Zimbabweans vote in Presidential election

Zimbabwe’s leading opposition candidate accused the country’s electoral authorities of trying to suppress voter turnout at presidential elections on Monday, raising fears of a disputed outcome to the historic poll.

Millions of Zimbabweans turned out to vote in the country’s first presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections since dictator Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup in November.

The outcome will decide whether Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old former ally of Mr Mugabe, or Nelson Chamisa, a 40-year-old lawyer and preacher leading the opposition MDC alliance, will be the country’s next president.

The only poll released in the run up to the vote showed Mr Mnangagwa leading Mr Chamisa by just 3 per cent, and the results, which must be announced by Saturday, are expected to be tight.
Emmerson Mnangagwa cast his ballot in Kwekwe, 100 miles southwest of Harare
Emmerson Mnangagwa cast his ballot in Kwekwe, 100 miles southwest of Harare Credit: Xinhua / Barcroft Images

Mr Chamisa, who has repeatedly accused the country’s electoral authorities of colluding with Mr Mnangagwa and his Zanu-PF Party, claimed queues at some polling stations in Harare on Monday were a deliberate attempt to reduce turnout in traditional strongholds of the opposition MDC Alliance.

“There seems to be a deliberate attempt to suppress and frustrate the Urban vote,” Mr Chamisa wrote on Twitter.

“Good turn out but the people’s will being negated & undetermined due to these deliberate & unnecessary delays.”

There were queues of up to one hour at Harare polling stations visited by the Telegraph.

Polling stations are technically obliged to remain open until all those still in line at 7PM, when polling closes, have voted.

EU chief observer Elmar Brok said many voters left voting queues in frustration at long delays but that it was as yet unclear whether those delays were deliberate or down to poor management.

“In some cases it (voting) works very smoothly but in others we see that it is totally disorganized and that people become angry, people leave,” Mr Brok told reporters in Harare.
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Voting generally went smoothly and there was no violence reported.

However, several voters said that memories of 2008, when Mr Mugabe unleashed thugs to terrorise MDC activists and supporters, still loomed large.

“I’m glad we voted. We really badly need change,” said a 61-year-old man who cast his ballot in the Harare suburb of Newlands.

“But I don’t want to give you my name or say who I voted for because we don’t know what the repercussions will be afterwards. It would be easy to track me down.”

Zanu-PF have ruled Zimbabwe for 38 years and Mr Mnangagwa’s near total dominance in the media makes him the front runner in the election.

He has sought to attract former opposition voters by publicly breaking with Mr Mugabe and promising a “New Dispensation” of democratic and economic reforms.
Nelson Chamisa voted at the 2 Primary High School in Kuwadzana, Harare
Nelson Chamisa voted at the 2 Primary High School in Kuwadzana, Harare Credit: Wilfred Kajese/Anadolu Agency

However, Mr Chamisa has made significant inroads into former Zanu PF strongholds in rural areas and has attracted large crowds at his rallies.

He has said he is certain of victory and that any other outcome could only be the result of vote-rigging by Zanu-PF.

“I am moderately bullish,” said Terence Mukupe, the Zanu-PF candidate for the constituency of Harare East, before casting his vote.

“The MDC vote is split, and the business community, the white community, and the middle classes who used to vote for the opposition have largely switched to ED,” he said, using Mr Mnangagwa’s initials.

But as polls closed on Monday evening there were signs that Mr Chamisa had made inroads into Zanu-PF’s own traditional strongholds.

One 71-year-old grandmother from a village 40 miles north of Harare said she did not vote for Zanu-PF for the first time because she said she now felt “safe” to support the opposition.

“We….my friends from church like sweet things, and so some of us grandmothers voted for Chamisa,” she laughed.

The election has been dominated by the legacy of Mr Mugabe, with both candidates promising a break with the stagnation and political violence of his rule.

Beyonce given ‘unprecedented’ control over Vogue cover shoot

Beyonce has reportedly hired the first ever black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue after being given unprecedented control over its September issue.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, has handed the singer songwriter full control over the cover shoot as well as any photographs of her published inside the magazine and their captions, according to reports.

Beyonce has used the opportunity to hire Tyler Mitchell, the first black photographer to shoot a cover in the publication’s 126-year history, the Huffington Post reported.

Wintour usually hires highly experienced fashion photographers and is not likely to have selected the 23-year-old fledgling photographer herself, according to sources.
The Queen sits next to Anna Wintour during London Fashion week
The Queen sits next to Anna Wintour during London Fashion week Credit: AP

It is a sign of the award-winning musician’s influence – Wintour, who was mythologised in the 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada, is notorious for exerting full editorial control over the publication.

The fashion Bible’s cover subjects are usually given little to no input over their photographs, which they are sent around a week before it hits the news stand.
Beyonce and her husband Jay Z
Beyonce and her husband Jay Z Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris /Getty

Along with having a say over the magazine’s cover, Beyonce’s contract also states that she is to select the photos of her inside the magazine.

She is also writing her own captions in long form to accompany them, according to the Huffington Post.

The move comes amid speculation it will be Wintour’s last September issue at the helm of the fashion magazine – a claim repeatedly denied by its parent company Condé Nast.

Beyonce’s last cover with Vogue in 2015, which was shot by Mario Testino, also caused a stir because the singer did not grant the magazine an accompanying interview.

North Korea renews work at long-range missile factory, US intelligence officials say

US spy satellites have detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, a senior US official said on Monday, in the midst of talks to compel Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms.

Photos and infrared imaging indicate vehicles moving in and out of the facility at Sanumdong, but do not show how advanced any missile construction might be, the official told Reuters.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles at the large research facility on the outskirts of Pyongyang, citing unidentified officials familiar with intelligence reporting.

According to the US official who spoke to Reuters, one photo showed a truck and covered trailer similar to those the North has used to move its ICBMs. Since the trailer was covered, it was not possible to know what, if anything, it was carrying.

The White House said it did not comment on intelligence.

The evidence obtained this month is the latest to suggest ongoing activity in North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities despite talks with the United States and a June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump declared soon afterward that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work toward denuclearisation, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about that and subsequent talks have not gone smoothly.

It was not the first time US intelligence clashed with the president’s optimism.

In late June, US officials told US media outlets that intelligence agencies believed North Korea had increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons and that it did not intend to fully give up its nuclear arsenal.

The evidence obtained this month is the latest to suggest ongoing activity in North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities despite talks with the United States and a June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump declared soon afterward that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work toward denuclearisation, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about that and subsequent talks have not gone smoothly.

It was not the first time US intelligence clashed with the president’s optimism.

In late June, US officials told US media outlets that intelligence agencies believed North Korea had increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons and that it did not intend to fully give up its nuclear arsenal.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs despite its pledge to denuclearise. But he insisted the Trump administration was still making progress in its talks with Pyongyang.

Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator and founder of 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project, said it was unrealistic to expect North Korea to stop its programmes “until the ink is dry on an agreement.”

That was the case with US negotiations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and more recently with Iran, “which continued to build more centrifuges capable of producing nuclear material even as it negotiated with the United States to limit those capabilities,” Wit said.
New satellite images show a red truck similar to previous vehicles used to help develop long range missiles
New satellite images show a red truck in a courtyard similar to previous vehicles used to help develop long range missiles

The Sanumdong factory produced two Hwasong-15 ICBMs, North Korea’s longest-range missiles, but the US official noted that Pyongyang still had not tested a reliable re-entry vehicle capable of surviving a high-velocity trip through the Earth’s atmosphere and delivering a nuclear warhead.

It is possible, the official said, that any new missiles the North is building may be for further testing of such vehicles and of more accurate guidance systems.

“They seem to have figured out the engines, but not all the higher-tech stuff, and that might be what this is about,” the official said.

“What’s more, a liquid-fuelled ICBM doesn’t pose nearly the threat that a solid-fuelled one would because they take so long to fuel, and that’s something we almost certainly could see in time to abort a launch, given our assets in the vicinity.”
North Korean soldiers are seen at the border village of Panmunjom during a ceremony to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement last week
North Korean soldiers are seen at the border village of Panmunjom during a ceremony to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement last week Credit: Getty

The reports come as generals from the rival Koreas met at their shared border for talks meant to ease a decades-long military standoff, Seoul officials said.

During the April 27 summit, the leaders of the Koreas agreed to disarm a jointly controlled area at Panmunjom, work to prevent accidental clashes along their disputed western sea boundary and halt all hostile acts. Since then, the Koreas dismantled their frontline propaganda loudspeakers, restored a military hotline and held their first general-level talks since 2007.

The meeting comes days after North Korea returned the reported remains of US war dead, the most recent sign of blossoming diplomacy after last year’s threats of war.

The general-level officers were discussing ways to implement April’s inter-Korean summit agreements on non-nuclear military issues, but no huge announcement was expected from the talks at the border village of Panmunjom. Some experts say South Korea can’t agree on any drastic measures to reduce animosity unless the North takes serious nuclear disarmament steps.

Mount Fuji eruption fears prompt Japan to draw up disaster plans

The Japanese government is to set up a disaster management task force after a new report warned that an eruption of Mount Fuji could blanket Tokyo with more than 3 feet of volcanic ash, bringing the city to a standstill.

Japan has suffered a number of major natural disasters already this year, with more than 100 people killed or missing after a series of typhoons caused extensive flooding and landslides in central parts of the country. The government has been criticised for failing to have disaster management plans in place and is acting more swiftly in response to this latest report.

According to a simulation conducted by scientists at the Meteorological Research Institute, an eruption of Mount Fuji could deposit ash to a depth of more than 1 meter on the prefectures surrounding the iconic mountain and in western parts of Tokyo, just 80 miles to the east.

The scientists studied 1,096 possible patterns of ash dispersion in the event of an eruption of the 12,388-foot peak, taking into account the scale of the eruption, wind directions and air pressure, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

Other simulations suggest that around 4 inches of ash would coat the city, although experts caution even that would be sufficient to cause serious disruptions throughout the metropolitan district.

A report issued in April by the Cabinet Office warned that 4 inches of ash would render many roads impassable, shut down railway networks, halt operations of stations, clog drains and any exposed machinery, such as air conditioning units, and effectively bring a city of 9 million people to a standstill. Some 43 million people live in areas that would be affected by any major disaster, with some estimates suggesting that as many as 750,000 people would have to be evacuated from their homes if an eruption was accompanied by lava flows.
Japan’s highest mountain Mount Fuji is seen behind the skyline of the Shinjuku area of Tokyo at sunset
Japan’s highest mountain Mount Fuji is seen behind the skyline of the Shinjuku area of Tokyo at sunset Credit: AFP

Japan’s tallest mountain last erupted in 1708 and experts say there is at present no indication of a possible eruption, although others have warned that a shift in the tectonic plates caused by the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck north-east Japan in March 2011 has increased the likelihood of an eruption.

Masaki Kimura, a retired volcano expert at Ryukyu University, cautioned as far back as 2013 that pressure had been building for some time in the magma chamber beneath the volcano and had reached 1.6 megapascals, which was higher than shortly before the 1708 eruption.

Navy rescued Manchester bomber Salman Abedi from war-torn Libya three years before deadly terror attack

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Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was rescued by the Navy from the fighting in Libya before flying back to Britain three years ahead of his deadly attack, it has emerged.

The rescue of Abedi – who was known to the security services at the time of his trip to the war-torn country – enabled him to catch a flight home to the UK in August 2014, according to reports.

Nearly three years later he went on to carry out the deadliest terror attacks for more than a decade when he set off a bomb at the Manchester Arena in May, that killed 22 people.

By the time of the bombing, security services were no longer monitoring him.

The revelation, reported in the Daily Mail, is likely to infuriate the families who lost loved ones in the terror attack last year, and raises further fears over possible intelligence mistakes.

Abedi, then aged 19, was rescued from the Libyan coast by HMS Enterprise, according to the report, before being taken to Malta for his flight home.

His younger brother Hashem, who is in jail in Tripoli facing trial over the attack, was also rescued by HMS Enterprise. It’s understood they were part of a group of 100 British citizens rescued.

A Whitehall source told the Mail: “For this man to have committed such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.” The paper also quoted sources in London and family friends in Libya saying Salman Abedi was on HMS Enterprise.

The brothers regularly travelled between their home in Manchester and Libya as their parents, Ramadan and Samia, were both living in Libya.
HMS Enterprise in Libya in 2014. The ship was diverted to rescue British nationals stranded in the war-torn country
HMS Enterprise in Libya in 2014. The ship was diverted to rescue British nationals stranded in the war-torn country Credit: MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP

Back in 2014, the country was in the grip of civil war. HMS Enterprise, a survey ship, was diverted from routine operations in the Mediterranean to head to Tripoli to pick up Britons after the ambassador closed down operations in the country.

Clashes and fighting around the capital were killing dozens of people every night, at a time when the Foreign Office was advising against all travel to Libya. Airlines had also begun cancelling flights, while Michael Aron, the then British ambassador to Libya, was overseeing some of the evacuations.

The brothers were on holiday there at the time, and the Royal Navy was tasked with picking them up, along with other British nationals, on a list provided to sailors.

A review of his deadly attack at the Ariana Grande concert by David Anderson QC found the bombing could have been averted “had the cards fallen differently.” It emerged MI5 had planned to discuss the threat posed by him just nine days after he launched his attack, after he was highlighted for discussion.
It was one of four terrorist attacks to strike Britain last year, and the review said MI5 had on two separate occasions received intelligence on Abedi “whose significance was not fully appreciated at the time”.

It’s understood Abedi’s father Ramadan had travelled back to Libya in time for the 2011 revolution, allegedly fighting against the Gaddafi regime with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. It is not certain whether the two brothers were with their father at the time of the revolution or instead in neighbouring Tunisia.

Senior security sources stressed told the paper they did not believe Abedi had been radicalised at the time of the Royal Navy rescue.

Salman, who was on a gap year from Manchester College at the time, went on to study business management at Salford University, before dropping out. He later became brainwashed after watching bomb-making videos on Google-owned YouTube and terror material on other internet sites, they believe.
A victim of Abedi’s attack in Manchester
A victim of Abedi’s attack in Manchester Credit: Joel Goodman/London News Pictures Ltd

“He was a British citizen so it was our job to safeguard him. Salman was one of many people in that mix and we absolutely had to evacuate him.

“He was not a threat at the time and it was in a very different context,” one source told the Mail. However, Mr Anderson’s report into the Manchester Arena attack found he had been first investigated in January 2014 – seven months before the rescue, when he was seen acting suspiciously with a “subject of interest” by police.

He then came to the attention of the authorities again in October 2015 because of his supposed contact with an Islamic State figure in Libya, but his file was closed once more.

A family friend was reportedly adamant that Abedi was there for innocent purposes, telling the paper: ‘Salman and Hashem were not involved in fighting at all and they had spent a lot of time with their mother in Tunisia.”

The rescue operation saw UK citizens taken in small boats from the port of Tripoli to HMS Enterprise.

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At the time of the rescue in 2014, the MoD released a statement from HMS Enterprise’s commanding officer, Cdr Mark Varta, saying: “This is a period of uncertainty for UK citizens based in Libya but we have been proud to play our part in enabling their move to safety.”

The then defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, also said: “I thank the crew of HMS Enterprise for their support and professionalism in carrying out this important task.”

The 90-metre-long survey ship, normally based in Plymouth, had been eight weeks into an 18-month mission carrying out surveys in the area.

A Government spokesman said: “During the deteriorating security situation in Libya in 2014, Border Force officials were deployed to assist with the evacuation of British nationals and their dependents.”

Opponent ‘slashes village head’s stomach with motor saw’

A machine operator, Samson Tueei, was yesterday arraigned at an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court for allegedly slashing the stomach of a Baale with a motor saw.

Tueei, 60, of Sore Community in Takwa Bay, Lagos, is facing a two-count charge of assault and infliction of bodily harm.

Prosecuting Sergeant Godspower Ehizoba alleged that the defendant committed the offence at about 7:45pm on July 19 at Sore Community.

He said the incident occurred during a dispute between Tueei and Gani Thomas, over who should be Baale. The stool was given to Thomas.

“The defendant assaulted the Baale by cutting his stomach with a motor saw,” the prosecutor said.

According to him, the offence contravened Sections 170(2) and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Tueei pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate T.A. Idowu granted him N200,000 bail, with two sureties in the like sum.

She adjourned till October 11.

Credit: The Nation Newspaper

President Buhari ‘not bothered’ about defections in APC

President Muhammadu Buhari has he is not bothered about the defections in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The President spoke on Sunday at a session with the Nigerian community in Togo at the Nigerian Embassy, Lome, Togo.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, who in a statement in Abuja yesterday, quoted the President as saying that most Nigerians appreciated the performance of his administration.

President Buhari said: “I am not bothered about the defections. Ordinary Nigerians have developed confidence in us and are defending us.

“I assure you, majority of Nigerians back home are appreciative of our efforts.”

Delighted at seeing the Nigerians who had travelled from the five regions of Togo to welcome him in Lome, President Buhari said he was pleased to hear them commend his administration.

He assured them that his administration had remained steadfast in keeping to its three campaign promises of providing security, improving the economy and fighting corruption.

The President noted that if past governments had utilised even 25 per cent of the huge oil revenue available to them, Nigerians would not be complaining today.

He cited the $16 billion reportedly spent on electricity and yet Nigerians could not see the power.

He, however, restated his administration’s commitment to providing critical infrastructure and loans to farmers – a step that has led to cutting rice importation by more than 90 per cent.

President Buhari said all recovered illegally acquired assets would be sold and the money paid into the treasury in the administration’s renewed anti-graft campaign.

On security, he said: “I assure you that we are making progress in security as some displaced farmers are returning to their farms.

“We will continue to work very hard for our dear country.”

Nigerian Ambassador to Togo Joseph Olusola Iji, said the close to two million Nigerians in Togo were law-abiding and peaceful.

He, however, drew the President’s attention to the inability of the Nigerian Mission in Lome to issue Nigerian passports, making applicants to go to Ghana or Benin Republic.

Representatives of top bank executives, who spoke at the event, praised the economic policies of the Federal Government, especially the Ease of Doing Business, agricultural revolution and anti-corruption campaign,

According to the presidential aide, other leaders of the Nigerian community at the event also lauded the discipline, transparency and accountability that the current administration has introduced into governance.

“They also called for government assistance towards the completion of community’s on-going school building project in order to overcome the lack of good English schools in that country,’’ he said.

The APC Togo Chapter told President Buhari not to be worried about the defections from the party, assuring him of its support in the 2019 presidential election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting with the Nigerian community was the President’s first official engagement on arrival in Lome ahead of the Joint ECOWAS/Economic Community of Central African States Summit,

President Buhari will also be participating in the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, among others.

12 lawmakers seek to impeach Ortom: how, what, why?

The political situation in Benue State took a new twist yesterday, with 12 members of the 30-member House of Assembly endorsing a move to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom.

Speaker Terkimbi Ikyange, who was last week ‘removed‘ by 19 members for alleged high handedness, yesterday told reporters in Makurdi, the state capital, that the House would serve Ortom an the impeachment notice “within seven days”.

Ikyange had rejected his removal, which he described as “an act of illegality”.

Although Justice Ada Onum had granted an injunction restraining Ikyange , James Okefe and Benjamin Adanyi from parading themselves as Speaker ,deputy speaker and leader, . in a ruling on an ex parte motion brought by factional Speaker Hon.Titus Uba, Ikyange said he was not put on notice before the purported order was granted .

“ I was not served and the entire House was not aware that we have been dragged to court. Besides, I’m with the real mace and we sat at the main chamber while the other lawmakers are sitting in Government House,” said Ikyange

He had argued that his removal did not follow due process because the 19 lawmakers met while the House was on recess.

Ikyange, who called out the remaining lawmakers for a plenary, said the lawmakers had reolved to impeach the governor for alleged gross financial misconduct.

He accused the governor of misappropriating N54 billion from the state’s coffers.

Giving a breakdown of the funds allegedly misappropriated, Ikyange said N22 billion was embezzled from the security vote while N32 billion was from local government funds.

He also claimed that the lawmakers were not happy over the non-payment of workers’ salaries.

NAN, however, reports that the identity of the members who sat with Ikyange was not disclosed to reporters who were barred from accessing the Assembly complex.

The other group of legislators, who removed Ikyange last week, described the impeachment notice as “illegal”.

The lawmakers, who were forced to use the Old Banquet Hall, Makurdi, after being denied access to the Assembly complex, said the members did not form the required quorum to sit and deliberate on the said impeachment.

In his motion dismissing the impeachment motion, Majority Leader Avine Agbum said the presiding officer at the session (Ikyange) was the removed Speaker who had been suspended for six months.

He also moved for the suspension of all members at the session where the said impeachment notice was initiated.

Ikyange insisted that what he described as the governor’s financial recklessness was responsible for non-payment of civil servants for seven months. Local government workers are owed 11 months and pensioners 14 months .

Ortom dismissed the allegations of fraud and non – performance as blatant lies .

The governor, who said he had worked with the Speaker for three years, wondered why he did not raise the issues until his defection to the PDP.

“ The only crime against me is that I enacted anti – open grazing prohibition law. which is the product of the people of Benue State “.

The governor pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to call Inspector – General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to order..

He said eight members of the House could not over rule 22 members

“All that they are trying to do is to change the narratives against me and demobilise me,” Ortom said.

Diddy links up with Wizkid, wants to visit Nigeria

AMERICAN rapper, record producer and entrepreneur Sean Combs aka Diddy has expressed his desire to come ‘back home’ after meeting Nigerian superstar Ayobami Balogun a.k.a Wizkid.

Diddy is worth $825 million and held the number one spot as Forbes’s Richest Hip-Hop Act for seven consecutive years before being toppled by Jay-Z in February.

Diddy, who is best known for his hit song ‘Bad Boy For Life’, shared a video on his Instagram page @diddy on Friday following Wizkid’s visit to his home.

He said, “Hit me with some love… Some positive vibrations from the motherland.

“Be clear… Be clear Y’all know I’m coming back home.

“I’m coming back while I’m looking young and pretty too, I ain’t gonna wait too long. I’m coming back while I look young and pretty,” Diddy said.

Wizkid, who is currently on an international social tour, has been spotted with Drake in London.

On his visit to the United States, he has also been seen in the company of superstars like DJ Khaled, producer Metro Boomin and singer Fergie.

In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over one million followers on Twitter.

He went on to become the first Afro-beat artiste to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records, for his contribution to Drake’s hit song ‘One Dance’.

The 28-year- old recently sold out the O2 hall in London; and is set to release a much-anticipated album ‘Made In Lagos’ later in 2018.

Leah Sharibu’s freedom: Anglican women urge Nigerians to pray

Nigerians have been charged to pray for Leah Sharibu, one of the girls abducted from Dapchi Secondary School, Yobe State, and yet to be released.

This formed part of the submission at the 28th diocesan women’s conference of the Diocese of Yewa, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), which held from July 19 to July 22 , 2018. at Reverend Fry Memorial Church, Isaga-Orile, Ogun State, with the theme: A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey.

A total of 957 women, alongside more than 40 members of the clergy attended the conference, which also featured Holy Communion service, Bible study, lectures, seminar, Bible quiz, among other activities.

ALSO READ: Mass defection looms in Osun APC, PDP

In a statement by the President, Women and Girls’ Organisation of Yewa Anglican Diocese, Mrs Grace Oluwarohunbi, and the communiqué group, which comprised of Mrs Fatima Adewole; Mrs Godswill Otufowora, and Mrs Helen Odukoya, the women urged the Federal Government to step up efforts to ensure Leah’s release.

Resource persons and other dignitaries who attended the conference included: retired Bishop of Ile-Oluji and his wife, Bishop and Mrs S.A. Adekunle; Oba Joseph Oladele Tella and his wife, Mrs Aina Tella; wife of the Rector of Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta, Mrs Elizabeth Igenoza; Venerable Sola Ladipo Ajayi (host archdeacon); Ven. Abraham Ibikunle (women chaplain); Ven. Emmanuel Adetayo Adegbuyi (Bible study leader); Mrs Grace Adekoya and Dr (Mrs) Bimbola Oludipe as guest speakers.

Teenage Palestinian who slapped Israeli soldier freed from prison

PALESTINIAN teenager Ahed Tamimi has been freed from an Israeli prison after serving an eight-month prison sentence for slapping a soldier, according to a spokesman for Israel’s Prison Authority.

Tamimi’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, was also released.

Early Sunday morning, the two were taken from the HaSharon prison in central Israel to a West Bank border crossing, then on to their village of Nabi Saleh and released.

The young activist received a hero’s welcome upon returning home.

Video from Nabi Saleh showed dozens of her supporters waved Palestinian flags and cheered for Tamimi, who turned 17 in prison. As she walked through the crowd, many lined up to hug the teenager.

Flanked by her father and mother, Tamimi gave a short statement outside a home in her village, saying, “From our home, the resistance is continuing until the end of the occupation. I thank everyone who supported me during my arrest.”

Tamimi then left with her family to Ramallah, where she paid her respects at the grave of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a family spokeswoman said.

While in Ramallah, she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Abbas praised Tamimi, describing her as “a model of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, independence and statehood,” according to Wafa. Abbas also stressed the need for nonviolent resistance as an “ideal and vital weapon in facing the repression of the Israeli occupation.”

Following the visit, she returned to Nabi Saleh to address the media.

In a statement sent via text message to CNN, Tamimi’s lawyer, Gabi Lasky, an Israeli attorney who often represents Palestinian defendants, said: “After 8 months, it’s clear that Ahed’s arrest and punishment had more to do with politics rather than legal issues. Ahed’s trial heightened the folly of the occupation. Arrests of minors in the military court are not the right tool to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I hope our leaders will be courageous enough to reach an agreement and free us all from the chains of occupation.”

Tamimi was arrested on December 19 after a video showed her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier in Nabi Saleh. The video, shot by members of her family during weekly protests, shows the soldier pushing her away.

The incident, which happened on December 15, occurred shortly after a soldier gravely wounded her 15-year-old cousin nearby by shooting him in the head with a rubber bullet.

Her mother was arrested one day later on suspicion of incitement when she went to inquire about her daughter in jail.

At the time, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “Whoever goes wild during the day, will be arrested at night. Not only the girls and the parents but others around will not escape punishment.” Israeli officials have not commented since her release.

Ekiti NLC: we’ll not accept payment of one salary per month from state govt

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ekiti State has said that workers in the state would henceforth reject the payment of one month salary per month from the state government.

NLC, in a statement on Sunday, said the state governor, Ayodele Fayose must be prepared to pay two-month salaries and pension arrears per month till the expiration of his tenure in October.

NLC, in the statement by its Chairman in Ekiti State, Mr Ade Adesanmi, added that workers were beginning to be hopeless about the possibility of Governor Fayose, whose tenure is gradually winding up to be able to defray backlog of salaries and pension as well as gratuities owed the state workers.

It said it was becoming clearer by the day that the government was not committed to the payment as earlier promised with the way things are going.

This decision was reached at the NLC’s State Executive Council Meeting held in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, which was made available to newsmen in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Ade Adesanmi in Ado Ekiti on Sunday.

Adesanmi said the labour union was finding it extremely difficult to convince the workers that the present government would adhere strictly to its promise to pay up before the Governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi takes over on October 16, 2018.

The union demanded that the government should look for alternative way to offset outstanding salaries, pension and gratuities before the situation goes out of hands by paying at least two salaries per month commencing from July.

Adesanmi pleaded with stakeholders not to read any political moves to this action, assuring that workers in the State remain apolitical and won’t shy away from ensuring that the welfare of members is treated with priority.

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He said: “The Ekiti State government appeared not to be ready to fulfil its pledge of defraying the long-standing gratuity, pension, salaries and deductions for workers before the end of the tenure of this present government.

“That the situation about the outstanding salaries is even worse with the local government workers and primary school teachers in the state.

“That the situation has reached an unbearable level with workers of Ekiti State as thereby put the name and integrity of the labour leaders at stake, hence they could not stand and fold their arms.

“With just two months left behind for this government to finish its tenure, workers of Ekiti State are now hopeless about the payment of the outstanding of salaries, pension, gratuity and deductions owed by the state government more so that there are no convincing strategies in place to fulfill the promise that this administration will not leave as a debtor.

“Sequel to this, leaders are now in a difficult position to convince workers of the state on the need to endure further.

“We are hereby saying that failure to address this pitiable and emphatic situation of workers in Ekiti State, the leadership of labour in the State may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the State,” he added.

Ahmed Musa and wife welcome a new baby boy

Super Eagles’ and Leicester City speedster Ahmed Musa took to his Instagram page late on Thursday evening to announce the arrival of a new baby into his family, AOIFootball.com reports.

Already with a son and daughter with his former wife, the former CSKA Moscow forward who married his new wife Juliet Elue in July 2017 welcomed the addition of his new son to the family.

“I would like to announce to you all that moments ago Allah blessed me with a beautiful baby boy! Words cannot describe this feeling!?? ?? ??” he posted.

Meanwhile, Musa has applauded fans despite losing the 2018 World Cup best goal award to France defender Benjamin Pavard.

The Leicester City forward’s second goal for Nigeria in their 2-0 victory over Iceland was shortlisted along 17 others for the individual prize. And on Wednesday, FIFA announced Pavard’s stunner against Argentina as the best in the tournament with Musa’s effort settling for the eighth spot.

The former VVV Venlo man then took to the social media to appreciate his supporters for voting for him.

“I just want to thank you all for voting. This goal is bigger than me it has shown the world that Nigeria has quality on the world stage

Zimbabwe’s gold rush: boom in illegal mining draws hundreds of thousands to Africa’s Klondike

Still glistening in the residue of toxic mercury solution, the metallic flake looks more like a silvery fish scale than a precious metal.

But for Emmanuel Sithole, the toe-nail sized scrap of gold in the palm of his hand is a modest contribution to his monthly income.

“That’s about $15 right there. Not much – it’s always a matter of luck, but you should be able to get that from a shovel full of earth,” he explains.

Weary, covered in dust, and in his mid-twenties, Mr Sithole is a typical “makorokoza” – one of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans driven by a catastrophic economic crisis to literally scraping a living out of the country’s dark ochre landscape.

Men suffer ‘post-sex blues’ just like women, study finds

It has long been assumed that men like to roll over and fall into a contented sleep after sex while women can sometimes feel tearful, irritable and in need of a cuddle.

But a new study suggests that men can feel just as melancholic and anxious after lovemaking.

The phenomenon is known as Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD), or the ‘post-sex blues’ which lasts between five minutes and two hours, and until now was thought to only affect women.

However, when researchers from the University of Queensland surveyed more than 1,200 men from Britain, Australia, the US, Russia and New Zealand, they found that 41 per cent had experienced the condition at some time in their lives, just five per cent less than women….