Pakistan University Shooting, Palin & Trump, Plastic & Fish

GUNMEN STORM PAKISTAN UNIVERSITY, DOZENS FEARED DEAD

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.


VERBATIM

"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.


KURDS ACCUSED OF DESTROYING IRAQ ARAB HOMES

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.


ON THIS DAY


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


PLASTIC V. FISH

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.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

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.


"JIHADI JOHN" CONFIRMED DEAD

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.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



EXTRA!

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 DIES

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.


SNAPSHOT

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."


WHAT'S COOKIN'?

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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Geopolitics

Ingrid Betancourt, A Hostage Heroine Reinvented As Feminist For President

Although Betancourt is best known for surviving six years as a hostage of the Colombian terror group FARC, and is considered a centrist politician, her unlikely new campaign for president will be centered on gender issues.

Betancourt in Bogota announcing her candidacy Tuesday

Chepa Beltran/LongVisual via ZUMA
Felipe García Altamar

-Analysis-

BOGOTA — Exactly 20 years after she was kidnapped by the FARC terror group in the middle of her campaign for Colombian president, Íngrid Betancourt is launching a new campaign to lead her nation. She will do so on behalf of her party, Verde Oxígeno, becoming the only female candidate from the Centro Esperanza Coalition (CCE), which for months received a barrage of criticism for grouping only male candidacies and traditional politicians.

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