TL;DR: Insurgents have overrun Iraq’s second largest city and parts of Tikrit, resulting in the exodus of as many as half a million citizens, a 14 year old has been killed in yet another school shooting in the U.S., and President Obama implores America to “soul search” in regards to gun law reform.

Today’s Wednesday the 11th of June, and here are a few things you need to know today.

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Amnesty International: Nigerian government knew of planned Boko Haram kidnapping

Damning testimonies revealed today by Amnesty International allegedly show that Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram’s armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the abduction of more than 240 schoolgirls.

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Is that a luge in Times Square?

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vision of new sporting venues across the boroughs fizzled, and New York lost its bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. But what if the city had tried to get the Winter Olympics instead? Well, the New York Times has visualised what it may just look like. Check it out.

UPDATE: Police officer, teacher killed; hostages released in Moscow school shooting

Moscow police have confirmed that a police officer and a teacher were killed after a gunman with a rifle took more than 20 children hostage at a city school; the gunman—who is believed to have been a student—has now been detained, according to the Russian Interior Ministry.

More information as it comes to hand →


Legendary folk activist Pete Seeger dies, aged 94

The singer-songwriter who was at the front of the American folk revival has passed away of natural causes, the New York Times reports.

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Stephen Hawking’s new theory offers black hole escape

Black holes are “deeply misunderstood”, according to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who released ‘Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holesa short but potentially revolutionary paperon January 22.

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Ukraine prime minister Azarov tenders resignation

Ukraine’s prime minister, Mykola Azarov, tendered his resignation early Tuesday morning—the latest attempt by the administration of President Viktor Yanukovich to placate an escalating two-month stand-off with anti-government protesters.

The concession came hours after Ukraine’s embattled president agreed to repeal harsh anti-protest laws adopted this month, which, in turn, inflamed the demonstrations against him and his administration.

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Heads up! We will have evening-long coverage of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards later today. So, if you’re unable to catch them from the comfort of your own home, we’ve got you covered! Our live-blog kicks off at 8:00pm ET, and you can also stay up-to-date via Twitter.

2013 marked as Syria’s “bloodiest year” with more than 73,000 dead

The continual violence in Syria is said to have claimed more than 73,000 lives in 2013 alone, making it the bloodiest year yet in the brutal civil war that began just under three years ago, a non-governmental organisation said on Wednesday.

The tally—curated by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—came as renewed regime air strikes in the northern city of Aleppo killed at least 20 people.

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LIVE STREAM: State funeral for Nelson Mandela takes place in South Africa

South Africa will say its final goodbyes to Nelson Mandela today, closing one momentous chapter in its tortured history, and opening another in which the multi-racial democracy he founded will have to discover if it can thrive without its central pillar.

The send-offin the rolling hills of the Eastern Capehas drawn 4,500 guests, from relatives, and South African leaders, to Britain’s Prince Charles, American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

RELATED: The Life of Nelson Mandela

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