When his village in Nigeria was attacked, 10-year-old Ibrahim witnessed his father’s brutal murder. Then the insurgents came after him. Ibrahim’s story.
The crescent-shaped scar on Ibrahim’s head is a visible reminder of his ordeal. UNHCR/Hélène Caux
25 March 2015 — Thirty-three-year-old Sarratou will never forget the day when dozens of heavily armed men ambushed her village in Nigeria’s Borno State. It was 10 o’clock in the morning and she was at home with three of her four children. The gunshots rang in their ears as they hastily embarked on a 12-kilometre trip on foot towards the Cameroon border.
At the time, her husband and their eldest son, 10-year-old Ibrahim, were caring for their cattle on the outskirts of the village. Although they tried to flee, there was no escape. “My husband got too tired. He was exhausted and could not continue running,” Sarratou says. “Boko Haram caught up with them, and they cut the throat of my husband, in front of our son.”
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By Roberto Savio*
Rome, 27 March 2015 — The United Kingdom has been accused of “sleepwalking” into the Ukraine crisis – and the accusation comes from no less than the House of Lords, not usually considered a place of critical analysis.
**An important vote: the House of Lords voting for the Parliament Act 1911 | Author: Samuel Begg (died 1919) | Source: The Rise of the Democracy, by Joseph Clayton, Project Gutenberg eText 19609 | Wikimedia Commons
In a scathing report, the upper house of the U.K. parliament has said that the United Kingdom, like the rest of the European Union, has sleepwalked into a very complex problem without looking into the possible consequences, letting bureaucrats taking critical political decisions.
It said that it was only when the conflict was well entrenched that political leaders decided to negotiate the Minsk ceasefire agreement, reached by Angela Merkel of Germany, Francois Hollande of France, Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, with the notable absence of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.
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26 March 2015 (RT)* — A coalition of 10 Sunni Arab states is on a military offensive against Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen, recently proclaimed by America’s president as a brilliant example of war on terror, but now catapulting the Middle East into the inferno of battle.
Saudi Arabia has initiated an international military operation in Yemen that many experts are already calling a proxy war against Iran, since Houthi fighters are believed to have strategic backup from Tehran.
The internal Yemeni conflict has the potential to transform into a military standoff based on religious background between the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf on one side and Shiites of the region supported by Iran on the other.
US President Barack Obama has authorized “logistical and intelligence support.”
The coalition is bombing a country that used to have heavy American presence for years, since Washington used to station a fleet of assault UAVs in Yemen, waging drone warfare against militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
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By Arielle Denis and Daniela Varano*
25 March 2015 – Media outlets in Japan and Norway report that the United States has become more assertive in its opposition to the humanitarian initiative, issuing “demarcates” to its allies to refrain from backing a Pledge announced by the Austrian government at the conclusion of the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
Prompted by the comprehensive evidence generated by the Vienna Conference and its two predecessors, the Pledge is a call to action to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.
Amidst calls for a nuclear weapons free world the US has decided to show its hand and reveal that it intends to do everything it can to control the debate on nuclear disarmament and isn’t interested in anyone else pushing it out of its comfort zone.
The five nuclear weapons states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have been quite suspicious of the so-called “humanitarian initiative”.
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This year’s commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade will have particular significance at United Nations Headquarters in New York, where six years of work to establish a permanent memorial to honor the victims pays off with the unveiling on 25 March 2015.
Rodney Leon, architect and designer of the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz
Designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent who was chosen in 2013 as the winner of an international competition attracting a total of 310 entries from 83 countries, ‘The Ark of Return’ honours the memories of the estimated 15 million men, women and children who were victims of the largest forced migration in history.
“It makes me feel extremely proud that I can play a role and a part in the commemoration of such an important and historic day,” Mr. Leon says in an interview.
“I feel really proud that we have a physical marker and a place of remembrance for this annual celebration to take place moving forward.”
Having also been chosen to design the African Burial Ground National Monument in lower Manhattan, erected on a spot where 15,000 people of African origin were buried over a period of around 100 years from the 1690s until 1794, Mr. Leon is familiar with art relating to slavery and the African experience in the Americas.
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By Almigdad Mojalli*
SANA’A, 25 March 2015 (IRIN)* - Abdu Hasan Dabwan is not willing to let it happen again. Twice before, the 54 year-old says, he waited too long, refusing to flee in the hope that the tensions in his home country would not tip over into chaos. Twice he was wrong.
**Photo: Alaa Al-Ghannami/IRIN | Protests against the Houthi takeover of the city of Taiz in Yemen on 23 March 2015
The first time was 1994. Four short years after North and South Yemen had unified, the initial optimism had faded and a civil war broke out in which president Ali Abdullah Saleh brutally crushed the southern leadership.
Trapped in their houses, the Dabwans were forced to watch the three-months of carnage play out around them.
The second time was in 2011 when a wave of popular protests against Saleh began. While he eventually stepped down to be replaced by his deputy Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, it was not before months of intermittent clashes.
“We had terrible experiences [before] when we waited until the war broke out [and] were besieged for many days. Some of our neighbors were killed, and we [had to abandon] much of our furniture and properties.”
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