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Time’s 100 Most Influential Shows God’s Working

Time Magazine announces 2016 top 100 influential people and shows the six cover options (Credit: TIME Magazine)Yesterday, Time released their annual list of the most influential people. And as you might expect, the usual suspects were on the list. But there were some interesting absences from the list.

Leonardo DiCaprio is on it, due to his leading voice on climate change. Mark Zuckerberg found a position with his befriending desire to connect the entire world. Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, found herself on the list because of her courageous decision to come out and cross over. And Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is there, with his combination of likability, creativity, and business acumen.  

But what about religious leaders?

Pope Francis made the list, which was about as expected as the sunrise. Mussie Zerai, a Catholic priest who has been called the Father to Refugees, also made the list. But other than those two, there were no other religious leaders. No Billy Graham, nor Rick Warren types.

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Immigration in the Dominican: a glimpse of our future?

Haitians wait for the opening of the border between Jimani, Dominican Republic, and Malpasse, Haiti, on a market day, Thursday, June 18, 2015. As the Dominican Republic starts cracking down on migrants, the Dominican government is urging people to start carrying documents to prove they're residents and avoid deportation in case immigration agents stop them. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)"The influx from our poorer neighbor is overwhelming. They steal jobs. They are dangerous. They take advantage of our laws . . . They are seeking better lives. They do the labor-intensive jobs locals won't. They contribute to the economy."

It's a familiar debate, but from an unfamiliar source. As Mariano Castillo writes in a fascinating and troubling article for CNN (Rachel Nolan writes an even more detailed account for Harper's Magazine), such rhetoric comes not from America but from Haiti and the Dominican Republic—two neighboring nations with a common but troubled past that are still trying to find their way to a better future. In so doing, they offer a glimpse into what we in the United States might expect should the debate over immigration yield laws that are ill-equipped to address the larger concerns behind them.

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Drastic increase in number of children used in suicide attacks

A Chadian soldier wearing reflective sunglasses observes the convoy ahead of him, as Chadian soldiers who are fighting in support of Central African Republic president Francois Bozize, ride on the road leading to Damara, about 70km (44 miles) north of the capital Bangui, Central African Republic Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. More than 30 truckloads of troops from Chad line the two-lane highway just outside of Damara, supporting government forces who want to block a new rebel coalition from reaching the capital, and Gen. Jean Felix Akaga, who heads a 10-nation regional force, says the town is a "A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." So said acclaimed poet Carl Sandburg. The presence of a child often induces smiles among those in close proximity. They may be at times loud, but sometimes we welcome their loudness because it quiets the chaotic world around us. Their infectious laughter, pure innocence, and reverberating joy often brings life into our monotonous days. But tragically, groups like Boko Haram are robbing children of their lives and communities of their hope.

UNICEF found that the number of children involved in "suicide" attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger has risen sharply over the past year. From four in 2014 to forty-four in 2015, more than seventy-five percent of the children involved in the attacks are girls. Approximately one in five suicide bombers was a child.

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North Korean senior espionage officer defects

A North Korean man carries his country's national flag at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium where people gathered for a mass dance party to celebrate the Officials from Seoul, South Korea reported Monday that a senior intelligence officer with the North Korean military has defected. While few details have been released, we know that the defector was a senior colonel with North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau—the agency thought responsible for various cyber warfare attacks and other espionage operations against the South and other foreign countries.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports that the senior colonel is the highest ranking defector from the North to date. As CNN's KJ Kwon and Tim Hume describe, all defectors from the North are interviewed by South Korea's intelligence services in an effort to gather information about life across the border. Officials are especially excited about the colonel, though, as they expect he could also provide them with abundant knowledge on Kim Jong Un's regime—a particularly useful area of information amid rumors that the North Korean leader's increasingly brutal tactics have weakened his already fragile network of support.

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ISIS leader's ex-wife speaks

In a world exclusive interview with Expressen's Kassem Hamadé the ex-wife Saga al-Dulaimi tells the story for the first time of what it was like to live with the most wanted man in the world (Credit: GEO expressen).In her first interview since being released from a Lebanese prison last year, Saja al-Dulaimi described to Swedish CNN affiliate Expressen TV what it's like to live as the former wife of the world's most wanted man: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Ashley Frantz, who authored the article for CNN that described the interview, was quick to note that they could not verify all of al-Dulaimi's statements, but her story is interesting and portrays a much more complicated situation than many might suspect.

Al-Dulaimi was married to the ISIS leader for only three months before leaving him, but it was long enough to become pregnant with his daughter—a child al-Baghdadi did not learn about until after al-Dulaimi had left. She told Expressen TV "I wasn't happy" with the ISIS leader, who was only a university professor at the time, and that she resisted several attempts by al-Baghdadi to get her back. Part of the reason for her unhappiness was the suspicions caused by his "mysterious personality," a trait that kept them distant even when living in the same home. As Georgia State University professor and author of the 2011 book, Bombshell: Women and Terror speculates, it is "conceivable that (Baghdadi) was living a double life," and that al-Dulaimi knew nothing about it.

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