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15 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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baga boko haram nigeria satellite

A satellite view of Baga in north-eastern Nigeria taken on 7 January 2015. Photograph: Micah Farfour/DigitalGlobe

Boko Haram: satellite images reveal devastation of massacre in Nigeria

Before-and-after photographs show more than 3,100 structures destroyed by fire in villages where hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed

New satellite photographs have laid bare the catastrophic scale of the latest Boko Haram atrocities, which are thought to have left hundreds of people dead and thousands of houses burnt or razed in two Nigerian towns.

The militant group attacked the neighbouring towns of Baga and Doron Baga on 3 January, murdering scores of people and laying waste to their homes. Although initial local estimates put the death toll at 2,000, the Nigerian military has since dismissed the figure.

The satellite images, released by Amnesty International, show the aftermath of the attacks, contrasting pictures taken on 2 January with others taken on 7 January.

The before-and-after photographs of Doron Baga, which lies 1.5 miles from Baga, reveal the ferocity of the onslaught, with more than 3,100 structures damaged or destroyed by fire. Many of the wooden fishing boats that dotted the shoreline on 2 January are no longer visible five days later, when people had fled by boat in panic across Lake Chad…………….

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Protesters in Istanbul burn copies of newspaper which published Charlie Hebdo cartoons – video

Dozens of protesters demonstrate in Istanbul on Wednesday against pro-secular newspaper Cumhuriyet which published translated versions of Charlie Hebdo cartoons. The protesters burned copies of the paper and said its employees ‘will pay for what they did’. They also expressed support for the Kouachi brothers who carried out the attack on the French satirical magazine’s offices, killing 12 people

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Opinion

Steven Emerson on Fox TV

This was just one of the many deeply odd things Emerson said in the course of the interview, although it was perhaps the most instantly refutable.’ Photograph: Fox TV

News from Fox, and the no-go zone of the brain

Steven Emerson’s ‘Muslim-only’ Birmingham comments provoked mirth. But what about his Googling of France?

Steven Emerson, a man whose job title of terrorism expert will henceforth always attract quotation marks, provoked a lot of mirth with his claim, made during a Fox News interview, that Birmingham was a Muslim-only city where “non-Muslims simply just don’t go in”. He was forced to apologise, and the prime minister called him an idiot, all within the space of 24 hours.

This was just one of the many deeply odd things Emerson said in the course of the interview, although it was perhaps the most instantly refutable: Birmingham census figures are easy to come by. His claim that London was full of “actual religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire” is harder to disprove; just because I live in London and I’ve never seen them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. But they’re not exactly thick on the ground. I blame the cuts.

Emerson also made reference to the “no-go zones” of France, where the government doesn’t “exercise any sovereignty”. “On the French official website it says there are,” he said. “It actually has a map of them.”

How could the French government make the basic blunder of publicising its inability to exercise sovereignty, and on the “French official website” of all places?

After a bit of Googling – which appears to be how Emerson gets his information – I think I know what he’s on about. He appears to be referring to The 751 No-Go Zones of France, the title of a widely disseminated, nine-year-old blogpost originating on the website of Daniel Pipes, another terrorism expert, or “anti-Arab propagandist”…………………….

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