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New Libyan Government, Iraq Violence, Spike Lee's Oscar Boycott

New Libyan Government, Iraq Violence, Spike Lee's Oscar Boycott

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.


6.9%

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.


VERBATIM

"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 ‘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.


SNAPSHOT

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."


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

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 Timesreports. 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.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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