Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pelosi urges Clinton to run in 2016

Pelosi urges Clinton to run in 2016

(CNN) – The top Democrat in the House is urging Hillary Clinton to run for office, and says their party is already coalescing around the potential 2016 candidate.
In an interview Thursday with USA Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said “there’s a great deal of excitement” about a potential Clinton candidacy, adding that she personally hopes Clinton enters the race.

Touting the former senator and secretary of state’s long list of credentials, Pelosi said she believes Clinton “would be the best prepared person to enter the White House in decades.”
Pelosi made similar comments in May, speaking at a panel discussion in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2008, Pelosi - who was then speaker of the House - remained officially neutral in that year's Democratic primary between Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Clinton has not announced whether she will launch another presidential bid, which has been the subject of intense speculation, since she stepped down as Secretary of State earlier this year.
Pelosi’s comments came on the same day a group of Democratic donors met with top Clinton allies in New York to discuss funding an independent political action committee that is urging Clinton to run.
The Ready for Hillary PAC was established by Clinton supporters in January – before she had officially left her State Department post – and has since worked to beef up its fundraising infrastructure, garnering the attention of high-profile Clinton allies and donors in the process.
Last week, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill became the first member of Congress to throw her support behind the PAC and a Clinton run. But New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand followed up soon after, announcing that she was “personally urging Secretary Clinton to run.” Gillibrand filled Clinton’s Senate seat, when she became Secretary of State in 2009.
While Pelosi stopped short of formally endorsing Clinton, saying the timing was inappropriate, she nevertheless said she would be ready to do so in the future.
“I don’t know why she wouldn’t run,” Pelosi told USA Today.  “She’s prepared, she’s well known, she’s highly respected. She knows she would be able to do the job so very, very well.”
–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Snowden's father proposes voluntary return of his son

Watch this video

(CNN) -- The father of Edward J. Snowden has offered federal authorities a deal that he says would likely lead the accused leaker to return voluntarily to the United States to face espionage charges.
The proposal was laid out in a letter, dated Thursday and obtained Friday by CNN's "Amanpour," addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and written by Bruce Fein, a Washington-based lawyer for Snowden's father, Lonnie G. Snowden.
It demands that the former National Security Agency computer contractor who exposed details about U.S. surveillance programs remain free prior to trial; not be subject to a gag order; and be tried in a place of his choosing.
It further demands that, if any of those promises is broken, the prosecution would be dismissed.
Where is Edward Snowden?
Obama covers his bases on Snowden
U.S. threatens Ecuador over Snowden
Edward Snowden joins 'The Terminal' club
"With these written representations and guarantee, Mr. Snowden is reasonably confident that his son could be persuaded to surrender voluntarily to the jurisdiction of the United States to face trial," Fein wrote.
The Justice Department has no immediate comment.
In comments Friday to NBC News' "Today," the elder Snowden said he had not spoken with his son since April.
"I love him, I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him. I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him," he said.
Though the 30-year-old man may have betrayed his government, "I don't believe he has betrayed the people of the United States," he said.
He expressed concern that his son might have been manipulated by WikiLeaks. "Their focus isn't necessarily the Constitution of the United States," he said. "It's simply to release as much information as possible."
A day after authorities in Ecuador said they would not bow to U.S. pressure as they weigh Snowden's request for asylum, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell denied any "bullying" tactics had been used.
"The point is just that we are making a consistent point to any government that might take him as a final destination that this is somebody wanted on serious felony charges and we would like him returned to the United States," Ventrell told reporters Friday in response to a question from CNN's Jill Dougherty.
He was referring to his warning Thursday that Ecuador's economic ties with the United States could be jeopardized.
"What would not be a good thing is them granting Mr. Snowden asylum," Ventrell had said. "That would have grave difficulties for a bilateral relationship."
Ventrell then cited trade agreements the United States has extended to Ecuador.
"They're unilateral trade provisions that provide a benefit to certain Ecuadorian products," Ventrell said. "Whether they're renewed or not is a prerogative of the U.S. Congress."
Asked about that remark, Ventrell said Friday, "I wouldn't call it a threat. I'd say that, you know, we are making the same points in public that we are making in private -- that this is somebody accused of serious crimes that we want returned."
The warning sparked a strong response on Thursday from Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, at an event in Quevedo.
"It is outrageous to try to delegitimize a state for receiving a petition of asylum," said the left-leaning economist who is known for decrying what he and other Latin American leaders have called U.S. imperialism.
And on Friday, the Embassy of Ecuador announced that the country had suspended its support for the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which provided duty-free treatment for certain products.
"As we have stated previously, any political or economic consequences of our decision regarding the asylum request are outweighed by our legal and humanitarian obligations," an embassy statement said.
Last year, Ecuador granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in the nation's embassy in Britain.
Ecuador's rationale appeared to have won support from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. If another country wants to give haven to Snowden, "then that is their right as a sovereign nation," he told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. "If the United States can acquire custody of him, I'm sure he will be brought to trial, and that's the way the law should be implemented."
Snowden's acts may have some positive impact, Carter said.
"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far," he said.
"I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."
Asked to elaborate, he said, "I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing."
Snowden has been at Moscow's international airport since Sunday, when he arrived from Hong Kong.

California ex-wife sentenced for cutting off husband's penis

Catherine Kieu's attorney said at trial that the defendant suffered mental health issues, including depression.
Catherine Kieu's attorney said at trial that the defendant suffered mental health issues, including depression.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A southern California woman convicted of cutting off the penis of her then-husband and throwing it into a garbage disposal was given a life sentence Friday with the possibility of parole after seven years, authorities said.
Catherine Kieu, 50, of Garden Grove, California, and her husband were going through a divorce at the time of the July 2011 incident. The couple married in December 2009, but in May 2011 the husband filed for divorce, which was granted in August 2011, according to Orange County court records.
Kieu laced her husband's dinner with the sleep medication Ambien after they had an argument over a friend possibly staying with them at a later date, the Orange County district attorney's office said in a statement Friday.
When the husband went to sleep, Kieu tied his legs and arms to the four corners of the bed, and when he awoke, she pulled down his pants and severed his penis with a knife, prosecutors charged.
Kieu then threw the severed penis into the garbage disposal, turned it on and mutilated it, prosecutors alleged. Kieu then called 911 about how her husband was bleeding, and he was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery, authorities said.
The victim's name has not been made public because he is a victim of spousal abuse, police said.
The ex-husband, 60, described the trauma in an impact statement during Friday's sentencing, according to a statement by the prosecutor's office.
"The convicted (person) viciously deprived me of part of my life and identity," the ex-husband told the court. "Then, as is routine in cases of violence that involve something sexual, the victim must endure, at the hands of the defense, a second attack. This was a cruel and calculated violation of a person's body and mind. I now struggle with what is before me. She has torn off my identity as a man. She has caused doubt in my belief in good. She has betrayed my trust in people."
On April 29, a jury convicted Kieu of one felony count of torture, one felony count of aggravated mayhem, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife, prosecutors said.
The Vietnam-born Kieu is also known as Que Anh Tran, court papers said. She and her ex-husband had no children, divorce papers said.
During the trial, Kieu's attorney said she suffered mental health issues, including depression, and the lawyer argued she shouldn't be found guilty, the prosecutor's office said.
The Orange County case was widely compared to the1993 attack against John Wayne Bobbitt by his then-wife, Lorena, who cut off his penis with an 8-inch carving knife while he slept.
Lorena Bobbitt then drove away, tossing the penis out her car window. The penis was eventually found and surgically reattached.
Lorena Bobbitt was later found innocent by reason of insanity. During her testimony, she tearfully described her life at the hands of what she described as her abusive husband.
In a separate trial, John Wayne Bobbitt was acquitted of sexually assaulting his wife. He later made adult films.

Nigerian Government Broke; Targets Pension Savings

Federal minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By SaharaReporters, New York
The Nigerian government is financially broke and barely able to pay its bills, an investigation by SaharaReporters has revealed. The portrait of the Nigerian government’s dismal financial situation is in sharp contrast to recent propaganda by Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Both officials have sought to depict the Nigerian economy as vibrant and robust.
Several sources in Abuja, including a legislator, a senior bureaucrat and an insider in the Presidency, told SaharaReporters that the government in recent weeks had failed to release budgetary allocations to various ministries to meet their obligations.
The sources also disclosed that the Federal Government has also borrowed massively from local and foreign banks to pay its recurrent expenditures. They added that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was now eyeing the N3.4 trillion pension funds to enable it to finance its deficits.
The Presidency source also revealed that Nigeria’s net oil export has been cut by half as elements close to Mr. Jonathan have engaged in massive oil theft with the connivance of the Nigerian Navy as well as members of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region.
Since her second tour as a prominent minister in Nigeria, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala has constantly told the public that the Nigerian economy was buoyant. But in private she has told close associates, officials of international finance bodies as European and North American nations that Nigeria’s economic outlook was getting worse especially with decreased oil sales. With her blessing, Nigeria has also resorted to massive borrowing from China and several other non-traditional loan sources to plug financial deficits.
An economic analyst in Abuja told SaharaReporters, “By the end of Mr. Jonathan's tenure, Ms. Iweala would have borrowed Nigeria back to the Stone Age,” referring to the period Nigeria racked up loans from the IMF as well as Paris and London Clubs essentially to finance the grasping needs of Nigeria’s corrupt elite.
Another source, a legislator, stated that he was disturbed by the dire economic portrait. He described Mr. Jonathan as “overseeing the biggest era of corruption in Nigeria's history.”
At the heart of the latest plot to loot Nigeria’s resources is the plan to plant one of President Jonathan's trusted allies at the helm of the country’s pension fund to facilitate the diversion of funds meant for retirees for political and other goals.
The Presidency source said Mr. Jonathan’s inner circle was anxious to keep news of Nigeria’s poor economic outlook and financial rating from public view. “As you know, Nigeria has been downgraded in recent weeks by international financial rating organizations, but the government wants to maintain that everything is rosy.”
The lawmaker, who belongs to the same Peoples Democratic Party that is the ruling party, said he was sad that President Jonathan and his closest associates are engaged in mindless looting of the treasury for the purpose of buying victory in the 2015 general elections.

Police: Fla. Girl, 8, Was Victim of Predator

When a fellow shopper at a dollar store offered to take Rayne Perrywinkle and her three children to Wal-Mart to buy them McDonald's and buy a dress for her 8-year-old daughter, she graciously accepted.
But police say the man was a predator, not a Good Samaritan, who seized the opportunity to snatch the woman's daughter and kill her. The slaying marked a tragic end to Cherish Perrywinkle's short life, most of which she spent with a mother who fought with the girl's father over child support and custody.
Funeral services for Cherish were held Friday afternoon at the Paxon Revival Center Church in Jacksonville. Pastor Steve Dobbs tried to comfort the hundreds of mourners present — yet he also had a message about the man accused of killing the 8-year-old, Donald Smith.
Smith had a lengthy rap sheet of convictions for sex crimes against children and had gotten out of prison less than a month earlier.
"Let's change the law," said pastor Steve Dobbs, adding that he didn't want Cherish's death to be in vain. "Let's not let another guy like this walk free."
Another issue has also emerged from the case: the sheriff in Jacksonville has said hours passed between the time police learned of the girl's abduction and when the first public alerts were sent, which he blamed on a failure in the chain of command.
Florida Girl Abducted.JPEG
Cherish was born after her mother, an exotic dancer, and her father, a sailor, had a one-night stand in 2004. Perrywinkle, 45, sued the father, Billy Jarreau, 43, for child support three years later, and the two fought for custody of the girl for the rest of her life. They traded accusations over how the girl got head lice and how she was dressed, as well as money.
In April 2010, a court-appointed evaluator recommended that Cherish live with her father — who, by that time, had moved to California with his new wife. The evaluator wrote that "neither parent was perfect" and acknowledged that it was the hardest case he had ever tackled.
The evaluator said that Jarreau "hasn't shown himself to be a real enthusiastic player in terms of parental involvement," and noted that it might be difficult for Cherish to move across the country away from her mother. But Perrywinkle had some troubling issues, the report noted, including eviction, a lack of money and some admitted mental health issues that led her to make poor choices.
"I fear for the child's future living with Ms. Perrywinkle," wrote evaluator Robert Wood. "I do not make my recommendation lightly. I have given many, many hours of thought to the case."
Despite that recommendation, a Jacksonville judge ruled Cherish should live with her mother.
That same year, down the halls of the very same courthouse, another man's case snaked through the legal system. Donald James Smith, charged with impersonating a state child welfare officer and making an obscene call to a young girl in 2009, attended hearings for years and was eventually found guilty — but with time served he was ordered to spend only a year in jail.
Smith had been arrested 19 times since 1977. He had been found guilty on lewd and lascivious charges, charges of trying to lure girls in a van and charges of showing pornography to minors.
Richard Kuritz, a Jacksonville defense attorney who is not connected to this case, said that Smith's light treatment on the 2009 charge underscores how difficult it is to prosecute some sex crimes. Jacksonville prosecutors, he said, are not known for seeking light sentences.
"Often times the state's hands are tied and the state will resolve a case for less than what they want because the victim doesn't want to go through the process," he said. And with cases such as the one in 2009 — where Smith was accused of posing as a state worker and then making an obscene phone call to a girl — there is little physical evidence.
"The fact that this guy got a decent deal, speaks volumes," Kuritz said. "There must have been a problem with the state's case."
Smith was released May 31 but was still being monitored by authorities as a condition of parole. Officers even checked in on Smith the morning of June 21 in the home he shared with his mother. That same evening, he met Perrywinkle and her children.
According to court records and police reports, Perrywinkle didn't have a car. Police said Smith saw she seemed like she needed money. So he offered to buy the dress for Cherish, who was supposed to fly to California the next day to visit her father, and the family climbed into his van and headed to Wal-Mart.
Florida Girl Abducted.JPEG
Surveillance video shows they spent a couple of hours in the store, and Smith then took Cherish with him to buy McDonald's for the family. But they never got the hamburgers — Smith took Cherish outside, got into his van with her and left, said Jacksonville Police Director Mike Williams.
Perrywinkle called authorities, and an all-night search ensued. Officers compiled a list of nearby sex offenders, and Perrywinkle identified Smith as a suspect.
Nine hours later, Cherish's body was found a few miles away, near a church.
Smith is in jail without bail, awaiting his next court hearing. His public defender did not return a call for comment, and his mother was not home when an Associated Press reporter visited.
Gerald Wilkerson, the attorney for Cherish's father in the custody case, said his client is devastated. Jarreau himself posted about the tragedy on his Facebook page, blaming failures in the "system" for his daughter's death.
On a recent day at Rayne Perrywinkle's home, her boyfriend and the father of her two youngest children, Aharon Pearson, walked outside and asked a reporter, "Do you have the number for Child Protective Services?" He initially thought the state's child welfare agency had taken their children, but later explained he misunderstood Perrywinkle and that the children had been taken only for an interview.
Pearson said things had been hectic because of the need to plan Cherish's funeral. He said his girlfriend wasn't doing well and could not talk at the green home, where three faded, plastic children's tricycles were lined up on the porch.
"She won't eat," he said. "She hasn't eaten for four days."

Why Immigration Reform Is Finally Happening In US?

PHOTO: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), two authors of the immigration bill, shake hands after a test vote on Capitol Hill June 27, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Immigration reform has only reached the halfway point in its journey to become law. But it took a hell of a lot for it to get here. The Senate passed a landmark immigration bill Thursday that would grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants. The proposal still faces an uphill climb in the House of Representatives, but make no mistake, this is a historic day for the issue of immigration reform. The Senate approved its landmark measure 68-32, with 14 Republicans joining all the Democrats in favor of the bill. Just one year ago, a strong bipartisan vote to pass immigration reform in Congress seemed impossible.
Here are four major events that happened since then to make today possible.
1. President Obama's Re-election A record 11.2 million Latino voters showed up at the polls in 2012, and they overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favor of President Obama. Obama won over 70 percent of Latinos, according to exit polls, one of the highest percentages for any candidate in U.S. history. His Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, fared poorly among Latino voters in large part because he proposed fixing the nation's immigration system by encouraging undocumented immigrants to "self-deport" - a suggestion that struck many listeners as tone-deaf and insensitive. Romney also performed very poorly among America's fastest-growing immigrant group: Asians. Many top Republicans have realized the party's base of support has become far too white, and some posit that supporting immigration reform could be the first step in bridge-building with non-white voters. The political imperative to take up an immigration bill in Congress formed quickly after the election.
2. The "Border Surge" Despite the results of the election, finding Republican votes for immigration reform in the Senate wasn't easy. The proposal that helped unlock enough Republican votes was the so-called "border surge," which would double the size of the Border Patrol and finish 700 miles of fencing between the U.S. and Mexico. That allayed some conservatives' fears about appearing soft on illegal immigration. Militarizing the southern border could have a harmful impact on both Americans and Mexicans who live their lives and do business there. But there's no denying that the proposal helped generate enough Republican votes to propel it out of the Senate.
3. Unanimous Democrats The politics of immigration reform didn't just change for Republicans - they shifted for Democrats as well. The last time Congress took up a bill in 2007, 15 Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to defeat it. Labor unions like the AFL-CIO and SEIU were divided over the proposal. But this year, with a Democrat in the Oval Office, party leaders have lined up a virtually unanimous coalition behind immigration reform. Being able to count on 54 votes from the Democratic caucus allowed the bill's supporters to forge broad bipartisan consensus around it

4. Outside Pressure for the Bill A concerted effort from conservative talk radio hosts and other outside groups helped derail immigration reform in 2007, but a widespread revolt against the bill didn't materialize this time around. That's not to say that there hasn't been conservative consternation over the bill. Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the bill's officers, said Wednesday that all the complaints he has heard from Tea Party activists have "been a real trial for me." But pro-reform groups have been better organized this time around. The tech sector has spent much time and money lobbying for immigration reform, and high-profile religious figures have spoken out in favor of it, too. Rubio himself has spent hours on conservative talk radio to keep the revolt at bay.

US-led airstrikes kill 8 people in Afghanistan

Eight people have been killed in airstrikes carried out by US-led forces in Afghanistan's provinces of Paktia and Kandahar, Press TV reports.

Impunity:Fraudulent Businessman Jimoh Ibrahim To Be Guest Speaker At Police Anti-Corporate Fraud Seminar

Jimoh Ibrahim
By SaharaReporters, New York
Has troubled Nigerian businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, moved from criminal to magician?
The controversial magnate is scheduled to be a guest speaker next week at an event organized by the Nigerian police and the UK Metropolitan Police in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.  In effect, he will be speaking to some of the very people who, in theory, are examining his nefarious activities.
The choice of Mr. Ibrahim, who is currently under investigation for fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for tax evasion, has set tongues wagging.  Just a month ago in New York, Mr. Ibrahim was dragged to court by Aersale Inc., an aircraft leasing company, over nearly $8million he owes in leasing fees, interest, costs, and attorneys' fees.
Mr. Ibrahim entered into an agreement with the company as a guarantor to lease two Boeing 737-300 airplanes for his airline, Air Nigeria, which has since folded up.
A former staff member of Mr. Ibrahim's company described him as a man who has embezzled, defrauded and killed many companies in Nigeria.  He said, "Mr. Ibrahim killed NICON Airways, killed NICON Insurance, killed Energy Oil, buried Air Nigeria - Nigeria's Flag carrier and best customer airline, buried Newswatch Magazine."
Recently Saharareporters investigations revealed that Mr. Ibrahim embezzled N36 billion from a federal aviation bailout fund administered by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The money had been provided to shore up the airlines. The FIRS also accuses Ibrahim of failing to pay taxes worth N3.5 billion and of embezzling employees’ cooperative funds, pension funds, tax deductions and tax revenues accruing to the Nigerian government.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Fraud unit, Tunde Ogunshakin who is believed to be a close friend of Mr. Ibrahim, is responsible for putting together the weeklong "Corporate Fraud" conference from July 1-5, 2013.  It is unclear if Mr. Ibrahim has magically done a deal to educate police bodies about how to prevent such fraud, including across borders.
So far, he continues to be investigated for fraudulent activities relating to corporate fraud in several courts and policing agencies in Nigeria.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their western allies orchestrated Syria -Brzezinski

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser
Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser

The former US national security adviser says the ongoing crisis in Syria has been orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their western allies.

“In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Zbigniew Brzezinski said in an interview with The National Interest on June 24.

He added that US President Barack Obama also supported the unrest in Syria and suddenly announced that President Bashar al-Assad “has to go -- without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen.”

“Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort,” said Brzezinski, who was former White House national security adviser under Jimmy Carter and now a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior research professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Criticizing the Obama administration’s policies regarding Syria, he questioned, “Was this a strategic position? Why did we all of a sudden decide that Syria had to be destabilized and its government overthrown? Had it ever been explained to the American people? Then in the latter part of 2012, especially after the elections, the tide of conflict turns somewhat against the rebels. And it becomes clear that not all of those rebels are all that ‘democratic.’ And so the whole policy begins to be reconsidered.”

“I think these things need to be clarified so that one can have a more insightful understanding of what exactly US policy was aiming at,” Brzezinski added.

He also called on US officials to push much more urgently to draw in China, Russia and other regional powers to reach some kind of peaceful end to the Syrian crisis.

“I think if we tackle the issue alone with the Russians, which I think has to be done because they’re involved partially, and if we do it relying primarily on the former colonial powers in the region-France and Great Britain, who are really hated in the region-the chances of success are not as high as if we do engage in it, somehow, with China, India and Japan, which have a stake in a more stable Middle East,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski also warned again any US-led military intervention in Syria or arming the militants fighting government forces there.

“I’m afraid that we’re headed toward an ineffective American intervention, which is even worse. There are circumstances in which intervention is not the best but also not the worst of all outcomes. But what you are talking about means increasing our aid to the least effective of the forces opposing Assad. So at best, it’s simply damaging to our credibility. At worst, it hastens the victory of groups that are much more hostile to us than Assad ever was. I still do not understand why -- and that refers to my first answer -- why we concluded somewhere back in 2011 or 2012 -- an election year, incidentally that Assad should go.”

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria, which erupted in March 2011, has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

the New York Times said in a recent report the CIA was cooperating with Turkey and a number of other regional governments to supply arms to militants fighting the government in Syria.

The report comes as the US has repeatedly voiced concern over weapons falling into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.

Al-Nusra Front was named a terrorist organization by Washington last December, even though it has been fighting with the US-backed so-called Free Syrian Army in its battle against Damascus.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Gnzalo Higuain closer to Arsenal move

 Higuain seems to be on the verge of a move to Arsenal.

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain is on the verge of completing a transfer to Arsenal, according to his agent.

Juventus had been in the race to sign the Argentine but now appears close to signing Carlos Tevez rather than Higuain, leaving the door open for Arsenal to scoop up the Real Madrid striker.  

"I think that Higuain is now closer to Arsenal," Nicolas Higuain told TuttoMercatoWeb.
"Juventus are a great club, but Gonzalo is too expensive for them."
Napoli was also thought be considering Higuain as a replacement for Edinson Cavani should the Uruguayan complete his anticipated move to Real Madrid, but the player's brother admits Arsenal is leading the chase.

"Napoli are a strong side and that place represents a lot for Argentines," he continued. "Saying that, I can’t deny that Gonzalo is now close to Arsenal."

David Cameron plan to halt implementation of £3000 visa bond

As uproar mounts in Nigeria, India: UK halts £3000 visa bond
*Okonjo-Iweala, lawmakers threaten retaliation
Following growing opposition to the proposal by the British government to compel visitors to deposit £3000 visa bond, report indicates that British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has halted the implementation of the proposal.
The decision, it was learnt, was taken after news of the policy provoked uproar in Delhi, and threatened British government’s effort to boost trade links with India, a report from Financial Times has revealed.
Also, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the proposal was anathema to the spirit of agreements between the two countries aimed at boosting trade and investment.
“Frankly we are baffled by the whole thing. This is a very blunt instrument. It sends all the wrong signals about Britain’s openness for trade and tourism,” she told the Financial Times, saying she was sure every country targeted had the “principals of reciprocity” in mind.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said richer Nigerians would be able to factor in the cost of the bond, while the measures would hit tourists and other Nigerians who would simply go elsewhere. “Britain loses but would not gain,” she said.
She said: “We should have a blanket policy on what we should do when this policy comes on board. It is discriminatory.”
The prime minister’s allies said Mr. Cameron had “not signed off” details of the policy while Liberal Democrats and Tory business ministers warned that the idea would be damaging to Britain’s economic interests.
According to Financial Times, Mr. Cameron had told Theresa May, home secretary that he would not sanction any policy that undermines his growth agenda or the “open for business” message he delivered on a recent trip to India.
“The prime minister has not cleared this policy,” said one ally. “He doesn’t want to do anything that cuts across the message he took to India.”
Although Downing Street said pilot studies involving the use of migrant bonds – or deposits – for some visitors would go ahead, neither Mr. Cameron nor Nick Clegg, his deputy, have agreed the scope of the scheme or the size of the bonds.
Cameron is especially keen that the pilot study targets “high risk” individuals and is not seen as being aimed at any particular country.
Ms May wanted the trial of a £3,000 bond to begin in November, levied on short-term visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana.
Vince Cable, Lib Dem business secretary, has expressed concerns about the proposal and his anxiety is shared by David Willetts, Tory science minister. Mr Cable raised the issue in cabinet on Tuesday, saying he was concerned the home office was misrepresenting the pilots as a way of bringing down net migration.
The Home Office said on Tuesday the November pilot would be “highly selective”, focusing only on those visitors from India and other countries thought to present a “residual risk” of overstaying. “Any pilot will not apply to all visitors from the selected countries and the vast majority of visitors will not need to pay a bond,” a spokeswoman said.
However, tour operators were dismayed at the introduction of any type of deposit system and complained they had not been consulted.
And yesterday, the House of Representatives urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resist the British Government’s proposed £3,000 bond on Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom.
This is with a view to protecting the interest of Nigerians in case the policy is implemented.
Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Ukeje, spoke yesterday at a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Martin Uhomoibhi, in Abuja.
Ukeje said the policy was discriminatory and should be resisted by the Federal Government.
But Uhomoibhi told the lawmakers that the policy was only being muted by the British Government, adding that it had not been finalised.
He said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru, had met with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria over the matter, pointing out that efforts were being made to handle it diplomatically.
He said: “When the minister met with the High Commissioner, he confirmed that the policy was still being considered, but regretted that it was leaked to the media.
“He assured that even when it comes on stream, only Nigerian first time visitors to UK will be affected.
“The high commissioner also confirmed that the government has not yet agreed on what should be the bond.
“It was agreed that Nigeria will surely be among the countries that will be affected.”
Quoting the high commissioner, the permanent secretary explained that the British Government muted the idea to reduce the number of immigrants from nations it classified as “high risk” countries.
According to Uhomoibhi, the minister told the high commissioner that the policy would attract some repercussions and stressed the need for Britain to have a rethink.
Already, the Nigerian Senate has kicked against the proposal calling on the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Director- General, Mr. Muda Yusuf, yesterday said the proposed £3,000 bond on Nigerians visiting the UK would affect business relations between both countries.
Yusuf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the proposal was undesirable and detrimental to existing business relations between Nigeria and the UK.
He said that the frequency of travels by Nigerians to UK would be affected, adding that airlines plying the London routes would experience a decline in patronage.
Yusuf said that Nigerians would be compelled to seek alternative destinations for business and vacation in countries with more liberal visa policies.
The director general, however, said that the policy might constrain Nigerians to begin to look inwards.
“This will certainly be good for the local hospitality industry and also save the economy some foreign exchange,” he said.
More than 180,000 Nigerians apply for UK visas every year and about 70 per cent of applications are successful, the British High Commission in Abuja said.
According to UK Trade and Investment, Nigeria is the UK’s second largest market for goods in Africa, and the 33rd largest overseas market. Exports of goods and services to Nigeria were worth about £2.5bn ($3.84bn) in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available. Exports from Nigeria to the UK totalled $9.2bn last year, most of it oil, according to the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria.
Mary Rance, chief executive of trade body UKinbound, said: “It would be a very incongruous step to take at this time, when we are in open dialogue about trying to improve the process [for visitors]. It should be easier rather than [more] difficult for visitors.”
The proposals have been badly received in India’s business community, with executives used to travelling freely to London echoing the vociferous complaints of the nation’s leading trade bodies.
The move led to demands on Tuesday for a tit-for-tat response from India’s government, including an article on FirstPost, a widely read news site, headlined “Why India must retaliate against UK £3,000 visa bond” and editorials in leading newspapers calling for a rethink.
The Confederation of Indian Industry was one of the first organisations to hit out, saying the bond was “highly discriminatory and very unfortunate”.
“The suggested changes are not only discriminatory they are also against the ‘special relationship’ publicised by the UK government,” a CII spokesperson said. “We share UK’s concern on illegal immigration but surely there are other more effective and non-discriminatory ways to put a check on it.”

Court Jails Undergraduate 3 Years For Love Scam


Akinluyi Akintunde
By Wilson Uwujaren
Justice Akintunde Abass on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at the Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, convicted and sentenced Akinluyi Akintunde, a 24 years old Agronomy undergraduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso to 3 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
Akintunde was arraigned before the court on March 13, 2013 on a two count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence. Specifically, he allegedly obtained the sum of $450.00 from one Robert Jackson (an American) via Western Union Money Transfer under a false pretence that he was a lady. 
  In his judgment, Justice Abass ordered that the sum of $450 recovered from the convict be returned to the victim, Robert Jackson through the United States Consulate as restitution.
Also, he also ordered that the laptop recovered from the convict in the course of his arrest be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Nigeria leads the world in number of children contracting HIV- UN report


Health experts say government must do more to stop the trend.
By Tobore Ovuorie
Nigeria has the highest number of children contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, in the world, the latest report by the United Nations has shown.
The report says nearly 60,000 Nigerian children were infected with the virus in 2012, a figure higher than that of any other country in the world, and is a source of worry for experts with one describing it as “alarming.”
The report titled “2013 PROGRESS REPORT ON THE GLOBAL PLAN: towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive” is the most recent on the global plan which seeks an elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015, as well as keep their mothers alive. The programme was launched in July 2011 at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
Also, despite the efforts of the federal and state governments to check the spread of HIV, the report shows that the prevalence rate of HIV among Nigerian children has remained relatively stagnant with no significant improvement; while that of several other countries was improving with fewer prevalence rates than before.
“In several countries, the pace of decline in the numbers of children newly infected has been slow and the numbers have actually risen in Angola. Nigeria has the largest number of children acquiring HIV infection- nearly 60, 000 in 2012, a number that has remained largely unchanged since 2009,” the report stated.
Nigeria affects the world
The UN said it is worried about the prevalence rate of HIV among Nigerian children.
The global body warned that if Nigeria doesn’t sit up in curbing HIV in children, the global target, part of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, will not be realised by 2015.
“Without urgent action in Nigeria, the global target for 2015 is unlikely to be reached,” the report stated.
Also, while Nigeria witnessed stagnancy, since 2009, in the prevalence of HIV among children, several other Sub Saharan African countries, witnessed a massive reduction in the prevalence rate of the condition.
Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia all witnessed a 50 per cent decline in new HIV infections in children, while two more countries- the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe- are very close to achieving this target; prompting the UN to warn Nigeria to sit up in the fight against HIV in children.
Nigeria’s comparatively poor performance in combating HIV transmission to children also reflected among the 21 countries under the Global Plan watch of the UN.
“Nigeria accounts for one third of all new HIV infections among children in the 21 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa: the largest number of any country. Progress here is therefore critical to eliminating new HIV infections among children globally.
“Nearly all indicators assessed show stagnation and suggest that Nigeria is facing significant hurdles,” the report stated.
The report stated that “the 21 countries (those under the Global Plan watch) had 210,000 newly infected children in 2012. This represents a reduction of 130,000 new infections annually or a 38 percent drop from 2009 when these countries had 340,000 new HIV infections among children”.
It was however, not all sad tales, as the report commended some of the efforts of the government in checking the spread of HIV.
“However, the government has already taken a bold step to focus on the 12+1 states with the highest burden of HIV, which account for about 70% of new HIV infections.
“In addition, it is rapidly scaling up service delivery to stop new HIV infections among children and has embarked on an intensive state-focused data-driven decentralization initiative,” the report stated.
Experts identify problems, proffer solution
This latest report by the UN is already a source of concern for experts in the health sector.
The Executive Director, Centre For Women’s Health And Adolescents’ Development, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Helen Odega, described the report as alarming.
“it is an alarming report which means more effort has to be put in place to curb this embarrassing menace,” she said in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
“I still find it hard to believe since we have and are still pumping much into campaigns against this socio-economic and demographic cankerworm ravaging our tomorrow leaders.”
Ms. Odega, however, admitted that the authorities in the health sector have been lagging in the implementation of the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, PMTCT, policy.
“Sincerely speaking, I think (PMTCT) implementation is really zero and the country is not taking responsibility and ownership. We have policies which are not being implemented and the problem lies with the government which ought to channel the resources and claim ownership and do the right thing. A lot of work indeed needs to be done in PMTCT,” she said.
She advocated for PMTCT awareness campaigns saying a lot of women are ignorant about HIV.
“Emphasis should be placed on women attending antenatal sessions and give birth there and not go to faith based organisations,” she said.
According to Ms. Odega, the faith based organisations or traditional birth attendants, TBAs,  make women living with HIV give birth through the vagina since they are unaware of the women’s history. This, she said, causes the mother to infect her baby.
“Healthcare providers should ensure that pregnant women return to the hospital to give birth and not just attend antenatal sessions in hospitals alone,” she added.
For the head of the Nigerian doctors’ union, more efforts need to be put in by the government.
Osahon Enabulele, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, said there is a huge gap in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, PMTCT, and added that more strategic policies in the area of PMTCT need to be implemented.
According to Mr. Enabulele, access to antiretroviral drugs and awareness about the virus has helped reduce the prevalence of HIV in Nigeria, but the country is still off-track in combating mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV.
“There’s no doubt that efforts have been made by NACA, (National Agency for the Control of AIDs) but we also recognise that the gap in PMTCT is huge. More strategic policies that will boost PMTCT needs to be done,” he said.
PMTCT is an intervention that aims at reducing to less than two percent the risk of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV through the use of anti-retroviral (ARVs) as either prophylaxis or therapy given to women in pregnancy, labour and during breastfeeding. In situations where a mother is not receiving ARVs during the breastfeeding period, the breastfed infant is placed on ARV prophylaxis until one week after cessation of all breastfeeding. Where breastfeeding is not possible, the use of commercial infant formula is usually advised as alternative.
Mr. Enabulele said there is a need for Nigeria to place priority on the mother to child transmission of HIV.
“More focus on PMTCT strategy needs to be put in place and ensure mothers have more awareness to go for test and commence treatment on time if HIV positive. Breastfeeding practices still need to be addressed while drugs should be made available to mothers as well as pregnant women who are HIV positive.
“Education, enlightenment and access to drugs especially women in rural areas must be upgraded as many of them still believe that HIV is a myth,” he added.
Government official disputes report
In what now appears a general characteristic with Nigerian public officials to dispute global statistics not favourable to the government, a health ministry official said Nigeria may have official figures different from that of the UN.
The Deputy Director, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Chris Isokpunwu, told PREMIUM TIMES that he is sure that the Nigeria agency with the responsibility of curbing HIV/ AIDS, NACA, has figures that debunk the UN’s claim.
“I’m very sure NACA will have a different figure on that and I don’t think the global target will be missed because of Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Isokpunwu, however, said Nigeria’s seemingly poor performance was caused by both political and economic factors.
“The political aspect has to do with the leadership though I still very much believe that Nigeria is making progress,” he said.
Nigeria’s figures
Records from the Federal Ministry of Health show that in 2011, only 15.89 percent of HIV positive pregnant women received ARVs to reduce the risk of MTCT (mother to child transmission) just as only 2.3 percent of infants born to HIV infected women (HIV exposed infants) received ARV prophylaxis to reduce the risk of early MTCT in Nigeria.
Globally, HIV is a leading cause of death in women of reproductive age and since nearly all HIV infections in children are acquired from their mothers, the global epidemiology of HIV in children reflects that of HIV in women.
Over 90 per cent of infections in children are acquired through MTCT.
MTCT is the term used for vertical transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her newborn.
With over 60 per cent of adults living with HIV being women, the number of infected children has been growing. This, experts say occur during pregnancy, labour and delivery or during breast-feeding. In the absence of interventions, the risk of such transmission is worse- 45perecnt.
A member on the National Task Team on PMTCT, Emmanuel Enabulele, revealed that MTCT is fast becoming a burden in Nigeria compared to the rest of the world due to higher prevalence of HIV in women of reproductive age, high total fertility rate, characteristically prolonged breastfeeding culture, stigmatization by healthcare givers, and poor access to PMTCT interventions as a result of the Federal Government not living up to its promises among others.
The federal government had, in 2010, committed to reducing by at least 50 percent HIV incidents among 15-49 year old women by 2015. The FG had also promised to ensure that at least 90 percent of all pregnant women have access to quality HIV counselling and testing by 2015.
That year, it also said that by 2015, at least 90 percent of all HIV positive women and breast feeding infant-mother pairs would receive antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis, while at least 90 percent of all HIV exposed infants would have access to early infant diagnosis services and at least another 90 percent of pregnant women requiring antiretroviral therapy (ART) for their own health, would receive life-long ART.
Unfortunately, two years to the expiration of the deadline, Nigeria is still far away from achieving the set goals, while reports such as the latest UN scorecard means more needs to be done.
Mr. Enabulele reiterated the need for the Nigerian government at all levels to increase funding and strengthen capacity building, improving co-ordination and integral Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) programmes.

Judge sends alleged 419 kingpin, Fred Ajudua, to jail

The judge said there would be accelerated trial for the suspect.
Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, has ruled that alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, be sent to Kirikiri Prison pending the conclusion of his trial.
The judge said that he is “not persuaded” that Mr. Ajudua would not jump bail if his previous bail is revoked.
The judge ruled that “accelerated trial” would commence on July 8 and would continue daily thereafter.

£3000 Visa Bond: UK Will Be The Bigger Loser

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa has claimed that the United Kingdom will pay dearly if its conservative government goes ahead with the planned 3,000 Pounds visa bond that will be required by some travelers from Nigeria.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily demanded that a policy of reciprocity by the federal government on all British travelers to Nigeria, adding that they should “even be made to pay a lot more.”
According to the lawmaker, some level of politics is involved in this policy as she claimed the ruling Tory party which seeks re-election, might be using the immigration policy to drive up sentiments ahead of the polls to help, “but it’s probably going to hurt them more” she warned.
In a bid to curb its immigration crises, the UK government is reported to commence the new visa bond policy by November on first time travelers from countries considered as ‘high-risk’ such as Nigeria, Ghana, India and Pakistan.
The displeased federal lawmaker further described the thought of such policy as insulting saying, “the fact they thought about it is insulting.” “UK should apologise for coming up with the policy at all.”
“They must be made to pay more if they carry out the policy” she added.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa also questioned the essence of the Commonwealth group of nations which Nigeria and UK belongs to. “What is the point of being in the Commonwealth of nations. We might as well just disband that Commonwealth” she said.
She likened the policy to a similar one by the South African government which she claimed, charged Nigerians N100,000 deportation fees which was never paid back to Nigerians that were never deported. The policy was quickly reversed as soon as Nigeria introduced the same policy, she revealed.
On the need to consider the UK’s government bid to address its immigration challenges, Abike declared that it makes no sense to tell to Nigerians to pay 3000pounds because they want to solve their immigration problems because some desperate people will raise the money and stay in the UK forever.
She demands to know how applicants who have been described as ‘high-risk’ will be identified.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tuface Plans Going Back To School To Study Law

Musician TuFace Idibia
Some say he is the most successful contemporary music artiste in Nigeria today. Others say he is the best of his generation.
But, there is no doubt that Innocent Ujah Idibia, renowned as Tuface Idibia (and fondly called 2baba by some), one of the best music exports Nigeria has ever produced.
However, despite his phenomenal success and achieving superstardom, including a string of hits from his five albums to date – as well as the evergreen ‘African Queen’ from his debut solo album in 2004; Tuface, with over 16 years in the music industry, has remained humble and down-to-earth.
his is despite the fact that he has performed alongside some of the world’s music biggest superstars, who have also featured in his songs. His biggest achievement, he says, would be winning the elusive Grammy Award. “That would be the height of the whole thing,” he said.
Grammys or not, Tuface is regarded as an African music icon. From Kora Awards, Channel O Music Video, MTV Europe Music, MOBO, MTV Africa Music to BET Awards; Tuface has won virtually every national, continental and international music award on offer for African artistes.
His global success has also paved the way for many other Nigerian and African artistes to shine among world music galaxy of stars.
“There is no film trick around me. What you see is what you get, No hype,” he said. With an award cabinet and impressive resume a whole music generation once dreamed of, that may be the understatement of the year. Interestingly, his record label is called ‘Hypertek’.
In this exclusive, no-holds-barred interview, Tuface bares his beautiful music soul and opens up on many issues, including his controversial relationship with women and his legacy as a music icon, like he has never done before.
SUI: Let’s talk about the Nigerian music industry. How much has it grown?
Tuface: The industry is ripe, a lot of things are happening, many people are getting involved now, and many are interested in artist management now than some years ago. We have more entertainment lawyers, more promoters, and more people that are interested in music business now than some years ago. So the industry is growing. The quality of music and videos and the sound have tremendously improved. The talent has always been there, but these days you find that it is more of packaging than talent. Although, even with talent, you still need to package the product, but it is more of packaging now. I listen to a lot of music these days and you find that it just a few of the artistes today who actually have talent for music, majority is just packaging. But the thing is, entertainment is about entertainment, you know, it’s allowed. Understand what I’m saying?
SUI: The entertainment industry in Nigeria is still evolving and growing in spite of issues like piracy. How has this affected you as an artiste?
Tuface: That is the Nigerian thing. To be honest with you, corruption is the reason why piracy is still a major issue in Nigeria, because if radio stations are not paying royalties, because they run to a government agent and they give them some sort of backing, you can’t shut them down, you can’t do anything about it, because the government is not taking it serious.
If the government knows that these artistes have to pay taxes and they are going to make a lot of money from collecting these taxes, then they could decide to create an avenue where these artistes will make big money and so pay them big taxes, and it goes round like that. If the government is serious, they would make effective laws and enforce it. They would make sure music pays and it will happen but because of corruption, this doesn’t happen. If police see person dey sell pirated CDs, dey no dey look am like crime. He go dey look as, why you just wan collect food from that boy hand, he doesn’t even know it’s a crime, na punishable offence, so it’s serious. The Nigerian government doesn’t take entertainment seriously, it’s not by dashing artistes or anybody money or by you know… but by actually saying, ‘this industry wetin be the thing wey they need to do to regulate am make e tight, so that it can actually be more productive.
Piracy is happening on a massive scale in Nigeria because the law enforcement, the people that are supposed to protect this intellectual property, don’t even see it as a crime. But the government is more serious about dealing with people who vandalise oil pipeline.
Talking about getting royalties from the air play of our songs, we now have collecting societies in Nigeria, like the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). But the people who are supposed to pay up for these people to work are not paying up, so what are they going to give you? Are they going to remove money from their pocket to give to you? COSON just started, at least they are trying to muscle NCCA and the other bodies that should make all these (royalties) laws work. A few of the Radio and TV stations have actually said they are going to pay, but it should not just be a few, it should be everybody. Only 1% of the people who are supposed to pay are presently complying.
SUI: There have also been rumours about some artistes paying to get air plays, what’s your view about this?
Tuface: One thing about entertainment, music especially is that beyond talent, which you definitely need, you also need good management, good character. A lot involves making that talent work.
E get as you sing the sweetest music for this world reach, but if e no get proper promotion, na just two or three go say ‘Ah, that music sweet o!’ Good music will spread like wild fire if it also gets proper packaging and marketing, because it is a good thing alreadyEntertainment is about talent, it is also about packaging and marketing.
To answer your question, definitely some people pay money to get air play. It depends on how you want to do it, although it is illegal to pay a DJ to play your music. But it happens, not just in Nigeria, it happens everywhere in the world. Nobody is going to deny the fact that it does happen, but if you choose to go that way (paying for air plays), then it means that you don’t believe in yourself so much.
SUI: Your relationship with women has been a topic of controversy. Someone once posted on Facebook that, ‘after six kids, Tuface is now married now, can he be faithful?’… How do you feel about such questions?
Tuface: The day I decided to go public was the day I gave my privacy away. It’s only natural – if you put yourself out there – that people are going to say different stuff, even when it’s not true. You laugh if you hear the funny ones; you are surprised when you hear the malicious and wicked ones. But what people think about you is none of your business, it’s their business. So, na their headache if dem dey worry. I just look at it and say, ‘okay oh, na you be the police na’ (laughing). I just try my best to be a good person, you know.
SUI: You don’t see yourself as a player?
Tuface: If I were a player, they wouldn’t have caught me like that (General laughter)
SUI: How challenging is the role of being a father to your kids?
Tuface: It’s not easy. Sometimes, it is painful, especially when you don’t get to see them as often as you would wish to because of work. Today I’m here, tomorrow, I’m there, sometimes for weeks, months; plus the fact that they have different moms… I didn’t plan for it this way, but it happened and I have accepted it, no shaking. My plan was to have a wife and then have children. Something happened along the line, but I didn’t run away from it.
 SUI: But you seem happy with your career, especially as you discovered your talent early in life. Would you encourage your kids to follow in your footsteps career wise?
Tuface: Yes, definitely I will. One already asked me that. If I see that they exhibit any talent, I will definitely encourage them in that direction. I’m not the guy who will tell his son or daughter that you must study this or that. If I see that they actually have genuine talent for it, I will definitely encourage them. If it is music, I’ve been there and still there, it would even be easy for me to be their best adviser.
SUI: How do you feel when you travel out and see how many people actually know your music?
Tuface: It feels good and makes you realise that your work is not in vain. It’s every artiste’s joy to see people actually feel what they do, to know that you actually get results for the whole creative process.
SUI: Let’s talk about highlife. Have you recorded any ‘highlife’ song yet?
Tuface: Yes, definitely, I just did a remix of Victor Olaiya’s song, Baby jo wo. It will be released soon. Highlife used to be our major music but somehow, the transition from old school to new school changed all that.
SUI: One of your hit singles, ‘Nfana Ibaga (No Problem)’, from your debut solo album almost seem prophetic, as you are now a mega star and obviously blessed by God. What inspired that song?

Tuface: That song was basically like an introduction of myself because that was my first solo album, like, ‘okay, I don show’, that was the inspiration (Laughing).
SUI: Some of the major names who started with you have faded away. What is secret of your longevity in the music industry? How do you constantly reinvent yourself musically?
Tuface: Wow. For me, I will say it’s by the grace of God, hard work, and my fans.
SUI: But what are the things you do, how do you constantly reinvent yourself musically?
Tuface: Hmmn. I think I try to blend with the times I passed through, and at the same time, still try to just keep it fresh. I try to do music, not for just the present time, but for tomorrow, that in the future, it will still sound good to your ears and make sense.
SUI: You once told me that you would like to go back to school to study law, do you still have plans to do that?
Tuface: Yes, I want to do that. I can’t say when exactly, maybe in the next two or three years? But I’m definitely going to do that.
SUI: You’ve won virtually all the major continental and international awards for African artistes, but you haven’t won a Grammy yet. Does that bother you? 
Tuface: It doesn’t bother me, but I definitely think about it. I still have some things to do. I’m not where I’m supposed to be or where I dream of being yet. So I still have lot of work to do before I cap that, even if I cap that, I would still keep on working (laughing).
SUI: When you first started out, did you honestly think you will get to this level, did you ever dream of this kind of success?
Tuface: I will say yes. Everyone wishes to take his game to the highest level, but what you don’t know is how fast or how long it would take to get there, but you definitely have that dream of getting there. So I had a dream of becoming a successful musician/ artiste. I hoped, worked and prayed for it and I’m getting there.
SUI: There has been a lot of controversy about who wrote your hit song, the evergreen ‘African Queen’. Did blackface actually write the lyrics, as some claim?
Tuface: The song was written by Innocent Idibia and Austin Amedu; Innocent Idibia is Tuface, Austin Amedu is Blackface.
SUI: So, who should get credit for the success of African Queen and did you know it was going to be monster hit at the time?
Tuface: The credit goes to… Tuface, Blackface; OJB, for production; Kennis Music, for marketing; the credit goes to all them and also the fans, especially my Nigerian fans.
SUI: Your wife, Anne, featured prominently in the video. When you were writing the song, was she at the back of your mind? (General laughter)
Tuface: there was no particular person in mind when the song was written, it was written with the general idea to show respect and love for the African woman.
SUI: Why did it take you so long to finally settle down with Anne?
Tuface: I don’t really have an answer to that question, because I don’t know. I can’t explain why I don’t have an answer to that, but somehow, by the grace of God, we are still together.
SUI: Do you think education has a role to play in anybody’s success?
Tuface: Success is relative, but having an education is also very important and I would encourage anybody to get an education. Although you find that in some cases, some people didn’t even have access to education but they are very successful people today. All the same, education is important; it’s a plus and a very good advantage.
SUI: How come the much anticipated Plantashun Boyz reunion never worked out as expected? Do you foresee another try at a reunion album or concert in the nearest future?
Tuface: We have decided to do something but as it is right now, we haven’t really talked about it or planned for any particular time because we are still on individual projects. But it’s definitely in our minds.
SUI: I know you like football. What clubs do you support?
Tuface: Over the years, I have changed my support for many clubs. At different times, it was Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. So I won’t come out and say I’m a fan of any club. I don’t know, I guess I’m a fan of good football (General laughter).
SUI: You have met famous people globally, which one stands out most and why?

Tuface: O boy! I will just go for Wyclef. The guy is just too much. He has the kind of spirit I like, simple, friendly, intelligent, talented, focused, playful, down to earth, serious. He’s just my kind of person.
SUI: Who’s your favorite Nigerian music act and among the upcoming ones, which do you feel can become the next Tuface or make it as big as you have done?
Tuface: I’m not even going to answer that because I have so many friends and wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings by mentioning one person’s name and not mentioning another. But I have many favourites, I love their music and many of them have different attributes that I like.
SUI: I know you like W4 (General laughter)
Tuface: W4!
SUI: Which African musician would you say has had a great influence on your kind of music?
Tuface: Definitely, Fela is a big influence. Bongos Ikwue, Oliver De Coque, Hugh Masekela from South Africa, there’s plenty of them, the list is long.
SUI: At what point did you realize that your music career had finally reached that breakthrough point?
Tuface: I think it was when I won the MTV Europe Music Awards. When I got that award, it was like okay, there’s no going down anymore. I have to keep on working, keep on moving.
SUI: Despite being a superstar, you must have had some most embarrassing moments?
Tuface: Most embarrassing moments? The funny thing is, I can’t remember right now (General laughter). But I don’t like to put myself in any embarrassing situation.
SUI: You’ve mentioned in past interviews, how the name Tuface came about. The name also sounds like you have a multiple personality, a man of different parts. Was that the impression you hoped to achieve when you chose it as a stage name?
Tuface: No. I chose that as a stage name, not because of any multiple personality but because of the fact that people in public will see me on TV, read about me in the papers, hear about me on the radio and it would create an impression for them, until they get to know the real me. The TV, radio, and papers are just one side of the whole story. But when you get to know the real me, every other thing now looks like film trick. So, Tuface is an artiste – the public figure, and Tuface, the actual me.
SUI: You’re still a humble person, despite your success. Is fame sometimes a burden for you?
Tuface: Yes, it is. It takes away your privacy and freedom to do some kind of simple, basic things. Like I can’t go to Iya Christopher to sit down and eat amala, the way I dey do before (General laughter)
SUI: How much is Tuface worth today?
Tuface: I never gather, but I dey try.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Learn how to make up to $500 every single week

Learn how to make up to $500 every single week from info marketing by clicking the below link without spending a dime and you can withdraw it using payza, western union, money gram or bank wiring.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Nigeria Drops Charges Against Some Russian Arms Suspects

Nigerian authorities on Tuesday dropped charges against eight Russian sailors suspected of trafficking arms, their lawyer said, but another seven will face trial.
Suspected Russian arms dealers
The 15 Russian sailors were charged with illegally bringing weapons into the country last year, after Nigerian authorities intercepted a ship on October 23, saying they had found several guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
The court case has raised tensions between Nigeria and Russia, whose Foreign Ministry has spoken out against the charges. Russian media have reported assurances from Nigeria that the sailors would be allowed to return home. Nigeria has not commented on this alleged promise.
Their defense lawyer, Abubakar Onegbu, told reporters outside the court that the charges had been dropped because they were not on the ship when it was detained, but had arrived by air to carry out a crew change. The prosecuting counsel was not available for comment.
Justice James Soho adjourned the trial of the others until Friday. They are free on bail.
“In general we regard this development a positive step,” Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We expect a similar decision to be taken (in regard to seven remaining sailors) at the upcoming court sitting.”
Arms smuggling to and through Nigeria is rife. Demand for weapons is high because of an Islamist rebellion in the north, armed robbery and kidnapping by gangs in the south and oil theft and piracy in the southeast.
The country is also sometimes used as a conduit for shipping arms to other conflict-ridden parts of West Africa.

Yoruba actor Saidi Balogun set to marry another wife

saidi balogun and new wife
A couple of years after famous actor, Saidi Balogun divorced his popular actress wife, Fathia Balogun. The actor, producer and director, Saidi Balogun is already set to bring in wife number 2.
The wedding to his new wife, Funke Sowofora,  is set for July 7th. Funke Sowofora is a Lagos State Auditor and also the Oba Saheed Elegushi’s sister.

N1.7B Subsidy Fraud: Police Arraign Oil Market, Cargo Surveyor

The Managing Director of Stonebridge Oil Limited, Samuel Owa, was on Tuesday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police over alleged economic crime and fraudulent collection of N1.7 billion fuel subsidy from the Federal Government.

Mr. Owa and his company were arraigned alongside Vibrant Ventures Limited and a cargo surveyor with the firm, Olori Onassis Wajutom, on charges related to crime.
The accused were ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending the hearing of their bail application scheduled for Thursday, 20 June 2013.
The prosecutor, Effiong Asuquo told Justice Ibrahim Buba in count one that the accused persons conspired among themselves to commit felony to wit obtaining money under false pretext from the Federal Government, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. A6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In count two, the SFU alleged that the accused fraudulently obtained N1.7 billion from the Federal Government, while in count three, they were said to have falsely claimed to have imported and discharged 15,000 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol.
In count four, the police alleged that Vibrant Ventures and Mr. Wajutom, while acting as Eco Bank appointed cargo surveyors, aided Stonebridge Oil and Mr. Owa to obtain the said N1.7 billion from the Federal Government as subsidy claim on the false pretext that 15,000 metric tons of petrol had been imported and discharged via M.T. Brave, Ex M.T. Starling and Ex M.T. Pyxis Delta.
The accused persons, who are being defended by Joseph Nwobike, pleaded not guilty to the allegations, while Justice Buba fixed Thursday for hearing of their bail application.

Learn how to make up to $500 every single week without a dime

Learn how to make up to $500 every single week from info marketing by clicking the below link without spending a dime and you can withdraw it using payza, western union, money gram or bank wiring.

N22billion Secret Government Planed To Share Largesse To 84 ‘Lucky’ Nigerians: HEDA Warns AMCON

Mustapha Chike Obi. Photo: The Nation Online
By SaharaReporters, New York
Human and Environmental Development Agenda [HEDA Resource Centre], has threatened to drag to court and to infamy the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) over a N22 billion largesse it illegally disbursed to selected stockbrokers on behalf of the federal government.
In a letter to the Managing Director of AMCON, Mustapha Chike Obi, HEDA chairman Olarenwaju Siraju drew attention to a June 1 story in Premium Times captioned, “Civil Society Groups Condemn AMCON, Nigerian Government over secret N22billion Naira largesse to stockbroker”.
HEDA pointed out that while AMCON undertook the distribution of the “N22 billion forbearance package to 84 of Nigeria’s 200 stockbrokers,” the company said it had no intention of identifying the beneficiaries because doing so “may impact negatively” on Nigeria’s recovering stock exchange.
“We believe that there is no basis for such reasoning in laws of Nigeria and financial operations of the country,” HEDA warned.  “Vertical accountability in democratic governance is not only crucial for democratic sustainability but also for fiscal responsibilities. The public should be able to hold to account Government agencies on how public funds are spent. To do this, people need information about what decisions the government is taking and their rationale. It is therefore unethical for the government not to reveal the beneficiaries of this fund, as they have moral, legal and constitutional obligation to do so.”
It therefore requested a list of the beneficiaries of the N22billion grant within seven days of the receipt of its request dated June 3, 2013, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, or face legal and political consequences.
HEDA is a Non-Governmental Organization [NGO] whose mandate is to promote, protect and defend universally recognized human rights and environmental justice in Nigeria and Africa, in accordance with international standards. HEDA Resource Centre envisions a society whose principles are based on equity, accountability and socia