Saturday, 23 September 2017
Items filtered by date: June 2017

Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as de-register all non-governmental organizations that campaign for gay rights.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in the East African nation, where the law states that suspects convicted of having "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" could face up to 30 years in jail.

At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania's Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country.

"Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things," Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma. "If we establish that any organization registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights ... I will deregister that organization. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court ... and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country."

The planned crackdown comes amid repeated warnings against "immoral behaviors" by President John Magufuli, who is nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for pushing through his policies.

Last week, he rejected calls to lift the decades-long ban on pregnant students from attending state schools, drawing criticism from rights groups.

Nchemba said Magufuli's decisions were final and non-negotiable.

Since his ascent to power in 2015, Magufuli has been praised by some Western donors for his bid to stamp out corruption and cut wasteful government spending.

Opponents, however, accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian by curbing political activity and cracking down on dissent.

Published in News & Stories

The U.S. Supreme Court says it will consider the case of President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel - and in the meantime much of the order may take effect.

Trump’s revised executive order, known as the travel ban, halted travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and halted the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The order said these steps were necessary in order to revise security screening to safeguard the nation from external threats.

The travel order had been placed under restraining orders by two separate courts, one in Hawaii and one in Maryland. Both rulings were sustained by separate appeals courts.

But the nation's highest court took a more nuanced view, allowing the ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and the suspension of the refugee program.

The justices, however, said the ban on travel cannot be enforced against "foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

The court goes on to define relationships that would qualify: for individuals, a family relationship; for students, admittance to a college or university; for workers, a job offer.

Travel Order Exceptions

In reinstating much of President Trump's order banning travelers from six mostly Muslim countries and all refugees, the U.S. Supreme Court included exceptions for those with "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Here are examples the court provided of such relationships:

Family relationships
A  foreign  national  who  wishes  to  enter  the  United  States  to  live  with  or  visit  a  family  member.
 
Students
Those students from the designated countries who have been admitted to a school in the U.S.
 
Employees/guest speakers
A  worker  who  accepted  an  offer  of  employment  from  an  American  company  or  a  lecturer  invited  to  address  an  American  audience.
Published in Politics

Fifty-two migrants have been found dead in the deserts of central Niger, near Séguédine.

A group of 75 set out in three vehicles but were abandoned by traffickers, who feared the security forces.

A local official told the BBC that dozens of bodies had been buried, and 23 survivors were taken to the town, although one later died.

African migrants travel through the desert aiming to reach Libya and cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

However, the journey is perilous as the migrants are crammed into pick-up trucks and have few supplies.

Two weeks ago Niger troops rescued 92 migrants who were on the brink of death in the Sahara Desert.

The group, which included women and children, was abandoned without water and food.

Published in News & Stories

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on Monday evening stepped up their bid for re-election by citing their achievements as  they accused the Opposition of “copying” them.

During a session preceding the official launch of the Jubilee manifesto, the two leaders argued that they had achieved a lot within a short period.

“We should be happy with what we have achieved. We need to work harder for what lies ahead of us,” said Mr Kenyatta.

“There are many things they said we can’t accomplish, which we have. I am sure if given time, there is more we can accomplish.”

DEFENDING RECORD

The President was defending his record, citing Huduma centres, free maternity healthcare, regional integration and improving relations with the outside world.

“You were told that if you elect us, the world will reject us. Today, people from various countries want to visit Kenya. There is no country that has refused to accommodate a Kenyan president,” he argued, referring to the image issues surrounding their cases at the International Criminal Court.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto during the launch of Jubilee party Manifesto at Safaricom Kasarani stadium on Monday, June 26, 2017. PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“This is a government that works for the people. We also work with the people. We do so because at the end of the day this country belongs to 45 million people.”

OUTLINED ACHIEVEMENTS

Before the launch of the manifesto, the two leaders and Cabinet Secretaries engaged the audience when they outlined their achievements over the past four and-a-half years.

Foreign CS Amina Mohamed and her counterparts Aden Mohamed (Industrialisation) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) presented their figures, arguing for the Jubilee Party.

President Kenyatta relied on the ministers to tell the story of the achievements of the Jubilee administration.

Ms Mohamed described Kenya’s global picture as one that could only get better.

ESSENTIAL CONTACTS

“We have risen from a country of essential contacts to one that welcomes the President of the United States, His Holiness the Pope and over 50 global leaders,  and hosts 16 summits and 15 major conferences,” said Ms Mohamed.

She added: “In four-and-a-half years, we have increased foreign investment by 400 per cent.”

Mr Mohamed described what he said was opening up of the trade sector and removal of bureaucracy in the conduct of business

“We have made it very easy to do business and we have been cited by the World Bank as the third most improved country on ease of doing business,” said Mr Mohamed.

SECURE JOBS

Mr Mucheru focused on improving Kenya’s IT services. He explained how the government was helping the youth secure jobs through online searches.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai (left) and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko during the launch of Jubilee Party manifesto. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

But it was always going to be a government-versus-Opposition affair. Mr Ruto was the first to criticise opposition leaders, saying they want to do things like what the government has done.

“Our record of the last four- and-a-half years speaks for itself. We are the only political party that has a track record,” he said.

“We have a superior plan for our country, which our competitors can only copy and we welcome them to copy because it is the best.”

BLAMING OTHERS

The President chipped in: “The difference between us and them is, as my brother, the Deputy President has said, is like day and night. The difference is this — there are those who seek leadership by blaming others.”

“Then there are those who seek leadership by seeking to correct mistakes and offer hope, opportunity and the future.”

The President said he was voted in when some individuals were questioning his ability to lead, especially in light of the case he and his deputy were facing at the International Criminal Court.

Published in Business and Economy

On behalf of my wife, family and government, I wish Muslims in Ghana and around the world Eid Mubarak.

We thank Allah for seeing us through one month of fasting, prayer and devotion. I have no doubt that after nights of intense prayer and devotion, Allah would increase his favour upon our country and, insha Allah, by the next Ramadan our country would be better than it is today.

The month of Ramadan has certainly drawn us closer to Allah than we were before. It has also taught us the virtues of prayer, patience, piety and faith. These are virtues that we need all year round. I, therefore, urge all of us to hold fast to these values and not lose them merely because we are no longer in Ramadan.
Above all, let the spirit of friendship, brotherhood and love that characterized our activities in Ramadan continue to influence our relationship with our fellow Ghanaians. With a sense of unity of purpose, we shall realize our goals.

I wish you a happy celebration and may Allah make our nation great and strong.

Published in Parliament

Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged all Ghanaian Muslims to be wary of ideologues who may pervert a beautiful religion like Islam for selfish and destructive ends.

According to President Akufo-Addo, religion is a double-edged sword that can also be invoked for destructive purposes, and as such urged all Muslims to continue to hold hands in brotherhood and unity, for that is the essence of Islam.

“Whether you are Ahl-Sunna, Tijaniyya, Shia or Ahmadiyya, I remind you of the words of Allah as captured in Quran Chapter 3:103: And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah stretches out to you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and he joined your hearts in love, so that by his grace you became brethren…’”, he said.

The President made this appeal on Monday, June 26, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the at the Edi-ul Fitr prayers, at the Independence Square, his first Eid as President of the Republic.

Describing Ghana as a nation where people of different faiths live together in peace and harmony, the President urged Ghanaians to cherish this long-standing bond that exists amongst them and use it as a basis for advancing the cause of our country.

“On my part, I continue to commit myself to the principles of our Constitution, which enjoins on me fairness towards all Ghanaians, irrespective of their religious creed. As a Christian, I am deeply respectful of the Islamic faith, which, together with Christianity and Judaism, are called the Abrahamic faiths. We must, therefore, emphasise the things that bind us, rather than the ones that divide us,” he added.

Gender and Development

As the African Union Spokesperson on Gender and Development, and as a person fully committed to gender equality, President Akufo-Addo noted that one of the cardinal teachings of the Prophet Muhammad is gender justice.

He explained that before the advent of Islam, women in Arabia were treated as second-rate citizens, and female infanticide was rife.

“The Prophet restored the dignity of the woman, which we are required to uphold. It is not for nothing that the Prophet urges us to learn half of our religion from Aisha, a woman. This Prophetic admonishment resembles Kwegyir Aggrey’s oft-quoted statement that ‘if you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation’,” he added.

Published in Headliners

•Agencies compile list of stolen arms, ammunition
•Suspect arrested by NSCDC, handed over to JTF


Security agencies in Bayelsa State are probing the identity of Suoyo mentioned by the notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike, aka Evans, as one of his gang members in the state.

Evans, in one of his numerous confessional statements, named Suoyo as one of the active members of his gang, who had the assignment of buying arms and ammunition, for their operations.

He said: “When Suoyo, who lives in Bayels State, called me and expressed fears, I also assured him that nothing was going to happen. I told him I was making plans for another operation and needed him to go into the creeks and buy a new set of arms and ammunition”.

But security commanders in Bayelsa were said to have met over the weekend to analyse Evan’s confessional statement to unmask the real identity of Suoyo.

In the meeting which held in Government House in the presence of Governor Seriake Dickson, the security commanders were said to be certain that that the Suoyo mentioned by Evans was the same person recently arrested by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state.

Suoyo Dickson was arrested and paraded on Thursday by the state Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, in connection with the recent attack on a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

Suoyo, popularly known as Hustler, reportedly led a gang of vandals that attacked the Agip pipeline at Lagosgbene, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on May 30, 2017.

He was, however, arrested on June 16, 2017 at Agbigiba community in Southern Ijaw.

Suoyo, in his confessional statement, also admitted having some criminal camps in the creeks saying he led an oil and gas task force operating in Southern Ijaw to destroy the camps but became frustrated when the task force failed to reward him.

On how he attacked the pipeline, he said;: ”I used two handsaw blades and handsaw to open up the point, I cut the handle in the valve, I fetched 20 litres of petrol, I lit spark lighter and threw it into the pipe and burnt it.”

”I burnt the pipeline because the task force did not keep to their promise of employing us after making us to show them our bunkering camps and the subsequent destruction by the military.

”We showed them our camps, eight of them. All the camps did not belong to me. Three were mine while other groups have five. After showing them, the task force engaged the military to destroy our camps.

”The other groups, whose camps were destroyed were not happy with me. They said I betrayed them and they started planning to kill me and my family members. The situation put me under pressure more so the employment they promised all of us after seven days did not materialise”.

It was gathered that Agu, after parading the suspect, handed him over to the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (ODS) for further investigations.

A security source, who spoke in confidence, said at the meeting of the security commanders in Yenagoa, which was attended by the heads of ODS, the police and NSCDC, it was agreed that Suoyo should be subjected to further investigations.

Following Evans’ confession, the security heads were said to be linking him to the theft of service rifles of security operatives especially policemen in the state.

They recalled many attacks on operatives by criminals, who only fled with arms and ammunition handled by their victims.

“The security heads also agreed to compile a list of such stolen arms and ammunition in the state and send it to the Force Headquarters to know whether they were among the ones recovered from Evans.

“The Suoyo mentioned by Evans seems in all ramifications to be the same suspected arrested by the NSCDC recently in connection with attack on a pipeline. The security heads in the state believe so and they will surely carry out further investigations to determine his linkage with the Evans’ gang.”

Published in News & Stories
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos’ side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final.

Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon still harbour outside qualification hopes.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russia for top spot.

Ronaldo twice threatened the New Zealand goal in quick succession, nodding straight at goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic on 24 minutes and then clattering the crossbar shortly after with another header from a Ricardo Quaresma cross.

But the Portugal captain made no mistake after Danilo was wrestled to the ground in the area by a combination of Tom Doyle and Tommy Smith following a corner.

Ronaldo buried the resultant penalty beyond Stefanovic to draw level with former Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and within nine goals of the legendary Ferenc Puskas’ European record of 84 at international level.

Portugal swiftly doubled their lead when Eliseu’s dangerous low cross from the left was forced home by Silva, although there was brief concern for the new Manchester City signing as he landed awkwardly on his ankle.

New Zealand skipper Chris Wood nearly grabbed a lifeline for the All Whites on the hour, but his back-post effort was scrambled off the line by a combination of Rui Patricio and Bruno Alves.

Ronaldo could have added to his tally when he climbed to meet a Nelson Semedo delivery, his header scooped away by Stefanovic who then stood tall to superbly deny Andre Silva.

Santos withdrew Ronaldo on 67 minutes with the semi-finals in mind, and his replacement Nani struck within moments of his introduction only for Stefanovic to brilliantly tip behind his deflected shot.

Silva finally provided Portugal with further breathing space 10 minutes from time as the AC Milan-bound striker ran at the Kiwi defence before drilling into the roof of the net.

Former Manchester United winger Nani then drilled in a fourth in injury time, with Portugal now having lost just one of their last 23 competitive fixtures.

Published in Sports

Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera’s towering kick from inside his own half on 52 minutes. 

Russia’s hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

“We knew it was going to be tough, we played well against them,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“We are building a team which has the skills and determintion to play against any team. We could have scored more goals if we had moved the ball around better.”

While the hosts bow out, Mexico progress as Group A runners-up to play the winners of Group B in Sochi next Thursday.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was left rueing his side’s missed chances.

“It was an interesting match for sure, we knew we had to win and did everything to tip the game in our favour,” said Cherchesov.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t react to their goals and then had a man sent off, even then we tried to score. My team did the best they could.”

Having made eight alterations for the team which beat New Zealand, Osorio again rang the changes against Russia with only defender Araujo and forward Giovani dos Santos retained in the starting line-up.

Lozano replaced from Raul Jimenez in a completely different forward line alongside Mexico’s all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez and former Arsenal winger Carlos Vela.

Recovery mission
Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and subsequent victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado picked up an early booking that will rule him out of the semi-final, while the video assistant referee was summoned to reject Russian penalty claims after Fyodor Smolov went to ground in the area.

Russia went ahead though as Smolov hit the post, with Aleksandr Erokhin knocking the rebound to Samedov who drilled past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later.

Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Mexico lost Diego Reyes to injury just before the break when the Espanyol defender rolled his ankle making an innocuous pass.

The linesman’s flag denied Spartak Moscow’s Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano’s brave gamble paid off.

Herrara’s thumping clearance was allowed to bounce just outside the Russian area, with Lozano clattered by Akinfeev as he nipped in front of the keeper to head into an unguarded net on 52 minutes.

Mexico then had another goal ruled out for offside following more consultation with the video referee, and Russia suffered a further blow when Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia’s misery.

Published in Sports

All Kenyan schoolgirls are to get free sanitary pads, the government has said. It is hoped the move will improve access to education in a country where many cannot afford sanitary products like pads and tampons.

According to the UN's education agency, one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their period.

Some girls reportedly lose 20 per cent of their education for this reason, making them more likely to drop out of school altogether.

The amendment to the education act, signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta this week, states free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels must be provided to every girl registered at school, as well as providing a safe and environmental sound mechanism for disposal.

Published in News & Stories
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