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Chatter: Nigeria launches offensive against Boko Haram militants

Nigeria's army fights back against militant Islamists in the restive northeast, the IRS mess continues, and a new study that will make you think twice before you go jump in the pool.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Game over for Boko Haram? Nigeria's army has begun a "massive" offensive against militant Islamists in the country's restive northeast. 

With a state of emergency imposed by President Goodluck Jonathan on three states, several thousand troops have been deployed to the region in an effort involving the entire Nigerian military. Security officials say at least 21 people were killed when soldiers shelled suspected militant camps, in the first major action of the campaign. There are reports that air strikes may yet take place.

This is Nigeria's biggest stand so far against Boko Haram. The group has been armed with increasingly sophisticated weaponry, and the brutal attacks have intensified in the last few months.

At least 3,600 people have died since Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden," launched an insurgency in 2009 with the aim of creating an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north. 

But Nigeria's military has been accused of rights abuses in previous campaigns against Boko Haram, with Human Rights Watch saying troops may be guilty of crimes against humanity.

WANT TO KNOW

IRS mess. Seeking to douse growing fury, President Barack Obama has named a new acting head of the US revenue service as a second IRS official, Joseph Grant, resigned in the wake of the tea party targeting scandal.

Obama sacked acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller late Wednesday following revelations that the IRS applied tougher scrutiny to the tea party and other conservative groups seeking non-profit status.

Lawmakers plan to question Miller today, with a hostile reaction anticipated from the Republican-run House Ways and Means Committee. 

Smash! Smash! Sah-MASH. These words made Kai the hitchhiker an instant internet star in his efforts to stop a homicidal man from killing innocent people, colorfully re-enacted for a Fresno TV station. But now Kai, real name Caleb McGillvary, has been arrested for murder himself. 

He was caught at a Philadelphia bus station and charged with killing Joseph Galfy, a lawyer who was found dead in his New Jersey home on Monday. An autopsy determined the 37-year-old Galfy died of blunt force trauma, the prosecutor's office said. In a graphic Facebook post the day after the alleged crime, Kai insinuated he had been sexually assaulted.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Pool Poop. Sorry to gross you out on this Friday morning, but we thought you might like to know that there's probably poop in your swimming pool.

Yes, that pool might look crystal clear and inviting on a hot day, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control might make you think twice about diving straight in.

The bacteria E. Coli, most commonly associated with fecal matter, was found in more than half of water samples taken at public swimming pools in the Atlanta area. Researchers could not definitely connect the presence of the bacteria with human feces but they made a pretty strong case that it "signifies that swimmers introduced fecal material into pool water."

While this may be disgusting, there's a bit of good news: pools with regularly maintained chlorine and pH levels shouldn't be a cause for concern (but the CDC still recommends not drinking the water). 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-nigeria-launches-offensive-against-boko-haram-militants

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