Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday November 19
1. Nearly 50 killed within 24 hours in multiple Nigerian terror attacks
Multiple attacks less than 24 hours apart left at least 49 dead in Nigeria on Wednesday, a day after Boko Haram was named the world’s deadliest terror group.
At least 15 were killed and more than 100 wounded Wednesday in the northern town of Kano after two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a busy market. Those attacks came less than a day after 34 people were killed and 80 wounded in an explosion at a market in the northeastern city of Yola late Tuesday.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the incidents bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which is attempting to create an Islamic caliphate, or state, in Nigeria. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year.
The attacks broke a three-week hiatus in bombings.
The Global Terrorism Index said Boko Haram was responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, a one-year increase of 317%. The Nigerian terror group overtook the Islamic State, which was responsible for the deaths of 6,073 people, according to the report published Tuesday by the Global Peace Institute.
2. GOP presses Obama, Wolf to reconsider refugee plan
The debate over Syrian refugees brought new proposals to block their arrival in the United States. Republicans introduced a bill to halt the U.S. resettlement program for Syrians and Iraqis until tighter screening is added. President Obama vowed to veto it.
Pressure for action also built at the state level. A Syrian family headed to Indiana was reportedly rerouted to Connecticut after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said his state would not accept them. In Pennsylvania, which has accepted more Syrians for resettlement than all but a few states, 10 Congressmen and more than 100 state lawmakers urged Gov. Wolf to halt the influx of refugees. Wolf rejected their call.
The debate centers on the Obama administration’s pledge to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees. Syrians endure the most rigorous screening of any traveler to the U.S. – an 18-24 month process involving defense, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, administration officials contend. Republicans say the vetting is not enough to ensure terrorists don’t slip through.
3. Bar chancellors call for independent review of porn emails
The leader of the Philadelphia Bar Association on Wednesday called for an independent investigation to reveal “once and for all” the full story of the exchange of pornography among defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
Many are distressed by how the state Supreme Court, the Judicial Conduct Board and Attorney General Kathleen Kane have handled the porn controversy.
Critics say Kane, who originally discovered the porn in emails on her office’s computer servers, has been arbitrary in selectively naming officials involved in the exchanges.
At the same time, the high court and the judicial panel have been rocked by criticism that they whitewashed offensive emails of Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin, dismissing misogynistic and racist material as being only “mildly pornographic” and “unremarkable.”
4. Teacher shortage in Phila. schools yields vacancies in hundreds of classrooms
Two and a half months into the school year, 136 teacher vacancies remain in the Philadelphia School District. Some of the jobs have been unfilled since September.
Both the district and the teachers’ union agree: Combined with a substitute teaching situation that leaves hundreds of short- and long-term jobs unfilled every day, there are too many students who lack stability in their classrooms.
“The effect on kids is huge,” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Jordan attributes the problem to a management failure and to poor working conditions for teachers.
He and Arlene Kempin, the PFT vice president responsible for working with the district on human-resources issues, say they have never seen this many vacancies this late in the year, that in prior school terms, human-resources officials were by this point already focused on next year’s hiring needs.
5. Minneapolis police shooting stirs old racial tensions
The fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a Minneapolis police officer has pushed racial tensions in the city’s small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with a police precinct besieged by a makeshift encampment and hundreds of protesters.
Police have tried to improve race relations in recent years. But some community activists say racial disparities — high unemployment rates for blacks, a disproportionate number of arrests for minor crimes and inequities in housing and the school system — have been going on for so long that Sunday’s shooting of Jamar Clark — and the reaction from the community — was no surprise.
“We call Minneapolis a tale of two cities: The best of times if you’re white, and worst of times if you’re black,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, and one of 42 people arrested when protesters shut down an interstate highway Monday night.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon