MORA, Cameroon — At first, the attack had all the hallmarks of a typical Boko Haram assault. Armed fighters stormed a town on the border with Nigeria, shooting every man they saw.
But this time, instead of burning homes and abducting hostages, the fighters gathered cows, goats and any kind of food they could round up, then fled with it all.
Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group terrorizing this part of the world, is on the hunt — for food.
After rampaging across the region for years, forcing more than two million people to flee their homes and farms, Boko Haram appears to be falling victim to a major food crisis of its own creation.
Farmers have fled, leaving behind fallow fields. Herdsmen have rerouted cattle drives to avoid the violence. Throughout the region, entire villages have emptied, leaving a string of ghost towns with few people for Boko Haram to dominate — and little for the group to plunder.
... imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.
Another move to ban child marriages in Pakistan has fallen at the first hurdle. The bill to prohibit underage marriages has been withdrawn after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared it un-Islamic.
The ruling party lawmaker, who moved the bill, withdrew her proposal on Thursday following staunch resistance from the council, which advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is Sharia-compliant.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony rejected the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014 after the CII dubbed it ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘blasphemous’.
For months, Trump's appeal to evangelicals has been a head-scratcher for Beltway insiders and even many evangelicals. After all, the twice-divorced, one-time supporter of abortion rights who appears to have barely a Cliffs Notes grasp of the Bible hardly epitomizes the moralizing ideologue or the pious family man — both presidential prototypes for the Christian right.
But there's a simple explanation for the evangelical embrace of Trump: Having not succeeded in making America Christian, evangelicals coalescing around Trump have decided to settle for making it great (or "great," as the case may be).
It's all there in Falwell's own words about Trump, whom he describes as "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again." Note that Trump is not described as a wonderful husband, often a crucial criterion for evangelical voters, or as a revivalist who will save the Christian nation, or even as the guardian of crucial Supreme Court appointments who could oversee making abortion illegal in all 50 states.
For Falwell, Trump is a strongman who can save America where the Christian right has failed to do so. Falwell's endorsement is a tacit admission that his father's mission to rescue America from the supposed scourges of feminism, the "homosexual agenda" and secularism is now a defunct fundamentalist dream. Falwell, who leads evangelicalism's flagship university — which claims to "encourage a commitment to the Christian life, one of personal integrity, sensitivity to the needs of others, social responsibility and active communication of the Christian faith" — seems to have conceded that those virtues are insufficient for America's greatness.
Trembley’s first thought was that he had discovered a completely new species. This would turn out to be untrue, as these tiny animals had already been identified by van Leeuwenhoek. The name van Leeuwenhoek gave them was “polyps,” though they would eventually be commonly known as hydras. They were strange creatures, to say the least. Beneath the lens of a microscope, they looked like a cross of a snail, an octopus, and a plant. As Trembley tried to learn more about the little creatures, he cut some of them in half. He was shocked to see that both halves continued to live. He wondered whether he was just witnessing residual movement akin to a severed lizard’s tail. Then something amazing happened. Each half polyp gradually began to regenerate the portions of its body that it had lost. Amazingly, the two halves became two separate creatures.
Trembley sent a summary of his results and a sample of the freshwater polyps to a well-known naturalist in Paris, René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, an important skeptic of the doctrine of preformation who had written an influential paper about the regeneration of crayfish claws. Réaumur repeated Trembley’s steps, cutting the odd specimens into sections. He, too, watched in wonder as the little creatures he had split formed into entirely new creatures. “I could hardly believe my eyes,” he later wrote. “It is a fact that I am not accustomed to seeing after having seen it again hundreds and hundreds of times.” When he presented a demonstration to the Paris Academy of Sciences later that year, the official report on the event compared it to “the story of the Phoenix that is reborn from its ashes,” and asked witnesses to draw their own conclusions “on the generation of animals . . . and perhaps on even higher matters.”