Texas on ice: Winter storms and uncharacteristically freezing weather have plunged the normally toasty US state of Texas into a severe crisis, as power grids knocked offline by the cold had left nearly 3 million people without electricity by Wednesday morning. The state's 29 million residents are now subject to rolling blackouts. Like everything else in America, the situation in Texas has already become a partisan football. Republicans skeptical of renewable energy seized on a handful of frozen wind turbines to argue that the failure of clean energy sources was responsible for the crisis, but data show the collapse in energy supply is overwhelmingly the result of natural gas infrastructure being knocked offline by the cold (pipelines in Texas generally aren't insulated.) In addition, because of resistance to federal regulation, Texas' grid runs with lower reserve power margins and no connection to surrounding state grids, meaning that no power can be imported when a crisis strikes. The sustainability of that model is likely to be the subject of fierce political wrangling in coming months, and will likely spill over into debates on Capitol Hill about "Green Stimulus." For now, millions of Texans are shivering, and not happy about it.
The reports are horrifying. Bullets flying overhead as school-age kids scream out in fear. Chaos. Shrapnel. Hundreds go missing.
This was the scene last week when militants stormed a high-school in Katsina, northern Nigeria, to abduct hundreds of students, 400 of whom remain missing. It's a horror story reminiscent of the 2014 kidnapping of schoolgirls that prompted the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign championed by former US first lady Michelle Obama.
The attack, which has now been claimed by the militant group Boko Haram, comes just weeks after the brutal slaying of Nigerian farmers in Borno state by militants on motorcycles. (At least thirty of the victims were beheaded.)
Nigerians have grown increasingly furious at the government for not doing more to keep them safe. But what are the conditions that have allowed groups like Boko Haram and Islamic State cells to gain a foothold in Africa's most populous country and largest economy?
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Nigeria's president and his challenger in hotly-contested elections are blaming each other for a Eurasia Group report that listed their country as among the world's top risks for 2019.