Thursday

It's hard to leave Nigeria - Rohr (Translation - Where else can I get $50k per month for gross incompetence)

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr
CC™ Sports Take

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr says he "feels loved" by Nigerians, a major reason he's attached to the country and the national team.

But the German acknowledges the fact that there's a section of Nigerians from whom he "doesn't feel this love."

The German led the Eagles to a third-place finish at last month's Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt but claims "one category" of people didn't show him love especially after the AFCON.

"We have difference between Francophone countries and Anglophone countries but I didn't have any problem adapting (in Nigeria) because I was welcomed by everybody, not only in the team but the staff, and also from Nigerians," he said.

"When I go out, I feel this love, I feel it everywhere. The only people I don't feel this love from, there is only one category especially after the AFCON, and you know who it is.

But everywhere, if it is here or in other places, I feel this love, this is a reason for me, which makes it very hard to leave because there is human relationship which is important also.

This is the most passionate job because the passion around me is giving me also the passion, enthusiasm and desire to do well.

This job here is very different because we speak English, which I did not speak for a long time, since my school time. But I have learnt back quickly; the mentality is also different.

Wednesday

Biden: Racism in US is institutional, 'white man's problem'......


President Donald Trump. 
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
CC™ Introspective

"Actually Mr. Biden, it is not only an institutionalized edifice in the United States, but also globally, a pattern of socio-political and economic subjugation." 

Racism in America is an institutional "white man's problem visited on people of color," Vice President Joe Biden said, arguing that the way to attack the issue is to defeat President Donald Trump and hold him responsible for deepening the nation's racial divide.

Taking aim at incendiary racial appeals by Trump, Biden said in an interview with a small group of reporters on Tuesday that a president's words can "appeal to the worst damn instincts of human nature," just as they can move markets or take a nation into war.

Biden is leading his Democratic challengers for the presidential nomination in almost all polls, largely because of the support of black voters. He has made appealing to them central to his candidacy and vowed to make maximizing black and Latino turnout an "overwhelming focus" of his effort. The interview, more than an hour long, focused largely on racial issues.
"White folks are the reason we have institutional racism," Biden said. "There has always been racism in America. White supremacists have always existed, they still exist." He added later that in his administration, it would "not be tolerated."
By highlighting the nation's racial tensions and placing blame on Trump, Biden is showing that he, too, is willing to make race a core campaign issue, but from the opposite perspective of the Republican president. Turnout and enthusiasm among black voters will be critical for the Democratic nominee, notably to try to reclaim states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. He also emphasized a crossover appeal to both black voters and non-college-educated white voters.
To accentuate his appeal to black voters, Biden said that he will advertise in black publications and engage with cultural institutions like the black church, black fraternities and sororities, and historically black colleges.
"The bad news is I have a long record. The good news is I have a long record," Biden said when asked about his enduring support among black voters. "People know me — at least they think they know me. I think after all this time, I think they have a sense of what my character is, who I am."
"I've never, ever, ever in my entire life been in a circumstance where I've ever felt uncomfortable being in the black community," he added, suggesting that his familiarity was not matched by many of his competitors for the 2020 nomination.
That last statement by Mr. Biden essentially highlights why many blacks in the United States feel that the Democratic Party takes the black vote for granted. What might be shocking to folks like Mr. Biden is that most working class blacks actually align themselves with Mr. Trump as the former feel that the Democratic Party establishment, particularly under President Barack Obama, abandoned the black working class.
The truth is that racism as an institution is not the "white man's problem" but the "black man's burden."

Tuesday

The gift that keeps giving: U.S. President Donald Trump suggested firing nuclear weapons at hurricanes to stop their advancement.....

Even Hillary can't stop laughing.....
Tom Barnes

United States President, Donald Trump suggested firing nuclear weapons into hurricanes to prevent them hitting the US, reports in Washington claim. 

The president is said to have raised the idea of bombing hurricanes with senior Homeland Security and national security officials on numerous occasions, dating back as far as 2017. 

“I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” one source told US news website Axios the president had asked during a hurricane briefing at the White House.

The source said the briefer was “knocked back on his heels” as Mr Trump went on to suggest dropping a nuclear bomb in the eye of an off-shore hurricane would disrupt its formation.
“People were astonished,” the source added. “After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f***? What do we do with this?’”
The briefer is said to have told the president they would “look into” the possibility.
Later, other officials were also reportedly briefed on the president’s remarks, which had been recorded in a National Security Council (NSC) memorandum.
Another NSC memo from 2017 also reportedly details Mr. Trump asking whether hurricanes could be bombed with conventional weapons in order to prevent them hitting the US.
“His goal – to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland – is not bad,” another senior White House official, who had been briefed on the president’s remarks told Axios. “His objective is not bad.”
Far from being a revolutionary, the idea of using nuclear weapons against hurricanes has a remarkably long history.
As far back at the late Fifties, scientists and government agencies in the US had floated proposals for exploding nuclear devices to break up large storms.
In 1959, meteorologist Jack W. Reed suggested submarines could be used to launch warheads into the eye of a hurricane, one of several “peaceful” applications he imagined for nuclear weapons.
Today’s meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) however have less enthusiasm for nuking weather systems.
“Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems,” NOAA says on its website.
“Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”

Source: The Independent

Friday

The culture of wealth by any means: Several Nigerians implicated in FBI's bust of online fraudsters

Disgraced Invictus Group CEO Obi Okeke
CC™ Breaking News 

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Thursday that it had arraigned scores of suspected fraudsters behind a variety of scams and online fraud cases.

The U.S. Attorney General, Nick Hanna, said during a press conference that majority of the suspects were based in Nigeria in what is believed to be one of the largest cases of online fraud in American history. 
“FBI agents along with federal and state law enforcement authorities arrested a total of 14 defendants in the US, all named in a sweeping fraud and money laundering case.
“Those arrested today are among 80 defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges that millions of dollars were taken from victims through a variety of scams and online frauds,” he said.
Hanna disclosed that the scammers had taken advantage of vulnerable status of most of their victims like the elderly. In all, over 250 count charges ranging from “conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aggravated identity theft” have been filed against the suspects.
Beside the 80 suspects that have so far been charged, another 57 were being hunted globally by the authorities. Business Email Compromise, BEC scam, was at the heart of the fraudulent actions that deprived victims of millions of dollars.
“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. BEC scam is used to hack email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either completely bogus or that should have been otherwise paid to legitimate companies.
“Indictments showed very specific allegations against this suspects many of whom are based in Nigeria in terms of stealing money from victims. The indictment also focuses on those responsible for enabling these fraud schemes including operatives in Los Angeles.”
The latest development comes barely a week after the high-profile arrest of a celebrated young entrepreneur Obinwanne Okeke by the FBI for conspiracy to commit fraud amounting to $11 million.
The Forbes under 30 millionaire and founder of Invictus Group is being charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud according to reports.
He allegedly hacked into a digital system of a steel company in the US, stealing a whopping $11 million of the company’s money via fraudulent emails and doctored correspondence.

Thursday

South African court limits display of apartheid-era flag: But why should a flag synonymous with vile racism still be flown on African soil?

Former Leader of Racist Apartheid Enclave P.W. Botha (Photo: AFP)
CC™ Global News

In a landmark ruling, a Johannesburg court on Wednesday barred the unjustified display of South Africa's apartheid-era national flag, saying such gestures amounted to "hate speech" and "harassment".
Judge Phineas Mojapelo said in Johannesburg that any gratuitous display of the old flag was "racist and discriminatory".
"It demonstrates a clear intention to be hurtful, to be harmful and incite harm and it in fact promotes and propagates hatred against black people... it constitutes hate speech".
The ruling followed a petition to the court by the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust after the flag was displayed in October 2017 by white South Africans protesting at the murders of white farmers.
The judge said those who publicly displayed the flag "wish to remind black people of the oppression, humiliation, indignity and subjugation that they moved away from and do not wish to relive."
The former flag was used from 1928 until 1994 by the Union of South Africa, then a British dominion, and by the Republic of South Africa that succeeded it.
It comprised three stripes of orange, white and blue with three small flags at its center -- the emblems of the Orange Free State, Britain and the South African Republic.
Intertwined with the white-minority regime, it was widely known as the "apartheid flag" before being dumped in 1994 with the advent of democracy and its replacement by a "multi-racial" flag.
But right-wing groups and individuals have continued to display the apartheid-era flag at political gatherings and at some rugby matches.
Mojapelo, the high court judge presiding over what is called an equality court, said the prohibition was not a blanket ban.
The flag could be displayed for academic or artistic purposes in the public interest, he said.
Offenders will face legal penalties including community service and fines.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, set up to continue the legacy of South Africa's first democratically-elected president, said the decision "affirms our rights to not suffer hate speech, our rights to dignity and our rights to a meaningful freedom of speech."
Outside the courthouse, its CEO, Sello Hatang, hailed the ruling as a "building block" for nation-building.
But Afrikaans rights group AfriForum, which had opposed the petition, said it disagreed with the judgement but would carefully study the text before deciding whether to appeal.
AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets told reporters that their concerns lay in "where the line should be drawn between freedom of expression and hate speech".
African National Congress (ANC) spokesman Dakota Legoete said the verdict was a "national victory."
A constitutional crisis had been averted as the country could not have "two flags flying under the same constitution," Legoete said.
The parliamentary committee on sports, arts and culture said the ruling should signal the end of any nostalgia for apartheid-era South Africa.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) remarked that "if the Nazi flag and the Confederate flag can be denounced in Germany and America, there is no reason to keep glorifying the apartheid flag".
Designed by Frederick Brownell, who died in May at the age of 79, the 1994 flag seeks to symbolize the unity of the previously segregated racial groups and South Africa's transformation into a democratic state.
Racial tensions remain high in South Africa, a nation gripped by wide economic disparities and facing a tough battle to ease unemployment and roll back crime.

Tuesday

Police in Nigeria rearrest notorious kidnapper with friends in high places

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai
CC™ Breaking News

The Nigeria Police Force report that they have rearrested a notorious kidnapper who was weeks back forcibly released by soldiers from detention. 
Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, was arrested on yesterday (August 19) by police operatives at his hideout in the north central Nigerian State of Kano.
It would be recalled that the Police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect since 6th August, 2019 following the unfortunate incident in Taraba State that resulted in the murder of three police officers and two civilians by members of the Nigerian Army, in a bizarre mission by the former to help Alhaji Wadume escape justice. Five others civilians were also seriously wounded by the rogue military officers involved in the bloody incident.
In a shocking video confession in the Nigerian native Hausa language, the suspect is heard saying: “I am Hamisu Bala alias Wadume. Police operatives came and arrested me, after my arrest, soldiers pursued them and opened fire till some policemen lost their lives. They took me to their army headquarters, cut off my handcuffs and allowed me to escape, since my escape; I have been in hiding till the police rearrested me.”
The police had in early August made public demand for the army to come clean on the whereabouts of the kidnapper and also demanded justice for their slain officers.
After a meeting with security service chiefs, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to the deadly clashes. The committee has yet to present the results of its findings.

Friday

Nigerian Shia leader El Zakzaky and his wife return home as they reject "treatment" in India

L-R: Buhari, Zakzaky and El Rufai
CC™ Breaking News 

Nigerian Shia leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife have made a dramatic return to the country, three days after arriving in India to receive medical treatment, according to aviation officials and his lawyer.

The detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and Zeenat Ibrahim on Friday landed in Abuja's international airport from New Delhi on an Ethiopian Airlines flight, according to supporters and lawyers.
They were received by security operatives and taken back into custody.
"He is in custody of the State Security Service and no one is allowed access to him," Mahdi Garba, a supporter of El-Zakzaky, told Al Jazeera.
The detained couple had flown out of the country on Monday after a court in the northern state of Kaduna granted them bail in order to seek treatment abroad.
El-Zakzaky reportedly refused treatment at an Indian hospital when his preferred medical team was changed and requested to be sent back to Nigeria.
In a video circulated on social media, the controversial IMN leader complained of unfair treatment and tough restrictions by security operatives deployed to the medical facility.
"He lost all hope in the hospital," his lawyer, Harun Magashi, told Al Jazeera.
"They were trying to sneak in some doctors to treat him against his wishes, and they treated him like a criminal, placing armed Indian police even inside his room," Magashi said.
El-Zakzaky has been held in detention since December 2015 when the army killed almost 350 of his followers at his compound and a nearby mosque and burial ground in Kaduna state.
A court in 2016 said el-Zakzaky should be released but authorities refused.
He faces charges of murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, and other offences following the 2015 violence. He has pleaded not guilty.
After the Kaduna court ruling, the Nigerian State Security Services immediately pledged to obey the ruling.
In recent weeks, Shia members had launched a series of demonstrations in the capital, Abuja, and Lagos to demand the release of their leader and his wife from prison to seek medical treatment.
Several people were killed and more than 50 IMN members were arrested in clashes with police that also saw the killing of a journalist and a police officer, as well as the closure of the parliament building in Abuja.
The group, which represents Nigeria's minority Shia Muslims, says it will continue protesting until it secures the release of El-Zakzaky, who founded IMN in the late 1970s.
The Nigerian government recently banned the Shia group following a court decision allowing authorities to call it a "terrorist" organisation.
The office of President Muhammadu Buhari said the government "had to act" against the group before the situation got out of control.

Source: Al Jazeera News

Wednesday

A case of too many cooks possibly spoiling the broth.....

Seattle Sounders FC - "Just Trophies Please"
CC™ Sportswire 

One is not sure exactly what to make of this but in what could aptly be described as a case of "too many cooks possibly spoiling the broth", the increasingly rudderless ownership of the Seattle Sounders professional soccer team has just announced that 11 families will be joining their ownership group. 

Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson and his wife, singer Ciara, join hip-hop star Macklemore and his wife, Tricia Davis in headlining the new group of investors. In addition to the previous owners Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Jody Allen (the sister of the late billionaire, Paul Allen), the new ownership group now includes:
  • Former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife, Katie Myerson
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his wife, Anu Nadella
  • Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Hood and her husband, Max Kleinman
  • Microsoft corporate vice president of experiences and devices Joe Belfiore and his wife, Kristina Belfiore
  • Former Microsoft senior executive and current managing director of Madrona Venture Group, Soma Somasegar, and his wife, Akila Somasegar
  • Chief product officer at Twilio, Chee Chew and his wife, Christine Chew, who is president of the Bellevue School Board
  • David Nathanson, formerly of FOX Sports Media Group, and his wife, Sabina Nathanson
  • Former Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews and his wife, Elise Holschuh, who serves on the strategy committee of Hugo House
  • Mark Agne, former managing partner at Softbank Investment Advisors, and Tomoko Agne.
It remains to be seen exactly how the now crowded group of decision makers (most of whom know absolutely nothing about the beautiful game) will influence off-field moves that ostensibly will have a decided impact on what happens on the field. While teams like LAFC and Atlanta United are building their brands and writing their soccer legacies in bold and gold, it is 'troubling' to see a once serious franchise being turned into an Emerald City circus show.

The dreams of most Sounders' fans including this writer is to build the equivalent of a soccer (football) behemoth in the Pacific Northwest, akin to a Liverpool, as the atmosphere at Centurylink Field can only be compared to one place and one place alone in the world, Anfield

One can't help but think that the original ownership of the Sounders failed to capitalize on the emerging brand that Seattle was becoming and rather than build on the MLS Cup victory of three years ago, they got conservative and became more interested in turning a profit, as opposed to hauling in more trophies. Thus, they missed a glorious opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the American and indeed global soccer landscape. Imagine if the Sounders had won the CONCACAF Champions League and not only participated in, but did well at the FIFA World Club Cup? That should be the vision of the Sounders' ownership as anything else would be a disservice to its loyal supporters.

One only hopes that this new turn will be for the best as most Sounders' fans could care less about Russell Wilson and Ciara being in the VIP box if this team is not winning trophies on a consistent basis.

Go Sounders and oh yes, the Timbers stink!

Tuesday

Femi Falana lambasts El-Rufai's conditions on Sheikh Zakzaky's treatment in India

L-R: Femi Falana (SAN) and Sheikh El-Zakzaky
CC™ Legalese  

"Calls it the height of provocative contempt......."

Human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on Wednesday, criticised the Kaduna State government over the stringent conditions it issued with regards to the permission granted by the court to Sheikh Ibrahim El-zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, to embark on medical trip abroad. 

The Kaduna State government had expressed concern that El-zakzakay and his wife may seek asylum in India. 

Upon this, the Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led administration prayed the court to make El-Zakzaky, his wife and each of the other defendants produce two prominent sureties, including a first-class chief or emir to qualify for the foreign medical trip. 

The government, which expressed its displeasure at the terms of the medical leave, added, that “While the Kaduna State government respects the court’s ruling on medical leave, it disagrees with the premises on which it is based. 

“Therefore, an appeal will be lodged on the matter, but a stay of execution will not be sought as the state government believes that a person may choose to travel abroad for any medical condition at his own cost.” 

But responding on Wednesday, rights activist and lawyer to the IMN leader, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) said in a statement: “I thought that the Kaduna State government had planned to appeal against the order of the Honourable Darius Khobo granting leave to the El-Zakzakys to travel to India for urgent medical treatment under the supervision of the government. 

“I hope that the plan to pursue an appeal in the case has been shelved as the Court of Appeal has ruled that you cannot stay the execution of orders of this nature. That remains the position of the law as espoused in the case of Mowarin v Nigerian Army, which was decided under a military dictatorship in the country. 

“The so-called agreement is totally alien to the penal code and the administration of criminal justice law of Kaduna State. Hence, the agreement is not brought under any substantive or adjectival law. 

“My colleagues in the Ministry of Justice are not unaware of the position of the law that an agreement cannot vary or modify the order of a competent court. It is unfortunate that some highly placed public officers are so hell bent on abrogating the fundamental rights which have been fought for and won by Nigerians, even under the British colonial regime. 

“For instance, the Prison Ordinance was amended in 1917 to allow the family members or friends of prison inmates to remove them from prison and take them out for medical treatment, if the prison facilities could not cater for any terminal illness. That provision has been incorporated in Regulation 12 made pursuant to the Prisons Act. 

“In this instant case, the court did not release the El-Zakzakys to their family members but that they should be treated in a foreign hospital under the supervision of the government. 

“Since the Department of Service Services (DSS), which has the custody of the El-Zakzakys, has announced on behalf of the Federal Government that the court order would be obeyed, the so-called terms of “agreements” of the Kaduna State government should be ignored because it is the height of provocative contempt. 

“It takes two to tango. A party in a case cannot dream of some weird ideas, parade them as an agreement and impose same on a court and the other parties.”