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Source: bakusradio.com

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03/May/2016

Spared by the hitmen with principles

One year ago a group of gunmen in Burundi was hired to kill a woman visiting from Australia. But the hit did not go as planned, leaving her with a chance to turn the tables on the man who wanted her dead.

"I felt like somebody who had risen again," says Noela Rukundo.

She was supposed to be dead. The hired killers had been paid. They had even explained how they would dispose of the body.

But now, waiting outside her house for the last of the mourners to leave, she was ready to face down the man who had put out a contract for her murder.

"When I get out of the car, he saw me straight away. He put his hands on his head and said, 'Is it my eyes? Is it a ghost?'"

"Surprise! I'm still alive!" she replied.

Noela's ordeal began five days earlier, and 7,500 miles away in her native Burundi. She had returned to Africa from her home in Melbourne, Australia, to attend her stepmother's funeral.

"I had lost the last person who I call 'mother'," she says. "It was very painful. I was so stressed."

By early evening Noela had retreated to her hotel room. As she lay dozing in the stifling city heat of Bujumbura, her phone rang. It was a call from Australia - from Balenga Kalala, her husband and father to her three youngest children.

"He says he'd been trying to get me for the whole day," Noela says. "I said I was going to bed. He told me, 'To bed? Why are you sleeping so early?'

"I say, 'I'm not feeling happy'. And he asks me, 'How's the weather? Is it very, very hot?' He told me to go outside for fresh air."

Noela took his advice.

"I didn't think anything. I just thought that he cared about me, that he was worried about me."

A wedding photo (Balenga Kalala and Noela Rukundo)

But moments after stepping outside the hotel compound, Noela found herself in danger.

"I opened the gate and I saw a man coming towards me. Then he pointed the gun on me.

"He just told me, 'Don't scream. If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They're going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead.'

"So, I did exactly what he told me."

The gunman motioned Noela towards a waiting car.

"I was sitting between two men. One had a small gun, one had a long gun. And the men say to the driver, 'Pass us a scarf.' Then they cover my face.

"After that, I didn't say anything. They just said to the driver, 'Let's go.'

"I was taken somewhere, 30 to 40 minutes, then I hear the car stop."

Noela was pushed inside a building and tied to a chair.

"One of the kidnappers told his friend, 'Go call the boss.' I can hear doors open but I didn't know if their boss was in a room or if he came from outside.

"They ask me, 'What did you do to this man? Why has this man asked us to kill you?' And then I tell them, 'Which man? Because I don't have any problem with anybody.' They say, 'Your husband!' I say, 'My husband can't kill me, you are lying!' And then they slap me.

"After that the boss says, 'You are very stupid, you are fool. Let me call who has paid us to kill you.'"

The gang's leader made the call.

"We already have her," he triumphantly told his paymaster.

The phone was put on loudspeaker for Noela to hear the reply.

Her husband's voice said: "Kill her."

Just hours earlier, the same voice had consoled her over the death of her stepmother and urged her to take fresh air outside the hotel. Now her husband Balenga Kalala had condemned her to death.

"I heard his voice. I heard him. I felt like my head was going to blow up.

"Then they described for him where they were going to chuck the body."

At that, Noela says she passed out.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Balenga Kalala had arrived in Australia in 2004 as a refugee, after fleeing a rebel army that had rampaged through his village, killing his wife and young son.

Settling in Melbourne, he soon found steady employment, first in a seafood processing factory and then in a warehouse as a forklift operator.

"He could already speak English," recalls Noela, who also arrived in Australia in 2004. "My social worker was his social worker, and they used him to translate Swahili."

The two fell in love. They set up home in the Kings Park suburb of the city. Noela had five children from a previous relationship and went on to have three more with Kalala.

"I knew he was a violent man," admits Noela. "But I didn't believe he can kill me. I loved this man with all my heart!

"I give him, beautiful and handsome, two boys and one girl. So I don't know why he choose to kill me."


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As the gang's leader ended the call to Kalala, Noela was coming round.

"I said to myself, I was already dead. Nothing I can do can save me.

"But he looks at me and then he says, 'We're not going to kill you. We don't kill women and children.'

"He told me I'd been stupid because my husband paid them the deposit in November. And when I went to Africa it was January. He asked me, 'How stupid can you be, from November, you can't see that something is wrong?'"

He might have been a hit-man with principles, but the gang's leader still took the opportunity to extort more money from Kalala. He called him back and informed him that the fee for the murder had increased. He wanted a further 3,400 Australian dollars (£1,700) to finish the job.

Back at the hotel, Noela's brother was getting worried about her disappearance. He called Kalala in Australia to ask for $545 to pay the police to open an investigation - Kalala feigned concern and duly wired the money.

After two days in captivity, Noela was freed.

"'We give you 80 hours to leave this country,'" Noela says the gang told her. "'Your husband is serious. Maybe we can spare your life, but other people, they're not going to do the same thing. If God helps you, you'll get to Australia.'"

Before leaving Noela by the side of a road, the gang handed her the evidence they hoped would incriminate Kalala - a memory card containing recorded phone conversations of him discussing the murder and receipts for the Western Union money transfers.

We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened," the gang told Noela as they parted. "You must learn something: you people get a chance to go overseas for a better life. But the money you are earning, the money the government gives to you, you use it for killing each other!"

Noela immediately began planning her return to Australia. She called the pastor of her church in Melbourne, Dassano Harruno Nantogmah, and requested his help.

"'It was in the middle of the night. I says, 'It's me, I'm still alive, don't tell anybody.' He says, 'Noela, I don't believe it. Balenga can't kill someone!' And I said, 'Pastor, believe me!'"

Three days later, on the evening of 22 February 2015, Noela was back in Melbourne.

By now, Kalala had informed the community that his wife had died in a tragic accident. He had spent the day hosting a steady stream of well-wishers, many of whom donated money.

"It was around 7.30pm," Noela says. "He was in front of the house. People had been inside mourning with him and he was escorting a group of them into a car."

It was as they drove away that Noela sprang her surprise.

"I was stood just looking at him. He was scared, he didn't believe it. Then he starts walking towards me, slowly, like he was walking on broken glass.

"He kept talking to himself and when he reached me, he touched me on the shoulder. He jumped.

"He did it again. He jumped. Then he said, 'Noela, is it you?'… Then he start screaming, 'I'm sorry for everything.'"

Noela called the police who ordered Kalala off the premises and later obtained a court order against him. Days later, the police instructed Noela to call Kalala. Kalala made a full confession to his wife, captured on tape, begging for her forgiveness and revealing why he had ordered the murder.

"He say he wanted to kill me because he was jealous," says Noela. "He think that I wanted to leave him for another man."

She rejects the accusation.

In a police interview, Kalala denied any involvement in the plot. "The pretence," wrote the judge at his trial in December, "lasted for hours." But when confronted with the recording of his telephone conversation with Noela and the evidence she brought back from Burundi he started to cry.

Kalala was still unable to offer any explanation for his actions, suggesting only that "sometimes [the] devil can come into someone to do something but after they do it, they start thinking, 'Why I did that thing?'"

On 11 December last year, in court in Melbourne, after pleading guilty to incitement to murder, Kalala was sentenced to nine years in prison.

"His voice always comes in the night - 'Kill her, kill her,'" says Noela of the nightmares that now plague her. "Every night, I see what was happening in those two days with the kidnappers."

Ostracised by many in Melbourne's African community, some of whom blame her for Kalala's conviction, Noela sees a difficult future for her and her eight children.

"But I will stand up like a strong woman," she says.

"My situation, my past life? That is gone. I'm starting a new life now."

Source: bbc.com

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05/Feb/2016

Black Scribes by Paul Koomson

Oh, how I wish

The Bible was written by a Black man,

An African or some coloured people

Then they would have been divinely inspired

To be the heralds of the Creator's will,

Our creator's grand plan, His ways,

The divine rules of the ultimate maker

Who has always been

Blacks would have been the scribes

And the Dark Continent the cradle

Of improved Judaism

Or maybe it was modernised

What then would the world's response have been

Could the dark arena have emitted light

To all the universe

Wonder is the response

Perhaps the heathens would have been Israelites

No! Forget not,

That time is too remote

Well, they were god-open but God-remote

Africa knew nothing and could not document

What about the Pharaoh's land?

Leave that one

What if Africa is freed of the double bind

From the rulers of our rulers,

From the monster rulers of the states,

The auto-images of the fiend.

 

The Bible may have been written by Africans.

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11/Dec/2015

Little Things Musicians in Ghana Don’t Do Yet Expect a Break Through

Music has never been for fun only. That’s why we call it ‘Music Business’ and that is one good reason I don’t render services for musicians for free. It is business and its has rules!

In Music Business, commercial success is the ultimate. Every musician in Ghana definitely wants a break through. It could be a single record or an album. There are few things I know musicians in Ghana are aware of but deliberately relegate to the background and still expect to be talk of the town. How you package yourself will determine how long you will be relevant in the music industry.

I have paid attention to some of our musicians speak on both radio and television and it feels terrible. Most of them find it difficult to express themselves. Expressing one’s self is a big deal. If you know how to express yourself publicly, you can communicate well even with gestures. Some musicians are just refusing to learn the English language and those who mostly grant interviews in any of the local languages also face a lot of problems. The truth is that English is the official language of Ghana and it is expedient that any inhabitant or citizen of Ghana learns it to enable them communicate with ease.

The next point is that musicians in Ghana have no respect for those who promote their music and brand – from radio presenters, disc jockeys, promoters, bloggers etc. They treat them like their services are ancillary. Meanwhile, these people are the life of the craft. Aside the fact that the promoters need the musician’s songs and video as content, the musicians also need those platforms to reach out to their fans and potential fans. Just like any other business there is the need to keep strong business tide that binds both sides.

 Good looks and distinguished identity will bring in endorsement deals too. Don’t forget that too. 

In this era where sales of compact discs has drastically gone down, free downloads and striving for a hit song has become the order of the day. But the cash flows more from the stage. Some of our musicians have good songs yet they have appalling stage craft. You will lose interest in their brand after watching some of them perform.

 I’ve spent time with some artiste backstage during major events in Ghana and the atmosphere has always not been nice. Besides, our musicians hardly spend time trying to link up with other acts beyond their jurisdiction. It is necessary – not just for collaboration but to share ideas. Music is a global trade.  If we really want to go beyond our immediate boundaries, then we need to network with other acts elsewhere.


Ghanaian musicians are making money. To some extent, yes, they are not lacking. We always see them riding in luxurious automobiles, great mansions, beautiful ‘chicks’ and better clothes that cost thousands of Ghana cedis. So why can’t they employ the services of a Public Relations experts or publicists? Not every blogger is a public relations expert. You need a publicist to communicate to the public on your behalf and also network with all the media outlets that matters on your behalf. These are professionals you can hire to execute a deal. Most musicians take good initiatives that the public don’t know about. Others have their image tarnished because there was nobody to do the damage control.

Recently a Ghanaian blog released a list of Ghanaian artistes who are very interactive on the social media. It looks good but more can be done. Most artistes just don’t know how to get interactive with the fans.

 One thing you should not forget is that the social media administrator cannot do all. You frequently need to track your fan base to know where to push in a lot of energy. Musicians and their management should stop treating these partners like their effort is an option. They play instrumental roles in their career development and success.

Let’s do the best we can so the music craft will gain massive recognition and patronage both in Ghana and on the international market. It doesn’t come on a silver platter.

-Source: Jonilar
Twitter: @Jonilar
( Jonilar.blogspot.com)

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11/Dec/2015

Latest News

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Anti-apartheid campaigner dies at 81

South African anti-apartheid campaigner and former first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died aged 81.

She and her former husband Nelson Mandela, who were both jailed, were a symbol of the country's anti-apartheid struggle for three decades.

However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.

Crowds of mourners and political figures flocked to her home in Soweto, in Johannesburg, after news of her death broke.

Family spokesman Victor Dlamini confirmed earlier on Monday that Mrs Mandela "succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones" following a long illness, which had seen her go in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

'Mother of the Nation'

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape - then known as Transkei.

She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They went on to have two daughters together.

They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela's long imprisonment.

It was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela who took his baton after he was jailed for life, becoming an international symbol of resistance to apartheid. She too was jailed for her role in the fight for justice and equality.

To her supporters, she became known affectionately as "Mother of the Nation".

Who has paid tribute?

In a televised address President Cyril Ramaphosa - whom Mrs Madikizela-Mandela praised earlier this year - called her as a "voice of defiance" against white-minority rule.

"In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality," he said on Monday.

"She as an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free".

Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu said she was a "defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid".

"Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists," he added.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, reading out a statement on behalf of the family, paid tribute to "a colossus who strode the Southern African political landscape".

"As the ANC we dip our revolutionary banner in salute of this great icon of our liberation struggle," he said.

"The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable South African woman."

African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe said: "With the departure of Mama Winnie, [we have lost] one of the very few who are left of our stalwarts and icons. She was one of those who would tell us exactly what is wrong and right, and we are going to be missing that guidance."

South Africa's pride and joy - and my neighbour

Analysis by Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg

I knew Winnie Madikizela-Mandela personally. We come from the same neighbourhood in Soweto.

To many, she was the pride and joy of the nation, an icon in her own right - never mind the fact she was Nelson Mandela's wife.

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was also the first black social worker in the country. Her love and desire to help those in need was always burning from deep inside.

But she was not nothing but sweet talk. She met the brutality of racial segregation with fire. Each time the police came to arrest her at her home in Orlando West, she held her own.

She never gave in. Not one inch - and sometimes, this landed her in trouble. As anti-apartheid activist Mosioua Lekota noted in her defence: "Those who did nothing under apartheid never made mistakes."

She will be remembered for her fight against an inhumane system, rather than for the mistakes she made in that fight.

Why was she controversial?

However, Mrs Madikizela-Mandela found herself mired in scandal for decades.

She was accused of conducting a virtual reign of terror in parts of Soweto by other members of the ANC in the late 1980s, and heard backing the practice of "necklacing" - putting burning tyres around suspected informants' necks.

She was also found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to six years' imprisonment for her involvement in the death of 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei. She always denied the allegation, and the sentence was reduced to a fine.

Winnie Mandela raises her fist in a black power salute after announcing that a massive pop concert will be held to mark the 70th birthday of her husband in 1988

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela (pictured in 1988) became a symbol for the anti-apartheid movement in her own right

Mr Mandela, who stood by her throughout the accusations, was finally released from prison in February 1990.

But two years later, their marriage crumbled. The couple divorced in 1996, but she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.

She stayed involved in politics, but was again embroiled in controversy when she was convicted of fraud in 2003.

Source: bbc.com

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02/Apr/2018

White House criticises China for $3bn tariffs on US imports

The White House has criticised China after it imposed retaliatory tariffs against the US on a range of goods including pork and wine.

Beijing has introduced duties of up to 25% on 128 American imports following President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium.

China said the move was intended to safeguard its interests and balance losses caused by the new US tariffs.

 

US stock markets plunged, partly on fears the duties will escalate.

Technology stocks were among Monday's biggest losers including Amazon, after President Trump stepped up his Twitter attacks against the online retailer.

In its statement about the tariffs, the White House accused Beijing of "distorting global markets".

"China's subsidisation and continued overcapacity is the root cause of the steel crises," spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.

"Instead of targeting fairly traded US exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming US national security and distorting global markets."

The back-and-forth reflects rising tensions between the US and China, which President Trump has described as an "economic enemy".

What is this fight about?

The US has taken two major steps recently that have triggered tension with China.

On 8 March, it announced global steel and aluminium tariffs saying the measures were necessary to protect US producers and critical to national security. (Certain allies such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union, are in line for exemptions, pending talks.)

China challenged the US use of national security to justify the tariffs and announced retaliatory tariffs on $3bn (£2.1bn) worth of US products.

Those tariffs went into effect on Monday, targeting US goods including frozen pork, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, ginseng and wine.

Who will blink first?

By Stephen McDonell, BBC News, Hong Kong

China's theft of foreign intellectual property is what sparked all this in the first place, according to Washington. If international companies want to operate in China they must hand over their intellectual property for the privilege, thus delivering the likes of German high-speed rail technology into the hands of Chinese engineers.

Yet now that China's retaliatory tariffs have kicked in, there are also those sympathetic with that argument who are worried that launching a potential tariff war is not the way to fix the problem. Naturally others say China has been getting away with this for years and tough measures were needed in order to force change.

There is also the overall imbalance in US-China trade but a large Chinese surplus, of course, means it is potentially much more exposed during a trade war than America. For this reason Beijing will want to negotiate a way out of this escalating tariff showdown.

Its first set of tariffs are relatively mild but they come in response to the first round of US tariffs and a second has already been announced. There are plenty more American companies to be hit and other nations, especially those in Europe and Asia, could soon find themselves dragged into this conflict.

That dispute, however, is a preview of a bigger showdown between the two countries.

A few weeks after announcing the steel and aluminium tariffs, the White House said it would impose additional tariffs on as much as $60bn in Chinese imports over intellectual property violations.

It said China has practices that put US firms at a disadvantage and unfairly pressure them to share technology, especially in fields such as robotics and telecommunications.

The two sides are now negotiating over the issues, though the White House has also said previous talks have failed, necessitating tariffs.

What's the reaction?

American businesses caught up in the dispute have raised alarm, noting that China is a large market for certain goods, including pork, soybeans and aircraft.

For example, last year China was the third largest market for US pork, receiving about $1.1bn worth of products, according to the National Pork Producer Council.

"Any restriction on export markets is not a good development for US pork producers," Jim Monroe, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, told the BBC.

US companies have said that while they share some of the Trump administration's concerns, they are worried that threatening tariffs is not the best way to resolve the problems.

"The direction of what the US government is doing, and that is to apply some pressure, use some leverage, to level the playing field is the right one, although I don't think tariffs is the best way to go," said William Zarit. chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

Mr Zarit told the BBC that members of his organisation, which represents more than 900 companies operating across China, including Intel, Dell, Honeywell and Coca-Cola, were encouraged to hear that top officials have started talking again.

"I think it shows that both sides want to solve this before it gets out of hand," he said.

Source: bbc.com

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02/Apr/2018

Israel suspends plan to send African migrants to West

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended a deal with the UN to give residency to thousands of African migrants in exchange for Western nations resettling the same number.

Hours after announcing the deal, he put the plan on hold, saying he would meet with residents of south Tel Aviv, where many of the migrants live.

The arrangement had drawn opposition from within his governing coalition. It replaced a plan for mass deportations to Africa.

Under the five-year agreement with the UN refugee agency, some 16,250 African migrants who entered the country illegally, many of them seeking asylum, would be resettled in Western nations, which Mr Netanyahu had said included Germany, Italy and Canada.

For each migrant resettled overseas, Israel would give "temporary residence" to a migrant in Israel, Mr Netanyahu told a news conference earlier on Monday.

It replaced a controversial plan to forcibly send male African migrants to third countries in Africa if they did not go voluntarily.

The nations were reported to be Uganda and Rwanda and Israel's Supreme Court had blocked deportations meant to begin on Sunday.

In a late-night Facebook post announcing the suspension of the UN deal, Mr Netanyahu said that earlier agreement had failed because Rwanda had pulled out.

He said he would rethink the terms of the UN accord after listening to the views of Israelis. Mr Netanyahu had faced criticism from anti-migrant groups in southern Tel Aviv and powerful politicians in his own governing coalition for striking the deal.

Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, called the plan a "total surrender to the false campaign in the media" and said the credibility of the government was at stake.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was among ministers saying they did not know anything about the agreement before it was announced. Culture Minister Miri Regev expressed concern about the "identity and social fabric" of Israel if the migrants were allowed to stay, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Where are the migrants from?

Most of the 42,000 African migrants in Israel are from Eritrea - a one-party state whose leaders have been accused of crimes against humanity by a UN inquiry - and war-torn Sudan.

They say they fled danger at home and that it is not safe to return to another African country, but Israel considers the majority of African asylum seekers to be economic migrants.

Most of them entered from Egypt several years ago, before a new fence was built along the desert border. This has ended most illegal crossings.

How controversial is this issue?

The decision in January to offer the migrants a cash lump-sum and a plane ticket to leave Israel voluntarily or otherwise face forced expulsion was controversial in Israel.

Some critics in the country and among the Jewish community abroad - including former ambassadors and Holocaust survivors - said the plan was unethical and a stain on Israel's international image. The UN refugee agency said it violated local and international laws, and large protests were held in Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said the opposition was "baseless and absurd" and that Israel would resettle "genuine refugees".

Activists, however, noted that only a handful of Eritreans and Sudanese had been recognised as refugees by Israel since the country took over the processing of applications from the UN in 2009.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

Source: bbc.com

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02/Apr/2018

"We're here to win" - Morocco 2026 World Cup bid CEO

The chief executive of Morocco's 2026 World Cup bid, Hicham El Amrani, says his country is not bidding "for a communications stunt", but for victory.

On Friday, Morocco must hand a bid book to Fifa outlining their plans for the tournament - as must the rival joint bid from Canada/Mexico/United States.

"We are not here for a communications stunt - we are here to win," El Amrani told BBC Sport.

Morocco are making their fifth bid to host the tournament.

They have previously campaigned for the right to organise the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions.

Earlier this month, Morocco outlined the compact nature of its bid, in contrast to its rival's plans to span an entire continent.

The bidders have until 1600 GMT on Friday to hand over their bid books, which will detail their plans to host the tournament - ranging from stadiums, training venues, hotels, transport to the environmental impact.

Following the delivery of the bid books, a Task Force representing football's governing body will decide whether the bids are up to standard.

Should any bid fail on a certain aspect, the bid can be eliminated.

"We need to convince not only the congress, (but also) the technical team of Fifa," El Amrani said.

If both bids succeed in impressing the Task Force, the remaining 207 member associations of Fifa will cast their vote for who will host the 2026 finals in Russia on 13 June.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams after Fifa chose to expand the tournament last year.

"You cannot bid for such a tournament, especially one that's been increased to 48 teams, without careful consideration - it is not a light decision," El Amrani, the former secretary-general of African football's ruling body Caf, added.

"As you can imagine, in our kingdom, that's a decision supported by His Majesty the King so it makes sense to us to go for this World Cup."

"I don't think we need to highlight the passion that we have for the game so for us, (bidding) combines all the important factors and provides joy and pride to our country."

The sole previous occasion that Africa hosted the World Cup was when the tournament was staged in South Africa in 2010.

El Amrani believes both his country and continent are ready to host football's flagship event once again.

"We want to celebrate the world and receive people in our country, showcase the beauty of our country, its diversity and also boost the social, economic and human development of our country and the continent."

On Thursday the rival bid, from USA, Canada and Mexico, revealed that there are 23 potential host cities within their bid, including NewYork/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Toronto and Mexico City.

Seventeen of the cities are in the United States and three each are in Canada and Mexico.

Source: bbc.com

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16/Mar/2018

Emirates flight attendant dies after fall from plane in Uganda

A flight attendant who fell from the emergency door of a parked aeroplane in Uganda's Entebbe airport has died, the BBC has learned.

The woman, whose nationality has not been revealed, was rushed to Kisubi hospital 16km (10 miles) away but died soon after, a spokesperson said.

Reports say the Emirates Airline employee was preparing the flight for boarding when the incident happened.

Uganda's aviation authorities say they have launched an investigation.

It said in a statement that the flight attendant "appeared to have opened the emergency door" and unfortunately "fell off an aircraft that had safely landed and parked".

Kisubi hospital's spokesperson Edward Zabonna told the BBC that the crew member had injuries "all over her face and knees".

He said that she had been "unconscious but alive" when she arrived at the hospital on Wednesday evening but died soon after.

News agency AFP quotes a statement from Emirates Airline as saying: "A member of our cabin crew unfortunately fell from an open door while preparing the aircraft for boarding".

The Dubai-based airline promised its "full cooperation" with the investigation.

Source: bbc.com

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16/Mar/2018

Jacob Zuma: Former South African president faces corruption trial

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption relating to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

The case centres on a 30bn rand ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) deal to modernise the country's defence in the late 1990s.

The charges - which Mr Zuma denies - include counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Mr Zuma, 75, was forced to resign as president last month by his party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He was facing his ninth no-confidence vote in parliament before he left office.

Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abraham said he believed there were "reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution" in the case.

French arms supplier Thales will also face charges, a prosecutor said. Thales declined to comment, reports the AFP news agency.

Mr Zuma is alleged to have sought bribes from Thales to support an extravagant lifestyle. His financial adviser at the time was found guilty of soliciting those bribes in 2005 and Mr Zuma was later sacked as deputy president.

Original charges against Mr Zuma were controversially dropped shortly before he became president in 2009.

He now faces one charge of racketeering, two charges of corruption, one charge of money laundering and 12 of fraud.

Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, said a trial court was the appropriate place for the matter to be decided.

He dismissed representations made by Mr Zuma asking that the charges be dropped.

The former ANC chief had argued that the charges against him were characterised by misconduct, "irrational behaviour" and media leaks on the part of prosecutors, Mr Abrahams said.

Long court battle awaits

Analysis by Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg

As Jacob Zuma is no longer president, he cannot use state resources to support his defence.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves - Mr Zuma is known for fighting every single battle right until the end.

Therefore, expect some pushback even after this heavy blow.

He is, by law, allowed to challenge this decision. In other words we might see a delay before any trial actually starts.

And even when the trial begins, it will be long and drawn out.

But for now his political enemies, particularly the opposition, are celebrating that he is closer to facing a judge in court than ever before.

Mr Zuma weathered an array of corruption allegations during his nine years in power.

In 2016, a report by South Africa's anti-corruption watchdog alleged that the billionaire Gupta family had exploited their ties with him to win state contracts.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

The same year, South Africa's highest court ruled that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

An anti-corruption body found he had spent $23m (£15m) on refurbishments including a swimming pool and an amphitheatre. He has since repaid some of the money.

Mr Zuma has always denied the allegations against him.

Zuma's corruption charges: A brief history

  • First filed in 2005 when Mr Zuma's financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was jailed for fraud and corruption.
  • Mr Zuma went on trial in 2006 but the case collapsed when the prosecution said it was not ready to proceed more than a year after he was charged.
  • South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) controversially dropped the charges in 2009, shortly before he won the presidency.
  • Political opponents campaigned tirelessly for him to face trial.
  • South Africa's High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and Mr Zuma lost a Supreme Court appeal to overturn them.
  • The country's chief prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, has now decided to pursue a case against the former president.

The controversial arms deal

In 1999, the South African government announced its largest-ever post-apartheid arms deal, signing contracts totalling 30bn rand ($5bn; £2.5bn) to modernise its national defence force

The deal involved companies from Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, France and South Africa

Allegations of bribery over the deal dogged the governments of both President Jacob Zuma and and one of his predecessors, Thabo Mbeki.

Schabir Shaik was found guilty in 2005 of trying to solicit a bribe from Thint, the local subsidiary of French arms firm Thales, on behalf of Mr Zuma. He was released on parole on health grounds after serving just over two years

Another official, Tony Yengeni, who was chairman of parliament's defence committee at the time of the deal and chief whip of the ANC, was convicted of fraud in 2003. He was also freed on parole after serving five months of a four-year sentence.

Source: bbc.com

Read more
16/Mar/2018

Hacker who gave up Wikileaks source dies

Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker best known for passing on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.

In online messaging conversations, Manning confided in him, describing confidential military material Manning had sent to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks published the video of a US helicopter strike that killed seven people, including a journalist working for the Reuters news agency.

The cause of Lamo’s death, confirmed to the BBC by the Sedgwick County coroner in Kansas, has not yet been made public.

On Facebook, his father Mario wrote: “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian's friends and acquittances [sic] that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

Lamo's own record as a hacker included some high-profile targets, such as Microsoft and the New York Times.

'Thrust upon me'

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper in 2011, Lamo described his decision to give up Manning as “not one I decided to make, but was thrust upon me”.

Lamo said he would have "lasting regret" if Manning was handed a long sentence.

Manning, known at the time as Bradley Manning, was eventually sentenced to 35 years in prison. However, President Barack Obama later commuted her sentence and she was released in May 2017.

She is now attempting to become the Senator for Maryland, her home state.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday described Lamo as a “petty conman and betrayer of basic human decency”.

Source: bbc.com

Read more
16/Mar/2018

Former FBI deputy head Andrew McCabe sacked

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fired FBI official Andrew McCabe, who had been accused of political bias by President Donald Trump.

In January Mr McCabe resigned as deputy director and was placed on leave.

He had been deeply involved in the FBI investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of email and Russia's alleged meddling in the presidential campaign.

The sacking comes two days before his 50th birthday, when he was expected to retire with pension rights.

The move was recommended by an internal investigation, which concluded that Mr McCabe had "made an unauthorised disclosure to the news media".

In a statement issued late on Friday Mr Sessions said: "Based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department's senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately."

Mr McCabe called his dismissal an attack on his credibility, and said it was part of a "larger effort" to discredit the US intelligence community.

He said he believed was being "singled out" because of the events he witnessed and the role he played in the aftermath of the firing of last year of then-FBI director James Comey.

Mr Trump dismissed Mr Comey in July last year over his handling of the inquiry into Mrs Clinton's emails.

But Mr Trump's Democratic critics said he was being punished for the FBI's investigation into alleged links between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Mr Trump has frequently criticised Mr McCabe and in December tweeted: "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!"

Source: bbc.com

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16/Mar/2018

Entertainment

16/Dec/2017

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28/Nov/2017

I am honored – Quata Budukusu

Versatile artiste, Quata Budukusu has expressed excitement that his latest album Quantum Riddim has been selected for consideration in the Reggae Album category for the 2018 Grammy Awards. He joins Blakk Rasta bringing to two the number of Ghanaian musicians being considered in the Reggae Album category for the 2018 Grammy Awards.

Consideration is the first step in the process of attaining a Grammy. The second step is for the Academy to vote and nominate entries with the final step being for the Academy members to vote on who wins what.

Quantum Riddim, a 13-track album has songs like Jah Give I strength, Be Free, Motivate Yourself, I Don’t Need a Hero, Amazing, Stars, Sweetest Melody, Party All Night, Heaven in Your Eyes, and Big Spliff. The album is distributed internationally by the reputable VPAL Music and available on all the online distribution platforms.

 

In an interview with Showbiz, Quata Budukusu, real name Jacob Nana Kwame Etroo, said he was happy his hard work was being recognized. “Not many artistes get their works considered for Grammy Awards, so I’m very honored to have my Quantum Riddim album be considered on a big platform such as that,” he stated.

He thanked his team, Bakus Records and Entertainment and VPAL music, based in New York for believing in him. According to him, VPAL music they have gone to a great length to promote his music.

Grab your copy of the historic album here: http://smarturl.it/QuantumRiddimQB

Source: graphic.com.gh

 

14/Nov/2017

QUATA BUDUKUSU: “ANO DEY SEE YOU SEFF”- A TONGUE-TWISTING TECHNIQUE THAT EXCELS!

Jacob Nana Kwame Etroo, b.k.a Quata Budukusu, started his musical career by combining Root African vibes and native Twi and inventing a unique style of rap genre called TONGUE TWISTING – a rhythmic chain of words in the fastest way one could run a tongue with words musically with a perfected style and skill on a beat. He is regarded, in Ghana, as the inventor of tongue-twisting in Twi. An accomplished songwriter, the versatile artist can both rap, sing in a variety of styles that goes from dancehall to pop music, and everything in-between.

In 2004, Quata Budukusu released his debut album, WONIE that took the Ghana music scene by storm. He has since gone on to feature in a long list of hit songs and viral videos in his home country. After taking a break, Budukusu returned with the INDEPENDENCE Album which featured the first English and Twi pop song, entitled BABY. The surprise came on the 18th of August 2017, when Quata Budukusureleased QUANTUM RIDDEM, distributed by VPAL music, which happens to be the first full-length album – in this case 13 tracks – delivered on just one single beat!

 

Recently we listened to Quata Budukusu’s latest smash single, “Ano Dey See You Seff”, bathed in a sizzling trap decoration. If tongue-twisting in Twi is Budukusu’s forte, you wouldn’t expect him to leap from the foundation that his music career on built on. Switching up at the height of his popularity would be bold, insane, and trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

 

But Budukusu is both bold and insane – anybody who could record 13 different songs on one single beat, certainly has no fear of pushing boundaries or breaking down the walls of conservatism. And trap lends itself perfectly to all sorts of progressive interpretations.

What Quata Budukusu will say and how he will deliver the message is what fans are most intrigued by. From high-speed flow patterns to trap-drenched crooning, he has a distinguished voice, and I’m impressed by his energy. Budukusu is rapping like a man possessed.

Yet at the same time he sounds totally focused and never loses the melodic slant in his voice – essential when you need to stay musical and not just sound like you’re speed-reading the phone directory. This is probably where Budukusu’s tongue-twisting technique excels in giving him the edge over his trap contemporaries.

Quata Budukusu literary pulls off an Olympic performance on head-banging track. The keys and hi-hats combine to turn the track into a trap monster with an African twist. Budukusu is making a compelling argument right now with “Ano Dey See You Seff”. And my question is: “Is there any trap, or other kind of rapper of his versatility, out there right now that sounds this convincing?” There’s an electricity in this record – an indication that this is an artist whose sails have caught a full wind!

 

OFFICIAL LINKS: 

TWITTER – INSTAGRAM – FACEBOOK – YOUTUBE – SPOTIFY – ITUNES – AMAZON

 

Watch Ano Dey See You Seff Video here: https://youtu.be/BSlBEHfsDDY

Source: http://www.tunedloud.com and http://www.toneflame.com

22/Sep/2017

Quata Budukusu drops two new Music Videos

After the successful release of Quantum Riddim album, Ghanaian rapper, Quata Budukusu has released two music videos for his singles, Hallelujah (produced by Ephraim Beats) and Ano Dey See you Seff (produced by KV Bangerz). Coby Melody Twum of Scoby Philms directed both videos.

Per Quata Budukusu, God has been good for him, his family, friends, fans, and even the enemies and there is the need to glorify His name. Quata Budukusu showed his versatility in music once again with the release of the gospel-like tune, Hallelujah. In Hallelujah, Quata Budukusu is calling on all the living souls to give praise to the creator of the universe. Quata Budukusu maintained that all living souls who made it to this time of the year should “Join me make we sing and give Him praise” because we don’t deserve better than those that have lost their lives. Quata Budukusu gave his testimony in the song because he believes he does not deserve to be alive, but, just by the grace of the Almighty.

Quata Budukusu was at his usual best in Ano Dey See You Seff, and there is a clear indication from that he is not “dead” as speculated. Quata Budukusu is still a power to reckon with in the hip-hop/hip-life genre as he showed his lyrical prowess in this classic hip-hop song “Ano Dey See You Seff.” Ghanaians and the hip-hop lovers around the globe should be ready for more tunes from Quata Budukusu.

 

Watch the videos below:

 

Hallelujah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-5zsh1VmWw

Ano Dey See You Seff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSlBEHfsDDY

 

Source: Bakus Radio, USA (www.bakusradio.com)

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