Professor Michael Watts teaches geography at UC Berkeley and is the author of many books, including "Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria" and "Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta." He spoke to NAM editor Andrew Lam about the recent kidnappings of more than 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria by the radical group known as Boko Haram, and the apparent inability of the Nigerian government to either prevent or respond to their crimes. At the time of this writing, 276 of the girls that were kidnapped three weeks ago remain in captivity while 53 have escaped. On Tuesday, Nigerian officials reported that the group had struck again, abducting 11 more schoolgirls in the country's northeast region.
Who are the Boko Haram and what should we know about them?
First of all, those individuals who are identified with Boko Haram do not refer to themselves as Boko Haram. Boko Haram, in the local Hausa language, means something along the line of, "Western education is forbidden." It's a term applied to them by residents in the communities in which the movement arose in the early 2000's, in the northeast of Nigeria. They refer to themselves differently, as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad). I'm raising all of this because I think it's very important that Boko Haram is not [a name] they deployed, and it's not something that describes what they're movement is about.
Grace Bush has already graduated from college.
That may not be fascinating in and of itself, but the 16-year-old has yet to receive her high school diploma. That graduation ceremony will happen this Friday, the Sun Sentinel reports.
The clever teenager attends Florida Atlantic University High School, which has a special program with FAU that allows young students to earn college credit at no cost while in high school.
When the bizarre disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 captured the global imagination like missed episodes of "Lost," an international military search and rescue response was swift. Two months and a dying black box ping later, no expense has been spared in the effort to find 240 passengers now presumed dead.
Weeks going on a month after the horrific mass kidnapping of 275 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants, and critics charge a milquetoast worldwide response that can't get much past the news ticker. While the reactions range from Twitter feeds accompanied by #BringOurGirlsBack to bubbling hate for the perpetrators, the perceived inability of Nigerian armed forces to match the passion comes at a time when conflict in the country's north is turning a grisly corner.
The tragic kidnappings have put a renewed spotlight on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria's leadership finds itself in a tough spot, not at all helped by authorities who seem powerless since Jonathan imposed states of emergency over the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
WASHINGTON – After suffering a major setback last year in the Supreme Court, voting rights advocates are buoyed by a decision last week by a federal judge in Wisconsin striking down the state's voter ID law as racially discriminatory.
John Ulin, a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP and trial counsel, said that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman's opinion in the case made clear that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 still has teeth, even after the United States Supreme Court's decision in the Shelby County case, which sharply limited application of the landmark law.
"The court understands the reach of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to extend beyond challenges to legislative redistricting and to apply to both denial and practices that prevent people from registering and casting their ballot," said Ulin. "The evidence in the case was critical and the opinion makes that clear."
WASHINGTON – The African-American unemployment rate fell to 11.6 percent in April, the lowest mark since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Labor Department's latest jobs report.
In January 2009, the African-American jobless rate was 12.7 percent. The last time the African-American unemployment rate dipped below 12 percent was in November 2008 when the rate was 11.5 percent.
The economy added 288,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in April, down from 6.7 percent in March.
Tennessee's implementation of the new Common Core State Standards was a focal point of controversy during this year's legislative session. Kimberly L. King-Jupiter, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education and professor at Tennessee State University, is a veteran educator with experience in international comparative education and higher education administration. She shared a few perspectives on Common Core with New America Media editor Khalil Abdullah.
As the Common Core is being rolled out in Tennessee and other states, are people misinformed about what it is and what it aims to do?
It is less that people are misinformed and more that the conversation has become enmeshed in or overshadowed by partisan politics. What needs to be remembered is that the goal of the Common Core State Standards is to create a generation of students who can literally problem solve. It is now less about rote memorization. I think if you understand the intent, it's not something people could be opposed to.
A new study from the Center for American Progress and National Education Association has shown that U.S. teachers don't reflect the diversity of their students. According to the study, nearly half of the students who attend public schools are minorities and yet, less than 1 in five of their teachers are nonwhite, Associated Press reports.
The study hopes to call attention to this "diversity gap" at elementary and secondary schools in the United States and both groups believe more can be done to help create more diverse classrooms.
"It becomes easier for students to believe "when they can look and see someone who looks just like them, that they can relate to," Kevin Gilbert, coordinator of teacher leadership and special projects for the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi told AP. "Nothing can help motivate our students more than to see success standing right in front of them."