On Friday, Nigeria’s government announced it had reached a deal with Boko Haram to release the approximately 200 schoolgirls held captive by the Islamist terror group since April.
Here’s something for your viewing pleasure.
This one is located in Laikipia County, Central Kenya. So far this morning I have seen a giraffe (not the Floral type) some Hippos and some other animals. Should be an interesting morning of wildlife viewing.
Looks like the Sudanese woman, Mariam Ibrahim Ishaq, who had been sentenced to death for “apostasy” in Sudan is likely on her way back to the US.
A Sudanese woman who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity and then barred from leaving Sudan, has flown into Rome on an Italian government plane, officials say.
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishaq, 27, whose sentence and detention stirred international outrage, arrived on Thursday at Rome’s Ciampino airport with her family and Lapo Pistelli, Italy’s vice minister for foreign affairs, television pictures showed.
There were no details on what led up to Mariam Ishaq’s departure from Khartoum, and there was no immediate comment from the Sudanese authorities.
Mohaned Mostafa, Mariam Ishaq’s lawyer, said he had not been told of her departure.
“I don’t know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Mariam and which prevents her from traveling from Sudan has not been cancelled,” Mostafa told Reuters.
Sounds almost like the US and the Italians cooperated to more-or-less smuggle her out of the country - even her own lawyer didn’t know she was gone.
Kudos; I’m glad she’s out of there and on her way to the United States where she can hopefully have a normal life once the media furor dies down.
There was an explosion of international outrage in late February when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a harsh anti-gay law. The legislation mandates life sentences for people who have gay sex or are in same-sex marriages and criminalizes “promoting” homosexuality, though the harshest provision—the death penalty for gays—was ultimately stripped out.
The United States immediately condemned the bill, with Secretary of State John Kerry calling it “atrocious” and likening the bill to Nazi or apartheid-era laws.
But the Obama administration’s rhetoric masks its strong support for the Ugandan government, support that will likely continue in the months ahead. Like Nigeria, which has also passed anti-gay laws, Uganda, run by an authoritarian president in power for 26 years, is a key U.S. partner in the global war on terror. The East African country also plays host to Western oil and mining companies, like Canada-based Barrick, that profit from the country’s natural resources.
But Cape Town’s gay village doesn’t, wouldn’t, and couldn’t exist in any other country on this continent, the majority of which outlaw homosexuality. Some have seen a recent increase in penalties for homosexual acts. In these places gay people and other sexual minorities are forced into lives of secrecy and fear. Coming out is an act of bravery and defiance: Far more than social awkwardness is at stake.
Homosexuality is illegal in 36 out of 55 African countries and carries the death penalty in four. The presidents of Nigeria and Uganda recently passed new laws strengthening existing anti-gay legislation. A parliamentary caucus in Kenya is demanding anti-gay laws be applied rigorously and one MP recently said homosexuality is “as serious as terrorism.”
South Africa runs contrary to these currents. The country’s 1996 constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation and gender. Pierre de Vos, a law professor at the University of Cape Town, says South Africa is different “because of the way in which it became a democracy.
“Equality was very important to some of those deeply involved in the struggle against apartheid and they successfully put the argument that the struggle is against the denial of dignity and against all discrimination,” said de Vos. “Part of the struggle was about human rights.”
Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade’s statement didn’t indicate how many of the girls were still unaccounted for.
“The number of those still missing is not the issue now as the life of every Nigerian is very precious,” it said.
Distraught parents have waited for news for four days, putting their faith in a military rescue, said Lawan Zanna, father of one of the students.
Leaders of deadliest terrorist groups
Boko Haram ‘increasingly monstrous’ Up to 200 girls kidnapped by terrorists Explosion kills dozens in Nigeria
They are shocked that the government resorted to “blatant propaganda” and a “blatant lie,” he said.
Olukolade said the military received a “major breakthrough” report from a reliable source who supposedly included information from the principal of the school where the students were seized by gun
The UN Security Council unanimously approved on Thursday the creation of a UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic to try to stop violence between Christians and Muslims that has threatened to spiral into genocide.
The 15-member council authorized a UN force, to be known as MINUSCA, of up to 10,000 troops, 1,800 police and 20 corrections officers. It also authorizes French troops in the landlocked former French colony to support UN peacekeepers.
Zimbabwe President Describes Homosexuality as Inhuman : Washington Blade - America’s Leading Gay News Source
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday described homosexuality as “inhuman.”
“The West says we must accept there is change in the world, that gays have human rights,” he said during an event at a hotel in Harare, the country’s capital, that commemorated International Women’s Day as the Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper, reported. “Gays have no human rights. They have human rights - human rights for doing an inhuman thing.”
Mugabe has repeatedly faced criticism from Zimbabwean LGBT rights advocates and others over his homophobic rhetoric.
He told supporters during a rally last July ahead of the African country’s presidential election that authorities should arrest gays and lesbians who don’t conceive children. Mugabe during the same event criticized the Anglican Church for blessing same-sex marriage and President Obama over his support of nuptials for gays and lesbians.
Paleczny had survived a number of attacks on Malakal before the recent outbreak of violence. “We stayed through all the battles when the NGOs cleared out,” she said. While the nuns carried on with their business - improving education, healthcare, journalism, agriculture - the NGOs sometimes took months to return.
The Combonis have survived decades of bombing by the Sudanese government, both during the 20-year civil war and after. Balatti was unfazed even after hearing rumours that a counterattack by rebels was imminent. In her dispatch for the Comboni Mission, she wrote that roughly 100 of the town’s most vulnerable people were taking shelter in her church compound - most of them elderly, disabled or women with young children. Balatti reassured the displaced people that she would not leave.
Although a ceasefire agreement was signed in January, the deal is not reflected by the reality on the ground. On February 18, Balatti reported the White Army militia - comprised of members of the Nuer ethnic group - arrived in town.
People trying to escape on a truck were caught in the gunfire, hurling themselves from the vehicle and running to the church compound. Its walls provided protection from bullets, but only until 10am when the rebels breached the compound and started making demands of the sisters.
By evening, there were 30 gunmen in front of the cathedral searching for a pro-government fighter. One of the men readied his rocket-propelled grenade launcher and threatened to hit the church. The sisters stood their ground, doggedly negotiating for the protection of civilians. Early the next morning, Balatti and the other sisters gathered the civilians and left for the Presbyterian church, which was being used as a UN base, where they coordinated a rescue mission for those left behind.