Jonathan takes political dig at opposition governors in Nigeria's Northeast.....

President Goodluck Jonathan
CC Sunday Review

President Goodluck Jonathan blamed governors in Nigeria's northeastern states for the country's Islamic uprising, saying their failure to provide social services created the climate for the insurgency that has killed more than 1,000 people so far this year.
Jonathan lashed out at the governors, all from the opposition, at a rally in northern Bauchi state on Saturday.
"The current security challenges are the handiwork of governors in the opposition parties who have not performed .... (who) created the situation for insurrection," he said. They "have not done anything in terms of providing social services to the people."
He called the uprising "madness" and "the handiwork of miscreants who recruit illiterates into insurgency."
In a separate development, 21 people were killed and two seriously injured when shooting erupted Sunday morning at the headquarters of the feared State Security Services, on a road leading to the presidential villa compound where Jonathan lives and has his offices.
The gunfire came from an attempted jailbreak by a suspected member of the Boko Haram network of extremists that is terrorizing northeastern Nigeria, according to security agents who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. A detainee used a smuggled pistol to shoot a guard, said the agents at the scene. It was not clear if the guard survived.
State Security spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar gave a different story, saying the only gunfire came from guards who fired warning shots and soldiers who deployed after a detainee tried to overpower a guard. The detainee tried to use his handcuffs to beat the guard over the head and grab his pistol, she said in a statement.
But residents described exchanges of gunfire that continued for more than two hours.
In northeastern Nigeria, governors have accused Jonathan's administration and the military of purposely not doing enough to curb the rebellion.
Gov. Kashim Shettima last month said Boko Haram is better armed and better motivated than the military. He spoke after survivors reported that outgunned soldiers had abandoned checkpoints and left villagers and school students at the mercy of the extremists.
Governors also have suggested the violence is intended to weaken the northern vote ahead of February 2015 elections in which Jonathan's party faces its stiffest opposition since winning power in 1999 elections that ended decades of military dictatorship. Most northerners are Muslims and Jonathan is a Christian from the south.
The two leading political parties, Jonathan's People's Democratic Party and the coalition All Progressives Congress, have traded insults recently about who is responsible for the uprising. There is no dispute chronic poverty is among the root causes of the insurrection. Northeastern Nigeria is the poorest region in the oil-rich nation, with up to 80 percent of young people estimated unemployed. Fewer than 5 percent of children attend high school, according to government statistics.
Some governors accuse the military of colluding with the militants to prolong the conflict while they profit from hefty war budgets. Nigerian security forces also have been accused of working with militants and oil thieves in the southern Niger Delta. Corruption is endemic in the West African nation.
Nigeria's military insists that a 2-month offensive of near-daily aerial bombardments and ground assaults has the extremists panicking and on the run.
But such claims are belied by attacks such as a March 14 assault on the main barracks in Maiduguri city, which is the headquarters of the security forces offensive. Boko Haram claimed to have freed 2,000 detainees held at Giwa Barracks. The military said it killed hundreds of militants.
It was the bloodiest battle in the 4-year-old uprising, with hospital workers reporting a count of 425 corpses. They said they were forced to hold a mass burial because the morgue could not hold all the bodies. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the military.


Reaction from Mexico's 0-0 draw with Nigeria in Atlanta.....

Keshi's team again lacked bite in front of goal against Mexico
By Andrea Canales - Futbol Mexico

"Mexico's Euro stars trying to adapt; Keshi's Uche reluctance hurts Nigeria"

What we learned: 

Mexico: Mexico had a dangerously slow start in this match, allowing Nigeria a number of chances in the first 15 minutes. Coach Miguel Herrera is probably aware that doesn’t bode well in the World Cup. 

However, he will no doubt be encouraged at how El Tri adjusted and worked back into the game with improved team play. The lack of cohesion in the squad could be due to the unfamiliarity of the European-based players with both his system and other domestic-based squad members. The time to fix this problem is limited, though, and this could affect his decisions on the final roster for Brazil 2014.

Nigeria: Nigeria’s coach, Stephen Keshi, will probably shake his head with regret over the early chances that the Super Eagles couldn’t quite convert. Still, Nigeria acquitted itself quite well, especially given the number of uncapped players involved in this match. Both goalkeepers were solid, and even if captain Vincent Enyeama isn’t going to lose his starting spot, Austin Ejide looks like an excellent backup. Nigeria also has to beware of their tendency to foul hard. If the World Cup is called tightly, they might rack up cards easily. 

What needs to change: 

Mexico: Herrera will change his preferred 5-3-2 formation when they pry it from his cold, dead hands. It’s up to the players to adjust, and some did so better than others. The approach doesn’t suit Andres Guardado’s darting play and short passes. That style needs a versatile striker who can create, rather than a pure poacher like Javier “Chicharito\" Hernandez. 

Herrera may have also painted himself into a corner by naming Rafael Marquez his World Cup captain so early. For a back line that at times must flex into only three players, Marquez is now prohibitively slow. This was exposed by an athletic and speedy team time and again. If Marquez doesn’t have a partner who can compensate for his lack of quickness, Mexico is very vulnerable in the back. 

Nigeria: Some will say that Keshi needs to be removed as coach for his refusal to bring in Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche. Uche's absence was starkly evident in a match that was crying out for an effective striker, one who gets the job done, even if the style isn’t always pretty. Keshi’s argument that Uche isn’t tactical enough is starting to ring very hollow. Nigeria needs a natural-born attacking threat up front. 

It’s also clear that Nigeria didn’t seem to adjust well to Mexico’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, who was having a standout match. He stopped a number of chances, and instead of devising a team play tactic to get past the goalkeeper altogether with an extra pass or a trailing player into the box, the front line of Nigeria tried going for unstoppable shots. This led to them missing the goal altogether more often than not. Thus, in the end, Ochoa’s job was easier, even as his defenders kept allowing chances. 

Raising Their Hand: 

Mexico: Ochoa certainly did everything he could to make Herrera question whether Jesus Corona should stay as the starter in the goalkeeping position. His timing and willingness to sacrifice himself to stop an attacking play were remarkable. 

Hector Herrera also acquitted himself well with solid play, good passes and even a few shots toward the goal. Of all the European-based players on the field, he seemed to integrate the most seamlessly into the squad. 

Oribe Peralta didn’t score, but the savvy veteran did come close with some chances, so he probably did his starting spot no damage. In his limited time on the field, Alan Pulido showed an initiative and nose for goal that indicated his earlier hat-trick was not a fluke. 

Nigeria: No Nigerian player looked more active on the field than Liverpool’s Victor Moses. He created chances, hustled after the ball, took shots, stole the ball back and generally made himself a nonstop nuisance for Mexico. He did everything but score, leading Nigeria’s attack in the early going. 

Enyeama set the tone as well with his impressive stops. It’s easy for a large crowd to rattle some players, but he kept his cool and will likely keep his post as captain for the World Cup. Ejide picked up right where Enyeama left off, making sure that the quality of the goalkeeping didn’t drop in the second half. 

X factor: 

Mexico: Many Mexico fans hold Hernandez as a sentimental favorite for his past heroics with Mexico, but even these loyal supporters had to be frustrated watching the player fling himself at the ball in the box so ineffectively. He’s still trying, but his lack of playing time at Manchester United has taken a brutal toll on his scoring skills. The spirit is willing, but he’s lost confidence in his own ability to execute. Strikers live and die on their self-belief. Hernandez is probably going to watch a lot of the World Cup from the bench, which would have been unthinkable a year ago. 

Andres Guardado is another player who had to impress Herrera. He played like he was desperate to do so, but this resulted in him often losing the ball and killing attacking plays. His unfamiliarity with his teammates was obvious. Guardado has never been a winger who can fire in long, looping crosses to the box like Miguel Layun, and without a partner to recognize well his give-and-go approach to attacks, he floundered. 

Nigeria: John Obi Mikel has matured into Nigeria’s solid veteran in the midfield. He is able to generally control the run of play and reset the squad as needed. Yet a clock with only one hand can’t tell time effectively, and this match revealed that Mikel could use another good scoring option up top to whom he can deliver passes. 

Once again, Uche is conspicuous by his absence. Yet it’s better to realize how badly he is needed now than it would be for that realization to come at the World Cup. For Nigeria’s sake, one would hope Keshi reaches this conclusion. 


Well deserved and probably long overdue: Matthew McConaughey wins Oscar for Best Actor

CC Oscar Rewind

As the carnage in Northern Nigeria continues, Northern leaders remain complicitly silent

CC Nigerian Insider

Suspected Islamist militants have torched a village in north-eastern Nigeria's Borno state, killing at least 11 people, CC has gathered. 

They raided Jakana overnight, destroying about a third of homes, a Nigerian Senator said. 

It is believed that as many as 40 people had been killed but this could not be immediately confirmed. 

The Islamist group Boko Haram intensified its insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria in recent weeks.

It has been blamed for about 130 killings in Borno alone since Friday, February 28, 2014.
The group has not commented on the attacks.
As these senseless attacks continue, one can't help but wonder exactly why prominent leaders in Northern Nigeria remain almost complicitly silent.
Except for the usual off-handed comment here and there, it is shocking (but probably not surprising) that these men (and they know who they are) have preferred to stand pat while innocent women and children in particular, continue to be murdered in cold-blood by an organization (Boko Haram) most believe is in fact a brain-child of the Northern ruling class.
It however seems that these so-called leaders may have miscalculated as what they created has obviously blown up in their faces.
As Nigeria continues to tinker on the precipice of a full-blown civil war, the authorities must flush out the traitors in their midst as it is clear as day that Boko Haram has access to weapons and intelligence that could only come from within the corridors of power within the Nigerian military and the Intelligence Community.

Obama's 2015 budget blueprint hints at higher taxes for the 'rich'.....

CC Insider

President Barack Obama has called for expanded tax credits for the poor and for a reduction in tax breaks for the rich in his annual budget proposal. 

The $3.9 trillion budget calls for a rise in the minimum wage and for new spending on infrastructure. 

It would reduce the budget deficit by $651 billion over the next decade. 

It is not expected to become law, but is seen rather as a declaration of the Democratic Party's priorities ahead of the November midterm elections. 

"Our budget is about choices, it's about our values," Mr Obama said at a news conference at a Washington primary school on Tuesday. 

"As a country, we've got to make a decision if we've going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or we're going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunities for every American." 

In the budget, the U.S. president, a Democrat, proposes expanding a tax credit that benefits low-income working Americans to cover workers as young as 21 and as old as 67, as well as making it available to more workers without children.

The expansion would lower taxes for 13.5 million low-income workers, the White House said.
The programme, the earned income tax credit, was established in the 1970s and is popular with most Democrats and some Republicans.
To pay for the expansion, expected to cost $60 billion over 10 years, Mr Obama has proposed ending two tax breaks often used by wealthy Americans. One, known as the "carried interest" deduction, limits taxes paid by ultra-wealthy hedge fund and private-equity fund managers. The other lowers taxes for some self-employed workers.
The budget proposal also rehashes policies previously pushed by Mr Obama.
It calls for more than $300 billion in infrastructure improvements funded through changes to business taxes, and increased funding for early education paid for through higher tobacco taxes.
The White House is also repeating its call for a rise in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 and for an extension of unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for a long time. Those benefits expired in December, and their renewal has been blocked by Republicans who demand offsets in other spending.
Mr Obama also proposes $56 billion in new spending, including $28 billion for defense research and weapons modernization, and $28 billion split among education technology, research, job training and other projects.
The budget aims to reduce the annual U.S. budget deficit to 1.6% of the economy by 2024, down from an estimated 3% this year.
Among the other proposal expected in Mr Obama's budget would:
  • Expand tax credits for full-time childcare costs
  • Exclude existing student loan forgiveness programmes from taxable income
  • Call on Congress to pass wide-reaching immigration reform
  • Raise taxes on the top 3% of Americans and force taxpayers who make more than $1m a year to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes after charitable contributions
It will be interesting to see the GOP reaction to the president's proposals.


Today Marks the 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa

Prof. Ayele Bekerie

"After the victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African State. After Adowa, Ethiopia became emblematic of African valor and resistance, the bastion of prestige and hope to thousands of Africans who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of African inferiority."

Adwa, Ethiopia (TADIAS) — When historians recorded major world events of 1896 they included several headlines about the Battle of Adwa such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ In other words, Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).

Adwa has generated a significant amount of discourse and prose from writers across the globe. To Raymond Jonas, Adwa is “the story of a world turned upside down.” As he further aptly puts it, “Ethiopia stunned the world.” Many writers made note of the fact that an African army defeated a European army. Donald Levine, the great Ethiopian scholar, marked the historical event by highlighting its racial implications in reverse order: “a non-white nation has defeated a European power.” Levine’s perspective makes a whole lot of sense when one notices that it was also in 1896 that the US Supreme Court by seven-to-one majority vote affirmed racial segregation. And it took 58 years to overturn racial segregation in the United States.

Encyclopedia Britannica narrated the following about the event of Adwa for posterity: “ The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy’s attempt to build an empire in Africa.” British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill penned the event in these words: “On the 1st of March 1896, the Battle of Adwa was fought and Italy, at the hands of Abyssinia, sustained a crushing defeat. Two results followed which affected other nations. First, a great blow had been struck at European prestige in North [East] Africa. Second, the value of Italy as a factor in European politics was depreciated.”

In the context of world history, “the Battle of Adwa marked the largest military triumph of an African state over a European army in the nineteenth century and helped Ethiopia retain its independence during Europe’s Scramble for Africa,” writes Stanford University Historical Education Group. Ethiopia’s retention of its independence paved the way for global anti-colonial movements. Paul Henze describes it best when he states “the defeat at the Battle of Adwa as the beginning of the decline of Europe at the center of world politics.”

Film Director and Producer Haile Gerima, framed the event as follows: “The victory ignited a lasting flame of hope, of freedom and of independence in the hearts of Africans throughout the world.” Bahru Zewde, a distinguished historian, understood Adwa’s global historical significance, for it “brought Ethiopia to the attention of the world.” The leading Afro-centristMolefi Kete Asante, further reiterates: “After the victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African state. After Adwa, Ethiopia became emblematic of African valor and resistance, the bastion of prestige and hope to thousands of Africans who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of African inferiority.”

In fact, in 1896, outside of Adwa, there was no good news from the continent of Africa. European colonizers were almost on the verge completing their colonial agenda everywhere. In 1896, France dismissed Queen Ranvalona and later annexed Madagascar to its vast colonial empire. British troops defeated Zanzibar in a 38-minute war — A battle that started at 9:02 am and ended at 9:40 am, the record shows. It is equally important to note the resistance against colonialism in 1896 as evidenced by the uprising of the Matebeles in what is now the nation of Zimbabwe.

When Adwa is studied and understood in the context of world history, we find Adwa as one of the most significant beacons of hope for all oppressed and colonized people of the world. It is a victory that shattered the myth of European supremacy. It is a global historic moment that should be remembered and its bigger story should be shared by young and old in the world. Adwa, we call again, for its inclusion in the World Heritage List.