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What's Going On Around The World Today?

The Taliban confirmed the death of its longtime leader and named his successor. BuzzFeed News traveled along Syria’s porous border with Turkey to meet the people involved in the stolen artifacts black market. And check out some stock photos of men cheering for feminism like they cheer for sports.

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Two University of Cincinnati officers who arrived on scene shortly after Samuel Dubose was fatally shot have been placed on leave.

A University of Cincinnati police dispatcher confirmed to BuzzFeed News that David Lindenschmidt and Phillip Kidd had been placed on leave, but could not say why. Their body camera footage was also released. Ray Tensing, the officer accused of killing Dubose, was released from jail yesterday after posting 10% of his $1-million bond.

And a little extra.

Residents around the University of Cincinnati feel “harassment” from campus police, Albert Samaha reports from Cincinnati. “I knew it was only a matter of time,” said Fikko, who is 30 and requested that BuzzFeed News only use his nickname. “You gotta understand, we more shook by college campus police officers than the Cincinnati police.”

For more, NPR has a segment on whether armed campus police squads are worth the risk.

The Taliban confirmed the death of its longtime leader, Mullah Omar, and have named Mullah Akhtar Mansour as his successor.

The group announced its selection of Mansour as their new leader and presented him the day after the Afghanistan government first declared that Omar, who had been in hiding since 2001, had died two years ago.

The rise of Mansour, who was Omar’s deputy and is frequently described as a “moderate” within the Taliban, may change the future of Afghanistan as the group and the Afghan government decide whether to pursue peace talks to end the 14-year insurgency, BuzzFeed News’ Hayes Brown writes. Yesterday, Pakistan said a second round of talks it was going to host today have been postponed.


Colombia’s constitutional court held a test for global marriage equality.

“Colombia’s top court held a day-long hearing on Thursday on whether it should interpret its constitution as giving marriage rights to same-sex couples — framing the debate in a wider discussion about whether international standards now dictate that marriage equality is a fundamental right,” BuzzFeed News’ J. Lester Feder writes.


One question they’ll decide on is: “Now that marriage equality is becoming the norm in almost all of the world’s developed democracies, should it be considered a fundamental right in countries that strive to meet a gold standard for human rights?”

What’s next?

A decision is expected later this summer. If the court concludes that the issue of marriage equality is a fundamental human right, “those arguing to uphold the existing marriage law appear to face an uphill battle,” Feder writes.


Inside the underground trade to sell off Syria’s history.

The trade in stolen antiquities from Syria funds all sides of the civil war that has engulfed the country. BuzzFeed News’ Mike Giglio traveled along its porous border with Turkey to meet the people involved in this black market, from grave robbers and excavators to middlemen and dealers.

“We have been living in a war for more than four years, and people will do anything to feed their kids,” said one middleman on the border, guilt-ridden over his role in bleeding Syria’s history. “I don’t care if the artifact is coming from [rebels] or from ISIS. I just want to sell it.”

Joseph Eid / Getty Images

“When ISIS stormed the central Syrian city of Palmyra in May, the world recoiled in horror, fearing the destruction of the prized Unesco heritage site,” Giglio writes. “One week later, I sat in a sunlit living room near the border with a looter from Palmyra who had spent much of the last 15 years robbing grave sites there.”

Many California Planned Parenthood centers don’t profit from aborted fetal tissue sales, a procurement contractor says.

In the past several weeks, the Center for Medical Progress, using secretly recorded videos, has accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from selling tissue from aborted fetuses to biotech companies. But, according to the spokesperson for StemExpress, a company that has a contract to purchase the tissue from Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit is most likely losing money on these exchanges.

The real story behind Canada’s murder for lobster.

Two years ago, in a small Nova Scotian village, a local troublemaker and lobster thief went missing, and three lobstermen eventually confessed to his vicious murder. Had this trickster finally gotten what was coming to him, or was the real story — and what it said about its community — something much more tragic?

Quick things to know:

  • An 18-month-old Palestinian boy died early today after suspected Jewish extremists threw firebombs into a family’s West Bank home. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Beijing beat out Almaty, Kazakhstan, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. It will be the first city to host both the summer and winter games. (BuzzFeed News)

  • An ultra-Orthodox man, with a history of hate crimes, stabbed six people taking part in the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem yesterday. Two people were seriously wounded. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A Malaysian official says a part number from airplane debris found earlier this week confirms it’s from the same type of aircraft as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But experts say the stray part won’t help much in finding the rest of the plane’s wreckage. (New York Times)

  • Zimbabwe’s environment minister called for Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion, to be extradited. (BuzzFeed News) The U.S. government says it’s been unable to reach Palmer though.

  • Today in tech: Apple plans to release its new Apple TV in September. (BuzzFeed News) Twitter rolled out a new homepage that’s supposed to help new users figure out the service. (BuzzFeed News) And President Obama wants to build world’s most powerful supercomputer. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Have plans tonight? There’s going to be a rare blue moon. And they really do happen once in a blue moon — once every three years. But spoiler: it’s not actually blue. (USA Today)

  • We have Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet — can we stop getting ripped off for it? (BuzzFeed News)

Do you know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News quiz!


Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed News’ Molly Hensley-Clancy, who covers the business of education, sharing some of her favorite stories recently.

This wrenching BuzzFeed News investigation into how American companies abuse foreign workers who are in the country legally on temporary worker visas — all while the government stands by, doing virtually nothing to stop them — has stuck with me all week.

This week's New York Times examination of efforts to systematically dismantle the Voting Rights Act, lately in the form of voter ID laws meant to counteract nearly-nonexistent fraud, is incredibly important, especially now.

I love everything Reveal (part of the Center for Investigative Reporting) has been doing lately, but especially this look at how the highest levels of the Jehovah's Witnesses shielded — and even embraced — a serial sexual abuser of children, while simultaneously shunning one of his victims for being gay. I found myself exclaiming aloud in disbelief at some of the details.

Finally, I'm an education reporter, so I was particularly moved by this story and photo essay in the Los Angeles Times about a group of children living in a motel in San Bernadino, and how they cope with the uncertainty and trauma of poverty. It's part of a larger series the Times has been doing on California's poorest city.

Happy Friday

Attention, men: next time you’re raucously rooting for your favorite athletes, take some time to think about feminism. These stock photos of men cheering for feminism like they cheer for sports will undoubtedly help. You can’t spell team without womyn.

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