LIBYA ANNOUNCES UNITY GOVERNMENT
As part of a UN-backed plan signed last December, Libya announced the formation of a unity government today to reconcile the country's warring factions. In the process of negotiation, there were disputes over the distribution of ministerial posts, Al Jazeera reports. Two rival governments, one based in the capital of Tripoli and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk, have existed since 2014, leaving the country deeply divided and exacerbating the chaos there since the the 2011 collapse of Muammar Gaddafi.
China's economy grew by 6.9% last year, marking the country's lowest growth in 25 years, The Wall Street Journal reports, down from 7.3% in 2014. As the world's second-largest economy becomes a major concern for investors, Beijing is attempting to nurture more self-sustaining growth, reducing reliance on trade and investment. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said the country could cope with weaker growth if more jobs were created, the BBC reports.
PAKISTAN SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 11
At least 11 people were killed and 31 others wounded today when a suicide bomber detonated near a police checkpoint in Peshawar's Karkhano Market, in northwestern Pakistan, The Express Tribune reports. Officials said at least five police officers and one journalist were killed in the blast near the border with Afghanistan, in an area where Pakistani security forces have stepped up the fight against the Taliban.
"The truth is we ain't in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lily white," American film director Spike Lee wrote on Instagram yesterday, explaining that he'll boycott this year's Oscar awards for lack of racial diversity. For a second year in a row, all 20 nominations for acting awards are white. "Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can't act?!" he added. Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, wife of Will Smith, has also said she wouldn't attend the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony.
IRAQ CIVILIAN VIOLENCE â€˜STAGGERING'
With more than 18,000 civilians killed and another 36,245 wounded between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015, the violence Iraqi civilians suffer remains "staggering," a United Nations report published today says. At least 3.2 million people, including more than a million children, have also been deported, the document adds. The UN blames ISIS for the civilian violence, but also cites Iraqi troops, militiamen and Kurdish forces.
[Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Xinhua/ZUMA]
A brave believer bathes in the icy water of Russia's Lake Valdayskoye to celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany.
EAGLES GUITARIST GLENN FREY DIES
Glenn Frey, the guitarist and a founding member of the Californian band the Eagles, died Monday in New York at 67, The New York Times reports. He died from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the band said in an announcement on their website. Frey was the co-author of some of the Eagles' hit songs, including "Hotel California."
Mothers in traditional Muslim families instill in both their daughters and sons values that lead to the subordination of women, the kind of cultural inequality that provoked the sexual attacks recently making headlines in Germany. And for that, they are complicit, argues former Femen activist Zana Ramadani in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt. "The same thing could have happened in Macedonia, where I was born, as well as in Pakistan or Bangladesh," Ramadani, who has a Muslim background, tells the newspaper. "It could have happened in any Muslim country, and it does happen there on a daily basis. It is their values that are responsible for what happened. And these are the values of Islam."
Read the full interview, Muslim Women Must Share The Blame For Attacks Like Cologne.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
WORLD'S OLDEST MAN DIES
Yasutaro Koide, believed to be the world's oldest man, died today at the age of 112, The Japan Times reports. He was once quoted as saying that the key to longevity was to "avoid overwork and live with joy."
ON THIS DAY
Miami will enjoy a high of 65°F today, but 39 years ago it received its first-ever recorded snowfall. We've also got Lucille Ball and a Scottish inventor in today's shot of history.
THE TRUST GAP
In the UK, the richer people are, the more they trust institutions such as government, media and business, according to a survey published by the Edelman Trust Barometer. It found that 57% of the wealthier and better-educated population trusted the establishment, while the figure fell to just 40% among poorer respondents.