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Boko Haram attacks two military bases in northeast Nigeria | News

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Suspected Boko Haram fighters have attacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria, and briefly seized the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Nigerian authorities reported on Thursday that the fighters overran the multinational joint task force post (MNJTF) which lies in the fishing town of Baga, less than 10km from the Nigerian-Chad border, and sacked a naval base in Mile 3, some 5km from Baga.

A military source who asked not to be identified told the AFP news agency that Nigerian troops were “overpowered and forced to withdraw,” adding that “the terrorists carted away gun trucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.”

According to the source, the fighters from Boko Haram, who have repeatedly struck military outposts in the region in recent months, stormed Baga in several vehicles.

Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said, adding that they decided not to pursue them to avoid running into an ambush, a strategy Boko Haram often employs against the military.

Nigerian Army Spokesman Sani Usman confirmed the attack, adding that one navy officer was killed.

“The troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight” all night, he said, adding that “the Nigerian Air Force component has also been mobilised and are engaging the fleeing terrorists.”

Residents of the regional capital Maiduguri reported seeing six fighter jets flying towards Baga on Thursday.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Calabar, Nigeria, said that the fighting around Baga continued on Friday morning.

“The fighters have surrounded Baga town for a number of hours, some are talking about 24 hours, and the battle is ongoing in that area. The army can only confirm that ‘yes, there’s been some fighting, but it has not lost control of this town of Baga’, which is a fishing community.

“Some residents who have fled the town are saying that Boko Haram fighters were deep inside the town. One particular resident was saying that they even led morning prayers this morning in Baga town.

“But the military is not giving many details, only confirming that one personnel was killed, and that they are on a search and rescue in certain areas, an indication that probably some of their soldiers have been dispersed by Boko Haram.

“We were told by a military source that operations in that area are ongoing.”

Millions forced to flee 

In January 2015, Boko Haram overran the same MNJTF base and took control of Baga town.

Idris described those events as “one of the worst Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria.”

“Boko Haram fighters overran that same military base, the multinational joint task force,” he said.”They took over arms and ammunition from that area and massacred more than 1,000 civilians.”

Since Boko Haram launched its campaign in northeast Nigeria in 2009, the armed group has killed at least 27,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes.

Nigeria’s military has been fighting the group since then and despite the government’s insistence that it is near defeat, northern Nigeria is still beleaguered by heavy fighting.

Over the years, Boko Haram, which wants to form a breakaway state, has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.

Boko Haram attacks are a major issue for President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks a second term in the upcoming election in February.

After a recent series of deadly attacks on Nigeria’s military, Buhari and other officials have warned that the group has begun using drones as part of a resurgence.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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