Unmasking Zannah Mustapha and The 82 Freed Chibok Girls

BBC, London:

Zannah Mustapha has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.

More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.

Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.

It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.

57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. The militants brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

Mr Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.

When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.

bk1

During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.

He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.

After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.

“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.

The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.

But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.

Source: NTA

Kroenke Out! Champions League failures mean Arsenal must listen to their fans

Kroenke Out! Champions League failures mean Arsenal must listen to their fans

The Gunners will be playing in the Europa League next season and supporters have signalled their demand for a change of ownership


COMMENT


As thousands of Arsenal supporters chanted ‘Stan Kroenke, get out of our club’ there could be no confusion as to who the majority of fans blame for this season’s disaster in the Premier League. The Gunners majority shareholder has hit the headlines again over the past few days following the revelation that Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov had lodged a £1 billion bid for Kroenke’s shares, an offer which was informally rejected by the American.

For the first full season under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League – their 3-1 home win over Everton proving irrelevant on Sunday after Liverpool defeated Middlesbrough at Anfield. While the financial consequences may not be particularly severe, the bigger picture is that attracting top level players to Emirates Stadium this summer could prove difficult due to the current instability at the club.

There are key issues which need to be resolved at Arsenal over the next three months. None are more important than the managerial situation, with all signs pointing to Wenger extending his stay at the club by at least another season. The Frenchman’s own intentions are unclear and he has gone from saying a decision would be announced in April or May to hinting that discussions will take place in a board meeting after the upcoming FA Cup final.

Wenger’s future is linked to a host of first team players, including Mesut Ozil – who will not even consider committing to the club until an announcement is made about the manager. With both the German international and Alexis Sanchez seeing their contracts expire in 2018, a summer of huge decisions regarding playing and coaching staff, as well as in the boardroom, is expected.

The small matter of an FA Cup final against the newly-crowned Premier League champions Chelsea provides Wenger’s side with a last chance to salvage something positive from what has been the manager’s worst season at the club.

Laurent Koscielny’s sending off against Everton means he will miss the showpiece Wembley final, while an injury for Brazilian centre back Gabriel Paulista has paved the way for club captain Per Mertesacker to start his first game of the season.

The German’s leadership qualities are certainly needed at the back for Arsenal against Chelsea but his own defensive vulnerabilities could be exposed by the mobile attacking threats of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Willian. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also doubtful after his recent injury absence.

 
Alexis Sanchez Mesut Ozil Arsenal

Kroenke

You can count the number of times Kroenke has been seen at the Emirates this season on one hand. That is where the brunt of the supporters’ frustrations lie. This is an owner who appears to have no interest in building a relationship with the fans or announcing his ambitions for the club. There has always been an underlying disconnect between the owner and the fan base, and this has become more evident as Arsenal’s form has regressed this season. For most Gooners, Europa League football is the final nail in the coffin regardless of the outcome of the FA Cup final.

Usmanov has already indicated that he won’t relieve Wenger of his managerial duties if he does become majority shareholder at Arsenal, so would new ownership really change the direction of the football club? The Russian has signalled his own intent to buy the best players in the world and it should be noted that Kroenke, while he has never put debt on Arsenal, has not invested a penny in transfer dealings or on-the-pitch matters.

Arsenal’s reputation as a self-sustaining club is something they should be proud of but Chelsea and Manchester City are examples of how modern football teams requires fresh investment on a mass scale each season. The answer isn’t to spend money for the sake of it, but to utilise it in a way which helps the club challenge the likes of their Champions League conquerors Bayern Munich – a statement which chief executive Ivan Gazidis made to fans in 2013.

Tottenham’s second place finish and new stadium has provided several home truths to Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke. Their wage bill is almost half of Arsenal’s, yet they are far outperforming their local rivals.

I recently spoke to an ex-Arsenal player who played under Wenger for almost a decade and he told me that when he looks at this current side, no-one is smiling on the bench and no-one looks happy. While many critics may argue that Wenger’s tactical shortcomings are the key issue, it is clear that the negative atmosphere off the pitch is contributing to what is happening on it.

Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League and they require big changes across the board this summer. Whether it happens or not is another question, but the fans have made their view clear; they want Kroenke out.

Source: http://www.goal.com

El-Rufai Ordered Immediate and Thorough Investigation of Rifles Found In Wrecked Car At Kachia-Kafanchan Road

El-Rufai Ordered Immediate and Thorough Investigation of Rifles Found In Wrecked Car At Kachia-Kafanchan Road

Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna:

The Kaduna State Government has ordered an investigation into the e discovery of five locally made AK 47 rifles and a magazine in a car that was involved in an accident last week.

Samuel Aruwan, Spokesperson to Governor El-Rufai disclosed this in a statement.

The fatal accident, involving two vehicles, occurred on the 12th May, 2017 at Mazuga, Kachia local government area.

According to Aruwan, the government has received a briefing on the acciednt from the Kaduna State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps.

Following the briefing, security agencies were charged to ensure thorough investigation and diligent prosecution.

The statement reads:
“On 15th May 2017, the Kaduna State Government received a brief from the Kaduna State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corp on the discovery of a weapons in a car that had been involved in an accident. The government has therefore directed a thorough investigation of the matter.”

“According to the Sector Head of Operation, Salisu D. Galadanci. The FRSC on 12th May, 2017 at about 1607 hours received information of an accident at Mazuga, KM10, Kachia-Kafanchan road and it quickly proceeded to the scene to rescue the victims.”

“On reaching the scene, some people around the area had already started helping by bringing the victims out from the accident’s vehicles. Two vehicles were involved, an Audi Salon car AG 60MKR, one Opel Vectra car without registration. Of the seven persons involved in the accident, three died while four persons were rescued. Five locally-made AK47 rifles and a magazine were also recovered from the Audi car.”

image

“The driver of the Audi, Mr. Sabo Goni, was among the rescued accident victims. All the victims were rushed to Kachia Hospital.The Kachia Divisional Police Officer, CSP Faruk Umar, was alerted about the discovery of five rifles in the Audi car. The recovered arms have since been handed over to Kachia DPO for further investigation.”

image

“The Kaduna State Government commends Mazuga community for reporting the matter to security agencies and for preserving the recovered arms till the arrival of security agencies.”

Source: NTA

Bill Gates Just Dropped This Life-Changing Advice: ‘Start Fighting Inequality’

By Meghan Werft|

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

 

Want to be the next Bill Gates? Good news — Gates does, too. And earlier this week, he tweeted 14 lessons he wish he had learned earlier in life to help you — and college grads — get there.

His advice was not focused on wealth, or how to become more intelligent. Instead, Gates’ message centered on how to make a positive impact in the world.

An understanding of inequality and a belief in peace were central to his message, which was aimed at recent graduates. He said it took him decades to appreciate both.

“I also have one big regret: When I left school, I knew little about the world’s worst inequities. Took me decades to learn,” he tweeted. “You know more than I did when I was your age. You can start fighting inequity, whether down the street or around the world, sooner.”

Sprinkled with humor, Gates’ asks readers not to associate his advice with the likes of  stuffy adults from the film “the Graduate.”

He reveals the “promising fields” he’d pick as young person today: artificial intelligence (AI), biosciences, and presumably renewable energy, where people can make the biggest impact.

3/ Looking back on when I left college, there are some things I wish I had known.

4/ E.g. Intelligence takes many different forms. It is not one-dimensional. And not as important as I used to think.

He also shared his belief that the world is more peaceful than ever. And if you don’t believe him, he recommends picking up a copy of “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” by Canadian-American psychologist Steven Pinker.

Gate’s endorsement of the book has caused Amazon orders to spike since his tweet on Monday. The book is 650,000% more popular than before Gates’ tweet, Washington Post reports. It rose to number two on Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” list overnight.

He also included shoutouts to Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

“Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self.” he shared “As Melinda Gates does for me.”

“Like Warren Buffett I measure my happiness by whether people close to me are happy and love me, and by the difference I make for others,” he said.

Gates’ advice is being taken to heart not just by recent grads, but by global citizens everywhere.

1/ New college grads often ask me for career advice. At the risk of sounding like this guy…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dug-G9xVdVs 

@BillGates Thanks for all you & @melindagates have been doing in the world. Words or tweets cannot convey the gratitude to the good you’re doing.

Read More: Melinda Gates Is Fighting Trump’s Proposed Foreign Aid Cuts

@BillGates Sir,You and Steve Jobs are my greatest inspiration.Whenever situations hit me hard I think about you two, Read your quotes… Works always🙏🙏

And if you already believe the world is more peaceful today than ever in the course of history, and that the world is getting better — you’re basically smarter than a young Bill Gates.

TAKE ACTION

Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heard Get Involved

 

Why You Should Absolutely Never Drink Bottled Water Again

Konstantin Stepanov/Flickr

 

The bottled water industry is about as wasteful as they come. This billion dollar industry is taking something that is essentially free around the world, packaging it, and selling it for profit. And it gets worse.

Nestlé — the same company that brings you those delicious Toll House cookies — decided in May to open a new plant in the middle of the drought-stricken desert in Arizona.

This decision has raised many concerns and questions, the most obvious being “how can they bottle water in a desert?”

Many of the concerned groups are environmental activists. Nestle has already faces backlash from groups angry about them bottling water in the San Bernardino Mountains, and a group in Oregon voted in favor of anti-bottling measures on a proposed anti-bottling measures.

Additionally, a petition was started on Change.org calling Nestlé Waters “irresponsible and unsustainable,” pointing out that Arizona has officially been in a drought for 17 years.

City officials concluded that there will be enough water for both Pure Life and the city’s tap, but environmentalists (and Global Citizens) aren’t convinced.

The bottled water industry is bad for the environment. Nearly 80 percent of plastic water bottles simply become litter in a landfill, creating 2 million tons of plastic bottle waste every year. Here are 10 things you might not know about the bottled water industry.


  1. The first case of bottled water sold dates back to Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1760s. Mineral water was bottled and sold by a spa for therapeutic uses.
  2. For the first time ever, bottled water sales are going to surpass the sale of soda in the US.
  3. Global consumption of bottled water increases by 10 percent every year. The slowest growth is in Europe, while the fastest growth is in North America.
  4. The energy we waste bottling water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.
  5. Food & Water Watch reported that more than half of bottled water comes from the tap.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BG5AELuzc6q/embed/?cr=1&v=7#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A230616.99500000002%7D

  6. Bottled water is no safer than tap water. In fact, 22 percent of bottled brands tested contained chemicals at levels above state health limits in at least one sample.
  7. It takes three times more water to produce a plastic water bottle than it does to fill one.
  8. The amount of oil used to make a year’s worth of bottles could fill one million cars for a year.
  9. Only one in five plastic bottles are recycled.
  10. The bottled water industry made $13 billion in 2014, but it would only cost $10 billion to provide clean water to everyone in the world.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BGu4j6sGhLo/embed/?cr=1&v=7#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A230626.99500000002%7D

Ignore the Barcelona conspiracies, Real Madrid will be deserving champions 

Ignore the Barcelona conspiracies, Real Madrid will be deserving champions

Despite talk of refereeing decisions and question marks over Malaga’s motives on Sunday, the Blaugrana have simply not been as good as Los Blancos


COMMENT


The league table rarely lies. Like last season, La Liga will be decided in the last round of fixtures and if Real Madrid, as expected, go on to claim the title for the first time since 2011-12, then they will have deserved it.
Madrid are away to Malaga on Sunday and there are already a number of conspiracy theories being put forward by Barcelona fans ahead of that match at La Rosaleda, including question marks over the Andalusians’ coach and also the influence of a possible windfall for the Costa del Sol side from the Isco transfer in 2013.

Malaga are coached by Michel, a Madrid symbol in his playing days after coming through the youth system at Real and a man who said after beating Barca in La Liga last month: “Real Madrid will be the champions, but a Malaga man from Real Madrid has lent them a hand.”

And many concerned with Barca believe the 54-year-old will lend Los Blancos another helping hand, especially as Malaga have nothing left to play for in the Primera Division. However, the coach distanced himself from all of that with a tweet on Thursday which simply stated: “Focused on ourselves.”

Malaga GFX

For his part, Malaga president Abdullah Al-Thani has reacted angrily to press speculation over Michel and late last month sent out a tweet in Arabic responding to a question on whether his team would beat Madrid: “With the help of God, we’ll beat them on the pitch,” it read. “But the scum of Catalunya won’t get a whiff of La Liga after their lies about Michel.”

In the meantime, Malaga are also set to receive a payment of €1 million from Madrid if Los Blancos win La Liga as part of the agreement which saw Isco move from the Andalusian club to Real in 2013. That deal included €3m in variables, €1m for each league title won by Madrid in the player’s first five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the first of those payments could be triggered this weekend.

On top of all that, there has been yet more talk of officials in the current campaign and Gerard Pique spiced up the rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid earlier in the season with a tweet listing the decisions that – he claimed, using links from Madrid media – had gone in Real’s favour.

Pique was captured on camera after Barca’s winner in the Clasico clash at the Bernabeu last month mouthing “we are infinitely better” than Madrid. However, in La Liga this term, that has simply not been the case.

Marcelo Sergio Ramos Marco Asensio Real Madrid Valencia LaLiga 29042017

HD Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

Barca have won the Primera Division in six of the last eight seasons, although many fans of the Catalan club argue that their title hopes were persecuted in the two years that they failed to win it – in 2011-12 as Jose Mourinho’s Madrid were perceived to benefit from a number of decisions throughout the title race and in 2013-14 as Lionel Messi was denied a perfectly legal goal in the decider against Atletico at Camp Nou on the last day of the season.

This time, however, there can be no doubts. Although conspiracy theories abound among Barca fans, the fact is that their team has not been good enough in La Liga in 2016-17. Although Madrid have had their problems on occasions as well, Zidane’s side have been able to come through them more often – which is why it is Los Blancos who go into the final fixture needing just a point to be crowned champions.

If they can clinch it, the title will be deserved. Barca have been the dominant force in La Liga in the past decade, but this time Madrid have been the better team in the Primera Division over the course of the past nine months. Instead of conspiracy theories, the Catalans would be better off looking at just what went wrong in their own performances this season.

Source: http://www.goal.com

This Refugee Is Building 25 Permanent Homes From Recycled Plastic Bottles

By Phineas Rueckert| 

https://www.instagram.com/p/25dDJDvKH5/embed/?cr=1&v=7#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A135157%7D

It is a common proverb that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and in Algeria, one refugee is showing the truth behind this saying.

Tateh Lehbib is an engineer and a Sahrawi refugee. At 28, Lehbib has been a refugee his entire life, one of more than 165,000 Sahrawis displaced from their native Morocco by the Western Saharan War that began in 1975. The majority of the Sahrawis now live in five encampments in southern Algeria.

The idea to build plastic bottle homes came out of Lehbib’s desire to provide shelter for his grandmother in a desert region that can get hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit and is also susceptible to heavy rain.

“I wanted her not to suffer so much from the heat, and to lead a better, more comfortable life,” he told the Middle East Eye.

The first of his shelters was made from 6,000 plastic bottles, which are filled with sand and straw, layered one on top of the other, and held together with cement mix. The plastic bottles are then covered with an additional layer of cement and limestone and painted white to reduce the impact of the sun’s rays.

According to the Middle East Eye, these structures cost about one-quarter of what it would cost to build a similar structure from mud-brick, which can cost up to €1,000 to construct. And they are 20 times more resistant, Lehbib emphasized.

The positive environmental impact of these structures is not to be ignored. At 6,000 bottles per structure and with 25 structures being built, thanks to a grant from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, the initiative will recycle around 150,000 plastic bottles in total. That’s 150,000 plastic bottles that won’t end up in landfills, or in the world’s oceans, into which between 5 and 13 million metric tons of plastic already end up each year.

The initiative is also providing employment and education opportunities for some of the youth in the five Sahrawi camps, ThinkProgress reports, and inspiring others to get involved in collecting and reusing bottles.

“My son Alwali, a shepherd, wants to construct a similar one in the countryside of Western Sahara,” one woman told ThinkProgress.

Lehbib, for his part, hopes to be able to expand his bottle house project to other, larger communities. But he’s got a way to go before he can take the crown of most prolific bottled-house builder. Another man, in Panama, is already on his way to building an entire village out of plastic bottles.

TAKE ACTION

Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

%d bloggers like this: