The Mozambique Insurgency
In the first story of the Daily Briefing today, we go to Mozambique to discuss some truly horrifying news. Since 2017, Islamist militants (thought to be part of the terror organisation Islamic State) have partaken in an insurgency in Mozambique. Locally, they are known as Al-Shabab, and while they have sworn an allegiance to Islamic State, their motives and demands have not been made clear.
This week, though, it has been revealed, tragically, that the group have started beheading people. In one instance, a mother explained that she had to watch as her 12 year-old son was killed while they were trying to reach where she and her other children were hiding.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time such acts of extreme evil have occurred. Last year, more than 50 people were beheaded at a football match.
The Mozambique government has appealed for help to stop the terror group from the international community.
It’s hard to even comprehend the horrors that have taken place in Mozambique since the beginning of the insurgency. It’s therefore not difficult to understand why more than 700,000 people have fled their homes.
Our thoughts are with all the family and friends of the victims of this insurgency.
Capitol Riot Arrests
In the second story today, we move to the US to discuss the two men who have been charged for using bear spray against an officer. Brian Sicknick was one of the officers on duty when the Capitol was violently stormed by a group of people trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Tragically, following the attack on the capitol, Mr Sicknick died.
During the course of the capitol siege, Mr. Sicknick had bear spray sprayed at him. It is unclear whether this contributed to his death. Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios were arrested for assaulting police officers. They currently face up to 20 years in prison, after being charged with 9 separate charges.
It has been claimed in court documents that the pair worked together to make the bear spray that was then supposedly used again Mr. Sicknick and two other of his colleagues. All three officers were then, supposedly, incapacitated for more than 20 minutes.
The court case still is ongoing.
The Downing Street Briefing Room
In the third story of the Daily Briefing today, we move back to the UK to discuss the Downing Street Briefing Room. While we may have brought this up before – specifically, it’s £2.6m price tag – we haven’t yet actually seen what it will look like. Well, yesterday evening, the first pictures of the room emerged.
The room itself is yet to be used – due to the pandemic – but once we’re through it and it’s safe for journalists to sit shoulder to shoulder again, the plan is for it to be the home of American-style press briefings. The pictured podium will be used by Allegra Stratton, a former BBC and Guardian journalist.
Some weren’t too keen on the look, with one Tory MP claiming it’s “far too American”, and one civil servant claiming it looked like a “brochure for a shit civil wedding”.
Another staffer at Number 10 claimed they were just happy it was complete, so that they can have the meeting room back – the one that is currently being used for daily coronavirus press briefings.
Another interesting thing that was spotted in the pictures was a Henry Hoover. Eagle-eyed Twitter users spotted him lurking in the back of the shots, and subsequently made him a Twitter account called ‘Press Officer Henry Hoover”. We can only assume that he’s Ms. Stratton’s deputy.
WSBs Adopts Gorillas
In the final story today, we move on to some happier news. We probably all remember about a month ago, Wall Street Bets (WSBs) being able to beat seasoned day traders by buying Gamestop stocks. Well, over the weekend, they were able to put their financial power to good use (or, even better use, depending on how you interpret the Gamestop story).
Over the weekend, a meme gained popularity on the WSBs subreddit. A gorilla was adopted by a user, under the name of Gamestop. Other users liked this gesture, and decided to adopt their own gorillas, with another user calling theirs GME (the abbreviated term for Gamestop stock).
This snowballed, with more and more users donating money to gorilla charities – specifically, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. This charity reported more than $265,000 from members of the WSBs subreddit.
As it turns out, when put to good use, memes can do very powerful things. It’s important to remember that stories like this exist, and that communities of people online are able to – and frequently do – do amazing things.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out Monday’s Daily Briefing.