I get it: you have kids and you love them so much you just want to give them the world, or whatever comes closest to it. But sometimes giving your kids whatever they want in life comes at a price. In the case of Virginia dad Jeremiah Heaton, that meant traveling halfway across the world to Egypt in search of an 800 sq. ft. plot of unclaimed land along the Sudanese border and decreeing it his own. Or, rather, his daughter Emily’s. That’s Princess Emily, to you. See, then six-year-old Emily really wanted to be a princess and instead of just buying her a princess costume or throwing her a princess-themed birthday party or, I dunno, telling her that being a princess is not all it’s cracked up to be, Heaton decided his little girl should not be denied her title. Heaton began with an online search of unclaimed lands around the world and then in June, he made the trek to Egypt where, with the permission of authorities, he visited the unclaimed parcel of land known to locals as Bir Tawil and (unofficially) declared it hers. On June 16, Emily’s 7th birthday, Heaton wrote on Facebook:
“Therefore, so be it proclaimed on June 16, 2014, Emily’s 7th birthday, that Bir Tawil shall be forever known as the Kingdom of North Sudan. The Kingdom is established as a sovereign monarchy with myself as the head of state; with Emily becoming an actual Princess. I kindly request that when you see Emily, to address her by official title, Princess Emily. Each time she hears this title she will be reminded of my love and the lengths I will go to fulfill her every wish. Thank you in advance for being a good sport in supporting my humble request of you.”
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Over 60 girls and women escaped from Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group that has staged kidnappings in Nigeria for several months. According to security sources who spoke to the BBC, these women were taken in one of the latest abductions last month; back in April, Boko Haram kidnapped 230 schoolgirls, plus another eight more teen girls in May. The women are rumored to be sold as “brides,” AKA sex slaves, by the extremists. The women and girls who escaped this weekend were able to run when Boko Haram was occupied attacking a military base. This latest turn of events gives us a sliver of hope that the original group of girls who were kidnapped may have a chance to be reunited with their families, as well. [BBC; Yahoo; NBC News]
For the last hour, I’ve been unable to scrape an image from my mind — a young, pretty, blonde woman wearing a camo T-shirt, her tan legs straddling the dead body of a beautiful, majestic lion. She’s pulling his head up so that the person taking the photo can get a good shot of his lifeless face, which stands in stark contrast to her aggressively proud smile. Her name is Kendall Jones and when the 19-year-old isn’t a student and cheerleader at Texas Tech, she’s hunting rare animals in countries like Zimbabwe. The picture I described is just one of many photos posted to her public Facebook page, Kendall Takes Wild, which feature the proud hunter posing with all of the animals she has killed for sport. Kendall hopes to turn her love of hunting into a television show. I’ll be honest: I fucking hate her. Keep reading »
Well, that’s one way to get attention. Adokiye Kyrian, a Nigerian pop singer, ruffled some feathers this week when she (jokingly?) offered up her virginity if the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram would release the 200+ school girls they kidnapped back in April. She told Vanguard’s Showtime:
“This is 11 p.m. in the night and do you know what I am thinking about? Those little girls, where they are and what could be happening to them. It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange. They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents.” Keep reading »
Sudan has freed Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for not renouncing her Christian faith. Ibrahim was born to a Muslim father but was raised Christian, and then married a Christian man. Sudan lives under Sharia law and considers women the same religion as their father and relationships with non-Muslim men as “adultery.” It charged Ibrahim with apostasy and adultery and sentenced her to death while she was pregnant. Last month, Ibrahim gave birth to her second child while in prison. Today, her lawyer announced Ibrahim has been freed, claiming the initial judgment against her was “faulty.” Now she, her two children and her husband are reunited. It’s nice to read some good news for once. [CNN]
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced to death last week for marrying a Christian man.
In Sudan, a woman is considered to be of the same faith as her father, but 27-year-old Ibrahim’s Muslim dad abandoned her family when she was six, and she was raised with the beliefs of her Christian mom. Ibrahim has identified as Christian her whole life (although her brother is Muslim), but the Sudanese legal system sees her as a converted former Muslim and now refuses to recognize her marriage to a Christian man. Men are able to marry outside their faith, but Muslim women in Sudan are only expected to marry men who are also Muslims. Keep reading »
One hundred kidnapped Nigerian school girls have allegedly been seen for the first time since their abduction in a video acquired by the AFP news service. The video was reportedly filmed by Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group who kidnapped over 200 teenaged girls from their boarding school in Chibok on April 14.
In the 17-minute video, the 100 girls wear veils and pray in Arabic; the video is cut with narration by someone from Boko Haram declaring that the girls have been “saved” by a conversion to Islam. (According to the Associated Press, the majority of the girls are Christians.) Boko Haram also reportedly kidnapped eight more girls from a different Nigerian village last week. The leader of Boko Haram has vowed to sell all the girls as wives, i.e. sold into sex slavery but recently said he would release the school girls in exchange for prisoners. [AP; Reuters]
First Lady Michelle Obama has joined citizens of the globe in calling to #BringBackOurGirls. The hashtags and photos ask for the release of the 200+ Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their boarding school by a militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, which opposes education for girls and women. Of course, this crisis needs more than just signs and tweets. But at least this sign-holder has the most powerful man in the world’s ear. [Twitter.com/FLOTUS]
Eight more girls have been kidnapped by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram from the village of Warabe, Nigeria, police there said yesterday. Three weeks ago, Boko Haram — who oppose the education of women and girls — kidnapped 200+ schoolgirls from a boarding school. Rumors are circulating that the girls will be sold into sex slavery to other religious extremists. In Tuesday’s attack, a villager said Boko Haram arrived inside trucks carrying guns and kidnapped the eight girls, ages eight to 15, along with food and livestock. [Huffington Post; Guardian UK]