A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a powerful Iranian-backed Iraqi armed group, killing one of their militiamen and wounding a number of others, an Iraqi militia official said Friday. The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops.
Unidentified gunmen kidnapped 317 schoolgirls from the town of Jangebe in northwest Nigeria on Friday, police said, the second such kidnapping in little over a week. A surge in armed militancy has led to a breakdown of security in the north of Africa’s most populous country, where school kidnappings are becoming endemic. The rise in abductions is fuelled in part by sizeable government payoffs in exchange for the children, officials have said.
Hundreds of unarmed civilians were massacred in less than 48 hours by Eritrean troops during the war in the restive northern Ethiopian province of Tigray last year, Amnesty International has said. The soldiers systematically killed hundreds of civilians in the northern city of Axum, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, it said in a report.
The UK Supreme Court ruled Friday that “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum cannot return to the United Kingdom to appeal the revocation of her UK citizenship. Begum was 15 years old when in 2015 she left the UK with two school friends to join ISIS in Syria. She was stripped of her British citizenship by then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid on February 19, 2019.
Twitter has announced plans for a new “super follow” feature which will enable account holders to charge for exclusive additional content. This could take the form of extra tweets, joining a community group or receiving a newsletter, the firm said. Twitter, which was launched in 2006 and recorded its first annual profit in 2018, said it hoped to double its revenue in 2023.
Australia has passed a world-first law aimed at making Google and Facebook pay for news content on their platforms. The legislation had been fiercely opposed by the US tech giants, with Facebook blocking all news content to Australians over the row. Facebook agreed to reverse its decision after robust negotiations with the government, which led to changes to the law to address some of their concerns.
The US government is expected to release a declassified intelligence report that finds the Saudi crown prince responsible for approving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The release of the report, expected later on Thursday, is expected to mark a significant shift in US-Saudi relations, which under Donald Trump’s administration saw the major oil producer given a relaxed ride on human rights issues, its role in the Yemen war, and more.
A real-world study of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine involving more than half a million inoculated people has demonstrated its overwhelming effectiveness after two doses were given, marking a major milestone for the shot. According to the independently reviewed study out of Israel’s Clalit Research Institute, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot were 94% effective at cutting symptomatic COVID-19 cases across all age groups.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned of an attempted military coup against him on Thursday, and thousands took to the streets of the capital to support him after the army demanded he and his government resign. Pashinyan, 45, has faced calls to quit since November after what critics said was his disastrous handling of a six-week conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces.
Facebook on Thursday said it had banned the Myanmar military from using its platforms with immediate effect, as weeks of mass demonstrations continue in the Southeast Asian country after the military seized power. “Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” Facebook said in a blog post. At least three protesters and one policeman have been killed in violence at rallies.