By Thato Magano (@pothaeto)
A roundup of the biggest newsmakers and news of the week.
1. Boko Haram releases one kidnapped Chibok girl
According to police and a parent of some of the other missing girls, Boko Haram has released one of the more than 200 schoolgirls they abducted this past week.
“She was found running in a village. She was in the bush for about four days. She’s still receiving medical attention,” said a parent, who still has two girls missing and who declined to be named.
Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told reporters in Abuja that the 20-year-old woman was discovered on Wednesday, saying she had been “dropped off by suspected Boko Haram militants” at Mubi in Adamawa state, some 100 km from Chibok.
“Her condition is stable,” he said, without explaining why she might have been released.
A military operation in the northeast has so far failed to quell the rebellion and has triggered reprisal attacks that are increasingly targeting civilians, after they formed vigilante groups to try to help the government flush out the militants.
2. Tourists urged to avoid Ebola zone in West Africa
The Ebola outbreak has gripped broad swaths of West Africa, reaching Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 6,242 reported Ebola cases over all, and at least 2,909 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria and Senegal have recorded 21 cases of infection and a total of eight deaths. A separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has caused 41 deaths.
It would be an understatement to say that travel to these countries is problematic. The Centre for Disease Control (C.D.C) has issued a Watch Level 3 warning (“avoid nonessential travel”) for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and a Level 2 warning (“practice enhanced precautions”) for Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The reported fatality rate in West Africa is about 70 percent, but Dr. Ben Neuman, a University of Reading virologist, said that may change. “There’s a surge of new cases now and we’ll see whether they survive or die,” he said. “We’re underestimating the death rate now.”
The C.D.C. has recommended that foreign exchange, research and other education-related travel be postponed until further notice.
Although the situation can change rapidly, there is now no risk of contracting Ebola in countries in West Africa without reported cases.
3. Grass-eating congregation encouraged to drink petrol
The controversial Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries, infamous for making his congregation eat grass, has struck again by encouraging members of his church to drink petrol after he claimed to have turned it into pineapple juice.
In the video, which starts with a cautionary note, warning people not to try this if they cannot turn water into wine, at 05:40, members of Pastor Lesego’s congregation are seen drinking what the pastor claims is petrol claiming it tastes sweet, like pineapple juice and Iron Brew.
Members of his congregation are seen clamouring desperately to have a drink of the petrol as the pastor preaches and encourages them.
4. Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday nights
Shonda Rimes has become the biggest name in network television on Thursday nights.
ABC, the network that airs Rhimes’ three shows, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and newcomer “How to Get Away with Murder” have marketed Thursday night’s new line up as #TGIT and it seems the grouping has paid off.
The Season 11 premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy” opened the night at 8:00 p.m. with 9.8 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in the desirable 18 – 49 demographic. The Season 4 premiere of “Scandal” starting at 9:00 p.m., garnered 11.9 million viewers and a 3.8 rating.
But the big surprise was “How to Get Away with Murder,” starring Viola Davis as a law professor. The drama captured an outstanding 14 million viewers and the same in-demo rating as “Scandal.”
Rhimes’ new show, written and created by Pete Nowalk, was up 33 percent from last year’s “Scandal” season opener, then in the 10:00 p.m. time slot.
According to reports, Sept. 25 was ABC’s biggest Thursday night in five years.
5. Emma Watson launches “HeforShe” campaign at the United Nations
The actress gave an impassioned speech on feminism and gender at the U.N. headquarters in New York last weekend to launch the ‘HeForShe’ campaign, which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally.
“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.”
Howver, the decision to have Watson, given her status as a privileged white woman, as the ambassador has been questioned for its role in continuing a line of mainstream feminist action that has traditionally focused middle class white women from the West. In an Aljazeera op-ed Julia Zulver wrote, “I understand that Watson was speaking from personal experience…but in a world where femicide, FGM, and child marriage are pertinent issues, I don’t think the girl-next-door experience is good enough.”