Burkina Faso attack: Ouagadougou hotel hit by gunfire

Gunmen have attacked a hotel used by westerners in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in west Africa.

Eyewitnesses said two car bombs went off outside the Splendid hotel at around 19:30 local time (same as GMT).

Three to four masked men then stormed the Splendid Hotel, which is used by UN staff and westerners, witnesses said.

A member of staff at the nearby Cappuccino cafe told Agence France Presse that "several people" had been killed there.

Local media report that at least one person has been taken hostage inside the building.

One jihadi monitoring group said al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed it was behind the attack.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing exchanges of gunfire between the men and security forces, as well as sporadic gunfire from inside the four-star hotel close to the country's international airport.

At least one car was seen burning outside the building.

Three hours after the attack started, an Associated Press reporter at the scene reported seeing soldiers in an armoured vehicle arrive in the area.

In the latest developments:

  • Local TV station Burkina 24 says that security forces are preparing to intervene
  • France's ambassador to Burkina Faso, Gilles Thibault, says a curfew is in place until 06:00 local time
  • The US embassy in Ouagadougou says it is aware of the incident and is "closely following" the situation

Map of West Africa

A similar attack by Islamist militants on a hotel in neighbouring Mali in November left 20 people dead.

Burkina Faso had recently held its first presidential election since a coup earlier last year.

That coup toppled long-time leader Blaise Compaore, who had governed for 27 years.

"We are still in a context of political fragility, so I think the timing of this attack is meaningful," Cynthia Ohayon, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, told the BBC from Ouagadougou.

"The country has long borders with Mali and Niger, and we know there are armed groups present on the border, so this was probably something we had coming."

Source: bbc.com

Cologne attacks: Migrant men banned from German swimming pool

A German town has banned male asylum seekers from a public swimming pool after women complained of harassment.

A government official in Bornheim said men from a nearby asylum shelter would be barred until they "got the message" that such behaviour was not acceptable.

It follows outrage over hundreds of sexual assaults in nearby Cologne and other German cities on New Year's Eve.

Those attacks, by men of mainly Arab and North African origin, raised tensions over the influx of migrants.

More than 1.1 million people claimed asylum in Germany in 2015.

The head of the social affairs department in Bornheim - about 20km (12 miles) south of Cologne - said the move to ban migrant men followed increasing number of reports of inappropriate behaviour from female swimmers and staff members.

"There have been complaints of sexual harassment and chatting-up going on in this swimming pool... by groups of young men, and this has prompted some women to leave," Markus Schnapka told Reuters.

He said none of the complaints involved a crime being committed, but that social workers in the town would help to ensure the asylum seekers changed their behaviour.

It is unclear how this rule will be enforced, although Germany is set to introduce new ID cards for migrants in February.

Support falling

Correspondents say the pool ban is the latest sign of increased tensions following the Cologne attacks.

On Thursday, the authorities in another town in west Germany, Rheinberg, cancelled a carnival parade planned for February over security concerns.

Rheinberg's public security chief, Jonny Strey, told German media that events in Cologne had influenced the decision and that officials were worried about from men from migrant backgrounds misbehaving.

Rheinberg Mayor Frank Tatzel later denied this, according to Reuters.

Cologne authorities expressed concern about the city's own carnival in February following the NYE attacks, promising to step up security and public awareness.

An opinion poll on Friday showed public anxiety increasing over the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Germany.

In the research, published by broadcaster ZDF (in German), 66% of the 1,203 respondents said Germany could not handle the arrivals, up from 46% in December.

Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel, under pressure over her policies to welcome refugees, also fell - with 39% of people agreeing the chancellor was doing a "good job" in this area, down from 47% in December.

Source: bbc.com

Rapper Mos Def ordered to leave South Africa in passport row

The American rapper best known as Mos Def has been ordered to leave South Africa within 14 days after being arrested for breaking immigration laws.

Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey, was held at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday after trying to leave the country with unrecognised papers.

The Department of Home Affairs said the 42-year-old produced what he called a "world passport".

It said the singer had overstayed his tourist visa, obtained in 2013.

Born Dante Smith in New York, Mr Bey is now banned from South Africa for five years, but has been allowed to appeal. He had been living in Cape Town since May 2013, South African media said.

"Further investigation into the matter revealed that Mr Smith's wife, mother and four children had overstayed and were sojourning in the country illegally," a statement by the Department of Home Affairs said.

As well as being nominated for six Grammy Awards, he has appeared in a number of films, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Be Kind Rewind and The Italian Job.

Source: bbc.com

Al-Shabab seizes African Union base in Somalia

Al-Shabab militants have overrun an African Union military base outside the southern Somali town of el-Ade.

The Islamist group says it has taken "complete control" of the AU camp and killed more than 60 Kenyan soldiers.

Residents told the BBC that al-Shabab had raised its flag at a camp for Kenyan troops and said insurgents had paraded bodies through the town.

But Kenya's army spokesman said it was a nearby Somali base that was stormed and Kenyan troops counter-attacked.

The number of casualties on both sides was not known, Kenyan military spokesman Col David Obonyo said in a statement.

He told the BBC that reports of high Kenyan casualties were "normal propaganda from al-Shabab".

Kenya contributes more than 4,000 troops to the 22,000-strong AU force that is in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda.

An el-Ade resident told the BBC by phone that he had heard a loud explosion at about 05:30 local time (02:30 GMT), followed by heavy gunfire.

"We then saw an al-Shabab fighter in the town. We also saw Kenyan soldiers who were fleeing from the camp.

"At the moment the camp is in the hands of al-Shabab. We can see military cars burning and dead soldiers all over the place. There are no civilian casualties but most people have fled the town."


Analysis: Tomi Oladipo, BBC Monitoring Africa security correspondent

Al-Shabab is keen to stress - both to the foreign forces in Somalia and would-be defectors within its ranks enamoured by so-called Islamic State - that it is a force to be reckoned with.

It is true that the group exaggerates the scale of its attacks but whether or not the death toll from el-Ade attack is as high as claimed, the African Union mission (Amisom) will have to recognise it still has a long way to go to gain full control of the country.

It says a lot for the insurgents to be daring enough to strike at the heart of an African Union base and engage troops in hours of combat.

They have done this before - in two major attacks targeting the Somali military last year, dozens of Burundian troops and Ugandans soldiers were killed.

Despite these setbacks, Amisom has achieved a lot recently by managing to push al-Shabab out of many parts of southern Somalia.


An al-Shabab official told the BBC that its fighters had attacked the base after morning prayers, starting with a car bomb before storming the facility.

"We took control of the base after one hour of fierce fighting," he said.

"We counted 63 Kenyan bodies inside the base. The other Kenyan troops have run away into the bush and we are hunting them down."

He said the militants were confiscating 28 of 31 military vehicles inside the camp and all arms and ammunition.

The two military bases - one for Somali troops and the other for AU soldiers - neighbour each other on the outskirts of el-Ade, which is in Gedo region, about 380km (240 miles) west of Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab was ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011, but still has a presence in large areas of southern Somalia and often stages attacks across the country.

Map of Somalia

Source: bbc.com

Kosovo war crimes court to try KLA suspects in The Hague

A special court is being set up in The Hague to try war crimes committed during the 1999-2000 war in Kosovo, the Dutch government says.

It will try serious crimes allegedly committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against ethnic minorities and political opponents, a statement said.

The court is set to begin operating later this year.

The conflict pitted ethnic Albanian rebels against Serbian forces.

Until 2008, Kosovo was a province of Serbia. Years of tensions turned into open conflict in 1998, when the Serbian government launched a crackdown.

It eventually withdrew its troops from Kosovo after a two-month campaign of air strikes by Nato in 1999.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, although Serbia has never recognised this.

An estimated 10,000 people died in the conflict and about 1,700 remain missing.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has tried and convicted many Serb officials over the past two decades, but it has generally failed to find justice for hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs who were themselves the victims of forced displacements or atrocities.

This has damaged the ICTY's credibility, especially in Serbia, and hampered reconciliation efforts.

Officially, the new tribunal will be a national court of Kosovo, despite its location in The Hague.

But it should finally deal with the long-festering allegations that members of the KLA - many of whom have risen to high positions in the government - committed atrocities.

Members of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority who view the KLA as heroes may resent the process. But the tribunal might prove vital, as Serbia and Kosovo continue efforts to normalise relations.


The Dutch statement admits that trying war crimes "is a sensitive issue in Kosovo".

"Possible suspects may be seen by sections of Kosovan society as freedom fighters, and witnesses may feel threatened in Kosovo," hence the reason for cases to be heard abroad.

"It is important for justice to be done," Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.

"So we are pleased to be able to offer the court a home."

A 2011 report from the Council of Europe, which monitors human rights, accused KLA rebels of serious crimes, including the trafficking of prisoners' organs.

Parliament in Kosovo approved the creation of the tribunal last year, despite protests and an opposition boycott of the vote.

Kosovan Albanians make up about 90% of the population, and tensions remain with the Serb minority.

Earlier this month anti-government protesters clashed with police in a demonstration against a deal giving more power to ethnic Serbs.

Source: bbc.com

Egypt steps up raids ahead of revolution anniversary

Egypt's security forces have stepped up raids ahead of the fifth anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

At least five people have been arrested in recent days, including activists accused of running Facebook pages supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and calling for protests.

The offices of an independent news website were also raided and its managing editor was detained.

Officials have warned against protests marking the 25 January revolution.

Operations have intensified in recent weeks and several other people have been reportedly arrested.

Sites popular with activists have also been shut down to prevent anniversary gatherings.

'Ruin the country'

Two of those detained were identified as a 26-year-old man responsible for 41 Facebook pages and a 22-year-old woman who managed six sites, interior ministry spokesman Abu Bakr Abdel Karim was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Facebook and other social media sites have been used to organise protests and rallies, and several groups have called for demonstrations on the anniversary of the uprising that toppled President Mubarak in 2011.

"The administrators of these pages were arrested on charges of inciting against state institutions and spreading the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as calling for marches on the coming 25 January," Mr Abdel Karim said.

"The ministry will continue to stand against these terrorist pages that have long incited violence against state institutions and made fun of the major incidents experienced by the country recently."

Security forces also raided the offices of the independent news website Masr al-Arabiya. Its managing editor Ahmed Abdel Gawad was reportedly released after being arrested on Thursday.

Authorities have expressed concern over protests and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has warned that another revolution could "ruin the country."

Religious leaders have also warned against protests.

As former armed forces chief, Mr Sisi led the army's overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, an ex-Muslim Brotherhood official, in 2013 following mass protests.

Since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed and 40,000 are believed to have been jailed in a crackdown on dissent. Most of them have been supporters of the Brotherhood, which was banned in 2013.

But secular and liberal activists have also been prosecuted for breaking a 2013 anti-protest law that gives the interior ministry the power to ban gatherings of more than 10 people.

Last year, the government approved a anti-terrorism legislation which activists said further eroded basic rights and enshrined a permanent state of emergency.

Source: bbc.com

Two US military helicopters collide near Hawaii

Two US Marine helicopters have collided near the Hawaiian island of Oahu, each with six people on board.

The crash occurred during a night-time training mission late on Thursday but it is unclear why.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers said debris was seen in the ocean.

Marine Capt Timothy Irish told the Associated Press news agency that a search and rescue was under way for the two CH-53 transport helicopters.

The aircraft were from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, he said.

Ms Mooers told Los Angeles radio station KNX-AM the search would be tough because of darkness and a high surf advisory.

Less than a year ago, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed during a training exercise, killing two Marines.

USMC confirmed the crash

Map

Source: bbc.com

No where cool afterall as Michigan seeks US government aid in water crisis

Michigan is seeking millions in US government aid for the water crisis in Flint, where the water has become contaminated with lead.

Governor Rick Snyder is requesting $31 million (£22 million) from the federal government because the need "far exceeds the state's capability".

The state has applied for a federal disaster declaration, which the Obama administration will consider.

The city's water became contaminated after switching suppliers in 2014.

Corrosive water leached lead from old pipes into the water supply.

Michigan's attorney general has said he will investigate the water crisis whether any state laws were violated.

The lack of clean water in Flint "is a human tragedy in which families are struggling even with the most basic parts of daily life", said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will send a recommendation to President Barack Obama as "expeditiously as possible".

Mr Snyder has already declared an emergency in Flint due to the water situation. Local officials deemed it a public health emergency in October.

Residents complained of discoloured water, bad smells and headaches and rashes from using the water from the city's new supplier.

The city switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River in 2014.

They have since switched back to Detroit's water.

In October, testing revealed increased lead levels in water supplies and in children's blood. Lead exposure can cause learning disabilities and behavioural problems in children.

Mr Snyder has been criticised for how he has handled the water crisis, with protesters calling for him to resign.

Source: bbc.com

Republican debate winners and losers

With just over two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the campaign for the Republican nomination is reaching its climax. If Thursday night's debate is any indication, it's going to become a brawl.

One candidate - Ohio Governor John Kasich - tried to stay above the fray and focus on the economy. Another - retired surgeon Ben Carson - joked about his sleepy reputation and then did nothing to dispel it.

The rest, however, engaged in a raucous scrum that most closely resembled a wrestling battle royale, with a crowded ring and fights breaking out at every turn.

And if there's one big-takeaway from this sixth Republican contest, it's that Donald Trump is improving as a debater - and that should be a big concern for the Republican establishment.

Here are the five most noteworthy face-offs - and who ended up on top.

Cruz's Canadian birth

Those sweet summer days of the Cruz-Trump "bromance" seem like so long ago. Instead, the exchanges between the New York frontrunner and the man who has supplanted him in Iowa polls were the marquee matchup of the debate.

Cruz opened by defending himself against Trump's recent insinuations that his Canadian birthplace disqualified him from seeking the presidency, noting that Trump himself had said there was "no issue there". Now, he said, Trump was changing his tune because he feels threatened.

"I recognise that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa," he said. "But the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding US law, the child of a US citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen." He added that there are plenty of "birther" conspiracy theories - and some might even think Trump can't run for president because his mother was born in Scotland.

"There is a big overhang," Trump shot back. "There's a big question mark on your head. And you can't do that to the party."

Left unstated was the irony of Trump, the iconoclast, worrying about the fate of a Republican Party that he has turned on its head.

Advantage: Marco Rubio. "I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV," the Florida senator said to laughs as he interjected himself into the back-and-forth between Cruz and Trump. Cruz likely won this fight with Trump on points, but any time he spends explaining his Canadian birth is a loss for him.

Could a Canadian be US president?

Trump's 'New York values'

Round two of the Trump-Cruz battle came over Cruz's allegation that Trump embodied the liberal values of his New York City home.

"Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay-marriage [and] focus around money and the media," Cruz said, concluding that "not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan".

After telling Cruz that noted conservative thinker William F Buckley was from Manhattan, Trump then launched into a passionate defence of his home town, citing its recovery from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

"We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers," Trump said. "And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made."

Advantage: Trump. The New York real-estate mogul may not be a polished politician, but he can play the 9/11 card with the best of them. As he spoke of the bravery following the attacks, the audience cheered - and Cruz was left applauding along with them.

Christie as Obama-lite

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016

One of the more interesting side battles of the night came when Rubio went after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for being too liberal and backing Obama's appointment of left-leaning judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court.

"Unfortunately, Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core [education reform] or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood," he said. "Our next president, and our Republican nominee cannot be someone who supports those positions."

Since Rubio's team has been airing television adverts attacking Christie along similar lines, he was clearly ready with a response, repeating a line Rubio used in an earlier debate when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush attacked him.

"I stood on the stage and watched Marco rather indignantly look at Governor Bush and say, someone told you that, because we're running for the same office, that criticising me will get you to that office," he said. "It appears that the same someone who has been whispering in old Marco's ear too."

He went on to deny all the accusations and pivot to attacking Rubio for being a senator who is all talk with no accountability.

Advantage: Christie - for now. He successfully parried Rubio's attack, but fact-checkers are already noting that the New Jersey governor did, in fact, support Ms Sotomayor's nomination and signed into law some tighter gun restrictions.

Trump's Muslim ban

Republican presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush speaks at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016.

Just as in December's debate in Las Vegas, Trump stood by his call to close the US borders to all Muslims.

"We have a serious problem," he said. "And we can't be the stupid country any more. We're laughed at all over the world."

Bush chimed in with what can only be called a tepid rebuke. "I hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out [the so-called Islamic State]," he said.

Advantage: Trump. Bush was the only candidate to challenge Trump at all on his proposal. The rest offered varying degrees of understanding while offering less sweeping alternatives. If Trump is going to be confronted on the topic, it will take more than Bush's calls to "reconsider".

Rubio's immigration reform

Marco Rubio

While the Cruz-Trump showdowns will likely steal the headlines tomorrow, one of the fiercest fights took place at the tail end of the debate on the issue of immigration reform.

In 2013 Rubio was part of a bipartisan team of senators who attempted to pass a law that would streamline US immigration policy and address the large number of undocumented workers already in the country. The effort has since become largely unpopular in the grass-roots conservative circles, and Rubio was asked by debate moderator Neil Cavuto why he was "so interested in opening up borders to foreigners".

Rubio replied that he had changed his position because, thanks to "a radical jihadist group", immigration had become a national security issue.

"The entire system of legal immigration must now be re-examined for security first and foremost," he said.

Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted Rubio on the issue, went on the attack, noting that "radical Islamic terrorism was not invented 24 months ago".

Rubio shot back that Cruz had supported expanding the number of US visas in the past and that he has a history of changing his positions on immigration as well as trade, defence spending and ethanol subsidies - an issue closely followed by many in corn-growing Iowa.

"I appreciate you're dumping your opposition research folder on the debate stage," Cruz replied, and then tried to tear into Rubio on immigration reform again before being cut off by the moderator.

Advantage: Cruz. Rubio launched a fierce counterattack, but he can't cover the fact that he his position on immigration just a few years ago is now decidedly out of step with where his party currently is.

Source: bbc.com

Shares on both sides of the Atlantic sink in investor sell-off

UK shares fell again on Friday, with mining stocks dragging the market lower as the prices of oil and commodities continued to tumble.

The FTSE 100 was down 124.9 points, or 2.1% at 5,793.3 points.

Overnight, BHP Billiton announced it was writing down the value of its US shale assets by $7.2bn amid the collapse in oil prices.

Meanwhile, US stocks were sharply lower after the drop in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 321 points lower - 2.4% -15,987.26,

The S&P 500 was down 2.2% and the Nasdaq Composite index dropped 2.7%.

Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York, said: "Investors are scared to death."

Miners decline

In the London market, BHP Billiton shares dropped 6.5%. Among the other mining stocks, Anglo American fell 11.5% and Glencore slid 7%.

After a brief recovery on Thursday, oil prices fell again to hit fresh 12-year lows. The price of Brent crude dropped to $29.01 a barrel at one point, before nudging back to $29.16 while US crude futures reached a low of $29.39 before edging up to $29.66.

The sell-off on the UK market followed another big fall in Chinese shares, with the Shanghai Composite dropping 3.5% on Friday.

Markets across Europe were lower, with Germany's Dax index down 2.5% while in France the Cac 40 also dropped 2.4%.

Sterling falls

In London, shares in telecoms group BT fell 0.8% to 463.3p, despite the Competition and Markets Authority giving final clearance to BT's takeover of mobile phone firm EE.

In the FTSE 250, shares in Moneysupermarket fell 11% after investors were rattled by a larger-than-expected fall in sales in the company's insurance unit during the fourth quarter. Revenues in the insurance business were down 10% compared with a year earlier.

On the currency markets, the pound hit fresh five-and-a-half-year lows against the dollar after the release of weak UK construction data.

Official figures showed construction output in November fell by 0.5% compared with the month before, and was down 1.1% from a year earlier.

Sterling had already weakened earlier this week after industrial production figures showed a fall in output.

The pound slid to $1.4296, a new five and a half year low. Against the euro, sterling fell by more than one euro cent to €1.3057.

Source: bbc.com

Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal 'cannot imagine' 26-year title wait

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal "cannot imagine" it will take the club 26 years to become champions again.

United went that long before winning the league under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1993, a barren run Liverpool will equal if they fail to finish top this season.

"I cannot imagine that shall happen," said Van Gaal. "We are in transition but we have the infrastructure and are going the right way."

Liverpool and United meet in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.

Van Gaal has won all three competitive meetings with Liverpool, including a victory at Anfield last season, since becoming United manager in 2014.

But a run of one win in eight Premier League games sees United in sixth spot, three places and three points above Sunday's hosts. If they fail to win at Anfield it will be United's worst run since 1989-90.

"You could still say we have underperformed because Manchester United has to be in the first three in the Premier League," said Van Gaal. "The same thing counts for Liverpool."

The Dutchman also said he was backing captain Wayne Rooney to improve an indifferent record at Liverpool.

Having scored only once in 10 weeks from 17 October, Rooney has netted four goals in his past three games, including two in the 3-3 drawat Newcastle on 12 January.

But not since March 2012 has he scored in four consecutive club games and the 30-year-old does has generally struggled at Anfield, managing one goal in his 10 visits.

"Wayne has to break that record," said Van Gaal. "Then I am very pleased.

"When he scores, it makes it easy for me. I have put all my money on Wayne."

Source: bbc.com

Emmanuel Adebayor a target for Crystal Palace - Pardew

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has confirmed he is interested in signing former Tottenham forward Emmanuel Adebayor.

The 31-year-old is a free agent since leaving White Hart Lane in September.

Palace are the lowest scorers in the top half of the Premier League with 22 goals and Pardew is looking for attacking reinforcements.

"We've had discussions about him and he is in that kind of nine or 10 strikers that possibly we could get," he said.

"It's a tough call for anyone who takes Adebayor - how much game time has he had? That is a question mark."

Pardew made a failed attempt to sign the Togo international in 2006 when he was in charge at West Ham.

Adebayor instead joined Arsenal from French league club Monaco. He went on to play for Manchester City and a loan spell at Real Madrid before joining Spurs in 2012.

Questions have been raised about Adebayor's attitude and commitment, but Pardew added: "Whenever he has played against me he has been totally committed and he's a dangerous world player.

"I have had difficult players before, none more difficult than [Hatem] Ben Arfa [at Newcastle]. If I can deal with him, I can deal with Adebayor for sure.

"You have only got to look at his clubs and of course, for whatever reason there has been a fall-out at Spurs, but he remains a player that can have a great impact. He's one of those players that would improve us."

Will Adebayor be a good signing for Palace?

On BBC Radio 5 live's weekend preview show, the guests discussed whether Palace should sign the striker. The Daily Telegraph's Jason Burt revealed the club would need to negotiate with Spurs, who still pay him £100,000 a week.

Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson said: "He's a really good player. He'd put bums on seats. I think Alan Pardew is very capable of managing high-maintenance players. If he does decide to go for it, it won't be on a whim."

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam added: "He'll take the load off Connor Wickham. I think he'd be a good signing."

For all the latest transfers check out our transfer deals page and for all the manager ins and outs, see the our list of current bosses.

Source: bbc.com

Leicester City: Club speak to FC Copenhagen about Daniel Amartey

Leicester City are in talks with FC Copenhagen over the signing of Ghana international Daniel Amartey.

The Danish club has confirmed that the 21-year-old, capable of playing in defence and midfield, could move to the Premier League side in January.

It has been reported by BBC Radio Leicester that he could join for a fee of up to £6m.

Amartey, who has won six caps for Ghana, has previously played for Swedish side Djurgarden.

Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri had previously said that he did not plan to make any more signings in January, following the capture of winger Demarai Gray from Birmingham City.

Leicester are second in the Premier League, level on points with leaders Arsenal, with 17 games remaining.

Source: bbc.com

Government’s ‘mistakes’ excite me – Nana Akomea

The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, says he is excited by what he calls the numerous mistakes being committed by the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News, he said, “I am excited that the government is committing mistakes. Politically, I know that the government is going to commit so many mistakes and when I see that the government is committing these mistakes, it excites me,” he added.

He however expressed regret that the mistakes on the part of government ultimately affects the citizens saying, “I am sad that the mistakes affect Ghanaians adversely.”

Mr .Akomea in mentioning one of the government’s perceived mistakes, cited the decision to accept two Yemeni former detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison.

According to him, “Nobody is happy, even the NDC.”

He noted that some senior members in the NDC have disagreed with aspects of the process with Fritz Baffour, the NDC MP for Ablekuma South, coming out to criticize government for the unprofessional manner in which it broke the news to Ghanaians.

“Recently you heard a very senior member of the NDC… come out very hard on the government. But that’s just a tip of the iceberg. What it means is that, there are several other senior members of the NDC who cannot speak out so even the NDC is not happy.”


Source: citifmonline.com

The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, says he is excited by what he calls the numerous mistakes being committed by the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News, he said, “I am excited that the government is committing mistakes. Politically, I know that the government is going to commit so many mistakes and when I see that the government is committing these mistakes, it excites me,” he added.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/01/16/governments-mistakes-excite-me-nana-akomea/#sthash.2GRLTGYM.jSBqqZDA.dpuf

I attract votes; let me lead you – Samia to CPP members

A flagbearer aspirant of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Samia Yaba Nkrumah, is urging members of the party to choose her to lead the party in the November elections.

According to Samia, her track record of leadership in the party sets her apart from her competitors.

She is in the race with a former General Secretary of the party, Ivor Greenstreet, private legal practitioner and one-time presidential aspirant hopeful, Bright Akwetey and Joseph Agyapong.

Speaking to Citi News after her vetting at the party’s headquarters in Accra, the former Chairperson said she is the CPP’s best bet for victory in the coming election.

“I’ve led successful campaigns, on two occasions. I was central to the campaign for us to win our seat, first in Jomoro and then in Kumbumgu and even in Talensi I demonstrated that we can work on the ground very well smoothly with the PNC. So I think my track record as somebody who is capable of attracting votes is there for everyone to see.”

Meanwhile, another aspirant for the flagbearership slot, Joseph Agyepong, who is not very well known, believes he has the right vision to change the fortunes of the party

“Everybody is looking for a leader that has a vision and direction, a leader that is taking the party and nation into its destination. We have destination to go, Ghana has it and the party CPP also has it. So the question here is which candidate is ready to take this party into its destination of winning election? It’s only Joseph Agyepong who can do that. That is why the delegates are going to choose me to lead this party,” he added.

 

Source: citifmonline.com

Chelsea rescue late point against Everton

John Terry scored a controversial 98th minute equaliser to earn Chelsea a point in a thriller against Everton.

The Toffees took the lead when Terry put through his own net and Ross Barkley hit a post for Everton before Kevin Mirallas put the visitors 2-0 up.

Diego Costa reduced the margin and Cesc Fabregas's deflected shot made it 2-2.

Ramiro Funes Mori restored Everton's lead in the 90th minute only for Terry to back-heel in from close range - although he was a yard offside.

Relive the drama from Stamford Bridge

Everton undone by defensive failings

Everton's players were angry Terry's goal was allowed to stand, but in a pulsating game the visitors only had themselves to blame for allowing a 2-0 lead to slip.

They appeared to be coasting to a first win in four league outings when Mirallas doubled the lead with a crisp shot after Leighton Baines' cross.

Baines had also been instrumental in the first goal, Terry getting his feet into an awful tangle while attempting to clear his cross.

Costa comfortably rounded Howard to make it 2-1 after Phil Jagielka failed to deal with a long ball forward by Cesc Fabregas, who made it 2-2 with a deflected shot which deceived Howard.

More to follow.

Source: bbc.com

Manchester City moved top of the Premier League

Manchester City moved top of the Premier League by thrashing a lacklustre Crystal Palace side.

After a slow start from the hosts, midfielder Fabian Delph gave them the lead with a long-range drive that squirmed under Wayne Hennessey.

Striker Sergio Aguero doubled the advantage with an effort that deflected in off the head of Scott Dann.

Aguero finished off a sublime team move and David Silva added a fourth, with Palace winless in five league games.

The Eagles could have gone ahead in the first couple of minutes but defender Damien Delaney headed straight at Joe Hart when free inside the area.

Yohan Cabaye went close late on with an effort that flew narrowly wide, but Palace have now failed to score in their past five league games.

Clinical City signal intent

Manuel Pellegrini's side failed to score against Everton in their last league game, and there were concerns over the form of Aguero going into the game.

But the Argentine - who had scored just once in his past five league games - showed his class at a snowy Etihad Stadium, scoring twice and setting up the impressive Silva for another, as the hosts found the net with all four shots on target.

City's third was particularly special, as four players with a value of £141m combined to score - Aguero starting and finishing a move that also involved Silva, Yaya Toure and Kevin de Bruyne.

The Blues have not been beaten in the league since their 2-1 defeat at Arsenal before Christmas and, with Aguero and Silva hitting their stride after injury, are finding form at just the right time.

Eagles falling rapidly

As recently as 19 December - when Palace beat Stoke - there was talk of Alan Pardew's side challenging for a place in Europe, perhaps even in the Champions League.

Then, they had the same number of points as fourth-placed Tottenham, but an alarming slump has seem them drop to eighth in the table.

This was another game in which they failed to score or take a point. Having made a mistake in their defeat by bottom side Aston Villa in midweek, goalkeeper Hennessey was again at fault for City's opener.

Manager Alan Pardew was unhappy with the Welshman's performance - but he has problems at both ends of the field.

Pardew has admitted he needs to bring in a striker in the transfer window, and neither the hard-working Connor Wickham nor the ineffectual Marouane Chamakh forced Hart into a save.

Palace's best chance came in the second minute. Had skipper Delaney scored with his header, it could have been a different story, but their wait for a goal and a point continues.

What they said

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "Was it comfortable? No, because you never know in this game. The first half, the two goals gave us more space as they've had to go for the draw. That allowed us to use that space and score two more."

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew on the performance of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey: "Wayne is going to have to show me this week in training. A mistake at Villa, he needed to respond today and made another mistake.

"The ball is in his court to keep out the other two goalkeepers but I need to see it in training. I need to see a reaction from him."

What next?

Manchester City travel to West Ham next Saturday (17:30 GMT), while Crystal Palace host fellow Londoners Tottenham (15:00 GMT) on the same day.

Source: bbc.com

Tottenham maintains their challenge for a top-four finish

Christian Eriksen scored twice as Tottenham maintained their challenge for a top-four finish and deepened Sunderland's relegation worries.

Patrick van Aanholt gave the Black Cats the lead against the run of play but Eriksen levelled as Lee Cattermole failed to clear on the goalline.

Mousa Dembele fired Spurs ahead before Eriksen's 25-yard shot deflected in off Sunderland debutant Jan Kirchhoff.

Harry Kane then converted a penalty after Kirchhoff fouled Danny Rose.

Tottenham remain in fourth, while Sunderland drop a position to 19th following Newcastle's win over West Ham.

Relive Tottenham's win over Sunderland

Follow live coverage of Saturday's football

Spurs again come on strong in second half

Although routine in the end, it was an important victory for Tottenham having lost two of their previous three home league games to fall away slightly from the leading trio of Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester City.

Mauricio Pochettino's side are now unbeaten in their past 12 league games against Sunderland, although in 11 of them they have been level at half-time.

It was difficult to fathom how that was the case on Saturday as they totally dominated the opening 45 minutes, enjoying 70% possession and 15 shots to the visitors' three.

Dutch left-back Van Aanholt, who netted against Swansea on Wednesday, beat Hugo Lloris at his near post from Adam Johnson's pass to give Sunderland an underserved lead.

Spurs were level within 91 seconds as Lee Cattermole could only deflect Eriksen's shot into the roof of the net on the goalline after Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - making his Premier League debut - saved from Kane.

Dembele's low left-foot shot gave Spurs a 2-1 lead and they noticeably relaxed from that point, stretching away thanks to Eriksen's second and Kane's 12th league goal of the season.

Kirchhoff caught out

Despite being on the back foot throughout, Sunderland had looked relatively secure for almost an hour and occasionally threatened on the break.

Buoyed by successive league wins over Aston Villa and Swansea, they largely restricted Spurs to shots from outside the box in the first half.

Their failure to protect their lead until half-time proved costly, although former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe - who had scored five in his previous two games - had a chance to restore it early in the second half.

He and Adam Johnson raced clear of the home defence but the counter-attack lost momentum and the 33-year-old fired into the side-netting.

Debutant centre-half Kirchhoff, signed from Bayern Munich, had only made one appearance this season prior to joining Sunderland this month.

He struggled after coming on in the 58th minute, with the foul on Rose for the penalty demonstrating how much he was off the pace.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said of Kirchhoff: "It's a bit risky signing players from abroad in January but we have to take that risk. Hopefully he learns from today."

'Outstanding' Pickford makes fine Premier League debut

Sunderland keeper Pickford spent the first half of the season on loan at Championship club Preston and Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said it would have been wrong not to recall him as he "made such an outstanding impact".

Allardyce hopes he can follow England Under-21 international predecessors Joe Hart and Jack Butland in graduating to the full national team and, despite conceding four goals, he made an impressive league debut, replacing Vito Mannone.

The 21-year-old, who has been on loan at six different clubs over the past four years, made superb saves at full stretch in the first half to deny Kane and Eriksen.

Pickford made further stops from Kane and Rose in the second period and was not at fault for any of the goals.

Manager reaction

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino told BBC Sport: "It was a good response to the Leicester defeat. I'm very pleased. We need to be patient.

"We had a lot of shots on target - their goalkeeper was fantastic. I feel very pleased in the last few games. The belief is fantastic. We have a very good, strong squad - today was a good example."

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce told BBC Sport: "Our players put themselves in one fantastic position and then in the space of a minute conceded. It's one of the reasons we ended up losing.

"If we came in at half-time 1-0 up we could have built on that. It was a really sloppy thing to do. We ran out of legs in the end. In the last quarter, physically we were tiring.

"I changed the shape but that didn't work. The scoreline, 4-1, looks more comfortable than it was."

On Jordan Pickford: "Playing a keeper at a young age is not an easy decision to make. But I thought he handled it well. He might not play too many more games this season because Vito Mannone has done a fantastic job. The rest of the team up to 65 minutes were doing the job right but in the last 20 they failed miserably."

The stats you need to know

Christian Eriksen has now scored in all four of his Premier League appearances against Sunderland (five goals).

Harry Kane has now scored 11 goals in his past 13 Premier League appearances.

Each of Sunderland's three goalkeepers (Costel Pantilimon, Mannone and Pickford) have conceded four goals in their first Premier League appearance of 2015-16.

What's next?

Tottenham travel to Leicester for an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday (19:45 GMT), which is live on BBC One, before a league trip to Crystal Palace next Saturday (15:00 GMT). Sunderland host fellow strugglers Bournemouth on the same day (15:00 GMT).

Source: bbc.com

Newcastle move out of the relegation zone

Jonjo Shelvey made an impressive debut for Newcastle as he helped his side move out of the relegation zone with a win over West Ham.

Shelvey had a hand in both goals as Ayoze Perez curled in a low shot before Georginio Wijnaldum side-footed in from six yards to make it 2-0.

A stray backpass by Chancel Mbemba let Nikica Jelavic score for the Hammers.

Newcastle squandered a number of chances but held on for a first win in six league games.

Magpies striker Aleksandar Mitrovic produced a hard-working performance but was denied by Hammers keeper Adrian three times.

Missed opportunities almost cost the home side, but keeper Rob Elliot kept out a 90th-minute Cheikhou Kouyate header with his knee.

Relive all the action from St James' Park here.

Follow reaction to Saturday's games here.

How good was Shelvey?

Very good. The 23-year-old midfielder, signed for £12m from Swansea, showed the kind of passing, creativity and energy which helped him break into the England squad earlier this season.

With just six minutes on the clock, Shelvey found Wijnaldum, who laid the ball off for Perez to open the scoring.

The new signing then helped set up his side's second with a raking 60-yard ball to Daryl Janmaat, who crossed for Wijnaldum to score his ninth Magpies goal of the season.

Victory moved Newcastle out of the relegation zone at the expense of Swansea, where Shelvey said he had been "hung out to dry".

"I've enjoyed every minute I've been up here," said Shelvey. "It's nice to get out there and show what I am about.

"It's not about me. It is about the team. We are out of the relegation zone and it's onwards and upwards from here.

"I'm very shocked this team is in and around the relegation places. Normally it is hard coming into a new team and slotting straight in, but credit to the players and staff here."

McClaren finally beats Bilic

Steve McClaren was cruelly dubbed the 'wally with the brolly' when his England side were beaten by a Croatia team managed by Slaven Bilic in 2007.

That defeat ended England's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008, and McClaren duly lost his job.

Bilic also came out on top when the Hammers won the reverse fixture earlier this season, but McClaren deservedly emerged victorious this time.

The visitors were overwhelmed in the first half and, despite improving after the break, would have been beaten more convincingly had it not been for Adrian.

More to follow.

Source: bbc.com

Southampton ease past West Brom.

Southampton followed up their midweek victory over Watford with a convincing home win against West Brom.

James Ward-Prowse scored a brilliant 25-yard curled free-kick and a penalty for his first goals of the season as Saints cruised into a half-time lead.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis made two attacking changes at the break but the home side remained in charge.

Serbian forward Dusan Tadic sealed the three points from a tight angle after a clever pass from Matt Targett.

Ronald Koeman's Southampton move up to 10th in the Premier League table, while the Baggies stay 13th.

Re-live Southampton v West Brom

Reaction to all of Saturday's games

Southampton make it look easy

Shane Long and Sadio Mane sparkled up front for Southampton, Tadic made a brilliant contribution with his goal, while last season's top scorer Graziano Pelle was on the bench.

Before you even get to midfielder Ward-Prowse's two goals, the signing of Charlie Austin from QPR certainly leaves the Saints with plenty of scoring options.

Austin was watching on from the stands, and will have been delighted with what he saw from his new team-mates, who played with real fluency and verve going forward.

The only minor concern for Austin could be over how regularly he will fit into a team that appears to have rediscovered the qualities that drove them into a seventh-place finish last season.

The other side of West Brom

The Baggies' showing at St Mary's was a world away from the dogged away performance that earned a 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Wednesday.

There was little of the determined harrying that unsettled the home side at Stamford Bridge, with Southampton at times afforded far too much time on the ball.

The highlight of the away side's opening 45 minutes was a back-heeled clearance off the goalline by James McClean to block Targett's low shot - denying the 20-year-old a deserved goal for his excellent overall performance.

In West Brom's defence there was an improvement after Pulis' attack-minded substitutions at the break, but Southampton were intelligent in the way they protected the lead, and ruthless in the way they extended it.

The stats you need to know

  • West Brom didn't manage a single shot on target for the third time this Premier League season - more than any other side
  • James Ward-Prowse was the first Southampton player to score a Premier League goal from a direct free-kick since Rickie Lambert in February 2014
  • Ward-Prowse scored more goals in this match than he had in his previous 92 Premier League appearances for Southampton
  • Dusan Tadic now has more goals this season than he managed in 2014-15, with four goals

What next?

West Brom play away at Bristol City in an FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday before hosting Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday. Southampton's next match is at Manchester United in the league, also on Saturday.

Source: bbc.com

Bournemouth beat relegation rivals Norwich City

Bournemouth easily overcame relegation rivals Norwich City to move five points clear of the bottom three.

The Cherries led when Dan Gosling headed in Marc Pugh's cross.

Bournemouth wanted a penalty when Russell Martin held back Charlie Daniels in the area, and Norwich keeper Declan Rudd was fortunate not to be sent off for fouling Benik Afobe.

But Vadis Odjidja brought down Pugh to allow Daniels to score from the spot before Benik Afobe rounded off the win.

It ended a four-game winless run in the Premier League for Eddie Howe's men, who climb above their opponents into 15th.

Relive Bournemouth's win over Norwich

Read all of Saturday's Premier League reaction

And it could have been more for the Cherries

It was Norwich who came into the game in better form, having won three of their past five matches in the league, but this was a worrying performance against a side who came up with them from the Championship last season.

And the scoreline could have been even more emphatically in the home team's favour had referee Robert Madley decided to award a penalty for Martin's attempt to hold on to Daniels in the area, or opted to show Rudd a red card when the keeper clipped Afobe on his way through to goal.

It turned out the Cherries did not need the assistance of the official.

The tireless Pugh had already provided a superb cross for Gosling to nod in at the back post.

And in the second half Daniels, who was tremendous throughout, added an assist to his converted penalty by skipping past two Norwich players and sliding in a cross that allowed Afobe to poke in his first goal since joining from Wolves in a £10m move.

Afobe a clever purchase?

Norwich were reportedly among the clubs interested in signing Afobe in this transfer window, and they saw first hand at Dean Court that the 22-year-old has the strength, pace and finishing prowess to make an impact in the top flight.

The former Arsenal forward, who had scored nine Championship goals already this season, regularly held off Norwich's centre-half pairing of Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett, laying off the ball to bring team-mates into the game.

He outpaced the Canaries back four on his way to being clattered by Rudd in the first half, before picking the perfect place in the six-yard box to collect his first Premier League goal in the second.

Bournemouth did not even need to use their returning striker Lewis Grabban, a £7m signing from the Canaries this week, as the striker was said to be ill and watched the game from the stands.

Where do Norwich go from here?

There were few positives for Norwich to take away from the south coast, as they dwell on back-to-back defeats in the league that leave them four points above the bottom three.

Their only chance of note was an opening for Dieumerci Mbokani, whose attempted lob drifted 10 yards wide of goal.

Alex Neil's side defended horribly at times, with full-backs Martin and Robbie Brady too often beaten by Bournemouth's widemen.

And the hosts could have added to their tally if Rudd, who was fortunate to still be on the pitch, had not pulled off sharp saves in the second half from Pugh's mazy dribble and shot as well as Steve Cook's header.

More to follow.

Source: bbc.com

Inter Milan missed a chance to return to the top of Serie A

Inter Milan missed a chance to return to the top of Serie A after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

Roberto Mancini's side had to come from behind after Jeison Murillo's 17th-minute own goal.

They were level before half-time thanks to the game's second own goal from Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi.

Neither side could force a winner as Inter climbed to second, a point behind Napoli, who can increase their advantage against Sassuolo later today.

Inter fell behind when Murillo turned a Boukary Drame cross past Samir Handanovic.

But they equalised eight minutes later when Toloi sliced Mauro Icardi's drilled cross into his own net from six yards.

Handanovic produced a series of second-half saves to keep Atalanta at bay.

Source: bbc.com

Jason Rezaian and three other US prisoners freed in Iran

Iran has released Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American prisoners as it anticipates the lifting of international sanctions.

Rezaian, 39, was convicted of espionage in Iran last year.

The US citizens are being flown to Switzerland and will be taken to a US base in Germany for medical treatment.

The US said it was offering clemency to seven Iranians being held in the United States.

The other three Americans were named as Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.

A US official said a diplomatic channel was established "with the focus of getting our detained US citizens home".

"Iran has also committed to continue co-operating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson," the official said.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Mr Levinson is a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence mission.

A further 14 Iranians sought by the US would be removed from an Interpol wanted list, the US and Iran said.

The Iranian state news agency listed the seven Iranian citizens being held in the US as Nader Modanlo, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghani, Arash Ghahreman, Tooraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Saboun.

News of the releases came after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif predicted that international sanctions against his country would be lifted on Saturday.

He is in Vienna for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran's nuclear deal.

The international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected to confirm that Iran has scaled back its atomic activities in line with the agreement.

Billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets are expected to be released and the sale of Iranian oil on the world market will again be permitted.

Iran nuclear deal: Key details

Lifting sanctions would unfreeze billions of dollars of assets and allow Iranian oil to be sold internationally.

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post's Tehran correspondent, had been detained in Iran for more than a year before his sentencing last November. The WP has dismissed the charges as absurd.

The other three freed on Saturday were: Saeed Abedini, 35, a Christian pastor who had been imprisoned since July 2012 for organising churches in people's houses; Amir Hekmati, 32, a former Marine who spent more than four years in prison on spying charges following his arrest in August 2011 during a visit to see his grandmother. The detention of Khosrawi-Roodsari had not been previously released.


Analysis: Sebastian Usher, Middle East Editor, BBC World Service

For months after his arrest in 2014, there was uncertainty over what accusations Jason Rezaian was facing. He was held in the notorious Evin prison before finally being found guilty on charges that his lawyer said included espionage.

His newspaper vigorously denied this. President Barack Obama said he would not rest until he was freed. Now, his release has been announced in what Iran calls a prisoner swap - an indication he might have been used as a bargaining chip.

Coming just before sanctions are due to be lifted on Iran, his release removes a shadow that had lain over relations between Tehran and Washington even as they were thawing with the nuclear deal.

Jason Rezaian - Now a free man



Iran's press anticipates lifting of sanctions

Many newspapers have hailed "good days ahead" for the economy, but the hardline press has lamented nuclear restrictions, with Vatan-e Emruz declaring closing the Arak reactor amounted to a "nuclear burial".

Moderate Iran and reformist Mardom Salari feared Saudi Arabia and US Republicans would try to sabotage the deal, the latter predicting that "powerful hands will try to boobytrap this path".

Meanwhile Conservative Hemayat said the nuclear deal would not "resolve the problem with the village chief" - referring to the US - and hardline Keyhan argued that the deal had not led to a let-up in US "anti-Iranian propaganda".

Source: BBC Monitoring


What is the nuclear deal?

In July 2015, Iran agreed a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers to limit its sensitive nuclear activities for more than a decade in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions. The US is confident the agreement will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran says it has the right to nuclear energy - and stresses that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

When is 'implementation day'?

Iran will not see the UN, US and EU sanctions lifted until the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), certifies that it has fulfilled its commitments under the deal. The precise date of the so-called "implementation day" has not been determined. But Iran says it has met those commitments earlier than expected.

What does Iran stand to gain?

The sanctions have cost Iran more than more than $160bn (£102bn) in oil revenue since 2012 alone. Once they are lifted, the country will be able to resume selling oil on international markets and using the global financial system for trade. Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world and the energy industry is braced for lower prices. Iran will also be able to access more than $100bn in assets frozen overseas.

Source: bbc.com

Foreigners killed at Burkina Faso luxury hotel

Burkina Faso's government says 26 people were killed and a further 56 injured after Islamist militants attacked a hotel in the capital, Ouagadougou, popular with foreigners.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has said it carried out the attack, which began on Friday night.

Those killed come from at least 18 different countries, and include two French nationals.

Burkina Faso is to observe 72 hours of national mourning for the victims.

The siege at the Splendid Hotel was declared over after a joint operation by local and French security forces.

At least four attackers died in the assaults. There were claims that some of those involved were women.

As well as the luxury hotel, a cafe and another hotel nearby were targeted. The operation to take back the hotel lasted through the night and into the morning.

Bukinabe President Roch Kabore, who arrived at the scene on Saturday morning amid tight security, said at least 150 hostages had been liberated.

The French government said two of its nationals were killed in the assault, and one is known to be injured. French medical teams were providing support, and forensic officers were travelling to Ouagadougou, it added.

The UK's Foreign Office advised British nationals in Burkina Faso to avoid the area where the attack took place and monitor its travel advice.

In another development, the Burkina Faso government said a foreign doctor and his wife were kidnapped on Friday night in the north of the country, near the border with Mali. There was initial confusion over the pair's nationality - the Burkinabe government said they were Austrian, but later corrected this to Australian.

In November, an AQIM attack on a hotel in Bamako, capital of neighbouring Mali, left 19 people dead.


At the scene: Thomas Fessy, BBC Dakar correspondent

The area surrounding the Splendid Hotel has been cordoned off. Soldiers can still be seen walking in and out of the building but the siege is now over.

At least three cars parked right outside the front door are completely charred, the remains of another two sit just across the street. Two burnt motorbikes lie in the middle.

The light purple colour of the Splendid Hotel's front side now looks black, probably caused by the smoke generated by explosions.

The Yibi hotel, opposite the Splendid, also shows signs of the attack, and the authorities say at least one attacker was killed inside the building.

US hostage describes Burkina terror

Damaged vehicles outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 16 January 2016

The exterior of the Splendid Hotel was damaged by car bombs

A foreign soldier on a rooftop in Ouagadougou, 16 soldiers

A foreign soldier could be seen on the roof of the hotel

 

Militants attacked the Splendid and the nearby Cappuccino cafe on Friday evening, setting off several explosions. Both places are popular with UN staff and foreigners.

Survivors described how the militants went from person to person, touching their bodies to see if they moved.

"They started shooting, shooting, and everybody lay down on the ground," said Mariette, who escaped from the hotel with her younger sister.

"As soon as you lifted your head they would shoot straightaway, so you had to pretend to be dead. And they even came to touch our feet to check if we were alive. As soon as you were alive, they would shoot at you."


Background: Tomi Oladipo, BBC Africa security correspondent

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb grew from a remnant of a defunct rebel force, rooted in Algeria's civil war in the 1990s, into a wealthy and feared militant group that made its money from kidnapping Westerners and trafficking arms and drugs.

In 2007 it announced it had joined the al-Qaeda network to fight against Western interests. Later though, some of its members left to form their own factions. The most notable of these was Mokhtar Belmokhtar who was behind the 2013 siege of a gas plant in Algeria.

In November 2015 Belmokhtar's faction said it had worked with its parent group to attack a hotel in Mali. That signalled the mending of relations between some of the factions to rebuild the original AQIM, which was being overshadowed by its rival, the so-called Islamic State.

This latest attack in Burkina Faso would seem to be an attempt by AQIM not just to reinforce itself as the main jihadist group in the region, but also to show that it can spread its violent campaign to new frontiers.

Al-Qaeda in North Africa


Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the cafe terrace alone.

As the end of the siege at the Splendid was being announced, reports came in that militants had taken up position at the Yibi hotel, a short distance away. One attacker was killed at the Yibi, officials said later.

Remi Dandjinou, the Burkinabe communications minister, told the BBC earlier that between six and seven militants had attacked the Splendid, adding that they had been staying at the hotel as guests.

Mr Compaore said two black Africans and an Arab were among the militants killed.

Burkina Faso recently held its first presidential election since a coup earlier last year.

That coup toppled long-time leader Blaise Compaore, who had governed for 27 years.

Map of West Africa

Source: bbc.com

Ex Gitmo saga: Nana Addo likely to speak on it – Nana Akomea

The Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is likely to wade into the unpopular conversations regarding the resettlement of the two ex-Gitmo detainees in Ghana shortly.

The ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) has challenged the largest opposition Leader,Nana Akufo Addo, to make his position known to Ghanaians on the decision by government.

According to Communications Director of the party, Solomon Nkansah, it is important that Nana Addo who wants to become President is heard on what decision he would have taken if he were to be confronted with the situation upon assuming power.

However, the Communications Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM said “it’s an evolving issue; he may still speak but what the party has spoken has his consent.”

“Do you think the NPP will issue a statement if the flagbearer disagrees with it. How can the party issue a statement that he’s against?” he questioned.

He said the general citizenry are unhappy about what he described as the reckless decision taken by the government without recourse to rigorous consultations on the security implications of such move.

He argued that even some notable elements in the NDC-fold have come out very hard on the government for agreeing to the plea by the US government, when they themselves could not accept them on their own soil.

Meanwhile, the  United States Embassy in Accra has said there are no options for  Ghana to return the two back to them , insisting that it’s a done deal for the Yemeni nationals staying at least two years in Ghana.

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

Give Mahama 90% in corruption fight; he’s better than Kufuor – Agalga

Deputy Minister of Interior, James Agalga, says President John Mahama must be commended for his commitment towards the fight against corruption in Ghana. President Mahama  has been heavily criticized following the numerous corruption scandals recorded in his administration. His critics say he has been lackadaisical in his approach in dealing with the culprits.

These include alleged corruption deals in the GYEEDA contract, Subah Contract, embezzlement at the National Service Secretariat, the Woyome Judgement debt payment among others, and the recent use of Ghc 3.6 million of Ghana’s oil revenue to brand buses. Arguing his point on Citi FM’s news analysis and current affairs programme, ‘The Big Issue’, the Deputy Minister said President Mahama’s fight against the canker cannot be compared to what was done under the erstwhile Kufuor administration. “I think we should score the President high marks, maybe 90 percent. I have stated before that when it comes to President Mahama’s resolve to fight corruption, it is not comparable to what we saw under the eight years administration of Kufuor.”

“You have a President [Mahama] who appears before journalists of this country and says that I have assumed the mantle of leadership in this country and I have said that we will not shield anybody from corrupt practices. He gives you numerous examples of how he has tackled the issue of corruption. Besides, with the issue of the National Service Secretariat scandal, he personally authorized the BNI to commence investigations; hey have concluded with their investigations and the outcome is that the Boss and a lot of his lieutenants were sacked and are now facing trial. How else could a President fight corruption,” he argued.

Citing examples to support his claim that former President Kufuor’s fight against corruption was weak, Agalga  said Kufuor’s response to questions at a similar press conference on his resolve to fight corruption during his tenure, was nothing to write home about. “You have the same President Kufuor who spoke on corruption at a similar conference, we all saw how President Kufuor responded to the issues. It was at the castle gardens or so where he said that corruption was as old as Adam and Eve and that if he President Kufuor was to face the issue head-on his government will collapse.”

Source: citifmonline.com

Nana Addo would’ve rejected ex-Gitmo detainees – Akomea

Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea, says the party’s flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, would have turned down a request by the United States government for Ghana to host two former detainees of Guantanamo Bay in the country if he were in power. According to Akomea, former president Kufuor would also have done same in the same position. “The government of Kufuor wouldn’t have taken these people in at all in the first place.

Government of Nana Akufo-Addo would not have taken them in. His reason will be the same reason that Ghanaians have given. If America won’t, why do we want to take the things America doesn’t want. Are we a dumping ground?” he said on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News. A decision by the Mahama-led government to host two supposed terrorists from America, has been widely criticized despite assurances by the US government that the two pose no risk to Ghana. 

The NPP subsequently issued a statement to condemn the decision. When the sit-in host of Eyewitness News, Umaru Sanda, probed further and questioned why Nana Addo has been silent on the matter, Nana Akomea  said the flagbearer is solidly behind the statement issued by the party. He insisted that “do you think the NPP would issue a statement if the flagbearer disagrees with it? It’s not going to happen. How can the party issue a statement that he doesn’t agree with.? We will not issue a statement that he is against it. He may still speak but essentially what the party has said is what he stands by. The party has spoken,” he added. 

Source: citifmonline.com

Leicester City top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw away to Aston Villa

Leicester City returned to the top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw away to struggling Aston Villa.

Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring for City, reacting quickest to poke home after keeper Mark Bunn had athletically clawed out Jamie Vardy's lob.

Riyad Mahrez missed a chance to double the lead from the spot after a controversially-awarded penalty.

But Villa striker Rudy Gestede levelled after his second-half shot deflected past keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

In an eventful game for the Villa keeper, Bunn was booked early on for upending Vardy, who was through, but his touch had taken him away from goal.

Just before the half-hour mark, Bunn backpedalled to claw out Vardy's delicate chip, but Okazaki was the first to the rebound. It initially appeared that Bunn may have kept the second shot out, but goalline technology quickly ruled that the ball was over the line.

Leicester were presented with a chance to go 2-0 up in the first half when the assistant referee flagged for handball after Mahrez's shot hit the hand of the diving Aly Cissokho. Villa protested that the defender was simply protecting his face, and felt that justice was done when Mahrez's weak penalty was saved by Bunn.

The home side had their own strong claim for a penalty in the second half when Leicester defender Robert Huth wrapped his arm around Libor Kozak's head to get to a cross first, but the referee turned down the appeal.

Villa fought their way back into the game, and were eventually rewarded for their chances when Gestede did well to hold off the challenge of Huth. His shot took a big deflection off Wes Morgan as it went past Schmeichel.

Jamie Vardy had a chance to win it for Leicester in stoppage time, but he fired over from an angle.

Source: bbc.com

 

Roberto Martinez: Everton boss feels 'pure anger' at Terry goal

Everton boss Roberto Martinez said he was feeling "pure anger" after his side was denied victory by a controversial 98th-minute Chelsea equaliser.

John Terry was a yard offside when he salvaged a point for Chelsea in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Martinez, whose side were leading 2-0 and 3-2, said the officials had made two "major errors" as Terry's goal came after the allocated seven minutes of added time.

"It's heartbreaking," he added.

"Seven minutes of injury time, the last action happens in 97 minutes 51 seconds and John Terry is two yards offside.

"Maybe refs need a bit of help. But to have a player two yards off in the box is unacceptable.

"There is no explanation. It's a big, big error. It's not good enough."

Everton took the lead when Terry put through his own net before Kevin Mirallas sent the visitors 2-0 up.

Diego Costa reduced the margin and Cesc Fabregas's deflected shot made it 2-2.

The Toffees thought they had won it through substitute Ramiro Funes Mori in the 90th minute only for Terry to back-heel in from close range.

Everton are without a win in their past four Premier League games and have one win in nine.

Chelsea's interim manager Guus Hiddink suggested he might have spoken to the referee, Mike Jones, and told him to play additional stoppage time after Everton went 3-2 up.

"There was seven minutes extra time. I said to the fourth referee, 'OK they are celebrating at least one minute in the corner'."

Hiddink also admitted Terry's last-gasp equaliser was offside.

"[Martinez] is quite right, he was offside.

"Sometimes it's in our favour, I've seen it. Oscar touched the ball and John was offside but he made a beautiful goal."

Source: bbc.com

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late winner puts PSG 23 points clear at the top of Ligue 1

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner as Paris St-Germain moved 23 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 victory at Toulouse.

The Swede headed his 24th goal of the season after David Luiz flicked on a corner 17 minutes from time.

PSG maintained their bid to become the first team to complete an entire French top-flight season unbeaten.

Monaco can go second and trim the champions' lead to 21 points with victory at Lorient on Sunday.

Laurent Blanc's side were made to work hard for a ninth consecutive victory.

But once Ibrahimovic had broken the deadlock, they could have gone on to win by a bigger margin as Toulouse left gaps at the back in search of an equaliser.

The sides meet again in Paris on Tuesday in the French Cup.

PSG have lost just once in 31 competitive games this season, a 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League in November.

Toulouse remain in the bottom three after a six-game unbeaten run came to an end.

Source: bbc.com

Rooney earns win for Man United at Liverpool

Wayne Rooney's late strike settled a scrappy encounter to give Manchester United and manager Louis van Gaal a vital victory at Liverpool.

In a game that was a pale shadow of previous meetings between these two Premier League superpowers, Liverpool had the better chances and United keeper David de Gea kept his side in it with fine saves from Adam Lallana and Emre Can.

Jurgen Klopp's side wasted other opportunities and paid the price 12 minutes from time when Rooney fired United's first shot on target high past Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet after Marouane Fellaini's header came back off the bar.

Van Gaal's position had been under scrutiny after only two wins in United's previous 11 games - but victory at Anfield is the perfect tonic and his team are now in fifth, just two points off the Champions League places.

Relive all the action from Anfield

Phil McNulty answers your Premier League questions on the Match of the Day Facebook page 

Rooney still vital for United

Rooney's status as United and England's main man is often questioned - but once again he proved he remains, along with the outstanding De Gea, one of Van Gaal's most crucial players.

The 30-year-old lifelong Evertonian relishes winning at Anfield, and his delight was plain to see after he hammered home his first goal here since January 2005.

It was further proof he is undergoing a rejuvenation after criticism earlier this season, scoring twice in the 3-3 draw at Newcastle United and the winning goals in the FA Cup third-round victory against Sheffield United and the league match with Swansea City.

The question may be asked again soon - but there is still no evidence to suggest the Red Devils are a better side without Rooney than with him.

Klopp's task made clear

Liverpool have shown signs of promise in two big games at Anfield this week - but only earned a point against Arsenal with an injury-time equaliser and were beaten here.

Klopp is still trying to impose his "gegenpressing" style on Liverpool and it has worked better away - in impressive wins at Chelsea, Manchester City, Southampton and Stoke City - than it has at Anfield.

Liverpool were arguably the better team here but once again demonstrated a vulnerability to crosses and ran out of steam badly towards the end. The philosophy will not bear fruit until his defenders can clear a cross.

The struggles Klopp faces are summed up by the fact that, for the second game running, he was reduced to throwing defender Steven Caulker, a loan signing from QPR, on as a late substitute in attack.

The German has much work to do.

The friendly 'derby'?

Tongue in cheek, perhaps - but this was a far cry from the thunderous collisions between Liverpool and Manchester United when Scousers such as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher faced local products Gary and Phil Neville, as well as Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

Anfield, not helped by the lack of quality on offer, was subdued and the aggression that used to be this fixture's hallmark flared only briefly in a couple of early skirmishes involving Liverpool's Lucas and United midfielder Fellaini.

This was every inch a game between sides sitting sixth and ninth in the Premier League before kick-off.

It may have even come as a disappointment to Klopp after the build-up and the history. He called these games "the salt in the soup" - this one needed an awful lot of seasoning.

United's Jesse Lingard, born in Warrington, was as close to local as it got in the starting line-ups - and perhaps that explains the lack of fire and brimstone that used to be a starting point in these confrontations.

What the managers said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "I didn't see too many chances for Manchester United and we didn't take ours. Of course it is frustrating. We lost a game that we should not have lost.

"The goal was to defend and we didn't do it. That is our responsibility. We have to defend set pieces better.

"We did really well creating the chances, but there were a lot of situations where we could have created more chances and didn't. There were a lot of positive things but we lost in a derby against Manchester United."

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: "We know Wayne Rooney has played for Everton and now plays for United so he wants to score against Liverpool, it means a lot for him.

"We have made a good start in 2016, to beat Liverpool for the second time in a row is it marvellous, it gives a big boost for the players and the fans so I hope it shall continue with winning.

"That is why we are here, to win our games and at end of the season to be in the first three positions of the league."

Stats of the day

  • Rooney (176) has overtaken Arsenal's Thierry Henry (175) as the scorer of the most goals for a single club in Premier League history.
  • Rooney has scored in four successive games for United for the first time since March 2012.
  • Liverpool have conceded more goals from corners than any other team in the Premier League this season (7).
  • United have scored with all four of their shots on target against Liverpool this season in the Premier League.
  • Liverpool's failure to find the net ended an eight-game Premier League run of scoring at Anfield. It is the first time under Klopp they have not scored at home.
  • Van Gaal has won all four Premier League games against Liverpool.

What's next?

Liverpool are hoping to avoid another home defeat - and an embarrassing FA Cup exit - when they host Exeter in a third-round replay on Wednesday.

United are safely into the fourth round already, meaning they are not back in action until Saturday. Van Gaal's side welcome 10th-placed Southampton to Old Trafford in the Premier League.

Source: bbc.com

Arsenal top of the Premier League after a goalless draw at Stoke.

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League thanks to a point from a goalless draw at Stoke.

Arsene Wenger's side missed the creativity of Mesut Ozil, who was injured, but had chances to win the game only to be denied by Jack Butland.

The England goalkeeper tipped over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's long-range strike, before denying Olivier Giroud's header.

Stoke finished strongly as Jon Walters had a late header cleared off the line by Aaron Ramsey.

The draw means Arsenal move ahead of Leicester on goal difference. Stoke remain seventh.

Relive all the action from the Britannia Stadium

No Ozil, no party

Arsenal have started 2016 well poised to challenge for a first league title in 12 years, and key to their impressive form this season has been Ozil.

The German tops the Premier League assist chart with 16, so his absence on Sunday because of a foot injury was undoubtedly a big blow for the Gunners.

It did, however, provided Oxlade-Chamberlain with the chance to step up.

He certainly looked like he had a point to prove, forcing Butland into a fine one-handed save with a curling strike midway through the first half.

However, he was also guilty of losing possession at times and became increasingly anonymous as the game wore on.

If he is to prove himself an able deputy for Ozil, he will need to a show a lot more than he did on Sunday.

Must do better?

Arsenal may never get as good a chance to win the league as they will this season, with the challenge from their traditional title rivals faltering.

Arsene Wenger's side had lost just once in the eight games prior to the trip to Stoke, but Gunners fans might have been forgiven for feeling a little uneasy about their recent away form - they have now picked up just six points from a possible 18.

Arsenal were looking for their first win at the Britannia Stadium since 2010, so a victory at Stoke - especially without their talisman Ozil - would certainly have underlined their credentials as genuine title contenders.

In the opening stages of the game, however, they were second best, struggling to match Stoke's neat passing.

They improved as the game wore on, but not by much. Giroud's header - well saved by Butland - was their only effort on target in the second half.

Butland brilliant again

Stoke's attacking talent has, quite rightly, been getting plenty of praise this season but Butland has been just as impressive in the Potters' goal.

His total of 81 is more saves than any other goalkeeper has made in the Premier League this season and he was key to Stoke's frustrating of Arsenal.

His saves from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud kept his side in the game, allowing them to press in the closing stages as the visitors retreated, opting to protect the point.

As a consequence, Stoke could have snatched all three points just before full-time, but Walters' header from a corner was kept out by Ramsey, before Petr Cech blocked Joselu's follow-up.

What they said

Stoke boss Mark Hughes: "It was a game between evenly matched sides. Both teams approached the game in the right manner and created chances. All-in-all we're pleased. It shows our progress. Teams have found it difficult to get points here.

"We are showing everyone we have belief in our ability. There was a period where Arsenal had some play around the box without creating too much. It was a similar story at the other end.

"It was a competitive game. At times, there were good opportunities to put the ball in the box and so the only criticism I would have is that we were reluctant to do that."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Maybe we had a better opportunities to score, they played very well, very physical and were very direct, which is an unusual style for them.

"We needed to be strong physically and had a great spirit, we fought very hard but couldn't take our chances. It is a hard fought 0-0. We have done better than years before at this ground and showed we can fight even when we miss certain players.

"It shows the spirit in the team, the desire and togetherness. We were less creative but on the physical front we did well."

The stats you need to know

  • Mark Hughes is unbeaten on home soil as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in his past eight Premier League matches (W5 D3), spread across five clubs.
  • Stoke City have lost just one of their eight Premier League games at the Britannia Stadium against Arsenal (W4 D3 L1).
  • It's the first time since November 2012 versus Aston Villa that Arsenal have drawn 0-0 away from home in the Premier League.
  • The Gunners have won just one of their past six Premier League away games (D3 L2).

What next?

Stoke travel to high-flying Leicester on Saturday. Arsenal host Chelsea the following day.

Source: bbc.com

Barack Obama's migrant plan taken up by US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has said it will consider a challenge to one of President Barack Obama's key immigration reform plans.

The plan would lift the threat of deportation from five million migrants living illegally in the US.

A coalition of 26 mostly conservative states, led by Texas, has been successful in lower court challenges.

A decision from the highest US court is expected in the early summer, just as the US election gets into full swing.

"We are confident that the policies will be upheld as lawful," said White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine.

President Obama announced the plan, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), in November 2014.

He justified using his presidential powers, without Congress, by saying it was in response to inaction over the issue of immigration from Congress.


Analysis - Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

This will only heighten the drama surrounding this issue as the US presidential election season shifts into high gear this summer.

If the White House wins this case, the stakes could not be higher. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, has already pledged to expand upon Mr Obama's unilateral efforts.

Thanks to the efforts of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to push his party to the right on immigration policy, the Republican nominee - whatever his or her identity - will be nearly certain to reverse course from the first day in office.

If Obama loses the case, the outlook is somewhat murkier. Such a development could boost turnout of a frustrated Hispanic electorate, who largely support the Democrats.

Or it could rally conservatives who view the Supreme Court - whose future composition may be shaped by the next president - as their last bulwark against liberal power.

If allowed to go forward, it would allow people who have lived in the US for more than five years and who have children who are living in the country legally to apply for work authorisation.

In announcing the plan, Mr Obama said it would allow those who qualify to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law".

Challenges to the plan began shortly after Mr Obama's announcement, with a federal court in Texas effectively putting a pause on it in February.

The Obama administration lost an appeal in November, keeping the injunction in place.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in April and deliver its decision by late June, about a month before the Republican and Democratic parties gather for their nominating conventions.

The White House has vowed to kickstart the programme if the court backs the plan, so migrants could began enrolling before a new president takes office in January 2017.

One of the largest questions looming over the case is whether the state challengers have the right to do so.

Texas argues it will have to spend millions of dollars to provide driver's licences to people who are part of the programme.

The issue of immigration has become a controversial and polarising issue in the 2016 presidential race.

Leading Democrat Hillary Clinton has said she would maintain and expand President Obama's reforms, while her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump has said he would reverse the reforms and step up enforcement.

Source: bbc.com

Flint, Michigan water contamination: Obama declares emergency

US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, where the water has become contaminated with lead.

The city's water became contaminated after a change in supplier in 2014. Corrosive water leached lead from old pipes into the water supply.

Lead reportedly leached from old pipes into the water supply, after a change in supplier in 2014.  and residence say tap water 'made our hair fall out'.

The emergency declaration will unlock $5m (£3.5m) in federal funding.

Earlier in the week, Governor Rick Snyder had requested $31m from the federal government.

He said the need in the city of almost 100,000 people "far exceeds the state's capability" and sought a disaster declaration.

But reports in Michigan said Mr Obama denied that request, that would have freed up more than the $5m, as such declarations are only made for natural disasters.

In October, testing revealed increased lead levels in water supplies and in children's blood. Lead exposure can cause learning disabilities and behavioural problems in children.

Before then, residents had complained of discoloured water, bad smells and headaches and rashes from using the water from the city's new supplier.

The city switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River in 2014. It has since switched back to Detroit's water.

Michigan's attorney general has said he will investigate the water crisis to see whether any state laws were violated.

The lack of clean water in Flint "is a human tragedy in which families are struggling even with the most basic parts of daily life", said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Mr Snyder has already declared an emergency in Flint due to the water situation. Local officials deemed it a public health emergency in October.

He has been criticised for his handling of the water crisis, with protesters calling for him to resign.

As a result of Mr Obama's announcement, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) will co-ordinate the response in Flint.

On Saturday, the singer Cher said she would donate bottled water to Flint residents, with some 180,000 bottles to be shipped.

"This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it's happening in the middle of our country," she said.

Source: bbc.com

 

Hawking: Humans at risk of lethal 'own goal'

Humanity is at risk from a series of dangers of our own making, according to Prof Stephen Hawking.

Nuclear war, global warming and genetically-engineered viruses are among the scenarios he singles out.

And he says that further progress in science and technology will create "new ways things can go wrong".

Prof Hawking is giving this year's BBC Reith Lectures, which explore research into black holes, and his warning came in answer to audience questions.

He says that assuming humanity eventually establishes colonies on other worlds, it will be able to survive.

"Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years.

"By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.

"However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period."


Reith Lectures: Prof Stephen Hawking

Prof Hawking's first Reith Lecture will be broadcast on 26 January and on 2 February at 9am on BBC Radio 4. BBC World Service listeners can tune in on 26 January at 15:06 GMT and 2 February at 15:06 GMT or catch up online via www.bbc.com/worldserviceradio

BBC News online will be publishing the text of Prof Hawking's lectures with accompanying notes by our science editor, David Shukman.

iWonder: A brief history of Stephen Hawking


It is ironic that such a prominent figure in science identifies scientific progress itself as the major source of new threats.

On previous occasions, he has highlighted the potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming powerful enough to cause the extinction of the human race.

But he insists that ways will be found to cope.

"We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognise the dangers and control them. I'm an optimist, and I believe we can."

Asked for advice for young scientists, Prof Hawking said they should retain a sense of wonder about "our vast and complex" Universe.

"From my own perspective, it has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics. There is nothing like the Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before."

But he also said that future generations of researchers should be aware of how scientific and technological progress is changing the world, and to help the wider public understand it.

Stephen Hawking

Prof Hawking said humans are creating "new ways things can go wrong"

"It's important to ensure that these changes are heading in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.

"So communicate plainly what you are trying to do in science, and who knows, you might even end up understanding it yourself."

Since his diagnosis with motor neurone disease, Prof Hawking's determination to overcome the immense physical challenges of his disability has been a source of worldwide admiration and fascination.

His daughter Lucy, a journalist and writer, who has co-written children's science books with Prof Hawking, was asked to explain his drive.

"I think he's enormously stubborn and has a very enviable wish to keep going and the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going," she said.

"But not just to keep going for the purposes of survival, but to transcend this by producing extraordinary work, writing books, giving lectures, inspiring other people with neurodegenerative and other disabilities, and being a family man, a friend and a colleague to so many people and keeping up with friends across the world."

Source: bbc.com

 

Kenyan Muslim who shielded Christians in al-Shabab attack dies

A Muslim teacher who shielded Christian fellow passengers when their bus was attacked by Islamist militants has died in surgery to treat his bullet wound.

Salah Farah was on a bus travelling through Mandera in Kenya when it was attacked by al-Shabab in December.

The attackers told the Muslims and Christians to split up but he was among Muslim passengers who refused.

A bullet hit Mr Farah and almost a month on, he died in hospital in the capital, Nairobi.

In previous attacks in the area, al-Shabab has killed Christians and spared Muslims.

At the time, Mr Farah told the BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay that attackers had offered him an escape.

"They told us if you are a Muslim, we are safe. There were some people who were not Muslim. They hid their heads," he said.

However, he recalled to Kenya's The Daily Nation that people were told to separate but they refused.

"We asked them to kill all of us or leave us alone."

Explaining his actions, he told Voice of America earlier this month that "people should live peacefully together".

"We are brothers.

"It's only the religion that is the difference, so I ask my brother Muslims to take care of the Christians so that the Christians also take care of us... and let us help one another and let us live together peacefully".

After his death, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet paid tribute to Mr Farah, telling Kenya's Standard Mr Farah was "a true hero".

Mr Farah's brother Rashid told Kenya's The Star newspaper he hoped his brother's death would bring religious harmony and encourage Kenyans to live as one community.

Source: bbc.com

Pupils in poor countries lack textbooks, says Unesco

Pupils in the poorest countries are suffering from a lack of basic textbooks, according to a report from a United Nations agency.

The study from Unesco gives examples such as reading books in Cameroon being shared between 12 students.

The report is calling for a more centralised buying system which would make them more affordable.

Report director Aaron Benavot says textbooks are an important way of raising standards in school.

"Next to a good teacher, well-designed textbooks in sufficient quantities are the most effective way to improve students' learning," says Mr Benavot, director of Unesco's Global Education Monitoring Report.

The report suggests the process of distributing textbooks should be approached in the same systematic way as public health programmes.

"We must learn from health and set up a new system so that textbooks can move cheaply and effectively from a printing house to school and into the hands of children," says Mr Benavot.

Unesco says that hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by a better co-ordinated procurement process.

At present, the different distribution systems around the world, which mean that many pupils have no meaningful access to books, suffer from unreliable funding, a lack of transparency about how money is spent and a failure in predicting demand.

The lack of availability of textbooks from schools means that many families would have to pay for their own copies, which would be unaffordable to the poorest.

Unesco says that in 12 African countries, paying for schools accounts for a third of total household spending.

The report warns that rising numbers of pupils in countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Namibia are making textbooks even scarcer.

There is a warning of a lack of spending on textbooks by governments, with some using less than 1% of education budgets on books.

The Unesco study claims that providing one textbook per pupil in sub-Saharan African countries would increase literacy scores by between 5% and 20%.

The report highlights that the lack of textbooks is not limited to Africa as there are also many pupils without books or having to share them in Paraguay and Argentina.

There have been warnings from the OECD economic think tank that the amount of overseas aid to the poorest countries is falling, as international aid is increasingly being diverted to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Source: bbc.com

Stonebwoy, Guru, Quata, others at Onua FM launch

TV3’s sister radio station, Onua FM, was officially launched over the weekend.

The event was climaxed with a musical concert at Kasoa Odupong-Kpehe Park where artistes including Stonebwoy, Guru, Joyce Blessing, Patience Nyarko and Quata treated patrons to amazing performances.

After quite a long absence from the music scene, rapper Quata proved that he was still a force to reckon with. He performed some of his old tracks which the crowd sang along and later dropped his new joint. His tongue-twisting style won him the hearts of patrons.

The most exciting moment was when Stonebwoy came on stage unannounced. The response from the crowd was one which is inexpressible. The audience broke the barricade between them and the stage in an attempt to catch a clear glimpse of the performance. The situation was however, brought under control with the help of the security and Stonebwoy who pleaded with his fans to go back if they want him to continue.

With a huge audience, tight security [police, ambulance, and fire service], good sound, lightening among others, one could conclude that the event was highly successful.

Source: pulse.com.gh

 

Mahama sacks Ajet-Nasam, two others as High Court Judges

Flamboyant Judge, Ajet-Nasam, together with Justice Ernest Obimpeh, have been sacked by President John Mahama as Justices of the High Court on grounds of stated misbehaviour.

The President has also directed His Lordship Justice Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah to vacate his post on grounds of stated incompetence and misbehaviour.

A statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong and released in Accra Tuesday said the decision by the President follows his acceptance of the recommendations of a Five-Member Impeachment Committee that investigated their conduct in accordance with Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Committee was chaired by a Justice of the Supreme Court.

The two Justices are among the High Court Judges against whom Tiger Eye PI submitted a petition for their removal from office on grounds of stated misbehaviour.

In August last year, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood received two petitions from Tiger Eye PI, an investigative firm led by ace journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas – one was in respect of twelve (12) High Court Judges while the other was on the twenty-two (22) Circuit Court Judges and Magistrates.

The petition against the High Court Judges requested the President to initiate impeachment proceedings against them in accordance with Article 146 of the Constitution.

In the case of Justice Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah, the statement in part said several complaints of absenteeism were filed against him by users of the court and a leading legal firm.

Further to that, a formal petition was submitted to the Chief Justice on January 8, 2015, complaining that the Judge persistently absented himself from court.

According to the Judicial Secretary, the Chief Justice on receiving the complaints asked Justice R. C. Azumah to appear before a Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Council for Superior Court Judges.

“The Committee found his conduct to be in breach of his Judicial Oath and office, in continuously failing to sit without permission or stated reason. On receipt of the report of the Disciplinary Committee, the Judicial Council decided that Justice Azumah should be impeached. The Council, therefore, submitted a petition to His Excellency the President to that effect”, the statement in part read.

According to the Statement, President Mahama on receiving the petition and in line with Article 146 (3) requested the Chief Justice to set up a Committee to investigate the matter pursuant to Article 146 (4) of the constitution.

“The Committee’s recommendations have been accepted by the President in accordance with Article 146 (9) of the constitution, thus the removal from office as a Justice of the High Court”.

Justice Azumah, has therefore, been directed to hand over his bungalow and all official properties in his possession including the official Government vehicle, Dockets and Record Books to the Judicial Secretary forthwith.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

Gitmo Saga: A sad example of Mahama’s failure of leadership – Akufo-Addo

The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described the ongoing saga involving the arrival into Ghana of two Guantanamo Bay detainees as yet another example of the failure of leadership on the part of President Mahama.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the law, as contained in Section 35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008, (Act 762), prohibits the transaction into which President Mahama has entered with the United States government. In addition to this, the President’s decision not to consult the relevant stakeholders in the country, so as to assuage the fears of Ghanaians, has resulted in heightened levels of fear amongst Ghanaians.

Had President Mahama done the needed consultations, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the “Ghanaian people may well have been spared the disquieting anxiety, in this time of justifiably heightened fear of global terrorism, that we are being led by a President who, ostensibly in the name of compassion, prefers to ignore laws designed to defend the most sensitive area of all, our nation’s security.”

The NPP flagbearer made this known when he delivered a tribute in honour of the late Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih in Wa, at an event of homage held on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

According to the NPP flagbearer, President Mahama’s failure in showing leadership in this matter “is a sad example of his belief that he is answerable to no one, not even to the laws of the Republic, like s.35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Act 760), which, as President, he is sworn to uphold.”

Section 35 (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008, (Act 762), states that “The Director of Immigration or an officer authorised by the Director shall not grant an endorsement or authority to permit a person to enter this country if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is, will or has been involved in the commission of a terrorist act.”

“Since he claims that only Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor have the right to criticize him, I would have wished that he had found it worthy to consult both of our two former national leaders before he took this grave decision that has consequences for us all,” he said.

To this end, Nana Akufo-Addo admonished all Ghanaians, regardless of their political or religious affiliations, to “refrain from introducing religious divisions into the debate, for the issue at stake is not a religious one.”

Source: kasapafmonline.com

Bank of Ghana forces Public Account Committee to suspend sitting

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) was forced to suspend its sitting, Tuesday, after Bank of Ghana (BoG) officials who are appeared before it for questioning told the Committee that they had no knowledge about the issues they’ve been summoned to respond to.

The officials, Gabriel Bokor, Deputy Chief Manager, Banking Department and Lesley Akron, Assistant Manager, Banking Department, had told the Committee that they were only notified to appear before the PAC “this morning” and pleaded that the Committee spares them from further questions.

“My Lord, we did get any direct message from the Governor to the fact that we have to be here”, calm looking Akron told the Committee after introducing himself.

Then you can’t assist us in the work that we are going to do because there are several queries against the Bank of Ghana”, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Chairman of the PAC retorted.

But Mr. Akron replied “We were actually told to come and plead with the Committee if we would have an insight into the issues and then we would get back to the authorities to get the appropriate answers so we that we get the appropriate people to go. We were actually expecting our Chief Internal Auditor and a few other people to lead us but …”.

The Bank of Ghana were billed to appear before the PAC to respond to queries raised by the Auditor-General in its reports on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the year ending December 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

A senior member of the Committee, Hon. Abubakar Dey who was not enthused with the response of the Bank of Ghana officials told the panel that it was better to let them (BoG officials) go since they were not prepared for the encounter.

“Chairman, I think they are not prepared. The Governor had the letter inviting him. He can forward it to the appropriate section to work on it before coming here than just come and say you will sit down and listen. No, it is not acceptable. If they are not ready, they should go back”, he noted.

After listening to some additional views from the members of the Committee, the Chairman was left with no option than to suspend the sitting to Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

Before engaging the officials from the BoG, the Committee was halfway through with their engagement with officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) led by their Commissioner, George Blankson and some other officers from the Controller & Accountant-General’s Department as well as the Audit Service.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

Javier Mascherano: Barcelona player in court to avoid prison term

Barcelona and Argentina defender Javier Mascherano has appeared in court aiming to avoid going to prison over a 1.5m euros (£1.1m) tax fraud.

Mascherano, 31, previously admitted two counts of fraud after failing to declare earnings in 2011 and 2012.

A judge will now rule if Mascherano can pay an increased fine to avoid jail, according to reports in Spain. 

He is alleged to have attempted to conceal earnings from his image rights by using companies he owns abroad.

A court filing released last year confirmed the player had repaid 1.75m euros - the full amount plus interest.

Following the latest hearing at a court in Catalonia, the former Liverpool and West Ham player tweeted a statement, saying:  "I'm a sporting professional, I don't have a great understanding of taxes and law.

"To deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people.

"Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in. "

Source: bbc.com

'Crippling' snow storm could slam US east coast

Hundreds of thousands of people along the US mid-Atlantic region should be bracing for "perhaps crippling" snow, the National Weather Service has said.

Forecasters say up to 16in (40.6cm) of snow could fall over the weekend in an area that spans big cities such as Washington and Philadelphia.

Blizzard warnings have been issued in some areas, warning of heavy winds and wet snow could lead to power outages.

Earlier storms on Wednesday left drivers in hours-long gridlock.

Crews have cleared roads in the Washington, Virginia and Maryland areas after a small storm left roads icy just ahead of rush hour commutes.

There were reports of otherwise routine short commutes lasting up to three hours, and of some people abandoning their cars.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted an apology to her constituents, saying that officials had "failed to deploy the necessary resources in response to the snow - for that I am sorry".

However, National Weather Service forecasters are warning that Wednesday's storms were just a prelude to a powerful storm that will hit the region on Friday and last until Saturday night.

The details of the coming storm remain uncertain.

When exactly the storm will begin and predictions of the amount of snow that will fall have varied.

"There's a lot of details that are yet to be seen," Rich Otto of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said. "Subtle changes can make a big difference. We've seen that in storms in the past."

Across the US east coast at a glance:

  • grocery store queues are long with residents purchasing milk, laundry detergent and other necessities
  • classes were cancelled at schools in Kentucky and Tennessee, the first states being affected by the storm
  • major airlines are allowing travellers in affected regions to rebook onto flights ahead of or after the storm.
  • Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested Humvees from the National Guard so that emergency responders can reach isolated people and places
  • West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has activated the National Guard to assist with the storm that could dump 2ft of snow in some parts of the state
  • in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania officials are touting large salt stockpiles and plough vehicles in good repair
  • in southern New England broadly, predictions are uncertain, but officials are preparing for up to 6in of snow

Source: bbc.com

Flint water crisis: Barack Obama says people 'short-changed'

US President Barack Obama has pledged his support to the Michigan city beset by a water contamination crisis, saying Flint had been "short-changed".

Speaking from nearby Detroit, he said: "If I were a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kid's health could be at risk."

The city's water became contaminated when lead leached from old pipes after a change in supplier in 2014.

Since then, residents have complained of bad smells, headaches and rashes.

Unable to drink tap water, the National Guard has joined volunteers in distributing lead tests, filters and bottled water.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has faced calls to resign over the way he has handled the crisis.

On Wednesday he released a batch of emails from 2014 and 2015 concerning the issue.

One email suggests that a day after doctors reported high levels of lead in local children, one of the governor's top advisers told him city officials, not state officials, had to "deal with it".

The switch to a river water source was a money-saving move when the city was under state financial management.

The water from Flint River stripped lead from the pipes and into the supply.

Lead exposure can cause learning disabilities and behavioural problems in children.

Last week, Mr Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, which is predominantly an African-American, working-class city.

That declaration brought $5m (£3.5m) in federal aid but was far short of the $31m requested by Republican governor Mr Snyder.

Protests in Michigan

Governor Rick Snyder is blamed by protesters

A day after meeting Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, the president said: "I told her we are going to have her back and all the people of Flint's back as they work their way through this terrible tragedy.

"It is a reminder that we can't short-change the basic services we provide to our people."

Mr Snyder has urged Mr Obama to class the crisis as a federal disaster, saying its severity poses an "imminent and long-term threat" to residents.

By classing it as such, on the same level as natural disasters, the city would be able to get much more federal aid.

In an interview this week, Mr Snyder admitted it was a disaster but denied it was his "Katrina moment" - a reference to the much-criticised response of President George W Bush to the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005.

Source: bbc.com

Kenya troops killed by 'huge bomb' in Somalia attack

Explosives three times as powerful as the bomb used in the 1998 US embassy attack in Nairobi were used against Kenyan troops last week, the army says.

A Kenyan contingent of the African Union force in Somalia was attacked by al-Shabab militants in el-Ade, in the south of the country.

Kenya has not said how many soldiers died, but al-Shabab puts the figure at more than 100.

The army has asked people to be patient while it investigates what happened.

In 1998 more than 200 people died when al-Qaeda attacked the US embassy in Kenya's capital, in one of the first operations launched by the jihadist group.

Kenya's Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathe told journalists in Nairobi to imagine the damage that "three of those in that small defensive position" can cause.

The BBC's Wanyama Chebusiri in Nairobi says that anxiety and anger has gripped the country in the wake of last week's attack in Somalia and Gen Mwathe may be psychologically preparing the country for news of a large loss of life.

The armed forces chief said that given the size of the explosion, DNA tests may be required for the identification of some of those who died.

But while Kenyans wait for answers, Gen Mwathe said that people should "exercise patience and support out families" as an investigation is carried out.

US embassy after the 1998 bombing

The US embassy was razed to the ground by the attack in 1998

Last week, an al-Shabab official told the BBC that its fighters had attacked the base after morning prayers, starting with a car bomb before storming the facility.

"We took control of the base after one hour of fierce fighting," he said.

Al-Shabab was ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011, but still has a presence in large areas of southern Somalia and often stages attacks across the country.

Kenyan sent troops into Somalia to help the government battle al-Shabab in 2011.

Source: bbc.com

Sammy Crabbe sues NPP for wrongfully suspending him

The suspended 2nd National Vice-Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Crabbe, has filed a suit against the elephant family at the High Court, seeking among other things a relief that the court overturns the decision and reinstate him.

The aggrieved party stalwart has described his suspension by the Disciplinary Committee of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition as illegal since the action infringes on the party’s constitution.

He therefore, wants the Human Rights Division of the High Court to annul the decision of the party which was taken on December 10, 2015, after receiving petitions from two party faithful over his conduct.

The suit, which was filed by Counsel of the Plaintiff, Ekow S. Ampah Korsah argued that the entire process leading to the suspension of Mr. Crabbe was fraught with illegalities and therefore wants the court to intervene in the matter.

Counsel Korsah buttressed his claim with Article 10 of the NPP Constitution which sets the tone for the removal and suspension of officers from the level of constituency, regional and national officers.

Article 10 of the NPP constitution states that: 1 (a) Whenever forty percent (40%) of the delegates that elect Constituency, Regional or National Officers as the case may be, give written notice to the Constituency, Regional or National Executives as the case may be, of the demand for the removal of any elected officer the Executive Committee which receives such notice shall within one (1) week of receipt of the notice circulate such notice to all delegates affected.

(b) The petition for the removal of an officer shall be on stated grounds, a copy of which shall be given to the affected officer who shall be given the opportunity to be heard by a body constituted by the Executive Committee.

2. Within one (1) month of the circulation of such notice referred to in clause (1), the said Executive Committee shall summon an Extraordinary Delegates Conference to deliberate and decide on the matter.

3. In the case of the demand for the removal of any Member of the Constituency Executive Committee, the written notice shall be given to the Regional Executive Committee. With respect to the removal of Regional Officers, the written notice shall be submitted to the National Executive Committee while in the case of the removal of National Executive Officers, the written notice shall be to the National Council.

4. Upon receipt of the written notice, the Constituency, Regional, National Executive Committee or National Council as the case may be, may suspend the officer from acting in his or her office pending the holding of the Emergency Delegates Conference.

According to the statement of claim, it is based on the above stated provision that the Plaintiff feels that he had been handed a raw deal, hence, the court action for a review.

Counsel further argued that since there was no written notice for the suspension of Mr. Crabbe from office, in consonance with Article 10(4) of the NPP Constitution, the DC lacked jurisdiction to have taken a decision over the matter.

It added that the National Executive Committee (NEC) also lacked the jurisdiction to have upheld the indefinite suspension decision by the Disciplinary Committee.

The motion for hearing, Kasapafmonine.com learnt, will be moved on January 27, 2016.

Source: Kasapafmonine.com

Court orders NPP Klottey Korle Parliamentary primary re-run

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is expected to soon hold a re-run of Parliamentary primary for the Klottey Korle constituency, after an Accra High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by the disputed Parliamentary Candidate, Nii Noi Nortey, which sought to set aside a default judgment.

Counsel for the petitioners in the 2012 Presidential petition, Phillip Addison, who was a defeated aspirant in the primary, sued the NPP at the High Court, demanding annulment of the results.

Mr. Addison and another, Nii Adjei Tawiah insisted the election on August 2 which was won by Valentino Nii Noi Nortey was illegal.

According to them, more than half of the delegates were disenfranchised, and that the organization of the election was in violation of the tenets of democratic principles that are supposed to govern the elections.

They also claimed there was no accreditation and that the register that was used was not certified.

The elections they said violated article 55 of the New Patriotic Party’s constitution. consequently they asked the court to declare that the election was an illegality.

The NPP’s late entry of appearance in the case resulted in the court awarding default judgment against the party late last year. But Noi Noi Nortey later filed to join the case and wanted the judgment set aside.

The party however then took steps to settle the matter when the NPP through its counsel Dr Opoku Adusei asked for the impasse to be settled using the parties internal mechanisms. The court subsequently granted the request.

However in an attempt to settle the matter at a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the party proposed a re-run of the election, which Valentino Nii Noi Nortey strongly objected to, a development which left the party with no option than to wash its hands from the case and allow the court to determine which way to go.

When the case was called today (Tuesday) the Presiding Judge Patience Mills Tetteh in ruling on the matter dismissed Nii Noi Nortey application of setting the judgment aside, paving the way for a re-run of the election which promises to be keenly contested.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

Akufo-Addo not fit to talk about Guantanamo detainees – Gov’t

The Government of the Republic of Ghana has rebuffed claims by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) that its acceptance of the Guantanamo Bay cleared terrorists who are currently residing in Ghana is a “sad example of Mahama’s failure of leadership”.

The opposition party’s leader, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday told a large crowd of party faithful in Wa that President Mahama acted in breach of Section 35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008, (Act 762).

That aside, he said the President’s decision not to consult the relevant stakeholders in the country to assuage the fears of Ghanaians, has resulted in heightened levels of fear amongst the citizenry.

“Had President Mahama done the needed consultations the Ghanaian people may well have been spared the disquieting anxiety, in this time of justifiably heightened fear of global terrorism that we are being led by a President who, ostensibly in the name of compassion, prefers to ignore laws designed to defend the most sensitive area of all, our nation’s security.”

The NPP Presidential candidate was delivering a tribute in honour of the late Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih.

But the Minister of Communications, Edward K. Omane Boamah in a statement released in Accra Wednesday said the opposition leader’s claims lacked basis and is even not fit to talk about the issue at stake.

Besides, he said the Anti-Terrorism Act the opposition leader quoted to buttress his argument in criticizing President Mahama for accepting the Gitmo cleared terrorists who are undergoing rehabilitation in Ghana is a complete misrepresentation of the facts.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Government wishes to place on record that at all times it has acted strictly within the law. Any claims, therefore, by Mr Akufo-Addo and his assigns to the contrary are false and a complete misinterpretation of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Act 762).”

“By section 35(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008 (Act 762), the Director of Immigration or an officer authorised by him shall not grant a person entry into the country if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person: a) Is involved in the commission of a terrorist act, b) Will be involved in a terrorist act, or, c) Has been involved in a terrorist act”.

“We note that Mr Akufo Addo did not provide any proof of the “reasonable grounds” on which he claims the two ex-detainees should have been denied entry into Ghana. It would appear that he merely channelled claims in sections of the media- that an allegedly leaked 2007 report classifies the two detainees as “terrorists”,” the statement in part read.

It added “Furthermore, we wish to draw attention to a 2010 report of an Executive Order Task Force (EOTF) prepared on the basis of a unanimous agreement of six US government agencies which repudiates claims made in earlier reports.”

“We wish to stress that the EOTF’s 2010 interagency assessment supersedes any prior assessment and reflects the US Government’s most comprehensive and authoritative view of each Guantanamo detainee and does not classify the two individuals as “terrorists”.”

“It is also a matter of fact that no formal process(es) has/have been used to bring charges of terrorism against the two individuals. Neither have they been found guilty of any terrorism-related offences by any court of competent jurisdiction.”

It said Akufo-Addo’s stance on the Gitmo detainees defeats his defence of human rights, a track record of which the opposition leader is well known of.

Source: kasapafmonline.com