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Pakistan University Shooting, Palin & Trump, Plastic & Fish


A group of gunmen killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 50 as they stormed the Bacha Khan University in Pakistan's northwestern Charsadda District this morning, The Express Tribune reports. A security official quoted by Reuters said the death toll could rise to 40. Police have confirmed that six gunmen have been killed. The attack was initially claimed by Pakistani Taliban Omar Mansoor, but another Taliban spokesperson, Muhammad Khorasani, denied any involvement. Local authorities announced the closure of all education institutions across the Charsadda District until Jan. 31, according to Al Jazeera. This comes a little more than a year since the Army Public School attack in Peshawar that left 144 people dead.


"This is gonna be. So. Much. Fun," the former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin said at the Iowa State University campus during a Donald Trump campaign rally Tuesday, as she announced her endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate. Her endorsement could give a boost to the billionaire candidate among right-wing Tea Party voters.


Kurdish Peshmerga forces and militias have destroyed thousands of homes in northern Iraq as part of a concerted effort to remove Arab communities, Amnesty International has claimed in a new report. "Though KRG Kurdistan Regional Government officials have tended to justify the displacement of Arab communities on grounds of security, it appears to be used to punish them for their perceived sympathies with so-called Islamic State," the report says. The human rights organization carried out a field investigation in 13 villages and towns, gathering testimonies from more than 100 witnesses and victims.


We've got both Hong Kong and David Lynch in today's 57-second shot of history.


The world's oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if nothing is done to prevent this, a report published Tuesday by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum says. "The best research currently available estimates that there are over 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today. In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight)," the research found.


In Italy, between 5,000 and 7,000 priests have given up their clerical robes. Some ex-priests re-enter lay society with a female companion, others struggle to build a new life from scratch, La Stampa's Mauro Pianta writes from Rome: "At times, former priests become prisoners of a sociological and psychological no-man's land, because while those who give up the priesthood can no longer practice, the impact of taking on holy vows is long-lasting for devout Catholics. In a sense, then, once a priest, always a priest."

Read the full article, Leaving the Priesthood, Joys And Struggles Of A Second Life.


ISIS has confirmed the death of the British terrorist known as "Jihadi John," whose real name was Mohammed Emwazi, in its propaganda magazine Dabiq, the SITE intelligence group reports. The U.S. military said in November it was "reasonably certain" he was killed in a drone strike while travelling by car in the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa.



A Moscow weekly poked fun at Vladimir Putin's denial of reality in the face of a deepening economic recession in Russia.


Italian film director Ettore Scola, known for works like A Special Day, We All Loved Each Other So Much, Le Bal or Down and Dirty, died Tuesday aged 84. Rome-based daily La Repubblica has a photo essay of Scola's life and work.


Photo: Zhan Yan/Xinhua/ZUMA

Freezing temperatures allowed beautiful salt crystal to form on the Yuncheng Salt Lake in Shanxi province, also known as the "Dead Sea of China."


A Slovakian chef was caught live on cameras by a morning show crew preparing expand=1] something decidedly not on the menu.

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Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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