Sunday, 24 September 2017

Lagos Chief Imam Garuba Akinbola is dead

The Chief Imam of Lagos, Garuba Ibrahim Akinola died Sunday evening at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. He was 80. 

According to reports Akinola had been on admission for an undisclosed ailment.

The late cleric will be buried on Monday according to Islamic rites.

Akintola once worked with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc.

Pair of Adolf Hitler’s underpants sell for £5,000 at auction in US

A pair of Adolf Hitler's underpants has fetched £5,000 at auction in the United States.

The 'surprisingly large' drawers, which have a 39-inch waist and are initialled 'A.H.', were left behind in a suite at the luxury Parkhotel Graz in Austria after the dictator stayed there in April 1938. 

The country had been annexed by Nazi Germany less than a month earlier.

Auctioneer Bill Panagopulos said he believed the underwear would have been sent to the hotel's laundry department - then returned after Hitler and his entourage had checked out.

The seller was the grandson of the hotel's owners at the time. 

Mr Panagopulos, who owns Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, where the 19-inch long white linen shorts sold for $6,737 (£4,991) to a private buyer, said they were in 'pristine' condition.

He added: 'People tend to either buy fearsome Hitler memorabilia, or things that make him look like a buffoon. such as this. To minimise a monster, you make people laugh at him.

'We've sold underwear belonging to Eva Braun, who was Hitler's wife, before, but never any belonging to Hitler himself. I think this is the first pair to come to market.

'They were retained in the family who owned the hotel, which is very prestigious, for almost 80 years, and when we got them they were wrapped in tissue paper in a box. They were as clean as if they had just come back from the cleaners.
'It's a fascinating thing. It's as close as you can get to Adolf Hitler, literally.'

Mr Panagopulos, 58, who ruled out selling the shorts to any member of the political far right before the auction, added: 'I imagine the buyer would probably frame the shorts. It would be the most talked about relic in the house.'

Hitler stayed in the hotel a week before Germany's earlier annexation of Austria was put to the Austrian people for ratification - and received 99.7% support, and Mr Panagopulos believes Hitler was touring the country ahead of the vote.

The item's description read: 'A monogrammed pair of Adolf Hitler's striped white linen under shorts. The shorts are surprisingly large - 19-inches long, with a waist of about 39 inches.

'There is a single button fly with another button closing the drawers at top, and two tabs adjust the size at the rear of the waist band. 

'There are also two pairs of loops sewn on either side of the front of the waist band, whose purpose must have been to support the drawers in some fashion, probably fastening to the pants.

'It is no secret, of course, that Hitler was in general an atrocious dresser and preferred the loosest clothing, according to his valet, Karl Wilhelm Krause.

'The shorts bear his monogram 'A. H.' just to the right of the top of the fly. In as-new condition. They are accompanied by a notarized letter of provenance directly from our consignor. 

'In the letter, he explains that he is the grandson of the previous owners of the Parkhotel Graz, Austria, where Hitler stayed April 3-4, 1938 while traveling through the country, and that these items were left behind in his suite.'

Daily Mail

Catalan separatists take to the streets ahead of referendum

Demonstrators calling for Catalan independence gathered in hundreds of towns across the region on Sunday following Madrid’s actions last week to try to block a referendum on self rule that it considers illegal.

Spanish police have arrested Catalan officials who were involved in organizing the Oct. 1 vote and they also seized electoral material, including ballot papers and ballot boxes. This led to several days of protests in Barcelona.

But Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalan regional government, has said the referendum will go ahead.

Several thousand protesters gathered in central Barcelona on Sunday chanting “We will vote!” and handing out ballot papers. The crowds began whistling and booing a police helicopter during speeches by the protest organizers, showing growing anger among the referendum supporters about the increased police presence.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 state police officers from other regions of Spain have arrived or are on their way to Catalonia.

“We feel occupied by the Spanish police,” 56-year-old interior designer Nuria Gimenez said. “We’ve been protesting for 10 years, we’re not going to stop now with one week to go. We need to keep going until the end.”

On Saturday, the state prosecutor in Catalonia told all local and national police forces they would be placed temporarily under a single chain of command and report directly to the interior ministry in Madrid.

The Catalan government initially said it would refuse the order, though the head of the Catalan regional police, known as the Mossos d‘Esquadra, later said he would comply with prosecutors.

Speaking to the crowd in Barcelona, president of the Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell said that separatists must resist “provocations” by the central government.

“They see violence in Catalonia. There has been none, nor will there be. We are a peaceful people and all we want is to exercise our rights,” Forcadell said.

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia’s 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.


Germany election: Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term while nationalists have made a historic breakthrough in federal elections, exit polls suggest.

Her conservative CDU/CSU alliance is set to remain the largest party in the parliament, with 32.5% of the vote.

Its outgoing coalition partner, the social democratic SPD, says it will go into opposition after winning 20%.

The nationalist AfD is on track to become the third party, with 13.5%.

The performance, better than forecast in opinion polls, means the right-wing party will have seats in the Bundestag for the first time.

Dozens of protesters have gathered outside the party's headquarters in Berlin, some with placards saying "Refugees are welcome".

While her alliance has remained the largest party, the numbers, if confirmed, are the worst result for the alliance between the Christian Democrat (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) under Mrs Merkel's leadership.

Read more on BBC

Zimbabwean Activist Pastor Arrested for Criticizing Mugabe Government

Zimbabwean police arrested activist pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag movement as he stepped down from his pulpit, accusing him of subversion for a series of social media posts that charged Robert Mugabe’s government had wrecked the economy, his lawyer told Reuters on Sunday.

Lawyer Harrison Nkomo said Mawarire was arrested and charged with subversion, which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment, for a Facebook video he posted on Saturday lambasting the government over its economic policies.

Over the last few days, shortages of basic goods and fuel have started to emerge, resulting in panic buying by consumers. Prices of imported products are also going up, which businesses blame on shortages of foreign exchange.

Mawarire has been at the heart of a protest movement against Mugabe’s 37-year rule. In 2016, he led a stay-at-home demonstration that resulted in the first of his now three arrests for what the state says are attempts to overthrow the government.

Mawarire was already due to face charges of subversion over the 2016 protests at a High Court trial on Monday.

“He is due to appear in court tomorrow on subversion charges emanating from last year. So we really don’t know how the state will proceed,” said Nkomo.

Justice and police officials did not respond to requests for information on the arrest.

A statement on the website of the United States embassy published on Friday said it would be monitoring the pastor’s trial, and called for “an end to arbitrary arrests and intimidation for political purposes.”

Mugabe, 92, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has come under mounting pressure from angry Zimbabweans, as well as his war veterans allies, who last year rebuked him as a manipulative dictator and called for him to step down.


Lufthansa seen offering to pay 200 million euros for Air Berlin assets: source

A Lufthansa bid price of 200 million euros ($239 million) to buy assets from insolvent Air Berlin plus 100 million euros to meet operating costs is roughly correct, a source familiar with the talks said on Sunday.

The newspaper Bild am Sonntag earlier reported the figures, citing sources close to the proceedings.

The newspaper said that there could be three months between signing a purchasing contract and implementing the transaction because German and European competition authorities would need to vet any deal.

After it filed for insolvency last month the Berlin government granted Air Berlin a 150-million-euro bridging loan to keep the airline flying for three months.

On Thursday Air Berlin's creditor committee said it would talk to Lufthansa and Britain's easyJet as possible buyers for the carrier's assets, giving three weeks for negotiations.

The source told Reuters that slots at Duesseldorf airport are among the assets that Lufthansa and easyJet both want.

Sources familiar with the matter said last week that Lufthansa was bidding a three-digit-million sum with the offer covering parts of Air Berlin, its leisure subsidiary Niki and regional unit Luftfahrt Gesellschaft Walter.

Lufthansa itself has only said it has made an offer for parts of Air Berlin. ($1 = 0.8367 euros)


We don’t see IPOB as terrorist organisation – US

The United States Government has said it does not consider the Indigenous People of Biafra a terrorist organisation.

Last week, the Federal High Court in Abuja gave a judicial backing the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing the group and its activities in the country.

The court granted the order to proscribe the group on Wednesday.

It declared that the activities of the group constituted acts of terrorism.

The Federal Government also accused France and the United Kingdom of aiding IPOB activities.

The spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday that the US government does not view IPOB as a terrorist group.

He said this in response to our correspondent’s email which asked if the United States sees IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

Brooks stated further that the US was committed to Nigeria’s unity and would support a peaceful resolution of any crisis in the country.

He said, “The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity.  Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.

“Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances.  The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law.”

The US embassy, however, declined to comment on whether the Federal Government had asked it to treat IPOB as a terrorist organisation and to block money sent to IPOB from the US.

Brooks also did not state the US’ position on the agitation for a Biafran state.

Speaking after the court judgment last week, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the Federal Government would proceed to gazette the order proscribing the group.

Real estate market forecast to grow 10% here in 2018

The Chicago-area housing market should gain some strength in 2018, an economist told a suburban real estate association yesterday, but there's a "but." 

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, forecast a 10 percent increase in volume in 2018, based on growth in both the number of homes sold and the prices of those homes, in his address to the Main Street Organization of Realtors. The group, which has about 18,000 members in the suburban counties, met in Elk Grove Village for the speech. 

The uncertain financial condition of the state of Illinois is the one factor that could dampen the market, Yun said both in his speech and in an interview afterward. The uncertainty over what the tax burden will be in the future would have two effects that could restart demand for housing: More people would leave the state, and fewer new jobs would be created. "The gridlock that has occurred (in Springfield) could definitely hold buyers back," Yun said. 

Even so, he said, the Chicago area is already benefiting from job growth. The number of jobs here has grown to about 2 percent above the pre-bust peak. It is "lagging behind the rest of the country," Yun said, "but I see no reason that jobs creation wouldn't continue in 2018." The question is whether at a fast rate or a Springfield-impaired medium-fast rate.

On the heels of the Federal Reserve's announcement that it will end its quantitative easing policy that has helped keep interest rates at epochal lows, Yun said he expects the prevailing rate on a 30-year mortgage, which is now at about 3.8 percent, to hit 5 percent by late 2018. While that will nudge some buyers out of the market in high-priced areas like Seattle and Portland, in lower-priced Chicago, "you can absorb it."

Chicago Business 

History beckons for Merkel in German election

Polling stations have opened across Germany in an election that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel win a historic fourth term and a far-right party enter parliament for the first time in more than half a century.

Some 61.5 million people are eligible to cast their ballots in the election in which Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) are expected to post a commanding lead over their centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) rivals.

Merkel’s conservative bloc is on track to remain the largest group in parliament, opinion polls indicated, but a fracturing of the political landscape may well make it harder for her to form a ruling coalition than previously. With as many as a third of Germans undecided in the run-up to the election, Merkel and her main rival, centre-left challenger Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), urged them to get out and vote.

“We want to boost your motivation so that we can still reach many, many people,” the chancellor, 63, said in Berlin on Saturday before heading north to her constituency for a final round of campaigning.

n regional votes last year, Merkel’s conservatives suffered setbacks to the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which profited from resentment at her 2015 decision to leave German borders open to over one million migrants. Those setbacks made 

Merkel, a pastor’s daughter who grew up in Communist East Germany, wonder if she should even run for re-election.

But with the migrant issue under control this year, she has bounced back and thrown herself into a punishing campaign schedule, presenting herself as an anchor of stability in an uncertain world

Visibly happier, Merkel campaigned with renewed conviction: a resolve to retool the economy for the digital age, to head off future migrant crises, and to defend a Western order shaken by Donald Trump’s US election victory last November.

Both Merkel and Schulz worry that a low turnout could work in favour of smaller parties, especially the AfD. On Friday, Schulz described the AfD as “gravediggers of democracy”.

An INSA poll published by Bild newspaper on Saturday suggested that support was slipping for Merkel’s conservatives, who dropped two percentage points to 34 per cent, and the SPD, down one point to 21 per cent — both now joined in an unwieldy “grand coalition”.

The anti-immigrant AfD rose two points to 13 per cent, putting it on course to be the third-largest party.

Should she win a fourth term, Merkel will join the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany’s rebirth after World War II, as the only post-war chancellors to win four national elections. The AfD’s expected entry into the national parliament is likely to herald an era of more robust debate in German politics — a departure from the steady, consensus-based approach that has marked the post-war period.


Trump Cranks Up North Korea Threats As Pyongyang Holds Anti-U.S. Rally

U.S. President Donald Trump dialled up the rhetoric against North Korea again at the weekend, warning the country’s foreign minister that he and leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer”, as Pyongyang staged a major anti-U.S. rally.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Pyongyang’s leader a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump said on Twitter late on Saturday.
Trump and Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States – something Trump has vowed to prevent.
Analysts say the escalation in rhetoric is increasing the risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other that could have massive repercussions.
North Korea’s state-run television KRT aired a video on Sunday showing tens of thousands of people attending an anti-U.S. rally at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang.
The North’s official KCNA news agency said more than 100,000 people gathered for the rally on Saturday and delivered speeches supporting comments made by Kim earlier in the week.
“We are waiting for the right time to have a final battle with the U.S., the evil empire, and to remove the U.S. from the world,” KCNA quoted Ri Il-bae, a commanding officer of the Red Guards, as saying. “Once respected Supreme commander Kim Jong Un gives an order, we will annihilate the group of aggressors.”
In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim described Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” whom he would tame with fire.
Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear programme was “the correct path”.
Kim’s comments came after Trump threatened in his maiden UN address on Thursday to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people.
It was not clear from Trump’s latest tweet if he was referring to Ri and Kim, or North Korea more broadly.
North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb test on Sept. 3, prompting another round of U.N. sanctions. Pyongyang said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
“It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (North Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces,” Ri told the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force the Pentagon said indicated the range of military options available to Trump.
The U.S. bombers’ flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber had flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said.
The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its previous one. [L4N1M409X]
The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.
The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

Emem Isong honored by Governor Emmanuel at Akwa Ibom 30th Anniversary | Photos

Film Producer Emem Isong receiving her award from the governor of her state Akwa Ibom, Mr Udom Emmanuel and former governor of the same state, Senator Godswill Akpabio during the 30th anniversary celebration of Akwa Ibom state creation on Saturday (September 23) in Uyo, the state capital.

''It feels good when it comes from home. Thank you Akwa Ibom State Government for honoring me. Receiving my award from his Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State @mrudomemmanuel and the Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio. #akwaibom@30 #excellenceaward,'' she captioned the above photo.

Kanye West Treats Daughter North To Movie Screening In Los Angeles

Kanye West holds his four-year-old daughter North West’s hand as they head to father-daughter movie night on Saturday (September 23) in Los Angeles, California.

The pair had apparently stepped out to see Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, with the 40-year-old rapper seemingly not as excited for the viewing as his young daughter.

Man United bid to identify fans who chanted Lukaku song

Manchester United have asked for CCTV footage to help identify fans who ignored pleas not to chant a controversial song about Romelu Lukaku in the club's 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

United and Lukaku both requested supporters to refrain from repeating the chant after it was described last week as "racist" by anti-discrimination body Kick It Out.

But the song was again heard from some sections of United's away supports along with another chant of: "We're Manchester United, we'll sing what we want".

After the game, United released a statement saying they would seek out supporters who "disrespected" Lukaku's request not to sing the song.

"Manchester United has a zero-tolerance stance on offensive chanting and behaviour," the club said.

"The club and player have been clear in asking for an end to the chant.

"The club is in discussion with the police and has asked for CCTV footage from Southampton and will try to identify those who disrespected the player's wishes not to sing the song."


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Why Jose Mourinho was sent off in Manchester United’s win over Southampton

Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Southampton after bizarrely grabbing the fourth official on the touchline.

In the closing stages of the game at St Mary’s, the United manager was constantly encroaching on the pitch as he attempted to organise his players.

Mourinho then wrapped his arms around the fourth official, Mike Jones, who had called over the referee Craig Pawson.

The United boss was sent off for his animated antics, and he made his way from the dugout without arguing and shook hands with Southampton’s coaching staff.

Mourinho also got in Jones’ way as the fourth official held up the board to signal the arrival of substitute Charlie Austin.

When asked about the incident after the match, Mourinho replied: ‘I don’t know, Craig told me to leave, so I left.

Asked if he clashed with the assistant referee, Mourinho said: ‘No – with the fourth official.’


Two Days After World's Richest Woman Dies, Her Estate Gains $1 Billion

Liliane Bettencourt, the French heiress of cosmetics giant L’Oréal, died on Wednesday at age 94. News of her passing was first reported the following day. On Friday, the company’s stock rose 2.5%, increasing the value of her estate by nearly $1 billion.

In a statement provided to The Guardian, Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, said that she “left peacefully,” though the cause of death was not made public. At the time of her passing she was the richest woman in the world, with an estimated net worth of $44.7 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire rankings.

Friday’s stock gain, which added $963 million to the value of Bettencourt’s shares, appears to have been triggered by speculation over L’Oréal’s future. Some analysts have suggested that Nestle, which already owns 23% of the company’s stock, may increase its stake. Nestle has been barred from raising its ownership interest until six months after Bettencourt’s death.

Investors have been bullish on L’Oréal for some time. The company’s share price has risen 88% in the last five years and hit a record high this past June. Prior to her death, Bettencourt and her heirs owned 33% of the business.

L’Oréal was founded in 1907 by Bettencourt’s father, Eugene Schueller. She was his sole heir. The business grew enormously over her lifetime; it now generates annual revenue of approximately $28.5 billion. L’Oréal’s portfolio of cosmetic and beauty brands includes Lancome, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Maybelline, Redken and Essie.

Famously publicity shy, Bettencourt was thrust into the spotlight in her later years by a series of legal battles. In 2011 a court found that her ailing mental state, caused by dementia, made her her unfit to preside over her own affairs. She was placed under the guardianship of her daughter and grandchildren and was supplanted on L’Oréal’s board by grandson Jean-Victor Meyers the following year. Then, in 2015, a court found eight people guilty of swindling Bettencourt out of millions of dollars.

Bettencourt is survived by her daughter, Francoise, her daughter’s husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers, and two grandsons.

Biafra: Don’t Condemn IPOB – Tinubu Tells Nigerians

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has said Nigerians should not condemn but listen and understand the agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

He said this while delivering the Keynote speech at the 2017 Annual Dinner of the King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA) at King’s College, Lagos.

The APC leader, who said the cry for separation had gained traction among average people due to the chronic failure of government to meet basic aspirations, however, warned against any attempt to split the country.

Tinubu noted that gargantuan challenges were facing the country but explained that they were not enough to call for the dismantling of the federation at a time some parts of the world were taking advantage of integration.

He said: “It is a rather curious lapse that a nation with such diversity as ours has not taken the time to give our legal marriage its proper functional underpinning. In other words, we all lined up to call ourselves Nigerian without gathering to discuss what it meant.

“Thus, we inhabit a nation that has not sufficiently defined its governance. We may be defined by political borders and boundaries but we have not glued ourselves to collective purpose and vision. Too many of us are born in Nigeria but not of it.

“Thus, our society is not a collective enterprise as important to each of us as our own personal endeavor. It is but a platform, an arena, to claim whatever one can by whatever means available. In too many ways we resemble a wrestling match instead of the nation we were ‎meant to become.

“Thus, we argue over matters that long ago should have been settled. The longer such fundamental questions fester, the more extreme become the proposed answers.

“Thus, we have people clamoring for secession in one part of the country and the murmur of such a course grows stronger in other sections.

“These other areas resent that some have advocated secession. Blame and recrimination become the political currency. Statesmanship falls in short supply. The dominant urge is to confront instead of reconcile.

“It would be wrong to mistake this for a tempest in a teapot. If not careful, we may be tossed about like a teapot in a tempest.

“We must listen to what is being said so that we can determine what is really meant.

“Let us be frank. Many who cry separation do so because their personal ambitions will 
be better served by such a thing. They believe they will have greater chance at political power under a different arrangement. Yet the cry for separation has gained traction among average people; this is due to the chronic failure of government to meet basic aspirations.

“If over the years, government had delivered on the promise of growth, prosperity, and justice, those calling for such extreme remedies would be but a small fringe of little consequence.

“Our task is not to condemn but to listen and understand. I care not at all for this proposed solution. But I dare not discount the concerns and problems that have led many people into advocating such a thing.

“Here, I want to plainly state my position. I am a firm believer in Nigeria. I believe this land will become a great nation and a leader among other African nations. We can resolve our dysfunctions in a manner that will make this nation rise as a standard of decency, justice and prosperity for all Nigerians.

“So many excellent people have devoted themselves, even given their very lives, to give life to this nation. I dare not cast aside their hardy and brave work as if it were nothing. Many things we now enjoy and see as good are due to these people. We have benefited from their labor and sacrifice.

“Being more pragmatic, separating the nation into small pieces resolves nothing and creates additional problems. The world marches toward integration. Europe, America, Asia seek trade and commercial pacts that will make them more integrated markets. 

Notwithstanding Brexit, the EU grows more integrated in the functions of governance by the day. Thus, while nations more powerful and developed than us seek to pool their wealth and might, some of us seek to whittle this nation into smaller pieces.

“Such a thing would make us more vulnerable to outside influences. We would forfeit our rightful place on the world stage and as a leader of this continent.

“Moreover, not every split solves a problem. The political mentality, either good or bad, that defined a group before the split will remain after the divide. If one is imbued with factionalism, that perspective will remain even when the immediate problem is surmounted. Division will manifest differently, but manifest it will.

“A new factional bigotry will arise to replace the old. The cycle of tension and unrest will take its inexorable toll. Just ask the people of South Sudan if their woes ended when they left Sudan.

“When your heart is geared toward division, you will seek it within a single tribe, even a single family. The gossamer of ethnic unity will be ripped apart by sub-ethnic squabble. An angry man outside his home remains angry inside it as well and a thief steals from both stranger and friend.

“Driven by such a mentality, even someone you once called your brother becomes a nuisance, then a burden, and ultimately your enemy in short order.

“Thus, I oppose talk of break-up and all other exotic political arrangements tantamount to it. That I am a foe of disunity does not mean I have blinded myself to the truth that our nation is in need of great repair.

“We all see the nation for what it is. Some look further to see the nation for what it is not and they rush to condemn it.

“I choose to see the nation for what it can be and thus seek to nurture and cultivate it so that this Nigeria may bring forth the fullest blossoming of its riches, resources and ingenuity of its diverse people.”

Spread of “drug-resistant malaria” in South-east Asia a global threat – Scientists

The rapid spread of “super malaria” in South-east Asia is an alarming global threat, scientists have warned.

This dangerous form of the malaria parasite cannot be tackled with existing anti-malaria drugs, the BBC reported on Saturday.

It emerged in Cambodia but has since spread through parts of Thailand, Laos and has arrived in Southern Vietnam.

The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable.

“It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further (and eventually) jump to Africa”, Arjen Dondorp, the head of the unit, told the BBC.

There is a red alert that malaria is becoming untreatable with the drug of choice, Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT), and the vector, mosquitoes, is becoming resistant to the recommended insecticide, pyrethroids, in more parts of the world.

A recent study carried out by scientists at the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Yaba, Lagos, revealed that mosquitoes in 18 states in Nigeria have developed resistance to the LLIN insecticide nets, with Lagos, Ogun and Niger state having the highest incidence of cases.

Other states where the resistance was also detected include Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Anambra, Enugu, Rivers, Ondo, Osun and Oyo state, with the outcome of the study identified as a major threat to the eradication of malaria in Nigeria by 2030.

The Nigerian national statistics showed that malaria accounts for 60 per cent of hospital out-patients visits, 25 per cent infant deaths, 30 per cent of under-five deaths and 11 per cent of maternal mortality annually.

Godwin Ntadom, Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme could not be reached on Saturday to shed more light on the development.

Davido Shares Shirtless Photo, Says ‘I’m Getting Chubby’

The “IF” singer Davido took to Instagram to share a hot shirtless photo of himself on Saturday afternoon along with the caption, “I’m getting chubby .. the money starting to show 😂😂😂”

Ferdinand: Liverpool ‘blessed’ to have Philippe Coutinho

Rio Ferdinand said Liverpool are blessed to have Philippe Coutinho after their 3-2 win at Leicester Cit on Saturday, scoring a free kick and claiming an assist. 

The 25-year-old Brazilian international was widely expected to leave Liverpool for Barcelona in the summer – a move he favoured – but three bids were rejected and he remains at Anfield.

Speaking shortly after the game as a pundit on BT Sport, Ferdinand said: ‘Coutinho has the X Factor. You saw moments in that game of pure brilliance, and he is a player Liverpool should feel blessed to have on their team. Liverpool have produced a miracle in keeping him, considering what was on offer in terms of his fee, and the personal terms we see in the media. He could have gone to a club to play alongside Messi and Suarez, and Liverpool have pulled off nothing short of a miracle. He creates moments that inspire not a team, but whole stadiums, and he does things which take your breath a

U.S. bombers fly off North Korea's coast in show of force

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday, in a show of force the Pentagon said demonstrated the range of military options available to President Donald Trump. 

The flight, which was disclosed shortly before North Korea’s foreign minister was due to address the United Nations, was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said. 

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea’s weapons program “a grave threat.” 

“We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”

The flight follows a week of heightened rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump and Kim Jong Un trading insults. Trump called the North Korean leader a 
“madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” 

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile. The North has threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. 

The Pentagon said the B-1B Lancer bombers came from Guam and the U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. It said the operation showed the seriousness with which it took North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”


Ronaldo is La Liga's most frustrated shooter

The Real Madrid star is not shy of having a go, but despite repeated attempts the ball just refuses to go in the net so far this season!

Cristiano Ronaldo is hardly renowned for passing up the chance to shoot whenever even half an opportunity arises.

His single-minded focus on scoring goals above all else has proved record-breakingly effective over a staggering career - at least until this season, that is.

In his second LaLiga match back from a five-game suspension, Ronaldo again failed to notch as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Deportivo Alaves courtesy of Dani Ceballos' double.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner was unsuccessful with each of his six shots, 
continuing his frustration from midweek when an incredible 12 attempts - 10 more than any of his team-mates - were not enough to break down a stubborn Real Betis.

Back-to-back blanks means the Portugal star has now unleashed 18 attempts in just two LaLiga games, the most of any player yet to score.

Ronaldo's frustration against Alaves was heightened by the intervention of the woodwork, which twice denied him a goal.

It was just the second time the superstar forward has suffered that fate for Madrid, with the previous two incidents coming away to Deportivo La Coruna in 2016 and at Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey earlier this year.

FG Uncovers IPOB’s Slush Account In Paris

Following intelligence reports, the federal government has located a slush account in Paris to which some Nigerians have made huge deposits in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

It has also uncovered how some IPOB members have invaded Nigerian embassies in Hong Kong and Spain and created some scenes in the last 72 hours.

The development, security sources said, was an indication of the desperation of IPOB and the justification for the proscription of the organisation.

But the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer on Friday met with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Although the outcome of the meeting between the two leaders was kept under wraps, Gauer was said to have reassured the federal government that France would not support any terrorist group.

It was learnt that the French government promised to take action as soon as the IPOB’s slush account was known to it.

A top security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Intelligence gathering has led to the discovery of an account in Paris into which some Nigerians in the Diaspora remit funds to support IPOB."

“From the said account, funds were being drawn for the activities of IPOB at home and abroad. The relevant security agencies did a thorough job and provided incontrovertible evidence on the basis of which the government proscribed the terrorist organisation."

“These Nigerians in the Diaspora are using France as a clearing house."

“Investigations also confirmed inflows into the account from Holland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore and other parts of Europe."

“In fact, a football tournament was recently organised in Senegal to raise funds for IPOB."

“As a matter of fact, the account is being used to get money from a lot of people in the Diaspora."

“What many Nigerians did not know is that the Minister of Information and Culture was talking on the basis of a credible intelligence report.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “With cooperation by the international community, especially relevant countries, we will soon get the list of all the people remitting funds into the account in Paris.”

But the government was also concerned that IPOB members were becoming desperate after the clampdown on the terrorist group.

The source said: “IPOB members are becoming desperate in the last 72 hours. About two days ago, some members of the terrorist group breezed into our Embassy in Hong Kong under the pretence of renewing their passports but ended up staging a protest."

“The IPOB members also demonstrated at our embassy in Spain a few days ago.”

At press time, the details of the session between the French Ambassador and the Minister of Information and Culture were yet to be formally released.

But a source said: “The Ambassador actually told the minister that France would never condone the activities of any terrorist group, including IPOB.

“He recalled that France has always been at the receiving end of terrorists and so cannot under any circumstances back IPOB."

“He restated the determination of the French government to support any policy or initiative which will strengthen Nigeria’s unity."

“He actually made it known that his government will not back secessionist agitation in this country.”

On the account in Paris, the Ambassador was said to have told the minister that France was “not aware of the account, but Nigeria should make a formal report.”

The source said the minister also reiterated that he “never said that France was supporting IPOB because there is a robust relationship between France and Nigeria.

“We can never accuse France of collaborating with terrorists because it has been assisting us in tackling Boko Haram insurgency."

“France played a major role in setting up and managing the operation of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).”

The Nation

Proscription Order: IPOB sues Nigerian govt

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Friday prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the order of injunction proscribing the activities of the group.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, on Wednesday in Abuja, granted Federal Government an interim injunction proscribing activities of the group.

Kafarati granted the injunction in chambers after the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, had approached the court with an exparte motion urging the court to do so.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given written approval for the proscription of the group, pending legal process.

Governors of the Southeast states took the first step to ban the activities of the group after the military had declared it a militant terrorist group.

NAN reports that Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to IPOB, led Maxwell Okpara, Chinwe Umeche, Habila Turshak, P. M. Umegborogu and Augustine Ezeokeke to file the process on behalf of the group.

The motion, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/871/17 was brought pursuant to Section 6(6) (1) (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011.

It was also brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was listed as respondent.

The applicant averred that the grounds upon which the application was brought hinged on the fact that the Sept.20 exparte order made against it by the court was without jurisdiction.

The lead counsel said the order granted against the entity was unknown to law.

Ejiofor posited that there was clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the AGF’s affidavit evidence, pursuance to which the order was granted.

“The order is unconstitutional, as it was made in clear violation of constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self-determination.

“It also violated Article 20(1) of the Africa Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, now domesticated into our law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“It ran against the right to fair hearing, right to freedom of expression and the press.

“It further violated the right to peaceful assembly and association clearly provided for under sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Amended) 2011,’’ Ejiofor said.

According to him, a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an exparte application without hearing from the party against whom the order is made.

He submitted that the Indigenous People of Biafra who were majorly of Igbo extraction had no history of violence in exercising their right to self-determination.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra does not carry arms and has no history of arm struggle in the exercise of its constitutionally guaranteed right to self-determination.

“Prior and during the military invasion of the South Eastern states, IPOB members had never at any time resorted to arm struggle or engage in acts of violence capable of threatening national security.

Justice Binta Nyako of Federal High Court No 4 had in her ruling delivered on March 1 held that the Indigenous People of Biafra was not an unlawful organisation.”

Ejiofor further said that Justice Nyako’s decision still subsisted as it was not appealed against to be set aside by any appellate court.

NAN reports that the matter is yet to be assigned to any judge of the court.


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