Global Scan

How corruption and factionalism in Nigeria spawned Boko Haram

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An emergency responder walks on a road near fire engines working to put a fire after a blast in the Wuse 2 neighbourhood of Abuja, June 25, 2014. At least 21 people were killed when a suspected bomb tore through the crowded shopping district in the Nigerian capital Abuja during rush hour on Wednesday, police said, adding to the toll of thousands killed in attacks this year.

Credit:

Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

The new face of terrorism in Africa is Boko Haram, the violent Islamist extremists who kidnapped more than 200 school girls who still haven't been rescued.

But this group of terrorists didn't come out of nowhere — they were born of a country that is so corrupt, so divided, people feel like they can trust no one but the people like them. Newsweek traveled to Nigeria and learned about Boko Haram's unspeakable cruelty, as well as the situations in the country that made its very existence possible.

Billions of dollars in oil money, stolen. Conspiracy theories run amok. Neighbors distrustful of neighbors, unless they share an ethnic or religiou bond. That's the reality in Nigeria, and that's the reality that fueled Boko Haram.

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'Dog ate my homework excuse' is the best a UK agency accused of rendition can come up with

The controversail CIA rendition program relied on the help of countless government agencies from friendly governments — many of which have been called to account by their own people. In the UK, efforts to understand the government's role in the program have been made more difficult after the paperwork was "destroyed accidentally when they became soaked with water." 

The South China Morning Post reports on the reaction, including from a group of NGOs that say the whole thing smacks of a cover-up. The documents pertain to flights in and out of the Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia. A redacted version of a US report on the redition program is expected this fall, but friendly governments are said to be lobbying to be redacted from the final, public version. 

In Alberta, the oil is pumping but the price is high

Our friends from The GroundTruth Project traveled to Alberta, Canada, home to at least a trillion dollars worth of oil — oil that until recently went entirely untapped. The oil's extraction has changed the course of the province, pumping money into local economies and minting new millionaires, but it's come at a heavy price to the environment.

Photographer Alex MacLean flew over the mines, the wilderness and other scenes and collected photos of the change in the province. Check out his photos at PRI.org.

Why South Africa should release apartheid's 'Prime Evil' assassin

Eugene de Kock, the former chief of South Africa's apartheid-era death squads — renowned for his bloody violence in enforcing his masters' political system — was denied parole on Thursday, a decision met with cheers across much of South Africa.

But, writing for The Guardian, Justice Malala, a political analyst in South Africa, says de Kock should be granted parole — because he was merely a tool of his political masters. And none of those political masters have been jailed for their role in giving de Kock orders or implementing the apartheid system.

When sheets of linen were top-of-the-line armor

The ancient Greeks went into battled armored with the best body armor of their day: sheets of linen. But lest you think they were unconcerned for their own safety, the ancient Greeks managed to turn those sheets of fabric into armor that could stop the best weapons of their day.

How they did it, though, has proven difficult for modern scientists to understand. Until now. The secret, it seems, is layers of linen bonded together with rabbit glue. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay built prototypes of the ancient Greek armor, called the linothorax, until they came up with what they think is the method the Greeks used.

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Weather around the world

The remnants of Typoon Neoguri have moved away from Japan, but they'll soon be shaping weather in the US. According to AccuWeather, sometime late next week, residents of the US midwest and east coast can expect a blast of cooler weather — six to 10 degrees below normal — thanks to the remnants of Typhoon Neoguri.

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