By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani ABUJA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram which last week freed 21 of more than 200 Chibok girls kidnapped in April 2014 in northeast Nigeria is willing to negotiate the release of 83 more of the girls, the president's spokesman said on Sunday. Around 220 girls were taken from their school in 2014 in Chibok in northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state, killing thousands and displacing more than 2 million people. A faction of the militant group released 21 of the girls on Thursday after the Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered a deal. They were brought from the northeastern city of Maiduguri to the capital Abuja to meet state officials. "These 21 released girls are supposed to be tale bearers to tell the Nigerian government that this faction of Boko Haram has 83 more Chibok girls," Garba Shehu, spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. "The faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them," said Shehu, adding that the state is prepared to negotiate with the branch of Boko Haram. The Islamic State-allied splinter group said the rest of the kidnapped Chibok girls were with the part of Boko Haram under the control of figurehead Abubakar Shekau, according to Shehu. Boko Haram has apparently split with a big group moving away from Shekau over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq- and Syria-based Islamic State, which in August named Musab al-Barnawi as its new leader for West Africa. But that appointment was later dismissed in a 10-minute audio clip on social media by a man purporting to be Shekau, exposing divisions within the jihadist group that has plagued Nigeria and neighbors Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Information Minister Lai Mohammed on Thursday denied reports that the state had swapped captured Boko Haram fighters for their release and said he was not aware if any ransom had been paid. He said a Nigerian army operation against Boko Haram would continue. In recent days, the Nigerian army has been carrying out an offensive in the Sambisa forest, a stronghold of Boko Haram. The militants controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015, but Nigeria's army has recaptured most of the territory. The group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighboring Niger and Cameroon. (Reporting By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Editing by Kieran Guilbert; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker on Sunday said he believes a policing reform bill could pass the current Congress, although he acknowledged that it will be an uphill battle given disinterest in the Republican-led House of Representatives. Booker led the last significant congressional negotiations over police reform, which occurred in 2021, after a white Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a Black man, in an incident that sparked widespread protest.
- ABC News
One hundred and twenty-eight House Republicans and nearly all Republican senators on Friday filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court opposing the Biden administration's federal student debt cancellation plan, which has been halted as tens of millions of Americans await the justices' ruling on its legality. While White House officials have been adamant that the president is within his authority to wipe out hundreds of billions in government-backed loans to provide "breathing room to tens of millions of working families," Republicans challenging it take the opposite view. The forgiveness plan that could relieve up to $20,000 for eligible loan recipients is an unconstitutional breach of the separation of powers and a violation of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (HEROES Act), according to the House GOP brief.
Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said on Sunday he is considering running for U.S. president in 2024, adding that he believes Donald Trump would lose to Democratic President Joe Biden if the former president secures his party's nomination. Sununu, who has served as governor of the small New England state since 2017, underscored the need for new leadership. He cited former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as among those he believes will compete for the 2024 Republican nomination.
- Associated Press
Republican lawmakers on Sunday accused China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon and said the Biden administration had given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace. America's top diplomat abruptly scrapped a trip to Beijing and China's defense ministry said in a statement after the balloon fell into the waters off the Carolina coast that it "reserves the right to take necessary measures to deal with similar situations.” “Clearly this was an attempt by China to gather information, to defeat our command and control of our sensitive missile defense and nuclear weapon sites,” said the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, among the members of Congress on the Sunday news shows.
- Yahoo Sports
Vontae Davis spent 10 seasons in the NFL before abruptly retiring in 2018.
- Associated Press
Dozens of Iraqi protesters gathered Sunday to decry the so-called “honor killing” of a 22-year-old YouTube star who was allegedly strangled by her father, adding fuel to calls for legal reforms protecting women. Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan on Friday announced that Tiba Ali was killed Jan. 31 in the central city of Diwaniyah by her father, who then turned himself in to the police. The so-called “honor killing” was met with condemnation from women's rights groups and residents, who sounded the alarm on violence against women in Iraq and the need to reform legislation to impose harsher punishments on perpetrators.
- LA Times
The best looks from the 2023 Grammy Awards, from Taylor Swift and Doja Cat to Lizzo.
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — In 2020, Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told C-SPAN that his constituents were not in favor of earmarks, so he wasn’t either. Two years later, he earmarked a total of $37.9 million in two separate spending bills for projects in his district. When House Republicans voted to place their own moratorium on earmarks in 2010, Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said the decision was a statement to Americans that “House Republicans are ready to lead the fight for lower spending, more transparency and res
- Yahoo Sports
Ja Morant’s friends allegedly threatened, trained a red laser on Pacers staff with Morant present after game
“We felt we were in grave danger.”
- Yahoo Life
The "Drunk" singer shared her experience growing up as comedian Rob Schneider's daughter.
- Washington Post
The raging gas stove debate might have you reassessing how you cook. But replacing a gas stove with an induction stove - a commonly recommended alternative - isn't always feasible. Renters are often limited in what they can do. For homeowners, swapping out a gas range can be expensive and complicated, especially if it involves electrical updates.Subscribe to The Post Most newsletter for the most important and interesting stories from The Washington Post. Still, even if you cannot get rid of your
- Kyiv Independent
Ukraine war latest: Bakhmut ‘increasingly isolated’ as Russia appears to make progress on encircling the city
Key developments on Feb.
CBS News pressed Sen. Ted Cruz on why he's running for reelection after he introduced a bill limiting senators to 2 terms in office: 'Why aren't you holding yourself to that standard?'
"If and when it passes, I will happily, happily comply. I've never said I'm going to unilaterally comply," Cruz told CBS of running for a third term.
Consumer Reports polled thousands of members to find the most and least satisfying vehicles to own, and some of the worst had multiple recalls and reliability issues.
- Associated Press
Tyre Nichols ’ mother was just steps away from her son but couldn't hear his anguished cries. Beaten and broken, struggling to survive, Nichols had called out for her as five Memphis Police Department officers punched him, kicked him, and hit him with a baton after a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Nichols, 29, who lived with his mom and stepdad, had slipped from the grasp of police after he was pulled over, dragged from his car and hit with a stun gun.
- The New York Times
HOT FLASHES, SLEEPLESSNESS, PAIN DURING SEX: FOR SOME OF MENOPAUSE’S WORST SYMPTOMS, THERE’S AN ESTABLISHED TREATMENT. WHY AREN’T MORE WOMEN OFFERED IT? For the past two or three years, many of my friends, women mostly in their early 50s, have found themselves in an unexpected state of suffering. The cause of their suffering was something they had in common, but that did not make it easier for them to figure out what to do about it, even though they knew it was coming: It was menopause. Sign up
- Associated Press
A mechanical issue with a rail car axle caused the fiery derailment of dozens of freight cars in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line Friday night, federal investigators announced Sunday. The smoldering tangle of cars, some carrying hazardous materials, kept an evacuation order in effect. Michael Graham, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference that the three-member train crew received an alert about the mechanical defect “shortly before the derailment" but said the board was still working to determine which rail car experienced the issue.
Showers will be more likely in far SE VA
- Yahoo Finance
Super Bowl 2023 party plans are underway, here's what super bowl food ideas will cost less.
- The New Voice of Ukraine
Igor Mangushev, a Russian mercenary and propagandist, who months ago staged a gruesome stunt in which he brandished the skull allegedly of oneof the fallen Ukrainian defenders of Azovstal, has been shot in the head, Ukrainian journalist Denys Kazanskyi reported on Telegram on Feb. 5.