This week around the world: May 6–12

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May 6 Abuja, Nigeria

Despite ongoing health issues, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari postponed a trip to London for medical treatment in order to welcome the return of 82 schoolgirls released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The girls, part of a group of 276 who were abducted in 2014, were handed over in exchange for an unknown number of Boko Haram suspects as part of a prisoner swap. More than 100 girls remain missing.

May 6 Mediterranean Sea, Earth

Over 20 separate rescue operations throughout the course of a single day saved nearly 3,000 people in the Mediterranean Sea as they attempted to make their way to Europe from North Africa. The Italian coastguard and navy, along with EU naval forces and merchant ships contributed to the effort. In 2016, approximately 181,000 migrants arrived in Italy by boat, while earlier this year, Pateh Sabally, a refugee from Gambia, was recorded by an onlooker as he drowned in Venice’s Grand Canal and was insulted by bystanders.

May 7 Hanover, Germany

Authorities arranged for museum visits and film screenings for over 50,000 residents who were evacuated following the discovery of several unexploded bombs from World War II. Two of the bombs were defused, and a third was neutralized using additional special equipment. Seven decades after extensive allied bombing campaigns, unexploded bombs are still commonly found buried in Germany.

May 9 Changsha, China

Xie Yang, a prominent civil rights lawyer in China, pleaded guilty to charges of incitement to subversion and disturbing legal proceedings. Xie was first detained during a crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in 2015, and in January of this year his lawyer released transcripts of meetings in which Xie claimed he was tortured. Xie also issued a handwritten statement asserting his innocence and saying that should he confess in the future, it would only be as a result of further coercion and torture and would not represent “the true expression of my own mind.”

May 12 Worldwide

Hackers wrought havoc on tens of thousands of computers across dozens of countries by utilizing a stolen National Security Agency hacking tool to spread malicious software that locked users out of their systems and held data for ransom. By the time a 22-year-old British researcher inadvertently stopped the spread of the attack, Britain’s public health system, Russia’s Interior Ministry, and international logistics and telecom companies had been affected.

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