Category Archives: World

Akufo-Addo condemns London terror attack

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Ghana’s leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has joined other world leaders to condemn Wednesday’s terror attack at Westminster in Central London, UK.

The attack left three persons including a policeman dead with several others injured. The gunman was shot dead by police.

In a tweet on Thursday to condemn the attacks, President Akufo-Addo expressed sympathies for the bereaved families and the injured.

He added: “This attack is a stark reminder of the threat terrorism poses to the world and the duty it imposes on us all to help combat this scourge”.

<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”>

This attack is a stark reminder of the threat terrorism poses to the world & the duty it imposes on us all to help combat this scourge. 2/2

— Nana Akufo-Addo(@NAkufoAddo) March 23, 2017

So far, eight persons have been arrested.

The attack has raised the hackles of security in London with Scotland Yard scouring for persons linked with the attacker, whose name has been given as Khalid Masood.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana

[Video] Girl takes off Pope’s skullcap

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A young girl of three years got all gathered at St Peter’s Square marveled after removing Pope Francis’ skullcap.

The Pope was blessing children, then.

Estella, as the girl’s name was given, was lifted by a Vatican aide to meet the Pope on Wednesday.

Watch the video below:

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

Is it safe to drink Fanta and Sprite?

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A recent court case in Nigeria has highlighted concerns that locally made soft drinks may be considered unsafe for human consumption elsewhere, as Ijeoma Ndukwe explains.

There has been uproar in Nigeria after it emerged that the company that manufactures Fanta and Sprite, the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), has been ordered by a court to place warning labels on its products, stating that they are unsafe when consumed alongside vitamin C.

The drinks are said by critics to contain high levels of the preservative benzoic acid and the colouring sunset yellow.

NBC is challenging the ruling.

The case has caused deepening concern in a country where Fanta, Sprite and Coca-Cola are probably the most widely consumed soft drinks.

Barbara Ukpabi owns a grill restaurant which serves local food in Oniru, Lagos. She says she might stop buying Fanta and Sprite for the restaurant and also has concerns about giving the drinks to her children.

“I was thinking of reducing how much I drink of it. I’ll be thinking of drinking less of it or going to other substitutes like juice.”

Although like many Nigerians, the habit is hard to break.

“I just had my lunch and I had Coke and water.”

Security guard John Uloko didn’t see the reports about the soft drinks in the newspapers but heard about it via WhatsApp and hasn’t drunk any since.

‘Flexing their muscles’

The ruling was the result of a nine-year-long court battle initiated by Nigerian businessman Fijabi Adebo.

John Uloko

John Uloko has stopped drinking Fanta and Sprite

In 2007, Mr Adebo shipped Nigerian-made Fanta and Sprite to the UK to sell at his chain of shops in Manchester.

His shipment was confiscated by UK customs, originally because of concerns about the authenticity of the beverages.

But when the UK health authorities tested the products, they were declared unsafe for human consumption and destroyed.

Mr Adebo sued NBC, Coca-Cola’s franchise owner in Nigeria, which had sold him the products.

They had refused to take financial responsibility for the incident.

He later extended the case to include the food standards agency Nafdac, on the grounds that it had allegedly not performed its duty.

Last month – nearly 10 years after he filed his case – a Lagos high court ruled against Nafdac and ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company to place written warnings on its Fanta and Sprite bottles.As NBC is appealing, the labels have not yet been added to the bottles.

Mr Adebo told the BBC: “Initially they were flexing their muscles, which dragged [out] the process. I went to court to compel Nafdac to do its duty.

Soft drinks in Nigerian store

The warning have not yet appeared as the ruling is being challenged

“We shouldn’t have a product that is considered substandard in Europe.”

His viewpoint is echoed by many, angered that products considered unsafe for consumption in the UK are legal in Nigeria.

The case has prompted discussions about accepted standards in the country.

Although benzoic acid is widely used as an antibacterial and antifungal preservative in acidic foods and beverages to extend their shelf life, studies have shown that the chemical can cause health problems in certain circumstances.

‘Toxic’

A scientist based in Nigeria, who has dealings with Nafdac and asked to remain anonymous, says some human toxicity studies have shown that benzoic acid may react with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in soft drinks, forming benzene.

“While benzoic acid itself is relatively non-toxic, when benzene is formed in the presence of ascorbic acid in foods it is particularly dangerous, as benzene is widely known to be toxic and linked to many forms of cancer. These include leukaemia and other cancers of the blood,” the scientist said.

The secretary-general of the Nigerian Medical Association says it is impossible to make a judgement about acceptable levels of benzoic acid without conducting a local study looking at health implications over a long period of time.

Passers-by walk past the Nigerian Bottling Company in Lagos

Soft drinks may need more preservative in hotter countries AFP

Dr Yusuf Sununu Tanko says there are a number of examples where evaluations are different between countries because of differences in physical constitution, diet and environment.

“Each country has its own acceptable value of what is considered normal for what is fit for human consumption,” he says.

Nigeria’s health ministry published a statement in response to the public outcry, reassuring Nigerians that the drinks are safe for human consumption.

However, the ministry advises that medicines are taken with water to help “prevent unexpected drug-food interactions”.

Although the government has not spoken of enforcement, it “encourages” all bottling companies to include advisory warnings on all relevant products.

The Nigerian Bottling Company has appealed against the court ruling. It says the levels of benzoic acid in its soft drinks are “well within the levels approved” by both the national regulator and Codex Alimentarius, an international food standards body.

The company also says the ingredient levels set by countries for their food and beverages are influenced by factors such as climate, with drinks in hotter countries needing higher levels of preservative.

It also says there was “no proven case of negligence” or finding that the company had breached its duty of care to consumers.

The government’s Consumer Protection Council has formally requested documents from the Nigerian Bottling Company ahead of an independent inquiry.

With an appeal in motion and a government inquiry under way, this case is far from over.

Source: BBC

London attack: Seven held after armed police raids

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GETTY IMAGES

Seven arrests have been made in raids following the Westminster attack that left four dead, police have said.

Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said hundreds of detectives have worked through the night, carrying out searches at six addresses.

Those who died were a woman in her 40s, a man in his 50s, PC Keith Palmer and the attacker, he said.

Seven of the injured are still in hospital in a critical condition.

A further 29 had been treated in hospital, Mr Rowley added.

In the attack on Wednesday, a man drove a car along a pavement in Westminster knocking down pedestrians, leaving dozens injured.

He then stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament.

In a statement made outside Scotland Yard, Mr Rowley said: “The inquiries in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country are continuing.

“It is still our belief – which continues to be borne out by our investigation – that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism.

“To be explicit, at this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public.”

Map

He said he would not name the bridge victims yet, who were “a mix of nationalities”, and urged journalists not to publish the attacker’s name while searches were continuing.

He said Londoners should expect to see more police officers on the streets, after officers’ leave had been cancelled and duty hours extended.

It was initially thought that three members of the public had been killed on Westminster Bridge, but Mr Rowley referred to just two in his statement.

In other developments:

  • A witness told the Press Association that three men were arrested in an armed raid on a Birmingham address. The BBC understands this is linked to the London attack
  • There is an unconfirmed suggestion that the car used in the attack was hired from an address in Birmingham, BBC Newsnight says
  • Security at Parliament will be reviewed, says Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon
  • The Cabinet Office says it will observe a one-minute silence at 9.33 am to pay respect to the victims
  • The flag over the Houses of Parliament is flying at half mast
  • Parliament will sit, as normal, later
  • People worried about family and friends can call the police casualty bureau on: 0800 056 0944 or 0207 158 0010. Anyone with images or footage of the incident can send them to ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the “working assumption” was that the attack was linked to “Islamic terrorism in some form”.

He paid tribute to Pc Palmer, a 48-year-old father and husband, and an unarmed member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Squad who had served for 15 years.

Pc Palmer stopped the attacker getting into Parliament and “gave his life for the democracy we all cherish”, he told BBC Breakfast.

Asked about the mood of the city, Sir Michael said: “London is getting back to normal. They’ve seen terrorism like this before and they are not going to let it triumph.”

A floral tribute

AFP

Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, said it was important to remember that “this was a story about people who didn’t come home yesterday”.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who will make a statement shortly, said the attack was a “sick and depraved” attack on the heart of the capital, and such attempts to defeat UK values were “doomed to failure”.

US President Donald Trump was among world leaders to offer their support, tweeting: “Spoke to UK Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well.”

By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent

The carnage on Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of Parliament is the attack that security chiefs here in the UK have long been preparing for.

Terrorism looks not just to kill and maim – but to create panic and such a sense of disorder that it rocks a city or nation to its foundations.

And this attacker sought to do so in as low-tech way as is possible.

The days when terrorism meant large, complex bombs and months of planning are gone: Western security agencies – particularly MI5 and its partner agencies – are very, very good at identifying those plots and disrupting them.

The longer it takes to plan such an attack, the more people who are involved, the more chances there will be for security services to learn what is going on.

Source: BBC

Uganda manhunt for police who shot dead girl of three

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An official statement says police officers must be held to high standards and that killing is treated seriously photo: Uganda Police

Ugandan police have launched a manhunt for four Flying Squad officers accused of shooting dead a three-year-old girl.

They allegedly wounded the girl’s mother and a man at a village in the central Mityana district on Monday.

The four officers were not on “official assignment” and the motive behind the shooting is unclear.

Police described the incident as “highly regrettable” and said they would pay for the treatment of the wounded.

“The Uganda Police Force has received reports that persons suspected to be officers of the Flying Squad allegedly shot dead three-year-old Viola Nakuwuka and injured her mother,” a police statement said.

It described the incident as murder that “will be treated with serious action”.

The men are reported to be on the run and the police have issued an all-points alert for the officers.

Source: BBC | Africa

“Terror” attack near UK Parliament: Police officer ‘stabbed’

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A police officer has been stabbed in the Houses of Parliament in central London, in what police are treating as a terrorist incident.

Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police”.

There are also reports of as many as five people being “mowed down” on nearby Westminster Bridge.

MPs said they had heard three or four gunshots. A Downing Street source said Prime Minister Theresa May was “OK”.

Prime Minister Theresa May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car as what sounded like gunfire rang out at Parliament during the incident.

Staff inside Parliament were told to stay inside their offices.

Tom Peck, political editor for the Independent, tweeted: “There was a loud bang. Screams. Commotion. Then the sound of gunshots. Armed police everywhere.”

Source: BBC

Flight ban on laptops ‘sparked by IS threat’

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Map of affected countries

The UK ban applies to direct inbound flights from six countries; the US ban lists eight countries

An aircraft cabin ban on large electronic devices was prompted by intelligence suggesting a terror threat to US-bound flights, says US media.

The US and UK have announced new carry-on restrictions banning laptops on certain passenger flights.

The so-called Islamic State group (IS) has been working on ways to smuggle explosives on to planes by hiding them in electronics, US sources tell ABC.

The tip-off was judged by the US to be “substantiated” and “credible”.

Inbound flights on nine airlines operating out of 10 airports in eight countries are subject to the US Department of Homeland Security ban.

Phones and medical devices are not affected.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is hosting a two-day meeting of ministers and senior officials from 68 nations to discuss the threat from IS.

The Washington talks will be the first full meeting of the coalition since December 2014.


The BBC’s Barbara Plett-Usher looks ahead to the Washington meeting:

This will be a chance for the Trump administration to put its stamp on the global battle against the Islamic State group. And for the reticent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to put his stamp on a foreign policy issue that the president has identified as a priority.

The State Department says the meeting aims to accelerate efforts to defeat IS in its remaining strongholds: the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa.

On the campaign trail Mr Trump claimed to have a secret plan to obliterate the group. But his Pentagon has largely stuck with Barack Obama’s strategy of supporting local ground forces, albeit with increased US military participation as the assault on Raqqa nears. Coalition members will also discuss how to stabilize and govern the cities after the conflict; and they’re looking to see if Washington remains committed to a longer term effort to secure the region.


What do we know of the threat?

Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News there was “a new aviation threat”.

“We know that our adversaries, terrorist groups in the United States and outside the United States, seek to bring down a US-bound airliner. That’s one of their highest value targets. And we’re doing everything we can right now to prevent that from happening.”

Latop user on a flight

Another member of that committee, Republican Peter King, told the New York Times he was forewarned about the ban.

“It was based on intelligence reports that are fairly recent. Intelligence of something possibly planned.”

The restriction is based, we are told, on “evaluated intelligence”, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner writes.

That means that US intelligence has either intercepted discussion of a possible extremist plot or has been passed word of one by a human informant.

Which airlines are affected?

The nine airlines covered by the US ban are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

The British ban, announced hours after the American measure, is similar but applies to different airlines, including British Airways and EasyJet.

It covers direct passenger flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

The 10 airports affected by the US ban are:

Airports affected by electronics ban
  1. Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  2. Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  3. Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  4. Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
  5. King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  6. King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  7. Kuwait International Airport
  8. Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  9. Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
  10. Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
Devices subject to cabin baggage ban

The airlines included in the US decision have been given a deadline of 07:00 GMT on Saturday to impose the ban, officials said, adding that the restriction had no end date.

However, an Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters news agency the airline understood that the US directive would come into effect on 25 March and remain valid until 14 October 2017.

Source: BBC

Bill Gates named the world’s richest man again as Donald Trump slips to 544

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again topped the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires, while US President Donald Trump slipped more than 200 spots.

Gates, whose wealth is estimated at $86 billion, led the list for the fourth straight year.

He was followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett – with an estimated wealth of $75.6billion, before a bevy of American tech giants dominated the rest of the top ten.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was number three with a net worth of $72.8billion, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was fifth with $56billion, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison came it at number seven with $52.2billion in the bank.

The rest of the top ten included Amancio Ortega – Inditex fashion group founder and the richest non-American – at number four with $71.3billion, Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim at six with $54.5billion, Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch in eighth and ninth with $48.3billion, while Michael Bloomberg rounded it out with $47.5billion.

Trump’s plummet down the list to number 544 with an estimated net worth of $3.5billion was the result of $1billion being slashed from his valuation in the same list last year.

Forbes attributed Trump’s drop to sluggishness in the Manhattan real estate market which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of his wealth.

‘Forty percent of Donald Trump’s fortune is tied up in Trump Tower and eight buildings within one mile of it,’ Forbes said.

1. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder: $86billion

2. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway CEO: $75.6billion

3. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO: $72.8billion

4. Amancio Ortega, Inditex fashion group founder: $71.3billion

5. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO: $56billion

6. Carlos Slim, Mexican telecom mogul: $54.5billion

7.  Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder: $52.2billion

8. Charles Koch, Koch Industries CEO and chairman: $48.3billion

9. David Koch, Koch Industries CEO and chairman: $48.3billion

10. Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg co-founder: $47.5billion

11. Bernard Arnault, LVMH CEO: $41.5billion

12. Larry Page, Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO: $40.7billion

13. Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and Alphabet president: $39.8billion

14. Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oréal heiress: $39.5billion

15. S. Robson Walton, Wal-Mart heir: $34.1billion

16. Jim Walton, Wal-Mart heir: $34billion

17. Alice Walton, Wal-Mart heiress: $33.8billion

18. Wang Jianlin, Dalian Wanda Commercial Property chairman: $31.3billion

19. Li Ka-shing, Cheung Kong Holdings CEO: $31.2billion

20. Sheldon Adelson,Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO: $30.4billion

‘Lately, the neighborhood has been struggling (relatively speaking).’

Trump had steadfastly refused to release his tax returns, which would prove how much he is truly worth, however the Forbes figure is substantially lower than the president has claimed.

During the campaign, then-candidate Trump boasted he was worth, ‘in excess of $10billion’, the Guardian reports.

Trump was in fact tied with 19 other people at number 544, including disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and Texas billionaire Robert McNair.

However, the president will perhaps take some comfort in outranking Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the list, who has an estimated net worth of $3.4billion.

Overall, the global billionaire population jumped 13 per cent from last year to 2,043, the biggest annual increase in the 31 years since the magazine began compiling the list, Forbes said.

Including in the 195 newcomers to the list are 15 self-made women. The new arrivals took the total number of women ranked by Forbes to 227.

The US led countries with the most billionaires with 565, while China was second with 319 billionaires, and Germany was third with 114.

This year it took at least $3.7 billion in wealth to make it onto the list, but only in a tie for 501st place, a group that included Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.

The total worth of the names on the list was about $7.67trillion – or about 46 per cent of the US’ GDP.

Forbes explained how it creates its ‘snapshot’ ranking as part of the list.

‘The Forbes Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth taken on February 17, 2017; we used stock prices and exchange rates from around the world to calculate net worths,’ the magazine said.

‘We list individuals rather than multigenerational families who share large fortunes, though we include wealth belonging to a billionaire’s spouse and children if that person is the founder of the fortune.’

Source: Mail Online

Meet Japan’s oldest porn star who recently retired at age 80

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After a decade of peeling off for X-rated movies, a Japanese porn actress famous for being the country’s oldest has called it quits — at the ripe old age of 80.

Maori Tezuka, a former opera singer who made her debut in Japan’s flourishing “silver porn” industry at a sprightly 71, blamed her decision partly on a lack of red-blooded Lotharios able to keep up with her.

“Once the lights go on, you just do your best,” she told local media.

“I have no regrets, but shooting became difficult when the actor wasn’t my type,” added Tezuka, who in true showbiz fashion left the door open for a possible return.

“It was never about the money for me. I’ve already been asked about returning in two or three years — I said I’d think about it.”

Geronto-porn is not for the faint-hearted but is big business in Japan where around 34 million people — or a quarter of the population — are over 65.

Japan’s porn industry rakes in about $20 billion a year, with movies featuring rambunctious geriatrics accounting for around a quarter of that market, industry insiders say.

In recent years sales have soared as more of the country’s perky seniors celebrate their mojo.

The genre took off thanks largely to the exploits of Shigeo Tokuda, an 82-year-old actor who has appeared in hundreds of blue movies with titles such as “Forbidden Elderly Care” and “Manic Training of Lolitas”.

Source: Misspetitenaijablog.com

 

 

Electronics banned on some US flights from Middle East

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A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer reads the X-ray of a laptop computer at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The new directive is expected to affect airlines from 13 countries

The US has announced a ban on large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights from eight Muslim majority countries.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.

Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, it said.

The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.

Large electronic devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage. Phones are exempt from the new rules.

The nine airlines affected are:

  • Royal Jordanian
  • Egypt Air
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

US officials said the airlines had been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins. They said the ban had no end date.

The airports affected are:

  • Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  • Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  • King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport
  • Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  • Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates

AFP news agency said passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa would be required to follow the new rules.

In a statement, the DHS said: “The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”

Pre-checking sign at airport in New York

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called members of Congress over the weekend to explain the security issues behind the ban, congressional aides said.

The restrictions are said to have been under consideration for several weeks.


A matter of trust – James Cook, BBC North America correspondent

In February 2016 an aircraft operated by the Dubai-based carrier Daallo was damaged by an explosion shortly after take-off from the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Investigators said a passenger who was sucked out of the plane had been carrying a laptop bomb. The pilot managed to land and the alleged bomber was the only fatality. Had the device gone off at cruising altitude, the plane would almost certainly have been destroyed.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, claimed that it was behind the attack. The possibility of further such attacks is apparently what is now concerning American spies.

But, as ever with matters of intelligence, officials are reluctant to go into detail about exactly why the ban is being proposed.

That means travellers are being asked to trust the US government when it says that this inconvenience is vital for their own safety. At present, trust is a commodity which is in very short supply.

Source: BBC