Year-End Round Up 2014: A World On Fire

Greetings from chilly Pakistan! News trickles through via this blog’s current wireless situation so the below has been added at various times — apologies for outdated information here and there. To wrap up 2014, it has been a year of incredible ups and downs — police killings of African American men finally attracted global attention, militant group Daesh/ISIS has risen to be an international terrorist killing machine, Ukraine saw dramatic clashes with Russia, protesters in Mexico and Hong Kong produced student-led riots, Ebola engulfed West Africa, the longest war for many of us finally ended in Afghanistan, a massacre of school children shook an exhausted Pakistan to the core, India saw the world’s largest ever democratic exercise resulting in the election of Narendra Modi, Israel and Gaza went to war in a tragic and futile clash, a Malaysian plane went mysteriously missing and has yet to be found, and a Thai coup briefly gripped the country. South Korea was hit with tragedy when a ferry boat sunk, killing predominately children, while terrorism carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria led to brief interest in #BringBackOurGirls and a movement to locate hundreds of kidnapped school children.

That was hardly the end — Germany took a hard-won first place in the FIFA World Cup (controversially hosted in Brazil), feminism roared its head yet again on a global scale (and saw an endorsement from Beyoncé), North Korea and the United States clashed over the internet and a comedy, Turks protested their government en masse, Malala Yousafzai become the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and much of the Middle East appeared divided on its future following a series of uprisings in 2011. LGBTQ issues are more prevalent now than ever before, and the world’s transgender community is finally beginning to see representation in the media.

As  we move into 2015, this blog wishes all of its readers a safe and happy new year! Regularly scheduled updates won’t return until mid-January, but in the mean time worry not — once your blogger returns from Asia so too will the news. A look back over the year:

7 Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in a shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing 132 children and 10 teachers, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region.
Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in a shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing 132 children and 10 teachers, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region.
Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25.
Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25.
Kurds in the Turkish village of Caykara stand in line during a solidarity rally with the Syrian city of Kobani, on the Turkey-Syria border, on Nov. 11. Hundreds of volunteers, predominantly Kurdish Turks, keep watch on the border with Syria, looking out for potential ISIS fighters attempting to cross into Kobani. The Syrian city has been besieged since mid-September by ISIS and defended by Kurdish Syrian fighters known as the People's Protection Units.
Kurds in the Turkish village of Caykara stand in line during a solidarity rally with the Syrian city of Kobani, on the Turkey-Syria border, on Nov. 11. Hundreds of volunteers, predominantly Kurdish Turks, keep watch on the border with Syria, looking out for potential ISIS fighters attempting to cross into Kobani. The Syrian city has been besieged since mid-September by ISIS and defended by Kurdish Syrian fighters known as the People’s Protection Units.
A demonstrator walks down the street after getting tear gas in her face in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 24.
A demonstrator walks down the street after getting tear gas in her face in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 24.
Ten-year-old Macy Friday looks back at her family after meeting Hillary Clinton during a campaign event for Sen. Mark Udall in Denver's Union Station on Oct. 13.
Ten-year-old Macy Friday looks back at her family after meeting Hillary Clinton during a campaign event for Sen. Mark Udall in Denver’s Union Station on Oct. 13.
A Kurdish woman runs away from a water cannon near the Syrian border after Turkish authorities temporarily closed the border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Turkey's Sanliurfa province on Sept. 22. Turkey said that some 130,000 people had flooded across its border from Syria as Kurdish fighters battled ISIS militants trying to capture a strategic town.
A Kurdish woman runs away from a water cannon near the Syrian border after Turkish authorities temporarily closed the border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Turkey’s Sanliurfa province on Sept. 22. Turkey said that some 130,000 people had flooded across its border from Syria as Kurdish fighters battled ISIS militants trying to capture a strategic town.
Thousands of walruses gather on the northwest coast of Alaska on Sept. 23. Pacific walrus looking for places to rest in the absence of sea ice are coming to shore in record numbers, according to NOAA. An estimated 35,000 total walruses were spotted Saturday about 5 miles north of Point Lay, Alaska.
Thousands of walruses gather on the northwest coast of Alaska on Sept. 23. Pacific walrus looking for places to rest in the absence of sea ice are coming to shore in record numbers, according to NOAA. An estimated 35,000 total walruses were spotted Saturday about 5 miles north of Point Lay, Alaska.
Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 30. Three members of District 13 ambulance service traveled to the village to pickup six suspected Ebola sufferers that had been quarantined by villagers. Aid donations are still inadequate, as the international community tries to increase the ability to care for the spiraling number of people infected with the disease which has hit Liberia the hardest.
Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 30. Three members of District 13 ambulance service traveled to the village to pickup six suspected Ebola sufferers that had been quarantined by villagers. Aid donations are still inadequate, as the international community tries to increase the ability to care for the spiraling number of people infected with the disease which has hit Liberia the hardest.
A Honduran immigrant entertains a child in front of a map of Mexico showing train routes leading north at a shelter for undocumented Central American immigrants on September 14, in Tenosique, Mexico.  Many immigrants risk riding on top of "La Bestia" or The Beast, a freight train which passes through Tenosique in Mexico's southern state of Tabasco. The number of immigrants making the perilous trek has diminished since spring because of Mexican and U.S. law enforcement operations attempting to stem the flow.
A Honduran immigrant entertains a child in front of a map of Mexico showing train routes leading north at a shelter for undocumented Central American immigrants on September 14, in Tenosique, Mexico.
Many immigrants risk riding on top of “La Bestia” or The Beast, a freight train which passes through Tenosique in Mexico’s southern state of Tabasco. The number of immigrants making the perilous trek has diminished since spring because of Mexican and U.S. law enforcement operations attempting to stem the flow.
Dr. Kent Brantly is released from Emory University hospital following his battle with Ebola.
Dr. Kent Brantly is released from Emory University hospital following his battle with Ebola.
An Afghan refugee child chases bubbles released by other children, while playing on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 8. For more than three decades, Pakistan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee communities: hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have fled the repeated wars and fighting in their country
An Afghan refugee child chases bubbles released by other children, while playing on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 8. For more than three decades, Pakistan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee communities: hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have fled the repeated wars and fighting in their country
An injured girl cries in the corridor of the Ludian hospital in Zhaotong, China on Aug. 4. Sunday's 6.1-magnitude quake that struck in a mountainous part of Yunnan province left 589 dead as of Wednesday, and brought forth a massive effort to clear roads and enter isolated mountain communities where people were still feared to be trapped in collapsed homes.
An injured girl cries in the corridor of the Ludian hospital in Zhaotong, China on Aug. 4. Sunday’s 6.1-magnitude quake that struck in a mountainous part of Yunnan province left 589 dead as of Wednesday, and brought forth a massive effort to clear roads and enter isolated mountain communities where people were still feared to be trapped in collapsed homes.
nbcnews / Fernandinho of Brazil reacts after a goal was scored by Toni Kroos of Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 8.  Host country Brazil’s dreams were cut short by a shocking 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany on Tuesday.
Fernandinho of Brazil reacts after a goal was scored by Toni Kroos of Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 8.
Host country Brazil’s dreams were cut short by a shocking 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany on Tuesday.
reuters / Same-sex marriage supporters Gregory and Banerjee smile in Portland
reuters / Same-sex marriage supporters Gregory and Banerjee smile in Portland, OR.
reuters / families protest the likely boko haram-led kidnapping of over 200 girls in nigeria
reuters / Families protest the  Boko Haram-led kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria.
reuters / an iraqi voter raises her finger
reuters / An Iraqi voter raises her finger.
Israeli soldiers, family and friends mourn over the grave of Sergeant Sagi Erez, an infantry soldier training to be a squad commander, during his funeral at the military cemetery in Haifa, Israel, on July 29. Erez, 19, was killed Monday in combat after Gaza militants used a tunnel to sneak into Israel.
Israeli soldiers, family and friends mourn over the grave of Sergeant Sagi Erez, an infantry soldier training to be a squad commander, during his funeral at the military cemetery in Haifa, Israel, on July 29. Erez, 19, was killed Monday in combat after Gaza militants used a tunnel to sneak into Israel.
A Palestinian father of one of eight dead children cries outside the morgue of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 28.
A Palestinian father of one of eight dead children cries outside the morgue of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 28.
1 A Maasai warrior makes the high jump, in which athletes must touch a high line with the top of their heads, at the annual Maasai Olympics in the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary near to Mt. Kilimanjaro, in southern Kenya on Dec. 13. Maasai men and women from the Amboseli and Tsavo region compete for medals and prizes in the event which aims for a sports competition of Maasai skills such as running, jumping, and throwing, to replace lion-hunting as the traditional warrior activity.

A Maasai warrior makes the high jump, in which athletes must touch a high line with the top of their heads, at the annual Maasai Olympics in the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary near to Mt. Kilimanjaro, in southern Kenya on Dec. 13. Maasai men and women from the Amboseli and Tsavo region compete for medals and prizes in the event which aims for a sports competition of Maasai skills such as running, jumping, and throwing, to replace lion-hunting as the traditional warrior activity.
Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, left, scuffles with an Israeli border policeman near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Dec. 10. Abu Ein died shortly after being hit by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters photographer who witnessed the incident and a Palestinian medic said. Ziad Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio who was in his early 50s, died en route to the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah.  Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagree on whether a blow to the body or a bad heart was the main cause of death of Abu Ein, who collapsed shortly after scuffling with Israeli troops during a West Bank protest on Dec. 10.
Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, left, scuffles with an Israeli border policeman near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Dec. 10. Abu Ein died shortly after being hit by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters photographer who witnessed the incident and a Palestinian medic said. Ziad Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio who was in his early 50s, died en route to the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagree on whether a blow to the body or a bad heart was the main cause of death of Abu Ein, who collapsed shortly after scuffling with Israeli troops during a West Bank protest on Dec. 10.
Tens of thousands of protesters march accross the Elisabeth Bridge during a rally against a plan by the Hungarian government to tax Internet use from 2015, in Budapest on Oct. 28.  The rally, the second in three days objecting to the scheme, was also a sign of growing discontent among mostly younger citizens against Prime Minister Viktor Orban's policies centralizing power and increasing the role of the state to the detriment of private enterprise.
Tens of thousands of protesters march accross the Elisabeth Bridge during a rally against a plan by the Hungarian government to tax Internet use from 2015, in Budapest on Oct. 28.
The rally, the second in three days objecting to the scheme, was also a sign of growing discontent among mostly younger citizens against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies centralizing power and increasing the role of the state to the detriment of private enterprise.
Indian youth make a human pyramid to reach and break the “Dahi Handi,” an earthen pot filled with yogurt, as they celebrate Janamashtami in Mumbai, India, on Aug. 18. Janmashtami is the festival that marks the birth of Hindu god Krishna.
Indian youth make a human pyramid to reach and break the “Dahi Handi,” an earthen pot filled with yogurt, as they celebrate Janamashtami in Mumbai, India, on Aug. 18. Janmashtami is the festival that marks the birth of Hindu god Krishna.
A Palestinian man cries as he holds the dead body of his younger brother in the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 16. His brother was one of four boys from the Bakr family killed in what appeared to be Israeli naval shelling near Gaza City as they played football on a beach.
A Palestinian man cries as he holds the dead body of his younger brother in the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 16. His brother was one of four boys from the Bakr family killed in what appeared to be Israeli naval shelling near Gaza City as they played football on a beach.
An Afghan refugee carries her child at a special medical camp organized by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with the coordination of Pakistan Medical Dental Association to mark World Refugees Day in Islamabad on June 20. The UNHCR said there were 51.2 million forcibly displaced people at the end of 2013, a full six million higher than the previous year
An Afghan refugee carries her child at a special medical camp organized by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with the coordination of Pakistan Medical Dental Association to mark World Refugees Day in Islamabad on June 20. The UNHCR said there were 51.2 million forcibly displaced people at the end of 2013, a full six million higher than the previous year

all images from nbcnews unless indicated otherwise

Via WaPo’s Read In morning update:

The Associated Press’s top 10 news stories of the year, as voted by U.S. editors and news directors: 1. Police killings of African American men, from Michael Brown to Eric Garner. 2. The West African Ebola outbreak. 3. The shocking rise of the Islamic State. 4. Republicans sweep the midterm elections. 5. Millions of Americans sign up for ObamaCare. 6. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 7. President Obama takes executive action on immigration. 8. Unrest in Ukraine, from Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster in February to Russian annexation of Crimea and rebel control of the east. 9. Nineteen state bans on gay marriage fall after a wave of federal court rulings. 10. A scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs cost Secretary Eric Shinseki his job. (Associated Press)

Not on the list: The first legal pot was sold in Washington and Colorado. Israel’s 50-day incursion into Gaza after a barrage of Hamas rockets. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Nigeria. The South Korean ferry disaster. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down by pro-Russian separatists over Ukraine. The survey was conducted before President Obama announced the new U.S. attitude towards Cuba.

Other 2014 Reviews:

This Year In War ; NYT Year In Pictures ; 50 Stories from 50 States

Read on for older news from the past two weeks:

Continue reading “Year-End Round Up 2014: A World On Fire”

Weekly News Round Up 12/15/14-12/19/14: In Darkness And In Light (I’ll Ride With You)

As we draw near to the end of 2014, a note from the blog re travel plans — your blogger will be in Pakistan for two and a half weeks starting next week. Updates are not expected to cease entirely but they may come at odd times. As far as this week goes, it’s been a tragic one. Prayers, thoughts, and condolences with the cities of Peshawar and Sydney, the former of whom experienced a massacre and the latter of whom lost three lives at the beginning of the week. These are hard times. Elsewhere in the world, North Korea is being accused of hacking SONY, Cuba’s embargo is on its way out, and Americans don’t seem to mind that their country illegally tortured people. Meanwhile college is getting more and more expensive and millennials are suffering across the board. Despite less than happy tidings, a beautiful and light-filled Chanukkah to Jews across the world — Chag sameach! 

 

Hostages flee with their hands up from the Lindt Cafe during a standoff on Dec. 15, in Sydney, Australia. Police stormed the cafe on Monday, ending a 16-hour seiege by a gunman and self-professed sheik. The gunman was killed and two of 17 hostages suffered fatal injuries.
Hostages flee with their hands up from the Lindt Cafe during a standoff on Dec. 15, in Sydney, Australia. Police stormed the cafe on Monday, ending a 16-hour seiege by a gunman and self-professed sheik. The gunman was killed and two of 17 hostages suffered fatal injuries.
2 A young Romanian woman kisses a candle she just lit in memory of those who died during the 1989 anti-communist uprising, at the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral, in Timisoara, Romania, on Dec. 17. In December Romanians pay their respects to the 1989 activists who sparked the revolution that toppled Eastern Europe's most repressive Communist regime 25 years ago. More than 1,000 people were killed across Romania during clashes between demonstrators and forces loyal to then dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
2
A young Romanian woman kisses a candle she just lit in memory of those who died during the 1989 anti-communist uprising, at the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral, in Timisoara, Romania, on Dec. 17. In December Romanians pay their respects to the 1989 activists who sparked the revolution that toppled Eastern Europe’s most repressive Communist regime 25 years ago. More than 1,000 people were killed across Romania during clashes between demonstrators and forces loyal to then dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
7 Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in a shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing 132 children and 10 teachers, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region.
7
Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in a shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing 132 children and 10 teachers, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region.
 Women mourn their relative Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen broke into a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years.

Women mourn their relative Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar Dec. 16. Taliban gunmen broke into a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years.
Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather Cho, daughter of chairman of Korean Air Lines, appears in front of the media outside the offices of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board, in Seoul on Dec. 12. Cho, 40, was an executive at South Korea's flag carrier in charge of in-flight service until she quit this week, and has been removed from all posts at affiliate companies. On Dec. 19, while at New York's John F. Kennedy airport, seated in first class on a South Korea-bound flight, she was displeased with being served macadamia nuts in a bag and not a dish. She ordered a senior crew member off the plane, forcing it to return to the gate.
Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather Cho, daughter of chairman of Korean Air Lines, appears in front of the media outside the offices of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board, in Seoul on Dec. 12. Cho, 40, was an executive at South Korea’s flag carrier in charge of in-flight service until she quit this week, and has been removed from all posts at affiliate companies. On Dec. 19, while at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, seated in first class on a South Korea-bound flight, she was displeased with being served macadamia nuts in a bag and not a dish. She ordered a senior crew member off the plane, forcing it to return to the gate.
1 A Maasai warrior makes the high jump, in which athletes must touch a high line with the top of their heads, at the annual Maasai Olympics in the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary near to Mt. Kilimanjaro, in southern Kenya on Dec. 13. Maasai men and women from the Amboseli and Tsavo region compete for medals and prizes in the event which aims for a sports competition of Maasai skills such as running, jumping, and throwing, to replace lion-hunting as the traditional warrior activity.
1
A Maasai warrior makes the high jump, in which athletes must touch a high line with the top of their heads, at the annual Maasai Olympics in the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary near to Mt. Kilimanjaro, in southern Kenya on Dec. 13. Maasai men and women from the Amboseli and Tsavo region compete for medals and prizes in the event which aims for a sports competition of Maasai skills such as running, jumping, and throwing, to replace lion-hunting as the traditional warrior activity.
Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims reach out to touch the tomb of Imam al-Abbas located inside the Imam al-Abbas shrine to mark Arbain in the holy city of Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad on Dec.13. Iraqi officials say millions of Shi'ite pilgrims from across Iraq and neighbouring countries are expected in Kerbala for Saturday's Arbain ritual, which marks the last of 40 days mourning for the death 1,300 years ago of Imam Hussein.
Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims reach out to touch the tomb of Imam al-Abbas located inside the Imam al-Abbas shrine to mark Arbain in the holy city of Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad on Dec.13. Iraqi officials say millions of Shi’ite pilgrims from across Iraq and neighbouring countries are expected in Kerbala for Saturday’s Arbain ritual, which marks the last of 40 days mourning for the death 1,300 years ago of Imam Hussein.
va Exelbirt hugs one of the remaining horses at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., on Dec. 16. Ava lost the horse she rode to poisoned feed on Monday. There's nothing that can be done to save 18 poisoned horses at a Florida equestrian center, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days.  The Florida Department of Agriculture confirmed that monensin, a type of food additive that is toxic to horses, was present in food manufacturing company Lakeland Animal Nutrition's food. Four horses at the center have died since October because of the contaminated feed, and the owners of the rest are struggling to accept the approaching deaths of the others.
va Exelbirt hugs one of the remaining horses at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., on Dec. 16. Ava lost the horse she rode to poisoned feed on Monday. There’s nothing that can be done to save 18 poisoned horses at a Florida equestrian center, so their young riders are holding “spa days” to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days.
The Florida Department of Agriculture confirmed that monensin, a type of food additive that is toxic to horses, was present in food manufacturing company Lakeland Animal Nutrition’s food. Four horses at the center have died since October because of the contaminated feed, and the owners of the rest are struggling to accept the approaching deaths of the others.

images / nbcnews

Assorted Stand-Outs:

Continue reading “Weekly News Round Up 12/15/14-12/19/14: In Darkness And In Light (I’ll Ride With You)”

Weekly News Round-Up 12/8/14-12/12/14: The Torture Report

Congratulations to TIME’s Person of the Year, the Ebola fighters. Ebola continues to rage in Sierra Leone, even as it quiets in other parts of Western Africa. Meanwhile the CIA torture report excerpt is out and it’s a horrifying thing. Protesters in Hong Kong are leaving but departing with a message to the government — they’ll be back. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi shared their Nobel Prize this week for their work in the areas of women’s education and the rights of children, respectively. As a Pakistani and an Indian, the Prize’s committee expressed hope that the recipients’ home countries would continue to strive for peace and dialogue.

n opposition activist is detained by Cuban security officers before the start of a march marking International Human Rights Day in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 10. The march was organized by the "Damas de Blanco," or Women in White, a pro-democracy group of women activists. The demonstrators where picked up by the police as soon as they arrived, while hundreds of pro-government loyalist sang patriotic songs and slogans.
n opposition activist is detained by Cuban security officers before the start of a march marking International Human Rights Day in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 10. The march was organized by the “Damas de Blanco,” or Women in White, a pro-democracy group of women activists. The demonstrators where picked up by the police as soon as they arrived, while hundreds of pro-government loyalist sang patriotic songs and slogans.
Flames spread from a massive fire at the site of a seven-story downtown apartment complex under construction in Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 8. Over 250 firefighters battled the early morning blaze which shut down two major freeways, the Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol said. A large investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
Flames spread from a massive fire at the site of a seven-story downtown apartment complex under construction in Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 8. Over 250 firefighters battled the early morning blaze which shut down two major freeways, the Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol said. A large investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
4 An undercover police officer, who had been marching with demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters after some in the crowd attacked him and his partner in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2014. The man was identified as an officer with the California Highway Patrol, according to the Oakland Police Department. Police said more than 100 demonstrators marched in Berkeley, Calif., which has a history of social activism. Under cloudy skies, turnout was smaller than earlier in the week, when demonstrators in the area threw rocks at police and shut down a major freeway.
4
An undercover police officer, who had been marching with demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters after some in the crowd attacked him and his partner in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2014. The man was identified as an officer with the California Highway Patrol, according to the Oakland Police Department. Police said more than 100 demonstrators marched in Berkeley, Calif., which has a history of social activism. Under cloudy skies, turnout was smaller than earlier in the week, when demonstrators in the area threw rocks at police and shut down a major freeway.
Protesters rallying against police violence block Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 8. Hundreds of people marched through downtown Berkeley on Dec. 8 in reaction to the grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island in New York.
Protesters rallying against police violence block Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 8. Hundreds of people marched through downtown Berkeley on Dec. 8 in reaction to the grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island in New York.
 Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, left, scuffles with an Israeli border policeman near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Dec. 10. Abu Ein died shortly after being hit by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters photographer who witnessed the incident and a Palestinian medic said. Ziad Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio who was in his early 50s, died en route to the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah.  Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagree on whether a blow to the body or a bad heart was the main cause of death of Abu Ein, who collapsed shortly after scuffling with Israeli troops during a West Bank protest on Dec. 10.

Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, left, scuffles with an Israeli border policeman near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Dec. 10. Abu Ein died shortly after being hit by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters photographer who witnessed the incident and a Palestinian medic said. Ziad Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio who was in his early 50s, died en route to the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagree on whether a blow to the body or a bad heart was the main cause of death of Abu Ein, who collapsed shortly after scuffling with Israeli troops during a West Bank protest on Dec. 10.
1 A man holds onto a girl as he brings her back to her family home, after she tried to escape when she realized she was going to be married, about 50 miles from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, in Kenya, on Dec. 7.  In the Pokot tradition, parents give their daughters as wives usually at the beginning of their adolescence, after an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.  The future husband of the girl above arrived at her family home with a group of men to collect her. They brought 10 cows, the last of the settled dowry for the girl's family. Her dowry was made up of 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, which were delivered over a period of several weeks. The girl was unaware of the marriage arrangements that her father had made. The family said that if they had told her in advance she might have run away from home.  This is one of the traditions the Pokots have developed that aim to optimize each household's chance of survival in a difficult and hostile environment.
1
A man holds onto a girl as he brings her back to her family home, after she tried to escape when she realized she was going to be married, about 50 miles from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, in Kenya, on Dec. 7.
In the Pokot tradition, parents give their daughters as wives usually at the beginning of their adolescence, after an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.
The future husband of the girl above arrived at her family home with a group of men to collect her. They brought 10 cows, the last of the settled dowry for the girl’s family. Her dowry was made up of 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, which were delivered over a period of several weeks. The girl was unaware of the marriage arrangements that her father had made. The family said that if they had told her in advance she might have run away from home.
This is one of the traditions the Pokots have developed that aim to optimize each household’s chance of survival in a difficult and hostile environment.

images / nbcnews

Assorted Stand-Outs:

Here’s the massive report, by the numbers. You can browse the entire sickening document here.

  • 119: Number of individuals known to have been held in CIA custody under the agency’s detention and interrogation program
  • 26: Number of individuals the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has determined to have been “wrongfully” held by the CIA
  • 180: Maximum number of hours detainees were forcefully kept awake, “at times with their hands shackled above their heads”
  • 5: Number of detainees who experienced “disturbing hallucinations” during prolonged sleep deprivation
  • 5: Number of CIA detainees subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity
  • 3: Number of detainees the CIA threatened with harm to their children or sexual abuse of their mother
  • 834: The number of times “enhanced interrogation” appears
  • 131: The number of times the word “torture” appears in the report
  • 4: The number of years that the CIA used enhanced interrogation before briefing President George W. Bush on the specific techniques they were employing
  • 180: Number of dollars, in millions, the CIA included in a base contract in 2006 to hire psychologists to help devise the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques
  • 17: Number of detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation without approval from CIA headquarters

Continue reading “Weekly News Round-Up 12/8/14-12/12/14: The Torture Report”

Weekly News Round-Up 12/01/14-12/05/14: I Can’t Breathe

Another week of racial injustice here in the United States, where a grand jury failed to indict a white police officer in the murder of an unarmed black man. Meanwhile a terrorist Al Qaeda offshoot is threatening the life of an American journalist, Hong Kong’s Umbrella protesters are slowly surrendering, the NFL have reinstated Ray Rice following documented domestic assault against his wife, both Japan and Israel will likely see snap elections soon, and violence has resurfaced in Chechnya. Welcome to December, all. 

A police officer stands over activists, demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner, as they stage a "die-in" during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on Dec. 3, 2014. A New York City grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict a white police officer who used a chokehold on an unarmed black man who died as police tried to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes. The grand jury in the city's borough of Staten Island decided against criminal charges for New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The deadly encounter on July 17 was captured on a video that quickly spread over the Internet and helped fuel debates about how U.S. police use force, particularly against minorities.
A police officer stands over activists, demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner, as they stage a “die-in” during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on Dec. 3, 2014. A New York City grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict a white police officer who used a chokehold on an unarmed black man who died as police tried to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes. The grand jury in the city’s borough of Staten Island decided against criminal charges for New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The deadly encounter on July 17 was captured on a video that quickly spread over the Internet and helped fuel debates about how U.S. police use force, particularly against minorities.
Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25.
Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25.
A small owl yawns as it sits in the snow in Ansung City, South Korea, on Dec. 4.
A small owl yawns as it sits in the snow in Ansung City, South Korea, on Dec. 4.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to his supporters as he returns to Maadi military hospital in Cairo on Nov. 29. An Egyptian court on Saturday dropped its case against Mubarak, his interior minister and six aides on charges of ordering the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolt that removed him from power. The court also cleared Mubarak and a former oil minister of graft charges related to gas exports to Israel.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to his supporters as he returns to Maadi military hospital in Cairo on Nov. 29. An Egyptian court on Saturday dropped its case against Mubarak, his interior minister and six aides on charges of ordering the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolt that removed him from power. The court also cleared Mubarak and a former oil minister of graft charges related to gas exports to Israel.
A monkey cowers as its trainer Qi Defang approaches during training for a circus in Suzhou, Anhui province, on Nov. 29. Suzhou is known as the hometown of circus troupes in China and has more than 300.
A monkey cowers as its trainer Qi Defang approaches during training for a circus in Suzhou, Anhui province, on Nov. 29. Suzhou is known as the hometown of circus troupes in China and has more than 300.
Kashmiri Muslims watch the funeral procession of Indian paramilitary soldier Muhammad Shafi Bhat in Buran, some 22 miles north of Srinagar, India, on Dec. 3. Thousands took part in the funeral procession of Shafi who was killed in an attack by Maoist rebels in central India on Monday.
Kashmiri Muslims watch the funeral procession of Indian paramilitary soldier Muhammad Shafi Bhat in Buran, some 22 miles north of Srinagar, India, on Dec. 3. Thousands took part in the funeral procession of Shafi who was killed in an attack by Maoist rebels in central India on Monday.
0 A butcher holding his blade stands among sacrificed buffalos inside an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony of the Gadhimai Mela festival held in Bariyapur on Nov. 28. Sword-wielding Hindu devotees in Nepal began slaughtering thousands of animals and birds in a ritual sacrifice on Friday, ignoring calls by animal rights activists to halt what they described as the world's largest such exercise.
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A butcher holding his blade stands among sacrificed buffalos inside an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony of the Gadhimai Mela festival held in Bariyapur on Nov. 28. Sword-wielding Hindu devotees in Nepal began slaughtering thousands of animals and birds in a ritual sacrifice on Friday, ignoring calls by animal rights activists to halt what they described as the world’s largest such exercise.

images / nbcnews

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Continue reading “Weekly News Round-Up 12/01/14-12/05/14: I Can’t Breathe”