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Nigerian Girls Video, Terrorist's "Regret," Faceless Trump

Video of kidnapped Nigerian girls gives families hope
Video of kidnapped Nigerian girls gives families hope


Terrorist group Boko Haram released a video that allegedly shows some of the schoolgirls abducted two years ago today in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok. The footage, which was apparently filmed in December, shows 15 of the 276 girls alive. Their kidnappings sparked an international online campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But two years later, at least 219 are still missing, with newspaper Vanguard writing that "some of them may have been radicalized to become suicide bombers while others might have become mothers and victims of serial rape." Writing in The Guardian Nigeria, a teacher and activist slams the "tribalism" and lack of "humanity" in Nigeria, denouncing "some Nigerians with a mercantile streak" for having "found voice in advocacy to make money from international donors by shouting for their release but never for the sake of those poor girls."


"Of course he has regret. Salah wants to explain himself, to apologize," Mohamed Abdeslam said of his brother, the only surviving terrorist involved in November's Paris attacks, in a interview with BFM TV. Salah Abdeslam, who has claimed he deliberately refused to blow himself up on the night when 130 people were killed, is currently being held in a Belgian prison and wants to be extradited to France. "He knows he's going to spend years in jail, a long time, 30 or 40 years," said Mohamed, who was recently fired by the Molenbeek town hall. "It doesn't matter to him. What's important is to take responsibility." But German media reports today suggest that Abdeslam was considering an attack on a nuclear energy research center in Germany.

  • The New York Times reports that the latest edition of ISIS magazine Dabiq purportedly shows how Paris and Brussels attacks were planned, from Syria.


Ukrainian lawmakers have chosen pro-Western Vladimir Groysman as the country's new prime minister, days after his predecessor, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, resigned. Groysman, who was until now the parliament's speaker, becomes Ukraine's youngest prime minister at 38. Read more from the Kyiv Post.


The center-right party of South Korean President Park Geun-hye lost its parliamentary majority in yesterday's elections, a result the BBC says could hurt the incumbent's hopes for reelection next year. Party leader Kim Moo-sung has offered to resign "to take responsibility for the resounding defeat," Yonhap reports. Discontent seems to be growing in South Korea as unemployment and household debt rise.


Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy spent more than double the 22.5 million euros ($25 million) allowed during the 2012 presidential campaign, news website Alerte-20160413">Mediapart reports. Investigators believe Sarkozy, who is hoping to win a primary later this year to stand again in 2017, splashed out a total of 45.8 million euros ($51.5 million), including 24.5 million that was deliberately left undeclared.



Data from the 50 biggest U.S. companies show that they used a network of more than 1,600 disclosed tax-haven subsidiaries to place about $1.4 trillion of cash offshore between 2008 and 2014, with potentially more hidden elsewhere, Oxfam America reports a week after the Panama Papers scandal hit. The collected data also shows that they paid just over a quarter of their $4 trillion profits in corporate tax globally over the same period of time, less than average, while receiving $11.2 trillion in federal support. Or, as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof puts it: "For each dollar America's 50 biggest companies paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2014, they received $27 back in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts."


American actor Adrien Brody, perhaps best known for his role in The Pianist, turns 43 years old today. That and more in today's shot of history.


Who is behind the smuggling of refugees from Turkey to the Greek islands? And how are these potentially deadly trips planned and organized? Syria Deeply spoke with a human smuggler in Izmir, himself a Syrian refugee. "Most of the smugglers are Syrians — because of their language and relationships," says Abu Yazan. "But the actual owners of smuggling access points and the owners of the equipment are Turks. You might find some Afghans or Tunisians or Iraqis as their partners. What Afghans and Iraqis went through before the Syrians arrived gave them experience, and with their excellent relations with the Turks, smuggling became a good source of income for many of them. Also, there are Syrian and Turkish companies that purchase pockets of land close to the sea and use them as smuggling points."

Read the full article, On Rafts And Risks: Interview With A Syrian Human Smuggler.


With their 73rd victory yesterday, Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors eclipsed Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the NBA record book. Their resounding 125-104 win against the Memphis Grizzlies takes their regular season record to 73-9, the best in NBA history. Meanwhile, in L.A., Kobe Bryant was scoring 60 points in his last-ever game.


The Donald continues to inspire artists. After "naked Trump" and "boob Trump," behold "faceless Trump," courtesy of Greek artist Dimitrios Oikonomou.

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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