"While you were sleeping: Hostages Seized in Attack on Radisson Hotel in Mali," summarizes Marc Lacey with the New York Times, sharing the news that's garnered 11,600+ shares so far. "About 100 [now thought to be 170] hostages taken by gunmen in Bamako, capital of Mali, a country best known for fabled desert city Timbuktu," details NYT's Keith Bradsher. In response to the emergency, France dispatched 50 elite counter-terrorism police. While the latest news indicates no more hostages are being held, special forces stormed the hotel to discover at least 18 dead bodies inside. Belgian diplomat Geoffrey Dieudonne numbered among those killed during the attack, according to officials. Claiming responsibility is an extremist group that splintered off from al-Qaida that's calling for its fighters be freed from Mali's prisons and for attacks against northern Malians to stop. "Mali Hotel Hostage Takers; at Least 3 Killed...if cannot secure whole world maybe West shld focus on hearts&minds," suggests freelance journalist Joanne Jennings. As of this moment, the siege appears to be near its end.
Elsewhere in global news, a Saudi court has sentenced a poet to death for renouncing Islam. "Saudi Arabia reminding us why it thoroughly deserves its place on a key UN Human Rights panel," writer Sarah Britten sarcastically tweets. And while we're looking at worldwide news, Russia's naval training has paralyzed Lebanon's airspace for the next three days. "Moscow motto: Russia - because it can," quips Washington Post's Hugh Naylor.
Meanwhile, the Paris attacks have also served to shine a glaring spotlight on failures to counter terrorism in Belgium, a country of only 10 million people that somehow sends the most per-capita fighters to Syria. "Radicalism moving through #Belgium’s underworld has a symbiotic relationship with more traditional criminal gangs," explains BuzzFeed's Anup Kaphle. BBC's Andrew Neil also offered a message for the Paris attackers as he opened the show. "After a week in a glorious city rent asunder but only temporarily, respect for @afneil," reacts Mark Austin from ITV News. Plus, you'll no doubt be utterly shocked to learn that Donald Trump is doubling down on his Muslim database idea. "Would Trump register US-born Muslim converts? How about ex-Muslims? Couldn't terrorists claim they're Christians?" wonders Middle East correspondent Borzou Daragahi. So very many questions. Also relatedly, a CNN reporter has been suspended after an editorializing tweet about a House vote that will make it harder for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. "CNN, a mouthpiece for the surveillance-industrial complex, suspends reporter who shows empathy for refugees. Sick," criticizes The Guardian's Dan Gillmor. Political blogger Greg Sargent saw the sense in CNN's decision, however: "Acceptable opinions for objective reporters: Your tone is defensive. Your answers are lawyerly. Unacceptable: [link]."
While we're talking media, reporters have been banned from a Smith College sit-in held in solidarity with the University of Missouri unless and until they voice support for the movement. "By taking a neutral stance, journalists and media are being complacent in our fight," claims one organizer. "No, that's not how it works," retorts reporter and editor Matt Moore. And Politico just hired Veteran GOP operative Brad Dayspring as their spokesman because "We have always thought of Politico like a political candidate." Salon's Jim Newell responds, "that's sorta weird," and we have to concur. At the NY Times, Maureen Dowd gives voice to the the women of Hollywood itching to speak out. "Is it believable that a #Hollywood insider would dismissively tell @nytimesdowd of ALL people, 'call some chicks'?" pointedly asks freelancer Steve Friess. "I can direct the movie abt teens exploding into glitter if still on the table, studio execs," helpfully offers Molly Mulshine with Tech Insider.