Obama urges UN to act faster to curb Ebola outbreak

U.S. President Barack Obama (AFP PHOTO/Saul Loeb)
CC News

President Barack Obama said the world is making progress in fighting the Ebola outbreak, but far more needs to be done by every nation. 

“This is progress, and it is encouraging, but we need to be honest with ourselves, it’s not enough,” Obama said speaking at the United Nations High Level Meeting on Ebola Thursday. “There’s still a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.”

The deadly Ebola virus has spread through Africa, and some American doctors doing mission work also got the disease.
“We know from experience that the response to an outbreak of this magnitude needs to be both fast and sustained – like a marathon, but run at the pace of a sprint,” the president continued. “That’s only possible if every nation and every organization does its part. And everybody here has to do more.”
Obama explained how the world responds could make the difference in how many thousands will die.
“The outbreak at this point, more people will die,” Obama said. “But slope of the curve depends on how fast we can arrest it, how quickly we can contain it, if we move fast, even if imperfectly, that can mean the difference in 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 or 100,000 lives. This is not a time for wrangling and people waiting see who’s doing what first.”
Obama repeatedly asserted that combatting the spread of Ebola is a major national security priority for the United States, but sternly told delegations from around the world gathered in New York, “Do not stand by and think that because of what we’ve done it’s taken care of. It’s not.”
Obama said that the United States is training thousands of health workers from around the world to deal with Ebola in Africa, distributing supplies and information kits hundreds of thousands of families to help them protect themselves and building new treatment units in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He added that the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response to bring the world body’s humanitarian resources to fight the epidemic.
Back in Washington on Friday, Obama will host 44 nations for a meeting on global health security to be ready for not only Ebola, but the next potential health crisis as well, he said.
“Thousands of men, women and children have died,” Obama told the UN. “Thousands more are infected. If unchecked, this epidemic could kill hundreds of thousands of people in the coming months. Hundreds of thousands.”


Atiku declares for Nigerian Presidency in 2015 elections

Former Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar
By John Alechenu and Ade Adesomoju

A former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has formally declared his intention to contest the 2015 Presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

Abubakar, at a ceremony held at the Yar'Adua Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, explained that his desire to become President was born out of the need to give back to the nation.

Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and the Publisher of Leadership, Sam Nda-Isaiah, had also declared interest in the APC presidential ticket.

A former Head of State and National Leader of the APC, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, have been reported to also have interest in the ticket.

A confident Abubakar told his supporters during the ceremony that he had the capacity to bring people together and turn things around for the better in the country.

He pointed out that the glaring mismatch between "our potential and our achievements provides a golden opportunity" for him to lead Nigerians to rekindle their innovative instinct and turn the Nigerian dream into a reality.

He explained that in spite of many challenges faced by Nigerians, they had refused to give up on the country.
The former Vice-President said the 2015 elections were about Nigerian youths and the nation's future.

He stressed that the nation, under the current administration, had failed to provide the required environment for the youth to reach their full potential.

The former vice-president said, "It is inspiring that despite difficulties and growing anxiety over the future of our country, our people have refused to succumb to despair and hopelessness.

"This never-say-die attitude gives me immense hope and it is one of the reasons why I can never give up on Nigeria."

Reacting to the agitation for generational shift, he said his generation owed younger Nigerians the responsibility of offering its political shoulders to them to climb upon.

This, he said, was necessary to improve their vision and expand their horizon.

He noted that it was this trans-generational collaboration and partnership that represented the best model to create the future that the nation desired and deserved.

Nigeria, he said, should never again be subjected to leadership experimentation or learning on the job.

He recalled that the Olusegun Obasanjo administration which he was a part of successfully reformed some critical sectors of the economy such as telecommunications and the capital market.

Abubakar said, "As Vice-President from 1999 to 2007, I worked closely with my boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is a passionate defender of Nigerian unity.

"We focused on macro-economic stability and transforming critical areas such as banking, insurance, oil and gas, telecommunications, pension and the civil service.

"We created institutions that should lay the foundation for good governance and accountability such as the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, SERVICOM, whose golden rule is 'Serve others as you would like to be served.' Sadly, most of these institutions are now mere shadows of themselves."

He said the Obasanjo administration was able to deliver because it had vision, commitment and dedication.

The former Vice-President expressed sadness that rather than pay down the nation's debts, "our borrowing has been on the increase even at a time the price of oil has consistently been above $100 per barrel since the inception of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.''

He argued that resentment, disillusionment and hopelessness were the factors on which insecurity and disharmony thrived.

Nigeria, he said, was more divided today than at any other time since the civil war, adding that there was a disturbing rise in ethnic nationalism and religious bigotry because "we have a governance deficit."

The aspirant said, "Our country seems to be on auto pilot with no one in charge. Nigeria now more than ever before, needs a strong, dynamic, decisive, competent and visionary leadership that can halt the current drift of the ship of state. Corruption needs to be fought, jobs need to be created, our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, social services need to be provided and insecurity needs to be tackled in a decisive, robust and multi-pronged way."

While commending the leadership of the APC for adopting the modified open primaries in selecting its flag bearers at all levels, Abubakar said the party remained the most potent political force to end years of PDP's dominance of the political space.

The leader of the National Assembly caucus of the APC, Senator George Akume, who spoke on behalf of other party leaders at the event, said the APC has within its ranks, the men and women who have what it takes to rebuild Nigeria.

Why the United States is hampering Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram

U.S. President Barack H. Obama
By Michael Nnebe 

Since the recent brouhaha involving the use of Ayo Oritsejafor's private jet loaded with $9.3 million in cash on a covert arms run to South Africa, many Nigerian military generals have spoken out publicly on how the United States has continued to hinder Nigeria's efforts to procure arms from the U.S. and their western allies. 

Surely these arms are needed by the Nigerian army if they must defeat the dreaded terrorist group that have caused so much havoc in the northeast of Nigeria and elsewhere. 

On the face of it, it sounds like an improbable argument to make against the United States, after all, it is in American interest for Nigeria to defeat the Boko Haram. How can America then be hindering our fight if indeed they now have some of their men on the ground gathering intelligence and their drones hovering non-stop over the sambisa forest in search of the same Boko Haram terrorists. The answer to this question is a lot more complicated than it seems, but it boils down to how America is constrained by the rule of law while Nigeria isn't.

In spite of Obama's promises to help Nigeria defeat the Boko Haram, rescue the Chibok girls, and provide all the weapons necessary to achieve these things, one thing remain. Every weapon that is procured from the United States goes through Congress for vetting. This has been a long standing practice that predates Nigeria's problem with Boko Haram. 

For Congress to vet these arms purchases means that politicians in Washington DC have put many conditions that would virtually make it impossible for countries like Nigeria to directly procure arms from the United States government. It would have been easier for America to donate these arms to Nigeria, as they have done through the years to countries like Pakistan than for us to be purchasing them. In scrutinizing these arms deals, things like human right abuses, extra judicial killings by the police and the army become the hindering issues for countries like Nigeria to overcome before the US Congress.

Apparently persistent accusations by several human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other agencies have finally caught up with Nigeria, and many Nigerians are now crying foul. Some have said that the US does not have the moral right to impose such standards on Nigeria. Well, if you look at the Abu Ghraib incidence in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and ongoing police abuses across America, one can easily understand why any Nigerian might accuse America of playing double standards. But there is one remarkable difference; the rule of law always prevail in America, and when these things wash up in the surface the law must be seen to take its course. 

The US army and police can sometimes be a bunch of rednecks behaving as if they own the world, but once their violation of the law is made public, then they are often prosecuted to the fullest weight of the law. Even if their bosses wish to cover these things up, the ever-prying American media and the public will protest until these people are brought to justice. Civilization does not begin and end in driving fancy cars and living in big modern homes, it also requires the acquisition of sensibilities that can easily be offended by behaviors outside the acceptable norms.

In a place like Nigeria, most citizens do not give a damn if the police are killing criminals in droves and dumping them in the forest or river somewhere. We always justify these killings by assuring ourselves that these are good riddance. We always keep a blind eye in Nigeria, as long as our relatives are not the victims of these extra-judicial killings. This, I found out, is a huge problem in Nigeria. The average Nigerian is unlikely to rise up and protest extra-judicial killings or torture. 

It has for long been an open secret in Nigeria that the police sometimes eliminate threats of armed robbery and kidnapping simply by killing some of the detainees in their stations. I do not wish to become a crusader for suspected armed robbers and kidnappers, and if you have been a victim of either, you would most likely be glad to know that police officers are finally getting rid of the bad guys. 

But there is one problem. Several hundreds, perhaps thousands of suspects have been eliminated by the police and the army in the past few years, yet neither armed robbery nor kidnapping has decreased around the country. Some police officers, especially SARS would privately argue that such elimination is an effective way of carrying out justice. That to do otherwise will likely put those useless suspects before the Nigerian judiciary, probably awaiting trial for 5 to 10 years without any resolution.

Expedience is never the answer especially when a man's life is involved. Lately, many of these human rights organizations have paraded Nigerians on television testifying of various types of torture on them in different Nigeria police stations. Recently I saw a video on facebook that showed the most horrific scenes of Nigerian soldiers that lined up some Boko Haram suspects. 

They made these guys dig their own graves, and then shot them one by one and simply push them into those graves. I am not a saint, but nothing offended my sensibilities more than watching that video. It is true that I have seen worse by ISIS and Boko Haram, but this was a video of Nigerian army officers, and that was just unbearable to me. There must be a difference between a terrorist group and a national army. 

The US has presented this tape to the Nigerian military, but they are still taking their time to investigate. What utter nonsense, especially when the video of their officers is rather clear. This is the same Nigerian army that rushed to publicly try a bunch of junior officers for mutiny, and handed down a verdict of guilty punishable by death on firing squad.

I'm sure that the Nigerian military can act quickly if they wish to do so, but they cannot drag their feet and still expect America to simply ship arms to them without asking appropriate questions. In February last year, I wrote an article on extra-judicial killings in Nigeria, (A conspiracy of silence…the silence of our politicians on extra-judicial killings) indicting the SARS wing of the Nigerian police. I received quite a few threats after that article, but I wasn't bothered at all. 

It is really up to us Nigerians to stand up and speak up against these injustices on our people. America can only refuse our military arms, which they can easily buy from willing markets like Russia, China, South Africa, and others, but it is our own outcries that will put pressure on these police and military officers from acting with impunity and getting away with it. 

And to those military generals who are whining that America is hindering their fight against Boko Haram, perhaps it is time you all learn to operate an army worthy of the 21st century Nigeria. And in the meantime, kudos to our military for killing Abubakar Shakau once again or was it his imposter?

Michael Nnebe is a former Wall Street Investment Banker and the Author of several novels, including; Every Dream Has A Price, Riverside Park, Blood Covenant, Gloomy Shadows, Passing wishes, Prime Suspect, and others.


The hunt for Boko Haram: Disturbing videos purportedly show abuses by Nigerian security forces

President G.E Jonathan (L)
CC Investigative

Dozens of gruesome videos appear to show horrifying abuses by Nigerian security forces and state-sponsored militias as part of a battle against the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The existence of the videos was revealed in "Hunting Boko Haram," a new documentary by PBS Frontline.
Desperate to combat the rise of Boko Haram, Nigerian authorities launched a massive crackdown against the group in 2009 called "Operation Flush." Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have long accused security forces of committing massive human rights violations during the operation, including kidnappings, torture, extrajudicial killings and the arrests and murders of countless of civilians with no ties to the insurgent group.
The grainy videos obtained by Evan Williams for PBS Frontline appear to document some of these abuses. According to a militiaman who said he took part in some of the killings and ferried dozens of bodies to a morgue in northeast Nigeria , he and his colleagues were trained by Nigerian security forces.
Williams also spoke with several civilians in Nigeria’s northeast who said their brothers, fathers, sons or neighbors disappeared after being taken by militiamen or government forces during operations against Boko Haram. They said that many of the prisoners never returned and had no connections to Boko Haram.
Former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell says in the documentary that the videos confirm reports of abuses that have been circulating for years.
It is important to note that while this video pieces do show the excesses of the Nigerian security forces, the activities of the Boko Haram militants are equally commensurate with the brutality of the former.


Nigeria's richest woman reveals she did not attend college

Mr. and Mrs. Alakija
CC Introspective  

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world has revealed that she didn't go to a university. 

Alakija (with a reported net-worth of $7.3 billion according to Ventures Africa) made the revelation while addressing students of the University of Lagos during the 2014 UN International Youth Day. 

She said “All I say is glory to God. So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So you should have no excuses. I never went to a University but I don’t think I have done too badly. 

”You do not have to have a University education to be able to make it, but since you do, then count yourselves privileged to have that education as part of the feather in your cap.” 

Speaking further, she said “I come from Ikorodu, Lagos state. I am married to a dashing young lawyer of 70 years of age and we have four grown up gentlemen and grandchildren. It has not been a rags to riches fairy-tale. 

”It has not been an overnight phenomenon like some cases which you find here and there all over the world. For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted my own business. 

”I am trying to tell you how I got to where I am, if you want those billions. 

”It would have been easy to compromise, but I chose not to and I stayed focus. I could have stayed a secretary as my father desired according to his plan for me, but I had bigger aspirations. 

"I had big dreams. God strengthened me and gave me wisdom. I had a passion and burning desire to succeed. Being a secretary, a banker, a fashion icon, a cooperate promoter and printer, a real estate owner, an oil magnate; I can assure you was not an easy feat. 

”I had the firm belief that what is worth doing is what doing well or not doing at all. I took charge of my life with the tools I have shared with you. I chose to become born again at the age of 40. I chose to make a covenant with God that if he would bless me, I would work for him all the days of my life. I chose to hold on to the cross and look up to him every step of the way," she stressed further.


Rising US Senator Elizabeth Warren criticizes Eric Cantor's new private sector role and the politics of special interest

Yahoo Interview 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a rising star in the Democratic Party has criticized Eric Cantor's new role and says it typifies the "revolving door mentality" that has become all too prevalent on Capitol Hill.

In an interview with Katie Couric, Yahoo's Global News Anchor, she (Warren) bemoans a climate of inordinacy (in Washington) that encourages the selling of access to special interests, to the detriment of the middle-class and ordinary working Americans.

Senator Warren also delved into the ISIS crisis and much like Senator Dianne Feinstein, believes America's main objective should be the ultimate destruction of the Islamic State militants wherever they exist.

See the full interview below.....


France halts warship delivery to bellicose Russia

US President Barack Obama
CC Global News

French President Francois Hollande has made a u-turn and effectively halted the delivery of the first of two Mistral navy assault ships to an increasingly aggressive Russia.

France had until now resisted pressure from the European Union and the United States to suspend or flat-out cancel the delivery.

The  Vladivostok, the first of the two helicopter carriers, was scheduled to be delivered to Russia by late October (2014) while the Sevastopol (aka Sebastopol), a sister ship was scheduled to be delivered next year.

This development is further evidence that Putin's strategy with regard to Ukraine, may be back-firing on all key fronts and regardless of his careless rants about Russia's nuclear might, his (Putin's) continued intransigence may end up exerting a heavy toll on Russia, both economically and militarily.

The United States and its European allies obviously no longer see Russia as an ally of NATO with its increasing acts of aggression (through Russian supported rebel groups) in Eastern Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc countries.

This change of heart by the French marks to date, the most significant stance by the West against Russia's aggression, on the eve of NATO's summit in Wales.

The Mistral assault ships can reportedly carry close to 16 helicopters, as well as armored vehicles and land troops.

France and the NATO alliance are obviously wary of being the purveyors of a move that would have significantly improved Russia's amphibious capabilities.

It remains to be seen what Putin's next move will be, as he has seemingly always had an answer (no matter how obtuse) for every decision taking by the West thus far.


Nigerian woman gives birth to completely "white" baby.....

Catherine and her "white" son
CC News

When the midwife presented Catherine Howarth with her new baby, she was convinced she’d been given the wrong child. The little boy was completely white – whereas new mum Catherine has the dark black skin of her Nigerian heritage. For even though baby Jonah has a white father, doctors say the chances of him being white too were an incredible one in a million.
And it wasn't only the “miracle” baby’s mum who was stunned. “The midwife looked at me and looked back down at Jonah and then at me again and couldn't believe it,” said Catherine, 32. “The doctors confirmed it was extremely rare.” Her husband Richard, 34, a medical recruitment consultant, was equally astonished. He had expected his son, who was born at Milton Keynes Hospital on June 1, to have darker skin.
He said: “When I first set eyes on my baby boy Jonah, it was a feeling of pure delight and relief that he was healthy and strong. His complexion was very pale due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck when he was being delivered. “After a few hours his color came to his cheeks. Catherine and I noticed his complexion was very similar to mine and were surprised it was as light. The midwives and doctors told us he’ll most likely remain this color.”
Financial analyst Catherine said: “Some children get darker after a few weeks when the skin color they will have for life starts to become obvious. But you can see from the color at the tips of their ears what that will be. We saw straight away that Jonah was fully white.” Doctors have said he is not an albino. “We have been told that I must have been carrying a recessive gene,” said Catherine.
“My parents were from Nigeria and, for as far back as anyone can remember, my family have all been black. “But at some point there must have been a white gene in my family that has remained dormant for years and years – until now. 
“The doctors said they had researched the chances of this happening and discovered that it was very, very rare. “They had only found two similar cases, both in America, that had been reported in recent times.” 
Catherine and Richard, from Milton Keynes, plan to have more children but have been told the chances of them also being born white are highly unlikely. 
Jonah’s remarkable color follows the birth in 2010 of Nmachi Ihegboro, who is white despite having two black parents. Nine years ago, mixed-race couple Kylie Hodgson, 27, and Remi Horder, 25, from Nottingham, became parents to twin daughters – one white and one black. 
Delighted Catherine said “Despite the initial shock, Richard and I couldn't be happier. Jonah is a beautiful, happy and smiling son, and I adore him.” And Richard said: “The color of his skin is of no concern – Jonah being a healthy and happy baby is what matters."

Still clueless on real economic initiatives, Obama presses US Congress for minimum wage hike.....

President Obama seems tone deaf to political realities
By Deji Komolafe

President Barack Obama has said he will continue to press Congress to raise the federal minimum wage as the US recovers from recession.

In a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Obama said the economy and workers were now better off than when he took office in 2009.

"America deserves a raise," he said. 

His speech comes ahead of mid-term elections in November which will see a close race between Democrats and Republicans for control of the Senate.

"By almost every measure, the American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office," Obama said to an audience of union members.
He also pledged to protect the right for equal pay for women.
Obama was speaking after recent economic figures showed a one percent decrease in the national unemployment rate and a 4.2% growth in GDP in the second quarter of this year.
He said these improvements were due to decisions he had made during his first term in office, which included an effort to bail out the US auto industry.
He also said introducing new healthcare legislation had made life better for American workers.
"America is stronger because of decisions we made to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation asking the simple question: is this good for ordinary Americans?" he said.
Despite the recent economic improvements, figures show America's long-term jobless rate remains high and real hourly wages have stagnated.
It would seem that rather than professing real economic initiatives (to include corporate and R&D tax incentives to stimulate the still "soft" economy), Obama is bent on doubling down on the class warfare he has been fighting since he took office, almost six years ago.
The American people will sure have a say this November and the Democrats may not like the outcome.

The top 10 'loser' moments by professional athletes

CC Realtime

The Zinedine Zidane headbutt still takes the cake for me. I actually wanted him to decapitate that Italian hissicuff but just wished it did not have to cost that French team the FIFA World Cup™.

Here are the top 10 "what where they thinking" moments in professional sports.