Four telcos go head-to-head for 800MHz spectrum today

All is set for the auction of the 800MHz spectrum band for 4G LTE  as the four bidders ready themselves to battle for the licence between today, Wednesday December 2 and 6.

The winner of the bid would be announced on December 7.

The four companies are running for a pair of 2x10MHz spectrum blocks within the 800MHz band, which has become available for broadband telecom services because of the global migration from analogue to digital television systems.

The four bidders are Ghanaian companies Surfline Communications, Goldkey Telecoms and Migson Communications, and South African telecoms giant, MTN Ghana (Scancom Ghana Limited).

They have all paid their non-refundable GHC200, 000 registration fees and the initial deposit of US$6.75 million each, which is 10 per cent of the US$67.5 million floor price of each of the two spectra blocks.

The highest bidder will win at the end of the day, and that company gets to pay the difference between the winner price and the 10 per cent initial deposit in 60 days. But the losers will be given back the 10 per cent deposit they made.

The four bidders have also completed engagements and an orientation process with the selected auctioneer, KPGM, how has assured to deliver a transparent, objective and professional exercise.

Indeed, KPMG has brought in some of its expert international staff to ensure the highest quality of professionalism in the auction process.

Background

This process started way back May 14, 2015, when the telecoms regulator, National Communications Authority called for public consultation prior to announcing the dates of the actual auction.

The public consultation process ended on June 11, 2015, by which time nine entities had put in their comments, contributions and concerns about the process.

The nine were MTN Ghana, Airtel Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, Tigo Ghana, Ghana Telecoms Chamber, Qualcomm International Incorporated, GSM Association, Ing. Dr. Adam Icarus Imoro and team made up of Surfline Communications, Goldkey Telecoms, Blu Telecoms and Broadband Home.

They each raised issues that led to some adjustments in the initial proposal by the NCA regarding the spectra auction. For instance, the initial floor price was $92 million plus, but it was reduced to $67.5 million based on respondents request for a reduction.

The deadline for the submission of bids was set at November 9, 2015 and by the close of that date only four had paid the mandatory non-refundable GHC200,000.

ICT Chamber

But after this rather long process, there emerged the Ghana ICT Chamber allegedly comprising of a 10-member Ghanaian consortium seeking to quash the open auction and offering to pay the $83 million required for the digital migration in Ghana, in exchange for the entire 800MHz spectrum.

Interestingly, the ICT Chamber included Surfline and Goldkey, who already have a Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licenses in the 2600MHz band for 4G LTE services; and the two are also in the run for the 800MHz band.

In their submissions, the ICT Chamber directly attacked MTN Ghana's involvement in the open auction simply because MTN is a South Africa company. They insisted that Ghana's most priced asset cannot be given to a South African company so it must be indigenized.

They also sought for protection against the entry of the six 3G telcos into the 4G space, insisting that the locally-owned 4G players need more time to "recoup their $200 million investment and make a handsome profit".

NCA

But the NCA has explained that it had already taken care of local content in the telecom industry by awarding the first three blocks of the 2600MHz spectra strictly to local companies Surfline, Blu and Goldkey.

Moreover, winners of the new 800MHz spectrum would also be required to offload at least 35 per cent shares to Ghanaians.

MTN

MTN, which was attacked directly by the ICT Chamber, has also said that Ghanaians need to be given the chance to enjoy affordable and easily accessible 4G service before the technology becomes obsolete.

The company believes, with its 15 million customers and counting, it is in the best position to make this happen on a faster scale than any industry player.

It has therefore expressed the commitment and its readiness to deploy 4G LTE within six months after it gets access to the spectrum.

MTN Ghana CEO, Ebenezer Twum Asante said "we are ready, our equipment are ready, our expert staff are ready and our customers are ready with the 4G compliant devices waiting for us to rollout the service, and we can't wait any longer."

When the 800MHz spectrum is deployed on a larger scale, it will help to improve the performance of 3G networks and also provide 4G access to many more Ghanaians at affordable rates. It will also enable the rollout of more innovative products and services like mobile health, mobile agriculture, mobile education and more.
 

Source: http://www.myjoyonline.com/business/2015/December-2nd/four-telcos-go-head-to-head-in-800mhz-spectrum-auction-today.php

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to give away 99% of shares

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan say they will give away 99% of their shares in the company to good causes as they announce the birth of their daughter Max.

Mr Zuckerberg made the announcement in a letter to Max on his Facebook page.

He said they were donating their fortune to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to make the world a better place for Max to grow up in.

The donation amounts to $45bn (£30bn) at Facebook's current value.

However the shares will not be donated to charity immediately, but over the course of the couple's lives.

Were Mr Zuckerberg to give away 99% of his shares immediately, he would still possess hundreds of millions of dollars. Ms Chan's worth has not been documented.

Max was born last week, although her birth was only made public on Tuesday.

In his letter Mr Zuckerberg said the aim of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is "to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation".

Its initial areas of focus will be personalised learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

 

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34978249

Africa's business tycoons highly corrupt, Transparency says

Business executives are the most corrupt group in Africa after police officers, a new survey indicates.

This is the first time its annual survey ranked businessmen as highly corrupt, Transparency International said.

Abuses of power increase poverty and deprive people of basic needs, the anti-corruption watchdog warned.

Poor people were hardest hit as they were almost twice as likely to pay a bribe compared with the more affluent.

More than people 43,000 were interviewed in 28 states in sub-Saharan Africa for the People and Corruption: African Survey 2015.

 

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34974328

Quata resurrects with 'Ohia', 'Wind and Go Low'

Rapper, Quata, won the admiration of many for his tongue twisting style but the man who has gone missing on the music scene for almost six years is poised to resurrect his career.

And to prove how ready he is for his new “journey”, Quata, who gained prominence in 2004 is out with two new songs, Ohia (Poverty) and Wind N Go Low off his upcoming Quantus album scheduled for release in December.

Aware of the soaring interest in highlife among the new crop of artistes, Quata goes back to his Ghanaian music roots on Ohia, a highlife piece which was produced King Joe. The rapper may have found himself in an unfamiliar terrain on Ohia but his delivery on the song proves his seriousness to make a successful career this time.

He might not have the best of vocals to the listener but Quata, real name, Jacob Kwame Etroo, made a good impression on Ohia where he talks about how poverty brings disgrace to people.

For the man who had tasted fame in the past, Ohia might be a description of his struggles as he encourages people to work hard since poverty isn’t a good experience. He further entreats the younger ones to uphold the virtues of determination since that is the only way so push poverty away from them.

The former student of Aggrey Memorial School is not ignorant of the growing competition among the new crop of young artistes who are obviously flying the flag of Ghana high on the international platform but Quata, who has once upon a time enjoyed such fame said he is back for good.

“I’m not competing with anyone for the first position. I’m back to do what I love to do best after a long break and I know my fans would appreciate it,” he stated.

According to Quata, real name, Jacob Kwame Etroo, who has been running his Audio Farm recording studios in Accra, after taking the break, he is back to take his rightful place and he is sure to get the necessary attention after what he described as “ Quata’s comeback campaign”.

“I know my worth as an artiste. Yes, things may have not worked out well in my career leading to my absence for this long time but that doesn’t mean that I have lost my skills. I just need another opportunity to show my admirers and critics that I still got my swag on,” he stated.

A native of Abura Aseebu, Quata first made appearance on the music scene with his debut Wonie album produced by Hammer of the Last Two. He later followed it up with Concert and is currently under Bakus Entertainment.

Currently, he is promoting Ohia, a highlife song and Go Slow, an Afro Pop tune.

 

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/entertainment/Quata-resurrects-with-Ohia-Wind-and-Go-Low-397708

Stonebwoy is a success story - Samini

Afro-Dancehall artiste Samini has praised fellow dancehall artiste Stonebwoy for being an exceptional artiste and making him proud.

According to Samini, he is very proud of Stonebwoy, knowing how he started his journey and how far he has come as an artiste.

Samini told Hitz Entertainment News, “I can't find words to describe how proud I feel for knowing the story and seeing someone rise from nothing to everything.”

Samini said Stonebwoy reminds him of how he started as a musician. The CEO of High Grade Family said, “it's similar to my story when I walked into Ashanti International studio with my slippers trying to get a studio time, same way when he came all the way from Ashaiman to link me up trying to get heard by the nation.”

Stonebwoy was with Samini Music Record Label for some time before breaking away raising a lot of eyebrows.

In spite of the controversy generated by his departure, a proud Samini said, “I can look back at him and know that I've fulfilled my social responsibility, as in, give people a chance, make the platform available for anybody that has something to offer.”

On Shatta Wale's diss song about his mum, the 'Iskoki' hit maker said, it's normal for an artiste to insult in dancehall music and sees nothing wrong with it except when it extends to his family.

He, however, warned that the attacks shouldn't "go beyond me to my family and other people that aren't involved with this.”

After Shatta Wale apologised Samini added that, “they [family] are the people that need to hear whether this apology is sincere and whether it even makes sense for me to associate myself with such a brand".

Samini, however, declined to state whether or not he will invite Shatta Wale to perform at 'SaminiFest'.

“The most important thing is that 'SaminiFest' is here to stay and it's a stage that's going to be on every other year so I can't say a particular person will never be on that stage. As the years go, the right time will come and people that are supposed to be on the stage will be on the stage.” Samini, born Emmanuel Andrews Samini, started 'SaminiFest' in 2014 as part of his 10th-year-anniversary celebration in the music industry.

This year's event started with a clean-up exercise on Saturday, November 28, and will be followed by a charity party for the less privileged children on Wednesday, December 2, and then a corporate launch of his sixth album at +233 on December 3.

The streets of Dansoman where his club, Dancestardom is located would be blocked on December 4 and stands put up for people to exhibit products and services.

On December 5, there will be a showdown at Trade Fair where over 20 local artistes have confirmed to perform at one of the biggest concerts of the year. The 'Linda' singer promised a splendid night of exhilarating performances.

“Fifth of December will confirm the fact that SaminiFest is here to stay so every year regardless of where I'll find myself, I have to be in Ghana for the first week in December and make sure I'm on stage for hours for my fans,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/entertainment/Stonebwoy-is-a-success-story-Samini-397689

Chris Brown cancels Down Under tour after visa troubles

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Chris Brown canceled plans for a Down Under tour Wednesday after Australian authorities earlier warned the troubled R&B singer they were likely to refuse him a visa because of his criminal conviction for assaulting pop star Rihanna.

Ticketing agency Ticketek posted a statement from Brown’s promoters saying the planned December tour of Australia and New Zealand had been canceled and those who had bought tickets would get refunds. In the statement, Brown thanked his fans and said he remained hopeful he could tour “in the near future.”

Citing privacy concerns, Australia’s immigration department on Wednesday declined to say whether they had refused Brown a visa. But in September, the department issued Brown a “notice of intention to consider refusal” which gave him 28 days to explain why he should be allowed into the country.

That notice came days after former Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash urged authorities to refuse the 26-year-old American a visa on character grounds.

“People need to understand if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world, there are going to be countries that say to you: ‘You cannot come in because you are not of the character we expect in Australia,’” Cash, who is now minister for women, told reporters at the time.

As part of his tour, Brown had been scheduled to play one show in Auckland, New Zealand. Immigration authorities in New Zealand said Brown had withdrawn his application for a visa to work and travel there before they ruled on it.

New Zealand authorities said that because Brown had been banned from some other countries, he would have needed a special visa to be allowed entry. They said Brown had applied for a visa once previously, in 2008, which they had granted.

Brown could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. In a September statement, Brown’s publicist Nicole Perna said the singer respected Australia’s right to review his visa request and had “faith that a decision will be made with the full consideration of his continued personal growth, on-going philanthropic endeavors and desire to perform for his fans.”

Activists in Australia had campaigned to ban the singer from the country because of his brutal attack on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, hours before the 2009 Grammy Awards. He pleaded guilty to felony assault and was freed from probation this year.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/chris-brown-cancels-down-under-tour-after-visa-troubles/2015/12/02/c53c35c0-98b5-11e5-aca6-1ae3be6f06d2_story.html

Grant: Villa struggles will affect Jordan

Ghana coach Avram Grant claims Aston Villa's poor form in the English Premier League will affect the psyche of Ghana international Jordan Ayew.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Villas from Lorient in August, suffered a poor start but seems to have found his rhythm in Remi Garde's side, who are struggling to survive relegation.

“It’s not good for Ayew,” Grant said on Sky Sports. “When you’re playing in a team that’s struggling, it’s not easy to perform, especially as a striker when the midfield doesn’t have a lot of confidence.

“I’m sure if the team was better, he would be better. It shows a lot about his character,” he added.

However, Grant lauded the former Marseille striker's talent, noting that he is a big potential who is progressing rapidly.

“He has big potential,” Grant added. “He’s a guy who controls the ball very well. He’s strong, has a lot of qualities and is doing very well.

“It’s not easy to perform well in a team that’s struggling, so the thing which is most important is all his progress – he keeps getting better and better. He’s a good striker.”

Ayew has scored three goals in 10 games and he is the joint top scorer of the club alongside Rudy Gestede.

 

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/SportsArchive/Grant-Villa-struggles-will-affect-Jordan-397787

Tiger Woods says he has 'nothing to look forward to'

Former world number one Tiger Woods says he has "nothing to look forward to" in his recovery from back surgery.

The 39-year-old 14-time major winner has not swung a golf club since operations in September and October.

Asked about his return, he said: "I've no answer. Neither does my surgeon or physio. There's no timetable.

"There's nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards. Where's the light at the end of the tunnel? I don't know."

Woods had two operations to alleviate pain from a pinched nerve.

Revealing that he has spent most of his time playing video games, the American said he had not done any rehabilitation work on his back and that physical activities were limited.

"I walk and I walk. I'm just walking, and that's it," said Woods, whose last major victory was at the US Open in 2008.

"It's different from the other surgeries I've had in the past. For nerves there are really no timetables."

Woods, who turns 40 on 30 December, missed the cut at three of the four majors this year and played in only 11 events. He remains on 79 PGA Tour victories.

He played only seven tournaments in 2014, having missed three months of the season after surgery on a pinched nerve in his back in March 2014.

"For my 20 years out here I achieved a lot," he said. "I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy. If that's all it entails then I've had a pretty good run. But I'm hoping that's not it.

"I'm hoping I can get out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it."

He has been named as one of United States captain Davis Love III's assistants for the 2016 Ryder Cup, but said he still hopes to make the team.

Woods has played in seven Ryder Cups, the most recent in 2012 under Love's captaincy.

 

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/golf/34980250

NPP suspends Kwabena Agyepong, Crabbe indefinitely

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko, Sammy Crabbe and Kwabena Agyepong have acted in concert ever since they were elected into office at the Congress held in Tamale.

Source: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

 

Syria conflict: Opposition agrees framework for peace talks

A meeting of Syrian opposition politicians and rebels in Riyadh has produced a statement of principles to guide peace talks with the government.

The statement calls for the creation of "a pluralistic regime that represents all sectors of the Syrian people", according to the Reuters news agency.

It also stresses that President Bashar al-Assad and his aides can play no part in any transitional period.

Earlier, the powerful rebel group Ahrar al-Sham withdrew from the conference.

It complained that figures it regarded as too close to the government were being given too prominent a role.

World powers want negotiations between a unified opposition delegation and President Bashar al-Assad's government on a political solution to the four-and-a-half-year conflict to start by 1 January.

 

More than 250,000 people have been killed since an uprising against Mr Assad began in March 2011. Eleven million others have been forced from their homes.
'Unified vision'

The two-day conference in the Saudi capital brought together representatives of the main Western-backed political opposition alliance, the National Coalition, and of the National Co-ordination Committee, which is tolerated by the authorities in Damascus though its members have been harassed and detained.

Most of the main rebel factions, including Ahrar al-Sham, also sent delegations.

On Thursday afternoon, Suhair al-Atassi of the National Coalition told the AFP news agency that delegates had agreed a framework for negotiations.

"An agreement has been reached on... a unified vision for the settlement process and a supreme committee that would act as a reference for the negotiating team, the composition of which will be specified later," she said.

Reuters quoted a joint statement as saying that delegates had backed a "democratic mechanism through a pluralistic regime that represents all sectors of the Syrian people". It would include women and would not discriminate on religious, sectarian or ethic grounds, the statement added.

Delegates also committed to preserving state institutions and restructuring the security forces, but they insisted Mr Assad would have to leave power immediately.

Mr Assad's staunch ally Russia - which launched an air campaign in September to prop up his government - supports the implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique, which calls for the establishment of a transitional administration.

But the president has said his departure is out of the question before elections are held, and recently warned that peace talks could not begin while the country was occupied by "terrorists" - a term he uses to describe all opponents.

Earlier, Ahrar al-Sham said it had withdrawn from the Riyadh conference because of the "main role" accorded to "personalities linked to the regime" - an apparent reference to members of the National Co-ordination Committee - and the inadequate representation of "revolutionary factions".

Ahrar al-Sham is an ultraconservative Islamist, or Salafist, rebel group that aims to topple Mr Assad and build an Islamic state, though it vows to achieve the latter through the ballot box and not force. It is part of Jaysh al-Fatah, an alliance that includes the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile said that the new International Syrian Support Group - which includes the Arab League, the EU, the UN and 17 countries - was "working toward the potential of a meeting in New York" on 18 December.

The Syrian Kurds, who control large parts of northern Syria, were not invited to Riyadh. They held their own conference, at the same time, on the future of Syria.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35060935

Avram Grant wants Swansea City job

Ghana are on the verge of losing Avram Grant as coach of the Black Stars as he is the favourite to take over as the manager of struggling English Premier League side Swansea City, Ghana's leading football news outfit GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.

The board of the Swans are plotting to bring the Israeli coach back to the English Premier League just ten months after leading Ghana to the final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

Sources close to the Welsh club have revealed that the Swans are seriously considering the former Chelsea coach for the vacant post.

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins is stepping up the recruitment process after firing the entire backroom staff of the Swans this afternoon following yesterday's dismissal of head coach Garry Monk.

Swans have confirmed that assistant manager Pep Clotet and coaches James Beattie and Kristian O’Leary have left the club following the departure of manager Garry Monk.

A club statement confirmed the expected exits, adding: “The club would like to thank Pep, James and Kristian for their service … A statement regarding the management structure for Saturday’s fixture at Manchester City will be confirmed in due course.”

Jenkins is understood to have a preferred target in mind, who could be another manager to be recruited from overseas and Ghana's coach is understood to be the right man for the club.

If he signs the deal with the Welsh club he will reunite with Swansea City's Andre Ayew who is the deputy captain of the Ghana national team.

Grant has one year left on his contract with the Ghana Football Association as the coach of the Black Stars.

Monk had only signed a three-year contract in July, after leading Swansea to a club-record eighth-place finish in the Premier League the previous season.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/SportsArchive/Avram-Grant-wants-Swansea-City-job-399940

 

Bastian Schweinsteiger banned for three games by FA

Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be banned for three matches after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct.

He was charged after catching West Ham's Winston Reid with his left arm as they waited for a free-kick in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

The incident was not seen by the match officials but was caught on video.

Schweinsteiger, 31, will miss games against Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke, and return in time to play Chelsea.

Referee Mark Clattenburg spoke to both players after the incident, but did not mention it in his post-match report.

A panel of three former elite referees each reviewed the video footage independently of one another and unanimously decided it was a sending-off offence.

"He knows what he's done - he's elbowed me in the face," Reid said following the match.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said it was "a clear red card - a straight red without any doubts".

He added: "It was a moment of madness. He deserved to be sent off, but the referee told me he didn't see it. Fair enough, I believe it. It was an elbow."

Germany captain Schweinsteiger, who was part of their 2014 World Cup-winning side, joined United from Bayern Munich during the summer and has made 24 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/35064336

Manchester United were eliminated from the Champions League in dramatic fashion by a late loss at Wolfsburg.

The Red Devils made an ideal start when Anthony Martial caressed Juan Mata's pinpoint pass into the bottom corner.

Wolfsburg replied within three minutes through Naldo's sharp volley and led when Vieirinha finished a flowing move.

United thought they were through after Josuha Guilavogui's own goal, only to be condemned to the Europa League by Naldo's late header.

Madchester's night of Euro madness

Louis van Gaal's side knew they would qualify for the last 16 by beating Wolfsburg, or if they matched PSV Eindhoven's result against CSKA Moscow.

Twice inside the final 15 minutes, United thought they were progressing at the expense of the Dutch side, who needed to better the Red Devils' result.

CSKA led 1-0 in Eindhoven as United trailed, before both PSV and United were briefly level in their respective games.

But late goals for Wolfsburg and PSV, who won 2-1, knocked out Van Gaal's team.
United's late misery was a stark contrast to Manchester City, who saw fortune swing back in their favour as their neighbours unravelled.

Five goals were netted inside six minutes across the two games, with City coming back to win 4-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach and pip Juventus to win Group D.

That means the Blues will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last 16, while the Red Devils face the prospect of Europa League football in the New Year.

Excitement, but an exit

Van Gaal has been criticised by some Red Devils supporters for his pragmatic, defence-minded approach - United were booed off after Saturday's 0-0 draw with West Ham at Old Trafford, the fifth time in nine matches they had failed to score.
However, United freed the shackles and produced an entertaining display in Germany, yet it was one that ultimately led to their exit from Europe's premier club competition.

Martial settled any early United nerves by racing on to Mata's perfectly weighted through ball, taking a touch before coolly sliding past Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio.

Van Gaal's side continued to create chances, only to see Benaglio brilliantly stop Marouane Fellaini's first-half header and Memphis Depay's far-post volley after the break.

Fellaini's height caused problems at the corner which led to Wolfsburg midfielder Guilavogui flicking into his own net, but United were undone by their own defensive deficiencies.

Defensive horror show costs United

While United found a solution to their recent goalscoring woes, a suspect defensive display resulted in their downfall.

Wolfsburg threatened United with blistering counter-attacks and slick, one-touch passing around the penalty area.

But, more importantly, the Premier League side twice switched off at Wolfsburg set-pieces shortly after scoring themselves.

Injury-hit United had a makeshift defence, with young Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela making his first start for the club, and teenager Cameron Borthwick-Jackson playing for almost 50 minutes after replacing injured left-back Matteo Darmian.

It was a lack of organisation - and possibly experience - that allowed Brazilian defender Naldo to score the late winner.


Was disallowed United goal a turning point?

Van Gaal said afterwards that United were unfairly denied an equaliser shortly before half-time, a decision which he felt could have changed the complexion of the match and their Champions League future.

The visitors thought they had equalised when Jesse Lingard curled a 20-yard shot past Benaglio.

But their celebrations were cut short when the assistant referee raised his flag, after a long delay, for offside against Mata.

However, replays proved the official was correct with his decision. Despite not touching the ball, Mata's movement in front of Benaglio clearly impacted the Wolfsburg keeper.

Security alert holds up spectators

Spectators in the Volkswagen Arena were prevented from leaving the ground after a suspect package was found in a car park outside the stadium.

After approximately 15 minutes, fans were allowed to leave after police were satisfied it was not a bomb.

It did mean United's VIP flight back to Manchester, which included Van Gaal and his players, former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill, was slightly delayed.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/34999606

I am coming back stronger – Quata talks new single ‘One life to live’

Newly signed Bakus entertainment artist Quata has disclosed that he is coming back stronger than ever.

The rapper released two new singles that quickly won him the title the rap beast.

On his comeback debut, Quata gave his fans ‘Wind N Go low’ an Afro beats song which has groove and melody and he also released ‘Ohia’ which literally means Poverty.

The latter is a hi-life masterpiece. ‘Ohia’ takes you back to the good old time of hi-life and proves the rapper’s versatility on a song.

After the two singles, Quata is about to release a third single titled: ‘One life to live’.  We had the chance to preview the song and we can say that it is a banger.


‘One life to live’ is a hip-hop jam; the type of songs fans like myself know Quata for.

The reason why he won the rap beast will be justified in the new single.

I am not surprised he told his fans on facebook that he is coming back hard; he wrote

“I belong to you. Coming back stronger than ever. Check my page out for more information”

It will be cool to follow the rap beast and get updates about this new single coming titled: ‘One life to live’.

Does Quata have only one life to live, we will find out soon.

Story: Nana Yaw Wiredu/Tigomusic.com.gh Source: http://www.tigomusic.com.gh/pages/news/1415/I-am-coming-back-stronger-Quata-talks-new-single-One-life-to-live

Volkswagen admits 'chain of errors'

The chairman of embattled carmaker Volkswagen says a chain of errors led to the emissions scandal and that its top priority is winning back trust.

Speaking at a news conference, Hans Dieter Poetsch said: "We are talking here not about a one-off mistake but a chain of errors."

He said VW would be "relentless in seeking to establish who was responsible" for the scandal.

VW's chief executive said it was "fighting for every customer".

But Matthias Mueller said a massive slump in sales had not occurred in the wake of the scandal.

In September, US regulators found some VW diesel cars had a "defeat device" - or software - to cheat emissions tests.

The company said the problem began when it decided to launch a large-scale promotion of diesel vehicles in the US in 2005, but found it impossible to meet strict emissions limits in force in that country in time.

VW said it had agreed steps to improve supervision of engine software development to prevent future manipulation.

Mr Mueller said it was relatively simple and inexpensive to fix the millions of affected cars, but this had not been possible before, as the technology for the fixes was not available when the cars were built. In any case, the company was unaware at the time that there was a problem.

Volkswagen will in future undertake "real-life" tests, which will be checked by both internal and external third parties.


'Good progress'

Mr Poetsch said: "No business justifies crossing legal and ethical boundaries."

He said it was likely that only a limited number of people took part in the deception and said they would not be named as yet, adding that it was impossible to stop misconduct by individuals.

However, he added that the actions taken by the company would make such actions that much more difficult in future.

US law firm Jones Day is conducting an investigation into what happened. That, Mr Poetsch said, was making good progress, but would take some time to conclude.

The cheat device affects up to 11 million cars worldwide.

The damage to VW prompted its chief executive to resign and wiped billions off the company's value on the stock markets.

Shares in VW closed down 0.3% at €139.10 in Frankfurt on Thursday.


Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35060201

The "King" is back

Quata is really back to stay. His new singles are receiving massive airplay both in Ghana and abroad due to the number of request being received by presenters. "Ohia", which is a palm wine hi-life, is there to motivate the poor in society whilst "Wind N go low" is a massive dance tune. This is an indication that most of the listeners are missing his thong twisting rap style. We welcome the “King” back into the game.

Does Rapper Quata have 'ONLY' one life to live, we will find out soon.

Newly signed Bakus entertainment artist Quata has disclosed that he is coming back stronger than ever.

The rapper released two new singles that quickly won him the title the rap beast.

On his comeback debut, Quata gave his fans ‘Wind N Go low’ an Afro beats song which has groove and melody and he also released ‘Ohia’ which literally means Poverty.

The latter is a hi-life masterpiece. ‘Ohia’ takes you back to the good old time of hi-life and proves the rapper’s versatility on a song. 

After the two singles, Quata is about to release a third single titled: ‘One life to live’.  We had the chance to preview the song and we can say that it is a banger.

‘One life to live’ is a hip-hop jam; the type of songs fans like myself know Quata for.

The reason why he won the rap beast will be justified in the new single.

I am not surprised he told his fans on facebook that he is coming back hard; he wrote

“I belong to you. Coming back stronger than ever. Check my page out for more information”

It will be cool to follow the rap beast and get updates about this new single coming titled: ‘One life to live’.

Does Quata have only one life to live, we will find out soon.

Story: Nana Yaw Wiredu/NanaYaw18.com Source: http://nanayaw18.blogspot.com/2015/12/does-rapper-quata-have-only-one-life-to.html?spref=tw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Nana Addo is a failure, I rank him F- Arthur Kennedy

A leading member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr Kobbina Arthur Kennedy has described their flag bearer Nana Akuffo Addo as a failure in dealing with the wrangling and the suspension spree in the party.
According to him, as a leader of party, it is your sole responsibility to ensure that there is seemingly calm in the party but Nana Addo has failed in that regard making him a weak leader.
Speaking to Kasapa news, Dr Arthur Kennedy stated that he will rank Nana Addo an (F) for not showing leadership in uniting the NPP which has been hit with internal bickering over the last year.
Dr Kennedy’s comment comes after the punitive measure meted against the two national executives.
Meanwhile, Dr Arthur Kennedy has said he now has no respect for flagbearer of the party Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However Dr Arthur Kennedy made it clear that he will appear before the disciplinary committee if they invite him over a petition containing allegations leveled against him by some groups in the party.
He furthered that he will head for court should the party decide to suspend him as it is being rumored.

Story: Pomaa Kyekyeku/Kasapafmonline.com/Ghana

 

Dede Ayew loses out – Yaya Toure wins BBC African Footballer of the Year award 2015

Yaya Toure has been voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2015.

The 32-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder becomes only the third player, after Nigerians Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, to receive the honour twice.

Football fans voted for Manchester City’s Toure, who first won in 2013, ahead of Yacine Brahimi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew and Sadio Mane.

“I am very proud. To receive this dedication from the fans is unbelievable,” Toure told BBC Sport.

“Also I want to pay tribute to the other nominees. African football is growing up, becoming much better and we have fantastic young players coming through now.

“We are all champions. We all want to win. For me to be the winner I am delighted and very happy. And as an African player, I want to lead all my younger brothers to be successful in the future.

“When I was a kid I was always dreaming of being an important player. I have sacrificed a lot and when I receive trophies like this I am always happy and always delighted.

“I will continue to try to win a trophy every year, I will fight to win a personal trophy.”

Two of the beaten nominees have won the award before, Algeria's Brahimi in 2014 and Ghanaian Ayew in 2011. Gabon's Aubameyang was on the shortlist for the third year running, while Senegalese Mane made it for the first time.

Toure has been nominated for the award seven times and his second win ensures his year ends with a trophy, just as it began when he led Ivory Coast to glory at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He captained the team in Equatorial Guinea and opened the scoring in the semi-final to put his side on course for a 3-1 victory over Democratic Republic of Congo.

Toure was a key influence as his country end a 23-year wait for their second Nations Cup title, overcoming Ghana in a penalty shootout in the final.

It was Toure's first trophy with the national team in his sixth Nations Cup tournament, and having lost in two finals - in 2006 and 2012.

There was less success for Toure with Manchester City, who failed to defend their English Premier League 2014 title and finished second to Chelsea.

But Toure remains a powerful presence in the heart of the midfield and contributed seven goals for City in the calendar year.

Vera Kwakofi, Current Affairs Editor, BBC Africa, said: "Yaya Toure's leadership for country and club offers an example for many young footballers aspiring to emulate his career.

"We are pleased that as the BBC we are here to celebrate and share in this moment with his fans around the world."

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager wants 'dream' fourth place

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho wants to achieve a "dream" by finishing in the top four at the end of the season.

The Premier League champions have struggled so far, lying in 14th place, 14 points off fourth position.

"Maybe we have a chance to dream with a great finish and finish fourth. While it is mathematically possibly, we have to try," said Mourinho.

The Blues travel to face surprise leaders Leicester in the league on Monday (kick-off 20:00 GMT).

'I was convinced of fourth'

In a season full of shock results for Mourinho's men, last weekend's 1-0 defeat by Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge was arguably the most surprising.

The Cherries became the first promoted side to beat Chelsea at home since Charlton in April 2001. It left the London side just two points above the relegation zone.

"Before we lost the last three points against Bournemouth, I was convinced of fourth, of a great December for us," said Mourinho. "I have to be honest and say the last defeat was something that I was far away from believing was possible.

"The reality is that some clubs are doing so well, and some are not capable of doing what people are used to. It is not possible for clubs to win three, four, five, 10 matches in a row now."


'I've started so I'll finish'

Chelsea's poor start to the season has led to questions about Mourinho's future at Stamford Bridge but the Portuguese is adamant he will remain in his job and praised the club's fans.

"I imagine myself finishing my contract with Chelsea," he added. "I have three and half years on my contract.

"After that I imagine myself coaching, not every club, there are some clubs I will never manage.

"I think that the bad results are not normal, but the chance for every manager to do his work and finish what he started is. What is not normal is what is happening now.

"When people are so nice to me and they sing my name and 'Stand up for the Special One', I feel a bit embarrassed, because I don't know how to react."

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/35069029

 

Roger Federer to partner Martina Hingis at 2016 Olympics

Roger Federer will partner former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis for Switzerland in the mixed doubles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Federer, 34, and Hingis last played mixed doubles together at the Hopman Cup in Australia in 2001.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion said he is "really excited".

"I looked up to her when I was younger, I thought she was the most unbelievable talent," added Federer, who is a year younger than Hingis.

"She's almost my age and she was winning Grand Slams while I was still at the national tennis centre and I couldn't believe how good she was."

Hingis, 35, has won five Grand Slam singles titles in her career, including Wimbledon in 1997 at the age of 16.

She came out of retirement for a second time in 2013 and has since enjoyed great doubles success, winning five titles in 2015, including the mixed doubles and the women's doubles at the US Open.

Federer won Olympic gold in the men's doubles in Beijing in 2008 and silver in the men's singles in London four years later.

"I`ve always said the Olympics is very important to me," added the world number two.

"Every Olympic Games has been a super-amazing experience, an eye-opener, a great learning curve for me, seeing other athletes, getting inspired and motivated, carrying the flag is such a proud moment in my career and my life as a person, to have done that twice for Switzerland was incredible in Athens and in Beijing."

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/35076623

Ghanaians will vote out NDC 2016 — Napo

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has stated that the resolve of majority of Ghanaians is to vote out the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, which he described as inept and bankrupt, that has brought untold hardship on the people.

He also charged “united at the grass roots” party members to work assiduously to explain the good alternative policies of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia ticket that would halt “the current rot and excruciating economic difficulties” and put Ghana back on the track of progress.

The MP was speaking during the seventh in the series of open interaction with the constituents in Kumasi as part of his policy to constantly interact with them, brief them about happenings in Parliament and react to their concerns.

He also rendered accounts for the usage of the MPs share of the Common Fund and other revenue and answered questions from the electorate. This was also prior to his intended house-to-house interaction with his constituents.

The major question posed by the people bordered on why the government would decide to demolish over four main markets in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) at the same time, a move that had worsened traffic congestion, disrupted businesses and led to a disorganised metropolis.

Currently, the Kejetia, Atonsu, Asawase and Krofuom markets have been demolished.

The MP mentioned that before leaving office, President J.A. Kufuor made available resources for the construction of the Krofuom Market, but strangely, the Mills-Mahama administration diverted the resources for a different purpose, leading to the situation.

He advised the people who were complaining about the state of Kumasi that they “cannot take President Mahama to court for abandoning projects initiated by the Kufuor administration but what they can do is to come out in their numbers and vote massively for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to become President in 2016”.

Addressing the concerns about security at night and lack of water in some areas, Dr Prempeh donated street lights to assembly members for those areas that did not have them streets lights and promised to drill boreholes in some areas.

He said currently, studies were being conducted for the suitability of where to drill the boreholes.

He advised the people to constantly interact with their assembly members and raise some of the issues with them to be presented to the metropolitan assembly that had been resourced to take care of the development needs of the people.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Ghanaians-will-vote-out-NDC-2016-Napo-400193

Black Scribes by Paul Koomson

Oh, how I wish

The Bible was written by a Black man,

An African or some coloured people

Then they would have been divinely inspired

To be the heralds of the Creator's will,

Our creator's grand plan, His ways,

The divine rules of the ultimate maker

Who has always been

Blacks would have been the scribes

And the Dark Continent the cradle

Of improved Judaism

Or maybe it was modernised

What then would the world's response have been

Could the dark arena have emitted light

To all the universe

Wonder is the response

Perhaps the heathens would have been Israelites

No! Forget not,

That time is too remote

Well, they were god-open but God-remote

Africa knew nothing and could not document

What about the Pharaoh's land?

Leave that one

What if Africa is freed of the double bind

From the rulers of our rulers,

From the monster rulers of the states,

The auto-images of the fiend.

 

The Bible may have been written by Africans.

Bournemouth Stun Manchester United

Manchester United lost ground at the top of the table as their former striker Joshua King scored the winner in Bournemouth's 2-1 triumph - the Cherries' second shock win in a week.

After David de Gea was beaten direct from a corner by Junior Stanislas, United equalised via Marouane Fellaini.

The visitors faded after the break and could not fight back after King fired in from Matt Richie's set-piece.

United will slip to fifth if Tottenham beat Newcastle on Sunday.

The scoreline and final few minutes could have been more comfortable for the hosts, but substitute Glenn Murray squandered two excellent chances to put Bournemouth further out of reach.

Bournemouth are up to 14th in the Premier League on the back of successive victories, having beaten defending champions Chelsea last weekend.

A striking lack of quality

United boss Louis van Gaal bemoaned his options in attack last week, claiming that Barcelona's Luis Suarez or Manchester City's Sergio Aguero would convert the chances his strikers were missing.

It is difficult to imagine either player squandering the two fine openings that Anthony Martial - now without a goal in nine Premier League games - created for himself.

But United were lacking in plenty of other areas.

Daley Blind, the experienced head in a fresh-faced defence, was caught horribly out of position to allow Murray in on goal, the midfield created little and the team as a whole were out-fought by a spirited Cherries' side.

When Fellaini trudged off to be replaced by Nick Powell in the 74th minute, their best hope of a point went with him.

Junior the senior partner in Bournemouth attack

Bournemouth's victory at Stamford Bridge seven days ago was akin to a smash-and-grab raid based on 37% of possession, a sturdy defence and a well-executed set-piece.

But against United they were a constant danger on the counter with the pacey, intelligent runs of Stanislas off the wing posing a particular threat.

After his swirling delivery had caught out De Gea, Stanislas ran clean through, only for the United goalkeeper to make partial amends as he smothered at his feet.

King, who made two substitute appearances for United during his three and a half years at the club, had looked less assured in the Cherries attack, but guided in an awkward half-volley as a rehearsed corner routine came off for the hosts.

Seven years on

As the home fans constantly reminded their United counterparts, Bournemouth "come from League Two".

They came dangerously close to slipping even further down the divisions in the 2008-09 season as they successfully fought administration and relegation to the Conference.

At the same time United were lifting a third successive Premier League title under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson.

United chief executive Ed Woodward, who watched on stony-faced in the Vitality Stadium stands, will not enjoy the contrast in fortunes now.

Manager reaction

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: "We try not to focus on the injuries we've had.

"We still believe we're strong enough. Hopefully the last few games is the proof.

"We've looked at the last few games as turning points - we're looking at this run as hopefully something of a start for us."

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: "The attitude of the players I liked. But that is not the only important thing - you have to perform in a certain way.

"It is always very disappointing when you are at the top of the table when you lose to a club at the bottom of the table."

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/35014111

 

Euro 2016 draw: England to face Wales in France

Wales and England will meet at Euro 2016 after being drawn together in Group B for next summer's finals in France.

Russia and Slovakia are the other teams in their group.

European Championship debutants Northern Ireland are in Group C with world champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

The Republic of Ireland are up against the world's top-ranked side Belgium, Italy and Sweden in Group E.

The first game of the tournament will be at the Stade de France between France and Romania on Friday, 10 June at 20:00 BST.

Wales' match against England is the second game for both countries in their group, in Lens on Thursday, 16 June.

Northern Ireland kick off their group against Poland on Sunday, 12 June and end it against Germany nine days later.

The Republic face Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden in their 13 June opener and conclude their group games against Italy on 22 June.

This year's tournament is the largest European Championship ever, with 24 teams.

The top two from each group will go through to the last 16, while the best four third-placed teams also progress - meaning only eight teams are eliminated in the group stages.

This is Wales' first tournament appearance in 58 years, and boss Chris Coleman had said he wanted to avoid England because it would be "viewed as a battle of Britain" and a "distraction".

But his fears were realised early on in the draw, with the top seeds drawn first - followed by the bottom seeds.

And employers may have to brace themselves for a lot of leave requests on Thursday, 16 June because England's meeting with Wales is a 14:00 BST kick-off.

The winners of Group B will face a third-placed team in the last 16, while the runners-up will face the team who finish second in a group comprising Portugal, Iceland, Austria and Hungary.

Managers and pundits react

England manager Roy Hodgson told BBC Sport: "I feel good about it. There was always a very good chance we would meet one of the home nations. Wales are very organised, they have a strong spirit and a good spine."

Wales boss Chris Coleman: "Well, we've got them, it will be a great game. We would have wanted to avoid it, but we look forward to it. We deserve to be here and I think the tournament will be a fantastic one."

Former England striker Alan Shearer: "For the first time in a long time England will go to a tournament without any real stars. It might be early for them but we do have Cahill, Barkley and Stones, and a very good goalkeeper in Hart.

"Overall, England have to be very pleased with the group they have been drawn in. Yes, it will be tough but if we don't get out of that group there will be something very wrong."

Former Wales striker John Hartson: "I wanted that. It's a great game for supporters, for television, and the players will look forward to it. I think players from both countries will be pleased with that."

Ex-Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe: "I'd rather be playing England than France, Germany or Spain. There are other countries that actually scare me more than they do."

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/35084078

N Korean pop band Moranbong ends China goodwill tour

An all-female pop group from North Korea has ended its goodwill tour of China - before it even began.

Members of the Moranbong band unexpectedly turned up at Beijing's main airport just hours before their first concert and flew back to Pyongyang.

They were due to play three shows to help improve ties between China and North Korea.

It is not yet clear why the performances were cancelled.

Moranbong is one of North Korea's most popular bands. Its members were reportedly handpicked by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, himself.

It plays a mixture of Western and traditional Korean tunes, and has been happy to perform the theme from the film Rocky alongside patriot songs praising North Korea's communist rulers.

Its members play a range of instruments, including electronic violins.

In their morally conservative homeland, the Moranbong musicians are also known for wearing revealing outfits and sporting fashionable hairstyles.

The women were waved off for their first-ever foreign tour from Pyongyang railway station on Wednesday by senior leaders.

Dressed in military uniforms, they smiled and waved to fans when they came and went from their hotel after arriving in China.

Concerts cancelled

There was no hint of trouble when they practised in Beijing's National Centre for Performing Arts on Friday.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed the performances were aimed at improving ties between China and North Korea. She also joked that she did not know where to get hold of a ticket for the concerts.

But on Saturday the band unexpectedly arrived at Beijing airport and boarded a plane back home - a scheduled flight whose departure was delayed for several hours.

The band's stage set was dismantled and its concerts were cancelled. Neither China nor North Korea has given an official reason for the abrupt end of the tour.

The two countries are allies. China's Chairman Mao once said they were as close as lips and teeth.

But they have not always seen eye-to-eye over recent years. China has been particularly angry at three nuclear tests carried out by North Korea, the last in 2013.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35083172

Burundi crisis: Army says 87 killed in day of violence

Eighty-seven people were killed in violence that broke out after three military sites were attacked in Burundi on Friday, the army says.

Eight of those who died were security officers and 49 people were captured, Col Gaspard Baratuza said.

Residents in the capital earlier said the bodies of some 34 men were found on the streets - and accused police of taking revenge. It is not clear if that number is included in the army's total.

Unrest has hit Burundi since April.

There have been continued protests since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to seek a third term in office, which he won in a disputed election in July.

Friday saw some of the worst violence since the unrest began. Officials described heavily armed attackers launching co-ordinated early morning assaults on army installations in three areas - Ngagara, Musaga and Mujejuru.

Fighting could then be heard throughout the day and sporadic gunfire continued overnight.

Residents said dozens of men were rounded up as their homes were raided, and many of their bodies were found on the streets of the capital on Saturday morning.

The largest number of bodies were found in Nyakabiga district, a focus of anti-government protests. Others were discovered in the southern neighbourhood of Musaga.

One witness told the AFP news agency that some of the victims were "kids" and had been shot execution-style "through the top of the skull".

BBC Africa analyst Richard Hamilton says bodies on the streets are almost a daily occurrence in Bujumbura but this was by far the largest number of deaths in one night.

Col Gaspard Baratuza, giving details of the final toll, said that "79 enemies" were killed, "45 captured and 97 weapons seized and on our side eight soldiers and policemen were killed and 21 wounded".

According to the UN, at least 240 people have been killed since April and more than 200,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.

There have been regular killings of both opposition activists and Nkurunziza supporters.

The violence has raised fears of a return to worsening ethnic tension between Hutus and Tutsis.

Mr Nkurunziza led a Hutu rebel group against the then Tutsi-dominated army during the civil war that followed the killing of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.


Timeline - Burundi crisis

April 2015 - Protests erupt after President Pierre Nkurunziza announces he will seek a third term in office.

May 2015 - Constitutional court rules in favour of Mr Nkurunziza, amid reports of judges being intimidated. Tens of thousands flee violence amid protests.

May 2015 - Army officers launch a coup attempt, which fails.

July 2015 - Elections are held, with Mr Nkurunziza re-elected. The polls are disputed, with opposition leader Agathon Rwasa describing them as a "joke".

November 2015 - Burundi government gives those opposing President Nkurunziza's third term five days to surrender their weapons ahead of a promised crackdown.

November 2015 - UN warns it is less equipped to deal with violence in Burundi than it was for the Rwandan genocide

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35083823

Gambia declared Islamic republic by President Yahya Jammeh

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared his Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic, saying the move marks a break with the colonial past.

Mr Jammeh told state TV the proclamation was in line with Gambia's "religious identity and values".

He added that no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practise freely.

Some 90% of Gambians are Muslim. The former British colony's economy relies heavily on tourism.

However, relations with the West have soured recently.

The European Union temporarily withheld aid money to Gambia last year over its poor human rights record.

Mr Jammeh has been president of the tiny West African country for 21 years.

"As Muslims are the majority in the country, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy," Mr Jammeh told state TV, explaining his decision to proclaim an Islamic republic.

Other Islamic republics include Iran, Pakistan and - in Africa, Mauritania.

Mr Jammeh withdrew Gambia from the Commonwealth in 2013, describing the organisation as neo-colonial.

In 2007, he claimed to have found a herbal cure for Aids.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35082343

Donald Trump in Twitter spat with Saudi Prince Alwaleed

A Saudi prince has described US businessman Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, as a "disgrace to America".

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Twitter that Mr Trump should give up his presidential ambitions because he would never win.

It follows Mr Trump's call for Muslims to be barred from entering the US for security reasons.

Mr Trump tweeted back, calling the prince "dopey".


Who is Prince Alwaleed?

  • Born in 1955
  • Nephew of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
  • Completed a business degree in California in 1979
  • Named world's richest Arab in Forbes' 2015 list
  • Worth an estimated $32bn (£20bn)
  • Has vowed to donate fortune to charity
  • Has stakes in Disney, 21st Century Fox, News Corp, Apple, GM, Twitter, and a string of hotel chains and luxury hotels, including the Plaza in New York and the George V in Paris
  • Owner of 95% of Kingdom Holdings, a publicly-traded company on the Saudi stock exchange
  • Considered Westernised and progressive on most issues. Champions women's rights - most of his staff are women

"You are a disgrace not only to the GOP [Republican Party] but to all America," Prince Alwaleed tweeted.

"Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win."

Mr Trump responded by accusing the prince of wanting to use what he called "daddy's money" to control US politicians.

That would not happen, Mr Trump said, when he got elected.

Mr Trump, the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has been widely criticised for his call for a ban on Muslims entering the US.

On Thursday, Damac Properties - a Dubai firm building a golf complex with Mr Trump - removed his name and image from the property.

His comments came following the California shootings, carried out by two Muslims who the FBI said were radicalised.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35083150

It is impossible to end 'dumsor' next week

The Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah says it is impossible for the current load shedding to end by next week.

His comment is a palpable contradiction of an assurance by the Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor that given the measures put in place dumsor will end by next week.

Speaking on TV3's Hot Issues programme, the sector Minister who has promised to resign if Dumsor persist by end of December said:

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all.

“It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we'll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back."

But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, the last edition for the year, the Communications Minister says it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

Answering a question from the former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie about whether the Power Minister's assurance should be taken seriously, the Communications Minister said per the arrangement in place it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

The Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah says it is impossible for the current load shedding to end by next week.

His comment is a palpable contradiction of an assurance by the Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor that given the measures put in place dumsor will end by next week.

Speaking on TV3's Hot Issues programme, the sector Minister who has promised to resign if Dumsor persist by end of December said:

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all.

“It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we'll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back."

But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, the last edition for the year, the Communications Minister says it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

Answering a question from the former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie about whether the Power Minister's assurance should be taken seriously, the Communications Minister said per the arrangement in place it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

The Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor who was also on the programme carried live at the Coconut Groove Hotel, says the ministry is working around the clock to ensure that there is regular power supply during the Christmas period.

“We are determined to ensure that we have a very good Christmas and we are likely not to have load shedding.”

Mr Jinapor however noted that it will depend on the load that is available during Christmas but was hopeful that since most industries will be on break during the period, the demand for power will be low as compared to normal days.

He indicated that the Karpower has begun supplying some power into the system and with the smooth flow of gas from Nigeria, there should be enough power for the festivities.

The Deputy Minister indicated that not only is government working to provide power during Christmas but “we are working around the clock to continue to provide power in a reliable and sustainable manner”.

“We will continue to bridge the gap and lower the load shedding until eventually we move out of load shedding. We are determined to ensure that we fix this problem in a comprehensive manner, not only making power available but making it available at a relatively cheaper cost, ensure that the power is sustainable and reliable”, he said.

Source: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-12th/it-is-impossible-to-end-dumsor-next-week-omane-boamah-contradicts-power-minister.php

 

The Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor who was also on the programme carried live at the Coconut Groove Hotel, says the ministry is working around the clock to ensure that there is regular power supply during the Christmas period.

“We are determined to ensure that we have a very good Christmas and we are likely not to have load shedding.”

Mr Jinapor however noted that it will depend on the load that is available during Christmas but was hopeful that since most industries will be on break during the period, the demand for power will be low as compared to normal days.

He indicated that the Karpower has begun supplying some power into the system and with the smooth flow of gas from Nigeria, there should be enough power for the festivities.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-12th/it-is-impossible-to-end-dumsor-next-week-omane-boamah-contradicts-power-minister.php#sthash.76eUx3wK.dpuf

The Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah says it is impossible for the current load shedding to end by next week.

His comment is a palpable contradiction of an assurance by the Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor that given the measures put in place dumsor will end by next week.

Speaking on TV3's Hot Issues programme, the sector Minister who has promised to resign if Dumsor persist by end of December said:

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all.

“It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we'll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back."

But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, the last edition for the year, the Communications Minister says it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

Answering a question from the former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie about whether the Power Minister's assurance should be taken seriously, the Communications Minister said per the arrangement in place it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-12th/it-is-impossible-to-end-dumsor-next-week-omane-boamah-contradicts-power-minister.php#sthash.76eUx3wK.dpuf

The Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah says it is impossible for the current load shedding to end by next week.

His comment is a palpable contradiction of an assurance by the Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor that given the measures put in place dumsor will end by next week.

Speaking on TV3's Hot Issues programme, the sector Minister who has promised to resign if Dumsor persist by end of December said:

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all.

“It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we'll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back."

But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, the last edition for the year, the Communications Minister says it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

Answering a question from the former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie about whether the Power Minister's assurance should be taken seriously, the Communications Minister said per the arrangement in place it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-12th/it-is-impossible-to-end-dumsor-next-week-omane-boamah-contradicts-power-minister.php#sthash.76eUx3wK.dpuf

The Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah says it is impossible for the current load shedding to end by next week.

His comment is a palpable contradiction of an assurance by the Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor that given the measures put in place dumsor will end by next week.

Speaking on TV3's Hot Issues programme, the sector Minister who has promised to resign if Dumsor persist by end of December said:

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all.

“It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we'll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back."

But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, the last edition for the year, the Communications Minister says it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

Answering a question from the former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie about whether the Power Minister's assurance should be taken seriously, the Communications Minister said per the arrangement in place it is impossible for dumsor to end by next week.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-12th/it-is-impossible-to-end-dumsor-next-week-omane-boamah-contradicts-power-minister.php#sthash.76eUx3wK.dpuf

Ghanaians to pay more for electricity consumption at night

Power Minister Dr. Kwabena Donkow says his ministry is exploring a new electricity tariff regime that will see Ghanaians pay more for power consumed during peak periods.

That, he explained, aims at discouraging consumers to cut down on their consumption during peak periods, which runs from between 6:00PM and 11:00PM.

He said the ministry is advocating “a differentiation in tariff…where during peak demand period, (6pm -11pm) tariff will be higher and off peak it will be lower so that you can tailor your demand to meet cheaper tariff periods”.

Dr. Donkor made the revelation when he took the hot seat on TV3’s Hot Issues current affairs programme to outline measures being put in place to resolve the country’s electricity crisis. The programme airs today at 12:00 noon on TV3

The minister explained that this regime is being practised in other jurisdiction and was hopeful that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission will be receptive towards this kind of tariff regime.

Utility hikes

Commenting on the recent upward adjustment of utility prices, Dr. Donkor said his ministry expected more than the 59.2 per cent increment in the electricity prices announced on Monday.

He said although they did not expect to get the 128.6 percent increment, they had wanted more than approved by the PURC, which has already generated public uproar considering that the power situation has not improved.

“My sector had expected more than what we got. However, I also appreciate the job of PURC as a referee between competing interests. It will be selfish of my sector to want to expect to get all what they want but at least, it’s a very useful step” he stated.

Notwithstanding the increment, which takes effect from December 14, he said consumers can maintain the same amount of payment that they presently make by being prudent their consumption.

He said consumers can do that “by just being conscious of the need for efficiency in power usage. We are generally extremely inefficient. There are simple things we can do to reduce our consumption so that notwithstanding the increase in tariff our levels in terms of household income could remain the same”.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/-400483

Pratt Quizzes: Suspensions Galore In NPP..."What Does It Say About Political Tolerance In Ghana?"

We are being told that these people are being suspended so that they can be reinstated after the 2016 elections….after the elections will they become good leaders? What is it about the election that they are not supposed to be there now…?” Kwesi Pratt Jnr quizzes.

The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, was speaking to the issue of the latest suspension of two executives of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

On Thursday, the General Secretary and the Second Vice Chairman of the NPP were suspended indefinitely. (Read more on suspension) These two executives join the embattled National Chairman, Paul Afoko who was also suspended indefinitely a couple of weeks ago.

Contributing to a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji programme Saturday, Kwesi Pratt suggested that some kingpins in the NPP had already planned to ‘get rid’ of the three executives who have been suspended.

…that will lead you into all the secret meeting and secret recording in which long ago Bugri Naabu said that Kwabena Agyepong, Paul Afoko and Sammy Crabbe will not become part of the campaign because they don’t like Akufo Addo and they have been bought by the NDC. It turns out everything on that tape was true and I feel deeply worried about what all of these does to internal democratic practice…what does it say about political tolerance in our country” he wondered.

Source: http://elections.peacefmonline.com/pages/politics/201512/263656.php

Power Ministry denies ‘false’ publication on AMERI deal

The Ministry of Power has denied publications suggesting that the AMERI power deal was signed with a dubious company and at an inflated cost of $510 million.

Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor, has issued a statement Monday describing the publication by the Norwegian newspaper VG as “false, misleading and a gross misrepresentation of the facts”.

The publication, which has been widely circulated in Ghanaian media, among other things reports that one Umar Farooq Zahoor, a top official at AMERI is a wanted fraudster.

Farooq Zahoor according to VG is on the wanted list of Norwegian police and Interpol for his lead roles in various scams in Norway and other countries.

“The Government of Ghana has not entered into any agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor. The Government of Ghana has an agreement with AMERI Energy.

“The Chairman of AMERI Energy is Sheikh Mohamed AL Maktoum who signed the agreement for his firm. Umar Farooq signed as a witness for him,” the Power Minister explains.

The publication also alleged that the $510 million power deal could have been gotten at lower cost -- quoting about $220 million as the going price for the 10 power generators on wheels.

However, the Minister states: "the Government of Ghana has not made any payments to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment."

Read below the Minister’s statement on the report.

MINISTRY OF POWER STATEMENT ON FALSE PUBLICATIONS ABOUT AMERI ENERGY POWER PROJECT

The Ministry of Power has noted publications in sections of the media attributed to a Norwegian newspaper, VG. The thrust of these publications is that:

1. The Ministry of Power representing Government entered into an arrangement to secure a 250MW power plant with a company of dubious background.

2. That the transaction amount of $510 million is inflated compared to other options.

The Ministry wishes to state that these publications are false, misleading and a gross misrepresentation of the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry of Power wishes to clarify the matter as follows:

ISSUE OF COST OF PLANT

The Ministry wishes to state that the agreement with AMERI is a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement and not an outright purchase of generating plants.

The Government of Ghana has not made ANY PAYMENTS to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment.

Per the agreement with AMERI, the Government of Ghana through the Volta River Authority (VRA) will only make payments to Ameri for power produced and supplied to the VRA just like any other Independent Power Producer (IPP).

Also, per the agreement, Government was required to provide a standby Letter of Credit (LC) for an amount of US$51 million, which LC has been raised. Ghana will however assume eventual ownership of the equipment after five (5) years of production and sale of the power to the VRA.

It must also be explained that the quoted price of $220 million in the Norwegian story for outright purchase of similar turbines is exclusive of all other costs such as auxiliaries, balance of plant, civil works, sub-station, installation of equipment, cost of financing, operation and maintenance etc.

- Under the agreement with AMERI Energy, the cost of all these auxiliary works is being borne by AMERI Energy.

- From the foregoing, it is false to claim that the Government of Ghana signed a $510 million agreement for the plant, when it should have been $220 million.

- On claims that the manufacturers of the plant, GE, could have been contacted to negotiate a direct purchase, the Ministry wishes to state that an earlier offer from GE Consortium to the VRA for similar equipment on rental basis proved to be far more expensive and was therefore rejected by the VRA.

ISSUE OF DUE DILIGENCE ON AMERI ENERGY POWER PLANT

- The Government of Ghana has not entered into any agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor. The Government of Ghana has an agreement with AMERI Energy.

-The Chairman of AMERI Energy is Sheikh Mohamed AL Maktoum who signed the agreement for his firm. Umar Farooq signed as a witness for him.

- The Bank of Ghana before establishing the Standby LC conducted its own due diligence on AMERI Energy.

- The American firm, JP Morgan also independently conducted its own due diligence before confirming the Standby LC for the project.

- Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Power and the Attorney General’s Department also conducted due diligence on AMERI Energy and reviewed strenuously the project agreement before submitting to Parliament.

- Parliament, upon receipt of relevant documentation on the project and the agreement, also scrutinized and reviewed the agreement before approving it at the Committee Level unanimously and later by the House.

CONCLUSION

The Ministry of Power will continue to work assiduously to end the current power sector challenges. In doing so we expect all stakeholders to commit to the noble path of resolving this national challenge instead of throwing in misleading claims programmed to disrupt and derail its efforts.

We wish to reiterate that as part of efforts to resolve the current load shedding exercise, the following are underway:

- 225MW Karpower Barge is ramping up generation to attain the contracted generation capacity.

- The 250MW AMERI Plant is undergoing commissioning.

-The first unit of the 220MW Kpone Thermal Plant is also undergoing commissioning.

- The 12OMW TICO Steam Expansion has been completed.

- The first part of 120MW of the 360MW Sunon Asogli Plant is near completion.

Dr. Kwabena DONKOR

MINISTER FOR POWER

ACCRA

Source: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-14th/power-ministry-denies-false-publication-on-ameri-deal.php

The Ministry of Power has denied publications suggesting that the AMERI power deal was signed with a dubious company and at an inflated cost of $510 million.

Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor, has issued a statement Monday describing the publication by the Norwegian newspaper VG as “false, misleading and a gross misrepresentation of the facts”.

The publication, which has been widely circulated in Ghanaian media, among other things reports that one Umar Farooq Zahoor, a top official at AMERI is a wanted fraudster.

Farooq Zahoor according to VG is on the wanted list of Norwegian police and Interpol for his lead roles in various scams in Norway and other countries.

“The Government of Ghana has not entered into any agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor. The Government of Ghana has an agreement with AMERI Energy.

“The Chairman of AMERI Energy is Sheikh Mohamed AL Maktoum who signed the agreement for his firm. Umar Farooq signed as a witness for him,” the Power Minister explains.

The publication also alleged that the $510 million power deal could have been gotten at lower cost -- quoting about $220 million as the going price for the 10 power generators on wheels.

However, the Minister states: "the Government of Ghana has not made any payments to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment."

Read below the Minister’s statement on the report.

MINISTRY OF POWER STATEMENT ON FALSE PUBLICATIONS ABOUT AMERI ENERGY POWER PROJECT

The Ministry of Power has noted publications in sections of the media attributed to a Norwegian newspaper, VG. The thrust of these publications is that:

1. The Ministry of Power representing Government entered into an arrangement to secure a 250MW power plant with a company of dubious background.

2. That the transaction amount of $510 million is inflated compared to other options.

The Ministry wishes to state that these publications are false, misleading and a gross misrepresentation of the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry of Power wishes to clarify the matter as follows:

ISSUE OF COST OF PLANT

The Ministry wishes to state that the agreement with AMERI is a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement and not an outright purchase of generating plants.

The Government of Ghana has not made ANY PAYMENTS to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment.

Per the agreement with AMERI, the Government of Ghana through the Volta River Authority (VRA) will only make payments to Ameri for power produced and supplied to the VRA just like any other Independent Power Producer (IPP).

Also, per the agreement, Government was required to provide a standby Letter of Credit (LC) for an amount of US$51 million, which LC has been raised. Ghana will however assume eventual ownership of the equipment after five (5) years of production and sale of the power to the VRA.

It must also be explained that the quoted price of $220 million in the Norwegian story for outright purchase of similar turbines is exclusive of all other costs such as auxiliaries, balance of plant, civil works, sub-station, installation of equipment, cost of financing, operation and maintenance etc.

- Under the agreement with AMERI Energy, the cost of all these auxiliary works is being borne by AMERI Energy.

- From the foregoing, it is false to claim that the Government of Ghana signed a $510 million agreement for the plant, when it should have been $220 million.

- On claims that the manufacturers of the plant, GE, could have been contacted to negotiate a direct purchase, the Ministry wishes to state that an earlier offer from GE Consortium to the VRA for similar equipment on rental basis proved to be far more expensive and was therefore rejected by the VRA.

ISSUE OF DUE DILIGENCE ON AMERI ENERGY POWER PLANT

- The Government of Ghana has not entered into any agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor. The Government of Ghana has an agreement with AMERI Energy.

-The Chairman of AMERI Energy is Sheikh Mohamed AL Maktoum who signed the agreement for his firm. Umar Farooq signed as a witness for him.

- The Bank of Ghana before establishing the Standby LC conducted its own due diligence on AMERI Energy.

- The American firm, JP Morgan also independently conducted its own due diligence before confirming the Standby LC for the project.

- Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Power and the Attorney General’s Department also conducted due diligence on AMERI Energy and reviewed strenuously the project agreement before submitting to Parliament.

- Parliament, upon receipt of relevant documentation on the project and the agreement, also scrutinized and reviewed the agreement before approving it at the Committee Level unanimously and later by the House.

CONCLUSION

The Ministry of Power will continue to work assiduously to end the current power sector challenges. In doing so we expect all stakeholders to commit to the noble path of resolving this national challenge instead of throwing in misleading claims programmed to disrupt and derail its efforts.

We wish to reiterate that as part of efforts to resolve the current load shedding exercise, the following are underway:

- 225MW Karpower Barge is ramping up generation to attain the contracted generation capacity.

- The 250MW AMERI Plant is undergoing commissioning.

-The first unit of the 220MW Kpone Thermal Plant is also undergoing commissioning.

- The 12OMW TICO Steam Expansion has been completed.

- The first part of 120MW of the 360MW Sunon Asogli Plant is near completion.

Dr. Kwabena DONKOR

MINISTER FOR POWER

ACCRA

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-14th/power-ministry-denies-false-publication-on-ameri-deal.php#sthash.JDBm8pyD.dpuf

Tarzan writes: 'President Akufo-Addo suspended indefinitely by NPP Disciplinary Committee'

The prospect of this apocalyptically frightening headline capturing Ghana’s news media between 2017 and 2020 has now become a distinct possibility.

The indefinite suspensions meted out to three NPP Leaders who were elected by the apex authority of the party, the national delegates conference, has the potential to derail our country’s democratic governance roots,

Ironically, and mercifully, the odds against of this alarming headline becoming manifest have lengthened by the very act of   ‘constructive dismissal’ through legally contentious administrative actions. The party of the rule of law has decided to jettison its core principles in a quest for monolithic orthodoxy of views and absolute intolerance of diversity of opinions freely and fearlessly expressed.

 The end –game was signalled by the words spoken by Nana Akufo-Addo in London recently: which were conveyed by the local media in its intimidating and vicious intent. Rather than distance themselves, mouthpieces of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), gleefully and eagerly jostled for front positions to sound the death knell for any views that were at odds with the current orthodoxy of unquestioned loyalty to the chosen path.

“Ka bi na me nka bi” to wit  “You have you say as long as I can have my own” has been the immovable founding  philosophy of the “Matemeho” political tradition; at least that’s the belief that inspired so may illustrious sons to it. From the founders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), through to the United Party (UP); the Progress Party (PP) and the current New Patriotic Party (NPP), the right to free expression and tolerance of divergent opinions have been the binding chords that held democracy and development together in Oman Ghana.

 In less than one year, Ghana will go to the polls to decide who should be given the mantle to steer the country’s affairs for the four years from 2017, the 60th anniversary of Black Africa’s first Independent country.  Sadly, today, the trailblazer is propping up the rear of advancement and development in Africa, on any measurable scale including open air defecation.  

For every Ghanaian living everywhere, over the age of eighteen, of sound mind and on a bloated register, the question for Decision 2016 should be obvious; “Who can we entrust with the “Ghana Reset” button?, The option, the continuity of John Dramani Mahama and the third time hopeful but as yet untried Nana Akufo-Addo.    The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) should play important but largely supporting roles in the contest.   

For many of us, the alluring and tantalising prospect of “Development in Freedom” was the catalytic fuel that propelled us to tie our political fortunes to the NPP. We could develop our country y in an environment of free speech, tolerance and respect for each other: all reinforced by an unalloyed commitment to the rule of law.

 After spending all but six and half years of our first 35 years under military dictators and single party rule, “Development in Freedom”, was a very alluring prospect. Incidentally, and especially for those who think the freedoms we enjoy were dropped from the skies, enormous sacrifices were made by many courageous fellow citizens, including Kwabena Agyapong’s father, murdered because he tried to uphold the tenets of our national motto: “Freedom & Justice”

Was it a coincidence or a twist of fate that the NPP chose World Human Rights Day to perpetuate this patently dictatorial act; led by the indefatigable fighter for freedom and human rights, Nana Akufo-Addo?  Has the NPP degenerated into the citadel of intolerance, purveyor of monolithic thinking, adoration of a monarch that brooks ‘no nonsense’ other than the prevailing orthodoxy?

The unfortunate prosecution of the “Either you are with us or we smoke you out s” cleansing of the NPP started almost a decade ago in the fallout from the infamous 17 Presidential candidature race.  Two significant events happened which have shaped the thinking and actions of the NPP for a decade.

Firstly, President  J .A Kuffuor was ‘crowned’ master  stumbling block; for; 1)his justifiable decision to sack ministers who wanted to use their offices as campaign vehicle; and, 2) for his unjustifiable act of openly expressing a preference and patently using his office and muscle to promote his choice.

Secondly, it was at that congress that Paula Afoko was accused of the now apparently indelible sin of attempting to sway delegates. Though the accusation was not proven, it is now obvious that his supposed transgression was never to be favoured with an ultimate unction  

Abraham Osei Aidoo, a very capable and hard working NPP Majority Leader in Parliament was muscled out of the Tema West constituency because he dared to support a different candidacy.  Rather than learn the lessons from the defeat of 2008, the NPP’s internecine warfare intensified; exemplified famously by the hounding of Hon. Opare –Ansah, Deputy Minority leader and other voices not towing the new orthodoxy.

 More recently Hon. Addae- Nimo and fellow ‘upstarts have become the latest casualties of targeted deselected from their Parliament seats for having dared to test the NPP’s avowed commitment to free expression and tolerance of divergent views. The new and intolerant NPP sacrificed Arthur Kennedy’s intent and was quite unmoved by the loss of an incumbent parliamentary seat.

Suspensions have become the latest dastardly and most sinister weapon for cowing views and opinions that do not conform, It started with yours truly for daring to first suggest that it was unwise to go to court on the outcome of the 2012 election; followed by another that having done so, the NPP was not putting its best talents forward.

My purported suspension took hold despite my written objection that the procedure adopted was not in accordance with the NPP’s own rule. A meeting with the Disciplinary Committee to iron out the rules of engagement was stormed by angry mobs, in spite of the presenciue of so called internal security. Both the Committee and I had to e rescued by task forces from the Grater Accra Regional Police.  The palpable failure of the Party hierarchy to condemn the barbaric act was for me reason enough not to bother any more.

Since the catastrophic tactical failure at last year’s Tamale congress allowed Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong to slip into the positions of National Chairman  and General Secretary, the daggers have been out to ‘right the wrong’, and kick out the impurities that have infected the ‘near perfect’ ticket.  The Disciplinary Committee of the NPP has become the dastardly instrument of this unscrupulous terror of rooting out ‘so called fifth columnists’.

Officers elected by the National Delegates Conference, the highest body of the NPP, have been effectively removed from their elected office by a so-called ‘indefinite suspension’ by the Disciplinary Committee.  Elected regional executives who expressed their disagreement with Afoko’s treatment have themselves been suspended indefinitely. Public meetings to express unorthodox but divergent views have been broken up unceremoniously.

The Director of Communications of the NPP has characterised the party’s problem as one of plagued by Indiscipline. True enough, but I would venture to suggest that the more cancerous problem for the NPP is the strangulating Intolerance of diversity and pluralism in the party’s body politic.

I expect that this piece will turn my ‘self-extended’ suspension into an Indefinite Suspension. That is a small price to pay for being able to continue to share my views on the affairs of this nation, which I have done since 1993 and was allowed to do when I was privileged to be a member of the NPP National Executive under the venerable B.J, Da Rocha & Agyenim Boateng as National Chairman and General Secretary respectively.   

For those who think that the path has now been cleared for a triumphant entry into the Flagstaff House in 2007, let me remind you of what happened in 2008. A divided NPP led to a drop of 18 percentage votes in Nana Akufo-Addo’s share of the popular vote in Ashanti region from J.A. Kufuor’s 2004 figure. Similar drops were recorded in other regions and the party lost its majority in parliament too

The result has been a decade of sufferance and hardship for a people for whom J.A Kuffuor bequeathed the salivating legacy of oil riches and imaginative social interventions.  Sadly just when it looked like there was some very welcome relief on the horizon, the indefinite suspensions of Afoko, Agyapong, Crabbe, etc., has almost certainly derailed the imminent resetting of the ‘Ghana Reset’ button.

Nana Akufo -Addo must never confuse the need to smoke out moles from within, with the non-negotiable principle of tolerance of divergent views and free speech in the party of Development in Freedom.   My advice to Nana is simple, if you cannot work with Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong, Crabbe   go back to those who elected them to ask for their dismissal and replacement by those you can work it.  That is my understanding of ‘due process’ and ‘rule of law’

Until and unless then, the foundation of Freedom & Justice cannot be trusted into hands that use sophistry to undermine Democracy in Freedom

source:http://www.myjoyonline.com/opinion/2015/december-14th/tarzan-writes-president-akufo-addo-suspended-indefinitely-by-npp-disciplinary-committee.php#sthash.QicVeTPV.dpuf

Read: What Norwegian newspaper VG reported about AMERI deal Source

Ghana's minister of power does not even bother to lift his eyes when two journalists from the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) enter his huge office at the government quarter in the capital city of Accra.

His desk is covered with large stacks of document that are strewn in front of him. Kwabena Donkor has one cell phone on top of a stack of papers, while a second phone is charging on the windowsill.

It is September 9th, and Donkor is a very busy politician: A crippling energy crisis is playing havoc with Ghana, and it is the minister's job to solve the problem.

Donkor confirmed to VG that the government of Ghana had acquired ten gas turbines from a company called Ameri Group. The minister had signed the contract seven months earlier, which may be the best transaction ever for the mystical Dubai-based company he did his business with.

VG showed the minister a photo of a wanted man; a Pakistani Norwegian named Umar Farooq Zahoor (40). The 40-year-old man from Oslo is wanted by Norwegian and Swiss police for spectacular acts of fraud committed the last ten years.

VG showed the minister a picture, and he pointed to the Pakistani Norwegian right away. He knows him as the head of the Ameri Group.

– I know him; he is the Chief executive of Ameri Group, Donkor says.

Then we show the minister a picture of the man who co-signed the agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor, a prince from the ruling family in Dubai. The minister has no doubts:

– The sheikh, his royal highness. They both work for Ameri Group, he said.

VG investigated what happened after the wanted man from Norway and the prince from Dubai acquired ten gas turbines for Ghana for 510 million US dollars.

VG’s investigations show that these turbines usually sell for 220 million dollars.

So why did the West African country pay 290 million dollars more than the standard price?

Mohammed Amin Adam, the director of a Ghanaian think tank called Africa Centre for Energy Policy, is highly sceptical.

– If you can help us find out who these people at Ameri Group are we would certainly pursue the case here, he told VG when we met him at his office in Accra.

VG has been following Ameri Group’s tracks for seven months on several continents. The full name of Ameri Group is Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group.

According to the company website, the company works to develop, co-own and operate power plants in different parts of the world.

The company has apparently achieved spectacular success in a very short period of time. Their website was created two months before the multi-million dollar contract was signed with the government of Ghana.

It's pitch dark in one of Accra’s poorest neighbourhoods, Nima. The sun has set for today, and the electricity is gone. Power can disappear for 24 hours at a time in this impoverished neighbourhood.

Everything goes black, every day, more and more often and for longer periods of time. The energy crisis is very debilitating for the country.

In 2014 alone, Ghana lost over two billion dollars due to the national power crisis, according to a report from Ghana's largest university.

The residents of the neighbourhood told VG just how desperate the situation really was: Electrical systems are damaged, food stored in freezers rots and businesses go bankrupt.

The crisis got so bad last year that the president of Ghana handpicked someone to solve the problem: Dr Kwabena Donkor.

Donkor signed the agreement with Ameri Group six weeks later on the 10th of February this year.

Ameri Group would provide Ghana with ten gas turbines. This procurement would help solve the energy crisis.

The contract was signed by the minister of power and another prominent representative of Ghanaian authorities, Assistant Attorney General and Minister of Justice Dominic Ayine.

VG got its hands on a copy of the agreement, which is 49 pages long. The director who signed for the company in Dubai is now a well-known name among investigators at the Financial Crime Section of the Oslo Police District: Pakistani Norwegian Umar Farooq Zahoor.

As early as 2013, Deputy Chief of Police for Oslo Gro Smogeli singled out Zahoor as a ringleader of one of Norway's boldest and biggest bank frauds ever; the so-called Nordea Swindle.

VG can announced today that Farooq Zahoor is also wanted internationally by Norwegian police and Interpol for his leading role in this scam.

Deputy police constable Gro Smogeli in Oslo confirms to VG that Umar Farooq Zahoor is wanted worldwide for fraud.

– He is wanted by Oslo police distric through Interpol-channels, she says.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal announced its unanimous verdict on 26 November confirming reasonable grounds to suspect the 40-year-old of fraud, as part of organized criminal activity subject to Norway’s mafia activities paragraph.

The Pakistani Norwegian is also wanted for running a fake bank in Switzerland.

Umar Farooq Zahoor portrays himself as a busy and prosperous businessman. His base of operations the past nine years has been the United Arab Emirate of Dubai. He has been living here in a luxurious mansion in one of Dubai’s most fashionable neighbourhoods, as new luxury cars appear in his garage from time to time.

His story began in 1971 when Umar Farooq Zahoor’s father left a small village in Pakistan to try his luck in Europe. He ended up in Oslo. He set up the first immigrant store in the neighbourhood of Grønland, Oslo, together with his wife who joined him in Norway some years later.

20 years later the family owned 5 stores in the same neighbourhood. They sold food, clothing, gold items and ran a travel agency.

The couple had 15 children. Umar was the second oldest son. As the parents ran their businesses, many of their sons learned to be criminals.

Umar was sentenced to one year in prison in 2003 for embezzling airline tickets from his family’s travel agency. The Oslo District Court stated that he had shown clear criminal intent, and that his actions were thoroughly planned and had a professional touch.

Umar Farooq Zahoor did not appear in court. Before the trial the judge had received a letter from the accused asking for a postponement in the case. In the letter, the man from Oslo told the court he was in the midst of business negotiations with bank connections in Switzerland.

Later on the police discovered that he was in full swing at the time with a new and spectacular crime. He had rented office space with a New Zealander in Zürich’s best business, at which they hung up a gilded sign that read Bank.

What customers thought was a real bank would drain its victims for a combined loss of 20 million dollars.

Farooq Zahoor’s business partner was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for this super scam. During his trial, Zahoor’s partner told the Zurich District Court that starting a fake bank was his Farooq Zahoors partner’s idea.

By the time the Swiss police headed off to arrest the Farooq Zahoor he had already moved to his father's country of origin.

Some years later the man from Oslo was on the run again, this time heading for Dubai, where he began his dubious affairs again.

Together with a band of fraudsters he managed to empty the Nordea bank account of a very wealthy widow over the course of 13 days in the summer of 2010. He recieved help from an employee at the bank's branch office in Oslo to withdraw 10 million dollars.

6 million dollars were transferred to two accounts that belonged to a Norwegian businesswoman who lived in Dubai named Sonia Rashid.

On the 25 th of June 2013, nearly three years after this record-breaking fraud, Sonia Rashid admitted to VG that she had withdrawn this money in cash.

She said she gave the millions to Umar Farooq Zahoor.

“Umar was with me when I withdrew the money. He sat in the car while I drove from bank to bank. I went inside the banks and withdrew money that had been transferred to my accounts in Dubai. I gave him the money when I got in the car”, Rashid said.

Despite extensive media coverage in recent years, Zahoor continued to work for major financial institutions in Norway. He has worked the last six years as a consultant for a Norwegian company called NBT ASA, which develops wind power projects in China and in the Karachi area of Pakistan.

The three largest owners of NBT ASA are the corporate finance company Arctic Securities, billionaire Lars Nilsen via his investment company and Kjell Inge Røkke’s Aker Capital AS.

17 September this year: The Greek EPC contractor and industrial group METKA issued a press release from its headquarters in Athens. The company specialises in major energy, infrastructure and defence projects has good news:

They have secured the first major contract in Sub-Saharan Africa. The entrepreneurial giant had opened an office in Ghana's capital city only a few weeks earlier.

METKA is owned by one of the richest dynasties in Greece, the Mytilineos family. According to the press release, the industrial giant had acquired a new partner: Ameri Group.

The Greek corporation informed that its wholly-owned Turkish subsidiary will be providing Ghana with ten brand new gas turbines manufactured by General Electric (GE). In addition to that, the Greeks will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the turbines.

The press release said this is a five-year agreement with the government of Ghana and METKA’s partners in the agreement, Ameri Group.

METKA said their share of the deal exeeds 350 million dollars. This sum is up to 160 million dollars less than the 510 million that Ghana will be paying Ameri for the turbines.

Nobody yet knows who got their hands on this money.

VG has posed several questions to METKA. The company's spokesperson Elli Gardiki replied in an email, saying they cannot speak about the details of this agreement, referring to the press release from September.

– The projects we carry out are complex technical projects, and as such each one is by no means identical. Each project varies significantly depending on many factors, such as overall project scope, delivery time, site and others. No project and no contract is identical and simplified comparisons can lead to wrong conclusions, she stated.

Ameri Energy was presented in the press release from September as part of energy investments made by His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling family in Dubai.

The press release also stated that the project was made possible with active support from General Electric (GE) in the United States.

GE would not comment on what active support means, VG was told by Communication Manager Ivar Simensen at General Electric Norway.


“METKA will respond to its own press releases”, GE's communication manager said.

GE's spokesperson would not comment on whether they sold gas turbines to the Ameri Group, or what price the turbines were sold for.

Dubai's largest traffic artery is the Sheikh Zayed Road. Its 16 lanes cut right through the city and continue west toward Abu Dhabi.

On the right side of the highway, not far from the Burj Khalifa Skyscraper, lies a weatherworn five-storey building. The Emgate Building consists of business offices and apartments. Until recently one could visit a streetside used car store named Deals on Wheels.

This is where the Ameri Group supposedly has its headquarters. The contract and the company’s websites give this as their main office.

VG has been in contact with the employees of a medical center in the same building. They have never heard of the company.

Ameri Group had not posted its name on the signboard of tenants in the building four months after the contract was signed.

Umar Farooq Zahoor signed the multi-million dollar contract in Ghana together with Prince of Dubai Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum. The Arabian prince is named and mentioned frequently in Ameri’s websites. The 40-year-old Pakistani Norwegian is not mentioned anywhere.

Ameri Group’s website states that the company’s affairs are based on trust, integrity and transparency. We are a very ethical corporation and are proud of our work, it states.

The multi-million dollar contract was signed in the greatest secrecy. There were no members of the press present when the contract was entered into. Until now, the name of the person who represented the company was a well-kept secret.

Ameri Group’s website also lists the prince as chairman of the board. The website also maintains that the prince travels to poor countries in the third world and participates in development projects to provide energy solutions for electricity, water and better infrastructure for the inhabitants of those countries.

According to the Ameri Group, the prince’s motto is: a better world for the less fortunate.

Director Mohammed Amin Adam of the think tank Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) does not believe this agreement will make the world a better place.

On the contrary, he is very critical to the agreement between the Ghanaian government and Ameri Group.

According to the agreement, Ghana will lease the ten gas turbines for five years. After that, Ghana becomes owner of the turbines after paying an equipment cost of 510 million dollars.

– That same equipment could have been purchased for 220 million dollars. The Ghanaian authorities would have saved 290 million dollars, said Amin Adam.

– Why did the authorities decide to trust Ameri Group?

– It makes no sense economically. We think someone is making money on of this deal, but we do not have any evidence yet, the head of the think tank said.

In addition to an equipment price of 510 million dollars, Ghana will pay variable costs of 16 million dollars annually, according to a report from the National Assembly of Ghana. Ghana will also need to pay for the gas to power the ten turbines.

According to the agreement the ten gas turbines are type TM2500+, often referred to as a power plant on wheels.

VG’s investigations show that the standard price for these turbines is about 20 million dollars. Last summer, GE sold eight identical turbines to Sonelgaz, the state energy company in Algeria, for 161 million dollars.

Professor Olav Bolland is one of Norway's foremost experts on gas power plants.

– This is one of the world's most popular turbines, if not the most common, he said.

– A simple internet search indicates that they sell for about 22 million dollars each. That seems to be a reasonable price if you ask me based on my previous experience pricing power plants.

 He leads the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The agreement was sent to the National Assembly for approval after the government had signed the agreement with Ameri Group.

The minister's delegation reported to Ghanaian elected representatives that a direct purchase of the ten turbines would cost 411 million dollars. This amount is almost double the standard price for such turbines on the world market.

A crucial reason for choosing Ameri Group, was that the company could deliver the turbines quickly, while it would take nine months or a year for GE to manufacture ten turbines, the minister said.

But it was not until late October (eight months after the agreement was signed) that the turbines were unloaded at the Port of Accra.

From there they were transported to a power station in the west, where they are now being connected to the power grid and soon ready to produce electricity.

The minister of power have argued to VG that he did nothing wrong when he signed the agreement with the mysterious company:

– I would not get involved in anything that is not good for Ghana, he said.

VG made a number of attempts to get Umar Farooq Zahoor, the prince and Ameri Group to explain why Ghana had to pay such an enormous price. Neither the prince nor the wanted Oslo man have responded to VG’s enquiries.

After sending an email to the address listed on the company’s website, someone named Kate spoke on behalf of Ameri Group saying:

– Mr Umar stopped working for our company a few months ago to pursue bigger business opportunities.

The mysterious company does not want to answer VG’s question:

– We are a privately held company in Dubai that does business all over the world, also in Ghana. We see no reason to answer any of your questions. We do not understand why a Norwegian newspaper would be interested in what we do, she writes.

Not many inhabitants of the Accra slum care anymore.

“They are all corrupt thieves!”

Head of the neighbourhood council, Aziz Haruna, is furious over his countries politicians.

It's six o'clock in the evening and power in the city's most densely-populated neighbourhood has just gone.

Like so many others in this neighbourhood, Haruna has lost faith in politics and politicians. He waves his arms and says:

– Our politicians are stealing our country's resources. If you want to be rich in Ghana, you need to become a politician.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Champions League draw: Arsenal face Barcelona, Chelsea drawn against Paris St-Germain for the third consecutive season

Arsenal will face holders Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.

Chelsea have been drawn against Paris St-Germain for the third consecutive season, while Manchester City face Dynamo Kiev.

Roma versus Real Madrid and Juventus, last year's beaten finalists, against Bayern Munich are two of the standout matches in the draw.

First legs are scheduled to take place on 16-17 and 23-24 February. Return legs are on 8-9 and 15-16 March.

The winners of each group, including Chelsea and Manchester City, are at home in the second legs, while Arsenal will host their first leg.

Barcelona v Arsenal is a repeat of the 2006 final, which the Spanish champions won 2-1 thanks to two late goals in Paris.

PSG, who are 17 points clear at the top of the French league, knocked Chelsea out on away goals at this stage last season, while the Blues beat them on the same rule in the quarter-finals the previous year.

Dynamo Kiev beat Manchester City in the 2010-11 Europa League last 16, with striker Mario Balotelli sent off for the English side.

The first leg in Kiev will be played in a stadium without any supporters present, as Dynamo Kiev were punished following racist attacks on fans during a group game against Chelsea.

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 18 March with the semi-final line-up drawn on 15 April.

Draw in full

Gent v Wolfsburg

Roma v Real Madrid

Paris St-Germain v Chelsea

Arsenal v Barcelona

Juventus v Bayern Munich

PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid

Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg

Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City

Source: bbc.co.uk

Sad news in Argentina: Many killed after bus falls off bridge

At least 41 people, most of them police officers, have been killed after a bus fell off a bridge in north-west Argentina, officials say.

The bus was carrying at least 50 people, most of them members of Argentina's border police, when it came off the road and fell about 20m (65ft) into a riverbed.

Emergency workers are trying to free a number of trapped passengers.

They said that so far, six passengers had been rescued from the wreck.

The bus came off the road at about 02:00 local time (05:00 GMT) near the town of Rosario del Fuente in Salta province, police officials said.

It was one of three police buses travelling on national highway 34.

A local police statement said there were indications that one of the bus's tyres had burst and caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Speaking at a public event, President Mauricio Macri, expressed his condolences.

Source: bbc.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner's single didn't favour me

Louisa Johnson says she doesn't think the winner's single favoured her over Reggie N Bollie.

Both finalists had to sing a cover of Bob Dylan's Forever Young, originally released in 1974, which clearly suited the 17-year-old's voice and style.

But, talking on the way to the Radio 1 lifts, Louisa said the song would have worked for Reggie N Bollie too.

"I loved Reggie N Bollie's performance. I will definitely be buying whatever song they bring out," she said.

"I would definitely like to work with them as I think they are amazing people as well as artists."


Louisa will now be promoting her single, which is aimed at next Friday's Christmas Day chart.

After the two finalists sang the Bob Dylan cover, the judges didn't pass comment on Reggie N Bollie's attempt.

Instead Simon Cowell just asked the boys if there was anything they'd like to say.

Louisa has also told Newsbeat she won't be reading any headlines about herself anytime soon.

Asked what was the best piece of advice she'd been given, she replied: "Don't read anything good or bad, obviously be thankful for the comments.

"But if you read into things it just gets you down. You just need to stay on the same level."

Louisa was picked out by producers after attending Britain's Got Talent auditions.

She had social accounts created with the @Louisa tag before the X Factor process suggesting executives knew she had the potential to successfully release music.

Newsbeat asked her as a big West Ham United fan what would she would prefer: winning the Premier League or a number one single?

"I think it would have to be Louisa Johnson (at number one) but both would be nice," she laughs.

"When I heard my name I was just so shocked, I forgot where I was."

Meanwhile, the X Factor winner, who's from Essex, topped the public vote in five out of the seven weeks.

Finalists Reggie N Bollie and Che Chesterman came top in weeks four and five respectively.

Here's how the live show votes were won over the seven weeks of the live shows...

Vote 1

Louisa Johnson - 15.9%

Vote 2

Louisa Johnson - 15.3%

Vote 3

Louisa Johnson - 16.4%

Vote 4

Reggie N Bollie - 21.6%

Vote 5

Che Chesterman - 22.2%

Vote 6

Louisa Johnson - 31.5%

Vote 7 Freeze

Louisa Johnson - 44.5%

Vote 7 Final

Louisa Johnson - 53.9%

 

Source: bbc.co.uk

South Africa's Pravin Gordhan named third finance minister in week

South Africa's president has appointed the experienced Pravin Gordhan as his third finance minister within a week.

He replaces the little-known David van Rooyen who had only been in the job since Thursday.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma sacked previous Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in a widely-criticised move that sent the rand to record lows and caused the stock market to tumble.

The developments come amid concern over South Africa's struggling economy.

Mr Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa's finance minister from 2009 until 2014.

BBC Africa business reporter Lerato Mbele says his re-appointment is designed to quell market discontent and restore some confidence.

It appeared to have an immediate effect with the currency rising, recovering from just over 16 rand to the dollar to about 15 by Monday morning, according to currency site xe.com.

The Johannesburg stock exchange also recovered some of last week's losses.
Who is Pravin Gordhan?

    Trained and worked as a pharmacist in Durban
    One of the main negotiators in the drafting of South Africa's democratic constitution from 1991-1994
    Ran South Africa's revenue service from 1999-2009
    Served as finance minister from 2009-2014
    Re-appointed finance minister in 2015

But the new finance minister has a hard job with unemployment currently above 25%, growth sluggish and credit rating agency Fitch recently downgrading South Africa to one notch above "junk" status.

The brief tenure of Mr van Rooyen and the uncertainty it caused may have damaged South Africa's reputation further, analysts say.

Mohammed Nalla, head of research at Nedbank Capital, said having a finance minister serve just a few days did not bode well.

"International investors are probably thinking: 'Why didn't the president make a much more considered decision in the first place?'" he said.

President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire two finance ministers in the space of a week has been a colossal blunder.

Not only has it been recognised by opposition parties, who are calling for his resignation, but also by the general public, the financial markets and, by the weekend, the president himself, hence the change in mind.

But what is happening with the governing African National Congress?

The ANC leadership was not consulted and seemed to be hearing about the dramatic appointments at the same time as the rest of us.

There is no doubt that the continent's oldest liberation movement is in disarray.

President Zuma will emerge weaker but the party will not lose votes in the medium term - as people remain loyal to the movement if not the individual.

Mr Nene's reluctance to approve a plan to build several nuclear power stations at a cost of up to $100bn is thought to have contributed to his removal as finance minister.

But President Zuma's move to get rid of him drew a lot of criticism from within the governing ANC.

Former Health Minister Barbara Hogan on Friday called on Mr Zuma to resign. The highest-profile ANC member to oppose Mr Nene's removal, she said that the president had crossed a line and needed to be held to account.

Razia Khan, an analyst with Standard Chartered bank, said the turmoil was "perhaps the first instance since 2007 that Zuma has come under severe pressure within the party".

A statement from Mr Zuma's office said he had "received many representations" to reconsider his decision to appoint Mr van Rooyen.

"As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views," it added.

Fitch said on Thursday that Mr Nene's sacking "raised more negative than positive questions".

 

Source: bbc.co.uk

Leicester top after beating Chelsea

Jamie Vardy scored his 15th goal of the season as Leicester beat Chelsea to move back to the Premier League summit.

After Chelsea lost Eden Hazard to injury, former non-league striker Vardy volleyed in Riyad Mahrez's cross before Mahrez found the top corner for his 11th league goal of the season.

With John Terry then withdrawn, Chelsea went on the attack as Loic Remy nodded in from Pedro's cross.

But they slumped to a ninth defeat and remain a point above the bottom three.

'We are not safe yet'

Leicester 2-1 Chelsea

Leicester goalscorer Riyad Mahrez speaking to Sky Sports: "I don't know if no-one can stop me but I need to do my best for the team, but the most important thing is the performance of the team, we did a great game and deserved the win. I have a lot of confidence, when you keep scoring and making assists it's normal to have confidence."

Asked if Leicester were safe, he added: "We are not definitely safe, we need 40 or 42 points for that." Can they keep up the pace?

Source: bbc.co.uk

 

Bill Cosby sues women who accused him of sexual assault

Bill Cosby, accused by more than 40 women of sexual assault, has filed a lawsuit claiming that several of them lied about him for financial gain.

Mr Cosby, 78, is seeking unspecified monetary damages and said the women inflicted emotional distress.

He called their accusations "nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from him".

He filed the countersuit after seven of his accusers went to court seeking damages from the actor.

Their lawsuit alleges Mr Cosby and his representatives sought to tarnish their reputations after they went public with their claims of sexual misconduct.

Mr Cosby has repeatedly denied the accusations and has never been criminally charged.

However, the accusers say Mr Cosby - over a period of decades - plied them with alcohol, drugged them and sexually assaulted them.

The lawsuit contends that the women "engaged in a campaign to assassinate" his reputation and character.

Mr Cosby has admitted in court proceedings that he obtained and gave women sedatives over the years, but he maintained that the women took the drugs willingly.

A successful actor and comedian for decades, Mr Cosby shot to stardom in the 1980s with the sitcom The Cosby Show.

The popular long-running show was considered ground breaking for its depiction of a successful black American family.

He became a strong advocate of higher education and earned honorary degrees at several universities.

However, amid the allegations many institutions such as Temple University and Boston University have distanced themselves from Mr Cosby, as have former co-stars.

Media companies such as Netflix and NBC also dropped plans to develop television projects with him.

Joseph Cammarata, a lawyer representing the women, said Mr Cosby's action "stinks of retaliation".

"To suggest that these ladies - each and every one of them - got together and orchestrated a campaign against Mr Cosby is hard to fathom,'' he told AP news agency.

Source: bbc.co.uk

 

US hitting IS harder than ever, says Obama

The US is hitting so-called Islamic State (IS) harder than ever, President Barack Obama has said.

More air strikes were launched against the group in November than in any other month, he said in a Pentagon speech.

In recent weeks, the US-led coalition has killed a number of its leaders and attacked the oil facilities it uses to finance its operations, he added.

Mr Obama has been seeking to reassure the public following an attack in California that killed 14 people.

The two suspects were a radicalised Muslim couple who struck weeks after the killing of 130 people by Islamist gunmen in Paris.

Around 9,000 air strikes have been launched against the group since the start of the campaign in the summer of 2014.

Noting that IS had lost 40% of the territory it once controlled in Iraq, Mr Obama said that the terror group had not had a single successful ground operation in either Syria or Iraq since the summer.

He cautioned that the US and its partners faced "a very tough fight ahead".

Mr Obama listed the militant group's leaders who had been targeted and killed.

Using another acronym for the group, he said: "The point is, Isil leaders cannot hide and our next message to them is simple: 'You are next.'"

Among those listed was Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British militant known as Jihadi John, who appeared in videos of the beheadings of Western hostages and who was killed last month.

On Thursday, the president will visit the National Counterterrorism Center in Virginia where he is expected to receive a briefing and then speak.

The two visits come as Mr Obama tries to reassure a wary US public of his strategy against the militant group.

Just over a week ago, he gave a major televised speech with the same objective and to warn against anti-Muslim sentiment.

Critics of his strategy continue to ratchet up pressure.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said on Monday: "It's obvious that the president's current strategy isn't working.

"Far from being contained - much less defeated - Isis has now extended the reach of its terror farther than ever before."

In recent weeks, US fears of a terror attack have swelled, with about 70% of Americans saying the risk of an attack in the US is at least "somewhat high".

 

Source: bbc.co.uk

Nigeria's Sambo Dasuki charged over '$68m fraud'

Nigeria's ex-national security adviser has appeared in court, charged over an alleged $68m fraud.

Sambo Dasuki was charged on 19 counts of fraud, money laundering and criminal breach of trust at the high court in the capital Abuja.

He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Mr Dasuki is accused of illegally transferring $50m from the national security budget to fund election campaigns for members of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan's party.

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his arrest two weeks ago, after a government investigation alleged that $2bn (£1.3bn) meant to buy arms to fight Boko Haram had gone missing.

He is the most senior official to be arrested as a result of an investigation into arms procurement during the administration of Mr Jonathan, defeated by Mr Buhari in the March 2015 elections.

A government investigation found that Sambo Dasuki had awarded "ghost contracts" to buy 12 helicopters and four fighter jets which never materialised. He also denies those allegations.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed thousands in north-eastern Nigeria in its six-year campaign to create an Islamic state.

Sambo Dasuki

  • From a royal family, he's the son of the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslim community
  • A career soldier, rose to be a colonel in the army until his retirement
  • Reportedly one of the officers who arrested current President Muhammadu Buhari when he was overthrown as military head of state 30 years ago - something he denies
  • Became former President Goodluck Jonathan's national security adviser in 2012
  • Oversaw the fight against Boko Haram under his presidency
  • At the centre of a row over Nigeria's unorthodox arms procurement in 2014, when South Africa seized suitcases packed with millions of dollars of cash at an airport in Johannesburg
  • Charged for possessing illegal weapons in August 2015
  • Was put under house arrest despite a court order to allow him to travel abroad for cancer treatment

Source: bbc.co.uk

Nigeria need to improve despite win - Siasia

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has urged his players not to rest on their laurels after their Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations success.

The Nigerians beat Algeria 2-1 on Saturday to win the trophy having already sealed a place at the Olympics.

Despite the success Siasia does not feel his side were at their best.

"We are happy we've won a very difficult tournament but there's a lot of work to be done between now and August," he told BBC Sport.

"I wasn't even sure we could make it to the final but through hard work and intense discussions after every game ensured the boys corrected their mistakes - we came out victorious.

"There can be no substitute for hard work, concentration, serious focus and that's what we're going to do.

"If you don't get it right, you're in trouble at a major tournament like the Olympics. We still have a lot of tidying up to do over all.

"I have to thank the players for what they have done but they should not let it get to their heads because we need to correct our mistakes and improve our game before the Olympics."

Even though Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, after crashing out in the group stages of the maiden African Under-23 Championship in Morocco in 2011, they boast a proud record at The Games.

They made Olympic football history in 1996 by becoming the first African team to win the gold medal and were also runners-up at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Siasia also coached the side.

Meanwhile, Nigeria and runners-up Algeria alongside South Africa will represent Africa at Rio 2016 Olympics, all of the qualifiers will be allowed to include three players over 23 in their final squad for the Gamesa.

It is the first time that both the South Africa men's and women's football teams have qualified for an Olympics.

Source: bbc.co.uk

New Utility Tariffs Suspended: Ghana

The new tariff increment which has generated public uproar in the country has been suspended.

This follows a directive by an Accra High following a suit by Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) led by Kofi Kapito. The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced a 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent hikes in electricity and water last week Monday.

The CPA prayed the court to set aside the 59.2% increase in electricity tariff announced by the PURC which was expected to take effect on Monday December 14, 2015.

Kofi Kapito in the writ said the increase is unfair and illegal in the wake of the power crisis known in local parlance as Dumsor in the country. The High Court heeded the plea and has ruled that the new tariffs be suspended.

Some Ghanaians who spoke to Adom News expressed joy at the directive by the court. They indicated that an increase in the tariff was a double jeopardy.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of African Institute of Energy and Sustainability, Dr. Samuel Kojo Nuamah is calling for the PURC to live up to its constitutional mandate and seek the welfare of the consumers. According to him, PURC is irrelevant and has outlived its usefulness.

Dr. Kojo Nuamah added that the body which is expected to seek the welfare of consumers is rather in bed with the power producers to overburden Ghanaians.
 

Source: Peace Fm online

Kwame Pianim Counsels NPP Leadership

An elder of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Mr Kwame Pianim has counseled party members and leadership to throw their weight behind the flagbearer and get the campaign for 2016 ongoing.

Speaking to journalists in Accra on Tuesday about the problems in the party, Mr Pianim said he was a “broken” man and “frustrated over the troubles” in the NPP which according to him, should be prepared to take over the affairs of state since in his view, the ruling NDC was showing it was incapable of solving the problems of the country.
He said the time for smoking a peace pipe was now and that would only happen if all sides in the party were able to tell themselves in the face that what we want is a political party and not unnecessary bickering.”

“All the insults in the press, all the press statements, all that should cease. Let’s all get together and work. We have a job to do, we are fighting an election.”

Source: Daily Graphic

 

Los Angeles schools shut over email threat to students

Los Angeles schools have been closed as an unspecified threat emailed to the school district is being investigated.

The threat against the second largest school system in the US led to 640,000 pupils being told to stay away, while school buses were returned to depots.

A school district spokesman said it involved rucksacks, and they were exercising "an abundance of caution".

New York City officials said they received the same threat that closed LA schools but concluded it was a hoax.

The city's police commissioner, William Bratton, said an emailed threat came from overseas, purporting to be from jihadists, but was not considered credible.

He said he thought Los Angeles officials overreacted.

But LA Police Chief Charlie Beck responded by saying it was "irresponsible" to criticise when you didn't have the responsibility of safeguarding three-quarters of a million lives.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 1,000 schools, which all still being searched.

"Earlier this morning we did receive an electronic threat that mentions the safety of our schools," said Steven Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles school police department.

"We have chosen to close our schools today until we can be absolutely sure that our campuses are safe."

The email, which was sent to several school districts across the US late on Monday, is believed to have come from an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany.

The threat comes amid a heightened alert after 14 people were killed by a radicalised Muslim couple in San Bernardino, 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

"I think it's important to take this precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past," said district superintendent Ramon Cortines, who learned of the threat early on Tuesday.

"It was not to one school, two schools or three schools. It was to many schools, not specifically identified... it was to students at schools."

When asked what was meant be "electronic" threat, he said simply that "it was a message".

Officials were notifying parents to keep children at home or pick them up.

Lupita Vela, parent of an eight-year-old daughter who attends school in the district, told the AP news agency she was "terrified" getting the announcement, especially following the San Bernardino attacks.

She wants her daughter to feel safe at school, she said.

Another parent of a LAUSD student, Elinor McMillan, said she's a "nervous wreck".

In a separate incident, classes were also cancelled at San Bernardino Valley College on Tuesday due to a bomb threat made on Monday afternoon.


What's a credible threat?

FBI officials use the term "specific but non credible" when they have details about the location of the threat, such as a school or a house. But the officials can't say for sure that the person who made the threat is dangerous (and it's not a schoolboy prank).

"Specific means a very clear target," Frank Cilluffo, the director of George Washington University's homeland security policy institute, told me.

There are other cases when militants or criminals, known to them, make a threat, but they haven't said where the attack would take place.

That's when law-enforcement officials talk about a threat that is "credible but not specific".

Source: bbc.co.uk

Nigerian Shia Muslims protest over military crackdown

Shia Muslims are protesting in six northern Nigerian cities against a military crackdown they allege has left hundreds of their members dead.

Many businesses have shut in Kaduna, one of the cities worst-affected by the demonstrations, a BBC reporter says.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani phoned his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, about the crackdown.

Nigeria's military accuses the pro-Iranian sect of trying to assassinate army chief Gen Tukur Buratai.

Meeting Sheikh Zakzaky


According to Iranian media, during his conversation with Mr Buhari, President Rouhani inquired about the fate of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the IMN leader arrested after troops besieged his home in the northern city of Zaria.

The IMN alleges that the military killed hundreds of its members and destroyed a religious shrine and the sheikh's home during the raid.

A leading human rights activist, Chidi Odinkalu, has backed that figure and called on President Buhari to conduct an independent investigation into what happened.

"It is not tolerable. Nigerians have the right to live like citizens of any other nation," he told the BBC.

"How can a professional military respond with guns to people protesting with stones?" Mr Odinkalu added.

The latest protests were triggered by a photo that went viral on social media, purportedly showing him sitting on the ground with a bloodied face.

The IMN has its headquarters in Kaduna, where security forces have taken up positions at strategic places as IMN members protest in the streets, says the the BBC's Nura Muhammed Ringim in the city.

Some residents have stayed in doors because they fear violence, he says.

The cities of Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Bauchi have also been hit by protests.

In Iran, a group gathered in front of the UN office in the north-eastern religious city of Mashhad to protest about the violence in Nigeria, Tehran-based private Tasnim news agency reports.

The military has not given casualty figures, but has denied the IMN's claim that the wife of Sheikh Zakzaky, Zeenat Ibrahim, was killed during the weekend clashes.

Maj Gen Oyebado, the army head of the Kaduna division, said on Monday that she was in the army's custody.

He did not confirm or deny the death of the couple's son, Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky.

Last year, three other sons of Sheikh Zakzaky were killed in clashes between the army and pilgrims in a religious procession.

Source: bbc.co.uk

 

Ghana arrests 'Burkina Faso arms dealer' in Kumasi

A suspected arms dealer from Burkina Faso has been arrested in Ghana after officers found weapons capable of shooting down an aircraft in his bedroom, a police commander has said.

The 72-year-old man was detained in the city of Kumasi along with four other people suspected of buying weapons.

He confessed to smuggling in arms from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger, police in Kumasi said.

Machine guns and anti-aircraft ammunition were among the arms found.

Ashanti Regional Police Commander Nathan Kofi Boakye said some of the weapons found could be fired for six hours continuously.

Some of them were like those found mounted on the back of a pick-up truck in rebel-held areas, he said.

The search for an arms dealer started in October after a number of bullets were discovered by police, the commander said.

Source: bbc.co.uk