Two top U.N. officials offered conflicting views Sunday on the safety of its Nigeria headquarters after a suicide car bombing there, as the world body paused to mourn the 23 people killed in the attack claimed by a radical Muslim sect. U.N. security chief Gregory Starr acknowledged that safety features “could have been better” to stop the speeding sedan loaded with explosives. But only hours later, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told journalists that the building had “really, really tight” security.
At least 18 people died when a suicide bomber rammed his car through the two front gates of the U.N. headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Friday, raising fears that a homegrown Islamic militant group inspired by the Taliban is widening its attacks to include Western targets. A spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, the most serious by the group, which is based in Nigeria’s Muslim majority north and that some believe is forging links to Al Qaeda.
Pamela Constable meets and talks with many different kinds of Pakistanis — students, landowners, clerics, government ministers, poor women, factory managers, even strangers at bus stops — in a book that she says is designed to introduce the general reader to a complex, little understood nation of immense importance to the United States. She focuses on the main themes of Pakistani society. She deals with feudalism, the deplorable situation of most Pakistani women, the rotten justice system, the powerful military, the relentless march of religious extremism, and she weaves in interviews, news events and a touch of history.
With a median age of 21, and two-thirds of the population under 30, Pakistan is one of the world’s most lucrative markets for social media. Over 5,000,000 people in Pakistan use Facebook. Although this only targets about 3% of the population, this translates into more than 27% of internet users in Pakistan having a Facebook. Half of them are between the ages of 18-24, and an additional quarter are between ages 25-34.
Southern Somalia is tipping into one of the worst humanitarian disasters to strike Africa in decades, but because of the myriad dangers here, aid organizations are struggling to bring in critically needed supplies and personnel to respond to the famine.
Devastating floods, driven by unprecedented monsoon rains, began late in July 2010, leaving one-fifth of Pakistan submerged. The rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan directly affected 20 million people mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure. It left 2,000 people dead and 11 million homeless. The Big Picture revisits some of those affected as the monsoon season approaches the region again.
Last year’s floods in Pakistan killed 2,000, left 11 million homeless and affected the lives of another 7 million. The country is still struggling to recover from $10 billion in damage to infrastructure, irrigation systems, bridges, houses and roads. Reuters award-winning photographer Adrees Latif traveled back to the affected region to document the changes over the year in this dramatic series of combination images.
For better or worse, relief organizations often chalk up their biggest fund raising successes during major humanitarian crises like the famine in east Africa. But aid groups say that raising money to address the famine has been more like that for the flooding in Pakistan last year, when dollars trickled into nonprofit coffers slowly and never came close to reaching the amounts donated to address other disasters.