November 01, 2019

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

NEED TO KNOW

WORLD

You Go, Girl

These young women are superheroes, but they’re not the Powerpuff Girls. They’re fighters for human rights.

This summer, more than 1,000 young women between the ages 13 and 22 from 34 countries contributed their thoughts in a survey that led to a Global Girls’ Bill of Rights, explained National Public Radio. United Nations officials chose six of the girls to present the final document to diplomats from around the world.

The six are from Guatemala, India, Nepal and the New York metropolitan area. Two of the New Yorkers are from Kosovan and Nigerian immigrant families.

“Many girls in my country don’t even know what their rights are,” said Kanchan Amatya, a 22-year-old from Nepal who was one of the six who visited the UN. “They are without resources.”

Ashlyn Stone, a senior sociology major at Appalachian State University, was one of the young women who contributed to the document.

“For me, my whole fight is always against violence,” Stone told her school newspaper, the Appalachian. “That’s (why) I want to be a lawyer. That’s where my passion lies: giving a voice to victims and letting them see the light.”

Organized by She’s the First, a nongovernmental organization that seeks to empower women, the document outlines 10 basic rights for girls around the world that include a right to education, equality, safety from violence and freedom from exploitation.

The rights are designed to address horrifying statistics about the condition of girls around the planet. More than 130 million girls aren’t in school worldwide, according to UNESCO. Every seven seconds, a girl younger than 15 takes her marriage vows. Meanwhile, 2.5 million girls under the age of 16 give birth each year in developing regions, the World Health Organization says. And girls spend 40 percent more time on housework than boys.

Young girls also don’t feel as if anyone is listening to their opinions about their rights, according to a survey that Bustle Digital Group conducted with Pollfish and She’s the First. Worse, many young women don’t feel as if they can demand their rights or speak up to make sure others respect their rights.

That’s one reason why people under the age of 24 – who make up 41 percent of the planet’s population – are angry, wrote the Guardian.

Proponents of the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights hope to upend those assumptions and spark more conversations and action.

“For too long, the world has talked about what girls need and want, without ever asking them,” said She’s the First co-founders Christen Brandt and Tammy Tibbetts in a press release. “The Global Girls’ Bill of Rights not only outlines girls’ priorities, it also serves as a declaration that girls demand to be part of the conversations impacting them most.”

Now other folks must listen.

WANT TO KNOW

CHINA

High Five

China debuted a super-fast, next generation 5G mobile phone service Thursday, a milestone in the country’s drive to become a technology power and in their pushback against the US’ ongoing campaign against other countries installing China’s Huawei gear, reported Bloomberg.

The debut was ahead of schedule – the launch had been planned for next year but three state-owned wireless carriers accelerated the rollout in 50 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen following the US’ boycott of China-based 5G equipment supplier Huawei Technologies Co.

The Trump administration has alleged Huawei’s global deals could give the Chinese government the opportunity to gather intelligence in other countries.

While operators in the US, Estonia and Sweden have introduced 5G to parts of select cities, and South Korea debuted its version in April, few others outside of Turkey and Japan – slated for next year – have gotten off the ground. Also, as of this week, China will have the largest commercial operating 5G network in the world thanks to its huge population and investment by companies.

Subscribers to 5G will enjoy access to faster videos and games and more virtual reality apps but it could also increase China’s ability to use technology more effectively against its critics, reported the Washington Post.

INDIA

Redrawing the Future

Bringing an end to decades of semi-autonomous rule, India formally revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and split the Muslim-majority region into two federal territories Thursday in an attempt to tighten its control over the region, reported Al Jazeera.

Under the new arrangement, Jammu and Kashmir is to be one territory and Ladakh, which borders China, is separate, but both will be ruled directly from Delhi.

Policing and education will now be India’s responsibility. Also, the region will no longer have separate citizenship, meaning any Indian citizen can now buy property in the region, triggering fears there will be an influx of outsiders buying up cheap property in the scenic but poor region.

Before the Indian government announced its decision to revoke the status a few months ago, it put the region under lockdown in early August: mobile phone networks, landlines and the internet were cut off, and political leaders were placed under house arrest, sparking months of protests, reported the BBC.

The special status the region once enjoyed, which formerly gave Kashmir its own constitution, flag and the right to frame its own laws, was granted to the state after Jammu and Kashmir’s Hindu king agreed to accede to India in 1947.

SYRIA

The Caliph Is Dead; Long Live the Caliph!

Islamic State mourned the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and named the successor that will lead the terrorist group in an audio release on Thursday, CBS News reported.

The speaker in the audio identified the new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi and described him as a scholar and a seasoned veteran of their fight against American forces.

The audio also confirmed the death of IS spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, and named his replacement, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi: He urged followers to pledge allegiance to the new “Caliph” and issued threats against the United States.

Al-Baghdadi, who came to prominence in 2014 when he announced the creation of a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, blew himself up during a US military operation in northwest Syria Sunday.

US Central Command said earlier this week that his remains are buried at sea, but his death has stirred mixed responses in the region, NPR reported.

While many locals rejoiced, some questioned the terrorist leader’s demise.

“I’m happy but I’m not sure about the news,” said Iraqi woman Marwa Khaled, whose husband was killed by IS. “We didn’t see a body, we didn’t see anything.”

DISCOVERIES

Jerry Takes the Wheel

There might have been a reason why Jerry the mouse was always one step ahead of Tom the cat in the Tom and Jerry cartoon series.

Previous research has shown that rodents are very smart and able to learn new tasks such as navigating complex mazes.

Recently, scientists discovered that rats can learn even more sophisticated tasks, such as driving miniature cars, New Scientist reported.

In their study, researchers trained the creatures to operate a tiny vehicle in small rectangular arenas, and would reward them with Froot Loops cereal bits when they drove the car to a treat station.

The mammals turned out to be decent drivers, able to steer the car in several directions.

“They learned to navigate the car in unique ways and engaged in steering patterns they had never used to eventually arrive at the reward,” said study co-author Kelly Lambert.

Researchers also conducted hormone tests and found that the rats felt relaxed once they learned how to drive. Lambert said this response may be similar to the satisfaction humans feel when they master something new.

The research team hopes that these new driving tests can replace traditional maze tests in order to better study conditions like Parkinson’s disease or the effects of depression on motivation.