By John Irish and Elizabeth Pineau PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Wednesday it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram after more than 200 girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group. President Francois Hollande's office said after he spoke by telephone with Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan that Paris would dispatch a specialized team in the coming hours to Abuja to help find the girls. With more than 4,000 troops operating between Mali to the west and Central African Republic to the east, Paris has a major interest in preventing Nigeria's security from deteriorating and has voiced concern Boko Haram could spread north into the Sahel. Having ousted al Qaeda-linked militants from Mali last year, France is planning to redeploy its forces across West Africa this summer to target Islamist groups taking advantage of porous borders between southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger. "The president expressed his desire to increase intelligence cooperation with Nigeria, involving all regional countries, so that this terrorist group can no longer carry out such acts," a statement on the telephone conversation said. Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers: "In the face of such ignominy, France must react. This crime cannot be left unpunished." Around 10 experts from the external DGSE intelligence service with satellite observation knowledge would first be sent to join United States and British teams, official sources said. Demanding an Islamic state, Boko Haram has been fighting in the northeast for the past five years. It attracted global attention last month with the abduction of girls taking exams in the village of Chibok, also in the south of Borno state. FRENCH TARGETS Underscoring how far Nigerian security forces are from protecting civilians in a region, the group launched an attack that killed at least 125 people, police said on Wednesday after gunmen rampaged through a town in the northeast, near the Cameroon border. Hollande, during a February trip to Abuja, promised to help fight them, saying Nigeria's struggle was also that of France. "This may be the catalyst the international community needs to fight Boko Haram," a French diplomat said. French interests have already been targeted by Boko Haram. Last November, the group kidnapped a French priest and held him for a month. Earlier last year, in mid-February, they snatched a French family of seven on holiday in northern Cameroon and held them for two months. Hollande at the time denied a ransom had been paid for the family, but a confidential Nigerian government report seen by Reuters said Boko Haram was given the equivalent of $3.15 million by French and Cameroonian negotiators. The kidnappings were among a series of attacks on French targets in West Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January 2013 to oust al Qaeda Islamists who had forged links with Boko Haram. Nigeria has complained that the far northern region of Cameroon is being used by Boko Haram militants to transport weapons and hide from a six-month military offensive against them. It has appealed to Cameroon to tighten border security. Officials in Niger, where France has based surveillance drones, have also voiced concern about infiltration by Boko Haram across the country's southern border. "We're already at the forefront of the fight against terrorists in the Sahel and with borders so easy to cross these groups are linked," the diplomat said. "We have knowledge in neighboring countries that can help." (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Andrew Callus and Tom Heneghan)
- Associated Press
Mike Weir went on a back-nine birdie binge to take control of the Cologuard Classic. Phil Mickelson waded into the mud for the second straight day and will have to dig out of a deep hole if he’s going to make history. Weir shot a 5-under 67 to build a two-shot lead in the Cologuard Classic on Saturday, leaving Mickelson with a lot of ground to make up to win his third straight PGA Tour Champions start.
- Business Insider
Opinion: The costs of a foreign policy that emphasizes US global preeminence are now inescapable clear, and US leaders need to change course.
- The Telegraph
Perched on the mountain range that divides the sprawling city of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela’s Hotel Humboldt can be seen from nearly all corners of the capital. The 65-year-old, 14-floor structure can only be reached by cable car from the city below. It currently boasts 69 rooms, six dining areas, a casino, a night club, and a swimming pool and spa. “It will be the first seven star hotel in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro once proudly proclaimed as the 1956 symbol of oil wealth was being lavishly renovated. Now, the hotel is open again as a symbol of an impending economic recovery and tourism boom in a country that has suffered the worst economic crisis in modern Latin American history. But the so-called Socialist president’s touting of the luxurious, $300 per night hotel in a country where most live in poverty represents something else to others - an abandonment of a political project promising a socialist utopia in favor of an 'anything goes', capitalist kleptocracy.
- Martha Stewart Living
Prince Harry Just Revealed Exactly When He Knew Meghan Markle Was the One: "We Went from Zero to 60"
The Duke of Sussex candidly shared more about his married life in a recent interview with James Corden—watch it here.
Police opened fire in the town of Dawei, killing one and wounding several, politician Kyaw Min Htike told Reuters from the southern town. The Dawei Watch media outlet also said one person was killed and more than a dozen wounded. Myanmar was thrown into chaos when the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
It's been 40 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement with a televised interview.
- Yahoo News Video
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she is too old, a comment that comes as millions of Germans refuse to take the vaccine because they do not trust it.
Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
After a white van advertised COVID-19 vaccines to a central-Indian slum, many of its residents feel duped after finding out they were in a trial.
- The Week
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) didn't exactly pull punches in an interview with Politico, going after congressional Republicans, Democrats, former President Donald Trump, and the Biden administration all in one go. Sasse, who is facing imminent censure from the Nebraska GOP for voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, stands by that vote and says he's not bothered by the action his home state's Republican Party is taking against him, though he did say he thinks it's not "healthy." His comments to Politico seemed to back up that confidence. At one point, when asked about Trump loyalist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Sasse simply said "that guy is not an adult," and described Congress, generally, as "a bunch of yokels screaming." Sasse's candor is gutsy, but it's worth noting he's generally well-respected by his Senate colleagues and won re-election handily last year, so he's ensconced in the upper chamber until 2026, and likely doesn't need to look over his shoulder as of now. While he's been in the spotlight for his intra-party criticism of late, Sasse did have words for Democrats, as well, per Politico. He said the Biden administration is "cowering" to the opinions of progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and called the education spending plan in President Biden's COVID-19 relief package "disastrous." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comBiden in the quagmireFDA grants emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccineRecords provide Louisiana State Police's 1st acknowledgement Black man who died in custody was mistreated
Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner and other 'life experience' shaped him into a better actor
In a new interview as part of The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Roundtable series, Affleck spoke about Garner and the three kids they share.
The berg covers 1,270 sq km - nearly 490 square miles - but its break-off was expected.
- Business Insider
QAnon's most devout followers believe bizarrely that former President Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 19th President on March 4, 2021.
- Business Insider
Trump supporters and right-wing reporters wouldn't stop heckling CNN's Jim Acosta during second day of CPAC
A crowd of Trump supporters and right-wing reporters were filmed following Jim Acosta around CPAC while chanting "CNN sucks!"
- Associated Press
Santino Ferrucci spent four hours in the simulator Friday, picked up some Bojangles french fries and headed to the team shop for last-minute preparations for his NASCAR debut. Ferrucci is hitting a reset for the third time in his short career, moving from IndyCar to NASCAR for what he hopes will be a firm landing spot. Ferrucci is in the process of relocating to North Carolina — hence his new affinity for the Charlotte-based Bojangles chicken chain — and adjusting to stock cars after so many years driving in open-wheel series.
- Business Insider
Go back to the place you got your first shot if you lose your paper card, and make sure to take a photo of the vaccine card after your first dose.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended partial coronavirus curbs in the capital until the end of March, as the country awaits the arrival of vaccines, the presidential spokesman said on Saturday. With southeast Asia's second-highest tally of infections and deaths, the Philippines has suffered lengthy, strict lockdowns in Manila and provinces, hitting an economy that was among Asia's fastest growing before the pandemic. Curbs will stay for another month in Manila, which accounts for 40% of national economic output, the spokesman, Harry Roque, said in a statement.
- Business Insider
Students from Rep. Madison Cawthorn's college said he used 'fun drives' to corner women with sexual advances, report says
Two former resident assistants told BuzzFeed News they warned women in their dorms not to go on drives with Cawthorn because "bad things happened."
Jill Biden said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that her daughter, Ashley, was the first to tell her that the Valentine's Day scrunchie sparked a trend.
- Reuters Videos
Traditional gondolas and boats could be seen almost beached in the canals as water levels reached a peak of -48 cm, creating an unusual landscape in the lagoon city.Venice, beloved around the world for its canals, historic architecture and art, has always lived in a fragile balance between low and high tides, that usually create variations of around 50 cm in sea levels.Flooding is a constant enemy of the art city built on a collection of small islands within a saltwater lagoon off the north-eastern coast of Italy, with every new incursion damaging its medieval and Renaissance palaces.
- Business Insider
Sweden has U-turned on several of its coronavirus measures and is now facing its first lockdown, warns PM
Sweden, which has famously relied on more voluntary measures during the pandemic, continues to struggle in the face of rising coronavirus cases.