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276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. A year later, where are they now?

They were about to take an exam. That night turned into the biggest test of their lives.

276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. A year later, where are they now?

A year ago, they were ordinary students preparing for their final exams.

Then men from Boko Haram broke into their school and took them captive. They set the school on fire and shoved the girls into trucks and cars.

They were terrified. They didn't know what to do.


It's impossible not to wonder:

What would I do?

Some of them — a tiny number of the 276 who were captured — escaped that night.

They ran, for days, without shoes. They just wanted to get home.

Even when they reached their homes and families, they were haunted by the memory of what had happened to them, and by worry for their classmates.

And those other girls... It's been a year now. What happened to them?

Many are still in captivity. Fifty-seven have escaped. Over 200 are still missing.

Women who escaped report forced marriages and sexual violence. Some of them are forced to work for the terrorists. From time to time, one of them finds an opportunity to escape, but the majority of them are essentially enslaved.

People in Nigeria are legitimately pissed off about the government's failure to rescue the girls. And they definitely blame the government for inaction. Over the winter, voters ousted President Goodluck Jonathan in part because of his inaction. It was the first time in Nigeria's history that an incumbent lost to a newcomer.

In frustration with their own government, the families have appealed to the United Nations for help. Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai is also calling on the international community to come to their aid. Writing on her blog, she astutely points out: "If these girls were the children of politically or financially powerful parents, much more would be done to free them. But they come from an impoverished area of northeast Nigeria and sadly little has changed since they were kidnapped."

Communities all over the world are planning the Global School Girl March on April 14, 2015, to raise awareness and bring international attention back to the missing girls — and the many who have been captured since.

To find an event near you, check out their Facebook page.

If there's no event near you, you still can help by writing to your elected officials and your country's embassy in Nigeria, and by sharing articles that remind people that this situation is not resolved. Together, surely, we can move the international community to take more action than a hashtag.

To hear about their escapes in their own words, check out this video with amazing animation.

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As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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