Saturday, May 31, 2014
Her legs were reportedly chained as she gave birth in prison. the 27 year old has been in prison for eight months now and is awaiting execution for marrying a Christian man. Right is Meriam's husband, Daniel Wani, with the new baby.
Despite just given birth, it's being reported that Meriam will be given the 100 lashes that are part of her sentence in 2weeks' time unless she wins her appeal. Meriam has refused to renounce Christianity and Sudanese authorities are bent on the barbaric punishment despite mounting international outrage.
|Kim and Kanye West kissing|
|Justin Beiber & Selena Gomez's intimate photo|
Speaking at the ongoing Africa Rising Conference on Friday in Maputo, Alade who featured as a panelist in a session with the theme: “Structural Transformation and Private Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’’, said: “Agriculture is key to economic development in Africa; on the average, Nigeria spends about four billion dollars on the importation of rice.
“We need to improve domestic market to harness the natural resources we have.”
Alade said if Africa was able to transform the agricultural sector, it would be able to feed itself and have surplus for others.
She said that the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to minimise risks in the sector to enable participation of local investors.
She added that the ongoing agricultural transformation programme had equally attracted many foreign investors.
In his contribution, Mr Andrew Rugasira, Chief Executive Officer, Good Africa Coffee, Uganda, said mineral resources abound in Africa that could be explored even as transformation in the agricultural sector was been pursued.
He noted that developed countries were more interested in the development of agriculture in the continent than Africans who own arable lands.
According to him, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire which have huge coffee resources export less products compared to Germany.
“Germany exports on the average of about 12 million metric tonnes of coffee worth about 9. 3 billion dollars compared to the 10 million metric tonnes with a value of 2.2 billion dollars by countries in Africa.
“Germany does not grow coffee but they export more than us; it needs to be changed,’’ Rugasira, said.
He said that implementation of well thought out policies in African countries remained a major challenge to be tackled.
Also, Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, International Finance Corporation called for the introduction of technology in trading in Africa.
He said that focus should be on improving the agricultural sector through various capital markets, adding that money should be channelled into improving areas that would be of economic value to the countries.
This, Jindong said, would help to use agriculture to achieve inclusive economic growth.
Shocking Photos : Oprah Winfrey throws her 66-year old mum Barbara Winfrey out of her $1.4 million mansion
|Oprah Winfrey's step-mum Barbara Winfrey,|
She said she and her husband were treated like second class citizens. At a gala at Oprah's palatial home in Santa Barbara, they were seated far away from celebrities in attendance and told not to socialize with them.
Vernon Winfrey.Babara who is now homeless told Mailonline
‘That woman has set out to ruin me, destroy me. To take this house away is petty, this has been my home for 14 years. Oprah’s a billionaire three times over, her help live better than this. She said publicly that she offered to sell the house and give me the proceeds, but that’s a lie, she never said that. Oprah owns property all over the world so there is no reason to sell this house other than to spite me, it’s a personal vendetta.’ ‘I’m leaving with less than I had before the marriage, but eventually I’m gonna have a home as nice as this or better.
That’s why I feel sorry for her because I don’t understand the evilness.I’m at the point in life when I should be enjoying my retirement. Instead I have to contend with this. There’s a difference between wanting to hurt someone, but to destroy them? To take their money, to take their credit, take their property, I don’t understand that, that’s evilness I can’t comprehend.Oprah took it all, after 14 years I haven’t got a cent to show for it.
What she has done is nothing short of evil, but she doesn’t scare me, her actions cause me to disrespect her.We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on furniture, everything was high end.
She said Oprah's dad decided to divorce her after she didn't let him have se*x with her for three years because she saw a video of him cheating on her with a prostitute..The video – which Barbara has hidden in a safe place - purportedly shows Vernon and a group of his friends receiving oral se*x in turn from the prostitute while they sit in the barber's chair.
It was disgusting and absolutely humiliating at the same time.That whole episode still hurts deep down.
I always wanted to make the shop nice, make it a better business, I never knew it had been a hang out place for prostitutes.After I found out I couldn’t forgive, forgiving is something I have to do it for myself. I never gave up, I just needed time to heal, but Vernon wouldn’t give me time, he was selfish.He (Vernon) also said that his daughter (Oprah) - he said his daughter told him that she would cut his trust money off if he did not divorce me.’
Barbara reveals another reason she refused se*x was because Vernon took the Viagra pill.
And Viagra will go on and on and on for hours. And at his age - I knew he had had a stroke already, and I was not about to have this man have a heart attack on me
In his deposition Vernon is apologetic about the incident.He said:
‘I just told her that I was in error, and I’m very sorry, worst thing I’ve ever done since I’ve been married, and asked if she would forgive me.’
Barbara claims that to rub salt in the wound Oprah called her up and told her: ‘You say I never talk to you? ‘I want to talk to you now. You have until Monday to get out of MY house.’
‘I’m homeless for now, but I will stay at my daughter’s or at a friends, or even a motel if I have to. I am a survivor.It is difficult but you have to deal with what’s been dealt you, it’s just stuff at the end of the day, you can’t take it with you. I’ve been here a little over 14 years, this was mine and Vernon’s family home.But in a way today is a happy as well as a sad day.’
Barbara does get to keep her beloved Mercedes SL500, however.Oprah bought her the luxury car as a gift 11 years ago during a shopping spree during a visit to Tennessee.
‘It’s got mine and her name on it so she can’t take my Mercedes.It’s 11 years old with 125,000 miles on it so it won’t be worth much.’
Barbara's 'first request' for a settlement for her divorce from Vernon was $5 million.Barbara then came back with a reduced request that was 'maybe a million, or half a million'.Ultimately, Barbara says she came away with ‘absolutely nothing’ from the lengthy proceedings.
‘The house was a gift, Oprah told us it was a gift to us, we were allowed to pick it out, sign all the papers. We came to love this house.Everybody keeps saying the divorce has been about the house, because it’s a million dollar property. But it’s not about just a house, to me it’s a home. ‘We had good memories, bad memories, I have invested a lot of love and affection into it.’
Tears welling up in her eyes as she recounts the past 14 years, Barbara points to her beloved hydrangea flower bed and a yellow rose bush she gently nurtured to maturity.
‘I remember watching Oprah cook purple hull peas on the stove in the kitchen, I remember cooking pound cakes for the family,' she said. 'We had good times here.’
|Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor|
Nigeria will be great only if leaders like the Sultan will tell the truth at all times and in all situations, Christian group under the auspices of TEKAN/ECWA, has said.
The Christian body called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ignore a statement recently attributed to the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, claiming that Muslims are being marginalised in the country.
The Sultan, during a national prayer session organised by the NSCIA where eminent Islamic scholars gathered to pray for peace and security in the nation was quoted as saying that Muslims were not happy over its continuous maginalisation in the country.
Reacting to the statement, the National Head of TEKAN/ECWA bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel Dziggau maintained that the Sultan’s claim was far from the truth.
A statement by the group reads; “We are yet to overcome similar statements by an eminent Muslim politician who vowed to make the nation ungovernable if he was not pronounced winner of the 2011 presidential election. When the CAN leadership called for his arrest for making such inflammatory statement many Muslims accused him of heating up the polity, but today Nigerians know those who are heating up the polity,” the statement added.
The Christian group therefore warned traditional, religious and political leaders in the North against such inciting statements capable of motivating uninformed Muslim fundamentalists into killing innocent adherents of other faiths in the name of fighting perceived injustices.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government to call the revered Islamic leader to order before another Islamic group will begin another round of terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians perceived to be marginalizing Muslims as the Sultan had claimed,” TEKAN/ECWA pleaded.
“Over the years, Christians in the North had cried themselves hoax over discriminatory laws which had made it impossible for them to practice their religion without let in accordance with the tenets of the 1999 Constitution. As a deliberate matter of policy most core northern governments have refused to sign Certificates of Occupancy, C of O, for Christian organisations to build churches.
“It is also a well known fact that governments in the region have also deliberately discriminated against Christians in appointments into government service for the simple reason that nobody will speak on their behalf. There are several cases of elected Christian politicians who were suspended on some flimsy excuses and who have not been reinstated despite numerous pleas for justice.
“It is only the truth that will save this nation from the present morass that we have inadvertently found ourselves. For far too long we have pretended and lied to ourselves. We must therefore take advantage of the Chibok schoolgirls to tell ourselves so home truth for a proper and true healing process,” the statement said.
Continuing, Dr. Dziggau said: “Nigeria and the International Community must appreciate the leadership of CAN for his unwavering efforts to restrain Christian youth from retaliating numerous unprovoked attacks, institutionalised marginalisations of Christians in the hands of political, religious and traditional leaders.
“Our appeal to His Eminence, the Sultan, is for him to ensure that truth is being told at all times even of it hurts, rather than deceiving the whole world with this story of marginalization of Muslims.
“Nigeria will be great only if leaders like the Sultan will tell the truth at all times and in all situations because if there is any seemingly marginalization of Muslims, it’s the traditional, political and religious leaders of Northern extraction who have pauperized and marginalized their followers that have led to the current mass poverty in the region,” the statement added.
Saturday PUNCH investigations revealed that the violent Islamic sect had in the past week stepped up the looting of villages, markets and food stores in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for food items including grains and bread.
Residents of these communities told Saturday PUNCH that the rate at which the insurgents stole their foodstuffs was unprecedented, noting that the pressure to feed the abducted girls might have contributed to the desperation of the insurgents to steal and kill the villagers in the process.
One of the villagers, Bukar Umar, who resides in Kamuyya village in Borno State, told one of our correspondents that though it was normal for the insurgents to ask communities to contribute money towards “God’s work,’’ they were usually satisfied when communities raised money for them.
He, however, said the insurgents in recent times had stepped up their activities by invading their communities and carting away food items.
With the pressure on Nigerian soldiers to clamp down on the Islamic sect, it was learnt that the insurgents no longer felt safe to go to markets to buy food items for fear of being arrested.
Some of the insurgents recently met their waterloo in Madagali, Adamawa State, where they were given up by a local food vendor from whom they had planned to buy foodstuffs.
Consequently, members of a vigilance group pounced on them and killed over 70 of them while seven others were reportedly handed over to the police.
The vigilantes acted after they were tipped by the local food vendor that the insurgents were coming to get food before going for a major operation in a neighbouring village.
A Madagali resident, who did not want his name mentioned, had said, “The vigilance group mobilised, laid ambush and waited patiently for the insurgents.
“As soon as the insurgents, numbering over 100, showed up in the village to pick up their favourite meals, the vigilantes attacked them, killing most of them in a hail of bullets.”
Security personnel, during the week, also repelled attacks by the terrorists on Kubla, a border town between Adamawa and Borno states.
A security source said, “The heavily armed terrorists arrived in Kubla and started burning houses and stealing foodstuff, until a contingent of the military was mobilised to confront them.
“The soldiers engaged the militants in a fierce exchange of gunfire to repel them,” the source said.
The source, who did not disclose his name because he was not authorised to provide details of the attacks, added that the insurgent had set to extend their stealing spree to Taraba State.
Residents of Limankara, Kamuyya, Kirenowa, Kimba and Makor communities in Borno State said the insurgents usually carte away food items and livestock after killing people in their areas in recent attacks.
In Limankara, a Borno border village with Adamawa State, the insurgents who killed many persons and carted away property worth several millions of Naira were said to have particularly gone for the available food items in the village.
In Kamuyya village, a resident, Bukar Umar, said over 20 insurgents, who must have emerged from the bush, stormed the Kamuyya weekly market when traders were conducting their businesses and opened fire into the crowd before setting shops and vehicles on fire.
According to him, the hoodlums were well armed with sophisticated weapons, and after raiding the area, they went to the major market and shot sporadically and indiscriminately into the crowd, killing 20 persons on the spot and burning most of the shops in the market.
He said the attack lasted for over two hours last Sunday. “The invaders had a field day wreaking havoc on us. They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuff, before fleeing the area.”
In Kirenowa town, where 20 persons were killed last week Thursday by the insurgents, they were said to have ransacked the town for food items, which they subsequently packed away in stolen vehicles.
The insurgents on Sunday intercepted a vehicle loaded with bread, killed the four occupants and drove the vehicles towards Sambisa Forest. The vehicle, which was on its way to Polka from Gwoza, was attacked at Waraba village.
Some of those who spoke to our correspondents appealed to both the state and the Federal Government to immediately come to their rescue by giving them food and rebuilding their burnt houses.
One of them, Modu Kaka, said: “It has been difficult for our people to feed because our food items have been carted away and we are left with little to share among ourselves.
“To even get another supply is a problem, if you get that, you are only inviting them to come back and that makes it necessary for security personnel to be deployed here.”
The village District Head of Limankara, Alhaji AbdulKareem Wahab, claimed that 1,750 bags of assorted grains were loaded in seven stolen vehicles that were taken away by the insurgents during the week.
He said, “The invaders had a field day wreaking havoc on us. They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuffs, before fleeing our area.”
Also in Kirenowa town, residents said scores of armed insurgents invaded the area around 12noon, shooting everyone at sight and setting houses, shops and vehicles on fire.
A resident of the area, Mallam Goni Bukar, said, “The militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, raided the area and proceeded to the major market and began sporadic shootings into the direction of crowd, killing 20 people on the spot and burning most houses and shops in the town.
“They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuffs and fled. They destroyed everything we have, carted away our food and burnt down the remaining ones.”
It was also gathered that after wreaking havoc in Marte, the hoodlums invaded nearby Kimba and Makor villages, where five people were killed in each of the villages.
Bukar added, “After the carnage in our area, the militants proceeded to the two neighbouring villages and killed 10 persons, even as they set ablaze several houses and vehicles. They equally carted away their food items.”
In a recent attack on Shawa, a neighbouring Chibok community, the terrorists stole food, after killing no fewer than 10 people. In another attack on Alagarno village, Borno State, the gunmen also stole food and razed their victims’ homes.
One of the residents who spoke with journalists, Mallam Umaru Saina, said, “They destroyed everything we had and burnt down our remaining food after stealing what they needed. What is most painful is that they did not spare our kids. They killed children and women.”
Apagu Maidaga also said Alagarno residents hid in the bush and watched while the extremists set ablaze their homes of thatch-roofed mud huts.
The British newspaper, The Mail, had last Sunday reported that Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who is trusted by both the Federal Government and the Boko Haram leader as a mediator, visited the camp where the abducted schoolgirls were being kept.
Sakilda was quoted as claiming to have seen the abducted schoolgirls being “well fed and adequately sheltered.”
Saturday PUNCH gathered during the week that the insurgents resorted to stealing following the shortage of food to feed themselves and their hostages.
It was also learnt that the thirst for more loot prompted the terrorists to invade Kamuyya village in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State last Sunday.
The recent activities of the sect have left the communities attacked further impoverished and many found it difficult to feed as their food items have been carted away.
It was also learnt that the violent sect had begun to pile up food items in preparation for a long drawn battle with the military, especially as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel and other foreign collaborators are assisting the Federal Government to ensure the safe return of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
With the allied forces believed to be on the ground to help the Nigerian military rescue the girls, it was learnt that the insurgents did not want to be caught unawares by running out of strategic resources, especially food.
Saturday PUNCH further learnt that this development also contributed to the latest strategy of carting away food from communities, and the rustling up of the residents’ cattle in the last one week.
In recent publications, some residents of the communities close to Sambisa Forest told journalists in Maiduguri that the insurgents had visited their towns recently asking for money to execute “God’s work.”
The villagers were only able to raise N70, 000. The insurgents left with the money but with a message that they would come back for the balance.
They threatened to come back for the balance at a stipulated time or they would kill the villagers.
One of the villagers, Bukar Umar, said the villagers took the threat with levity. They thought it was “madness gone too far.”
He said, “Actually when they issued the threat, we took it lightly as we were all relaxed and nobody bothered to make any extra effort to raise the amount they requested. May be that was what caused this bloody attack because we were unable to meet their demand.”
Speaking on the growing raid of the insurgents for food, a military source said, “The military is aware of this and knows that the insurgents are doing this for a strategy but it is inevitable that we have to confront them if the schoolgirls and other girls and women they have abducted are not released.”
He said, “They should continue to pile up food items as much as they can but wars and battles have different complexities and when we get to that stage we will definitely know which strategy to deploy.’’
Unconfirmed reports had indicated that certain helicopters used to drop food items and other needs in the Sambisa stronghold of the Boko Haram group.
Security experts said the growing focus on the Sambisa forest must have disrupted the routine of the helicopters, thus putting pressure on the group’s supply chain and fueling more attacks on villagers in the North-East.
|My boyfriend made me leave prostitution for armed robbery - Suspect|
I am from Idofian in Kwara State. My father is late but my mother lives in Ibadan. She has no idea I do this kind of job and she does not even know I am in police custody.I was living with a security guard in a house at Osborne in Ikoyi. The landlord of the house was out of the country. I was going from there to ‘hustle’ in Lekki every night.Raji was a good helper to me. That was why I decided to leave prostitution when he begged me. When he introduced me to armed robbery, I asked him if there would be no problem and he assured me that there would be none. When we started dating, I did not know he was an armed robber though.”I was hustling before Raji, my boyfriend, told me to join his gang........
I have only gone on two operations with them. I don’t know him (Onasile) well. I only know that he was the one who brought the job.Raji gathered other members and they snatched a vehicle (a Nissan Quest) around Iwo Road, Ibadan. We decided that the vehicle would be used for the operation.The gang asked me to sit in the front of the vehicle so that when we were stopped by policemen on the way, being a woman in the front seat would make them unsuspicious. But during the operation, the police cornered us and Raji was shot dead."
36-year-old Onasile, who brought the N70m job, was evasive when our correspondent asked him how he knew about the money.He later said that an acquaintance of his, a man named Tunde, informed him about the money.
“Tunde is like a brother to me. He told me the man we were going to rob was his relation. He said the man had N70m at home. I told him I had no boys who could do the job. But he was always disturbing me about getting a gang together to do the operation.
“Few days later, I informed Raji about the operation and he told me he could get boys for the job. We planned to sell the vehicle we snatched after the operation but we did not know how police got to know about the operation. Tunde ran away when the police were after us.”
|Man beats son to death for stealing N1,000|
The guardians of the boy allegedly beat him to death just as a man in Oregun, Ikeja, was also alleged to have beaten the son to death for stealing N1,000.
The 12-year old boy who was identified as Onyedikachi Mbanozo, was reportedly brought from the village by Mr and Mrs Paul Obiefule, last year, with a promise to send him to school.
The couple reportedly kept to their promise by enrolling him in Holy Trinity Primary School, Agege,where he started from primary one.Information gathered from residents revealed that Mbanozo was allegedly often beaten at the slightest provocation by his guardians. He was said to have told some residents that he would leave for the village when he finished his primary school education. He never lived to see his dream come true. Life was snuffed out of him Tuesday,after one of the routine batterings.
Ironically , he died on a day children all over the world were being celebrated.
He was hungry and sought to eat at about 1pm. It was to be his first meal of the day. His guardians allegedly pounced on him in the process of which he slumped and died.
Residents told Saturday Vanguard during the visit that when the couple discovered that Mbanozo was dead, they hid his corpse under the bed. Sensing danger that all was not well , curious neighbours were said to have asked after Mbanozo.
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity told Saturday Vanguard that: “At first , the woman told us that the boy fainted and was rushed to the hospital. Later she said he had been discharged and was inside. When we insisted on seeing him , they said he was sleeping. Some people suspected all was not well with the boy when the the couple still insisted that the boy was still sleeping the following day.
It was when we insisted on seeing the boy that she opened up, disclosing that Mbanozo was dead and that her husband had gone to get a car that would take the corpse to the village. While we were waiting for her husband to return, he called his wife on the phone and told her to pack her things out of their apartment and leave with their three children. We stopped her from packing and followed her to a beer parlour where her husband was waiting for her and contacted the police.
Confirming the arrest, spokes person for the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide said:“ At about 2.30pm on Tuesday, the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Pen- Cinema Division , while on patrol with his policemen, received an anonymous call that a man by name Paul Obiefule ‘m’ of No.22, Omitola Street, Agege Lagos and his wife had beaten a boy living with them named Onyedikachi Mbanozo ‘m’ aged 12years to death. On receipt of the information police patrol vehicles moved to the scene and brought the suspects and the deceased to the station for a detailed investigation. Case is currently under investigation at Pen Cinema Division’
In a similar incident on Monday at about 4 am, one Bright whose surname was unknown and who resided at No. 6 Olarewaju Street, Oregun, Ikeja was allegedly hit with iron belt by his father for stealing N1,000. The boy was rushed to Divine Private Hospital on Lawal Street Oregun where he was confirmed dead. The body has been deposited at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital mortuary where autopsy would be carried out.
Muazu also said that nothing can divide the country.
In a statement by his SA/ICT, Akin Oyegoke, Muazu condemned a recent interview by Secretary to the State Government of Borno State, Ambassador Baba Ahmed, where the latter described the PDP national chairman as “a pathological liar.”
The statement reads in part, “The National Chairman of the PDP ordinarily will not like to join issues with any Nigerian especially not with Ambassador Baba Ahmed, but as an elder statesman and a stakeholder in this administration, we wish to state again that for us to win the fight against terror in Nigeria, we must all close ranks irrespective of party affiliations and heed to all popular advice from any agency of government to curtail the activities of the Boko Haram Sect.”
"I was almost frustrated because my career had over the years failed to generate the desired response from music fans. I prayed to God first for inspiration and basically retraced my steps. It was then it occurred to me that my fans actually want something dynamic for a change.
Consequently, because the music we are doing is Afro hip-hop and since Fela was the king of Afro hip hop, I decided to begin by paying homage to him.Things have definitely changed. Nowadays, I don’t charge less than N3m to perform at a concert. Sometimes the concerts are funded by multinational companies and we have to tour 20 states. Multiply N3m by 20 states and you will understand what I am saying. The situation has indeed improved,”
Laverne, who is a voice for transgenders in the US and one of the most well-known transgender faces in mainstream media, talked to Time about her life as an effeminate young boy and the bullying she had to endure growing up.
|Children R*aped, forced to eat faeces in Indian school - police|
The children were made to eat faeces as a punishment if they did not comply.
The 52-year-old owner of the Chandraprabha Charitable Trust and his 30-year-old female manager were arrested on Monday after a police raid on the school in Karjat city.
"We received a police complaint from the Childline charity saying that one child had gone home for the holidays and confessed to his mother that abuses were happening," Karjat's Police Inspector R.R. Patil told the Thomson Reuters Foundation late on Thursday.
"Five children in total have now come forward and we have booked the two suspects under various offences," he said, adding that these included unnatural se*x (sodomy), wrongful confinement and se*xual assault.
The school accommodated 28 underprivileged children, aged between 4 and 14, for 10 months of the year, said Patil, but most were on holiday at home at the time of the raid.
Police were trying to find out whether other children were abused and if there were any other suspects.
Anuradha Sahasrabudhe of Childline, a charity supported by the government, said the children had spoken about all kinds of se*xual and physical abuse.
"It's a horrific case. The children have been telling us about the se*xual abuse going on there. There has been oral se*x, there has been forced se*x... These things have been photographed," Saharasabudhe told the NDTV news channel.
"Children have been punished by making them eat dog excreta and when they vomited, they were made to eat vomit," she added.
Police say the residential school had been running since 2002, but was not registered and had therefore escaped government inspections by child welfare officials.
Source : Reuters
|Nigeria Vs Greece|
This would be the 3rd meeting between both teams. The Nigerians were 2-0 winners over the Greeks at the 1994 world cup, but the tables were turned 4 years ago, when the Greeks beat the Nigerians by 2-1 in a 2010 world cup group match.
The match venue is the PPL Park, in Chester, Pennsylvania.
See links below:
|Russia, China Sign Deal To Bypass U.S. Dollar|
The so-called Agreement on Cooperation — signed in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on a visit to Shanghai — was followed by the long-awaited announcement on Wednesday of a massive natural gas deal 10 years in the making.
“Our countries have done a huge job to reach a new historic landmark,” Putin said on Tuesday, making note of the $100 billion in annual trade that has been achieved between the two countries.
Demand for the dollar, which has long served as a safe and reliable reserve currency in international transactions, has allowed the U.S. to borrow almost unlimited cash and spend well beyond its means, which some economists say has afforded the United States an outsize influence on world affairs.
But the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a bloc of the world’s five major emerging economies — have long sought to diminish their dependence on the dollar as a means of reshaping the world financial and geopolitical order. In the absence of a viable alternative, however, replacing it has proved difficult.
For its part, “China sees the dominance of the dollar in international trade transactions as a remnant of American global dominance, which they hope to overthrow in the years ahead,” said Michael Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College. “This is a small step in that direction, to reduce the primacy of the dollar in international trade.”
Some have been tempted to view Tuesday's deal in the context of Putin's showdown with the West over the crisis in Ukraine. After the U.S. and Europe imposed sanctions on Moscow for its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, Putin may have finally made good on promised retaliation against what he views as Western hegemony in Russia's near abroad.
“Breaking the dominance of the U.S. dollar in international trade between the BRICS is something that the group has been talking about for some time,” said Chris Weafer, a founding partner of Macro-Advisory, a consultancy in Moscow. “The Ukraine crisis and the threats voiced by the U.S. administration may well provide the catalyst for that to start happening.”
To be sure, the Russia-China bank deal is mostly a symbolic step. Liza Ermolenko, an emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London, said that the deal was still “a very small one, in the grand scale of things,” and that it wouldn’t change Russia’s reliance on the dollar “overnight.” Most of Russia’s export contracts in the oil and gas markets are still priced in dollars, she noted, and on a wider scale, replacing the dollar with the ruble is much too risky to even consider.
Likewise, even though China has agreed to the gas deal, which could see over $450 billion of Russian natural gas flow from eastern Siberia into China over the next 30 years, Russia is not in a position to abandon its ties with Europe.
"From the commercial standpoint, Europe is the most profitable market for Gazprom,” said Mikhail Korchemkin, the founder of Eastern European Gas Analysis, who has consulted for Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas company. "Exports to China can generate a small profit, [but] only if the government makes it free of taxes and duties.”
But the bank deal is another indicator that Russia and China are in the middle of a wider rapprochement, which analysts say is premised not on ideological alignment but on a mutual desire to undercut the U.S. in their respective spheres of influence.
Both countries are wary of President Barack Obama’s “pivot east,” a recalibration of U.S. foreign policy away from decades of war in the Middle East and toward the fast-growing economies of the East. Cynical observers have interpreted the shift as an effort to contain China.
"This is a marriage of mutual strategic interests, not a marriage of love," said Klare. “China wants energy and weapons from Russia, and Russia wants diplomatic backing and cash. It’s a quid pro quo.”
Yet even if China feels threatened by U.S. encroachment, it is Russia that is desperately pursuing closer ties with China.
Putin may have gotten the better of the Western powers in the showdown over Crimea, but at the cost of growing geopolitical isolation. Under intense pressure to demonstrate Russia's avowed independence from the West, he has repeatedly threatened that he could simply shut off its natural gas pipelines to Europe and find new markets for Russian energy exports.
Separate from that political posturing, the Russian imperative to find new markets for its energy exports is nonetheless very real. Energy demands in Europe have plateaued and may even decline in the long term because of stringent environmental regulations.
“If Russia wants to continue to be a petrostate, it has to shift marketing of its exports to Asia," said Klare, who noted that Western energy conglomerates like ExxonMobil have begun doing the same.
“We don’t want to push this too far and see it as a formation of a new, global anti-American bloc that is starting a new Cold War,” he added. "This is market-driven more than it’s political."
|Emir Of Gwoza|
It also expressed shock and disbelief at the assassination attempt on the lives of Emir of Uba, Alhaji Ismaila Mamza and Emir of Askira, Alhaji Mai Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu Askirama by gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect.
The Borno State first class traditional rulers were abducted on Friday while travelling to Gombe State for the funeral of the late Emir of Gombe, Shehu Abubakar, who died earlier in the week.
The condemnation of the dastardly act was contained in a statement issued in Minna by Israel Ebije, the Chief Press Secretary to the Forum’s Chairman Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State.
Aliyu, who described the killing as “irresponsible, callous and an affront on the traditional institution and collective heritage of Nigerians” lamented that the attack came at a time federal government has concluded plans to grant the sect amnesty.
The Forum said, “This is indeed a sad development for us as a region and the nation at large. This is happening at a time we are all doing our very best to rescue our over 200 secondary school girls abducted by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, from their school in Chibok, Borno State last month.
“We are particularly sad and worried about these ugly developments. We are indeed sad over the killing of the Emir of Gwoza in the recent attack.
The Forum urged the sect members to embrace the amnesty offer promised by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying “dialogue remains the best option for resolving issues.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has tipped Nigeria to reach the second round of the World Cup alongside Argentina in Group F.
The Frenchman feels that the Super Eagles have something going for them this year, 'team spirit' and a lack of big egos which has ensured for a united squad and differentiated them from many African sides of the past.
He said Argentina should win the group which also has Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina and that Nigeria should join them in the second round.
“I think that Nigeria might qualify for the second stage,” Wenger wrote in his Eurosport World Cup preview.
“They really made a good impression on me during the African Cup of Nations. They seem to have a really good team spirit, which is not always easy for African teams.
“They have less star players. They have a real team, and it’s been a while since that happened for them,” Wenger said of Stephen Keshi’s team.
Of Argentina, the Frenchman expects them to do well playing in South America where they would be buoyed by the rivalry with neighbours Brazil.
He also said that coach Alejandro Sabella has done better than Diego Maradona in his selection of a balanced side despite the array of impressive attacking talent at his disposal.
“Normally Argentina should qualify thanks to their offensive potential. You might even say that Argentina have too many good players in attack,” Wenger wrote.
“ It’s not easy to be a manager in Argentina, because it’s hard to build a balanced team without leaving some indisputable players off the field.
“They have Higuain, Messi, Aguero, and Tevez, who didn't even make the final squad. they have so many forwards; it will be very hard to keep a balanced team. It’s what happened in South Africa.
“Still, Sabella’s team seems more balanced than Maradona’s. They can’t make a mess of this World Cup; Argentina just can’t.
“The two main rivals in South America are Brazil and Argentina. There can’t be a World Cup in Brazil and Argentina be humiliated and not have a great tournament. They will have a huge pressure on them,” Wenger said
Balotelli, who spent three years in England playing for Manchester City, feels the Three Lions won’t pose much of a threat for the Azzurri when the two sides meet in their opening World Cup fixture on 14 June.
“I don’t look at England as a team that can win the World Cup,” said the 23-year-old. “They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy.
“I am not saying that Italy are favourites, but we have the mentality and experienced players to surprise people — I don’t think England have that.”
Balotelli, who will be featuring in his first Mundial, feels his side have a distinct advantage against the perennial tournament under-achievers.
“We have players who have won the World Cup, I don’t think England have a player who knows what it is like to play past the quarter-final,” said the AC Milan striker.
‘Super Mario’ feels his team can earn victory against Roy Hodgson’s charges to get their World Cup campaign off to a strong start.
“In the opening game we have to respect England because it is important to get off to a good start,” he said.
“They have maybe two or three players who can hurt us, but we feel well prepared for the tournament and expect to start off with a win.”
|Nigeria training at the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium|
Speaking after the national team had their first work-out at the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium in Philadelphia, Keshi said he was thrilled by the level of tactical and technical depth displayed by the players but there was need to be cautious.
“Yes, I have an idea of those who will go with us to Brazil but we will still wait till the last minute before we announce the list,” he said.
Keshi said he was delaying naming the list so as to have a second look at those who are not measuring up.
The national team had their first training session on Tuesday morning in Philadelphia and were scheduled for another one later in the evening at 16h30 local time, which will be 21h00 Nigerian time.
Friday, May 30, 2014
|Major General Chris Olukolade|
Nigeria’s Defense Headquarters has claimed that a prominent political leader from one of the northeast states ravaged by members of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, is sponsoring “a renewed campaign aimed at attracting international condemnation and indictment of the Nigerian military and its operations in the Northern part of the country.”
In a statement released today and titled “New Plot Against Operations of Nigerian Military,” the Defense Headquarters asserted that the ostensible campaign “is to rely heavily on doctored and falsified audio visual materials, some of which are already trending in the social media,” adding that the alleged plot “is to be coordinated and funded by a prominent political leader whose state is presently under the State of Emergency.”
Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States, all part of the volatile northeast section of Nigeria that has witnessed incessant terror attacks by members of Boko Haram, are under emergency rule.
The military’s statement, which was signed by Major General Chris Olukolade, the director of information at Defense Headquarters, did not disclose the identity of the so-called Nigeria nor specify his home state or political affiliation.
General Olukolade claimed that the details of the plot against the Nigerian military was “already being fine-tuned by a group of media practitioners” and would be “presented for the final ratification and funding by the political figure.” He alleged that the plot “is expected to forcefully whip up sentiments of genocide allegedly targeted against a particular religious group. The planners of this multi-media crusade also hope to use it to gain some mileage in the drive to secure international attention as they have not achieved this sufficiently despite previous efforts.”
The Nigerian military has come under international spotlight in the aftermath of Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno State on April 14. Boko Haram is still holding most of the kidnapped girls at a location that remains unknown.
A few days ago, Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, claimed that the Nigerian military had identified the secret location where the abducted girls are being kept. He however ruled out the use of force to rescue them, citing the likely high level of casualties in the event of such a military operation. US military sources said they were skeptical about the claim that the girls’ whereabouts had been found.
General Olukolade stated that the so-called plot against the military was “also meant to reinforce the ongoing media campaign against the military,” adding that it “was adopted as an alternative by those who are bent on politicizing the ongoing counter terrorists operations in the northern part of the country.”
He stated that a newspaper “last week published some of the doctored pictures which the Defense Headquarters instantly repudiated, pointing out that they do not represent activities or operations of the Nigerian military.”
General Olukolade said the Defense Headquarters “wishes to reiterate its rejection of pictures and video footages from unverifiable sources claiming to reflect activities or so called atrocities purportedly perpetrated by Nigerian security forces.” His statement added: “They do not reflect or depict the true state of affairs or operations of Nigerian military or any of the security forces. The public is advised to watch out and not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by these acts of infamy orchestrated by this desperate group.”
His statement “emphasized that the dastardly acts of terrorism are against all Nigerians and all peace loving people all over the world. No amount of propaganda by apologists of terror group can justify the evil acts of terrorism by attempting to cast the Nigerian military and security forces in bad light.”
|Emir Of Gwoza|
A statement signed by Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, the
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), said the emir was killed at about 9am today along Tashan Alade on the way to Biu town, headquarters of Biu Local Government Area in Southern Borno.
He was in the company of the Emir of Askira, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu Askirama and Emir of Uba, Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismaila Mamza, on their way to the funeral in Gombe today of the late Emir of Gombe. The emirs had elected to drive in the same vehicle to Biu to pick up the Emir of Biu to travel with them.
The SSG gave the sequence of events as follows: “The late Emir of Gwoza had visited his counterpart, the Emir of Uba yesterday and passed the night in Uba ahead of their planned trip today. The two Emirs were this morning, joined by the Emir of Askira. The three drove in the same vehicle with the intention of going to Biu to be joined by their counterpart in Biu. Unfortunately as they were driving in convoy to Biu, they were ambushed by gun men around Tashan Alade, soon after passing Garkida.
The gunmen came after the convoy, specifically targeted the vehicle conveying the three Emirs and opened fire. The Emir of Gwoza was unfortunately killed by the attackers while the Emirs of Askira and Uba escaped unhurt. A policeman in the convoy was shot by the attackers but he survived the attack.”
He described Alhaji Timta, a first class emir following his recent elevation by Governor Kashim Shettima, as a great man who worked very hard to promote peace and progress in Gwoza.
“He was a pillar and one of the rallying points in Borno State,” the statement said, adding that he has visibly worked very hard in the search for peace in Gwoza since the insurgency began.
“Borno State Government is terribly shocked by this incident,” the SSG said. “The Government prays that Allah admits the late Emir into aljanna Firadaus and give family, members of the Gwoza Emirate Council, the people of Gwoza, the State Council of Chiefs and the entire people of Borno State the fortitude to bear this very traumatic loss especially at a time the State is still dealing with equally disturbing issues related with security challenges in the State.”
He prayed for accelerated and lasting peace in Borno State and the rest of Nigeria.
ESPN reports that the agreement was signed Thursday and was sent straight to the NBA for final approval.
Ballmer outbid former NBA star Grant Hill, who offered $1 billion, and a group of wealthy business people that included Oprah Winfrey. Ballmer's bid has also set a record price for an NBA team.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life by league commissioner Adam Silver after recordings of him making racist comments were made public. He authorized his wife Shelly to negotiate a sale of the team.
Donald Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5M ($32.6M in today’s USD). But was forced to sell his team.... for $2Billion! He got a 2.5 million dollar fine and a $2billion payout.
|boko haram leader|
The two emirs were seized by gun-wielding insurgents at 10a.m Friday near Shaffa while they were travelling to Gombe to attend the funeral of the Emir of Gombe, Shehu Abubakar, who died on Tuesday evening at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, where he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
The two abducted emirs were elevated to First Class traditional ruler status only in January.
The Borno statement government is yet to issue an official statement on the abduction.
The abduction came 46 days after the Boko Haram sect whisked away over 250 schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok.
Over 200 of the girls are yet to be freed.
|Damaging? Viewing explicit images might have an effect on our health|
A study by German researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that men who watch a lot of p*orn generally have a smaller striatum.
The striatum is the part of the brain which processes 'rewards and motivation' - leading scientists to believe that po*rnography damages this function.
They can also have less grey matter, making their brains generally smaller than those of men who rarely watch it.
The female leading author of the study Simone Kühn, did point out however, that it isn't clear whether X rated material is making brains smaller, or whether men with a decreased striatum tend to watch it more often.
She added that the striatum is less active with men who consume a lot of s*xual images.
Dr Kühn said: "Moreover we found that another brain region, that is also part of the striatum that is active when people see s*xual stimuli, shows less activation the more po*rnography participants consumed."
The study questioned 64 men aged 21 to 45 about their p*orn watching habits and examined who their brains reacted to p*ornographic images.
While it isn't clear that p*orn is the root cause of men's decreasing brains, it is fair to say that it could have a detrimental effect on them.
|Guilty pleas: Vincent Parker|
Sixteen-year-old Vincent Parker admitted launching the vicious attacks on his parents a week before Christmas, because he was sick of them handing out punishments like taking his MP3 player away.
The youngster, from Norfolk, Virginia, attacked mum Carol with pepper spray as she came out of their bathroom in December 2013, before stabbing her in the eye.
He then beat her around the head and face with a baseball bat "until she stopped breathing", WTKR-TV news channel reports .
A short time later, when the boy's father Wayne arrived home, Parker hit him with the crow bar and stabbed him a number of times.
|Victims: Carol and Wayne Parker|
Parker initially claimed his father had attacked him first, but later admitted he had killed his parents and pleaded guilty two counts of second degree murder.
He told detectives: "I just remember getting mad. It's all from my dad. All this stuff like my dad taking away my iPod and stuff."
His grandfather Allen Taylor - Carol's father - said he struggled to understand why his grandson had turned violent.
He said: "He is smart in school. I don't know what happened."
Parker will be sentenced in September.
The French fullback revealed that negotiations with the London club did not turn out the way he wanted and as a result, he will be leaving once his contract expires at the end of June.
“It's no longer a secret, I'll leave Arsenal,” the 31-year-old told French newspaper L'Equipe from the national team’s training ground at Clairefontaine.
"They tried to make an effort, but the discussions have not gone in the direction I wanted."
Sagna spent seven years at Arsenal, making 284 appearances under Arsene Wenger, and was pleased to end his spell in London with victory in the FA Cup.
“To finish at Wembley with the Cup, it was something magical," he said.
"It was an honour to evolve in that shirt, Even though we were criticised for quite some time due to the lack of trophies, I spent some magical moments there.
"If I had to do it again, I'd do the same thing."
Manchester City are believed to be front-runners in the race to sign Sagna ahead of next season.
|FG releases Rivers’ aircraft as Jonathan’s friends woo Amaechi|
Consequently, Vanguard learnt yesterday, the Federal Government decided to release the Rivers State government-owned aircraft grounded by the federal authorities last year over alleged illegal entry into the country.
The Rivers State government is, however, to pay N11 million as fine for the alleged offence.
Abuja, it was learnt, has also approved that the Rivers State government should bring in two armoured helicopters procured by the administration in Port Harcourt to enhance security.
Should he take the bait, Governor Amaechi, it was learnt, would enjoy the benefit of influencing the emergence of his successor in office.
Sources privy to the development told Vanguard last night that the deal could also allow Amaechi to remain in All Progressives Congress, APC, but support the President’s re-election bid in which case, the Presidency would push to ensure the emergence of his chosen successor.
The moves to make peace between the Presidency and the administration in Port Harcourt, Vanguard learnt, was spearheaded by close mutual associates of Jonathan and Amaechi, who had been working round the clock since the two men parted ways almost two years ago.
An aide of the governor contacted for confirmation on the development claimed ignorance of the release of the plane and other gestures from Abuja.
“You know, this one is well above me and it is not something I can confirm to you,” the senior aide of the governor told Vanguard last night.
However, a non-political associate of the governor with independent ties to Abuja who was privy to the development confirmed it.
The source said: “Take it from me, the plane has been released and it is now in the custody of the Rivers State government.”
The plane, a Bombardier BD 700 Global Express Jet, arrived Nigeria in October 2012 and was grounded in April 2013 by aviation authorities over allegation of irregularities in its registration and operations in the country.
Aviation authorities, however, claimed ignorance of the development saying they had not been properly briefed on the issue.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. Ojeme Hastings, claimed ignorance of release of the aircraft, saying he was on his annual leave and could not, therefore, confirm the story for Vanguard. He, however, said he should be given up till today to confirm.
Similarly, General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mr. Fan Ndubuoke, said he had no information about the aircraft’s release.
A month after the grounding, Amaechi was suspended from PDP, following his refusal to work with the John Obuah-led executive that was empowered by the courts to take the place of the state executive loyal to him.
The move to woo Amaechi back to PDP, Vanguard learnt, may not be unconnected to the strategic electoral value of Rivers State in past presidential elections.
The state, since the days of the Peter Odili’s administration, has continuously harvested two million votes for PDP.
He was driving a Golf saloon car and was said to be on his way to Lagos Island when a Daf truck rammed into his car.The driver of the truck was said to be on top speed,and lost control of his vehicle, ramming into the median of the bridge, before crashing into the deceased’s car.
An eye witness said “It took several hours before the victim could be rescued from the wreckage of the vehicle. He was trapped behind the wheels with blood gushing out of his head.”
The team left London the morning after their 2-2 draw against Scotland and will begin preparations for their June 3 meeting against Greece immediately.
Team officials say training will hold on Friday morning at the Lincoln Financial Field.
Stephen Keshi's squad of 30 is expected to be cut to the final 23 on June 2, in time to meet the Fifa deadline.
|Girls Abducted by Boko Haram|
The girls were taking exams at a secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok on April 14 when the Islamist gunmen surrounded it, loaded 276 of them onto trucks and carted them off, according to official figures.
Fifty-three escaped shortly afterwards, say authorities in Borno state, which lies at the epicenter of Boko Haram's insurgency.
Education commissioner Musa Inuwa told Reuters by telephone the four had been reunited with their parents since then, but he declined to give further details of their escape or say when it happened.
A senior Borno state official said it was not clear when they escaped, and it may even have been several weeks ago. The parents had not contacted authorities when the girls returned.
"It was a little after the initial escapes but we doubt it was a recent escape," he said.
The girls' abduction shone an international spotlight on the militants, whose violent struggle for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed thousands and turned them into the biggest threat to security in Africa's top oil-producing state.
From being a religious movement opposed to Western culture - Boko Haram means "Western education is a sin" in the northern Hausa language - the sect has emerged as a well-armed insurrection with a growing thirst for blood.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on Tuesday the military knew where the abducted girls were but ruled out a rescue by force for fear of endangering them.
Most officials think any raid to rescue them would run a high risk that the girls would be killed by their captors. Boko Haram has repeatedly showed ruthlessness in targeting civilians.
The military has been bruised by criticism at home and abroad of its failure to protect the girls and its slow response to the hostage crisis. Badeh was quoted in the state news agency as saying the military was doing all it could to secure the girls' release.
"No matter the criticisms, the Nigerian Armed Forces will continue to do what it had sworn to do," he said. "You are aware that we have international partners working with us to release our girls and our girls will be released."
Thirty-one security personnel were killed in an attack by heavily armed Boko Haram militants in the town of Buni Yadi on Monday.
Watch video below:
"You talk about mentors. I'm not saying youths cannot do certain jobs. anybody from the age of 25 and above can do any job. I remember when Rivers state was created, I was a Rivers man before Bayelsa state was created. The first Rivers state Military Governor Diete Spiff was about 28years old when he was appointed the military Governor of Rivers state. Gowon when he became Head of State was about 33years old so my Governor and the Head of State were youths but they worked with elders because I remember the cabinet members of Rivers state then were very matured people working with Diete Spiff and that is why I remember one of our elders, Maitama Sule when he was speaking at the University of Port Harcourt, made the statement that young breed without the old breed will breed greed so you must mix. The best person to take care of a child may not be a child so you need somebody with some level of experience to mentor the youths. You cannot leave the teenagers there to get into the youth age before you mentor them. Start from them and the first person to mentor a young person is someone that has made some mistakes. Let us say a young lady, while in secondary school have affairs with a man and gets pregnant and had complications and couldn't graduate when her colleagues graduated. Along the line, she finds her path and goes back to the secondary school, completes her University. She can tell another young girl look this is my experience. Please don't go that way, see this is my experience. So a Minister of Youth development can be a very young person, anybody of 25years and above can manage that but the key thing is that in the cabinet we have only one youth.
There is nothing wrong in making a 30-33 years a Minister of Petroleum or Finance if you are competent."