North Korea Successfully Detonates Nuclear Scientist

PYONGYANG—Hailing it as a significant step forward for their ballistic weapons program just hours after suffering a failed missile launch, North Korean leaders announced Monday they had successfully detonated a nuclear scientist.

Tokyo Portal Outage Delays Millions Of Japanese Warp Commuters

TOKYO—Saying the outdated system needed to be upgraded or replaced to avoid similar problems going forward, millions of inconvenienced Japanese warp commuters expressed frustration Thursday following a Tokyo portal outage that caused delays of up to eight seconds.

Earth Ranked Number One Party Planet

FRAMINGHAM, MA—Noting its high concentration of nightlife, droves of attractive singles, and atmospheric conditions allowing liquid alcohol to exist, the ‘Princeton Review’ on Monday ranked Earth the Milky Way galaxy’s top party planet for the fifth year in a row.

Nuclear Warhead Thrilled For Chance To Finally Escape North Korea

PYONGYANG—Saying its spirits were immediately buoyed upon hearing Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s recent statement that the military was close to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, a North Korean nuclear warhead reported Tuesday that it was thrilled for the chance to finally escape the country.

Pope Francis Carves Roast Cherub For Vatican Christmas Dinner

VATICAN CITY—After pulling a probe thermometer from its thigh and tasting a piece of crispy golden-brown skin, Pope Francis began carving a slow-roasted 18-pound cherub for the Vatican’s annual Christmas feast, sources within the Holy See reported Sunday.

Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.
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Nigeria May Be A Developing Nation, But It Is Rich In Culture vs. Get Me Out Of This Godforsaken Hellhole

Nigeria May Be A Developing Nation, But It Is Rich In Culture

Ever since taking West African History 201, I've been fascinated by the rich cultural tapestry that is Nigeria. Professor Olson really opened my eyes to Nigerian accomplishments in art, music, and literature. What an incredibly cool place!

It's sad how the media always dwell on the negative aspects of African society. Granted, Nigeria faces some economic challenges (the result of centuries of colonialist exploitation), but I'm sure Nigerians don't concern themselves with thoughts of shallow materialism when they are surrounded every day by such stirring, dynamic expressions of the human spirit.

Nigerians don't need money for stereos or CDs: They make their own music! Along with a huge variety of drums, traditional instruments include many kinds of flutes, xylophones, and wooden clappers. Music permeates all aspects of life there, including public assemblies, festivals, weddings, funerals, and storytelling sessions. In fact, in Nigeria, music literally is a language: Giant slit drums are used to relay messages between villages situated along river systems. (At first, I figured it was like Morse Code, but I learned in class that it's actually an extremely sophisticated tonal language system!) There's a West African djembe–a large, goblet-shaped drum–at this store on University Avenue for $450 that I totally want to get.

The various ethnic groups of Nigeria all specialize in beautiful dances. The Ishan stilt dancers twist about in the air wearing their multi-colored raffia-palm costumes. The Ubakala people resolve conflicts and mark the seasons of the yam and cocoa-yam harvests with slow, ritualistic stomping while wearing these huge, intricately carved wooden masks. Doesn't that sound amazing?

Of course, I would only be reinforcing racist stereotypes if I just talked about Nigerians playing drums and dancing. Have you ever heard of the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe? He's a Nigerian writer. It's definitely one of the best books I've ever read. Then there's Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright who won the Nobel Prize in 1986. He had to flee the country because the government wanted to kill him. Fela Kuti, the famous musician, is also from Nigeria, and his stuff is really funky. He's, like, the African James Brown.

But for all that culture, the most wonderful thing about Nigeria is the warmth and hospitality of its varied peoples. Whether they speak Yoruba, Edo, Ijo, Igbo, Igala, Idoma, Nupe, Gwari, or a dialect of the Benue-Congo subgroup, all Nigerians will greet a visitor to their homes with a piece of boiled meat and a ceremonial food bowl holding a sauce for dipping. It's this kind of generosity and kindness that I would really love to experience firsthand someday.

As you can see, the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria gives its people the strength to overcome the many challenges that a developing African nation such as itself faces. It must be such an exciting time to be in Nigeria right now. I've got to get over there!

Get Me Out Of This Godforsaken Hellhole

Ever since my parents and three brothers died in the gasoline explosion last month, my mind has been dead to the world. Please, God, let me leave this place. I have no hope for my country.

I see it in the glassy-eyed stares of the people on the street. We have nothing. We have been ruled by fat generals who promise elections but steal all the money from the people. The oil money, billions and billions of dollars, it disappears. Millions of us live here in the Lagos slums with no electricity or sewage system. I don't want to smell the garbage rotting in the streets anymore.

No one is safe. The police chase people in the streets and beat them like dogs. This new general, Abubakar, he is no better than the rest before. President Babangida, he stole $12 billion from the Nigerian people. When people ask where the money goes, they are shot. They shoot people every Sunday on Victoria Beach. The bodies always wash up on the sand after they throw them in the ocean.

Last month, thieves broke the oil pipeline to steal fuel. Many people rushed out to scoop up the fuel that spilled out, to use, to sell. Then, everything was in flames. Seven hundred people died. I saw the tractor throwing the burned bodies into a hole in the ground. My family is somewhere in that hole.

The month before that, the soldiers threw my grandmother out a window. The soldiers, they set up roadblocks. They stop anybody trying to drive past, and they take all their money. I see people walking down the street in broad daylight who are attacked by criminals. Men with knives, sticks, broken bottles. They attack you and beat you down.The people sometimes chase a thief who steals a bag. The crowd chases him and throws him down and beats him to death. The streets are very bad. There is so much hatred.

If I could get just a little money, I could try to leave. But I must save my money for food. There is no good food to buy in the streets. There are no doctors. I am still young. I don't want to get sick and starve. I don't want to be killed by the police. Please, God, save me. Shango, Ogun, Ifa, protect me. I don't want to die. I have to get out of here.

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