May 12 2014
Daily News Flash with Courtney Morris on Ukraine City Elections, Nigeria Prisoner Exchange for Kidnapped Girls, and Hagel Reconsider Transgender Military Ban
Uprising’s guest expert Courtney Morris, assistant professor of African American and women’s Studies at Penn State University, analyzes today’s news headlines:
Voters in a number of Ukrainian cities claimed autonomy from Ukraine in a series of chaotic elections held yesterday. A number of cities in Ukraine, including Donetsk, Luhansk, and Slovyansk, turned out pro-Russian voters wanting greater independence from Kiev. There were several incidents of violence, including some reports of deaths. The New York Times said, “The voting took place in such a raw state of lawlessness that no one other than the organizers and perhaps their Russian patrons seemed likely to accept the results as a democratic expression of the voters’ will.” It is unclear whether the elections will lead to the kind of Russian annexation that took place in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula after Crimea’s vote for autonomy. However, pro-Russian activists in Donetsk have just announced independence from Ukraine and a demand to join Russia. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.
Hundreds of Nigerian school girls remain captive as the fundamentalist rebel group Boko Haram demanded a prisoner exchange for their return. Several hundred members of Boko Haram are imprisoned throughout Nigeria. There is currently an intense search underway for the kidnapped girls whose plight has inspired a worldwide Twitter campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. Nigerian Prime Minister Goodluck Jonathan plans to attend an international summit next Saturday to meet with other African heads of State and the US and EU. Nigeria is home to dozens of multinational Western oil companies who are benefitting off of its oil resources. Click here for a Reuters article about the story.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made news yesterday when he said on ABC’s This Week, that he was open to reconsidering the ban on transgender people serving in the US military. Despite the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” laws banning gays and lesbians from serving, the ban remains in place for transgender Americans. Hagel said, “every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.” His remarks were lauded by the National Center for Transgender Equality. Click here for a Washington Post article about the story.