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Program aims to curb migration

The European Union on Wednesday announced the start of a $2 billion initiative to curb illegal migration from Africa, an ambitious program that aims to tackle the root causes of a historic flight of Africans to Europe.

The first $325 million in projects introduced Wednesday include efforts to increase employment in the migrants' home countries and to tackle human trafficking in places such as Ethiopia and Somalia.

Much of Europe's attention has been focused on the 800,000 Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum-seekers who have entered Europe this year via Greece. But the number of people from sub-Saharan Africa crossing the Mediterranean has jumped, too: About 130,000 made the journey in 2015, compared with about 70,000 last year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The $2 billion EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was created last month to "address migration, mobility and forced displacement through concrete action," said the EU's commissioner for international cooperation and development, Neven Mimica.

- Washington Post

Mixed message on Internet

The word "freedom" means different things to different people. That's perhaps the greatest takeaway from China's second World Internet Conference, which began Wednesday morning in Wuzhen, a historic village near Shanghai.

President Xi Jinping delivered the keynote address, a rare move that underscored the event's official gravitas. Wearing a red tie and neutral expression, Xi called for more "freedom" online, disregarding the fact that his administration oversees perhaps the world's most sophisticated Internet censorship apparatus.

"On one hand, we should respect the freedom of expression," Xi said. "On the other, we need to create a fine cyberspace order following relevant laws.

"Freedom is what order is meant for," he continued, "and order is the guarantee of freedom."

- L.A. Times

Suicide bombers kill one vigilante

Four suicide bombers detonated explosives at a checkpoint in the northeastern Nigerian town of Mafa on Monday, killing themselves and one member of a vigilante group, the National Emergency Management Agency said.

Five other members of the vigilante group were injured and are undergoing treatment, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, a spokesman of the agency, said from the city of Maiduguri. All the suicide bombers were women, he said.

Boko Haram has stepped up suicide attacks as the military intensifies its offensive to meet a December deadline by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the six-year-old insurgency. - Bloomberg