U.S. Raid Spotlights Turmoil in Libya
A U.S. Special Forces raid on a rogue oil tanker transporting valuable crude from a rebel-held port in eastern Libya underscored the weakness of the government in Tripoli as it struggles to impose order across the nation nearly three years after the ouster of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The tanker was intercepted on March 16 near Cyprus, having set sail from Libya a week earlier. Its departure from the port of Sidra triggered the exit of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan after lawmakers furious at his failure to stop the shipment passed a motion of no confidence in his leadership.
The U.S. intervened at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments, boarding the ship in the middle of the night and steering it back toward Libya. The rebel leader in Sidra, Ibrahim Jathran, called the raid an act of “piracy” and said the U.S. should stop siding with “the extremists” in Tripoli. Once allied with the government, Jathran struck out on his own last year, seizing three ports and demanding a greater share of oil revenue for the country’s eastern regions. Small and inexperienced, government forces have been unable to fight back against his militia, which battled Gaddafi in 2011.
But the challenge from Jathran is only one of many: Tripoli’s authority in the east has also been questioned by hard-line Islamist groups like Ansar al-Sharia. The result is growing violence in cities like Benghazi, which was rocked the day after the tanker’s capture by car-bomb attacks that killed 10 people.
IS GOD ESSENTIAL TO MORALITY?
The Pew Research Center asked people in 40 countries if it was necessary to believe in God to be moral. Here is a sample of those who said it was:
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‘I stand behind that decision. I was aware of that particular factory before I signed it.’
SCARLETT JOHANSSON, defending her agreement to serve as the face of the Israeli soda company SodaStream, in an interview with Britain’s Observer newspaper. She drew criticism from pro-Palestinian groups over the firm’s use of a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Nigeria’s Unemployment Crisis
On March 16, seven people died in a stampede in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, after 65,000 showed up to a stadium to apply for 5,000 positions in the immigration department. Up to nine more people died in other locations across the country that were hosting similar events, throwing a spotlight on the country’s unemployment crisis.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
While Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, there is a wide gulf between rich and poor. The country boasts a growing list of billionaires, but at the same time, most people live on less than $1 a day, and overall unemployment hovers around 25%.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
A variety of factors, including a devastating civil war in the 1960s, decades of economic mismanagement and continuing sectarian conflict, have taken a toll on the country. Rampant corruption–Nigeria ranked 144th out of 177 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2013–has made things worse, with profits from Nigeria’s natural resources being siphoned off.
WHAT’S BEING DONE ABOUT IT?
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the reform-minded Finance Minister, has vowed to fight corruption and diversify the economy to help create more jobs, specifically focusing on the agriculture sector.
Choosing a New Future
An Afghan woman receives her voting card at a registration center in Kabul on March 17. Nine candidates are campaigning for the Afghan presidency in national elections due on April 5. The Taliban have threatened to “use all force” to disrupt the polls, which will take place just months before most foreign troops leave the war-torn country.
Berlin became the first city with its own web suffix, debuting .berlin on March 18. Roughly 50 cities are already planning to follow suit as local governments eye a new source of revenue. Here are four examples from around the world:
New York City’s domain name–expected to be publicly available by year’s end–is projected to boost local government coffers to the tune of $3.6 million by 2019.
Apart from certain domain names reserved for public bodies, Johannesburg-specific domain names are expected to sell for $19 to $37 when they launch in July.
According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 small businesses in London is likely to register for a .london web address, which is expected to go live in late 2014.
Nonresidents will be able to sign up for domains linked to Nagoya, Japan. In contrast, .nyc will be restricted to locals, while London will prioritize residents during a three-month pilot phase.
Estimated value of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, which plans to list in the U.S. in what could be the biggest Internet IPO ever
A 107-year-old Syrian refugee was reunited with her family in Germany after fleeing the civil war in her homeland.
The Croatian city of Split said it would close its zoo after local media exposed cramped and dirty cages. The animals will be relocated to better facilities.
A Facebook user posing as Prince Harry and offering work in London conned an Austrian tradesman out of 27,500 euros.
Venezuelan troops stormed a Caracas square that had become a focal point for antigovernment protests.
This appears in the March 31, 2014 issue of TIME.