Christians, Muslims In Bloody Civil War In Central African Republic

Revenge Fueling Fighting In Central African Republic
When Catherine Samba-Panza was elected to office, she called for peace and an end to Muslim oppression of Christians. Months later, says British photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale, the violence is spiraling on as Christians brutally seek their revenge.

“This violence and hatred stems from months of Muslim Seleka rule—they quite honestly treated the Christian population horrifically. Last year I spent time documenting abuses Seleka were inflicting, and many Christians had fled out of Bangui. Many thousands lived in the bush, and over 100,000 moved to a displaced camp in the airport,” he tells National Geographic, adding bluntly that since March of last year, the nation “has been a violent pit of hell.”

Until December 2013, Muslim rebels held the upper hand after seizing power a year ago but lost it in December.

“Since then, revenge attacks on the Muslim minority community, including summary executions, torture and looting, have become more common. Muslim residents have fled many north-western towns, such as Bossangoa and Bouca, where there had been a sizeable and well-established Muslim presence,” reports The Economist.

The European Union has announced plans to send a 500-man team to the country to establish a “safe have” for Muslims. France sent 1,600 troops to the large landlocked country in December to assist some 5,000 African Union peacekeepers.

New Report Finds Shift In Press Freedom
A new report by Reporters Without Borders finds conflicts continue to negatively impact freedom, but also says there is a growing trend that “constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies.”

According to the report, countries that pride themselves on being democracies are sacrificing freedoms by taking an “overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.”

“This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks,” the report says.

Will Age Of Artificial Intelligence Boost Human Progress?
As many decry the rise to technology as a threat to humans in terms of employment, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee take a contrarian view in The Atlantic heralding the rise of artificial intelligence as an unprecedented and welcome advance.

They believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and global interconnectedness, when combined, are “more important than anything since the Industrial Revolution, which forever transformed how physical work was done.”

In addition, while many in the industrialized world view advancements in terms of smaller cell phones, faster wireless and other gadgets, the writers contend what is most transformative is the access those in the developing world now have to those technologies.

“Until quite recently rapid communication, information acquisition, and knowledge sharing, especially over long distances, were essentially limited to the planet’s elite. Now they’re much more democratic and egalitarian, and getting more so all the time,” they write. “It is no exaggeration to say that billions of people will soon have a printing press, reference library, school, and computer all at their fingertips.”

 

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