‘Badass Librarians’ Foil al Qaeda, Save Ancient Manuscripts

‘Badass Librarians’ Foil al Qaeda, Save Ancient Manuscripts

Such a cool story


After Cheeto’s ‘send her back’ chants, Pelosi and Omar visit Africa together

Omar is visiting Ghana this week along with Pelosi and the 13 members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they observe the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in America.

..The group is visiting slave castles and meeting with Ghana’s parliament during the trip.

…Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) Thursday posted a picture of herself alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on their current trip to Africa.

In the tweet, Omar joked about people who have chanted “send her back,” saying Pelosi “didn’t just make arrangements to send me back, she went back with me.”

…Trump singled out “the squad,” a nickname for Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), after Pelosi in an interview cast doubt on the lawmakers’ influence.

Since Trump lashed out at them, though, Pelosi has voiced her support for the women and met with Ocasio-Cortez in private to address the tensions within the Democratic Party.

After ‘send her back’ chants, Pelosi and Omar visit Africa together | TheHill


Divers Uncover Ancient Temple Submerged Within The ‘Egyptian Atlantis’

In their most recent underwater expedition, Egyptian and European experts have found significant remains of a large temple under the sea, as well as several ships laden with treasure such as coins and jewellery.

Archaeologists led by Franck Goddio, who was also in charge of the very first underwater exploration of Heracleion, think they have found the stone columns from the city’s main temple (called Amun Garp), as well as the remains of a smaller Greek temple.

…Heracleion (also known as Thonis) is thought to have been built during the 8th century BCE on the banks of the Nile river, and is so named because the hero Hercules himself once visited it – or so the legend goes.

…Exactly how it ended up underwater remains a mystery to historians, but the best guess is that rising sea levels, seismic activity, and crumbling foundations caused the entire city to slide into the Mediterranean, at least 1,000 years ago.

…As for the other finds besides the temples, the divers report coming across bronze coins from the reign of King Ptolemy II (283 to 246 BCE), plus pottery, jewellery, and storage utensils found in the remains of several ships.

The archaeologists also dug up coins from the Byzantine era, which means it’s likely that the city was inhabited from at least the fourth century BCE.

Divers Uncover Ancient Temple Submerged Within The ‘Egyptian Atlantis’


Surrounded by chaos, Niger is a nation on the edge

Niger is surrounded by chaos. Though it is a country of myriad woes—deep poverty, rising population, a shortage of arable land made worse by desertification, and a shaky political system—it is not the incubator of violence that its neighbors are. It is a country people flee through, not flee from. Niger’s fate depends on whether it holds off the chaos and maintains a semblance of order, or succumbs to it altogether.

…Unrest is the abiding narrative of West Africa. It is a region thrashed by economic despair, spiking and drastically shifting population, environmental degradation, political instability, and, increasingly, violence. It is spinning out of control. And Niger, haloed as it is by five of the continent’s greatest incubators of Islamist extremist groups—Algeria and Libya to the north, Mali to the west, Chad to the east, and Nigeria to the south—is poorer than all of them and yet the most pacific, for now. As the U.S. ambassador to the country, Eric Whitaker, gently puts it, “Niger is a good country in a rough neighborhood.”

…Eventually he muttered, “The European community has blocked everything. Tourism, migration, the mines. What else is there to do but sleep? Someone bites you and then tells you not to cry.”

Even by a troubled continent’s standards, Niger’s predicament is grave, bracketed by two sobering statistics: a GDP per capita of about a thousand dollars, one of the world’s lowest, and a fertility rate of seven births per woman, which is the highest. But demography does not fully explain the precarious state of Niger. As a landlocked desert country, it has faced punishing droughts, and climate change is expected to make them harsher. Poverty and environmental fragility have in turn exacerbated political instability.

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has endured four military coups, the latest in 2010. In the past 30 years, it has also experienced two bloody Tuareg rebellions. The most recent, which ended a decade ago, left an abiding scar across the largest of Niger’s eight regions, Agadez. Until then, the city of Agadez had been a tourist gateway to the Sahara, receiving up to 20,000 visitors annually, many via direct flights from Paris. The three years of violent skirmishes between the rebels and Niger’s army had the effect of vaporizing the predominant industry. 

…After the European Union offered financial inducements, Niger’s government in 2015 criminalized transporting migrants. In Agadez the police confiscated scores of pickup trucks. Coxeurs and drivers were arrested, along with the Boss, who spent three weeks in jail. The city’s number one source of revenue had been officially banned, in effect consigning Agadez’s post-tourism economy to the black market.

…ung men enumerating their all but exhausted options. They had attended school, looked for work, played by the rules. With few jobs to be had, some found their place in the Boss’s racket. After seeing friends get arrested and their trucks impounded, they withdrew. And now they are waiting for whatever might come next.

…Meanwhile they were hearing about other young men making appeals: Looking for a job? We will pay. Need money for a wedding? We will pay. The YouTube videos and WhatsApp texts from the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram were making the rounds.

…“Do I have hope?” says a 46-year-old man named Jamal, who then pulls his scarf away to reveal his sand-caked face. “Look at my beard. It’s turning white from hoping.”

Surrounded by chaos, Niger is a nation on the edge