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Newly released child soldiers in South Sudan. Photo: Steganie Glinski / AFP / Getty Images

South Sudan’s elite are using the country’s main revenue source, oil, to fund militias and atrocities in the country, according to documents obtained by The Sentry, an investigative group founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast.

Political backdrop: South Sudan has been in a state of turmoil since the ongoing civil war broke out in 2013. The violence has left famine in its wake and millions of South Sudanese internally displaced and seeking refuge in neighboring countries. A ceasefire signed in December hasn't been followed.

What’s happening, per the report: South Sudan’s state oil company, Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet), has funded militias responsible for violence. More than $80 million was recorded as being paid to South Sudanese politicians, military officials, government agencies, and companies with links to politicians that paid for military transport and other logistics linked with atrocities.

  • The petroleum ministry helped provide funds, food, and fuel to militia groups in the Upper Nile state that are reportedly behind attacks on villages and civilians.
  • Nilepet made payments to a company called Golden Wings Aviation and other companies for an “army logistics operation” in June 2015. The UN has claimed this company transported weapons to Unity state during a period of violence in 2014 and 2015.
  • Other companies the records list as having received similar payments for military logistics operations include Interstate Airways, partially owned by South Sudan’s First Lady, as well as Nile Basin for Aviation, an airline owned by family members of top military and government officials.
  • Crown Auto Trade, a Toyota dealership majority-owned by a prominent South Sudanese businessman, is also reportedly listed in the records as having received $8 million in payments from Nilepet for providing vehicles and importing armored personnel carriers. The businessman, Obac William Olawo, denies transporting troops, weapons, or equipment.

There were 84 security-related transactions between March 2014 and June 2015, according to the documents The Sentry obtained.

Go deeper:

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Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

18 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.