First AirAsia Flight 8501 bodies arrive at airport

SURABAYA, Indonesia — The first two bodies from AirAsia Flight 8501 arrived Wednesday at a military airstrip at Surabaya's airport, where many of the passengers' relatives are gathered.

It came as bad weather hindered efforts to recover the bodies of passengers and crew from the Java Sea and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site.

Some 162 people were aboard the Airbus A320, which vanished on Sunday morning while flying from Surabaya to Singapore. The search for bodies was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds Wednesday.

Hernanto, the head of Surabaya search and rescue, said seven bodies had been recovered so far — three on Tuesday and the rest on Wednesday. Indonesia's Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said they included a woman wearing a flight attendant's uniform. Local media identified her as 20-year-old trainee Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi, The Washington Post reported.

Tatang Zaenudin, an official with the search and rescue agency, told Reuters that one of the bodies recovered Wednesday was wearing a life jacket.

Royal Malaysian Navy search and rescue crews retrieve

Helicopters were largely grounded due to the weather Wednesday, but ships were still scouring the area.

Sonar images identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but strong currents were moving the wreckage. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the jetliner to crash in shallow Indonesian waters.

After more than two days of searching, the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed Tuesday that debris from the aircraft was found in the Karimata Strait, off the coast of Borneo.

Parts of the jet's interior including an oxygen tank were brought to the nearest town, Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island. Also found was a bright blue plastic suitcase, completely unscratched. The jet's "black boxes" — cockpit voice and flight data recorders that are key to understanding what caused the crash — were not yet recovered.

Simple wooden boxes containing bodies, with signs numbered 001 and 002, were unloaded in Pangkalan Bun, with flowers placed on top. They were flown to Surabaya later.

Rescue workers descended from a hovering helicopter to retrieve bodies from the water, but 6-foot waves and strong winds hindered their efforts, National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi said.

"It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) from yesterday's location," said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun. "We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches."

Recovering bodies was expected to remain difficult for the near future. Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency predicted that the conditions would worsen, with more intense rains through Friday.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said: "The weather is not looking good for the next two to three days and it's slowing us down."

Indonesian soldiers carry the coffin of an AirAsia

As search operations continued Wednesday, symbols of the tragedy began to accumulate around Juanda airport in Surabaya. Large flower wreaths were placed near the crisis center at the airport, while a Catholic priest and Protestant clergy were on hand to support the relatives of the passengers, a number of whom are Christians.

One Surabaya church — Manwar Sharon Church — lost 41 members in the crash. On Wednesday, around 100 relatives gathered for a prayer service in an hall at the airport, where the Rev. Philip Mantofa urged the crowd to hold onto their faith despite their pain.

"Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this," he said. "Our God is not evil … help us God to move forward even though we are surrounded by darkness."

At nearby Graha Serba Guna, a multipurpose complex used by the navy, roughly 40 ambulances were assembled to transport the first recovered bodies. Arif Kurniwan, a police officer waiting with the ambulances, said the bodies would be taken to Bhayangkara Hospital, around 10 miles from the airport.

For grieving relatives, the wait continued, both for bodies to be recovered and identified and for answers as to what caused the crash.

William Kai, whose brother-in-law David Gunawan and his wife and two children, ages 7 and 10, were on the flight, said his family was leaning on each other and their faith in God for strength.

"We are devastated for sure," he said. "We're humans. We're never ready for this kind of stuff. We just have to stay strong for each other."

He said they were still holding on to a sliver of hope for survivors. "Thinking logically, the chances are very, very low," he said. "Right now, we live by faith, not by sight. We believe in God."

Airport management company Angkasa Pura I officially handed over responsibility for the crisis center to AirAsia on Wednesday evening. The center will be relocated Thursday morning to Bhayangkara Hospital.

The Airbus A320, which took off from Surabaya for Singapore, lost contact with air traffic control Sunday morning. Pilots had asked permission to climb to avoid storm clouds, but six other aircraft were in the vicinity, so controllers denied the request. Minutes later, the jet vanished from radar screens without declaring an emergency.

source : usatoday.com

New Year Message To Be Delivered By President At 7PM

President John Dramani Mahama will at 7pm today, December 31, 2014 deliver his New Year Message to the people of Ghana via Ghana Television (GTV).

The president is expected to use his message to assure Ghanaians that 2015 will be a good year and steps his government is taking to improve on electricity supply, the ailing Cedi among other challenging issues.

Shortly after the New Year Message, the President will at 10pm join Bishop Charles Agyin-Asare and his Perez Chapel Congregation at the Dzorwulu Junction in Accra for a watch night service to usher in the New Year, 2015.

A statement from the Flagstaff House - the seat of government - added: "Wishing you all a Happy & Transformative New Year."

source: ghanaweb.com

It’s ungodly for pastors to give lotto numbers - Opuni-Frimpong

Rev Opuni Frimpong Christmas

General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong has advised “pastors who give out lotto numbers” to desist from the act, describing it as ungodly.

According to him, it is unbiblical for a man of God to be giving out lotto numbers under the guise of prophesy.

“…Then now you have pastors who give out lotto numbers in the name of prophesy. If we are into betting, let’s say we are into betting, if we are into gambling, let’s say so,” he bemoaned in an interview on Morning Starr with Kafui Dey, Tuesday.

He continued: “And if you read the Bible, the Bible says freely you have received, freely you must give.

“So if I’m a pastor, I don’t expect that to happen in church. If anything must be given, it must be given freely”.

In his view, it is also wrong for pastors to ask members to line-up and make payments before they prophesy onto their lives.

Opuni-Frempong who is leading the ‘Ghana-We-Want’ campaign being waged by the Christian Council urged his colleague pastors to live a life beyond reproach.

source : ghanaweb.com

George HW Bush home after week in hospital

George Bush

Former US President George Bush Sr has been released from hospital in Texas more than a week after being admitted suffering from a shortness of breath.

Mr Bush, 90, was released from the Houston Methodist Hospital and continues his recovery at home, his spokesman said.

Two years ago, Mr Bush was treated in the same hospital for more than two months for bronchitis and other issues.

He was president from 1989 to 1993, and heads a famous political dynasty.

His son George W Bush served as president from 2001 to 2009.

Another son, Jeb, said this month he would "actively explore the possibility of running for president" in 2016.

A statement from George Bush Sr's spokesman, Jim McGrath, confirmed the former president had been discharged.

"He is now resting at home, grateful to the doctors and nurses for their superb care."

Mr Bush is the oldest living former US president and a World War Two veteran.

He can no longer use his legs, but in June celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump.

source : BBC.com

First Ebola boy likely infected by playing with bats

Bat being captured to be tested for Ebola

The Ebola victim who is believed to have triggered the current outbreak - a two-year-old boy called Emile Ouamouno from Guinea - may have been infected by playing in a hollow tree housing a colony of bats, say scientists.

They made the connection on an expedition to the boy's village, Meliandou.

They took samples and chatted to locals to find out more about Ebola's source.

The team's findings are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Ebola trail

Meliandou is a small village of 31 houses.

It sits deep within the Guinean forest region, surrounded by towering reeds and oil palm cultivations - these are believed to have attracted the fruit bats carrying the virus passed on to Emile.

During their four-week field trip in April 2014, Dr Fabian Leendertz and colleagues found a large tree stump situated about 50m from Emile's home.

Villagers reported that children used to play frequently in the hollow tree.

Emile - who died of Ebola in December 2013 - used to play there, according to his friends.

The villagers said that the tree burned on March 24, 2014 and that once the tree caught fire, there issued a "rain of bats".
the tree

A large number of these insectivorous free-tailed bats - Mops condylurus in Latin - were collected by the villagers for food, but disposed of the next day after a government-led ban on bushmeat consumption was announced.

While bushmeat is thought to be a possible source of Ebola, the scientists believe it didn't trigger the outbreak.

Instead, it was Emile's exposure to the bats and their droppings as he played with his friends in the hollowed tree.

Pest control

The scientists took and tested ash samples from the tree and found DNA traces that were a match for the animals.

While they were unable to test any of the bushmeat that the villagers had disposed of, they captured and tested any living bats they could find in and around Meliandou.

No Ebola could be detected in any of these hundred or so animals, however.

But previous tests show this species of bat can carry Ebola.

Dr Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, and his colleagues say this must be a pretty rare occurrence though.
The expedition team

Dr Leendertz said: "That is also obvious when you think about how many tonnes of bat meat is consumed every year.

"If more bats carried the virus, we would see outbreaks all the time."

He says it is vital to find out more about the bats.

"They have moved into human settlements. They do not just live in the trees but also under the roofs of houses in the villages.

"The Ebola virus must jump through colonies from bat to bat, so we need to know more."

But culling the animals is not the answer.

"We need to find ways to live together with the wildlife. These bats catch insects and pests, such as mosquitoes. They can eat about a quarter of their body weight in insects a day.

"Killing them would not be a solution. You would have more malaria."

source: BBC.com

Suspected Coup Said To Have Happened At Gambia While President Was Abroad

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh speaks to journalists on 24 November 2011

Heavy gunfire has erupted near the presidential palace in The Gambia's capital, Banjul, reports say.

Details are sketchy but military and diplomatic sources say soldiers from the presidential guard tried to stage a coup, AFP news agency reports.

The fighting was reported while President Yahya Jammeh is abroad.

Mr Jammeh seized power in a coup in 1994 and his critics accuse him of leading one of the most repressive regimes in Africa.

There has been no official comment on the shooting, but a military source told AFP that the attackers had been beaten back.

"They wanted to overthrow the regime," the unnamed officer is quoted as saying.

Some media reports say Mr Jammeh is on a visit to France, while others say he is in Dubai.

In 2011, Mr Jammeh told the BBC he would rule The Gambia for "a billion years".

The tiny West African state, with its sandy beaches, is a popular tourist destination.

source : BBC.com


Ray Rice Domestic Violence Focuses on Needs of Women


Of all the stories that dominated US sports and law readers this year, the NFL scandal involving Ray Rice and the suspensions for domestic violence and child abuse drew some of the most attention.

Rice, who was recently reinstated to the NFL after the violence to his then fiancé, drew attention to domestic violence education among both the players and the community at large.

A policy has been developed to prevent this type of action called the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA of 2013). VAWA was written in 1994 to help protect the victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.  The VAWA initiative is designed to protect immigratnt women against abuse.

As one commentator wrote recently, feeling  safe and protected in the country one lives in is a basic human right.

Since VAWA was passed in 1994, the rate of domestic violence is down by 60 percent, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. This legislation provides funding for protection of victims. Some people might say that this Act makes women appear weak and consistently displays them as victims, but they are wrong.

The Ray Rice episode was not just a disgrace for him and his NFL colleagues, but also served as a wakeup call for those seeking to reduce the domestic violence that occurs in America.

source :www.lawfuel.com

The family of media celebrity KKD says they suspect foul play in the circumstances leading to his arrest.

KKD In Sofa

The family of media celebrity Kwesi Kyei Darkwa says they suspect foul play in the circumstances leading to his arrest.

A family member who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity disclosed that the complainant was forced to press charges against KKD by a third party. KKD was arrested on Sunday at the African Regent Hotel for alleged indecent assault of a 19-year-old girl.

He admitted that KKD had consensual sex with the complaint. “There is a whole lot of mischief. We all live in Ghana and we know how celebrities are sought after as far as getting them incriminated. We think it is a case of blackmail because what will a 19-year-old girl be doing with a 50 year old man in a hotel room. Why did she follow him to the hotel room in the first place? It was some boys who came to make the first complaint and the police told them to bring the lady,” he explained.

According to him the complainant on reaching the police station told police officers on duty and some cell inmates that she was not going to press charges against KKD.

“When the lady came she said it to the hearing of the police and some cell inmates that I don’t want to press charges against KKD and she was being impressed on. It is surprising that later on she had to change her statement. We think there is a little bit of foul play,” he said.

He continued that the allegation of indecent assault was questionable adding that “people next door in the hotel could not hear screams and there are no dresses torn and they came down.”

Meanwhile, KKD will be arraigned before court on Tuesday following the late arrival at the court on Monday.

source: ghanaweb.com

Chicago Bears fire Phil Emery, Marc Trestman

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman on Monday after a 5-11 season.

"[Bears president and CEO] Ted [Phillips] and I came to the conclusion that continuing on our present course would not result in our ultimate goal, which is to win championships," Bears chairman George McCaskey said. "All our decisions revolve around that goal, and we feel that it's time to move forward with new leadership to help us get there."

McCaskey paused for approximately 10 seconds when asked what 91-year-old franchise matriarch Virginia Halas McCaskey thought of what's happened with the Bears.

"She's been very supportive. She agrees with the decisions that we made. She's pissed off," McCaskey said. "I can't think of a 91-year-old woman that that description would apply to. But in this case, I can't think of a more accurate description.

"She's been on this Earth for eight of the Bears' nine championships, and she wants more. She feels that it's been too long since the last one, and that dissatisfaction is shared by her children, her grandchildren and her-great grandchildren. She's fed up with mediocrity. She feels that she and Bears fans everywhere deserve better."

The Bears brass said they've hired Ernie Accorsi as a consultant to help in the search for a new general manager and coach.

In a statement, Trestman thanked the Bears organization for giving him the chance to be the team's coach.

"I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years," he said in the statement. "I have tremendous respect for this organization. Chicago is a special city with great fans. I appreciate the warm support my family and I received."

Trestman spoke to the team Monday morning before departing the team facility for the final time.

"It was the same Marc Trestman meeting we always have," Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said. "He just said said thank you and that he appreciated the guys. It wasn't anything different than he usually does when he comes in. He has his notes written down, and he's meticulous about what he says. He's very good with the words he chooses to use.

"For Coach [Trestman] I just think it's a dream deferred. I think he's a really good coach, an excellent guy, and I think he will have another chance to coach in this league."

Emery met with reporters at Halas Hall on Monday, but read from a prepared statement, and took no questions.

"This job was the opportunity of a lifetime. My only regret is we didn't win enough games for that opportunity to continue," he said in part of his statement.

"Thank you to all the Bears fans that have reached out to me the last three years, who have stopped to say hello, have extended their hand in friendship and that I've had the opportunity to have a conversation with. Your kindness does a lot more for the soul than people can imagine. To borrow a lyric or a line from Carrie Newcomer: 'We stand breathless on the clean edge of change.' So it's time to change and move forward. Go Bears. Thanks for your time."

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall expressed his disappointment at the changes via his Twitter account. READ MORE

Shocking news: the ex-Muslim priest said that ”all Muslim must change to Christian to avoid hell fire”

While I was working in a Muslim mosque as an imam, as a parish priest, I preach in my parish that Jesus Christ is not God, for me, God was only Allah, and I believed Allah never got married, so no sons for Allah. So I preached there that Jesus is not God. Then somebody ask me, who is Jesus?’’ from the crowd. Maybe a Muslim, but he asked me, who is Jesus?’’ I was preaching he is not God, but the question is who is he? To know who is Jesus? I read the entire Koran once again: 114 chapters, 6666 in the Koran when I read it, the name of prophet Muhammad.

I found it in Koran 4 places, but the name of Jesus I found in 25 places. There itself, I was a little confused. Why does the Koran give more preference to Jesus? And second thing, I could not see any woman’s name in Koran: the Prophet Muhammad’s mother’s name, or wife’s name, no, in the Koran, there is only one woman’s name that i found is Mariam, the mother of Jesus no other woman’s name. And in the holy Koran chapter 3, the name of the chapter is family of Mariam,’’ and holy Koran chapter 19, the name of the chapter itself is ‘’MARIAM’’ one chapter is ‘’MARIAM’’ so I was very curious to know why does Koran says all these things about MARIAM, holy Koran chapter 3 verse 34 onwards says that Mary was born without original sin, she never committed any sin in her life, she was ever virgin.

Koran chapter 50 verses 23 say that she went to heaven with her physical body. Even the assumption is writing in the holy Koran and then about Jesus, when I read chapter 3 verses 45 to 55 verses, there is 10 point which the Koran makes about Jesus. The first thing Koran says (kallimatulli) the arabic word which means ‘’the of God’’ and second thing is ( ahimokuli ) which mean spirit of God and the third (isa masi) which means Jesus Christ so Koran give the name for Jesus WORD OF GOD, SPIRIT OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST. And then Koran says that Jesus spoke when he was very small, like 2 days old. after his birth he began to speak , Koran says that Jesus created a live bird with mud. He took some mud, he formed a bird; when breathed into it, it became a live bird. So I think Jesus can give life because he gave life to mud, clay, and then Koran says that Jesus cured a man born blind and a man with leprosy, e.t.c

Curiously, the Koran says that Jesus gave life to dead people; Jesus went to heaven; he is still alive and he will come again. When I saw all these things in the Koran I taught of what Koran says about Muhammad, according to the Koran, prophet Muhammad is not the word of God, not spirit of God he never spoke when he was 2 days old, he never created any bird with mud, he never cure any sick people, he never raised any dead people, he himself died, and according to Islam he is not alive and he will not come back. So there is a lot of different between these two prophets. I didn’t call Jesus, God, you know my idea was ‘’He is a prophet but he is a prophet greater than Muhammad; so one day I went to my teacher, the one who taught me 10 years in Arabic college, and I ask him, teacher, how did God created the universe? Then he said God created the universe through the word,’’ THROUGH THE WORD.

source: highstreetmail.com


KKD ‘rape’ saga: Police to go for CCTV evidence

KKD In Glasses

The Airport Police Command is considering going for the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) recordings from the African Regent HOTEL IN their investigations regarding the sexual assault complaint leveled against Fashion icon, Kwasi Kyei Darkwah.

According to the Public Affairs Director of the Accra Regional Police command, ASP Afia Tenge, the Police will explore all necessary avenues to establish the truth in the matter.

She told StarrFMonline.com that the Service will not “hesitate to seek a court order”, if that is what it will take to secure credible evidence to bring a conclusion to the matter.

KKD, as the ace broadcaster is popularly known, was arrested Saturday night following a complaint filed by a 19-year-old girl against him.

The victim alleged that the CEO of the Finest Productions sexually assaulted her at the African Regent Hotel while they both lodged there.

KKD has denied the allegation. He insists he had consensual sexual intercourse with the teenager.

On Sunday, Officers from the criminal investigations department of the Ghana Police service went to the crime scene, together with the celebrated suspect – a father of two – to inspect the place of the alleged incident.

Rape is a non-bailable offence in Ghana. If convicted, KKD could be handed down a prison sentence of between five and 25 years.

source : ghanaweb.com

Missing jet likely at 'bottom of the sea'


Air crews searching for the AirAsia jet that vanished with 162 people aboard spotted oily spots and "suspicious" objects in the sea Monday, but it was too early to know whether either was connected to the missing aircraft.

The fate of Flight 8501 remained a mystery on the second day of the search.

At news conference Monday, Indonesian National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said, "Based on the coordinates that we know, the evaluation would be that any estimated crash position is in the sea, and that the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea."

The Airbus A320 was bound for Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, when it lost contact with air-traffic control Sunday at about 7:24a.m. Singapore time (6:24p.m. ET on Saturday), the airline said.

"We have no idea at the moment what went wrong," said Tony Fernandes, CEO of the regional, low-cost carrier. "Let's not speculate at the moment."

The search resumed after dawn Monday — early Sunday evening ET.

First Admiral Sigit Setiayana, the Naval Aviation Center commander at the Surabaya air force base, said that 12 navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships were talking part in the search, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia. The Australian Air Force also sent a search plane.

Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto said he was informed Monday that the Australian Orion plane had spotted "suspicious" objects in the sea near Nangka island, 700 miles from where the plane lost contact.

"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto said, "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."

Air Force spokesman Rear Marshal Hadi Tjahnanto told MetroTV that an Indonesian helicopter in the eastern part of Belitung island spotted two oily spots on the sea about 105 nautical miles east of Tanjung Pandan — much closer to the point of last contact. He said samples of the oil would be collected and analyzed to see if they are connected to the missing plane.

The tragedy marks the third commercial air disaster involving airlines in the region this year. Mystery still shrouds Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 without a trace en route to Beijing with 239 people aboard. On July 17, another Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine while on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.

Miami aviation lawyer Steve Marks said it's "inexcusable" that airlines, after the Flight 370 horror, don't use satellites to track every aircraft throughout every flight.

"The technology exists and has existed for years and for whatever reason, it has not been implemented," Marks said.

Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia's acting director general of transportation, said that minutes before the AirAsia flight disappeared from radar, the pilot asked air traffic control for permission to avoid a cloud bank by turning left and going higher, to 34,000 feet. Flight 8501 gave no distress signal, he said.

AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys told USA TODAY the area along the flight path was blasted by a string of severe thunderstorms when the jet disappeared.

"It's hard to say if 34,000 feet would have been enough," Roys said. "We know the thunderstorms were very tall, very high up. They could have encountered severe turbulence, strong wind shear, lightning and even icing at that altitude."

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Let’s invite Europeans to help us manage traffic – Konadu

Accra Traffic1

Ghana can seek help from Europe in managing the road traffic situation in the country’s major cities, former first Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has suggested.

“You can even manage traffic. The Europeans do it. They helped us to do it in 1986, 89, we can call them to help us,” she said in an interviewed with TV3’s Nana Aba Anamoah aired on Christmas Day.

“You need to engineer traffic and redirect traffic,” the former first Vice Chair of the governing National Democratic Congress said.

She believes the Government and authorities in charge of traffic management must not throw their arms in despair over the bad traffic situation in the country, but rather seek pragmatic assistance in dealing with the problem.

“We don’t just say: ‘Oh! So many people have cars that’s why we are suffering’. No.”

Traffic jams and gridlocks are a regular feature in Ghana’s major cities – Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. The situation gets worse during festive seasons.

Former President John Mills (late) once described the traffic situation in Accra as a “major headache”.

Some areas noted for traffic jams in the national capital, for example, include the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which is undergoing major overhaul, the Spintex road, the Central business district among others.

The gridlock sometimes becomes unbearable to the extent that the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije turns himself into a traffic warden to help the situation. He was seen directing traffic on the eve of Christmas, at the Makola market within the Central Business District.

source: ghanaweb.com

Man kills baby on Christmas Day

Prison   Handcuffs

Police in Elmina are investigating the circumstances that led Ernest Annan, a 20-year-old father, to kill his own son on Christmas day.

Ernest Annan is said to have strangled the son, a seven-month-old baby to death, put him in a sack and was ready to dispose off the corpse.

Joy FM's Richard Kojo Nyarko reports that the mother of the baby, Maame Esi, has been left distraught.

Narrating the circumstances under which the baby was killed, an uncle of the deceased said the suspect who was sleeping in a room together with the wife and child, decided the room was too hot and needed some fresh air.

He took the baby along with him and strangled him.

Maame Esi who was waiting anxiously for the return of her daughter decided to step out only to see her husband carrying a sack.

Sensing something was amiss, she shouted at her husband, asking the whereabouts of her son.

Ernest Annan quickly dropped the sack and took to his heels. He was chased by some residents.

It took the assistance of a taxi driver for the suspect to be arrested, Nyarko reported.

He has been handed over to the police who would then begin prosecution on Monday.

Meanwhile, the MCE, Isaac Kweku Sam, has visited the family of the deceased to commiserate with them.

source: ghanaweb.com

Customs staff worry about porous borders

Ghana Customs

he Junior Staff Association of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has expressed dismay about the porous nature of the country’s borders and said this was affecting revenue collection as a result of inadequate staff and logistics.

Collection Assistant One Prince Seidu Alhassan, the National President of the Association, said the division could not meet the revenue target for 2013 because of inadequate personnel to do the job.

Addressing the opening session of the 12th national delegates conference of the Association, he expressed concern about general apathy on the part revenue collectors and attributed it to management’s failure to promote and recognise deserving and committed personnel.

The three-day conference is being attended by the almost 2,000 members of the Association from all the 10 regions.

Mr Alhassan said since management withheld staff promotion and other motivations, performance of many of the personnel had gone down drastically.

“As it stands now staff are shattered and demoralized”, he said, and pleaded with management of the division to promote deserving personnel.

He expressed disgust that suggestions made to management with regards to promotion by some labour bodies were not considered and said the Association did not intend to undermine efforts of management but to register its displeasure on certain issues in the Division.

source: ghanaweb

I’m not returning to NDC – Nana Konadu

Nana Konadu Returning

 Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings has stressed she is never returning to the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Her husband, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings subtly appealed to her at the 8th national delegates’ congress of the ruling party to consider a comeback.

“Let us invite our mother Nana Konadu to come back home," he said. "I hope she can hear us, I hope she can see us.”

However, the leader of the 31st December Women’s Movement has turned down the invitation, saying the main reasons why she walked out of the NDC to be an integral part of the National Democratic Party (NDP) still remain.

“Even if I find it interesting I will not escort my husband there… The conviction I had in going to some other place is still there and still relevant,” the former vice chairperson of the NDC told Accra-based TV 3.

Speaking to journalist, Nana Aba Anamoah, she said “I had been busy the whole day. I had not heard," adding that Mr Rawlings "knows better" when it comes to her resolve not to return though his appeal may have emanated from "a good heart".

“I worked to build [NDC]," she pointed out. “But even when you build a house, you build the house because you want to live in it...and you find that robbers have taken over your house and the house has been desecrated in some way and you have the chance to move to a smaller house somewhere, if you are not staying there, then that's your problem.”

source: ghanaweb

Cocain saga: Alhaji Dawood 5 others for court today

Ruby Cocaine Thugs New

The court will today a hear a case in which Alhaji Dawood and five others have been accused of aiding Nayele Ametefeh to transport 12 kg of cocaine to the United Kingdom.

The accused persons, Alhaji Dawood, a businessman, Nana Akua Amponsah and Sadalia Sandra Nuhu and three other officials of the Kotoka International Airport, are facing prosecution charges in Ghana for the role they played in aiding Nayele Ametefe to transport 12kg cocaine into the UK.

The last time they appeared in court, lawyers for the accused persons argued that the facts as presented by the prosecution did not support the charges proffered against their clients.

They therefore asked the court to bail the accused persons, however the presided over by Justice Francis Obiri dismissed the bail application.

Alhaji Dawood, has been accused of facilitating Nayele’s access through the VVIP lounge at the Kotoka International Airport into the British Airways flight.

The two other ladies have been accused of travelling with Nayele but abandoned their luggage and managed to abscond after she was arrested at the Heathrow Airport.

Meanwhile, Nayele has pleaded guilty to charges proffered against her by a UK court. She is expected to reappear before the court on January 5, 2015 in the United Kingdom.

source: ghanaweb.com(http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=340029)

NDC’s new executives are no threat to NPP – Akomea

Nana Akomea Smile Npp

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it is unfazed by the election of new executives for the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Speaking to Citi News the Director of Communications of the NPP Nana Akomea believes the new executives would be incapable of preventing the NPP’s defeat in 2016.

“We are not threatened at all. We are not perturbed. There is no reason to be perturbed. These new executives, I’m sure they have their own problems to deal with. We are not perturbed at all…,”Akomea said.

“…As we go towards elections in 2016, there are two main things for us as a party. One is the performance of the government and number 2 is our ability to limit and manipulate the elections. With the first one; the performance of the government, everybody agrees that it is very very poor. There is massive youth unemployment, there is no hope for the youth. No government programme. The cost of living continues to go through the roof. Every Ghanaian is suffering,” Akomea added.

Delegates of the NDC elected new national executives to steer the affairs of the party ahead of the 2016 general elections last Saturday.

A total of 3,354 party delegates elected the party’s new executives out of about 98 aspirants at the NDC’s 8th national delegates’ congress.

Some of the aspirants lost their positions while others were maintained. Dr. Kwabena Adjei, for instance, was unseated by Kofi Portuphy while Asiedu Nketsia maintained his position as the party’s General Secretary.

Former Attorney General and Minister of Jusitice, Betty Mould Iddrisu was also elected as Vice chairman in the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

She was elected along with six others; former Local Government Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Harry Zakour, Anita De-Sosoo, Anthony Gyampo and Ambassador Lee Ocran, by delegates of the NDC in Kumasi.

source: ghanaweb.com 

Some Ghanaians have joined Boko Haram?

A number of Ghanaian nationals have offered themselves to train and be recruited into terror groups in the West African sub-region including the dreaded Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria.

According to Islamic political analyst, Irbard Ibrahim, these “religiously zealous” individuals appear prepared to commit violent acts in support of the ideology of the terrorist groups although they may not necessarily require material assistance from those militant groups to carry out attacks.

The International Relations and Security Expert made the revelation on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, December 10, 2014 while discussing Ghana’s preparedness to deal with issues relating to internal security as well as terrorism.

He described the recruits as “lone wolves” who are ready to respond to recruitment drives of the terrorist groups, whom he said are looking for “anybody that can beat security checks and detonate where they would want to detonate”.

However, the Ghanaian security agencies have their eyes fixed on the activities and movements of such persons, Irbard assured.

“Our security services have been able to nab a few people who have actually acted as lone wolves who have travelled to north-east of Nigeria to train [with Boko Haram]…But our security systems have got tabs on them and they are monitoring their movements and all that.”

He observed that human rights abuses on the part of security personnel, meted out to some individuals who belong to “fringe groups”, mostly provide the impetus for terrorism. He said such individuals require two key factors- funding and motivation- to “stand up against the status quo.”

“There is nothing that makes people rally round terrorism than infringement on human rights…heavy-handedness always evolves the needed invocation of terrorist activities.”

Contributing to the discussion via the telephone, the Head of Research at the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning says Ghana could become a ‘useful target’ for terror groups purely for propaganda purposes on account of the country’s taking a strong position against their activities in the sub-region and on the continent as whole.

Dr Aning is convinced the security systems are high on the alert and have the capacity to respond and counter potential attacks.

But the security analyst cautioned against any slip on the part of the security agencies that will see the groups gain an upper hand and launch attacks.

“For our own reputational purposes and for the international counter-terrorism strategies to be able to be effective, particularly on this continent and West Africa, Ghana must under no circumstances experience a terrorist attack in which our responses are then perceived by our partners to be ineffective.

He advised that: “It’s of crucial importance that as part of the preventive measures, that our investigative, prosecutorial and adjudication units related to terrorism cases or potential incidents are strengthened [and] funded to ensure we send a clear signal to our partners…that we are prepared and we have the capability to respond.”

These he said should be achieved through enhanced collaboration with the country’s neighbours through information sharing on terrorist activities.

“We need better international collaboration with our neighbours and better exchange of information predicated on trust and a certain level of secrecy,” he stressed.

source : hightstreetmail.com (http://highstreetmail.com/2014/12/10/stay-alert-ghanaians-joined-boko-haram/)
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We are ready to welcome Nana Konadu home - Bagbin

Bagbin Smiles Dec2010

Hon. Alban Bagbin has expressed joy at NDC founder, Jerry Rawlings’ speech lauding the positive changes in the NDC and asking his wife to return “home”.

The astute politician who was speaking in an interview with rawgist.com said the party will whole-heartedly welcome her home.

When asked if he was neutral in the ongoing politicking within the party, he revealed that he was an unrepentant member of the NDC and hence could only be impartial but never neutral.

He also took the platform to emphasize the importance of social justice as a core tenet of social democracy.

He urged Ghanaians to keep faith with the NDC since the NDC’s ideology and philosophies emphasizes “equitable sharing of the national cake,” adding that all countries with social democratic leadership exhibit a common trait of producing a healthy, productive populace who live a good life and enjoy a high human development index consistently.

source: ghanaweb

Remaining Christians in Syria fight to save their land


DERIKE, Syria — Unlit Christmas lights adorn this small but largely isolated Christian town in northeastern Syria. But with only a few hours of electricity every day and most Christians gone the dark lights are a grim reminder of what used to be.

Tens of thousands of Christians have fled the Kurdish-dominated Hasaka province over the past three years because of an ongoing civil war, economic pressures and the rise of the Islamic State, which captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria earlier this year.

The Christians had numbered about 2.2 million — 10% of Syria's population — and lived mainly in the northeast. Many of them also left because of the widespread perception they support the embattled Syrian government. Those remaining vehemently reject the claim.

Residents here estimate up to two-thirds have departed, leaving streets largely abandoned and dozens of shop fronts boarded up. The only sign of life surfaces in the late afternoon, when men gather to play cards and discuss politics at one of the two coffee houses still open.

Dajad Hagopian, 68, a Christian priest, is among those who have refused to leave. He wears his clerical clothing every day even though he only gives a sermon once a week to a handful of people at the Armenian Orthodox Church here.

"God said give us our daily bread, and we get it," he said. "We may not get as much, but we have fruit, meat and bread, and that's all we need.

While Derike has been largely spared from the civil war's violence, it's not far away. And with few employment opportunities, rising food prices and a lack of electricity and water, remaining residents aren't optimistic about the future.

"We used to have big Christmas celebrations here and now look at the streets. What is there to celebrate?" lamented a man with a thick, gray mustache who only gave his first name, George, to protect his safety. Still, he's staying put. "I can't and won't leave my home," he said.

Johan Cosar inspects a rocket propelled grenade launcher

To protect the remaining Christians in the region, the Syriac Union Party created a Christian militia, called Sutoro, in early 2013. Opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the 1,000-member force mans checkpoints and patrols neighborhoods.

"We are protecting what has been ours for hundreds of years. We are the original owners of the land," said one militia member, who would only give his first name, Aboud, also for safety concerns.

Despite a centuries-long tradition as Eastern Christians, a large chunk of the Syriac Christian community is steadily assimilating into an emerging Kurdish-run autonomous region.

"People don't consider Christians as part of the Syrian population," said Ashur Abu Sarkun, general commander of Sutoro. "It's very important that we stay connected to the land. People don't want Christians around ... We welcome an autonomous region where Christians make decisions with the Kurds and Arabs."

Sutoro often sends members to the front to fight alongside its military wing, the Syriac Military Council, which is run by Swiss fighter, Johan Cosar, who has Syriac roots.

Cosar, who was a member of the Swiss Army for five years, came to Syria more than two years ago initially with the intention of working as a journalist.

He's the general commander of the military council working not only to defeat the Islamic State, but to help protect Syriac Christians' rights. "Our roots are here," he said on the front at Tel Hamis in northeastern Syria.

Johan Cosar shoulders a RPG.  "If the war in Syria had finished two years ago, we as people wouldn't have become anything because we didn't have any organization, any power, nothing," he said. "The international community wouldn't have known anything about the Syriac people. Now everyone calls us Syriac, not only Christian."

"If we get our rights here as a people, if we have our security here, if we have a really strong force, then I can say 'OK, my mission is complete.' But right now, it's not possible to even think this."

source: usatoday (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/12/21/syria-christian-islamic-state/18915275/)

We were tricked into thinking carrots improve vision


Eating lots of carrots will improve your vision, right? Not exactly, the American Chemical Society explains in a new video.

Bottom line: Carrots can contribute in a general way to overall eye health, but they're not going to prevent you from needing glasses.

As the ACS video explains, carrots contain beta carotene, which the body processes into vitamin A. The vitamin is good for the eyes, but plenty of other foods also have it, including peas, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce, even cheese.

If you're already eating a balanced diet, then, carrots won't make much of a difference in vision. So how did they get the reputation as being great for eyesight? The answer goes back to World War II.

One story holds that British pilots during the war didn't want to reveal the existence of the radar that helped them "see," so the military made up a rumor that eating carrots explained the pilots' suddenly improved ability to shoot down enemy bombers at night.

The myth didn't just trick the Nazis: The British public believed it, too, Snopes reports.

As Scientific American recounts, the UK Ministry of Food rolled out a propaganda campaign telling Brits to eat lots of carrots to help them see better during blackouts, and a kitchen legend was born.

The ACS takeaway: "Don't forget your vitamin A, but don't count on getting rid of your glasses anytime soon just because you're chomping on a carrot."

This article originally appeared on Newser: We Were Tricked Into Thinking Carrots Improve Vision


We have created Ghana’s many challenges – Rawlings to NDC

Rawlings Accuses World Hypocrisy

Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), ex-President John Rawlings have accused some members of the party and government of creating the many challenges the nation is saddled with.

He explained that the situation could be attributed to some government and party officials who have placed their selfish desires above the development of the nation.

Addressing NDC delegates at the 8th National Delegates Congress currently underway in Kumasi, the former President said: “We in the NDC cannot play the ostrich and overlook the many challenges we have created and the winding path we have carved for ourselves.”

“We have to admit that some political appointees and even party officials as well, have allowed their individual interests to override the national interest,” he added.

He admonished the NDC to accept that its government is facing huge political and economic challenges, adding that, “we are doing our best, but we need to do better.”

The ex-President also advised the NDC members to realize that perceptions about the party “have also placed the image of the government and party in a negative light.”

Mr. Rawlings sent a note of caution to the party saying, “I have known from the beginning that no enemy was big enough to destroy us. At the same time, I have also known that it is our own internal weaknesses that can destroy us; no enemy is big enough to destroy us, it is our own treachery, our own weaknesses that can destroy us. This is why we have to do everything possible to control those weaknesses.”

The NDC founder was optimistic that the party is on the brink of experiencing a massive turnaround to the benefit of members and the nation as a whole.

“It is evident that the party already feels a charge of renewed energy that should not be allowed to dissipate after this election. This energy has to be tapped and not destroyed by the parochial intentions of just a handful of people. That energy can be maintained if we embrace the truth,” he remarked.

He pointed out that the dynamic future of the NDC “lies in our women, the wise old comrades and especially the youth who are hungry, ambitious, focused and ready to fight for the core values of what the NDC stands for and that is truth, transparency, integrity and a people centered movement.”

He added that the “strength and the trust of the people cannot be taken for granted and should be harnessed and harvested here in the quality and caliber of leaders we elect today.”

Source: ghanaweb

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