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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Hollande promises to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram

‘Your struggle is our struggle,’ Hollande tells Nigeria
French President Francois Hollande promised Nigeria support on Thursday in the battle against Islamist group Boko Haram, saying France would always be ready to help combat extremism in defence of democracy.

“Your struggle is also our struggle,” Hollande told delegates at a security conference in the capital Abuja ahead of Nigeria’s unification centenary celebrations.

“We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy.”
Hollande lamented some of the recent violence perpetrated by suspected Boko Haram fighters, including the massacre earlier this week of at least 59 students in their sleep at a secondary school in the Islamists’ northeast stronghold.
Francois Hollande:promises to help Nigeria
Francois Hollande:promises to help Nigeria

Despite crises in several regions, the French president maintained there was reason for optimism in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“Africa has a great future. It’s the continent of tomorrow,” he said.
He however warned that such promise could be “impeded by insecurity”. He then vowed to double French overseas development aid to the continent within the next five years.
Hollande, guest of honour for the celebrations to mark 100 years since Nigeria’s unification, was expected to hold talks on trade and investment with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan.
But given the deteriorating Boko Haram conflict in northern Nigeria and France’s recent military interventions against militants in Mali and the Central African Republic, security was expected to feature prominently in bilateral talks.

Culled from PM News.

Facebook ends email address system

Mark Zuckerberg in front of next generation messaging slide
Facebook has quietly closed its three-year-old email service that gave users "@facebook.com" email addresses.

From now on, emails sent to an "@facebook.com" address will be forwarded to the personal email address from which the member signed up for the site.

"We're making this change because most people haven't been using their Facebook email address," said a Facebook spokesperson.

The change will happen in early March.

The service was launched in November 2010 and billed as a way to streamline users' communication by providing a single inbox that could receive Facebook messages, SMS texts, and conventional emails.

It came under fire in 2012 when Facebook replaced users' published email addresses with their "@facebook.com" email on their profile.

The company later reversed course.

The move comes just a few days after Facebook's surprise purchase of messaging app WhatsApp for $19bn (£11.4bn).

Culled from BBC

29 die in school dormitory shooting by Boko Haram

Twenty nine people have been declared dead in the latest massacre of sleeping secondary school students in Buni Yadi, in the north eastern Nigerian state of Yobe, by gunmen from Boko Haram.
The Boko Haram gunmen attacked the dormitory of the Federal Government College early today, as the students slept.
Military spokesman Lazarus Eli said the gunmen “opened fire on student hostels” at the college, roughly 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the state capital Damaturu, which includes students aged 11 to 18.

Yobe’s police chief Sanusi Rufai told AFP that 29 people were killed but it was not immediately clear if all of the dead were students.
Rufai said he was en route to Buni Yadi with Yobe’s covernor Ibrahim Geidam to assess the extent of the damage.
• File photo:  slain students of Yobe State College of Agriculture, the last time Boko Haram attacked a school
• File photo: slain students of Yobe State College of Agriculture, the last time Boko Haram attacked a school

Yobe is one of three northeastern states which was placed under emergency rule in May last year when the military launched a massive operation to crush the Boko Haram uprising.

At least 40 students were killed in September at an agriculture training college in Yobe after Boko Haram gunmen stormed a series of dorms in the middle of the night and sprayed gunfire on sleeping students.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the northeast since the emergency measures were imposed, despite the enhanced military presence.
Geidam and the governor of neighbouring Borno state, Kashim Shettima, have fiercely criticised the military’s record in combatting Boko Haram, insisting that more resources were needed to defeat the emboldened and increasingly well-armed insurgents.

In a video sent to AFP last week, Boko Haram’s purported leader, Abubakar Shekau, said he would continue his relentless campaign of violence on anyone who supports democracy or so-called Western values.

Boy, 15, Exchanged for 2 Bags of Rice in Nigeria

A yet to be identified man on Monday successfully traded a 15-year old boy, Seun Aderinwale, for two bags of rice valued at N20,000 at Igando in Alimosho area of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.
According to eyewitness account, the man, whose address is unknown, went to 4, Ifesowapo Street, Igando, on Monday morning to buy two bags of rice from a shop owned by a woman identified as Iya Ibrahim.
•Seun Aderinwale: Exhanged for 2 bags of rice
•Seun Aderinwale: Exhanged for 2 bags of rice
The rice seller was not available at the time but her son, Ibrahim, agreed to the man’s proposal to drop Seun, an Aluminium apprentice, as collateral, in order to collect the two bags of rice and return later to pay.

However, when the shop owner returned in the afternoon, she was surprised to see Seun who was dropped there in exchange for the two bags of rice taken away by the unidentified man.
When the man failed to return, the 15-year old was held hostage until evening when the pastor of his church, a Celestial Church of Christ around the area, saw him at the shop looking despondent.
When Seun was questioned on how he came about the fraudster, he said he met him casually at Hotel Bus Stop about 300 metres to his residence where a church member had sent him on an errand to play lotto, popularly known as “Baba Ijebu”.
Seun said he did not know the man’s house or have other information about him.

The teenager later regained his freedom when the Celestial Church pastor, known simply as Oluso in the neighborhood, settled the matter with Iya Ibrahim, the rice seller.
He said the woman should take responsibility for one of the stolen bags of rice while Seun’s father, a co-worker with him in the church, should pay for the other bag of rice when he returned from his trip to Ifo in Ogun State. Seun’s father agreed to pay N10,000 for the bag of rice when he returned from Ifo.

P.M.NEWS learnt that the rice seller agreed to the pastor’s proposal and did not report the matter to the police.
“If I report the incident to the police, I cannot leave the station without spending money. Therefore, it is better for me to accept the proposal by Oluso, the rice seller told residents who gathered in front of her shop to watch the drama.

When Ibrahim was questioned why he allowed such an unusual arrangement, he told residents that the conman asked for two and half bags of rice, adding, “when the motorcycle was about to go with the two bags, I asked for the money but Seun assured me he was coming back for the half bag. He even claimed to be a close relation of the man.”
However, some hours after the man had disappeared and failed to return, Ibrahim said Seun retracted his earlier statement, saying he did not know the man.
 

Culled from PM News.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Arizona passes law allowing shopkeepers to refuse to serve gay people

Arizona passes law against gay rights, allowing shopkeepers to refuse them service based on religious beliefs.
If Mrs Brewer, a Republican, now signs the legislation it will mean, for example, that restaurants could legally turn away gay couples or individuals seeking a meal

The conservative southern state of Arizona has passed a controversial law allowing businesses to refuse to serve gay people if it goes against the owners' religious beliefs.
After sailing through the state legislature, the law now awaits final confirmation from firebrand governor, Jan Brewer, who has built a national reputation with her right-leaning stance on similarly-sensitive social issues such as immigration and abortion.

Arizona is the only state to have passed such a law. It rules that any obligation to serve gays is a violation of a person's religious freedom if their beliefs tell them that homosexuality is wrong.
If Mrs Brewer, a Republican, now signs the legislation it will mean, for example, that restaurants could legally turn away gay couples or individuals seeking a meal, or a baker could refuse to bake a cake for a gay commitment ceremony. It has not been made clear how a customer's sexual orientation would be established.

The new law provoked outrage from gay groups and prompted the Democratic Party to declare it "state-sanctioned discrimination" and an embarrassment.

Culled from The Telegraph.

"Why I Left Acting to be a Pastor's Wife" - Liz Benson

Click for Full Image Size
She is one of the most talented and gracious actresses to have come out of the Nigerian movie industry. Liz Benson rode the movie industry from the 90s like a colossus.Having featured in countless of movies, the beautiful thespian and mother was one of those that made the Nollywood brand what it is today. Now a minister of God and married to Bishop Great Ameye of Freedom Family Assembly in 2009, Liz spoke to tribune on her new world of reaching souls for God, meeting her hubby and her new movie project.

How is Liz Benson-Ameye doing?

To God be the Glory. My husband has made the home comfortable for me. But the joy of people coming to you and saying pastor this is what is going on, this is what is happening and I counsel them with the word of God and they put it to practise. Oh my God, it gives me joy! And I tell them when you are doing well, when you are prospering, when you have answers to questions, I’m filled with joy. I’m fulfilled serving people and changing lives. Apart from these when you are filled with God and God is working in your life and you are in total obedience to God your maker, the assurance in heaven is something you can’t quantify. For me, I’m very comfortable with it.

Did you ever imagine being a pastor’s wife?

I tell you what? No one knows what tomorrow holds for him or her. I carried the heart of someone that wants to serve God but I never thought it will turn out this way. In 2001, I was in a thanksgiving service at Faith Foundation Church, made a testimony and I left although I had the mind of a minister of the gospel then. Bishop Sam Amaga and his wife came to my house one day and said, ‘Do you know there is a call of God in your life?’ I looked at them and responded, ‘God has made those he wants to use and I don’t think I’m part of them.’ I found out later that many of the servants of God that God wants to use never said I want to be this, I want to be that.

But they just find out that the more you love God, the more you get closer to him, God will want to use you and qualify you for his work. And for someone like me, you just find out that God moves you from place to place. I was just preaching in places like Allen Avenue back then. Two ladies saw me then and bore witness of my early days preaching around the place. One of them who acted in Twinkle sometime ago reminded me when she saw me at the airport sometime ago. She said she remembered that I came to her shop at Emporium Plaza at Allen, Ikeja to preach to her customers. So I used to do that a lot in those days when God started with me.

So how did you meet your husband, Bishop Ameye?

God did it. It was by divine arrangement. God was speaking through many people just like he used the donkey in the Bible. God used different witnesses to guide me. I was there waiting and he was there also waiting. I never expected such. And even after we met and he proposed, I still was running (She laughs). I still was running and where I was running to, a woman of God stopped me and asked me where I was running to. ‘You are running from your husband?’ The things of God eh, they are such that if you run from it, it doesn’t make it go away. When God takes a hold of you and you run away from it a million times, he will still ask you to do the assignment. The calling of God is such that you will have to surrender and all that.

How fulfilling are you now compared to your days as an actress?

I can’t put it in a box. I can’t really describe how it feels now but it is one of the most fulfilling times of my life. Being available to God, to humanity and doing something that is touching lives. In one way or another, you are investing in the lives of people and seeing that effect on them is most fulfilling. Doing what pleases your maker is fulfilling both to you and God. You may not have the billions but God has his own reward system and it surpasses the way of the world. God is most gracious and most sufficient.

Did you ever see yourself different from being a star actress?

Let me put it this way, a lot see the other side of me as a celebrity, star actress but two people that I call friends knew that I was always close to God. They knew Liz Benson as that kind of a person. In all the parties, I always go out and excuse myself to pray. We gather here, I live whatever we are doing to pray. So, it’s been like that for me. I know it couldn’t go on for a very long time. I had to do things my own way not conforming to their standards.

I think that was why my friends saw me a bit strange because I couldn't do certain things and fit into some area of our activities. And there are so many of us like that. There are a lot of people who are hiding under the cover of activities, showbiz and all that but they know that they have a personal relationship with God and are hiding this. But I know God will catch up with them the way He did to me.

Between yesterday’s Nollywood and today’s Nollywood, how will you rate it?

We now have the wherewithal, the financial wherewithal; some of the equipment we have now we never had before. When I look at the directing, even the editing, I feel that a thorough job is done. The directors are doing well. In terms of movie production, there is still a lot of infrastructure that we don’t have yet.

What attracted you to be part of the Living Funeral movie?

The movie is about breast cancer and it is a disease that its awareness has not reached home yet. I have been in a situation where the people are very religious and they talk about which side of the bed they slept last night. And I called someone, ‘let them check her blood pressure. It was 200 over! I told her, mama what you need is rest.’ Another woman came to me and she had pain in her breast. Immediately, I swung into action and this was before I became involved in this project. I took her to the teaching hospital so that they could find out what was wrong with her.

I told her not to deceive them and tell them exactly what was wrong with her. And they operated on her and now she is living well. She came in about three years ago to thank me. ‘Mama I thank God for you oh. Ignorance fit kill me person oh.’ If not that I was involved in her life, maybe we will be saying something else. So it’s not just preaching the word, preaching the word, preaching the word.

But being able to reach out to people and save lives. And things like this movie project, Living Funeral, are also a means by which I can reach people and impact lives. So I’ve not gone out of acting completely. It’s just that when you have a ministry, we are all gifted in different ways and when things like this come. It is something that makes me to do a lot of good to my fellow brethren and women especially.

So when situations like this happen it is not only the patient or victim of cancer that suffers it but the whole family, the whole community. So, I’m here to promote a worthy cause. If I say something here, I mean it and when my assistance is needed to propagate a just cause, I will gladly do.

When it comes to your movies what are your fond memories?

I always have the movies that I fancy based on experience but it is the viewer that can judge that because they all have their favourite. But for me, every production brings its own challenges that come with it. I deal with them in their own way. I can’t place a hand. But if I want to take into account, Living Funeral is it because I’m doing something as a minister of the gospel that projects my faith and tells a good moral story. I was moved and shaken by the movie. Some of the lines of the scripts are killing. I can’t even place what it is about the movie but the story line is touching and the movie has fetched us eight nominations in Africa Magic Video Choice Awards AMVCA including Liz Benson-Ameye being nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama.

I just thank God for giving me the grace to act in such movies. Life itself has its challenges. Even if there are some hurdles there, you will always survive them. I have so much work to do in God’s vineyard. To God be the glory, Now I can only appear in movies that have to do with humanity and preach good tidings. For me, the moral standard is what I deal in right now.

The best, depth and height of every human being and endeavor are all in the Bible. Even the most spoken words in history are taken from the Word of God. For me it is God because movie roles, boyfriend, girlfriend, romance and all that are no longer for me. The most recent one that we are projecting is in the bible. That’s why I’m saying that it just have to be God standard or nothing.

What are the things people don’t know about Liz Ameye?

I don’t know, it is for the people to say not me. I think one of the issues is being able to deal with issue the way it comes and allow God to have control of your life.

Culled from Nigeria Films.

Future of Transport: Street-Smarts

The rapid transformation of the car from slow and unreliable to brainiac life-saver is a story straight from Hollywood. Meanwhile, the roads we all drive on have evolved very little, comparatively speaking. But that is slowly changing as forward thinkers ranging from artists to governments are working out how to inject some street-smarts into the Tarmac and its surroundings. Here we discover some of the more interesting innovations heading our way.

Road paint that tells a story
Radical artists in the Netherlands have come up with a special reactive paint that impressed a local roads contractor so much it’s being tested right now for a launch later this year. Studio Roosegaarde’s paint is actually a photo-luminising powder with a range of uses, such as a glow-in-the-dark coating with 10 hours of luminosity that can be used to pick out the lanes in places without street lights.
In another form, the paint can react to freezing temperatures to warn motorists by revealing pictures of ice crystals in the road. And if that wasn’t enough, another method using the same technology, dubbed Dynamic Lines, can actually change elements of the lines from black to white, for example to create solid lines to stop vehicles lane-switching in heavy motorway traffic.
Wireless charging roads
Wireless charging roads could help reduce the cost of EVs (© Studio Roosegaarde)
Wireless charging roads could help reduce the cost of manufacturing EVs

We’re already starting to use wireless charging for electric buses in places like Korea, Germany and Italy, but newer, smarter, charge-equipped roads are being envisaged for electric cars, too. The advantage this would have for electric cars is that they wouldn’t need a massive battery because less storage is required on the go, which would in turn help trim their cost. A special lane reserved exclusively for electric cars would also work a bit like the high occupancy vehicle lanes in the US – their lack of congestion giving car buyers another reason to go electric.

Culled from MSN News.

Monday, 24 February 2014

UK minister to deliver Queen’s message at Nigeria’s centenary

United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, will deliver a message from Queen Elizabeth II during Nigeria’s centenary celebrations this week, the country’s Foreign Government Office said on Monday.

A statement issued in Abuja said Simmonds arrived in Nigeria on Monday to join President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries to celebrate 100 years of Nigeria as a nation.
“He is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech in which he will address the potentials for Africa and Nigeria’s future,’’ it said.
The minister’s four-day programme in Nigeria includes a visit to Lagos and Port Harcourt to discuss opportunities and challenges in the Niger Delta.
Queen Elizabeth ll: Message to be read at Nigeria's centenary
Queen Elizabeth ll: Message to be read at Nigeria’s centenary

“I am excited to be making my second visit to Nigeria and I am looking forward to representing the British Government at the 100 years celebrations.
“I bring with me the best wishes of the British people, including a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” Simmonds said in the statement.

British colonial authorities had on 1 Januarys 1914 amalgamated what were then the separate protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria.
The amalgamation gave birth to the single geo-political entity known as Nigeria.
According to a programme released by the Federal Government, no fewer than 28 world leaders have indicated their interest to attend the celebrations in Abuja.
President Jonathan will host an international conference on peace and security in Africa on Thursday, which will be attended by many of the world leaders.
The week-long celebrations will also feature the conferment of honours on 100 Nigerians, with about 40 per cent of the awards to be presented posthumously.

Culled from PM News.

Uganda's Museveni signs anti-gay bill

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legislation against homosexuals, defying warnings from the United States that relations could be complicated by the new rules.
 
Museveni's signature will please a staunchly conservative local constituency that is vehemently opposed to homosexuality, but risks alienating Western aid donors.

Museveni signed the bill during a press conference at State House in Entebbe, close to the capital Kampala.

Culled from Yahoo News.

Anti-homosexual bill: Museveni replies Obama

I HAVE seen the statement President Obama of the USA made in reaction to my statement that I was going to sign the anti-homosexual Bill, which I made at Kyankwanzi.
Before I react to Obama’s statement, let me, again, put on record my views on the issue of homosexuals (ebitiingwa, bisiyaga in some of our dialects). Right from the beginning of this debate, my views were as follows:
• I agreed with the MPs and almost all Ugandans that promotion of homosexuality in Uganda must be criminalized or rather should continue to be criminalized because the British had already done that;
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
• those who agreed to become homosexuals for mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly punished as should those who paid them to be homosexual prostitutes; and • exhibitionism of homosexual behavior must be punished because, in this part of the world, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.

The only point I disagreed on with some of the Members of Parliament (MPs)and other Ugandans was on the persons I thought were born homosexual. According to the casual observations, there are rare deviations in nature from the normal. You witness cases like albinos (nyamagoye), barren women or men (enguumba), epa (breastless women) etc.
I, therefore, thought that similarly there were people that were born with the disorientation of being attracted to the same sex. That is why I thought that it was wrong to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal. That is why I refused to sign the Bill and, instead, referred it to our Party (the NRM) to debate it again.

In the meantime, I sought for scientific opinions on this matter. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that there could be some indications that homosexuality could be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health.
Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do.
I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality. What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.
After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the world, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa. Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.

It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement. I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.

I would be among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists. I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.

“Valued relationship” cannot be sustainably maintained by one Society being subservient to another society. There are myriad acts the societies in the West do that we frown on or even detest. We, however, never comment on those acts or make them preconditions for working with the West.
Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose their views on us. This very debate was provoked by Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality. It is better to limit the damage rather than exacerbate it.
I thank everybody.
Yoweri K. Museveni Gen. (Rtd) is president of Uganda

Culled from Vanguard News.

World Oldest Holocaust Survivor Diest Aged 110

The world's oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110, her family have said
The world's oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110, her family have said.
Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived in London and was originally from Prague, had been confined in the camp in Terezin, or Theresienstadt, in Germany during the Second World War.
Ms Herz-Sommer was a talented musician and an adept pianist.
She is said to have counted esteemed existentialist writer Franz Kafka among her family friends and, more recently, was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary about her life.
The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, a 38-minute film, is up for best short documentary at the Academy Awards to be handed out next weekend.
Her grandson, Ariel Sommer, said tonight: "Alice Sommer passed away peacefully this morning with her family by her bedside.

"Much has been written about her, but to those of us who knew her best, she was our dear 'Gigi'.
"She loved us, laughed with us, and cherished music with us.
"She was an inspiration and our world will be significantly poorer without her by our side. We mourn her loss and ask for privacy in this very difficult moment."
Writing on the film's website, Ms Herz-Sommer said: "Music saved my life and music saves me still."

She is said to have spent her final days continuing to play the works of Schubert and Beethoven, from her home in central London.
Speaking on the film's website, she said: "I am Jewish, but Beethoven is my religion. I am no longer myself. The body cannot resist as it did in the past.

"I think I am in my last days but it doesn't really matter because I have had such a beautiful life.
"And life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful. Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love."

Culled from MSN News.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Mexico nabs world’s most wanted drug lord

Mexican Marines have arrested the world’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
He was captured Saturday by and publicly hauled away in handcuffs, ending his blood-stained reign after a 13-year manhunt.

Stemming from US-Mexican coordination, the arrest deals a blow to the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s biggest drug-trafficking organization, an empire that stretches along the Pacific coast and smuggles drugs to the United States, Europe and Asia.
Guzman was captured at 6:40 am local time in the Pacific beach city of Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, along with an unidentified associate “without a single shot fired,” Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said.
“There was no damage and nobody was hurt,” Karam said in a brief news conference in a Mexico City navy base where Guzman was later paraded in front of television cameras.
Guzman, most wanted drug lord arrested
Guzman, most wanted drug lord arrested

The 56-year-old Sinaloa cartel kingpin wore a white shirt and jeans and sported thick black hair and a mustache.
He was flanked by two masked marines who held him by the arms and neck before hauling him inside a federal police helicopter, on his way to prison.
The United States — which hailed Guzman’s downfall as “a landmark achievement” — had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Guzman, who is accused of being behind much of the drug violence that has plagued Mexico for years.
Murillo Karam said the arrest was the result of months of work in coordination with US law enforcement agencies, which led to 13 arrests and the seizure of more than 100 weapons.
Guzman’s capture is a major coup for the 14-month administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto following the arrest of the head of the ultra-violent and powerful Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino, in July 2013.

“I recognize the work of the Mexican state’s security institutions for detaining Joaquin Guzman Loera in Mazatlan,” Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter.
The president had ditched the previous government’s tradition of hauling captured capos in front of the media, but an exception was made for Guzman.
A US security official said Mexican forces swooped on Guzman in a hotel after acting on intelligence from the US Drug Enforce Administration and Homeland Security Department.
In recent weeks, Guzman was believed to have been hiding in a house in Culiacan, Sinaloa’s largest city, but had fled as authorities hunted for him. The house had extra-thick walls and escape tunnels, the official said.

“We’ve been actively tracking him for five weeks. Because of that pressure, he fled in the last couple of days to Mazatlan,” the official told AFP on condition on anonymity.
Guzman’s top associate, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, remains on the run even though Mexican marines “almost got him” in recent operations against the Sinaloa cartel, the US official said.

- Laundry cart escape -
Guzman, whose nickname “shorty” is a reference to his height, amassed an immense fortune while authorities carried out their exhaustive international manhunt to capture him.
His turf wars with the Juarez and Zetas cartels fueled a wave of relentless violence that has left almost 80,000 people dead in the past seven years.
He became a legendary drug lord after escaping from a maximum-security prison in a laundry cart in January 2001. He had been captured in Guatemala eight years earlier.
His ability to sneak tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States made him “Public Enemy Number One” in Chicago, joining American gangster Al Capone as the only criminal to ever get the moniker.
Guzman “easily surpassed the carnage and social destruction that was caused by Capone,” the Chicago Crime Commission said in February 2013.
The 1.72-meter (five-foot-six) tall “El Chapo” was on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people, standing at number 67, and was once listed as a billionaire.

Culled from PM News.

Mother burns 11-yr-old daughter’s buttocks with hot knife

A middle aged woman, Ene Edem Okon, has been arrested by the police for allegedly inflicting bodily harm and tying her 11-year-old daughter, Queeneth Ene Edem, hands and legs for being wayward. She was arrested when Queeneth appeared in her school, Government Primary School, Akim, with multiple wounds on her chest, stomach and buttocks prompting the school authorities to report the matter to the police at the Akim Police Station.

The girl narrated to Sunday Vanguard that, on February 17, she left home at Eneyo village in Akpabuyo Local Government Area for the Maternity Junction Settlement, some four kilometers away from home, to meet her cousin, one Blessing, but did not return home. “We were waiting for Blessing’s friend from whom she wanted to collect something but she delayed in coming and we waited till night and, because we were afraid of going back home, we slept in an uncompleted building at the Maternity Junction”, she said.
Torture
The 11-year-old said the next day, one of her friends saw her at the Maternity Junction and told her that her mother was looking for her with a machete after which she became afraid to go back home. “We stayed on the road near our house and were breaking kernel to eat when my mother sent somebody to come and catch us. That person came pretending to play with us but suddenly grabbed me and dragged me to my mother”.
The mother, angry, allegedly got hold of her and used a rod to hit her all over her body, thus leaving her with severe wounds. “She also put the kitchen knife in the fire she was cooking and when it was hot, she placed it on my buttocks”, the girl stated.

When Sunday Vanguard met Mrs Ene Okon at the Akim Police Station, she appeared remorseful, stating that she was driven by anger because Queeneth was stubborn and had formed the habit of spending the night outside at such a tender age. “I sent her to school in far away Calabar because I don’t trust the school here in Akpabuyo but she is just too stubborn, so I had to teach her a lesson.”
Mr Hogan Bassey, the police spokesman for Cross River Police Command, said the woman would appear in court after investigations are concluded.

Mr Bassey Ibor, a child rights activist, said children’s courts in the state are not functioning and called on the state government to fund the courts. “The cases we have taken to the children’s courts have suffered long adjournments because the judges are not sitting. Government should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the courts are funded so that these children would not continue to be denied of justice.”



Culled from Vanguard News. - See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/torture-mother-burns-11-yr-old-girls-buttocks-hot-knife/#sthash.NXFLYSs6.dpuf

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Pastor's Wife Murdered for Refusing to be Raped in Nigeria

A 25-year old Uni-versity drop- out identified as Jerry has murdered in cold blood the wife of a pastor, Mrs Eunice Ajayi 55years for refusing to be raped.
The suspected killer was said to have been rusticated from two institutions in the state for being a member of a secret cult.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that the deceased was hacked to death on the ill fated day when she refused to be raped by the suspect who is now on the run.
The deceased husband who rushed to the scene to save his dying wife was also matchetted by the suspect and is presently hospitalised.

Eyewitness account informed Vanguard that alleged killer visited the house of the Pastor located at Peace-land Road,along the Expressway in Akure metropolis and attempted to rape the deceased.
Jerry who has been eyeing the woman reportedly came that day with the sole purpose of having his way but the Pastor’s wife resisted.
This according to report infuriated the suspect who reportedly brought out a machete which he used to hack the deceased .
Several machete cuts were inflicted on the deceased by the furious killer.
Her distress cries and shout for help attracted the husband who rushed to the room only to meet his wife in her own pool of blood.

The husband was also attacked by the suspect while trying to save the wife from the killer.
After attacking both the wife and the husband the suspect reportedly took to his heels while attempt by some students residing in the area to apprehend him failed.
The wife of the pastor was said to have died before help could come neighbours who rushed to the scene following the shout and cries from the couple.
Contacted the Police image maker Wole Ogodo said that the suspect is still on the run and that he would soon be tracked down and prosecuted.

Ogodo said that “ we discovered that the suspect attempted to rape the deceased because her pant was half-removed by the suspect, later our men visited the house of Jerry but he has fled.
” Investigation has commenced on the matter and we have put all necessary machinery in place to apprehend him and bring him to justice . “
Ogodo said that the remains of the deceased had been deposited at the mortuary of the State Specialists Hospital in Akure.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/pastors-wife-murdered-refusing-raped-akure/#sthash.awUPnOx9.dpuf

Italy Swears-In Youngest Prime Minister

Italy’s youngest-ever prime minister Matteo Renzi, 39, and his fresh-faced cabinet were sworn in Saturday, at a ceremony led by President Giorgio Napolitano, amid widespread scepticism that the new government has the political maturity to tackle the country’s formidable challenges.
The former mayor of Florence was accompanied by his wife and three children — dressed in the colours of the Italian flag — to the formal ceremony in Italy’s presidential palace, and smiled widely as he watched his new team sworn in by President Giorgio Napolitano.
The centre-left leader takes over the reins of the eurozone’s third largest economy in a period of increasing frustration among ordinary Italians hard hit by a deep recession and weary of broken political promises.
 In his 16-strong cabinet, half of the new ministers are women and — with an average age of 47.8 years — it is the youngest government in Italy’s history.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) speaks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during the swearing in ceremony on February 22, 2014 at Quirinale Palace in Rome. Renzi and his fresh-faced cabinet were sworn in on February 22,
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) speaks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during the swearing in ceremony on February 22, 2014 at Quirinale Palace in Rome. Renzi and his fresh-faced cabinet were sworn in on February 22,

Renzi is “gambling on freshness, newness and energy”, but “doubts must be raised over the government’s experience and ability to have a bearing on the worst post-war economic crisis Italy has known,” said political watcher Mario Calabresi in La Stampa daily.
Il Sole 24 Ore financial daily warned that “Italians are waiting for reforms, not just pretty smiles.”
European partners will be watching closely to see whether the 39-year-old can revolutionise the halls of power after ousting his predecessor Enrico Letta for failing to enact reforms in a country often perceived as stifled by corruption and bureaucracy.

The new prime minister had made it clear he was reluctant to keep a team that worked with Letta, but many analysts expressed surprise over the former Florence mayor’s decision to change the majority of posts, including key offices such as foreign minister.
“Renzi seems to be betting everything on himself, on his political energy,” editorialist Ezio Mauro for La Repubblica daily said, while Marco Travaglio in Il Fatto Quotidiano described the new cabinet as “a boiled chicken soup which disappoints even the most lukewarm expectations.”

Father, Daughter Burnt to Death

A man identified as Mr. Mathew Adewoye and his 8-month old daughter, Deborah, have been burnt to death after fire gutted their residence in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The incident happened early Friday morning at 4, Nubi Close, Ebutte Metta, by Park Lane, Apapa Road.
Adewoye who died along with his daughter, Deborah in the inferno.
Adewoye who died along with his daughter, Deborah in the inferno.
According to an eyewitness, Mr. Jacob, who lives close to the building, the fire started at 2 a.m. Friday.
“All we saw was smoke followed by fire. All we could do was to evacuate the occupants first before other things could be done.
•Inside of the building razed by fire in Ebute Meta, Lagos this morning
•Inside of the building razed by fire in Ebute Meta, Lagos this morning
“In the process, we lost Adewole and his eight month old baby called Deborah,” Jacob told P.M.NEWS.
Another occupant of the building, Mr Bello Kabir, lost virtually all his belongings to the fire, including his academic certificates.
Mr. Bello Kibir, survived the inferno. PHOTOS: OLUWASANMI JOSEPH
Mr. Bello Kibir, survived the inferno. PHOTOS: OLUWASANMI JOSEPH

He said he could not take anything out of his flat, adding that all he was after was the safety of his family. Kabir said if not for the prompt intervention of fire service personnel from both state and Federal Fire Service, the two buildings would have been razed completely.
Other neighbours said Adewoye’s wife identified as Rachel, survived the fire incident and has been rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment. The residents said they did not know the cause of the fire disaster.

Culled from PM News.

US State, Arizona, Passes Anti-Gay Bill

Arizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.
The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.
 
“I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”
As expected, the measure has drawn criticism from Democrats and business groups who said it would sanction discrimination and open the state to the risk of damaging litigation.
On Friday, the LGBT group Wingspan staged a protest march to the governor’s office that drew about 200 people. Some carried signs with messages “God created us all equal” and “Shame on Arizona.”
 
Tucson-based Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria posted a photo on its Facebook page of a sign with a message for state lawmakers: “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators.”
“It’s a ridiculous bill,” pizzeria manager Evan Stevens told CNN on Friday. “Arizona has much bigger problems than allowing businesses to discriminate against people.”
 
In a statement, Anna Tovar, the state senate Democratic minority leader, said: “With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation. This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council, in a letter to Brewer on Friday, urged the governor to veto Senate Bill 1062, saying the “legislation will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come.”
 
“The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes,” council President Barry Broome wrote, adding that four unidentified companies have vowed to locate elsewhere if the legislation is signed.
 
He added, “With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world’s stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts.”
On CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican, said the bill would not allow hotel clerks or waiters, for instance, to turn away customers, unless there was a “substantial burden on their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The bill is being pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. The group has justified the measure on grounds that the proposal protects people against increasingly activist federal courts.
 
“As we witness hostility towards people of faith grow like never before, we must take this opportunity to speak up for religious liberty,” the group said on its website, asking people to contact Brewer and urge her to sign the bill. “The great news is that SB 1062 protects your right to live and work according to your faith.”
 
Cathi Herrod, the center’s president, told CNN on Friday, “The Arizona bill has a very simple premise, that Americans should be free to live and work according to their religious faith. It’s simply about protecting religious liberty and nothing else.”
Herrod said the bill’s opponents are “showing unbelievable hostility toward religious beliefs.”
 
“America still stands for the principle that religious beliefs matter (for) something in this country, that we have the right to freely exercise our religious beliefs,” she said.


Culled from Punch News.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Boko Haram Leader Vows to Kill Elderstatesmen, Warns Queen Elizabeth

THE leader of the extremist Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, has, in a video released to journalists, threatened more attacks against Nigeria, saying his members would target Nigeria’s sources of revenue, and her refineries.
Shekau-wantedShekau, who is wanted for terrorism by both Nigeria and the U.S., also vowed to kill major Islamic clerics and people that support democracy, western education, and Christianity.
He said the state of emergency currently in place in Adamawa. Borno, and Yobe, could not deter his group, and called on his members in other states, particularly Kano, to attack civilians and government institutions.

The Boko Haram sect is responsible for killing thousands of people, largely civilians, since their insurrection began in Northern Nigeria in 2009. Over 200 Borno villagers have been killed in the last two weeks by the outlawed sect. The group is, however, yet to carry out any attack in the 17 Southern States.The Nigerian military had said Mr. Shekau could have been killed in a military raid last year.
He has released at least two videos since then.
The full text of his 28-minute video, delivered in Hausa, reads;

“My brethren…you should hold on to your weapons and continue fighting. Let them understand that our work is not confined to Yobe, Borno and Adamawa (states).
Make them understand that we are not restricted by emergency rule. They should understand we are under the canopy of Allah.

“This is the beginning. Yes, this is the beginning. “We Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad are fighting Christians wherever we meet them and those who believe in democracy, those who pursue Western education wherever we meet them.
By Allah, we will kill whoever practices Democracy. “And you the infidels of Rivers State, Niger (Delta), the town of Jonathan, Shekau is talking to you (sounds of gunshots). Shekau is talking to you, that small boy that has become the nightmare of infidels is talking to you.

“Oh you the leader of the Niger Delta, you will soon see your refinery destroyed. You will in the incoming days see your refinery you are boasting about bombed. Our refinery is Allah.
“Niger-Delta you are in trouble. Jonathan you are in trouble…Ban ki-Moon you are in trouble, Bejamin Netanyahu you are in trouble, Queen Elizabeth, you are in trouble, Babangida, Kwankwaso, Shekarau, Kashim, Buhari, you are in trouble. “Yahaya Jingir…the cleric of Jos, the advocate of ‘Boko Halal’, right? We are Boko Haram, you are Boko Halal. You will see, bastard.

“We killed Albani of Zaria. We killed Albani of Zaria. Shekau killed Albani of Zaria.Tomorrow he will kill Jingir, the day after tomorrow he will kill Dapchia, the next day he will kill Wapchama, next he will kill Shehu of Borno, Ado Bayero. We rebel against you, between us and you is enmity and rancour until you believe only in Allah.

“The reason why I will kill you is you are infidels, you follow Democracy…Whoever follows Democracy is an infidel. This is Shekau, this is why I’m in enmity with you.
“Buhari is an infidel, Babangida is an infidel, Atiku is an infidel, late Yar’Adua was an infidel, Shehu of Borno is an infidel. You are all infidels. What makes you infidels is Democracy and constitution and western education…I therefore call on brethren in Kano to rise up and replicate the Baga attack.

“All these infidels we are the ones killing them. We enjoy shedding their blood. “The Koran must be supreme, we must establish Islam in this country; Not only in Borno, we will henceforth destroy any schools wherever we see them.”

Culled from Vanguard News.

My Husband Impregnates My Sister


Dear J.A. Blog. I am a married lady blessed with two kids. One day, I discussed with my husband on the need to have a house girl and he agreed. Hence, I called my younger sister to come and asist us while we give her a sound education in Abuja, Nigeria. One day my sister fell sick and was taken to the hospital. The report shows she was pregnant and after a thorough investigation, it was discovered that my husband responsible for the pregnancy of my sister. Now, I am in dilemma. What can I do please?

My Wife Betrayed Me.

Dear J.A Blog. I am a married man. I love my wife and vice versa. Our marriage is five years old and are blessed with three children. Ever since we got married, my wife had brought a girl into our house, which my wife claimed was her sister's daughter who died some years back. We did take care of her like our children. Recently, I heard from a reliable source from my wife's family that the girl was actually my wife's daughter, which she had to someone else before I met her. I view this as unfaithfulness on the part of my wife. What can I do? Please advise.

'The wettest winter ever'

On 10 January 1982, the actor and comic performer Kenneth Williams wrote in his diary:
"The news was all about the dire state of the country in the grip of the freeze, with cattle dying and travellers stranded. Oh! It is unrelieved gloom! In desperation one begins to lose caution. I sat drinking sherry and eating crisps and chocolate, in fact, doing all the things I should normally avoid!"
The winter of 1981/1982 was indeed a bitter one. I remember it well. My primary school closed because the outside toilets froze and the boiler broke down. Milk froze in bottles on my mum and dad's doorstep. Power lines were felled by the snow, leaving us without electricity. And all this in a large East Midlands town.
The recent spell of extreme weather has been dreadful for some. Many more have had their normal routines disrupted or inconvenienced. And the Met Office have now declared that it has been the wettest winter since records began.
It's no comfort to those still suffering to be told that things could have been far worse. But we've still some way to go before equalling conditions of just over 30 years ago.
Back then, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow arrived in early December and persisted uninterrupted well into the new year.
A couple use a sledge instead of a train during the winter of 1982
A couple use a sledge instead of a train during the winter of 1982. Image: Associated Newspapers/Rex Features
The politician Tony Benn recorded in his diary: "Bitterly cold. The country is under the worst conditions within living memory."
Writer and comedian Michael Palin talked in his journal of: "An almost apocalyptically gloomy day... a bleak snowswept, wind-howling evening... Another heavy snowfall - the third already this winter and the papers are full of articles about The New Ice Age and the Frozen Eighties."

Recent headlines
Some in the media have been talking of this year's weather in similarly extreme terms.
"Britain's 100 days of WEATHER HELL," boomed the Daily Express. "Britain's maniacal winter weather, which has unleashed an onslaught of savage and relentless storms, has prompted the Met Office to issue 277 alerts."
"Havoc," cried the Daily Mail. "108mph winds cause power cuts, shut motorways and force passengers off trains. Now prepare for a month's rain in two days."
"'It will be bad'," quoted the Daily Mirror, before adding: "EVERY part of UK to get rain or snow storms in next 24 hours."

Something has gone a bit awry here. These kind of reports suggest we've been facing a crisis close to a breakdown of civilisation. But this is completely out of proportion with reality - and with history.
If you want to see some proper WEATHER HELL, look at the winter of 1981/1982. Or the winter of 1986, another chiller. Or the winter of 1990, when my family home was without power for three days after snow once again brought down electricity lines.
Cyclist on a frozen River Thames in 1963
Cyclists on a frozen River Thames in 1963. Image: PA Wire
No sunshine for 20 days
Yet even they can't compete with the truly worst winters of the last 100 years.
Prior to 1981, the most extreme winter had been that of 1962/1963, when snow fell from late December all the way to February.
Kenneth Williams records in his diary how "a terrific snow blizzard started about 1am and it was still raging when I started out at 9am. Even with drifts of over a foot on roads, the buses were running..." Temperatures fell so low that the sea froze.
However, that pales in comparison with the first few months of 1947: truly the most desperate winter the UK had experienced for many generations.

On the night of 23 January, snow began to fall over much of the country. Within two days almost the whole of the UK was covered. But that was just the beginning.
As the historian Patrick Hennessy records, the temperature didn't rise above freezing between 11 and 23 February. Coal boats bound for London were icebound in north-east ports. The RAF had to drop food for people and animals.

As businesses and factories shut down, unemployment went up from 400,000 to 1.75m. Those who were able to keep their jobs worked by candlelight. National newspapers were cut to four pages.
Nobody was allowed to cook using electricity between 9am and 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm. The River Thames froze. The Observatory at Kew recorded no sunshine at all from 2 to 22 February.
There was already a shortage of fuel in a country still recovering from the second world war. The bad weather made a beleaguered situation catastrophic.
Men clear snow from the London-Maidstone road in 1947
Men clear snow from the London-Maidstone road in 1947. Image: PA Wire
'I wish I were anywhere but in this goddamned country'
Eyewitness accounts tell of scenes that were literally bonechilling. The journalist JL Hodson observed: "Drifts fifteen feet deep in Northumberland, railways in parts impassable, and queues of professional women in St John's Wood with buckets at a water-tap in the road, like a night after a blitz."

An ex-serviceman told historians from the Mass Observation organisation that: "I wish I were anywhere but in this goddamned country where there is nothing but queues and restrictions and forms and shortages and no food and cold."
According to historian David Kynaston, 29 January was the coldest day in the UK for more than 50 years. Power failed all over the country. Gas in most cities was at about a quarter of its normal pressure.

Kynaston quotes a housewife, Florence Speed, writing in her diary: "I've borrowed a balaclava helmet from Fred [her brother] to wear in bed." Another contemporary diary-keeper, Mary King from Birmingham, wrote: "One thinks of the shortage of food, the difficulty of transport, and the unemployment of thousands of workers in factories due to lack of coal and materials. Never in my lifetime have I known such a period of history."

Suspended Nigeria Central Bank Boss Hits Back

Suspended Nigeria central bank boss hits back
Nigeria's suspended central bank governor has implied that he will challenge President Goodluck Jonathan's decision to suspend him on grounds of financial recklessness.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, an internationally-respected banker, told a Nigerian TV station on Thursday that the law does not allow the president to remove the governor without the consent of the senate.
"The central bank is an independent institution, [and] there is a section of the act that says the president cannot remove the governor without two-thirds of the senate," Sanusi told Channels Television in Lagos, the commercial capital.

"There was a reason for that section. You cannot go round that section by saying, 'I'm not removing you, I'm suspending you,'" Sanusi added, according to a report from Reuters news agency.
"You cannot do that because it undermines the entire principle, and if the idea is under the interpretation act, or if the president appoints so he can suspend, the president doesn't appoint - he proposes and the senate confirms, so the governor is actually appointed by both the president and the senate and therefore should be removed by both."

Sanusi said the decision should be challenged "so that governors coming after me will not refuse to act, or will not refuse to be independent for fear that they will be suspended".
The governor, whose first term was due to expire in June, had reported that $50bn worth of oil sold by the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had not been paid to the government, sparking unease among the ruling elite who are often criticised for not being tough on corruption.

He later lowered the estimate to $20 billion.
The Senate Committee on Finance last week ordered an independent forensic audit into the missing money.
In the TV interview, Sanusi said there was no reasonable grounds for the president to make allegations of financial recklessness against him.
He said although the central bank's accounts for 2013 were audited those of the NNPC had not been audited since 2005.
"We already audited for 2013 and an institution that has not been audited for, God knows, eight years," Sanusi said. "You know nobody talks about financial recklessness."

Plaudits for Sanusi
The governor's suspicion of massive fraud at the heart of one of the world's most opaque national oil companies has put pressure on Jonathan a year ahead of elections, when he is already reeling from a failure to quell an increasingly violent Islamist insurgency in the north.
The NNPC has repeatedly denied Sanusi's allegations.
Sanusi was named as the Central Bank Governor of 2010 for both the African continent and the entire world, by the prestigious Banker magazine.
The editor of the magazine said then that few candidate names generate an overall consensus on judging panels but that Sanusi had been chosen unanimously as the best global central bank governor of the year.

Appointed in the midst of a debt crisis in 2009, Sanusi is also credited with reforming Nigeria’s banking sector by taking controversial decisions, including firing the chief executives of eight leading banks over huge non-performing loans.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Nigeria: Lagos State Governor Bans Mini Skirts, Other Attire

Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration has banned indecent dressing among female public servants. All forms of dresses that expose breasts, contours and other sensitive female body parts have been outlawed.
•Governor Fashola: Bans indecent dressing among female public servants
•Governor Fashola: Bans indecent dressing among female public servants
The decision was taken as a result of worsening cases of indecent dressing among female public servants at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
P.M.NEWS has observed that all forms of skimpy dresses or mini skirts, tight trousers revealing the contours, sleeveless dresses and blouses and body clinging dresses are worn by some female public servants as they walk about the secretariat.
Worried by this despicable act, the state government had to introduce new dress code among public servants, especially the female folk.

A circular issued by the Head of Service, Mrs. Josephine Williams dated 7 February, 2014 has been sent to all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs calling on all Directors of Finance and Administration, DFAs, to immediately move against indecent dressing in Alausa.
The circular, with the reference number CIR/HOS/14/Vol.1/022, said similar directive was issued through the HOS in 2005 in a circular number 113 mandating public servants to dress properly and decently to the office and official functions portray the good image of the state government.
The government warned that it would begin to take drastic and punitive measures against recalcitrant public servants who flout the directive.

“It has however been observed with grave concern that some officers have not been complying with this directive. The noticeable non-compliance of some officers to this directive should henceforth stop as the extant civil service rules and regulation on proper and indecent dressing still subsist and will be applied accordingly on flouters,” the HOS said.
Williams listed what is contained in the new dress code for female civil servants, saying that skirts above the knee should not be worn by public servants, saying that dresses allowed are skirts which are of knee level, moderate slit and not body clinging skirts.
According to the HOS, if female public servants must wear trousers, such trousers should neither be tight nor revealing and must be worn with a jacket.
Also, gowns to be worn by female public servants must be of knee level, moderate slit, not sleeveless and not body clinging.

Williams added that if native attires must be worn, they must be worn completely.
The government also reeled out dress code for male public servants. In the dress code for men, administrative officers must wear suit and tie as professionals and other officers could wear wear suit and tie or French suit.
Junior and clerical staff are allowed to wear shirts and trousers and French suit while complete native wear is allowed for all cadres of public servants.

“As a matter of necessity, all Directors of Finance and Administration are hereby enjoined to ensure that officers within their purview adhere strictly to moderate and decent dressing,” said the HOS.
Already, the Directors of Finance and Administration of various ministries have been having urgent meeting with their staff to intimate them about the new dress code.
The development has become a subject of discourse among public servants at Alausa.

Nigeria's President Suspend CBN Governor

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday morning sacked Lamido Sanusi, as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The President also appointed Mrs Sarah Alade, Deputy Governor, Central Bank to act as CBN Governor.

Sanusi had in the past few months been involved in controversies over allegations of missing funds between the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
But in a statement signed by Reuben Abati, the special adviser to the President on media and publicity, the President said the sack of the Minister was based on the report of “Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, which indicate clearly that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure has been characterized by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.”

“Being also deeply concerned about far-reaching irregularities under Mallam Sanusi’s watch which have distracted the Central Bank away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate; and
“Being determined to urgently re-position the Central Bank of Nigeria for greater efficiency, respect for due process and accountability, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has ordered the immediate suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from the Office of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“President Jonathan has further ordered that Mallam Sanusi should hand over to the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr Sarah Alade who will serve as Acting Governor until the conclusion of on-going investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN.

“The President expects that as Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Alade will focus on the core mandate of the Bank and conduct its affairs with greater professionalism, prudence and propriety to restore domestic and international confidence in the country’s apex bank.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria reassures all stakeholders in Nigeria’s financial and monetary system that this decision has been taken in absolute good faith, in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy and in accordance with our laws and due process,” the President concluded in the statement.

Culled from PM News.

Facebook to buy messaging network WhatsApp

Deal worth $16bn will give social-networking firm access to 450 million people who use the cross-platform mobile app.


Facebook, the world’s biggest social-networking company, says it is buying the mobile messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth $16bn.

The purchase, announced on Wednesday, will leave WhatsApp with its own independent board.

WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile app which allows users to exchange messages without having to pay telecom charges.

It is Facebook’s biggest acquisition and comes less than two years after Mark Zuckerberg’s firm raised $16bn in the richest technology-sector public stock offering.

The purchase includes $12bn in Facebook shares and $4bn cash.

It calls for an additional $3bn in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp founders and employees that will vest over four years.

“The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp’s shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core Internet services efficiently and affordably,” Facebook said in a statement.

The WhasApp deal translates to roughly nine percent of Facebook’s market value and is bigger than any acquisition made by Google, Apple or Microsoft.

Google’s biggest deal, Motorola Mobility, stood at $12.5bn, while Microsoft’s largest was Skype – which allows users to make voice and video calls over the internet – at $8.5bn. Apple, meanwhile, has not done a deal above $1bn.

Culled from Punch News.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Nigeria's President Appoints New Chief of Staff

Chief of Staff to President Jonathan, Brig.-Gen Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa (rtd)
President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed retired Brig.-Gen Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa as his new Chief.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati said the appointment of Brig-Gen. Arogbofa, a retired Officer of the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army, is with immediate effect and he has taken up appointment at the Presidential Villa.
Part of the statement reads: “The new Chief of Staff to the President was born on November 10, 1952. He hails from the Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
In addition to administrative capabilities and experience garnered from a distinguished career in the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen Arogbofa brings an impressive array of academic qualifications to his new job.

“They include a Diploma in Communications Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Sciences Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama, USA and a Masters Degree in Military Arts and Science from the United States Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“The new Chief of Staff holds several military honours and awards including Mss, Fss, Fsc and Fwc and he is also a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
“His appointment is with immediate effect and he has taken up his new post at the Presidential Villa”.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/arogbofa-appointed-jonathans-cos/#sthash.9AFONXFI.dpuf

Rapists Deflowered Me, Says Foluke Daramola

Yoruba actress, Foluke Daramola-Salako, has made a shocking revelation on how she lost her virginity to rapists.
Foluke, who is currently championing the course of her Non-Government Organisation, Action Against Rape In Africa, explained that her experiences as female child played a vital role in the establishment of the NGO.
•Foluke Daramola
•Foluke Daramola
The NGO is also supported by her colleagues including Fathia Balogun, Ronke Ojo, Eniola Badmus and Ayo Adesanya.

In a recent interview, Daramola reminisced that “I have had different experiences; I have been in a marriage once, I was abused in it, I was deflowered by rapists, I lost my father when I was two years-old, it wasn’t easy at all. I started acting when I was a teenager because I needed to put food on my table and to further my education. In fact, I share the same experiences with the common man and that is why I want to do something to assist them.

“I had a younger brother and I never get to have a father figure in my life. As I grew up, my environment exposed me to danger and that was why I was deflowered at an early stage.”

Culled from PM News.

Warning over 'lack of maths skills'

A minister has warned that the UK faces economic decline if the country's maths skills gap is not addressed
The UK will suffer economic decline if attitudes towards maths do not change, according to Elizabeth Truss.
The education minister suggested that the nation's productivity and growth is being put under threat by poor maths skills.
Ms Truss's comments come the week before she is due to lead a trip to Shanghai, China, to find out why their results in the subject are so high.
Recent international tests put Shanghai, along with a number of other Asian nations , at the top for maths skills.

"Shanghai is the top-performing part of the world for maths - their children are streets ahead," Ms Truss said.
"Shanghai and Singapore have teaching practices and a positive philosophy that make the difference. They have a belief that diligence redeems lack of ability.

"Our new curriculum has borrowed from theirs because we know it works - early learning of key arithmetic, and a focus on times tables and long division, for instance."
She added that students in Shanghai have a "can-do attitude to maths, which contrasts with the long-term anti-maths culture that exists here".

"The reality is that unless we change our philosophy, and get better at maths, we will suffer economic decline," Ms Truss said.
"At the moment our performance in maths is weakening our skills base and threatening our productivity and growth. I am determined to change this."

The minister, who will be joined by a number of headteachers on the China trip, is due to visit three schools and teacher training centres during her visit, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Culled from MSN News.

North Korea: Kim Jong-Un warned he might face charges over atrocities

Kim Jong-un pictured with top military officials
North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities, U.N. investigators said on Monday.
The investigators told Kim in a letter they were advising the United Nations to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to make sure any culprits "including possibly yourself" were held accountable.
North Korea "categorically and totally" rejected the accusations set out in a 372-page report, saying they were based on material faked by hostile forces backed by the United States, the European Union and Japan.

The unprecedented public rebuke and warning to a ruling head of state by a U.N. Commission of Inquiry is likely to further antagonise Kim and complicate efforts to persuade him to rein in his isolated country's nuclear weapons programme and belligerent confrontations with South Korea and the West.

The U.N. investigators said they had also told Kim's main ally China that it might be "aiding and abetting crimes against humanity" by sending migrants and defectors back to North Korea to face torture and execution - a charge that Chinese officials had dismissed.
As referral to the Hague-based international court was seen as unlikely, given China's probable veto of any such move in the U.N. Security Council, thoughts were also turning to setting up some form of special tribunal on North Korea, diplomatic and U.N. sources told Reuters.

Monday, 17 February 2014

100 massacred in fresh Nigeria's Borno attacks

*Boko Haram
No fewer than 100 people were, weekend, killed in separate attacks in Baga and Izge villages of Kukawa and Gwoza local government areas of Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents, who also reportedly wounded several others and destroyed property worth millions of Naira. This came as President Goodluck Jonathan said in Lagos, yesterday, that the security challenges facing the country would have been worse without prayers from religious groups across the country.
It has also emerged that the Federal Government may be under pressure to open fresh negotiations with the terrorist group.

President Jonathan, who spoke at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Olive Tree Parish, in Banana Island, Lagos thanked Christians and other religious groups for their prayerful intercessions for the country. He said, but for their prayers, Nigeria would have been worse than it is in terms of the security challenges.

However, the Military High Command has now suspended further rotation of troops deployed to the North East region to fight the Boko Haram terrorists over alleged discovery that troops now play hide and seek to avoid being killed by the terrorists. The order banning further rotation of troops every six months came into effect on February 3.

Aside the weekend attacks, investigations by Vanguard showed that the Boko Haram terrorists had killed over 200 people within the last few weeks as well as inflicting severe wounds on residents who lost property worth billions of naira in Konduga, Gwoza and Kukawa council areas of Borno State.
Vanguard gathered from reliable sources that the attack in Baga village bordering the Chad Republic Friday evening, claimed 10 lives, while the Izge massacre at the Cameroon border with Borno State yesterday morning also left 90 people dead.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/100-massacred-fresh-borno-attacks/#sthash.NrM6oI2K.dpuf

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Pitfalls to avoid in business

Be visionary not over ambitious
It is a good thing to have a solid vision but this should not lead to over ambition. Some entrepreneurs set out early to achieve set goals based on their vision but they derail due to over ambition. Over ambition sets in when an entrepreneur bites more than what he can chew. For instance, a business organisation that commences operations with bogus remuneration and flamboyant office without commensurate business patronage has a bleak future. Vision casting demands a long-term attainment and not immediate reality. A visionary business person will adopt practical steps to achieve his vision and not attempt to accomplish his long-term goals within a short time frame.

Mixing business with pleasure
I have seen some business owners, who cannot detach business from their personal lifestyle. I remember vividly an advertising agency’s CEO, who was always pursuing vanities in the name of pleasure. The lifestyle of a business person should not impact negatively on the business.

Involving family in running business
There is the need to separate family ties from business. It is not a misnomer to have members of the family working for an entrepreneur but there should be a proper role definition. Some business owners, due to sentiments, allow family influence to destroy their business concerns. Anyone who is designated to run the business should be competent and not because he is a family member. The best thing, however, is to reduce family involvement in business running to the barest minimum.

Taking proper decisions
Decision taking in business should be devoid of sentiments and emotion. For any business owner to gain a good leverage and succeed, he needs to take firm decisions. Such decisions should, however, be ones that will propel the business to greater heights. Making decisions for mundane purposes will not only hinder business growth, but it will also aid its untimely termination.
Business decisions have to be taken with due cognisance of the business environment, market trends and customer scenario analysis. Good decision skills are an essential part of business development and growth.

Procrastination
Procrastination is one element that definitely prevents growth in any business. Procrastination affects both little and major things. The effect is that while a business owner procrastinates, opportunities slip by. Anytime there is procrastination, a deficit rather than gain is being created for the business. Procrastination can gradually lead to the demise of a business when the deficit far outweighs the gains.

Inadequate skills
Every business owner needs to possess the requisite skills needed to drive growth for the business. When skills gaps are identified, the business owner should take concrete steps to address such. Inadequate skills hamper business growth and places embargo on the organisation’s wheel of progress. Once an area of weakness is identified, the business owner should develop a plan of action to deal with such.

Dependence on a faulty structure
The foundation of any business goes a long way in determining the success and future of such business. Most business owners do not install proper measures in place for business viability. The internal processes and systems should be ones to sustain the business model. A business structure is the pillar that sustains the organisation during the turbulent times.

Lack of planning and forecasting
When there is no planning in place, a business venture is bound to fail. There should be an adequate planning to meet the challenges of the business environment. Planning involves the entire gamut of the organisation’s operations. Planning integrates all other components within the organisation in order to achieve strategic goals and objectives. Forecasting on the other hand is the ability to adequately project into the future and determine the growth of the business.
Forecasting takes cognisance of the organisation’s operations and seeks to critically analyse the trends, challenges and opportunities. It is indeed a blueprint of where the company should be.

Taking customers for granted
Any organisation that ignores the customer is at the brink of collapse. Customers are indispensable to the overall growth of any organisation. A business owner should not think customers are not important. Poor customer service affects the company’s bottom line. Customers should continually be engaged in order to feel their pulse and also identify any gap in the company’s service delivery.

Less focus on productivity
I t is good to be engaged in business activities but this should translate into profitability. Some business owners pursue several things in the name of business that yields no productive returns. Every business owner should have a strong focus on a productive endeavour that will engender growth for the organisation.

Culled from Punch News.

Murder woman: I've killed 22 others

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Miranda Barbour and her newly-wed husband for the murder of Troy LaFerrara who they met via Craigslist
A Pennsylvania woman charged with murdering a man she and her husband met through Craigslist has admitted the killing in a jail interview and says she has killed more than 20 others.
The Daily Item in Sunbury said police are investigating 19-year-old Miranda Barbour's claims of killing at least 22 others from Alaska to North Carolina in what she said was part of her involvement in a satanic cult.

Sunbury police chief Steve Mazzeo said investigators had contacted the FBI and police in several other states. Lawyers for the couple did not immediately return messages for comment.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Barbour and her newly-wed husband Elytte, 22, for the murder of Troy LaFerrara, who they met through the classified advertisements website, in November.

Culled from MSN News.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Simon Cowell and girlfriend Lauren Silverman welcome baby boy

Simon Cowell and Lauren Silverman have had a baby boy (© Getty)
Simon Cowell has become a father for the first time after his girlfriend Lauren Silverman gave birth to their son on Valentine's Day.

The X Factor and media mogul, 54, flew straight from the London auditions of Britain's Got Talent to New York, where Lauren, 37, was in labour on Friday 14 February. The couple welcomed their son into the world at 5:45pm at the Lennox Hill Hopsital, weighing 6lb 7oz.
US socialiate Lauren, who has a son from her marriage to Andrew Silverman, went into labour two weeks early: her due date was tipped for 28 February.
The new dad confirmed the happy news himself on his Twitter page, also revealing his tot's name as Eric.

"Very happy to say Eric was born at 17.45pm. Healthy and handsome. Lauren in great shape. Thanks for all of your kind messages," he wrote on his Twitter page.
He also added that the boy was named after his dad, Eric Cowell.