News Briefs: International news


Brazil experiences perilous drought crisis

At a time of souring temperatures in its summer months, Brazil is experiencing the worst draught its three most populous states have witnessed in 80 years. Residents of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais have been asked to lessen water consumption as main reservoirs have dropped to, or near, zero percent. Sao Paulo, on the other hand, has not implemented rationing despite being the nation’s largest city. Critics blame poor planning and politics as Gov. Geraldo Alckmin sought re-election in October 2014 and avoided the issue. Rainfall is said to only be at 33.5 percent of the total predicted for this month.


German author given rare access to life in the Islamic State

Juergen Todenhoefer is the only outsider to have traveled deep into the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and lived to tell about it. Todenhoefer says that he was struck by the Islamic State’s “brutal zeal” and enthusiasm for war as a method for “religious cleansing.” While there, he encountered numerous recruits from around the world, including the U.S., as well as child fighters. According to Todenhoefer, life inside the Islamic State appears to be run by its own judicial system and law enforcement, with strict adherence to Muslim prayers and rituals. He claims that IS operates on fear and is more powerful than people think, with brutalities worse than people know.


Boko Haram: Nigeria’s insurgence of Islamic extremists

A vicious group calling itself Boko Haram, which is loosely translated as “western education is forbidden,” has taken control of a large portion of north-eastern Nigeria. After killing thousands to establish a “caliphate,” they are pouring into neighboring African states with dangerous ambition. With attacks in Nigeria and neighboring state Cameroon reaching extreme brutality, Western countries are becoming impatient with the Nigerian government that insists the issue can be resolved by regional forces alone. There is cause for concern as elections in Nigeria are coming up on Feb. 14, and leaders seem to be more focused on their campaigns than on stopping Boko Haram’s assault.

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