By Boubacar Mazou Abdel-Kader DIFFA, Niger (Reuters) - A wave of attacks by Islamist insurgents Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and the islands of Lake Chad has forced tens of thousands across the border to Niger's arid southeastern region of Diffa, worsening a dire humanitarian situation. An estimated 150,000 people have fled to Diffa in the past two years, according to aid agencies, increasing by one-third the population of the remote region that is largely dependent on aid and suffers from perennial food shortages. In recent weeks, Boko Haram insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks and raids on villages in Nigeria and surrounding countries in reprisal for an offensive by regional governments against them this year. The flood of refugees comes as a state of emergency declared by Niger to tackle the insurgency has brought Diffa's economy to a standstill, stiffling revenues from fishing and the trade in peppers, and leaving the population vulnerable. "We fled all night. I was very scared and I'm still scared. We left everything behind," said Lagari Fogo, a Nigeria refugee at a camp in Gagamari, who said Boko Haram attacked his village 11 days ago. In the makeshift camps, some people drape plastic sheeting over thorny bushes to shelter from the relentless glare of the sun. Their meager belongings, often no more than a few blanquets and some pots and pans, are gathered around them. "We are suffering. We are suffering and it is not over," said Adam Abdoulaye, 35, a father of seven, as he collected a food package from the World Food Programme. Abdoulaye said commercial activity in the town of Diffa, the regional capital, had been curtailed by the state of emergency and persistent Boko Haram attacks. "The food situation in Diffa has always been that of chronic shortage," said Michel Hulais, head of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Diffa, stood before a stash of supplies. "But since the start of recent events that have affected security, this situation has increasingly deteriorated." GIVEN JUST THREE DAYS TO FLEE Bamgoye de Dala said he had just three days to pack a few belongings and flee his village of Lelewa on the Lake Chad with his six children after Niger's government ordered them to leave. He said he had to abandon his animals and all other belongings they could not carry on the 20 km (12 miles) trek. "Because of Boko Haram, the government asked us to leave. They told us they were at war with them and so we had to abandon the island," said the 50-year old father, sitting under the shade of an awning. Niger has said that it asked inhabitants to evacuate the islands for their own safety and that it has worked with humanitarian agencies to ensure access to aid. By the start of this year, Boko Haram's six-year-old campaign to carve an Islamic emirate from northeastern Nigeria had claimed an area the size of Switzerland, killing thousands of people. A regional offensive by Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon drove back Boko Haram fighters. In recent weeks, however, the group has killed hundreds of people in attacks, allowing them to retake some towns that were seized, including Damasak, a few kilometers outside Diffa. Diffa governor Yacouba Soumana Gao said, however, Niger's security forces had felt an improvement in cooperation since the elections of Nigerian President Mahamadou Buhari in March. He said authorities were easing a restriction on trade in peppers to help the local economy. "They (Boko Haram) knows their days are numbered, and that's why they are in the process of conducting suicide-bombing operations," he said. (Reporting by; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Flynn)
- Yahoo News
With the Senate poised to begin debate on Donald Trump's impeachment charge, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said some Republican House members might also face consequences over their actions leading up to the riot at the Capitol.
- Yahoo News
“100 million shots in 100 days” won’t be enough to end the pandemic. Can Jeff Zients do better?
- The Independent
Judge denies release for 26-year-old accused of taking part in the deadly Capitol attacks then returning to Washington on Inauguration Day
- The Telegraph
A Republican congresswoman is facing calls to resign over reports that she helped to spread falsehoods about the Parkland school shooting. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly agreed with a conspiracy theory about the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. Facebook screenshots showed a discussion about why a police officer had not rushed into the building, and someone claimed that the mass shooting was a "false flag planned shooting." Greene replied: “Exactly!" The social media giant later removed the posts after they were reported to them. Cameron Kasky, a former Parkland pupil who co-founded the group Never Again MSD, said: "She should resign. She can apologise. I don’t think anybody will accept it.” The congresswoman was elected in Georgia in November, backed Donald Trump's claims of election fraud, and has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Fred Guttenberg, who's 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in the Parkland shooting, said: "Your feelings on gun laws are irrelevant to your claim that Parkland never happened. You are a fraud who must resign. Be prepared to meet me directly in person to explain your conspiracy theory, and soon." The comments by the politician were first reported by Media Matters for America. In a statement Ms Greene accused Media Matters for America of being "communists' and "fake news". Meanwhile, US Capitol Police were investigating an incident in which a Republican congressman was found carrying a concealed gun while trying to enter the floor of the House of Representatives. Andy Harris, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off a metal detector going through security on his way to the House floor . Metal detectors were installed outside the chamber to beef up security in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan 6.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Tom Brokaw is retiring from NBC News after 55 years
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Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- NBC News
Jenna Ryan was charged last week after federal authorities said she breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Associated Press
Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.
- Reuters Videos
President Joe Biden signed 15 executive actions on Wednesday hours after he was sworn into office, many aimed at sweeping away former President Donald Trump's policies, including mandating masks on federal property.
America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden has warned the final death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States will be "well over 600,000”. It also emerged that between 150 and 200 of the 25,000 National Guard soldiers deployed to Washington following the US Capitol riots on Jan 6 had tested positive for the virus. Mr Biden said on Friday: "A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We're 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000. "Families are going hungry, people are at risk of being evicted, job losses are mounting again. We need to act.” He ordered an expansion of government food aid to counter the worst hunger crisis the US has seen in modern times. On his third day in the job the new president issued executive orders increasing sustenance assistance, speeding up stimulus payments, and laying the groundwork for a $15 minimum wage for government workers and contractors. Mr Biden said: "The crisis is only deepening. It's not getting better, it's deepening. A lot of folk are waiting hours in their cars to feed their children at a food bank. In the United States of America. This cannot be who we are as a country.”
- NBC News
A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- The Independent
‘There was a protocol breach when the front doors were not held open’
A big fire on Thursday at the Serum Institute of India killed five people, a government official told reporters, but the world's biggest vaccine maker said it would not affect production of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot. Videos and pictures from Reuters partner ANI showed black smoke billowing from a multi-storey building in SII's massive headquarters complex in the city of Pune in Maharashtra state. "We have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident," SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said on Twitter.
- The Telegraph
Thousands of national guardsmen were turfed out of the Capitol building on Thursday and sent to sleep in car parks, before being allowed back in late at night after complaints from lawmakers. Despite the quick reversal, two Republican governors commanded their troops home in protest. US Capitol police had ordered the reservists to vacate the building and set up camp outdoors or in nearby hotels, with thousands ending up stationed outside or in car parks. “Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” one of the guardsmen told Politico. The National Guard were brought into the US capital to provide security after Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
- The Independent
Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed articles of impeachment against Joe Biden the day after he was inaugurated as president. The lawmaker, who has ties to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, took to Twitter to announce the move against the new president. “I’ve just filed articles of impeachment on president Joe Biden, we will see how this goes," she said.