Apr 15, 2019

Red Cross calls for release of nurse kidnapped by ISIS in Syria

Louisa Akavi, 62, a nurse and midwife, who was kidnapped by ISIS in 2013. Photo: Ross Land/Getty Images

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday called for the release of New Zealand nurse Louisa Akavi, kidnapped by the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria in 2013.

"She has dedicated her life to those affected by war and violence, and she went to Syria because people needed her. She wanted to use her skills to make a difference."
— New Zealand Red Cross Secretary-General Niamh Lawless

The big picture: The New Zealand government and Red Cross kept the kidnapping of Akavi, 62, secret because of concerns that her life might be at risk. The New York Times first reported Sunday that since the Islamic State has fallen, the Red Cross has made Akavi's name public in hopes to find her alive.

The other side: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear at a press conference the government did not think the media blackout should have been lifted. She declined to comment further on the issue.

Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 6,852,810 — Total deaths: 398,211 — Total recoveries — 3,071,142Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,917,080 — Total deaths: 109,702 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities has become a defining part of the pandemic.

The big picture: That's a result of myriad longstanding inequities within the health care system and the American economy.