The stunning, mature work of photojournalist Camille Lepage, who was killed in the Central African Republic
French photojournalist Camille Lepage has been found dead in the Central African Republic, French President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement Tuesday.
"The corpse of Lepage was found after a patrol by (French) Sangaris troops stopped a car driven by anti-Balaka groups, in the Bouar region," the statement said. Officials are investigating the circumstances of Lepage's death.
Lepage was just 26 years old and had recently relocated to South Sudan. She was interested in capturing populations in the margins, abandoned by their government, according to her website.
This is likely what led her to the Central African Republic, a fragile nation on the brink of genocide. After a coup in January, the country's minority Muslim factions are being forced into camps by Christian militia groups known as "anti-Balaka." Peacekeepers have been deployed, but the violence is ongoing and the situation is increasingly risky for international workers, reports Slate.
In South Sudan, Lepage photographed the sick, injured, and ostracized. In the Central African Republic, according to photos posted on her Facebook page, she took this keen eye and compassion to the Muslim camps to capture those living on the edge of society.
Her work is thoughtful and effortlessly striking, and it's clear that she had talent well beyond her years. Below are a selection of her photos and captions she wrote herself. --Lauren Hansen
Posted on February 20, 2014: A quiet picture to illustrate the dire situation of the Muslim population in Bangui and elsewhere in the Central African Republic. The Muslims have been targeted by the non-Muslim community for weeks: lynching after lynching, the Muslims fled to the airport where they are protected by the African Union Army and the French Army. They wait to be taken to Chad, where the government have offered them shelter. They will leave everything behind... | (Camille Lepage / Hans Lucas - All rights reserved 2014 via Facebook.com)
Posted on February 16, 2004: As a French soldier targets an agitator behind a house, two local sellers hide in their shop. Today in PK12, Bangui, Central African Republic, the French troops intervene to break barricades set up at the entry gate of the capital by the youth to stop humanitarian help from reaching the Muslims displaced by the violence one kilometer away. | (Camille Lepage / Hans Lucas - All rights reserved 2014 via Facebook.com)
Posted on Nov. 18, 2013: In Bossangoa, Central African Republic, about 35,000 Internally Displaced People have fled their village because of the violence carried out either by the Seleka, the rebel group that took power in March 2013 in the country or by the 'Anti-Balaka', an auto defense group that created itself in response to the Seleka's violence. (Camille Lepage / Hans Lucas - All Rights Reserved 2013 via Facebook.com)
Sonny Perdue, the Republican former governor of Georgia, has been chosen to lead the Agriculture Department, Trump transition officials told Politico Wednesday, the last position in the Cabinet to be filled.
A formal announcement is expected to be made on Thursday. Perdue was one of the first members of Donald Trump's Agricultural Advisory Committee, launched in August. Perdue earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia in 1971, and was a captain in the Air Force. Since 1977, he has owned several agribusiness and transportation companies, and in 2011, launched Perdue Partners, which facilitates the exports of U.S. goods and services. Catherine Garcia
An investigation is now underway into how a German shepherd was treated on the set of the new movie A Dog's Purpose.
TMZ posted a video it says was filmed during the movie's production, showing a dog that appeared to be too frightened forced into churning water by a trainer, The Associated Press reports. American Humane, an organization that ensures animal safety on movie and television sets, said Wednesday it has hired an independent investigator to look into the incident, and has suspended the safety representative that worked on A Dog's Purpose.
Actor Josh Gad, who provides the dog's voice in the movie, released a statement on social media, saying he has asked Universal Pictures to explain the "disturbing images." The movie is "one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen," he said, but he is also "shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will." Catherine Garcia
This is a much better gift than china — for their 20th anniversary, Scott Chafian of Suffolk, Virginia, will give his wife, Cindy, a kidney.
Cindy has polycystic kidney disease, which can cause the kidneys to shut down, and has been on dialysis for nearly two years. She's undergone several surgeries, and as Scott watched his wife's health get progressively worse, he knew he had to help her. With her blessing, Scott explored how to go about donating his kidney. In October, they found out he was a match, and the surgery was set up before Christmas.
On January 24, the day before their anniversary, Scott and Cindy, who have five children, will undergo their surgeries. "Instead of celebrating by having a big party, we're going to celebrate by being in different hospital rooms," Cindy told NBC Los Angeles. "He is literally giving me the gift of life." Scott thinks he's the lucky one. "She's been so sick for several years now," he said. "She'll say I'm giving her life back, but I'm getting my wife back." Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Navient Corp., the country's largest servicer of student loans, claiming the company violated several acts and went out of its way to cheat borrowers.
"For years, Navient failed consumers who counted on the company to help give them a fair chance to pay back their students loans," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. "At every stage of repayment, Navient chose to shortcut and deceive consumers to save on operating costs. Too many borrowers paid more for their loans because Navient illegally cheated them and today's action seeks to hold them accountable." Navient, formerly part of Sallie Mae, services private and federal loans worth more than $300 billion for more than 12 million borrowers.
The CFPB alleges that Navient misapplied or misallocated borrowers' payments, and incentivized customer service representatives to push borrowers into forbearance as opposed to income-based repayment plans, which racked up additional interest charges of up to $4 billion from January 2010 to March 2015. The agency also claims Navient violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and the Dodd-Frank reform act, and allegedly told credit reporting agencies disabled Americans defaulted on their loans, when really they were discharged under a special program, the Los Angeles Times reports. Navient called the allegations "unfounded." Catherine Garcia
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) brought a bottle of Trump water to Environmental Protection Agency administrator nominee Scott Pruitt's Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, apparently to prove a point about the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. "Trump water, natural spring water," Markey said. "On the label it says, 'Pure, fresh, and free from contaminants. This is water the way it was meant to be.'" While Trump hotel guests have the "luxury" of drinking this water instead of tap water, Markey said, low-income Americans don't have that option.
The big wind-up was so Markey could ask Pruitt if he would commit to making environmental justice for low-income communities a top priority if confirmed. Pruitt heartily agreed. You can watch the moment in its entirety at C-SPAN. Becca Stanek
Millennials aren't the only ones drowning in student debt: A staggering amount of older Americans are also underwater. The number of Americans older than 60 with student loan debt quadrupled from 700,000 in 2005 to 2.8 million in 2015, making the over-60 set the fastest-growing age group with student debt, Quartz reports. The total debt for these older borrowers is some $66.7 billion, and more than two-thirds of it is owed for children or grandchildren. While older debtors owe less than the typical under-50 crowd — an average of $23,000 compared to $37,172, respectively — they're also twice as likely to default.
Quartz notes the particular dangers of being 60 or older and still carrying that much debt: The government can sometimes withhold Social Security checks to elderly borrowers who default, and Americans over 60 with unpaid loans typically have less saved for retirement than those without debt.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) comically illustrated the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency during an otherwise turbulent Senate hearing for President-elect Donald Trump's EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, on Wednesday. "This is a chart of the state of Iowa," Ernst began, showing a nearly entirely red map of her state. "As you can see, with the expanded definition as provided by the EPA, 97 percent of the state of Iowa is now considered Waters of the U.S. So if you are in an area like mine, in southwest Iowa here, I live in a Water of the U.S."
It wasn't the only thing Ernst took issue with. In fact, she has some serious concerns about ... well, puddles.
"The Obama EPA told the public that they will not regulate puddles," Ernst went on. "They will not regulate puddles. However, we learned that the Corps [of Engineers] is already regulating puddles by claiming that a puddle in a gravel parking lot is a 'degraded wetland.' A degraded wetland."
But wait, there's more: "The Obama EPA also told farmers not to worry about being regulated because ordinary farming activities have a statutory exemption. We learned that the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice have decided that plowing is not an ordinary farming activity. Explain that to my dear deceased grandfather and my father," Ernst said.