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African elephants can differentiate between human languages and move away from those considered a threat, a skill they have honed to survive in the wild, researchers said.
The study suggests elephants, already known to be intelligent creatures, are even more sophisticated than previously believed when it comes to understanding human dangers.
African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest land animals on Earth and are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their ivory tusks.
Researchers played recordings of human voices for elephants at Amboseli National Park in Kenya to see how they would respond, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Elephants can tell difference between human languages
What is old is new again: Nairobi’s door-to-door salesmen are integral to the booming economy - and provide a valuable insight to what folks actually want to buy in Kenya’s developing economy.
Marial Simon, one of 17,000 desperate souls crowding into the dusty United Nations Tomping compound in Juba, was still in shock from what he had seen on December 15. “That was the night of the killing,” said the Nuer schoolboy, slight for his age, as he clutched nervously at the filthy clothes he has been wearing for weeks.“The shooting went on and on, and the killing began and it did not stop. I was there. I saw it happen.”
Violence erupted in South Sudan on December 15 after members of the Dinka tribe in President Salva Kiir’s presidential guards in Juba tried to disarm their Nuer colleagues.
Many of former vice president Riek Machar’s supporters are believed to be Nuer, his own tribal group.There is a historic enmity between the two groups.
“[The incident] caused [the Dinkas] to panic and go out on a rampage,” said a Western diplomat. “They went after anyone who had allegiance to Riek Machar. Now it’s unclear whether the people who were targeted will take revenge.”
The two communities, Nuer and Dinka, are the largest in the world’s youngest country.
Two years before, in a much-hailed event, after a four-decade-long war that left more than a million people dead, South Sudan celebrated its independence from Sudan. It was, briefly, a time of hope. But by then people seemed too exhausted, too traumatized and too shattered to celebrate their new country.
Post-independence corruption was rife. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the national army meant to be a symbol of the new nation’s multiethnicity, was splintered. And there was lingering ethnic hatred.
“On the upper level, there were too many Dinkas,” says the Western diplomat. “And on the lower, too many Nuers.”
In many countries, it’s getting better for the LGBT community. In Ethiopia, it’s only getting worse.
African men, long stereotyped as machine gun-loving war mongers, want you to know that Hollywood-driven perception is not exactly the way things are. They’re on Facebook too! And they’re talking to you, shirtless Matthew McConaughey.
We sent a reporter to Uganda for this week’s Newsweek and asked he trail along with a crew of Ugandan soldiers hunting for Joseph Kony. Here’s his story. And here’s how it starts:
Maj. Richard Kidega threaded his way through a thicket of sweet black trees and thorny underbrush when suddenly he drew to a halt. A young Ugandan soldier in front had raised a clenched fist: the sign to stop. With their AK-47s raised, Kidega and his men silently scanned the jungle for any signs of the enemy, such as fresh tracks or trampled brush. Hanging vines clogged the path. Dry leaves masked deep holes. The gully was an attractive place for an ambush. “It’s places just like this where the LRA likes to hide,” Kidega whispered, as the hunt for Joseph Kony, rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, slowly moved ahead.
This inhospitable swath of jungle in the Central African Republic is ground zero in the search for Kony’s LRA. On any given day, Ugandan soldiers, aided by U.S. special forces, comb through the forests, looking for one of the most elusive war criminals in history, a man who has kidnapped thousands of children, turning boys into hardened killers and girls into sex slaves. It is estimated that the LRA has killed upwards of 70,000 civilians, kidnapped some 40,000 children, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in four countries.
The movement, which has now descended into butchery, rape, and even cannibalism, began in 1986 as a popular insurrection against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Initially many in northern Uganda supported the rebellion against Museveni, whose army ruthlessly persecuted the Acholi people in the north. Eventually, however, the warlord’s insurgency lost steam, and Kony turned on his own people, accusing them of sinning against God. As punishment, Kony and his commanders have cut off the lips, noses, and ears of victims; he has forced abducted children to murder their own families to ensure loyalty; and he has killed those who disobeyed orders.
The hunt for Kony, known as Operation Lightning Thunder, now takes place across four countries and involves several thousand troops, at least 100 of them American. The warlord got international attention after a 30-minute video on him produced by the American NGO Invisible Children became a viral YouTube phenomenon last month, drawing more than 87.5 million views. It sparked outrage—and renewed pledges to bring Kony to justice. Later this month, the African Union will bring another 5,000 troops from the armies of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Congo to help the Ugandans in their hunt, now in its 25th year.
The Liberian journalist Mae Azango has been living in fear since March 8, International Women’s Day, when a newspaper published an article she had written about the negative health implications of female genital cutting, which is practiced among a powerful secret women’s society in many of the country’s rural counties.
Says Azango: The callers warned that “they will grab me and put me in the Sande bush and cut me. And for putting my mouth in this business, I will pay for it.”
But that’s not stopping Azango.
“I won’t back away. Let me tell you that: I won’t back away,” she told us by telephone from Monrovia. “I am not saying I will do it today or tomorrow, but eventually I will do a story on it. Because this thing needs a lot of public awareness.”
Read them and be aware.