TIME Nigeria

Nigerian Army Frees More than 50 People From Boko Haram

59 prisoners were freed, including women, children, and elderly men

Nigeria’s army announced Thursday that it had freed 59 women and children who had been captured by the extremist group Boko Haram.

The military raided two jihadist camps in Borno Wednesday as part of an ongoing offensive against the group, rescuing 29 women, 25 children and five elderly men from the camps, the AFP reports. A spokesperson for the Nigerian army also said that some Boko Haram members were killed in the process.

Boko Haram is responsible for the abductions and deaths of thousands in the region. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced in July that he would create a multinational African force to redouble efforts to fight the Islamic extremist group.


TIME Israel

Jewish Man Stabs 6 People at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Mideast Israel Gay Parade Attack
Sebastian Scheiner—AP Plainclothes Israeli police detain an ultra-Orthodox Jew after he attacked people with a knife during a Gay Pride parade on July 30, 2015 in central Jerusalem.

The alleged attacker was jailed for stabbing people at a 2005 pride parade

(JERUSALEM) — An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lunged into a group of revelers leading Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade and stabbed six of them Thursday evening as they marched in the holy city, Israeli police and witnesses said.

The alleged attacker, Yishai Schlissel, had recently been released from prison after serving a term for stabbing several people at a gay pride parade in 2005, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, adding that he was arrested at the scene of Thursday’s attack.

Eli Bin of Israel’s emergency service said six young people were wounded in the attack, two of them seriously.

The annual parade was proceeding as planned when the crowd’s joyful chants gave way to screams. Panic ensued, and a bloody woman fell to the ground, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said.

A man with blood seeping from his back wandered around with a dazed look before collapsing. Another man with his shirt off also had blood dripping down his back. Medics quickly surrounded them both and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.

Shocked revelers, some in tears, gathered along the sidewalk as ambulances and police on horses quickly arrived on the scene.

Schlissel was convicted of a similar attack that wounded several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem a decade ago. Media reports said that on Thursday he hid in a nearby supermarket and jumped out to attack the march when it passed nearby.

Jerusalem police spokesman Asi Ahroni said there was a “massive presence” of police securing the parade but “unfortunately the man managed to pull out a knife and attack.”

A medic that treated the wounded at the scene, Hanoch Zelinger, said one woman was stabbed in the back, chest and neck, and was lying unconscious on the ground.

Shaarei Tzedek hospital said it was treating a man with stab wounds who was in serious condition and a woman in critical condition, both in their 20s.

The parade continued after the wounded were taken for treatment, but in a more somber atmosphere. Media reported that thousands of Jerusalem residents who had not participated in the parade joined in after the attack in solidarity.

“I do think that homophobia is rooted in the city, but that’s the point of the parade,” said Benny Zupick, 21, shortly after the attack. “We are trying to change that. And hopefully we will change that. It takes one man to create a scene like this. Hopefully he’s a minority.”

A majority of Jerusalem’s residents are either observant Jews or Muslim or Christian Palestinians, conservative communities that oppose homosexuality. Previous parades have drawn opposition.

The heads of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties, along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and others across the Israeli political spectrum condemned the attack.

“People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them,” President Reuven Rivlin said.

Jerusalem’s annual parade is smaller and more restrained than the annual gay pride march in Tel Aviv, which was attended by some 100,000 revelers last month.

Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations recently, in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Middle East, where gays are persecuted or even killed.

Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers are gay, but gays still face hostility among religious Jews.


Iran Bans U.S. From U.N. Nuclear Inspections

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister and chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi holds a press conference at Iran's Foreign Ministry in Tehran on July 22, 2015.
Fatemeh Bahrami—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister and chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi holds a press conference at Iran's Foreign Ministry in Tehran on July 22, 2015.

"Inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with Islamic republic of Iran"

(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iran will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities, an official said in remarks broadcast by state TV on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will only allow inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with it. The previously undisclosed remarks were made during a Sunday meeting with parliamentarians.

“American and Canadian inspectors cannot be sent to Iran,” said Araghchi. “It is mentioned in the deal that inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with Islamic republic of Iran.”

He also said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have access to “sensitive and military documents.”

Iran and world powers reached a historical deal earlier this month aimed at curbing Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Western nations have long suspected Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian atomic program, allegations denied by Tehran, which insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.

The U.S. and Iran severed diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution and the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Canada closed its embassy in Tehran and suspended diplomatic relations in 2012.

TIME animals

Petition to Extradite Cecil the Lion’s Killer Signed By 100,000

Petition to White House urges Obama administration to send Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe to face justice

A petition to the White House calling for the American dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved lion Cecil has attracted over 100,000 signatures in just one day.

The petition urges Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to extradite U.S. citizen Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe for him to “face justice” for illegally killing the country’s “national icon.”

According to Whitehouse.gov, any petition that reaches over 100,000 signatures within 30 days requires a response from the government. The Cecil petition had 137,648 signatures at the time of publication.

Palmer, a dentist from the Minnesota area, has become a figure of global outrage when it was revealed he killed a beloved, 13-year-old lion in Zimbabwe. Palmer has since apologized and said he will cooperate with authorities, and said he did not know the hunt was illegal.

“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he wrote in an apology letter to his dental patients. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”


This Is the Piece of Debris Suspected to Be Part of Missing Jet

An Australian official has warned not to jump to conclusions about a 9-by-3-ft. piece of flotsam that washed up on the French island of Reunion - but experts say it's likely to be a section of a Boeing 777 of the type that disappeared over 500 days ago

Read next: What to Know About the New Malaysia Airlines Clue

TIME Afghanistan

Taliban Acknowledges Death of Leader Mullah Omar

Supposed family statement claims he died of an "unspecified illness"

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — The Afghan Taliban have released a statement purportedly from the family of Mullah Omar saying he has died of an unspecified illness.

The statement, emailed to The Associated Press on Thursday, didn’t say when he died.

It followed an announcement from the Kabul government the day before. Senior Taliban figures have also told the AP that Mullah Omar died.

The statement says it’s being issued in the name of Mullah Omar’s brother, Mullah Abdul Manan, and his son, Mohammad Yaqub. It apologizes for “any mistakes Mullah Omar (made) during his rule of Afghanistan.” It also asks all Afghans and Muslims to forgive any mistakes Mullah Omar made as leader of the Taliban.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until they were overthrown in a U.S-led invasion in 2001.

Read next: How the Death of Mullah Omar Could Disrupt Progress in Afghanistan

TIME France

France Sends Extra Police to Port City as Migrant Crisis Worsens

France Migrants calais
Thibault Camus—AP Police officers block migrants along a road to prevent their access to train tracks which lead to the Channel Tunnel, in Calais, northern France on July 29, 2015.

More than 2,000 migrants tried to rush the Eurotunnel which leads to Britain in just one night

CALAIS, France — Police beefed up security in this port city at the center of Europe’s escalating migrant crisis, seeking to stem a flood of illegal border crossings from France into the U.K.

France dispatched 120 extra police to Calais after officials said Wednesday that more than 2,000 migrants tried to rush the Eurotunnel which leads to Britain in just one night. One migrant was killed — the ninth since June. Around 37,000 have been blocked at the Channel Tunnel this year.

When night fell on Wednesday, flashing police lights dotted the horizon. Officers patrolled on foot and formed lines near the fences…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News


Possible Malaysia Airline Plane Debris is Being Sent to France

This may be the first trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 since it vanished nearly a year and a half ago

Malaysia’s prime minister says debris from an aircraft found on the French island of Reunion will be sent to France for investigation.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said on his personal blog Thursday that a Malaysian team is on its way to the southwestern French city of Toulouse.

The sea-crusted wing part that washed up on the island in the western Indian Ocean may be the first trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 since it vanished nearly a year and a half ago.

Najib promised to make any new information public quickly.

Air safety investigators — one of them a Boeing investigator — have identified the component found on the French island of Reunion as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a U.S. official said.

TIME animals

Cecil the Lion’s Death May Not Have Been in Vain

His death could help researchers understand how to conserve lions in the future

The researcher who tagged and tracked Cecil the lion in 2008, has said that the loss of of the black maned wild cat may help them understand how to better conserve the wild cats in the future.

“If you remove a dominant animal from a lion’s social system there’s a huge amount of disturbance and that really helps us… understand how we can better conserve these animals,” said Dr Andrew Loveridge to the BBC.

While distressed by the news of Cecil’s death, the research fellow at the Department of Zoology in Oxford University sees the biggest threat to lions coming from overpopulation and not big game trophy hunters.

“Lions mostly die at the hands of people, not necessarily trophy hunters.” said the Loveridge. “They get killed in snares, they get killed when they come into conflict with people over livestock and that’s really what threatens lions.”

There was international outcry over the hunting, maiming and killing of Hwange National Park’s most beloved lion by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. Two Zimbabwean men have been charged for “failing to prevent an unlawful hunt.” Palmer, who is now back and in the U.S. and has expressed regret over shooting the animal, could also face charges.



TIME animals

As the World Mourns Cecil the Lion, Asia Is Taking Steps to Protect Its Own Big Cats

OLI SCARFF—AFP/Getty Images A rare Amur Tiger cub, aged four months, plays with its mother Tschuna as it experiences its reserve for the first time at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster, northern England on July 29, 2015.

Populations are recovering in some regions but the animals remain vulnerable to poaching

Asia has been taking stock of its tiger population.

The Bhutan government announced Wednesday—World Tiger Day—that its first-ever national survey revealed a total population of 103 tigers. This represents an increase from the previous estimate of 75, an encouraging sign. Two days earlier, survey results from the Sundarban forests in Bangladesh showed that the tigers there also numbered just over a hundred.

Countries like India, Russia and Nepal have consistently reported higher numbers over the past few years, but Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are yet to conduct reliable and comprehensive censuses, and tigers have all but disappeared from countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

“It really is a sort of North-South divide,” Mike Baltzer, leader of the global tiger program at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said in an interview with TIME. “The countries in Southeast Asia have not quite yet got the levels of investment and commitment specifically to ensure that we’re not going to lose tigers in those countries,” he explains.

The poaching of tigers in Asia remains a perpetual problem—Baltzer says it is “as big a problem as it is in Africa,” but has not seen the kind of sudden surge that the killing of lions, elephants and rhinos has. “Tiger poaching has just been continuously going on and hasn’t spiked like it has in Africa at the moment,” he said. “If there’s a sudden change in the demand patterns in China or Vietnam, the places where there’s a strong demand, we could see the same spike in tigers because many of the countries are really not prepared for an onslaught like we’re seeing in most of Africa.”

Tigers are hunted for their bones, claws and teeth, all of which are used in traditional Asian medicines.

Baltzer remains cautiously optimistic about the future of the world’s tiger population, particularly since Tx2, an initiative to double the global tiger population by 2022, was adopted by the Asian countries five years ago. India has since reported a population increase to 2,226, up from 1,706, while Russia and Nepal are believed to have 540 and 198 tigers respectively.

But the absence of focused government investment and inadequate anti-hunting measures could lead to a rapid unraveling of the tiger population’s recent strides forward.

“We mustn’t take our foot off the pedal,” Baltzer warns.“Any slip could bring us back to that precarious position we were in just a few years ago.”

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