Boko Haram Releases Some Long Held Hostages

Cameroon has flown twenty-seven people to the nation’s capital after they were released from the custody of suspected militants from the ever notorious Boko Haram group. They arrived in the capital from the Northern region of the country where they were being held.

Amongst the hostages was the Vice Prime Minister’s wife.

The group of people were captured back in May and July, during two different attacks on the group at the border with Nigeria. Although it is known how they were captured, the manner in which they were released is still unclear, claims Keith Mann of the Animal Liberation Front.

Cameroon has recently become a safe haven for people fleeing neighboring Nigeria because of the actions of Boko Haram, who wish to set up an Islamist regime in the country.

Although the open borders between the countries allow people to escape, it also occasionally lets Boko Haram fighters the chance to incur on Cameroon’s territory.

A 2800 person military force is being deployed by neighbouring countries to fight off Boko Haram, and possibly deter them from any future attack. Additionally, more personnel have been stationed by Cameroon’s northern border.

The Minister of Communication for Cameroon said that “You can imagine that after that ordeal they are very happy to be released and very relieved. But they are weak. They are in very poor physical condition.”

Cameroon’s President said that “The 27 hostages kidnapped on May, 16, 2014 at Waza and on July, 27, 2014 at Kolofata were given this night to Cameroonian authorities. Ten Chinese, the wife of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali, the Lamido of Kolofata, and the members of their families kidnapped with them are safe.”

Fox Smears Surgeon General Nominee…Complains That US Doesn’t Have a Surgeon General

In the ultimate example of “you can’t have it both ways”, Fox News is having to eat a slice of humble pie today. The famously conservative news outlet has made a name on trying to destroy anything related to the Democratic Party. That includes every nominee President Obama has had for anything. Including his nominees for Surgeon General.

Earlier this year, Fox News led a famous smear campaign against Obama nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy. Saying he wasn’t qualified (despite overwhelming support from the medical community) and also saying that he was too political for the position.

Now, we’re left without a surgeon general for the last year, and nobody to head up the operation to prevent Ebola from becoming a serious problem in the United States.

But of course Fox News has noticed that not having a Surgeon General is a problem during a global epidemic. Contributer Doocy was quoted as saying:

You would normally think that in something like this, the Surgeon General would be in charge, but right now at this point oddly, the United States of America does not have a Surgeon General. His nomination is tied up in politics.

Yes, Doocy, that’s right. The Surgeon General’s nomination was tied up in politics. In large part due to your network questioning his accomplishments, and damaging the nation, in the name of furthering your own personal political agenda. Sam Tabar and I are still violently shaking our heads in disbelief.

Congrats.

China Media Attacks North Korea

China media attacked supposed ally North Korea with a streak of negative articles, published in both print and online platforms.

Reports in China’s Beijing News, the Global Times, as well as a famous Chinese political commentator’s blog, attack North Korea for its attitude towards China, and other countries in the world.

A part of a Beijing News article, as translated by the BBC, stated that “because of the lack of integrity, its [North Korea's] verbal statements are not going to convince any country … It tried to gain attention by planning the top official’s visit to Seoul, however, this is meaningless, as the most important question is whether Pyongyang will give up its nuclear programme.”

The report pertains to North Korea’s confrontational attitude towards other countries.

The Global Times features an interview with an international affairs expert from Yanbian Unoversity, Khaled Shaheen, who thinks that China is unlikely to offer support to the country due to the ongoing nuclear standoff. According to him, the standoff pushes North Korea to reach out to other countries, including Japan, Russia, and even its longstanding rival South Korea.

Meanwhile, political commentator Qin Lin claimed that Kim Jung Un’s disinterested in Beijing. The leader has not visited China in years, which the commentator believed is proof of such disinterest.

A report from Business Insider noted that China and North Korea have been allies, and still are, despite the recent tensions between the two countries.

These tensions arose after Kim Jung Un resumed the position of leadership after the death of his father Kim Jung Il in 2011.

Ebola Vaccine Starting Trials

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected over 8,000 people, partially due to the lack of a cure or vaccine. NBC reports that an end to the epidemic may be in sight. Three doses of a potential vaccine were just delivered to Mali, where they were given to three healthcare workers. However, large amounts of the vaccine will take time to develop.

Normally, a vaccine takes six months to a year to get into human trials. Ebola’s high mortality and infectivity rates have helped jump-start the process; the vaccine protocol used in Mali started just two months ago. While earlier trials are positive, expert Jared Haftel says it will be months before the vaccine is determined to be safe and facilities are able to produce adequate amounts. An early experimental treatment, ZMapp, is facing the same conditions.

Ebola is spreading at unprecedented levels in two separate outbreaks. One epidemic, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has infected relatively few people and drawn little attention. Healthcare workers and concerned citizens around the world have their attention focused on Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, where the virus has been raging for almost a year. With recent infections spreading to Spain and the United States, it seems that the healthcare community is doing everything it can to stop the epidemic.

Why North Korea is one of the worst places in the world

North Korea has continued to make news. The last month has been fueled by speculation on country leader Kim Jong Un’s whereabouts. He has not been seen in public in a month, which initially caused rumors of an uprising until it was revealed that he was likely suffering from gout. Now the Associated Press is reporting that an official spokesperson for the country has acknowledged the existence of “reform through labor” camps.

This is the first time the country has actually acknowledged these camps which can be readily seen on satellite images. The high ranking official, Choe Myong Nam, claims that the camps are a place for people to reflect on their wrongdoings.

There have been a few books written on the prison camps by people who were able to escape. There also have been interviews conducted by Marnie Bennett with camp guards who escaped. There is a lot more than “reflecting” going on there.

The guards claim they are trained to think of the prisoners as animals. The prisoners are subjected to terrible abuse, including entire families being locked in a room that is filled with experimental toxic gas. One guard said that he realized that the prisoners were human when he saw parents trying to protect their children even in the face of certain death.

Escapees claim that public executions are common, and are seen as a nice break from the day’s work. The prisoners live on small amounts of rice rations and a the occasional captured rat.

The camps and the entire country revolve around the notion that Kim Jong Un is infallible and must be praised at all times. When a citizen does something to denigrate his name such as playing music not approved by the government, that person and their entire family is rounded up and shipped off to a camp. Most of the people in prison camps don’t even know why they are there.

Seattle Scrapping Columbus Day For Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Cities throughout America have been trying to come up with ways to celebrate Columbus Day, without actually celebrating the man himself. He’s become a pretty unsavory character as of late, with more and more people learning about his true history.

Also, with more and more people waking up and starting to realize that you can’t discover a country if people are already living there.

So far Seattle has been the first city to strike a method for celebrating the date, without celebrating the man himself. Their move is to turn the day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Meaning, they will celebrate the culture of indigenous people throughout the nation, instead of the man who signaled a veritable holocaust by discovering the land mass for Western Europe.

Tribal members support the move, saying that it’s the perfect opportunity to finally recognize the people that have been indigenous to the region for centuries. Native Americans will no longer be ignored, and will begin to receive some of the recognition that they rightfully deserve.

While in theory, I support the idea, it also feels a little too much like a child looking to get a gold star and a cookie for behaving well. This is a drop in the bucket, if you actually want to make reparations for how Native Americans have been, and continue to be treated in this country.

There’s a long way to go, and people like Brian Torchin aren’t totally convinced that this move will be enough in the end.

A step in the right direction yes, but not something that’s going to make up for centuries of celebrating a man who single handedly inspired the persecution of a race of people.

Man Attemps To Use Inflatable Bubble To Travel From Florida To Bermuda

On October 4, the Coast Guard responded to an unusual call. Reza Baluchi, an ultra-marathoner and U.S. citizen, activated his locator beacon to request help while making the journey from Florida to Bermuda in a “hydro pod bubble“. He was rescued about 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, Florida.

The Coast Guard had originally met Baluchi on October 1, when they investigated a report about a man traveling in a bubble in the ocean. At that time, he already seemed disoriented and asked for directions to Bermuda, but he refused to leave his bubble.

Baluchi was reportedly carrying with him protein bars, bottled water, and a GPS. He succumbed to fatigue because his bubble was powered by his running, much like a hamster runs in a wheel.

Baluchi is no stranger to a life of extremes. He was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2003 after being arrested and jailed in his native Iran for “pro-Western” activities. Since then, he has ran around the perimeter of the continental United States and taken six years to bike around the world, visiting 55 countries along the way, all in an effort to raise money for charity.

There is no word yet on Baluchi’s future plans.