Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday April 29
1. Nepal earthquake: Death toll passes 4,700 as rescuers face challenges
More than 4,700 people dead. More than 9,200 injured. Eight million affected across Nepal. One million children urgently in need of help.
Those are the startling numbers that indicate the scale of the devastation from the huge earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation on Saturday.
And some of the grim figures are likely to get even worse.
As the country coped with the fallout of the quake, another natural disaster struck Tuesdayafternoon in a popular trekking area north of Kathmandu, and up to 200 people were feared missing as a result of a landslide.
Quake relief efforts continued Tuesday, but officials warned that they were hampered by problems of getting aid into the country and then delivering it to some of the remote communities in desperate need.
2. Nigeria Claims It Freed 200 Girls Held by Terrorists
Nigerian military forces on Tuesday announced the rescue of 200 girls and 93 women from Sambisa Forest —but officials don’t yet know whether the rescued captives are the specific girls taken by Boko Haram militants en masse from Chibok last year, a spokesman for the country’s president said.
“Whoever they are, the important thing is that these girls were in the custody of terrorists in the Sambisa Forests and now they are free,” Reuben Abati, chief spokesman to outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, told NBC News.
The mass kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Chibok sparked an international outcry last April.
Some were skeptical of the government’s announcement.
“If the soldiers have indeed rescued 200 girls and 93 women then they should show them,” Bulama Mali Gubio, spokeswoman for the Borno Elder’s Forum, said.
3. Family of man killed in BB gun case sues police and Walmart
The family of a man who picked up a BB gun for sale at an Ohio Walmart and was shot dead by police has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that the corporation and police are responsible for his death.
John Crawford III was black, and his family’s lawyers Tuesday mentioned Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown as they announced the suit — evoking cases that have stirred international outrage because the three also were black and killed by police officers.
The shooting happened August 5. Crawford was shopping at Walmart and picked up a BB gun that wasn’t packaged and had been sitting on the store shelf for two days, the Crawford family’s lawyers said Monday.
Attorney Michael Wright told CNN, “We believe that had Mr. Crawford been white, he may have gotten a little bit more time to respond to the police officers,” he said. “These officers came in, saw Mr. Crawford and shot him on sight. They didn’t give him the opportunity to live.”
4. U.S. judge overturns ‘anguish’ law passed after Abu-Jamal speech
Writing that Pennsylvania’s General Assembly “fell woefully short of the mark,” a federal judgeon Tuesday struck down a state law that allowed violent-crime victims to sue offenders over speech that causes “mental anguish.”
The six-month-old “Revictimization Relief Act” was aimed at quieting the celebrity of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. But the law violated offenders’ First Amendment rights and was so broadly worded that it could limit the speech of people professing their innocence, wrote Chief Judge Christopher Conner of Pennsylvania’s Middle District.
Lawsuits could have been brought against pardon applications or confessions, he added. And the act already had a “chilling effect” on prison newsletters and books being written by inmates.
Conner wrote that the law is “manifestly unconstitutional.”
5. Baltimore riots: Peace replaces riots on city streets
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that “some police aren’t doing the right thing” and that a lot of the tension between law enforcement and the black community stems from “a slow-rolling crisis” that has been brewing for decades.
Fixing it will require more investment in cities, criminal justice reform, better funding for education and soul-searching for some police departments, he said.
“If we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant. And that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns,” the President said.
Still, no angst can excuse what Obama called the behavior of “criminals and thugs who tore up” Baltimore.
“When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” he said. “When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”
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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