May 04 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

The world’s media have failed in their response to the kidnap of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls

Their abduction by terrorists has had little coverage compared with the missing Malaysian airliner

 JOAN SMITH  Sunday 4 May 2014

When members of the Islamist terror organisation Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria last month, they disguised themselves in military uniform. The girls, who knew that many schools in the state of Borno have been attacked by jihadists, initially believed that the unexpected visitors had come to take them to a safe place. But as they climbed reluctantly into trucks and on to motorcycles, the men began firing into the air and shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Some of the girls decided to make a run for it, but the majority were coerced into travelling to a bush camp. There the terrorists forced them to cook for their captors.

Sunday’s Headlines:

A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War

Meet the ‘nightlife mayor’ of Paris (yes, that’s a thing)

Japan split over revision to pacifist constitution

Thousands flee rebel clashes in Syria’s east

The heroism of everyday life in Baghdad

A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War

 Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?

By Jonathan Stock

Until recently, there had long been only two possible fates awaiting Tanja Nijmeijer: a grave in the Colombian jungle or a cell in an American maximum-security prison. Nijmeijer has never had any doubts as to which option she would prefer. “I will die in the jungle,” she says.

Nijmeijer is wanted by Interpol for three cases of kidnapping, the use of a firearm during a violent crime and supporting a terrorist organization.

On this afternoon, she arrives a few minutes late to our agreed meeting place, a large hotel in the Cuban capital of Havana.

 Meet the ‘nightlife mayor’ of Paris (yes, that’s a thing)

Clément Léon acts as a go-between for local residents and the city’s evening businesses, which employ some 600,000 people.

By Colette Davidson, Contributor / May 3, 2014


It’s not so often someone throws a bucket of water at you from a fifth-story walk-up, but that’s exactly what happened to me in Paris two years ago.

I was out with a group of Irish friends at 2 a.m., and we lingered in the street for a half hour – they singing Irish folk songs at the top of their lungs and I, the bemused American, looking on with glee. It wasn’t until the second bucket of water threatened to douse us that we knew the angry neighbor meant business: Shut up and go home.

In Paris, like in many big cities, there is a strict distinction between nightlife and sleeping hours. For the sanity of the neighborhood, bars and restaurants must close at 2 a.m. But Paris’s nightlife mayor, Clément Léon, says having a strict closing time for establishments is actually creating much of the discontent between residents and local businesses – chucking night owls into the streets all at once, where they tend to linger and get loud.

Japan split over revision to pacifist constitution


4 hours ago

Japan marked the 67th anniversary of its postwar constitution Saturday with growing debate over whether to revise the war-renouncing charter in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for an expanded role for the military.

The ruling conservative party has long advocated revision but been unable to sway public opinion. Now Abe is proposing that the government reinterpret the constitution to give the military more prominence without having to win public approval for the revisions.

His push, backed by the U.S. which wants Japan to bear a greater burden of its own defense, has upset the liberals who see it as undermining the constitution and democratic processes.

Thousands flee rebel clashes in Syria’s east

Fighting between rival groups force at least 60,000 to flee Deir Ezzor, while rebel withdrawal from Homs is delayed.


At least 60,000 people have fled towns in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria which has been the scene of fierce clashes between rival rebel groups.

Fighting between al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and the breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has raged for four days despite an order from al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri to stop fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

“Residents of the towns of Busayra, home to 35,000 people, Abriha, home to 12,000 people, and al-Zir, home to 15,000 people, have nearly all been displaced by the fighting in the area,”

said the Britain-based monitoring group.

The heroism of everyday life in Baghdad


 The BBC

More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in April, making it one of the bloodiest months for years. Despite this, Iraqis went to the polls in large numbers, which the BBC’s Kevin Connolly describes as nothing less than heroic. He’s also impressed by those who make sure ordinary life continues.

The book market in downtown Baghdad is a joyful testament to the durability of the human spirit. The sellers spread their wares out like carpets of all the world’s learning stretching from the covered walkways out into the middle of the pedestrianised street.