Jonathan Will Carry The Day, Says Olejeme

Jonathan Will Carry The Day, Says Olejeme

28/Jan/2015  //  192 Viewers

 The Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Presidential Campaign Organization, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme has urged Nigerians to vote for Peoples Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, saying a vote for PDP in the February 14, 2015 presidential election is a vote for economic growth, development and unity.
Olejeme made this call Tuesday when she received prominent political leaders from Delta State in Abuja.
“Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is a good listener and knows his task of governing the country. He is the only presidential candidate that can lead Nigeria to greater heights. He will make Nigeria a better place and a global economic power “she said.
Olejeme, who is also chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), assured Nigerians that President Goodluck Jonathan will stick to the policy of transparency and accountability.
Hear her “President Goodluck Jonathan will accelerate economic transformation in his second term through investment in critical infrastructure projects so as to drive economic growth. He will pay special attention to education and health. He will focus on building strong economy. He will take communication, transport, electric power provision, security and potable water supply to the highest level. He will create jobs. He will ensure that resources are equitably distributed and an enabling and conducive business environment provided. He will continue to work on good governance, which is an essential part of economic growth and development. He will continue to champion economic diplomacy, promote the growth of local businesses’.
She urged Nigerians, particularly public servants, civil society, youth, women’s groups and traditional leaders to support the PDP presidential candidate.
 “Dr. Goodluck Jonathan deserves our support in order to complete what he has started” she added.

U.S Commander Says Huge International Effort Needed To Fight Boko Haram

U.S Commander Says Huge International Effort Needed To Fight Boko Haram

28/Jan/2015  //  215 Viewers

Turning the tide against Boko Haram will require a “huge” international effort, a top US military commander warned on Tuesday, taking a swipe at Nigeria’s response to the emboldened extremists.

Relations between the Nigerian and US militaries have been strained with Nigeria cancelling training by US advisers of a unit that was supposed to fight the militants, who have captured towns and villages in the country’s northeast and vowed to create a hardline Islamic state.

The conflict has left more than 13,000 people dead and one million homeless.

General David Rodriguez, head of US Africa Command, said the Islamists’ gains on the battlefield are cause for concern and “the number of people displaced is just staggering.”

“I think it’s going to take a huge international and multinational effort there to change a trajectory that continues to go in the wrong direction,” Rodriguez said at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

“The Nigerian leadership and Nigerian military are going to have to really improve their capacities to be able to handle that.”

Rodriguez said the Nigerian military’s response “was not working very effectively and actually in some places made it worse.”

He added: “I hope that they let us help more and more.”

Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, complained in November that his country is “not satisfied” with US support for the struggle against Boko Haram and that Washington has blocked the sale of some military hardware over human rights concerns.

In a visit Sunday to Lagos, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was “prepared to do more” to help Nigeria counter Boko Haram.

Nigeria has the largest army in west Africa but has come under criticism at home and abroad for failing to stop the advance of Boko Haram.

The United States was working with Nigeria to build a comprehensive strategy “across the board, not just military,” that encompassed
education, economic development and health care to address the needs of the population in the north, the four-star general said.

Another “big focus” was to bolster the country’s intelligence gathering, added Rodriguez.

US snow storm forces event cancellations

US snow storm forces event cancellations

28/Jan/2015  //  272 Viewers

Winter storm Juno – or 'Snowmageddon' – saw six US states declare a state of emergency, with Boston and New York effectively closing down, with public transport cancelled and a driving ban in place on 27 January. Nearly 7,000 flights in and out of the area were also cancelled.

Despite the weather not ending up as severe as predicted in New York City, the events industry was affected. Agency Grass Roots was forced to call off a three-day annual global sales conference where 250 delegates had been expected to fly in from international locations. 

"Luckily we’re used to this sort of thing happening here so we had contingency plans in place and we’re in the process of negotiating the rebook of the event," said Charlotte Leo, operations director of event services at Grass Roots.

"We also had several smaller programs in Boston that were cancelled as well. But hopefully things will get back to normal tomorrow, we haven’t cancelled the events we have on then."

The New York convention bureau NYC & Company confirmed that no major conventions were scheduled to take place in the city yesterday or today (28 January). It advised that anyone travelling to, or hosting events in New York should keep updated on the situation on the City of New York official website here.


After 2 rape convictions, 2 more Vanderbilt football players face charges

After 2 rape convictions, 2 more Vanderbilt football players face charges

28/Jan/2015  //  228 Viewers

— With two of former Vanderbilt football players facing decades in prison after being convicted of raping an unconscious student in a dorm room, attention now turns to two of their teammates who have yet to go to trial.

It took a jury three hours Tuesday to reach a verdict convicting Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey of multiple charges of aggravated rape and sexual battery. The jury saw powerful video evidence and photographs of the 21-year-old student being sexually assaulted on a dorm room floor.

Prosecutors say Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie also were in that dorm room in the early morning hours of Jan. 23, 2013. A prosecutor says he will make a decision soon about their trial. McKenzie testified at the trial that he didn’t touch the woman, but did take photos.

The jury deliberated for three hours before announcing that Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were guilty, rejecting claims that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and that a college culture of binge drinking and promiscuous sex should be blamed for the attack. Batey was stoic, staring ahead and Vandenburg shook his head “no,” appearing stunned. His father had an outburst and abruptly left the courtroom.

The victim, who was a 21-year-old neuroscience and economics major at the time of the 2013 attack, cried as each guilty verdict was announced.

Both men were convicted of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. They face decades in prison when they are sentenced March 6.

The jury heard two weeks of dramatic testimony from a parade of witnesses, including police, former and current Vanderbilt students and the woman, who said she didn’t remember what happened that night, only that she woke up in a strange dorm room. They also saw cellphone images from the night of the attack that Vandenburg sent to his friends as it was happening.

Despite the photos and video, and witnesses seeing the woman unconscious and at least partially naked in a dorm hallway, no one reported it.


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Israeli jets strike back after Syria's Golan attack -Israeli army

Israeli jets strike back after Syria's Golan attack -Israeli army

28/Jan/2015  //  207 Viewers

(Reuters) - Israeli airforce jets struck Syrian army artillery positions near the Israel-occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday, the military said, in retaliation for rockets launched in the area the previous day.

Tensions have escalated in the border region in the 10 days since an Israeli air strike on territory under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed an Iranian general and several Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

On Tuesday, at least two rockets from Syria hit the Golan Heights and Israel responded with artillery fire, the army said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire and no casualties were reported.

"We will not tolerate any firing towards Israeli territory or violation of our sovereignty and we will respond forcefully and with determination," Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the strikes on Wednesday targeted "Brigade 90" of the Syrian army and other positions held by the military in Quneitra province, which borders Lebanon and Jordan as well as Israel.

In the Israeli air strike on a Hezbollah convoy near Golan on Jan. 18, Iranian Revolutionary Guard general, Mohammed Allahdadi, was killed along with a Hezbollah commander and the son of the group's late military leader, Imad Moughniyeh.

Both Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, and the Revolutionary Guards vowed to avenge the deaths.

Since that air strike, troops and civilians in northern Israel and the Golan Heights have been on heightened alert and Israel has deployed Iron Dome rocket interceptors near the Syrian border.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. The area has been hit by mortar shells and rockets numerous times in four years of civil war in Syria.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the United States called "upon all parties to avoid any action that would jeopardize the long-held ceasefire between Israel and Syria".

"We support Israel's legitimate right to self defence and have been clear about our concerns over the regional instability caused by the crisis in Syria," Psaki said.

(Additional reporting by Sylvia Westall in Beirut, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Louise Ireland)


ISIS has inadvertently sent Japan a blunt message: Militarize

ISIS has inadvertently sent Japan a blunt message: Militarize

28/Jan/2015  //  265 Viewers

The past week has been a wakeup call to the Japan of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a rough introduction to the world of unintended consequences. Days after showing two kidnapped Japanese nationals in a ransom video, ISIS announced that it had executed one, Haruna Yukawa, and threatened to behead another, Kenji Goto, if its demands are not met.

The crisis is a serious complication for Abe, who is pushing his country to become more involved in world affairs. It highlights how unprepared the third largest economy in the world is for political and military crises on the other side of the world. Will the hostage situation change Japanese plans to become a global player?

After World War II, Japan kept a low profile internationally, concentrating on rebuilding the country and raising the standard of living. Japan's constitution forbade it from using military force abroad. It largely followed the lead of the United States on various global issues, while not becoming directly embroiled in them.

The 1991 Persian Gulf War was a watershed moment for the country. Japan contributed billions to the war effort without deploying troops. Stung by international criticism of "checkbook diplomacy," Japan began sending military personnel on peacekeeping and nation-building missions in places such as Cambodia, Sudan, the Golan Heights, and Haiti.

Prime Minister Abe has sought to accelerate the process. Seeking to contribute to the anti-ISIS coalition, Japan pledged $200 million in aid to refugees and those affected by the war against the Islamist group.

In a clear signal it did not appreciate the Japanese government's meddling, ISIS released a video of captives Yukawa and Goto in orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by executed westerners. ISIS demanded $200 million in ransom or the men would be beheaded.

After the reported execution of Yukawa, ISIS replaced the ransom demand with a proposed deal that would see the remaining hostage Goto freed in exchange for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a female member of Al Qaeda imprisoned in Jordan.

The likelihood of Japan rescuing the remaining hostage is zero. Japan has its own elite Special Forces Group, but it has little to no operational experience. The Japanese government is unfamiliar with the region in general and has no useful assets in place. It has no strong ties to local countries that could host a rescue mission.

The Abe administration has been criticized for its handling of the crisis, particularly for consulting with traditional allies the United States and the United Kingdom instead of regional powers. Although Japan insisted it wanted to negotiate, neither the U.S. nor the U.K. has the direct links necessary to open negotiations with ISIS. In fact, both are combatants in the undeclared war against the self-declared caliphate.

This is not the first time Japan's limited reach has been painfully on display. In January 2013, 10 Japanese hostages were killed after Islamist guerrillas took over an oil refinery in Algeria.

The question is how will Japan respond to these crises in the long term. The easy thing to do is to recoil from the Middle East and North Africa and go back to minding its own fences.

Yet it's clear that Japan's global presence cannot remain limited indefinitely. Japan's prosperity at home is linked to the global economic system, which is in turn affected by events in the Middle East and elsewhere. Furthermore, the world can benefit immensely from Japan's generosity: Japan contributed nearly $5 billion to humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, with another $3 billion by 2017.

The lesson is clear: The old system of following the United States without carrying risk is not going to work anymore. If Japan is to become a global player, it will have to expand its diplomatic relations abroad, identifying key regional players such as Jordan and Turkey in places it wants to have an increased role. It will have to maintain relations with countries independent of its alliance with the United States. And, it will have to be able to realistically assess threats and responses to Japan, mitigating second order effects such as the kidnapping of Yukawa and Goto.

That's not all. If Japan is to continue to push being a global player, it will have to match soft power developments with hard. This crisis won't be the last time Japanese citizens will be threatened abroad, and diplomacy and regional ties can't be counted on to save them. A more visible Japan will have to develop the ability to project power. It will have to be able to project military force abroad to protect and save its citizens.

Japan, which already under-engages the world for a country of its economic stature, is only beginning to match its involvement with its interests. The kidnapping of Goto and Yukawa has been a blunt warning to Tokyo of the consequences involved.

Japanese investments in Japanese soft and hard power seem inevitable. Unless it is willing to retreat from the global stage Japan has little choice but to grimly accept that such events will happen yet again and prepare for the future.

Walmart to Work with Andhra Pradesh on Branding, Marketing Products: Chandrababu Naidu

Walmart to Work with Andhra Pradesh on Branding, Marketing Products: Chandrababu Naidu

28/Jan/2015  //  175 Viewers

Hyderabad Retail giant Walmart will work with Andhra Pradesh government in five areas, including branding and marketing of the state's products, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said in Hyderabad today.

"Walmart is a global retail giant. An understanding has been reached on working together in five areas. Helping with technology under CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), doing branding for 'Made in Andhra' products through retail stores and providing international market for more than 20 horticulture products like cashew, peanuts, rice, coconut...," he told reporters.

Mr Naidu was briefing reporters on his recent visit to the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, where he met honchos of Walmart and other top private companies.

"They (Walmart) source products within the state. If need be, they would source the products from here (AP) and sell where they have marketing networks. They have accepted this (request). They will brand about 100 items made by self-help groups and promote them. They have also come forward to provide technical expertise to farmers," he said.

On his meeting with software major Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and other officials of the company, Mr Naidu said he discussed an idea of AP government and Wipro setting up a Joint Venture to work in the area of e-governance. The proposed JV would also offer consultancy services to other governments in the country.

"Modalities are being worked out," he said.

Wipro has assured it will expand its facility for Santoor brand of soaps at Hindupur in Anantapur district, he said.

On his meeting with Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka and other top officials, Mr Naidu said he has requested them to set up a centre either at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada or Tirupati.

Tamil Daily Gets Letter Threatening Charlie Hebdo Type Attack, Signed With Osama Picture

Tamil Daily Gets Letter Threatening Charlie Hebdo Type Attack, Signed With Osama Picture

28/Jan/2015  //  230 Viewers

Chennai:  A Tamil newspaper has received a letter threatening an attack similar to the one on the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police said.

"We have received the letter from the newspaper and a probe is on," a senior police official said.

The letter, typed in English, says "Yesterday-Paris Charlie Hebdo, Tomorrow - Dinamalar." The words appear against the background of India's map.

The letter was sent by post by unidentified elements claiming to belong to an outfit called "The Base Moment," and said to be based at "3/10, Ukkadam, Kovai, Tamil Nadu, India."

Below the map is a picture of Osama Bin Laden and the words "By Al Qaeda," and some Arabic words appearing like a signature, the police official said.

"It can be a fictitious outfit or someone may be trying to play mischief or it may have some other motive...we do not know...only after the probe's completion we will be able to comment," the official said, declining to elaborate.


Security personnel have been deployed at the office of the newspaper.
In One Month, Rajasthan Records 27 Swine Flu Deaths

In One Month, Rajasthan Records 27 Swine Flu Deaths

28/Jan/2015  //  234 Viewers

JAIPUR- The Rajasthan government is worried about a sudden rise in cases of swine flu in the state. In the last one month, the disease has claimed 27 lives; over a 100 people in the state are still battling it.

Two patients afflicted by the H1N1 virus died at Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh Hospital on Tuesday evening. One of them, 42-year-old Panna Lal, had travelled to Jaipur from Nagaur to seek treatment. The other victim was Haseena Bano, a 72-year-old resident of Jaipur.

The cases of swine flu are not concentrated in one specific area; of the 32 districts in the state, 25 have reported such cases, said doctors.

But the government has also asked central government agencies to investigate the swine flu samples to see if the virus has mutated in anyway

Admitting that the state government was "worried," state Health Minister Rajendra Rathore said, "We are worried. A team from Delhi has come here and taken samples; we are having this investigated".

But doctors say there is no cause for alarm as they feel most patients are responding to the Tamiflu medication

"Even if there is a mutation, it is very minor because patients are responding to the same medication," said Dr K C Meena, additional director of rural health.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of a common cold, and they are often ignored by patients, he added

With many people catching a cold due to the severe winter, patients often report cases of swine flu when it is too late and this, say doctors, could be a reason for the alarming rise in deaths.

As Michelle Obama Landed in Saudi Arabia, a Head Scarf Controversy

As Michelle Obama Landed in Saudi Arabia, a Head Scarf Controversy

28/Jan/2015  //  255 Viewers

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:  Amid controversy, the Saudi Arabian embassy in the US denied media reports that the country's state television had blurred out America's First Lady Michelle Obama as her husband US president Barack Obama met new Saudi King Salman.

The Saudi embassy said in a tweet, "Report by Bloomberg View's Josh Rogin that Saudi TV "blurred" image of First Lady Michelle Obama is FALSE.