Friday, 31 January 2014

British Mother ‘Poisoned’ To Death By Pot

Evangelical mother of three thought to be the first woman in Britain to die from marijuana ‘poisoning’ after smoking a cannabis cigarette in bed.
A mother-of-three is believed to have become the first woman in Britain to die directly from cannabis poisoning.

Gemma Moss, a 31-year-old churchgoer, collapsed in bed after smoking a cannabis cigarette that led her to have moderate to high levels of the class B drug in her system.

Tests of her vital organs found nothing wrong with them although it was suggested she might have suffered a cardiac arrest triggered by cannabis toxicity.

Miss Moss' death was registered as cannabis toxicity and a coroner recorded a verdict of death by cannabis abuse.

Deaths directly from cannabis are highly unusual. In 2004 a 36-year-old man from Pembrokeshire became the first person in the UK to die from cannabis toxicity.

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: "It is extremely rare and unusual for a coroner to rule death from cannabis abuse.

"In 40 years I have never come across deaths from cannabis alone. There have been cases where it has been combined with other drugs or alcohol.

"It has often been said that cannabis doesn't cause death. Users usually pass out before they can take enough cannabis to kill them.

"This case serves as a warning that cannabis can cause immense harm.

"Cannabis is known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Cannabis these days is designed to be much stronger than cannabis used in the sixties to meet demand of users who want a stronger hit."

Miss Moss, a devout Christian, had frequently used cannabis during her adult life but had stopped for two years before her death last October.

She started using it again to help her sleep after becoming depressed and anxious due to breaking up with her boyfriend.

An inquest heard Miss Moss smoked half a joint a night to help get her to sleep.

Her friend, Zara Hill, said she and Miss Moss smoked about £20-worth of cannabis together in the week before her death.

Miss Hill told police that Miss Moss smoked as much as £60 pounds-worth of the drug a week, although this was disputed by her family.

On the night of October 28 2013 Miss Moss, who had two sons, Tyler, 15, and Tessiah, eight, and a daughter, went to bed after rolling a joint.

She was found unresponsive in bed the following morning by Chloe Wilkinson, the girlfriend of Miss Moss' teenage son.

She summoned an ambulance to the flat in Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, but Miss Moss was pronounced dead at the scene.

Half of a joint was found underneath her body and a wrapper containing brown and green leaves of the class B drug was discovered in her handbag.

A post mortem examination revealed that there were no obvious signs of abnormality in Miss Moss' body.

But Dr Kudair Hussein, a pathologist, told the inquest in Bournemouth, that there were moderate to heavy levels of cannabinoids in her blood.

He said: "The physical examination and the examination of various organs including the heart and the liver showed no abnormality that could account for her death.

"The level of cannabinoids in the blood were 0.1 to 0.15 milligrams per litre, this is considered as moderate to heavy cannabis use.

"I looked through literature and it's well known that cannabis is of very low toxicity.

"But there are reports which say cannabis can be considered as a cause of death because it can induce a cardiac arrest."

Mr Sheriff Payne, the Bournemouth coroner, asked Dr Hussein: "You are satisfied it was the affects of cannabis that caused her death."

Dr Hussain replied: "Yes sir."

The inquest heard Miss Moss grew up in London but moved to Bournemouth about five years ago.

She was said to have changed her lifestyle and found faith since relocating to the south coast.

She regularly attended the evangelical Citygate Church in Bournemouth and was baptised there.

Her mother, Kim Furness, told the inquest her daughter struggled to sleep and had admitted that she had started smoking a "small amount" of cannabis at night.

Miss Furness said: "For years she smoked it [cannabis] every day.

"When she moved to Bournemouth she stopped for two years and then had a break up with her relationship and started again.

"It was one half of a joint to get to sleep. She never smoked in the day.

"She was really honest about cannabis because from where we come from its normal to smoke cannabis. She was trying to stop again.

"She rang me and said 'mum, I have just started again, I will stop but I needed half to get to sleep'.

"She said she would go to the doctors to get something to help her sleep to stop her doing it.

"She wasn't excessively smoking."

Detective Inspector Peter Little read a statement from Miss Hill.

She also said Miss Moss was stressed about her benefit money being stopped and because her son had been excluded from school.

In recording a verdict that Miss Moss died from drug abuse, Mr Payne said: "Gemma had been a long term user of cannabis.

"She suffered from depression and was on prescription drugs to try and deal with that although it would not appear she was taking them at the time of her death.

"She usually used it [cannabis] in the evenings to try and help her to get to sleep and did not use it in the day time.

"The post mortem could find no natural cause for her death.

"With the balance of probability that it is more likely than not that she died from the effects of cannabis"

Carolyn Stuart, coroner's officer, said: "It is very rare to have cannabis toxicity as a cause of death.

"She was a healthy 31-year-old woman who had nothing wrong with her."

Russell White, a leader at the Citygate Church, said: "Gemma was a good mother and brought up her children mainly on her own.

"She was full of fun and loved life and loved coming to church. She was a committed member of the church and brought her children along.

"I think she came from a difficult background but she I think she was clean to a large degree in terms of drugs.

"She is very much missed and her death was a real shock to us."

Miss Moss lived with her two sons but it is believed her daughter lived with her father in Jamaica.

In October 2013 Miss Moss posted on her Facebook page about how excited she was about travelling to the Caribbean to visit her daughter over Christmas.

By The Telegraph (UK)

LIVE: Justin Bieber is on board plane being searched at NJ airport

Click here below to watch live. Justin Bieber is on board plane being searched at NJ airport, sources tell
 ABC News

Police Crack Mysterious Disappearance of NNPC Staff, Murder Suspects In Court

Oh, how wicked this world is!!!
You can read more here from Saharareporter...
The Nigeria Police says it has successfully resolved the riddle surrounding the sudden and hitherto unexplained disappearance of Mr. Sylvester Emefiele, an employee of the Transformation Office of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and has arrested two men: 30-year old Timothy Abidemi Lekan, alias Leksit, and 41-year old Akinlade Taiwo.

Also under arrest is a witch-doctor, Saidi Babatunde from Osun State, who was implicated by the suspects for preparing criminal charms for them, the police said in a statement by spokesman Frank Mba

“On receiving this complaint through the Police email platform –, the Inspector-General of Police promptly ordered a discreet and comprehensive investigation into the case,” the statement said.

“Subsequently, detectives from the FSARS led by DCP Chris Ezike swung into action, and through systematic and high-level investigative technique, tracked down one Olaniyi Banjo, a 20-year old resident of Ilesa, Osun State, who bought the Blackberry phone of the deceased from one of the principal suspects, Akindele Taiwo. The sustained surveillance and investigative efforts of the police led to the arrest of the masterminds of the crime on 8thJune, 2013.”

The police further said that Lekan and Taiwo made very useful statements in connection with the disappearance, robbery and killing of Mr. Emefiele.

“The suspects equally led detectives to the scene of crime - a bush close to the Iddo Campus of the University of Abuja - where the abandoned and totally decomposed remains of the deceased, now mere skeletal parts, were recovered. A detailed forensic examination including DNA analysis has confirmed that the recovered remains were actually those of Mr. Sylvester Emefiele. Other personal effects of the deceased, including cash, ATM cards, Laptop, Blackberry phones, cheque books, personal apparels, etc were also recovered.”

The investigation revealed that on his way from Lagos to Abuja, the late Emefiele, in Giri, Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT boarded a Nissan Sunny Saloon Car driven by Taiwo who further picked his accomplice, Lekan, at about 8pm on 23rd September, 2012.

The unsuspecting passenger was subsequently subdued, led to the bush, and robbed.

“The suspects confirmed that they had earlier forced the deceased to disclose the Personal Identification Number of all his ATM cards which enabled them to make an initial withdrawal of N186,000 from his Zenith Bank, First Bank and GT-Bank accounts at Gwagwalada. On seeing that their victim still had an outstanding balance of over Eight Hundred thousand naira (N800,000.00), the robbers chose to kill Mr. Sylvester Emefiele by binding his wrists with twine and hitting his chest with their Talisman and other dangerous weapons until they were sure that their victim’s life had fizzled out. Thereafter, they continued making illicit withdrawals from the victim’s accounts until they were apprehended by the Police.”

Commending the investigating policemen, the Inspector-General of Police called on the public to be wary of the kind of vehicles they enter in order to avoid falling victim to hoodlums.  He also promised increased visibility of the Police on Nigeria’s highways through intensive vehicular patrols especially at nights.

Installation Of CCTV In Lagos - Who To Monitor?

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, top members of his executive counciland some senior journalists, penultimate witnessed  a public demonstration of the use of  1,200 security cameras CCTVs already deployed in Lagos State by the Federal Government.

The security demonstration was carried out with the aid of 27-screen video wall monitors
At the event, the recorded scene of an armed robbery incident at the Murtala Muhhammed International Airport, MMIA, last year was relayed on the video wall.

The gang of dare-devil armed robbers attacked a Bureau de Change, carting away huge sums of  money in both local and foreign currencies. The spell-bound audience  watched the video clips at the Command and Control Centre, Alausa.

Unknown to the armed robbers, security cameras otherwise called CCTV cameras installed at strategic places to monitor activities, clearly captured the robbery operation.

With this, the Police were able to close up on the criminals who were apprehended after some months of painstaking manhunt. The arrested criminals were later paraded before the public and newsmen.

The arrest of these daredevil robbers attest to the relevance of security cameras in monitoring, fighting and tracking down criminal activities in the society, especially in Lagos which is undoubtedly, the most populous state in Nigeria.

In 2009 the State government launched a pilot phase of the CCTV initiative. The solar powered CCTVs were introduced in three locations in the state – Falomo Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge and Eko Bridge. The project, which was aimed at checking the effectiveness of the concept, was adjudged successful.

The demonstration of the screen-video monitors was carried out by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Nike Animashaun, using the Lagos airport scene as a case study.

Ongoing activities at the airport, Agege Motor Road and Oshodi can be monitored through the security cameras. The screen could zoom in on individuals, number plates  and indeed anything.

The Director, Computer Services in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Debola Omoboya, in his presentation took the audience through the emergency telephony demo and how the state had been able to leverage on the emergency telephony infrastructure.

He demonstrated four key services namely, the emergency telephony system, the video surveillance system, the video conferencing system and the e-police system which is based on the call centre located in the Command Centre.

Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Adebiyi Mabadeje, at the event, said the State Government had concluded arrangements to add another 1,000 security cameras to the existing 1,200.

According to him, security equipments already deployed to the state include 1,000 plus surveillance cameras, 66 base-stations on CDMA technology, microwave links, normal telephony capacity network with 3G data capabilities. He added that the government had concluded plans to purchase 10, 000 additional handsets for use by the police, RRS, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Ambulance and Fire Service, among others.

Already, the cameras have been deployed in critical locations, such as Ikorodu Road, Oshodi, Agege Motor Road and Festac.  He further disclosed that 2,000 handsets had been given to members of the police and Rapid Response Squad, RRS.

A visibly elated Fashola said that his government was planning to expand existing camera and telephony infrastructure to support deployment of the additional cameras to effectively cover the entire state in a bid to make it safe and secure. The Governor was optimistic that with all these security equipments being put in place, there would be no hiding place for criminals in the state any more.

He explained that the demonstration was a follow up to what was started in 2008 when a pilot scheme was located in Lekki in with one camera. The demonstration, he said, was meant to show how far his administration had gone in spite of the many criticisms and doubts cast on the project.

“Now we have moved from a zero camera State to about 1,200 Camera State. How significant that is, some numbers would show us. We are now in a position where we are now on one camera to about 10 sq kilometers, so we are far behind other cities like New York and London, where they range between 200 and 450 cameras per Sq km, but we have moved from zero over 4000 Sq. kilometers and we have reduced that distance significantly. How did we do it, we have merged our cameras with the ones that the Federal Government installed, so we have taken all the feeds in here. We have moved from one small screen that you saw in Lekki to 27 screens that are collapsible in all forms either to one big wall, three screens and so on,” he explained.

“We followed that with house numbering, all of which are still work- in-progress and we realise that now that we could get police to move, but how do we call them? We moved from an 11 digit number to three digit number, 767 or 112 because we did not think people in trauma will remember an 11 digit number easily and how quickly you can contact the police or ambulance is the difference between what practitioners of disaster management call the golden hour,” he said.

Residents react

Reacting to the initiative, Akinloye Badmus, a civil engineer, lauded the governments for making efforts to secure lives and properties of Lagosians. He however called for regular maintenance of the facilities.
“What about the maintenance of those CCTV Cameras, who are those committed to operate and manage the system and the base of the circuit, are they real professionals with tested integrity? he asked.

A  civil servant who identified himself as Abiola Akeem simply retorted: “Nice one. Let’s hope that the National Biometric Database is finally implemented the way it ought to be! Without that, all the CCTV cameras in the world would be an exercise in futility.”
“But, sincerely, I wish the government a successful implementation because we shall be beneficiaries at the end of the day.

Mrs. Ngozi John, a trader, said she is not knowledgeable about the usefulness of CCTV cameras but said from her little understanding, the initiative could only work if there could be rapid response to crime scenes.

My Question is this:

Shouldn't the installation  also be done in the offices of Political office holders?

Why am asking this is the alarming rate of embezzlement in the Nigeria.

This is my own view about the whole it. Like they say ''Charity begins at home''

Why Mark Zuckerberg may be the richest 20 sometime soon

Mark Zuckerberg is making Bill Gates and the Google guys look like laggards.

With Facebook's huge run-up Thursday, Zuckerberg's wealth has shot up by more than $3 billion to $29.7 billion, according to Wealth-X. That's up from a net worth of $20 billion that he hit at Facebook's IPO in 2012. And his net worth has nearly tripled since those dark days of Facebook's post-IPO depression, when Zuckerberg was down to his last $10 billion.

Sure there are plenty of people who are richer than Zuckerberg, including the Google guys who are both worth more than $30 billion. And Bill Gates and Larry Ellison are still the overlords of tech wealth, with $75 billion and $42 billion respectively, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.

But Zuckerberg may be the richest 29-year-old American ever—even adjusted for inflation.

We don't know exactly what Gates was worth in 1984, when he was 29. But in March of 1986, when Microsoft went public, Gates' shares had a public value of around $234 million. Not bad for a 30-year-old. But in today's dollars, that would be around $500 million—not even enough to make the Forbes list.

As for Ellison, the first reports of his net worth started appearing in the late 1980s, when he was in his 40s and his net worth was put at around $400 million to $500 million.

Granted, there may be some inheritors throughout American history who may have—on an inflation-adjusted basis—been into the billions. But even John D. Rockefeller, Howard Hughes, the Astors and Waltons didn't have fortunes in their 20s equal to $29 billion today.

It proves once again that the speed of wealth creation today—along with the scale—has never been greater. Someday, perhaps another 20-something will even surpass Zuckerberg's record.

As for the Google guys, they weren't official billionaires until 2004. Larry Page and Sergey Brin debuted on the Forbes list that year with $1 billion each. By that time, both Page and Brin were 30.

Of course, after the Google IPO that same year, they soared well past $1 billion each.

As for Ellison, the first reports of his net worth started appearing in the late 1980s, when he was in his 40s and his net worth was put at around $400 million to $500 million.

Granted, there may be some inheritors throughout American history who may have—on an inflation-adjusted basis—been into the billions. But even John D. Rockefeller, Howard Hughes, the Astors and Waltons didn't have fortunes in their 20s equal to $29 billion today.

It proves once again that the speed of wealth creation today—along with the scale—has never been greater. Someday, perhaps another 20-something will even surpass Zuckerberg's record.

Ondo Immigration Service Raid And Make Arrests At 'Baby Factory' In Okit...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Baby Factory Discovered In Another State In Nigeria

Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) busted a 'baby factory' syndicate on Wednesday in Ilutuntun, Okitipupa local government area of the state.

During the raid Command officials were pelted with sticks and stones.

21 people were arrested, including pregnant women and nursing mothers, and five children were found in a building owned by Mrs. Happiness Ogundeji.

Ms. Ogundeji was arrested along with her husband, Mr. Abiodun Ogundeji.

It is alleged by the NIS they operated the baby factory for years.

Ondo State Controller of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Musa Alhassan said they were given a tip about the illegal child trafficking and adoption syndicate by Command headquarters in Abuja, following weeks of surveillance.

Mr. Alhassan added that Imo Command had been on the trail of the suspect for years after escaping to Ondo State.

Mrs. Ogundeji described the allegations against her as untrue and said she runs a herbal clinic, and those who were arrested were her patients and servants.

Ogundeji also said she had several businesses including dredging sand and construction companies in Imo, Rivers and Ondo State.

According to a sources the suspect owned the De-Choice Construction Company at Ore in Ondo State, andT three filling station in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Her husband, Mr. Abiodun Ogundeji said he is a civil engineer with Chevron in Rivers State and claimed no knowledge of his wife's 'baby factory' business saying her businesses are construction, oil and gas.

One of the people arrested discovered that nearly all of them were impregnated in Imo State and transferred to Ondo State.

The source futher said after giving birth, their babies were collected and taken away by 'madam,' and the whereabouts of their babies is unknown.

Many of the arrested people were unwilling to talk about the owner of the 'baby factory.'

The suspects and her victims have been transported to National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) office  in Lagos as at the time sending this report

U.S. to seek death penalty for accused Boston Marathon bomber

The United States will seek the death penalty for accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with planting homemade explosives devices that killed three people and wounded 264 at the Boston Marathon last year, the government's chief prosecutor said on Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that he was authorizing trial prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, who is charged with committing one of the largest attacks on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said. Holder had faced a Friday deadline for deciding whether to seek the death penalty as part of Tsarnaev's upcoming trial in Boston.

Government prosecutors said in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Boston that reasons for Holder's decision included that the killings were premeditated, cruel and that Tsarnaev had shown a lack of remorse.

"One way or another, based on the evidence, Tsarnaev will die in prison," Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said. A trial date has not yet been set for Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh reacted to Holder's announcement by saying he supported "the process that brought him to this decision," adding that his thoughts were with the victims of the bombing and their families.

"We stand together as one Boston in the face of evil and hatred," he said.


Prosecutors say that Tsarnaev, 20, and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan planted a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people - including an 8-year-old boy. The blast also wounded 264 others, many of whom lost limbs.

Three nights later, the ethnic Chechen brothers killed a university police officer and later engaged in a shootout with police that left Tamerlan dead, prosecutors say. Dzhokhar was later found hiding in a boat in which he scrawled several phrases, including "we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all", according to prosecutors.

Austin Sarat, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said the nature of the case probably left the Justice Department little choice but to seek a capital prosecution.

"If the harm is unusual, if the harm is dramatic, gruesome, and devastating, it is often very hard for any other factor to outweigh it," he said. "I'm not surprised by this decision."

Tsarnaev's attorneys have argued against a possible death sentence, in part because they claim he was following the lead of his older brother. They have also accused the government of throwing up unfair obstacles to hinder preparation of their client's defense, including seeking to rush the start of trial and not sharing important evidence.

Tsarnaev's defense attorney Miriam Conrad declined to comment on Holder's decision on Thursday.

Holder has said that he is not a proponent of the death penalty because he believes its value as a deterrent is questionable, but since becoming attorney general in 2009, he has authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty in 36 cases, according to the Justice Department.

Legal experts said that if Tsarnaev is convicted, the jury would ultimately decide whether to apply the death penalty or a lesser sentence like life in prison.


Holder's decision immediately drew fire from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which pointed out the case would be prosecuted in a state that had scrapped the death penalty decades ago.

A Boston Globe survey found last year that 57 percent of Boston residents favored life in prison for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted, with 33 percent in favor of execution.

"I wish federal officials would have respected the clear wishes of the people of Massachusetts, who were on the front lines in this tragic event," Carol Rose, the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said.

Only three people have been executed as the result of a federal capital case since 1988, when the United States reinstated the federal death penalty, including Oklahoma City federal building bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001.

"This development will ensure that many of the victims feel like they are getting justice, but it will also extend and complicate the prosecution and dramatically increase the cost to taxpayers," said Steve Huggard, a former federal prosecutor who is now Boston-based partner at Edwards Wildman.

"This case now could easily last a decade."

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard as well as Krystle Campbell, 29, and Chinese national Lu Lingzi, 23. Tsarnaev is also accused in the shooting death of Sean Collier, 27, the university police officer.

A spokesman for Richard's family said the family did not want to comment. Efforts to reach the families of the other victims were not immediately successful.

A trial date for Tsarnaev has not yet been set.


7 Scary Things That Could Happen After A North Korean Collapse

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands as he visits the revolutionary battle site in Mt. Madu in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on January 23, 2014.

A report recently released by the RAND Corporation highlights a series of unfortunate events that could follow if North Korea, already on unsteady footing, were suddenly to collapse.

The risk of a collapse has been growing in North Korea ever since Kim Jong-un took power back in December 2011.

As Dr. Bruce W. Bennet, a North Korea security expert of RAND, notes:

Given that Kim Jong-un in two years has turned over the North Korean military leadership as many times as his father did in 17 years, there is now more concern that Kim Jong-un could become the target of an assassination or coup by senior military personnel. Many of these personnel already likely fear for their future and the future of their families, given North Korean brutality.

 We have summarized some of the alarming possibilities mentioned in the RAND report:

1. Competition between rival factions in North Korea could lead to warlordism.

The North Korean regime encourages competition among its secondary rank of generals. There is already fear that this competition is causing the military to divide into factions. If Kim Jong-un was suddenly deposed, the country could be split into hostile military zones. Some territories could also see all out anarchy on the rise, similar to Somalia's current situation.

2. Food hoarding and an even worse humanitarian situation could become the norm.

The sudden collapse of the state could lead to the currency completely failing. If this was the case, many North Korean elites could take to hoarding food in an attempt to recreate their former wealth. This would likely trigger massive famines throughout the country.

3. A new, equally tyrannical, military regime could come to power.

It is impossible to say who could seize control of North Korea if Kim was suddenly out of power. It is likely, though, that whoever would manage to seize power would be just as brutal as Kim was.

4. A South Korean push for reunification could lead to increased organized crime.

If anarchy was ruling in the north, South Korea could see it as the perfect opportunity to strike in the name of reunification. If successful, South Korea would trade one major problem for another. The North Korean army stands at 1 million people who would need to be reintegrated into civil society. Failure to do so could lead to a rise in insurgency and organized crime. The country is, after all, already one of the world's meth hubs.

5. WMDs and nuclear scientists could proliferate to terrorists.

Unlike Iraq, North Korea absolutely has WMDs. If they are not contained immediately after the government falls, they may be sold to the black market and be lost.

6. China could end up in military conflict with South Korea and the United States.

Some within the military in China already have plans to establish a 50 - 100 km buffer zone in North Korea should the regime fall. More warmongering elements within the Chinese military could push for the creation of an entire buffer state, which would lead to military conflict with South Korean and US unification attempts.

7. North Korea could be partitioned into hostile sections, like Germany after WWII.

If an agreement is not made between South Korea and China, both countries may end up seizing as much of North Korea as possible. Instead of going to war, they could instead partition the country and create another demilitarized zone, basically just prolonging the current Korean crisis.

In a report like this, it is hard to find a silver lining. We can only hope that, should this come to pass, Bennet's observations can lead to an increased state of preparedness which could ease any future transitions in the region.

KCNA KCNA / Reuters

UPDATE: Justin Bieber Surrenders to Toronto Police on Assault Charge

Justin Bieber is in trouble yet again - this time in his native Canada. The pop star, who was arrested last week for alleged DUI in Miami, surrendered to police in Toronto Wednesday evening in connection with an alleged assault on a limo driver back in December.

Bieber arrived at the station amid a throng of fans, photographers and reporters, pushing his way past as fans screamed their admiration for the 19-year-old Canadian. He stayed for more than 90 minutes, then exited out a back entrance, skipping the crowd that had gathered.

According to Toronto police, Bieber went to a hockey game on Dec. 29 at the Air Canada Centre, then later that night police were called to the area and began investigating whether it was the singer or a member of his entourage who was involved in the assault.

White House Must Address Petition to Deport Justin Bieber

The Toronto police said in a statement that "on Monday, December 30, 2013 at approximately 2:50 a.m., a limousine picked up a group of six people outside a nightclub in the Peter Street and Adelaide Street West area. While driving the group to a hotel, an altercation occurred between one of the passengers and the driver of the limousine. In the course of the altercation, a man struck the limousine driver on the back of the head several times."

Police said the driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police.

"The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived. On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Justin Bieber, 19, of Calabasas, California, surrendered to police at 52 Division. He is facing the following charge: assault."

The singer is set to appear in court at Old City Hall on Monday, March 10, 2014, 11 a.m.

This was posted on Bieber's Instagram account minutes before he arrived at the Toronto police station:

Bieber's attorney says he expects the singer's Canadian assault case to be treated as a low-level offense and says his client is innocent, the Associated Press reported. Bieber's California-based attorney Howard Weitzman released the statement Wednesday after the pop singer turned himself in to Toronto police.

Weitzman declined to comment on the allegations his client faces or any potential defense, saying it was now a matter for the court to handle. The attorney says in a statement that Bieber's legal team expects the case to be treated as a summary offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States, the AP reported.

Bieber's record label, Def Jam, also released a similar statement.

Following his meeting with police, Bieber again took to Instagram, posting a close-up shot. The photo shots Bieber clad in a black jacket and backwards cap, looking into the camera. The post is tagged with one word: "confident," coinciding with the name of his latest music video.

Bieber was arrested Jan. 23 after leaving a Miami Beach club, accused of drag racing and DUI. Earlier Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

The singer spent the night in jail then appeared in a Miami courtroom, where the judge set bail at $2,500 and Bieber was later released.

He exited the courthouse a short time later, jumped up on a car and waved to a throng of fans as he left.

Bieber's troubles with police don't end there.

Related: White House Must Address Petition to Deport Justin Bieber

On Jan. 14, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at Bieber's home for an investigation into alleged felony vandalism at his neighbor's house, involving an egging incident.

One of Bieber's entourage, Lil Za, was arrested for drugs during the search, but Bieber was not charged with any crime. The investigation is ongoing.
Source ABC News

Study: Women most attracted to guys in trucks

If you find yourself without a date this Valentine’s Day, maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s your car.

According to a new survey by, women say that attractive men tend to drive black Ford pickup trucks. Men report that attractive women drive red BMW sports cars.

The survey of 2,000 men and women asked what type, brand and color of vehicle are driven by the most fetching members of the opposite sex.

Women ranked these styles as cars that attractive men drive:

• Pickup trucks: 32%
• Sports cars: 27%
• SUVs: 16%
• Sedans: 11%
• Hybrid or electric: 9%
• UPS truck: 4%
• Minivans: 2%
• Mail truck: 1%

The top brands of car for attractive men, as ranked by women, were Ford (16%), Chevrolet (13%) and Porsche (11%).  Women overwhelmingly point to black (53%) as the color of cars driven by good-looking men, followed by silver (16%) and red (13%).

Here’s how men ranked car types for attractive women:

• Sports cars: 39%
• Sedans: 22%
• SUVs: 20%
• Pickup trucks: 10%
• Hybrid or electric vehicle: 6%
• Minivans: 4%

Men envision desirable gals in BMWs (16%), Mercedes-Benzes (14%) and Porsches (10%). The top car colors for attractive women were red (40%), black (23%) and silver (14%).

So true
What cars do attractive people drive?To test the merits of the survey's findings, we turned to experts at some of the leading automotive websites and automakers.

"The findings strike me as very accurate," says Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of Chicago-based "Among the general public, a black pickup truck is a reflection of a masculine owner. A woman walks up to a black pickup truck and says to herself, 'Here's a guy who can help me move, bring me large gifts from Crate & Barrel and do repairs around my condo.'"

In addition, black vehicles in general are the most difficult to keep clean, Wiesenfelder adds. "If it's a clean black pickup, she might subconsciously be thinking to herself, 'This is a guy who can wash my car as well,'" he says.

As a reviewer of new vehicles, Wiesenfelder often slides behind the wheel of pickup trucks, so he's in a good position to judge the response. "That's when I find I have a lot more friends, and a lot more dates than I realized," he observes.

Wiesenfelder thinks there a several factors at play in the choice of red BMW sports car for women. First, the BMW is a luxury car, so it suggests the owner has a disposable income. "As a single man, that's attractive to me," he says. "I don't want to carry the entire relationship."

BMWs are also known for performance, he observes. They feature quick and very responsive handling. That indicates a woman accustomed to hairpin turns, who would not accuse him of driving like a maniac should he take the wheel of her BMW and test it on a long winding highway.

"There's nothing worse than a woman with motion sickness," he says.

The expert view
At Santa Monica, Calif.-based, automotive editor Mike Magrath and senior analyst Jessica Caldwell also view the survey results as plausible, if not scientifically accurate.

Magrath observes that "there's just something about a truck, and it doesn't matter whether you're in Santa Monica or San Antonio. It's rugged, but it's still a guy who's put together enough resources to buy one and keep it on the road."

"It makes sense,” says Caldwell. “It brings forth the image of the rugged tough guy.” But Caldwell also drops a hint about her own personal preferences. “Some women like a lot more cosmopolitan guy, driving a Range Rover or Tesla Model S."

Magrath has a quibble with the red BMW sports car’s top ranking, but mostly because of the color. "The red BMW is a little high maintenance for me," he observes. "A black or white BMW I can get behind. It's sporty, elegant, and it requires the investment of enough time and money to suggest the owner is someone successful."

Caldwell offers one more way to up the ante: When she drove a manual transmission, "that would be the first thing guys would comment upon, once they got in my car," she says.

Mailing it in
While mail trucks ranked last as a vehicle that attractive men drive, Caldwell points to “chick cars” as especially troublesome for male drivers.

“I would think twice about dating a guy driving a Volkswagen Beetle, or anything labeled a chick car," she says. "Telling your friends, 'Yeah, my new boyfriend drives a VW Beetle,' that would be very humiliating."
For women, green minivans are date-killers – men rank these last as vehicles that attractive women drive.

For more on the appeal of red BMWs, we turned to authority Alexandra ("Sandy") McGill, lead color, material and finish designer for BMW Group Designwork USA.

Labeling red "red hot," McGill reports that if a driver wants attention, he or she drives a car in red, which makes forms seem more voluminous. While men prefer warmer reds, women prefer cooler or violet-toned reds.

"Red has a visceral effect on the human body and psyche," she says. "Not only does red quickly catch the eye, it makes the pulse quicken, blood flow faster and increases adrenalin. Red is associated with athletics, energetic activities and fast speed. It is popular for sports cars, coupes and convertibles. More red cars are sold in the United States than anywhere else in the world."

And red exudes confidence. That makes it ideal for BMW, which McGill calls "an emotional car." BMW has 10 exterior red colors, including solids, metallics and a matte red, she says.

A logical purchase might be the all-new BMW 4-Series Coupe, available in Vermillion Red Metallic, which emphasizes the sporty qualities of the car.

Contrary to popular myth, red cars do not cost more to insure. However, sports cars are the most expensive vehicles to insure.’s car insurance discounts tool will help you save money no matter what car you drive.

Ford Motor Co. did not respond to a request for comment about the survey results.

The importance of a clean car
No matter what brand of car you own, Magrath says either gender can make their cars more appealing by taking good care of them. "How well a car is maintained is a determinant of attractiveness," he asserts. "Like the black Ford truck and the red BMW, it goes beyond simple conveyance. It says this woman cares about how she treats herself and how she maintains her possessions."

Wiesenfelder agrees that “if the car is well kept, there's a better chance the owner takes good care of him or herself."

These observations are supported by survey results. When asked what’s most important about a car belonging to the opposite sex, people say:

1.      That it is clean. (Women: 45%. Men: 43%.)
2.      That it is reliable. (Women: 37%. Men: 29%.)
Less important are:
3.      That it is interesting. (Women: 7%. Men: 12%.)
4.      That it is new or new-ish. (Women: 6%. Men: 9%.)
5.      That it is expensive. (Women: 4%. Men: 6%.)

Cigarettes and trash
Both genders are most turned off by vehicles with cigarette butts in the ashtray, according to survey results.

Women are less forgiving of bad music and loud exhaust. Men are more easily alarmed by political bumper stickers and car dents.

Auto-related turn-offs were:

• Cigarette butts in the ashtray. (Women: 23%. Men: 23%.)
• Trash on the seats. (Women: 22%. Men: 23%.)
• Playing bad loud music. (Women: 21%. Men: 16%.)
• Bumper stickers for political candidates. (Women: 9%. Men: 13 %.)
• Car dents. (Women: 6%. Men:  11%.)
• Loud exhaust. (Women: 14%. Men: 9%.)
• Pine tree air freshener. (Women:  5%. Men:  5%.)

Caldwell believes most folks are also put off by Hawaiian leis dangling from rear-view mirrors and backseats inhabited by stuffed animals.

The fact of the matter remains: Your persona is intrinsically linked in some way to the vehicle you drive. You may be able to leverage that to boost your odds of a date to the movies this Saturday night.
“Your car always reflects something about you,” says Wiesenfelder. “You don't always know what, but it must reflect something."

Survey methodology surveyed 2,000 licensed drivers age 18 and over, split evenly between men and women and divided across age groups and regions. The online-panel survey was fielded in December 2013.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Kyrgyzstan: Police Torture Gay Men

A Second Day Of Protest Over No Pay By Guaranty Trust Bank Vs Ondo State Industrials Workers

The industrial workers of Ondo State protested for a second day by shutting down bank branches in Akure after the Guaranty Trust Bank withheld their pay worth N700 million.

Workers mobilized other workers in the state to join their protest with many of them riding their personal vehicles in the streets of Akure, the capital of Ondo State, led by an 18 seater bus, and causing gridlock for several hours.

Supported by the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) Ondo State workers chanted songs of solidarity, blocked entrances to two bank branches in Akure using three waste disposal vans belonging to Ondo State Waste Management authority (OSWMA).

Attempts were made to dump the contents of the disposal vans on the floor of the banks but were stopped by security led by the Akure Area Commander, Mr. Edward Ajogun.

Workers chased bank staff out accusing them of stealing their money, turned away bank customers, and demanded the immediate payment of their salaries.

The two bank branches at the center of the protest are the new E-center of the bank located along Fiwasaye round-about, and the headquarters at Alagbaka road.

Customers who thought their money might not be saved besieged the bank to quickly withdrew their money upon hearing aboutTuesday’s protest but were barred from gaining access to the bank and its Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Workers allege Guaranty Trust Bank, without approval from the State Government, withheld their salaries of N700 million to defray loans.

They said not getting paid is causing them untold hardship with many of them claiming they don't have enough money for food, and they cannot pay for their children's tuition fees

The Special Adviser to the State Governor on union matters, Dayo Fadahunsi, who visited the scene, pleaded with the protesters with a promise that the government will look into the problem.

It was learned that the State Government and the Executive members of the bank are engaged in roundtable discussions.

Lets wait and see what the outcome be like as the State Government is involved,

Federal High Court Lagos Judge Issues Injunction Against Dana Airline

A Federal High Court Judge in Lagos today issued an injunction against Dana Airline restraining it from flying outside the country and the jurisdiction of the court.

The Mareva injunction issued by Judge Saidu, comes as part a lawsuit suing the airline for failure to compensate and resettle displaced victims affected by a crash.

On June 3, 2012 a Dana Airliner crashed in Iju-Ishaga area, a suburb of Lagos, killing 159 people.

The injunction restricts Dana Airline from taking any of its aircraft out of the country, and the jurisdiction of the court, for maintenance service, repair or flight operations pending the outcome of the lawsuit, without the courts permission.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Pastor Daniel Omowunmi, is the owner of a furniture and books warehouse that was destroyed in the crash.

Counsel to the businessman, Mr. Olumide Olaiya said seeking the injunction became necessary as the airline had become notorious for avoiding compensation to the victims.

He said it would prevent the airline from selling any of its aircraft before first taking care of Pastor Daniel's affected business.

"It is just like in the case of Sosoliso airlines, and our client would not have been protected,"  Mr. Olaiya said.

(Sosoliso airlines had a deadly crash on December 2005 when 110 people were killed.  The airlines' planes were grounded to ensure better service and safety.)

Pastor Daniel Omowunmi tried repeatedly to get damages from Dana Airline but with no result.  He protested at the airline's offices in Ikeja by locking them up to prevent operations.  The company called the police to stop him.

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) revealed the aircraft, Dana 0992, lost both its engines mid-air.  Although claims about what caused the plane to lose its engines were not revealed. Concerns have been raised about standards of safety and routine maintenance checks, particularly involving Nigerian domestic carriers.

Following the crash, the Lagos State Government took over three houses and a business premise without any aid to victims, and Dana Airline recovered its operating license in a short time.

INEC Chairman Jega Speaks On The 2015 Elections To SaharaTV

Breaking News: Deport Justin Bieber

A petition the White House must address against the comments made by Justice Bieber which the American people see as a threat to their safety and may as well has terrible influence on the future of the youths.

Read what the people have to say below:

After topping more than 100,000 signatures on "We the People," the White House is now obligated to respond to a petition to "Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card."

On all petitions, "We the People" states, "If a petition meets the signature threshold [in this case, 100,000], it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response."

The petition says about the Canadian pop star, "We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked."

It continues, "He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."

It was created Jan. 23, the same day news broke the Bieber, 19, was arrested for alleged DUI and drag racing.

The White House reviews and usually responds to petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days.

Today, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, commented on the petition, saying the petition website "doesn't always determine a step will be taken, it's more of another opportunity for the voices of the American people to be heard."

Since cancelling a visa would come under the State Department's jurisdiction, she continued: "We're getting down quite a rabbit hole here with Justin Bieber, but ... I will check and see what the visa implications would be for anybody who is found of possibly violating the law."

While most petitions are serious in nature, past petitions also include "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus being made the new National Anthem and the government constructing a Death Star to increase jobs.

With regards to the Death Star, the White House said it would cost $850,000,000,000,000,000 to make and thus, would not be moving forward with the proposition. You know the response to this Bieber deportation petition will be probably just as funny.


ACCA for International Students | ACCA Students | ACCA Global | ACCA Global

Thinking of coming to study in the UK? Take a look at this essential video, which explains step-by-step what you need to do to get here and start studying with ACCA.

Every year, students from all over the world arrive in the UK to study ACCA. We want you to have a smooth transition and ensure that your learning experience will be a positive one. This international student guide has been developed to support you as you begin your journey to qualify as a chartered certified accountant. You will find information on ACCA for international students, as well as our members and where we operate.

You can also access information related to your personal development, such as skills updates, employment advice and articles relevant to the profession. Watching the international student video will highlight a few things you need to do before you make arrangements to study in the UK, these include:

Coming to the UK

Step 1 Registering with a gold or platinum approved learning provider (ALP)

Step 2 Getting the correct visas by demonstrating a B2-level of English

Step 3 Ensuring you have funding to come into the UK

Step 4 Registering as a student with ACCA and obtaining the correct exemptions to pass onto your learning provider. This will ensure you study towards the right papers.

Before you arrive in the UK

Choose a licensed learning provider

Find and apply to a learning provider who is licensed for the course you want to study. Ensure that they are a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) and that they are a gold or platinum approved learning provider (ALP). A list of licenced institutions can be found on the Home Office UK Border Agency website.

Visa Requirements

Research visa requirements and ensure you have the necessary visas to enter the UK. To see what you need to do and learn about application options for your country, visit the Home Office UK Border Agency website.

Living in the UK

Research information about living in the UK – in particular banking, accommodation, transport, language and other essential information.

ACCA Tuition in the UK

If you are planning to study towards the ACCA Qualification in the UK then you must:

• Enrol with a learning provider who is licensed by the UK Border Agency with Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status

• Make sure this learning provider is accredited with ACCA under the Approved Learning Partner (ALP) programme with Platinum or Gold approval

• Obtain the correct visas

Working in the UK

Upon completion of ACCA studies in the UK, international students return to their home country to obtain the relevant work experience for ACCA membership.

ACCA does not place students into jobs or arrange work permits. It is your responsibility to gain appropriate work experience.

Career Prospects

Whatever stage you are at in your career planning, ACCA can help. We have a range of qualifications, relevant to all business sectors, to help you reach your career goals. For more information about a career in finance and accountancy visit the ACCA website.

Employability and Careers Guidance

If you live outside the UK you should ensure that you are entitled to work in the UK before you enquire about jobs.

Examples of Accountancy Jobs

Accounts Assistant

Financial Accountant

Finance Manager

Finance Director

Management Accountant

Financial Controller (FC)

Finance Analyst

Full List Of Defecting PDP Senators Released

Here is the  full list of 11 Senators that submitted a letter to Senate President David Mark today asking to defect to the opposition   All progressives Congress (APC) party.

The defecting senators are  as follows :
1. Senator Bukola Saraki-Kwara Central
2. Senator Umaru Dahiru-Sokoto South
3. Senator Magnus Ngei Abe -Rivers South-East
4. Senator Wilson Asinobi Ake-Rivers  West
5. Sen. Bindawa Muhammed Jibrilla-Adamawa North
6. Sen. Mohammed Danjuma Goje-Gombe central
7. Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan-Taraba North
8. Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume-Borno South
9. Senator Mohammed Shaba Lafiaji-Kwara North
10. Sen. Abdulahi Adamu-Nasarawa West
11. Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir-Sokoto East

Eleven Senators of The Peoples Democratic Party Defect To APC

Eleven Senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party this morning defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A formal letter to this effect has been delivered to Senate President David Mark and is expected to be read on the floor of the Senate this afternoon.

This is only the first installment of many other Senators of the Peoples Democratic Party expected to defect to the All Progressives Congress soon.

60 Facts About Oprah That You Probably Forgot

It's hard to believe, but Oprah Winfrey turns 60 years old today. "If you're blessed enough to grow older, which is how I look at aging ... there's so much wisdom to be gained from people who are celebrating the process with vibrancy and vigor and grace," she once wrote about getting older. "Every year should teach you something valuable; whether you get the lesson is up to you. Every year brings you closer to expressing your whole and healed self.

I celebrate that. Honor it. Hold it in reverence. And I'm grateful for every age I'm blessed to become." A few days before her big day, the talk show queen celebrated by working out at SoulCycle, but her plans for her actual birthday aren't clear. But there is one way for you to celebrate now.

Brush up on your Oprah knowledge with these 60 fun facts about the former talk show host.

She's selling her condo in Chicago and is moving to her California estate full-time.
The name of her production company is Harpo, which is Oprah spelled backward. It's also the name of the character she was married to in "The Color Purple," her first film role for which she was nominated for an Oscar.
She has five dogs: cocker spaniel Sadie, golden retrievers Luke and Layla, and springer spaniels Sunny and Lauren.
She ran the Marine Corp marathon with her trainer Bob Greene.
She actually wears glasses!
She considers starting a girls' school in Africa to be one of her greatest accomplishments.
She launched Dr. Phil's TV career.
She launched Gayle King's TV career.
She launched Nate Berkus' TV career.
She launched Dr. Oz's TV career. (OK, we'll stop now)
She and Stedman Graham have been together since 1986.
... and though he proposed in 1992, they never wed.
She's on the cover every issue of her magazine.
She launched her famous book club with "The Deep End of the Ocean" by Jacquelyn Mitchard in 1996. It was later made into a movie.
But there was book club controversy too. After she chose "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey, a book billed as a memoir but later revealed to be fiction, she reamed him out on national TV, drawing praise.
She didn't have children, but she got pregnant and lost a baby at 14.
She was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and helped bring the issue more public attention through her show and legislation.
She famously feuded with David Letterman in the '90s, but they have since reconciled.
She once gave away Pontiac vehicles to her entire studio audience. (Later, when some of them couldn't pay the tax on the car, they were told they could sell it for money.)
And then she did it again, on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night show. (This time, though, there was only one car winner.)
Every year for eight years, she made a Favorite Things list, and gave the members of the audience each item.
In 2009, she treated her staff and their families to a European cruise.
She dated Roger Ebert.
She dated John Tesh.
Her decision not to have children was because, she said, "something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it probably would've been them."
She's close friends with Maria Shriver.
She attended Tina Turner's wedding.
Oprah broadcast her show in Chicago.
She's North America's only black billionaire.
She has appeared in many movies.
In 2011 she launched OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
For a period of time, she sang her own theme song.
Oprah's name was supposed to be Orpah, but it was misspelled on her birth certificate.
She has said that she studied Barbara Walters' interviewing style.
In one especially emotional episode, an audience member told Oprah that she once bought a pair of her shoes at an auction and would stand in them when she needed strength.
Oprah is the first African-American star to be on the cover of Vogue.
Anna Wintour told her to lose weight for said cover.
She once competed in Miss Black America.
At 29, Oprah co-hosted a Chicago morning show, and later took it over completely. It became "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
In 1988, Oprah revealed her new 145-pound figure and wheeled out a wagon filled with 67 pounds of fat to represent the weight she'd lost.
But her weight was a constant topic of conversation. In 2008, she berated herself on the cover of O! for gaining 40 pounds by superimposing a bigger photo of herself next to a photo of her in a crop top.
In 2000, she flew the O! staff to her home in Miami so that they could bond.
She got a SAG nomination for "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and fans were outraged when she did not land SAG or Oscar nods.
She's currently documenting Lindsay Lohan's life for OWN.
She has a farm in Maui.
She appeared on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," and interviewed the whole family.
50 Cent named his dog after her, and his cat after her best friend, Gayle.
She and Gayle King documented a 3,000-mile cross-country road trip in 2006.
She fought rumors for years that she and Gayle were romantically involved.
She received an honorary Oscar in 2011 for her philanthropic efforts.
She revealed that she had a half-sister, Patricia, in 2011.
She had a teenage crush on Jackie Jackson of the Jackson 5.
Her 1993 interview with Michael Jackson was the fourth most-watched event in TV history at the time.
She's been nominated for a Tony.
She believes she was racially profiled at Hermes in Paris.
Tom Cruise famously jumped on her couch, and later, gave Oprah a tour of his home in Telluride, Colo.
She drew criticism when she appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' coming out episode of "Ellen."
In 2002, she became the first recipient of the Television Arts & Sciences' Bob Hope Humanitarian award.
Forget the cake! Oprah has said that one of her favorite indulgences is popcorn sprinkled with truffle oil.
She celebrated her 51st birthday by getting her ears pierced.

Why people respect Warren Buffett so much

Investors love consistency. That's not just the case with stocks and companies, but with money managers, too.

Warren Buffett's big claim to fame is his long-term track record. Buffett has been in the investing game a very long time and has solid long-term performance to show for it. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway's class B shares are up more than 400% since the beginning of 1997, handily topping the nearly 150% increase of the Standard & Poor's 500 since that time (excluding dividends).

Investors are also attracted by Buffett's simple stock selection guide, based on studying the fundamentals of companies. Buffett's annual reports to shareholders have become must reads for investors.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Funniest and Flattest Super Bowl Ad Teasers

Squarespace, a company launched in 2004 from a dorm room at the University of Maryland, offers a platform that makes it easy to build a website. Its Super Bowl ad may not be a favorite, but it people are talking about how strange it is.

"Despite having some fun, clever moments, it's just too dark and sad. Nobody wants terrible, honest truth on game day," O'Connell said, who declines to describe the ad as one of the worst, but possibly "least best."

Waivers Fraud : Punch Newspaper Rips Okonjo-Iweala’s TEDxEuston London Speech

What do you do when you find yourself in a slimy hole?  Wisdom dictates that you stop digging. But for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, this treasured American dictum makes no sense as far as the issue of the corruption-drenched waivers and exemptions goes. In yet another desperate attempt to defend the misuse and abuse of import duty waivers, exemptions and concessions, she pointedly singled out The PUNCH for attack, accusing this newspaper of “trivializing corruption” at the TEDxEuston forum in faraway London.

In her latest blunder, she once again faulted our insistence that import duty waivers have become, in the hands of successive Nigerian governments, instruments of massive corruption and not of economic stimulation as she claims. After “entertaining” her audience with what she called “a whole series of newspapers with their negative reports,” the minister went on, “I had an example recently of this trivialization from one of our national newspapers, ‘The PUNCH newspaper’; they claimed that a government policy where we give incentives to industries or business people to spur them to invest in the economy was a bunch of corruption.”

But if you accuse someone of lying, you must be prepared to prove it. If you are a government minister, backed by all the power and integrity that should go with the position, that onus of proof becomes double. Not our eminent minister. As she was grandstanding in London, fresh revelations were being made back home of the magnitude of the loss to the economy of the fraudulent waivers.

The minister, in her response to a 50-point query from the House of Representatives, had claimed that only N170.73 billion worth of waivers and exemptions were granted in three years. She said waivers and exemptions worth N55.96 billion were granted in 2011, N55.34 billion in 2012 and N59.42 billion in 2013.

But her figures contrast sharply with the document from the Nigerian Customs Service. The NCS had said N603 billion was lost in duties that should have been collected between January and September last year alone.  She will also need to convince Nigerians that the Daily Trust report of January 22, 2014, How Nigeria lost N1.4 trillion to waivers between 2011 and 2013, is wrong and hers right.  The report alleged that N480 billion was lost in 2011 and a similar figure in 2012. Though the NCS denied “making any accusation of corruption in the implementation of the waivers” in a newspaper advertorial, it nevertheless confirmed that “the document credited to it was presented to the National Assembly in November 2013 upon invitation of the latter to explain shortfalls in projected revenue collection.”

Significantly, her false declaration that The PUNCH “did not even look” at her published list of waiver beneficiaries is proving to be in character. Her fighting words:  “So, when the newspaper wrote an editorial and said this was corruption. We pointed out that, ‘Yes, in the past, it wasn’t good but now we have been running a different system for two years.’ They dared us to publish those who got these waivers; and guess what? Last week, we sent it to them; yes we did. But you know what? They refused to even look at it. And they continued to insist that this was excess bite of corruption.”

This is unfair and patently false. We duly reported her claims in a story, “Nigeria lost N65.23bn to waivers in 24 months,” on December 2, 2013. Yes, we insist that, in spite of her celebrated reform, the waiver regime, even under her watch, is still dogged by corruption because her flaunted list further reinforced our position. We found waivers granted to the Gombe Central Mosque in 2011 to import 13 cartons of the Koran and carpets, and waiver to the Catholic Church, Makurdi to import children’s Bibles. What is the economic trade-off in these? In 2012, the Akwa Ibom State Government got a waiver of N271.2 million for a private aircraft, while Taraba got N13.06 million for a helicopter. In 2013, Rivers State got waivers worth N2.18 billion for a Bombardier aircraft and two Bell 412 helicopters.

The minister’s propensity to defend scandals and question even credible findings is distressing. How do waivers for aircraft to accommodate the luxurious lifestyles of state governors boost the economy or create jobs? How many jobs were created by the N450.7 million waivers to massage the First Lady’s ego to host the African Women Peace Mission, an NGO? How about the waivers given to the National Sports Commission for “motor spare parts”? Or the N141.2 million to the Delta State Government in 2013 for furniture? Nigerians need explanations also for the waiver of the N5.9 million to the Maiduguri Central Mosque in 2012 and N14 million for the “Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses” to import “building materials and cabinet parts for kitchen door drawers.”

This is not all. The Customs were also cited to have reported how under “other goods,” as listed in the categories for concessions, goods such as fish, bulletproof vehicles and kola nuts were imported. How do these create jobs in Nigeria or stimulate local production? The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Mohammed Makarfi, said the upper chamber had found that waivers were being granted for goods that had no benefit to Nigerians. He deplored the revenue shortfall of the NCS amounting to N243.69 billion in 2013 due to factors that included questionable waivers, concessions and exemptions. The PUNCH did not make up any of these allegations.

Sadly, under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch, the abuse of waivers by beneficiaries is still rampant. No one can discountenance the testimonies of the business community that has unanimously condemned the misuse and abuse of the system.

Just how deep is this cesspool? N603 billion in nine months or N1.4 trillion in three years, or N65 billion in two years or N171 billion in three years as she claims? Only our all-knowing coordinating minister has the answer. One sure clue is that she had not convincingly faulted the perverse results of the policy. But her arrogance will not allow her to admit publicly what everyone knows, including the audience of young people she addressed in the United Kingdom. The National Assembly should probe this economic rip-off.

The waiver issue will not vanish as she appears to wish. Highlighting it in the mass media does not distract from the destructive issue of corruption that has laid Nigeria low, rather, it places it on the front burner of public discourse. She does her reputation no good by continuing to defend a corrupt system and talking down at critics and stakeholders. The use of waivers here is corruption-driven and it is the responsibility of every Nigerian to put a halt to this abuse. Okonjo-Iweala cannot solve the problem as long as she continues to live in denial or to take every criticism personal. Safeguarding public finance is not about personal ego or intolerance for public scrutiny by public officials.

The grave flaw in Okonjo-Iweala’s temperament is the arrogance that makes her believe her own myth. She really thinks she is performing an economic miracle when she has done nothing of the sort as the economy is still in trouble. It is such a letdown that we are not even sure if she has any intention of getting off her high horse. Her hectoring as if she is the only one that understands the strategic economic use of waivers and concessions is rather odd and amusing.

Our waiver policy is set on the wrong course. Rather than us, it is Okonjo-Iweala that is trivialising corruption the same way she failed to confront the massive fuel subsidy fraud of 2011 before the January 2012 mass protests across the country silenced her and her specious experts.  She is up to the same bullying tactics rather than investigate the complaints of Customs, business operators, lawmakers and the media that beneficiaries routinely abuse and misapply the waivers. It is still a system driven by corruption and patronage.

As for The PUNCH, our long-standing reputation for objectivity and as champions of the anti-corruption war cannot be assailed by a temporary occupant of public office. This is our stand.

"They [Malaysians] See A Black Man And They Cover Their Nose"- Toby Gozie

"Nigerian Students, Before You Study Outside The Country Be Careful"- Ah...

Embattled Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, Goes On Newspaper Adverts Spree In Praise Of IGP Abubakar

The discredited Commissioner of Police in Rivers, Joseph Mbu has gone on advertisement spree.  There is every indication that Mbu has sensed the fire he lit on himself by his brazen partisanship in the Rivers State crisis, which he had greatly fanned.

Yesterday, Mbu placed one page color advert in The Punch newspaper, congratulation the Police Inspector General, Mohammed Abubakar on ‘the second anniversary of his appointment as IGP’.

In today’s Punch also, the same Mbu placed another full page color advert titled “Thank You”, with pictures of all the Deputy Inspector Generals of Police surrounding the picture of the Inspector General with the following message; ‘Thank you agents of change. We have never been so blessed. Thank you for your understanding, loyalty and support to the listening Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar’.

Besides the huge question surrounding who is funding these adverts, the issue that remain is Joseph Mbu the only person or police officer that knows that IGP Abubakar is two years in office since his is the only advert on the mundane subject in the dailies? So why is he the only one that is snatching up expensive advert spaces to celebrate the IG? What is it about DIGs supporting an IG that merits buying an expensive advert space to tell Nigerians?

The guilty runs when no one is pursuing him. If Mbu feels that all it takes to retain him on the office he has shamelessly desecrated   by his shameful partisanship is to buy advert spaces for irrelevances, then he should be told we have passed the stage. Who knows what Mbu will be celebrating about the IGP tomorrow? Mbu, run, you will need it.

Ondo Workers Shut Down GTB In Akure, Paralyze Business Transactions

Industrial workers under the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) Ondo State on Tuesday shut down business activities at the headquarters branch of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) on Alagbaka Road in Akure, the state capital.

The workers, chanting solidarity songs, were protesting non-payment of their salaries.  They also alleged sabotage of their efforts by the officers of the bank.

They said that GTB, without the knowledge of the state government, had withheld their salaries with the intention of using the money to defray its loans.

Many of them carried placards bearing such inscriptions as: “Enough of GTB Exploitation Antics in Ondo State”; “Workers and People of Ondo State Beware of GTB in Akure”’ “We are tired of GTB behavior”; “GTB will ruin our life in Ondo State”; and “We won’t take this no more for GTB.”

One of the protesting workers told SaharaReporters that their salaries were withheld by the bank while various unknown alerts were sent to them from the bank.

“As at now I have not received my January salary which is not supposed to be so. We learnt that GTB is planning to defraud us. They want to use our money for loans. We won’t take this from them.”

Speaking with journalists, the JNC chairman in Ondo State, Comrade Oluwole Adeleye Samuel, also alleged that the bank was trying to sabotage the workers by using their salaries for defraying loans.

 “This bank without the authority of the government of Ondo State been represented by the Account General took Seven Hundred and Six Million Naira (N706.000.000.00) meant for the payment of workers salary to defray a loan.

“As a result of this our salary has not being paid. We are tired of this barbaric act of the bank. They are holding us for ransom and we won’t take it from them. I can assure you that we won’t allow any transaction to occur in this bank unless they pay our people”.

All effort by SaharaReporters to obtain the position of the Managing Director of the bank proved abortive, as staff kept mute when asked about his whereabouts.

But the Head of Operations of the bank, whose chest badge read ‘Kehinde Oyeleke,’ but who refused to mention his name to SaharaReporters, angrily declined to comment on the issue.

“I am not aware of what is happening,” he retorted.  “The bank does not have issues with the workers. What sort of questions are you asking me, I just told you we don’t have issues with the bank? What do you want me to say?”

The workers vowed to continue the protest and threatened tio occupy the entire street leading to the Alagbaka branch if no positive progress was made, adding that they would not allow customers into the bank.

Meanwhile the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of the bank have been shut down with the protesters threatening to deal with any workers of the bank who dared to attend to customers.

As of the time of this story, officers of the Ondo State Command of the Nigerian Police Force were being drafted to the scene to curtail any violence and prevent the protest from being hijacked.

UK's Queen Elizabeth down to last $1.6 million in reserves after royal overspend

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has just £1 million ($1.6 million) left in financial reserves after the Royal Household overspent on its budget last year, according to a report by British lawmakers released Tuesday.

The Royal Household had to dip into its reserves after overspending £2.3 million ($3.8 million) on the £31 million ($51.4 million) it was given by the taxpayer in 2012/13.

The report by the Public Accounts Committee said the amount was "historically low" and that it was "concerned that the Household has reduced its balances to such an extent that it could be unable to cover its expenditure on any unforeseen events."

This paltry figure of £1 million is in contrast to 2001 when the Royal Household had £35 million ($58 million) in its reserves. The royals spend the money on costs such as staff wages, maintaining their palaces and travel.

A restructuring in 2012 of the way the royals receive public money allowed the royal family's finances to come under scrutiny from lawmakers for the first time.

"The household needs to get better at planning and managing its budgets for the longer term -- and the Treasury should be more actively involved in reviewing what the household is doing," said Margaret Hodge, the member of parliament who chairs the Public Accounts Committee.

The report also criticized the royals' "complacency" in allowing some 39 percent of royal buildings and land to slip into a state of disrepair. It said the 60-year-old heating system in Buckingham Palace alone will cost between £500,000 and £1 million to replace.

"The Household must get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its maintenance backlog," Hodge said.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson described maintaining  the royal family's estate, such as the recent renewal of a roof over at Windsor Castle and the removal of asbestos from Buckingham Palace, as a "priority."

Monday, 27 January 2014

Gunmen kill worshippers at Nigeria church

Islamic fighters used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian church service in Nigeria's northeast, killing at least 99 people and razing hundreds of homes, officials and witnesses said.

The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by fighters who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there.

Attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.

He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices thet were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri.

The official blamed suspected Boko Haram fighters for the attack.

A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.

Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70km outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, "No house was left standing" by the more than 50 men who attacked, armed with explosives and guns.

Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.

State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.

Also on Sunday, fighters in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village.

They fired guns, set off explosives and took residents hostage, said the Reverent Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola. He said about two dozen people were killed and buried on Monday.

Local Chairman Maina Ularamu said official recovered 45 bodies including those of two police officers. He urged calm, saying: "I believe security operatives are on top of the situation."

Suspected Boko Haram members set off explosives and fired into the church, then burned houses and took residents hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said.

"They used explosives during the attack on worshippers, and many people lost their lives," said villager Moses Apogu.

Another resident said some people were taken away and later killed.

General Rogers Nicholas, commander of a local brigade said officials were still tallying the death toll and that troops were deployed to track the attackers.

Nearly 200 people have been killed this month in attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram network in the area around Maiduguri.

The city is the birthplace of the group, whose name in the local Hausa language means "Western education is forbidden".

A January 14 car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, killing about 70 people.

Officials blamed Boko Haram, though the state governor suggested it was the work of political opponents.

Other attacks have forced the flight of hundreds of villagers in about 30 farming communities around Maiduguri. Some of the displaced are camping on the outskirts of the state capital.

More than 5,000 refugees from the violence have fled to Cameroon and Niger this month, the UN said last week.


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