Monday, 30 November 2015

Climate change: A threat to food security in Nigeria – Buhari

ABUJA – President Mohammadu Buhari in Paris, France on Monday stated that Nigeria is currently suffering from the effects of the climate change which he said have drastically affected food security.
Buhari spoke while presenting Nigeria’s position at the ongoing Conference of Parties 21 (COP21).
According to him, the challenges were also threatening human lives, adding that they have resulted in the destruction of many economic and social structures.
Also speaking on the devastating effects of insurgency in the country, the president also remarked the drying up of the Lake Chad Basin was consequent upon the effect of climate change.

Boko Haram Destroys Military Base, 107 Soldiers Missing – Associated Press

Associated Press has today confirmed a very controversial news item published on November 19-2015, titled BOKO HARAM| More Than 100 Soldiers Missing After Boko Haram Attack
Residents say Boko Haram destroyed a military base as soldiers fled and only self-defense fighters prevented the insurgents from retaking a northeastern Nigerian town.
Resident James Ularamu said civilian fighters held Gulak town on Sunday night until the military sent reinforcements who fought off the extremists.

Goodluck Jonathan Escapes Assassination Attempt by APC Militants

Former President Goodluck Jonathan escaped an assassination attempt this morning, when suspected militants working for the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State drove into his convoy.
The militants, who intercepted and drove into a short motorcade conveying the former President from the Julius Berger bridge area of the state capital Yenagoa, trailed and chased the motorcade to the entrance of the Yenagoa private residence of the former President in the Kpansia area of the town, before they were overpowered and arrested by a combined team of security operatives attached to the former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Violence Breaks Out At APC Secretariat In Abuja

Despite heavy security presence, the thugs from rival groups defied the cordon, broke loose and unleashed violence on anyone in sight around the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress on Monday afternoon.
Policemen on duty had a hectic time controlling the rival groups who stormed the place by 2.30pm. In what looked like a moment of madness, rival groups who accompanied both aspirants, Bello and Faleke, unleashed violence at the secretariat, attacking  each other and anyone in sight.

Russia plans new Syria airbase: report

ATP  - Russia plans to expand its military force in Syria and deploy jets to a second airbase near Homs, according to a Kuwaiti daily with close access to Moscow’s military intervention in Syria.
Al-Rai reported Monday morning that a Russian intelligence brigade would deploy near the Al-Shayrat Airbase located approximately 35 kilometers southeast of Homs.
“The Al-Shayrat airbase houses around 45 airplane hangars, each of which is fortified in a way that prevents any damage if it is shelled or targeted,” sources in the Damascus joint operations room of the “4+1” military coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah told the newspaper’s chief international correspondent, Elijah J. Magnier.
 “It also has a main runway and a 3 kilometer backup runway that engineering teams are working to prepare,” the sources added.
 Russia currently conducts its air sorties from the Hmeimim airbase adjacent to Latakia’s International Airport, where it has deployed a force of approximately 50 aircraft since the late summer.

The Latest: Pope speaks at Central African Republic mosque

BANGUI, Central African Republic — The latest on Pope Francis’ first trip to Africa. (All times local.)
9:10 a.m.
Pope Francis has told crowds gathered at the main mosque of Central African Republic’s capital that Muslims and Christians are brothers, and must live as such.

Why a 'war' on terrorism will generate yet more terrorism

ATP - MPs preparing to vote on whether or not to bomb Isis in Syria would do well to read an article in Foreign Policy magazine, The threat is already inside, and nine other truths about terrorism nobody wants to hear.
Written by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown university who has served as an adviser to the US state department, it places the Paris attacks - and all acts of terrorism by Isis - in perspective:
“Occasional terrorist attacks in the west are virtually inevitable, and odds are, we’ll see more attacks in the coming decades, not fewer. If we want to reduce the long-term risk of terrorism — and reduce its ability to twist western societies into unrecognisable caricatures of themselves — we need to stop viewing terrorism as shocking and aberrational, and instead recognise it as an ongoing problem to be managed, rather than ‘defeated.’”

Dangote to build 500mw power plant in Kano as N7bn hospital nears completion

Dangote Group says it has concluded plans to build a power generation plant that will be capable of producing 500 megawatt electricity in the commercial city of Kano.
The Group disclosed that in the next few weeks, it would be signing the final memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kano State government, as a step towards the official groundbreaking ceremony of the project.

Northern elites should stop pretending, they’re behind Boko Haram – Bishop Kukah

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has accused some northern Islamic elites of indirectly sponsoring the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Speaking on ‘the Muslim agenda for Nigeria: challenges of development and good governance’ at a conference organised by the Islamic Welfare Foundation at the Fountain University, Osogbo, Kukah said the fresh agitation for an Islamic state by Boko Haram could be traced to the promise made by northern leaders to ensure the total implementation of Sharia law.
He said, “A hypocritical elite continues to believe that it can claim the benefits of democracy but use it only to consolidate its hold on power. This is what has laid the foundation for what is now Boko Haram.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Why Jonathan handed over power to Buhari – Ex-Minister

Former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, on Sunday, said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari to save the lives of many Nigerians.
He also said Jonathan had sufficient evidence to remove the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, but he exercised restraint.

Delivering a paper on the 2015 power transition in Nigeria at the annual Zik dinner lecture /award in Abuja, Sulaiman said it was not external pressure that forced Jonathan to hand over to President Buhari.

Nnamdi Kanu now, we can’t be second class in Nigeria – Ohanaeze tell FG

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Sunday asked the Federal Government to free detained Biafra activist, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Igbo group said such action was necessary to end the increasing pro-Biafra protests and forestall a breakdown of law and order.
The meeting was equally attended by representatives of both the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB. However, all the five Governors in the zone as well as senators and other national assembly members stayed away.

Nigeria to prosecute T.B. Joshua, others over death of 116 persons in church building collapse

The trustees of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) will on Monday (November 30, 2015) be arraigned before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja over the collapse of a six-story building in the church on September 12, 2014, which led to the death of 116 persons.
Senior Pastor of the church, Prophet T.B Joshua is one of the trustees.
The trustees will be arraigned before Justice Lawal Akapo alongside the engineers who constructed the collapsed building.

Buhari: We Will Defeat Terrorism

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Malta said that violent extremism and terrorism could only thrive and endure if good people remained idle and complacent.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said Buhari spoke on behalf of other participating African Heads of State and Government at the closing Executive Session of the 2015 Commonwealth Summit.
Buhari said that he was confident that terrorism would be ultimately defeated with greater international cooperation and collaboration.

Report: Russia strikes kill a dozen civilians in Syria

A Syrian opposition watchdog has reported that airstrikes - allegedly by Russia - have killed and wounded civilians. Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, first began airstrikes in Syria in late September

Russia has intensified its air strikes in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, close to the Turkish borders, as a top Iranian official arrived on Sunday in capital Damascus for meetings with top official, reports said.
The Russian warplanes struck several rebel-held areas in Syria near the Turkish borders, such as the Syrian town of Harem near the al-Rihaniyeh town in Turkey, and the Sma'an Mountian in the western countryside of Aleppo, also close to Turkey, activists said.

Nigeria: NNPC Loses N50 Billion Worth of Petrol to Theft

A total of 531 million litres of petrol valued at over N50 billion was lost to pipeline vandals between January and September 2015, at the problematic System 2B Pipeline network which stretches from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ilorin, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said yesterday.
Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) a subsidiary of the NNPC, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said this in a presentation to the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream.

Friday, 27 November 2015

At Least 21 Dead in Nigeria as Suicide Bomber Targets Shiites

At least 21 people were killed in Nigeria and many others injured when a suicide bomber attacked a procession of Shiite followers heading to the northern city of Zaria.
“We lost 21 followers on their procession to Zaria,” Muhammad Ture, leader of the sect in the city of Kano, said by phone on Friday. The blast occurred in Samawa village on the road from Kano to Zaria, he said.
A second bomber was captured alive before he could detonate the explosive belt, according to Ture.
The Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, has stepped up suicide attacks across northern Nigeria since troops retook most of the territory they held last year and intensified the offensive to end the six-year-old insurgency.

Russia suspends visa-free travel with Turkey

ATP - Russia announced Friday that it will suspend visa-free travel with Turkey amid the escalating spat over the downing of a Russian warplane by a Turkish fighter jet at the Syrian border.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Moscow will halt the existing visa-free regime starting Jan. 1, saying that Turkey has become a conduit for terrorists and has been reluctant to share information with Moscow about Russian citizens accused of involvement in terrorist activities.
Turkey's downing of the Russian military jet Tuesday, the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane, has drawn a harsh response from Moscow. Russia has since restricted tourist travel, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a raft of broader economic sanctions.

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

ATP - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied Thursday that Turkey bought any oil from the Islamic State group, insisting his country's fight against the jihadists was "undisputed".
"Shame on you. Those who claim we buy oil from Daesh (IS) are obliged to prove it. If not, you are a slanderer," Erdogan said, lashing out at Russian charges after the downing of a warplane on the Syrian border.
Tuesday's incident prompted a tough response from Moscow, a major trade partner and Turkey's largest energy supplier.
But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara did not need to apologise "on an occasion that we are right," adding that he had already said "sorry" in a phone call with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Turkey's Erdogan warns Russia not to "play with fire"

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday warned Russia not to "play with fire" in a dispute over the downing of a Russian warplane this week, but added he did not want to harm relations with Moscow.
Relations between the former Cold War antagonists have a hit a recent nadir after Turkey shot down the jet near the Syrian border. Erdogan made the comments in a speech in northeast Turkey broadcast live on television. (Reporting by Daren Butler; Writing by David Dolan)

Turkey's Erdogan Seeks Meeting With Putin

The Kremlin on Friday confirmed Russian President Vladimir Putin had received Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's request to meet on Nov. 30 in Paris, but declined to say whether the Russian leader would agree.
Mr. Erdogan's invitation comes days after a Turkish jet fighter shot down a Russian bomber along the Syrian border, killing one of the two aviators on board, and marking the first time a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member downed a Russian warplane since 1952.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr. Erdogan's request had been submitted to Mr. Putin. "That's all I can say," Mr. Peskov told Russian journalists Friday, according to the Interfax news agency.
Both leaders are due to travel to Paris to participate in a United Nations climate change summit.

Pope Calls Slum Conditions in Nairobi an Injustice

ATP — Pope Francis denounced the conditions slum-dwellers are forced to live in during a visit to one of Nairobi’s many shantytowns Friday, saying that access to safe water is a basic human right and that everyone should have dignified, adequate housing.
Residents of the Kangemi slum lined the mud streets to welcome Francis, standing alongside goats and hens outside the corrugated tin-roofed shacks where the shantytown’s many small businesses operate: beauty parlors, cellphone “top-up” shops and storefront evangelical churches.
Those lucky enough to score access to St. Joseph’s parish erupted in cheers and hymns when Francis arrived at the open-sided church that serves the slum of about 50,000 people.
In remarks to the crowd, Francis insisted that everyone should have access to water, a basic sewage system, garbage collection, electricity as well as schools, hospitals and sport facilities.

DSS officials want to kill my brother in detention – Nnamdi Kanu’s sister cries out

Chinwe Kanu, the younger sister of the detained director of Radio Biafra and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has claimed that the personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) may have concluded plans to kill the activist.
Princess Kanu told Daily Sun that what she saw of her elder brother when she attended his trial in Abuja on Monday made her to conclude that the DSS wanted to kill him while in their custody.
“Honestly, the way they are going about this case I’m not comfortable with it because when I saw my brother, he looked like a shadow of his former self. He looked pale and anaemic and he has physical pain as a result of torture, starvation and the hardship he is going through in the hands of the DSS operatives,” she alleged.

ICPC cautions VIOs against extortion, bribery

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has advised Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) in Kaduna State to avoid extortion and other forms of corrupt practices.
The ICPC North-West Zonal Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Adigun, gave the advice on Thursday at a two-day workshop for VIOs in the state to enlighten them on the need for integrity and transparency.
The workshop with the theme, “Combating Corruption in Vehicle Inspection System: The Role of ICPC’’, was organised by the ICPC in collaboration with the Kaduna State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport.

Hollande to hold bilateral with Nigeria’s Buhari whilst in Malta

On the margins of the Commonwealth Summit taking place in Malta, France’s President Francois Hollande will hold two important bilateral meetings with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Pakistan’s Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Following Paris’s deadly attack, Hollande is on a mission to tackle global terrorism. According to international media, the French government has declared readiness to synergise with the Armed Forces to tackle global terrorism.

France Director of Mili­tary Intelligence, General Christophe Gomer said most terror­ist attacks were not anticipat­ed and the phenomenon of global terrorism was gradu­ally catching up with all na­tions that were napping.

“It’s something we did not prepare for, including developing countries like Nigeria,” he said. “We have to evolve new ways of tackling them, stamp them out of exis­tence.”

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Pope, in Kenya, Calls for Compassion for Poor and Nurturing of Youth

ATP - At a rain-soaked Mass on Thursday morning with thousands huddled before him, Pope Francis called for Kenyans to remember the poor, tap into the idealism of youth and protect “the innocent unborn.”
Francis seemed to be drawing from his signature mix of progressive and traditional Roman Catholic beliefs for the message delivered at the University of Nairobi in the Kenyan capital. Under a steady downpour, Francis told those in the crowds, who had been waiting for him since dawn with their umbrellas spread tip to tip, “May you always be concerned for the needs of the poor, and reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination, for these things, we know, are not of God.”

Siasia’s mother kidnappers call family, reduce ransom to N32m

Kidnappers of mother of the Dream Team VI coach, Samson Siasia, have reduced the ransom to N32 million.
The kidnappers earlier requested for N150 million.
Ma Beauty Ogere Siasia, 72, was abducted nine days ago by armed men in Odoni Village.
Siasia’s brother, Demie said the kidnappers called Wednesday to demand a new ransom.
Demie said: “They (kidnappers) called again, saying they want N32 million as ransom before freeing the old woman, but I told them that we cannot afford that amount and that we could only raise N600,000, which is the proceeds from the landed property.
“Though, they were still adamant, but they said they would look into it. So, we are hopeful and looking forward to our mother’s release.”

U.S. Air Force comments on Russian S-400s in Syria

U.S. and coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State group will continue despite Russia’s decision to send advanced S-400 surface-to-air missiles to Syria, said the commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command on Wednesday in an interview with the Air Force Times.
Read more on UNIAN:

ATP -“Yes, it does complicate things a little bit, and we’ll put some thought to it, but we still have a job to do here, and we’re going to continue to do that job – to defeat Daesh [the Islamic State group],” Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr. told the Air Force Times on Wednesday.
Brown said that the U.S.-led coalition and Russia have a memorandum of understanding that spells out how aircraft from both sides should interact.
“We have pretty good connectivity with the Russians,” Brown said.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

I am already tired after five months as Governor – El-Rufai

ATP - The Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, says his job can be so demanding that five months into been a governor, he is already tired of the job.
El-Rufai while speaking at the just concluded Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said he has not had time to read a book in the last two years.
“As a state governor the challenge for me is what to do to create jobs in Kaduna State. Eighty-two per cent of the eight million people in Kaduna State are below the age of 35. My challenge is not whether population grows next year or the year after. It is to get jobs for this young people, otherwise no one will sleep in peace.”

Nollywood's Tonto Dikeh is pregnant with her 1st child

ATP - On November 11, 2015 Pulse reported that Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh is pregnant and was spotted in Lagos rocking a baby bump.

A new photo has surfaced on Instagram with the actress with a baby bump. In the photo she’s sitting at the back of a car with her husband. If you look closely you can see the baby bump.

Tonto Dikeh shared the picture today (November 25), but has been deleted it. It’s great to see that the actress has taken in.

In August Tonto Dikeh denied being pregnant in a Hip TV interview.

“That's a very, very good thing. I pray that I should be. Then again I don't look pregnant. It's something every woman should be proud of. I hope it comes for me" said Tonto Dikeh. According to reports Tonto Dikeh will be leaving the country to have a baby abroad

FG confirms payment of N5000 stipend to unemployed youth next year

ABUJA – The All Progressives Congress, APC, led Federal Government yesterday said that the payment of the N5000 stipend to the unemployed Nigerians will commence next year.
It regretted that the payment could not take off now due to non budgetary provisions.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong revealed this yesterday in Abuja when he paid a condolence visit to the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun at the nationL secretariat in Abuja on the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu, the erstwhile governorship candidate of the party in Kogi State election.
Dalong who spoke with Journalists assured that APC government would also create more jobs to fulfill its campaign promises

There will be blood… if Kanu is not released, ‘Prophet’ says

ATP - The General Overseer of God’s Covenant of Christ Sabbath Mission, Amannachi in Orsu Local council Area of Imo state, High Priest Clifford Nmenabu, has prophesied a looming disaster in the country if the Federal Government fails to release detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Mmenabu, who stated that Kanu’s emergence in the Radio Biafra broadcasting industry was divinely orchestrated, called on the international community to prevail on the federal government to release Nnamdi Kanu to avert the looming blood shed in the country.

Only unconditional release of Kanu’ll stop our protests – MASSOB

The Movement for Actualization for Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), on Wednesday, expressed dissatisfaction with last Sunday’s meeting held by South East Governors and other Igbo leaders at the Enugu State Government House in an attempt to end ongoing protests by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and MASSOB, over the continued detention of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu, when he was arraigned at an Abuja Senior Magistrate Court
After the meeting, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who spoke to reporters on behalf of the Igbo leaders, which included present and past governors, ministers, national assembly members, said the meeting resolved to set up a committee to dialogue with the pro-Biafra agitators.

Ukraine closes its airspace to Russia in latest escalation

ATP - Ukraine’s prime minister says his government has decided to close the country’s airspace to all Russian planes.
Kiev banned all Russian airlines from flying into Ukraine last month, but Russian planes have been allowed to fly over its territory.
The decision to shut the airspace was announced by Arseny Yatsenyuk at a televised government session on Wednesday. It comes as tensions simmer between Russia and Ukraine following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and a separatist war in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 8,000 people and left parts of the industrial heartland in ruins.
The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom announced earlier on Wednesday that it was cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine because the country had not paid in advance for supplies.

Explosion Rocks Presidential Guards In Tunisia, Twelve Killed

A bus carrying presidential guards in Tunisia was rocked by an explosion on Tuesday, November 24, killing 12 people and leaving 20 others injured.
Officials say there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack against the presidential guard.
Walid Louguini, spokesman for the Tunisian interior ministry, told the Associated Press that at least 12 people were killed
Louguini also affirmed that no fewer than 20 others were wounded in the attack.
A witness, Bassem Trifi, said the explosion hit the driver’s side of the bus. He described the scene as “catastrophic”.
He said: “I saw at least five corpses on the ground,” adding: “This was not an ordinary explosion.”

Russian, Syrian special forces rescue Russian pilot - Syrian media

ATP - BEIRUT Russian and Syrian special forces rescued one of the pilots of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey near the Turkish-Syrian border, Syrian state media reported on Wednesday.
The state news agency SANA said the pilot, whose Su-24 jet came down in Syrian territory on Tuesday, had been retrieved from an area where rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad were present.
Syrian special forces "last night carried out a joint operation with Russian special forces, penetrating four to five kilometres into areas where terrorists are located, and were able to save one of the pilots of the Russian plane", SANA reported, adding that he had been returned to a military base.

Russia will continue air strikes in Syria near Turkish border - Kremlin

Russia will continue air strikes against Islamic State targets located in Syria near the Turkish border, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
"We would like for the terrorists and militants to keep further away from the Turkish border, but unfortunately they tend to be situated on the Syrian territory close to the Turkish border," Peskov told journalists on a conference call.
"(Russia's) operations will continue without doubt." (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Maria Kiselyova

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Has World War III begun?

 ATP - The official spokesman of the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) announced the group’s rebranding as “Islamic State,” declaring itself a Caliphate and renaming its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Caliph Ibrahim.
He wrote: “The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect – the time has come for them to rise. The time has come for the ummah [i.e. the nation] of Muhammad (peace be upon him) to wake up from its sleep, remove the garments of dishonor, and shake off the dust of humiliation and disgrace, for the era of lamenting and moaning has gone, and the dawn of honor has emerged anew. The sun of jihad has risen. The glad tidings of good are shining. Triumph looms on the horizon. The signs of victory have appeared.

Russia Deploys Maritime Air Defense After Jet Shot Down Over Syria

Moscow will deploy a warship off the Syrian coast near Latakia to strengthen the defense of its air base there, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces announced on Tuesday after Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian strike aircraft.

ATP - Russian fighter jets will now accompany all of Moscow's missions against Islamic State targets in Syria, the General Staff said. Prior to Tuesday's attack, Russian bombers were conducting their missions without air cover.

Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber aircraft that Turkey said had violated its airspace. Both pilots ejected, and one was fatally shot while parachuting to the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry later confirmed.

Why Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in Syria, according to an expert

The downing of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces has introduced another layer of complication to the Syrian crisis and raised fears over possible escalation and the potential for a direct conflict between the US and Russia.
To get the Turkish perspective on this incident, I spoke with Steven A. Cook, the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, about why the Turkish military would take such dramatic action and what this could mean for the future of Turkish-Russian relations and Turkey's policy toward Syria. What follows is a transcript of my conversation with Cook, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Turkey Defends Decision to Shoot Down Russian Jet; Putin Calls It 'Stab in the Back'

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has defended Turkey's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet at the border with Syria, saying Ankara has the right "to take all kinds of measures" against border violations according to international law.

Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane on November 24 after warning that it had violated the country’s airspace, but Moscow said the aircraft had never strayed from Syrian territory and President Vladimir Putin called it "a stab in the back."

Putin said the downing of the plane would have "serious consequences" for relations between Russia and NATO member Turkey, which are deeply at odds over the Syrian civil war. Russia is a major backer of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and Turkey is one of its most vocal critics

Putin: Turkey Shooting Down Russian Warplane Is 'Stab In The Back'

ATP - Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Turkey's decision to down a Russian warplane near the Syria border a "stab in the back."
Speaking at a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Putin on Tuesday accepted his condolences on the death of a Russian pilot who was reportedly captured and dead.
Putin said the Russian Su-24 jet was shot by a missile from a Turkish jet over Syria about 1 kilometer (just over a half-mile) away from the Turkish border, which he described as a "stab in the back by the terrorists' accomplices."

Monday, 23 November 2015

1.4 Million Nigerians Lost Their Jobs In 6 Months Of Buhari’s Administration

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS, says more than 1.4m Nigerians have been rendered unemployed since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office about six months ago.
According to the Bureau in its third quarter report on unemployment and underemployment, it was revealed that unemployment in the country rose by more than 1.4m between June 1 to September 30.
The report said, “In Q3 2015, the labour force population, that is those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work, increased to 75.9 million from 74.0 million in Q2 2015, representing an increase in the labour force by 2.60%,”
“This means 1,929,800 economically active persons within 1564 entered the labour force i.e. were able and willing and actively looking for work between July 1 and September 30 2015.

Iran Dictator Khamenei: U.S. and Islamic State Are Working Together

ATP - Ali Khamenei, the dictator of the Islamic Republic of Iran, claimed in a meeting with the President of Nigeria on Monday that the United States is assisting the Islamic State terror group.
Khamenei, whose Shiite theocracy opposes the Sunni Islamic State, said the “Americans and some reactionary governments in the region are directly helping ISIS in Iraq.”
In his meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the ‘Supreme Leader’ said that Islamic countries should work together to defend Muslims from the west.
“Those international coalitions that claim to be fighting against terrorists are not trustworthy in any way because these destructive forces – particularly America – are the ones that stand behind the scenes of creating and supporting terrorists such as DAESH (ISIS),” Khamenei said.

Microfinance bank defrauds over 200 market women in Lagos

ATP - There was confusion at a certain microfinance bank located on Atitebi Junction on the Old Apapa Road, in the Oyingbo area of Lagos state when no fewer than 200 women got to the bank where they had allegedly opened accounts but discovered it was deserted.
According to Punch, the police in the State are on the trail of the employees of the said bank who allegedly defrauded the women of their savings.
The bank, which reportedly used a three-room apartment in a storey building at the junction, started giving out forms around September to the victims, who were mostly market women.

Audu's Burial Postponed, Amid High Tension

ATP - The burial of the APC governorship candidate in Saturday's election in Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu has been shifted from between 9 and 10am to 2pm. amid very high tension among the Igala nation, one of whom he was, who are yet to come to terms with the manner of his death.
There are reports that they suspect foul play and have vowed to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion in a peaceful way.
It was learnt that the postponement of the entombment was as a result of a huge number of party members and other sympathisers from far-flung places who could not arrive early.
Reports said the venue of the interment was flooded with people as early as 8am with cars parking for as long as three kilometres.

Wada speaks on Audu’s death, declares 7-day mourning period

ATP - Kogi State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Idris Wada has expressed sadness shock over the death of his opponent and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu.
“My brother and friend, Prince Abubakar Audu is gone. What a trying period for me, my family and our state,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I first met my late brother and friend in 1973 and we have remained ever close since then. Words fail me indeed.

Nigeria Internet Market Poised to Hit N1.1trillion by 2017

ATP - Regional Director, Nigeria and Central Africa, Alcatel Onetouch, Nick Imudia, in an interview with Vanguard revealed a significant growth Nigeria’s internet penetration. Alcatel OneTouch is a brand within TCL Communication, an international multicultural company which designs, develops, and markets globally a growing range of mobile and Internet devices.
TCL Communication is a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2618.HK) and part of TCL Corporation one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world.

I Left $5.6Billion In NLNG Account Says Diezani Madueke As Her Health Condition Worsens

Reports reaching ARTIC TERN POST suggests that the health condition of the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison Madueke seems to be depreciating rapidly. We are told that ex-minister has asked her relatives to immediately fly her back into Nigeria this week as her health took a turn for the worse. It was also gathered that the former Petroleum Minister has not been responding to treatment since Thursday.
This development has given the Immediate family great cause for concern and they might have decided to return her to the country in other to seek for spiritual help.  Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke has been battling with cancer since her removal from the Petroleum Ministry

Nigeria can still break up

In the Holy Bible book, Matthew 26:41, Jesus Christ advised his disciples to “watch and pray” so that they would “not enter into temptation”. What God is saying in this quoted passage is the necessity for all His children to walk and tread in consciousness in all we do because one single mistake is more than enough to derail us, even in a well-planned journey. Nigerians need to pay more attention to this advice because forces of “darkness” still hover around us as a people and a Nation.
Some years ago, there was a major threat of this country [Nigeria] breaking up. That was the fact that confronted us when the Nigerian civil war broke out with the crack of the first bullet of that war coming from the Federal Government troops in a small village of Garkem, near Ogoja, on July 6, 1967.

APC, PDP, Accept INEC’s Decision On Kogi Governorship Election

Sen. Dino Melaye said on Sunday in Lokoja that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had accepted the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the inconclusiveness of the Kogi Governorship election.
Dino said this while addressing journalists shortly after the declaration of the results of the election by INEC.
He said that in spite of the inconclusiveness of the election, the APC would eventually win the supplementary election.
He urged party members and supporters to remain calm ”and be confident that victory will surely come”.

N18,000 Minimum Wage: Prepare For War, NLC Tells Govs

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday warned that attempts by the governors through the Governors’ Forum to renege on the N18,000 national minimum wage signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in March 2011, was an open declaration of war against the Nigerian workers.
NLC equally told President Muhammadu Buhari to prepare to receive the proposal for the review of the minimum wage as contained in the agreement, noting that the proposal was delayed because the NLC wanted to give the government time to settle down before coming up with the demand.

One Direction Wins Big at AMAs, Celine Dion Pays Tribute to Paris Victims

ATP - One Direction might have debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts behind Justin Bieber, but they won the top award at Sunday’s American Music Awards.
“This is a testament to how incredible our fans are,” Louis Tomlinson said onstage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“We just want to thank everyone that’s helped us in the last five years,” Liam Payne added.
The band won the top award at last year’s show — as a quintet with Zayn Malik. They also won favorite duo or group — pop/rock Sunday night.

FG’s ban on mini generator sets

Worrisome indications emerged in the past week that the Federal Government might have placed what was described as “prohibition by trade” on the importation of mini electricity generating sets, more popularly known as “I better pass my neighbour”.
Breaking this controversial news to reporters, the Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos, Mr Madugu Sani Jibrin, alleged that government took this step because the sets cause air pollution which has a harmful effect on the lungs and the respiratory system.

Netanyahu: Israelis joining ISIS will lose citizenship

ATP - Anyone that joins the Islamic State will forfeit their Israeli citizenship, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu, who told ministers that indictments were filed last week against citizens planning to join the terrorist group, added that he has asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to advance steps to revoke their citizenship as well.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

NDLEA Arrests Drug Baron With 576Kgs Of Methamphetamine

ATP - The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a suspected drug baron, Tochukwu Ubah, alleged to be coordinating a large volume of methamphetamine and ephedrine distribution in the country.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju, Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, in Lagos on Sunday.
The statement said Ubah was arrested by the agency’s Special Enforcement Team (SET) at the old local section of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos upon arrival from Enugu.

Pope Francis: Christmas a ‘Charade’ This Year Because ‘Whole World Is at War’

The Pope told churchgoers that "the whole world is at war"

ATP - Pope Francis told churchgoers that Christmas this year is going to be a“charade” because “the whole world is at war.”
The pontiff put this holiday season in perspective during mass at the Basilica di Santa Maria last week. His speech comes after a rash of notable violent incidents, including the now infamous terrorist attacks in Paris, as “we are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

Buhari Is A Fraud, Nigerian Senate Reduced To Cinematic Extras – American Lawyer

ATP - In an article that has gone viral around the world, titled ‘Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Dupes the US’, Bruce Fein criticized Nigeria’s leader for “uttering time-worn democracy vows” during his visit to the US, where he promised “to combat graft with procedures that would be “fair, just, and scrupulously follow due process and the rule of law, as enshrined in our constitution.”
It said, “After celebrating fairness, due process, and the rule of law last July to win the goodwill of the United States, Mr. Buhari returned to Nigeria to mock all three in a vendetta against Dasuki, the immediate past National Security Adviser.
“He placed Mr. Dasuki under house arrest. He confiscated his passport. He charged him with firearms and money laundering violations. He sought a secret trial to prevent independent scrutiny.

Nigerian president arrives in Tehran

He was welcomed at airport by Vice-President Mohammad Shariatmadari.
The 3rd GECF summit will open here on Monday in presence of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and 9 other heads of states.
The GECF aims to create coordination in production, exporting and controlling price of natural gas in the world level.
It was founded by Iran, Russia and Qatar and a number of other countries in December 23, 2008.
Member countries of GECF produce 42 percent of world gas, 67 percent of gas resources in the world, 38 percent of gas transferring by pipe and 85 percent of LNG trade in the world.
Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates are 12 original members of the forum and Netherland, Norway, Iraq, Oman, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Peru are observer members in the forum.

Nnamdi Kanu May Have Been Murdered

ATP - A faction for the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB has alleged that Nnamdi Kanu, the Director of Radio Biafra, detained by security operatives, may have been murdered.
Comrade Uchenna Madu, In a statement in Abakaliki, stated that information about Nnamdi Kanu’s murder was made available to the group through some security operatives sympathetic to the Biafran cause.
“Factional MASSOB has discovered that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu detained by Nigeria has been murdered in Abuja”
“Information to Biafra Intelligence Agency (BIA), through operatives sympathetic to the Biafran cause revealed it to us. Pro. Biafran groups may not believe it until Monday, Nov 23 when Nnamdi will be arraign in court.

Kogi APC Governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, is dead

ATP - The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election, Abubakar Audu, has died, his friend and close associate has confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES.
“Audu is gone,” the distraught associate, who requested not to be named, told our reporter on the telephone.
Though too shattered to provide details of the politician’s passing, he confirmed he was in the candidate’s company when he passed on.

Syrian president says his troops are advancing on all fronts thanks to Russian airstrikes

ATP — Syria’s president says his forces are advancing on “almost” all fronts thanks to Russian airstrikes that began nearly two months ago.
Bashar Assad told China’s Phoenix Television that the Russians depend on Syrian ground forces and “co-operate with us.”
Russia, which has conducted an air campaign in Syria since Sept. 30, sharply raised its intensity in recent days on President Vladimir Putin’s orders after Moscow said it had confirmed that a bomb brought down a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Assad said the Russian airstrikes are more effective than those of the U.S.-led coalition because “you cannot fight terrorism with airstrikes alone.”
Assad’s comments were carried by Syrian state media on Sunday.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Russia sends French police German Shepherd puppy to 'replace Diesel'

Diesel was killed in an anti-terror raid in Paris as armed police stormed an apartment hunting the mastermind behind the terror attacks in the capital

A German Shepherd puppy has been offered to French police by Russia to replace Diesel after the police dog was killed during an anti-terror raid.

ATP - General Vladimir Kolokoltsev said Dobrynya was being sent to France so that it "could replace Diesel" in a gesture to express solidarity between the two countries.
Dobrynya is named after a Russian fairy tale knight who "symbolises strength, goodness, valour and unconditional support".
Diesel, a French police dog, was killed in action on Wednesday during an anti-terror raid at an apartment in St Denis as police hunted the mastermind behind the Paris terrorist attacks.
The seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd was declared a hero as tributes poured in from around the world following the dog's death.
Female suicide bomber Hasna Ait Boulahcen, 26, blew herself up during an eight-hour siege as French police closed in on the ringleader of the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who also died on Wednesday.

School dropout rate rising as drought boosts hunger in Zimbabwe

ATP - LUPANE, Zimbabwe, Nov 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Thabiso Dube isn't helping his mother at home, the scrawny 8-year-old is working alongside her, doing odd jobs in exchange for food.
He should be in class, but has virtually dropped out of school because he is always hungry, said his mother Sithandile Dube, of Lupane district in Matebeleland North province.
Thabiso only goes to school "if he has the strength," she says - which can be as little as once a week, usually when there is enough to eat at home.

Official: Suicide bomb kills 9 in north Cameroon town

YAOUNDE, Cameroon — A local official in northern Cameroon says at least nine people were killed and dozens injured when suspected Boko Haram militants carried out a suicide attack on a town bordering Nigeria.
Midjiyawa Bakary, governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, said the attack took place in the town of Fotokol. He couldn’t provide more details but said a crisis meeting with military officials had been convened.

Hacker group Anonymous claims ISIS is planning 'worldwide day of terror' TOMORROW

ATP - ANONYMOUS has claimed ISIS is planning a series of terror attacks around the world tomorrow after hacking into its secret data network.
The cyber attackers declared war on the jihadis, also known as ISIL and Daesh, in the wake of the Paris attacks last week.
And now the group has released a statement claming the terrorists are planning up to EIGHT attacks on the same day - tomorrow, November 22.

Nigeria on the rise again, Buhari says

ATP - President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday in Jos that Nigeria had entered its glorious era in spite of insecurity and economic challenges.
He stated this on Saturday at the graduation of Senior Executive Course 37 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) in Kuru near Jos.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. Buhari said Boko Haram and other such insurgent groups around the country would soon be consigned to history.
While acknowledging that some issues of agitations by some groups and sections in the country could not be ignored, he said creating employment opportunities would reduce the tension.
He charged the institute to conduct comprehensive study on causes of insurgency and how to build civil capacity to defeat mindless violence.

NCC says MTN, Globacom, Etisalat violate porting process time

The Nigerian Communications Commission on Saturday said MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Etisalat violated the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) process time obligations in the third quarter of 2015.
The commission made this known in its `2015 3Q Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Report’, obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The regulatory body said to address the increasing cases of port request rejections, it had resolved to monitor operators and take appropriate actions.

UN Agrees To Combat IS Threat 'By All Means'

ATP - The world powers also agreed to co-ordinate efforts aimed at preventing further atrocities by IS - but the resolution does not provide any legal basis for military action.
The UN Security Council said IS "constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security" and it expressed the determination "to combat by all means this unprecedented threat".

David Cameron says the world has united against Islamic State
The vote comes a week after militants launched co-ordinated gun and bomb attacks in the French capital, killing 130 people.

Buhari Leads Nigerian Delegation to Iran

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Sunday for Tehran, Iran where he would participate in the  3rd Gas Exporting Countries' Forum (GECF) opening in the Iranian capital on Monday, November 23, 2015.
A statement issued in Abuja yesterday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina said Buhari and the leaders of Iran, Russia, Qatar, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Oman, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Bolivia and other member-countries of the GECF would review the current market outlook on gas and  discuss strategies for boosting gas production during their meeting in Tehran.

Friday, 20 November 2015

First electronic plants developed

Professor Magnus Berggren of the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University in Sweden along with Ove Nilsson, professor of plant reproduction biology, Dr. Roger Gabrielsson, and Dr. Eleni Stavrinidou are the first to successfully incorporate electronic polymers in living plants. The development was reported in the Nov. 20, 2015, edition of the journal Science Advances. The researchers successfully incorporated electronic architecture in all parts of a rose.
The most difficult hurtle to cross in the project was the development of a polymer that was flexible enough to accommodate the multiple surfaces that plant vascular systems have without producing rejection.

Meet the dogs that can sniff out cancer better than some lab tests

ATP - Lucy, a cross between a Labrador retriever and an Irish water spaniel, failed miserably at guide dog school. Curious and easily excitable, random scents distracted Lucy from her master's path, and it wasn't long before she was unceremoniously kicked out.
But her owners knew their smart dog held promise. They decided if her nose was getting her into trouble (she was after all, bred to be a hunting dog), why not train her to sniff out something useful?
For the next seven years, Lucy learned to sniff out bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, and was even used in a study. Over the years she has been able to detect cancer correctly more than 95% of the time. That's better than some lab tests used to diagnose cancer.