online video showing the executions of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had recently been taken hostage by the terrorist group. Egyptian officials said that between 40 and 50 ISIS fighters had been killed in the airstrikes. A statement from the Egyptian army said that the bombings were “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers,” The Guardian reports. The strikes were reportedly coordinated with the Libyan army, and a Libyan official said more were planned for today and tomorrow. Read more from Al-Arabiya.

  • French President François Hollande, who just days ago announced the sale of Rafale fighter jets to Cairo, joined calls from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to organize a UN Security Council meeting to take new measures against ISIS.

The South African government is preparing new legislation to bar individuals from owning more than 12,000 hectares of land, a move that Reuters says will likely upset the large and still predominantly white-owned commercial farming sector. Foreign ownership will also be drastically restricted.

(Photo above: Marcus Golejewski/DPA/ZUMA)
Danish police have charged two men it arrested yesterday with helping the suspected gunman who killed two people over the weekend in separate attacks at a café and at a synagogue in Copenhagen. Police shot and killed the alleged attacker, 22-year-old Omar El-Hussein, Sunday. Hours earlier, he killed a filmmaker and wounded several people at a café where Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, known for depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007, was hosting a talk. He then attacked security guards outside a synagogue and killed a young Jewish man.

  • The police believe El-Hussein may have been “inspired” by last month’s terror attacks in Paris, though there appears to be no direct connection between the Kouachi brothers or Amedy Coulibaly and El-Hussein. But like the French-born terrorists, El-Hussein was known to intelligence services before the attacks and had recently been released from jail. Read more from The New York Times.
  • The attack’s similarity to that on Charlie Hebdo in Paris have led French newspaper Libération to choose a Danish headline for its front page, out of solidarity for the victims.
  • Following the synagogue attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is campaigning for reelection, urged European Jews to emigrate to Israel, their “home.” He also unveiled a $45 million plan “to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine.”

As Le Monde’s Bruno Meyerfeld reports, graphic Japanese comics, otherwise known as mangas, are becoming a popular part of African pop culture. “There are fans from everywhere, from Angola to South Africa, from Facebook to YouTube,” he writes. “Artists are also making appearances, sometimes in English-speaking countries such as Kenya, where they are making the most of the Japanese embassy's cultural center. The imaginary world is African. In Congo, animated mangas tell of the violence in the country. Female manga character Ebola-Chan, with pink hair and a skull in her hands, is a somewhat morbid allegory of Ebola and is even making a controversial appearance online.”
Read the full article, Africa's Emerging Love Affair With Graphic Japanese Comics, Or Mangas.

The Japanese economy rebounded from recession in the last quarter of 2014, but the 0.6% growth figure is still below expectations,The Japan Timesreports. The country’s GDP grew by 2.2% in 2014 from the previous year, well below the forecast 3.7%.

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As many as 100 banks and financial institutions in 30 countries have been attacked in what computer security firm Kaspersky Lab described as an “unprecedented cyber robbery,” with a group of hackers responsible for the loss of $1 billion since 2013. According to the report, the hackers come from Russia, China, Ukraine and other parts of Europe, and they are still active. Read more from Bloomberg.

Tesla and Google could soon be facing tough competition on the self-driving car market. An inside source tells Reuters that Apple is working on its own project for a self-driving electric car. Though the company is reportedly exploring how to make an entire vehicle, the source says the main focus is on software, where there’s a lot of money to be made from high-definition mapping as well as car-sharing and car-recharging services.

American entertainers Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake teamed up once again over the weekend, this time to celebrate Saturday Night Live’s star-studded 40th anniversary show. Watch the duo’s musical medley honoring many of the show’s most memorable skits.

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In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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