In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Terrorism; death] Boko Haram continues its campaign of terror in western Africa: "Boko Haram fighters have shot or burned to death about 90 civilians and wounded 500 in ongoing fighting in a border town near Nigeria, officials in Cameroon have said. Some 800 Islamic extremists attacking the town of Fotokol 'burned churches, mosques and villages and slaughtered youth who resisted joining them to fight Cameroonian forces,' the information minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakari, said on Thursday. The Nigerian insurgents also looted livestock and food in the fighting that began on Wednesday. Boko Haram has been using civilians as shields, making it difficult to confront them." I am just aghast at the scope of the cruelty.

[CN: War] Meanwhile in Ukraine: Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poreshenko, and: "The leaders of Germany and France announced a new peace plan for Ukraine on Thursday, planning to fly together to Kiev and Moscow with a proposal to resolve the conflict that could be 'acceptable to all.' The coordinated trip by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande comes as rebels advanced on a railway hub held by Ukrainian troops after launching an offensive that scuppered a five-month-old ceasefire." Fingers crossed.

[CN: War on agency. NB: Not only women need access to abortion.] This is so fucking gross: "Under a proposed bill advancing in the Missouri legislature, women would be required to watch an anti-choice video created by the state department before they're permitted to proceed with an abortion. House Bill 124 is designed to dissuade women from choosing to end a pregnancy. The video would include information about alleged abortion risks—'including, but not limited to, infection, hemorrhage, cervical tear or uterine perforation, harm to subsequent pregnancies or the ability to carry a subsequent child to term, and possible adverse psychological effects'—as well as alternatives to abortion. The measure, which was approved by a legislative committee this week, comes on top of several restrictions that are already in place for women seeking abortion services in the state. Currently, if a pregnant person wants to have an abortion in Missouri, they have to attend an in-person counseling session that includes similar information about abortion risks. Then, they have to wait a full 72 hours before they can return to the state's only abortion clinic to have the procedure performed." Once again, pregnant people are being treated like stupid children who can't make good decisions for themselves. Meanwhile: I love the implication that there are no risks during pregnancy and birth. Whooooops.

Heads-up, if your insurance is through Anthem: "Health insurance giant Anthem Inc. said late Wednesday that hackers had breached its computer system and the personal information of tens of millions of customers and employees was possibly at risk. The attack on the nation's second-largest health insurer could be one of the largest data breaches in the healthcare industry, experts said. Anthem said hackers infiltrated a database containing records on as many as 80 million people." Fuck.

NBC Anchor Brian Williams apologized last night for having claimed, for years, that he was in a helicopter which was hit by a RPG. He clarified that he was actually in a helicopter following the one that got hit, and said he just got it mixed up in his memory. I don't really understand how you can misremember something that significant, but I've never been in a warzone. Of course, he was telling the story right once upon a time, so I'm still not sure how he just got mixed up oopsy-daisy somewhere along the way. Side-eye.

Fox Host Steve Doocy is a genius, and his pop culture segments are always brilliant. This one is no exception: Films like Frozen are emasculating American men. "Doocy suggested Hollywood is 'empowering women by turning our men into fools and villains' during an interview with the head of a conservative activist group on Wednesday morning." Goddamned feminists! Who are definitely the ones running the film industry. Not a bunch of conservative old men.

[CN: Homophobia; misogyny] John Legend continues to be a good egg. (Note: I think there's some truth to the argument that boycotts hurt employees, but I nonetheless commend Legend for continuing to take a very public stance in favor of feminism and LGBTQIA equality.)

[CN: Imminent death] There are reports that Bobbi Kristina Brown's family are now gathering to say goodbye. How profoundly sad.

[CN: Coercion] There was some concern that Harper Lee was being coerced, or just wholly misrepresented without her knowledge, in the release of her second novel. Lee has issued a statement saying that's not accurate, but of course if she is being manipulated or misrepresented, how do we know it's her authentic statement? Shit.

In cool news: "NASA's New Horizons has returned its first images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, since the mission entered into the countdown phase of its historic mission. Taken at a distance of 126 million miles (200 million km), it will pale in comparison to the images expected over the coming months." CAN'T WAIT!!!

ME-WOW: "Scotland's first cat cafe, Maison de Moggy, opened this month." Neat!

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