" />
partlycloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 12:43AM

First lady gives weekly White House address. Subject: the kidnapped Nigerian girls

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama on Saturday criticized the kidnapping of scores of Nigerian schoolgirls as an "unconscionable act" carried out by a terrorist group she said is determined to keep them from getting an education - "or grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls."

Taking over the president's weekly radio and Internet address on the eve of the American holiday for honoring mothers, the first lady said that, like millions of people around the world, she and President Barack Obama are "outraged and heartbroken" over the April 15 abduction of the girls from their dormitory.

"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," Mrs. Obama said, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. "We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

What happened in Nigeria is not an isolated incident, the first lady said, but is "a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions."

Mrs. Obama mentioned the case of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived being shot in the head as she traveled to school in 2012. Malala has become an outspoken advocate for the rights of all girls to get an education, the same message Mrs. Obama delivered in her first solo address to the nation.

Mrs. Obama noted that more than 65 million girls worldwide do not attend school even though educated women earn more money and have healthier families.

"When more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country's entire economy," she said. "So education is truly a girl's best chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation."

That is also true in the U.S., the first lady said. She expressed hope that what happened in Nigeria will inspire boys and girls across the U.S. to be serious about getting an education.

"I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted, any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out, I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education," she said.

Mrs. Obama recently launched a domestic initiative called "Reach Higher" to encourage young people to pursue education beyond high school, whether they enroll in a professional training program or attend a community college or a four-year institution.

In Saturday's address, the first lady asked the nation to pray for the Nigerian girls' safe return.

"This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education - grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls," she said. "Let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time, and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to give every girl on this planet the education that is her birthright."

The Nigerian government's inability to rescue the girls nearly a month after they were abducted by the Boko Haram organization has sparked worldwide outrage, including protests and a social media campaign. The U.S. and other countries have sent teams of technical experts to assist the Nigerian government's search effort.

Authorities have said more than 300 girls were abducted from their school in the country's remote northeast. Fifty-three escaped and 276 remain captive.

President Obama said this week that the U.S. will do everything to help Nigeria find them.

Mrs. Obama added her voice this week to the calls for the girls' safe return by tweeting a photo of herself in the White House. She appears sad and holds a white sign with the message "(hashtag) Bring Back Our Girls." The tweet was signed "-mo," indicating that she sent it herself.

Boko Haram means "Western education is sinful." The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for the abduction and has threatened to sell the girls.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )