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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Boko Haram strongholds seized in Nigeria

Troops from Chad and Niger seized the Nigerian towns of Malam Fatouri and Damasak from Boko Haram in an offensive that killed about 300 members of the Islamic extremist group, according to foreign sources. The news has raised hopes that the momentum has tipped against Boko Haram, a group responsible for the murder and capture of many school-age children in Nigeria, and a group that recently pledged allegiance to Islamic State. The joint attack on Boko Haram signals a political shift for Nigeria, a country that has for years been unable to unify neighbouring troops against the Islamic group. “This cooperation is something long overdue and should mark the beginning of a turn of events,” Dr John-Mark Iyi, a Nigerian political analyst based at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, told the Guardian. “It is the lack of this cooperation that has contributed to the ineffectiveness of anti-insurgency tactics that Nigeria was adopting.” [Source: The Guardian]

Two women vandalize Colesseum then pose for selfie

Two American women, 21 and 25, etched their initials into the stone wall of the first floor of the 2,000-year-old colosseum in Rome, each letter a reported eight inches from top to bottom. And then, the two, who had splintered from a larger, tour group, took a selfie (I’m emboldened by the red squiggles this version of Word places under the newly-minted word), according to local news reports. They were caught, and reported to a higher authority. But this report cited in this brief doesn’t say what happened to them. The women reportedly told the officials they were sorry, and “we’ll remember for a lifetime.” [Source: LATimes]

Reality TV show crash kills 10 in Argentina

Ten people were killed in Argentina after two helicopters collided during the filming of French reality TV show Dropped, a show where world-class athletes get airlifted into remote areas of the world and are pitted against each other to be the first to make it back to civilization. Two Olympic medalists, a sailor, the two pilots, and five French citizens were killed when the tail section of one helicopter touched the other aircraft. Investigators don’t yet know the cause of the crash. The accident puts the Dropped death toll at 11. Two years ago, a contested died of a heat attack on the show. [Source: NPR]

Florida environmental agency banned from using the terms “climate change” or “global warming”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, expressly tasked with studying and planning for things related to its name, has reportedly been told not to discuss or reference the terms “climate change,” or “global warming,” an edict that allegedly came shortly after Governor Rick Scott was elected in 2011. The allegations have been corroborated by many officials through reports gathered by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Florida is one of the more vulnerable states to the negative effects of climate change. Rising sea levels pose a serious threat to its beachside infrastructure and wildlife. This risk is referred to as “nuisance flooding” under Scott’s regime. [Source: Death and Taxes]

Brazil legislates tougher penalties for crimes against women

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, has signed into law tougher penalties for acts falling under femicide, which she legislated as any crime that involves domestic violence against women, contempt against women, or discrimination against women. Rousseff told news sources the new law makes it clear that the country will do what it can to protect its women, citing the grim statistic that 15 women are killed daily in Brazil. Murders linked to femicide will carry longer sentences, and cases involving pregnant women, those who have just given birth, those under 14 or over 60, will receive even longer jail times. The law identifies femicide as a specific and unique phenomenon. [Source: BBC]

Honourable mention: This video and story of India’s Wall of Death

[Source: Smithsonian]


Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.

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