Posts by: ticker

Sad: Bauchi blast kills 6-year-old

Police in Nigeria earlier today confirmed that a bomb hidden inside a wheelbarrow exploded near a beer garden in the north of the country, killing a 6-year-old boy and wounding 10 other people.

Sunday’s explosion in Bauchi struck a local bar many gather at to enjoy beer, despite the state being ruled under Shariah law. Bauchi state police commissioner Mohammed Ladan said the blast killed the boy, who was near the bar.

Adamu Abubakar, a Red Cross official, said security forces had surrounded the area.

- AP

Simply awesome: CEO distributes his $3 Million salary to his employees

Lenovo’s Yang Yuanqing has gotten several million dollars in good publicity for his firm with a clever and generous move that is sure to get attention for his company. The CEO is being hailed as a hero for giving away his $3 million bonus to his employees. There were 10,000 employees to share the money with, so $3 million doesn’t go as far as he might hope.

At the same time, the move is the kind of good will gesture that is sure to get him the respect that he deserves. “Among the employees to receive a piece of the pie were receptionists, production line workers, and assistants,” according to DailyTech.

The amounts given to employees don’t seem like much in American standards, but in China, the minimum wage in the Shenzhen Province is just $253 per month, making the $314 bonus a sizeable chunk of dough.

Lenovo, a company that makes personal computing products, saw a 73% increase in its profits over the previous year, so Yang is doing a wonderful job already.

Yang didn’t give all of his money away, however. His income for the year is reported to be $14 million in total. Either way, he’s shown more generosity than nearly every CEO in the world.

- Techville

A dead legacy? Penn State removes the Joe Paterno statue

The statue of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been removed from outside the campus’ stadium, CNN affiliate WTAJ said.

The 900-pound bronze statue is being stored in a “secure location,” according to a statement from Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The tribute to Paterno had become an object of contention after the child rape scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno’s statue and legacy came under fire after the release of the Freeh Report, the scathing investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The report found several Penn State officials concealed evidence that Sandusky had sexually abused minors. Freeh concluded that Paterno could have prevented further sexual abuse had he taken action. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 victims.

“I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond,” Erickson said.

“I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse,” he added.

On Sunday, Penn State employees began placing fencing around the statue, as well as a tarp. Local and university police were at the scene, and some students have gathered near the football field, Beaver Stadium.

Another tribute to Paterno — the university library that bears his name — will remain as it is, Erickson said.

“The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts coach Paterno had on the university,” he wrote.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called Paterno “a powerful man who acted selfishly” who “deserves no public honors whatsoever.”

“We’re glad the statue is gone but that’s just a tiny step forward,” SNAP spokesman David Clohessy said in a statement. “We as a society must learn that a good way to deter child sex cover-ups is to punish, not praise, those who instigate such cover-ups.”

The NCAA, which oversees college sports, announced on its Twitter feed that it plans to hold a press conference regarding Penn State at 9 a.m. Monday.

- CNN

Rupert Murdoch steps down from boards

Rupert Murdoch has stepped down from a string of company boards of directors just one month after his embattled News Corporation announced plans to separate publishing interests from its lucrative television and film operations.

The Australian-born media mogul made the move last week, according to a spokesman for News International, a British arm of News Corp.

While Murdoch is expected to remain chairman of both companies, he will be CEO of only the television and film side, further distancing himself from the print business that first brought him fame and fortune.

It’s not clear who will be CEO of the publishing company, which would be less than one-third the size of its counterpart.

The News International spokesman on Saturday played down Murdoch’s boards resignation, calling it “nothing more than a corporate house-cleaning exercise prior to the company split.”

News Corp., a Murdoch-controlled media conglomerate, is expected to be divided in the next 12 months. The split comes after some of its U.K.-based newspapers were thrust to the center of a recent phone-hacking scandal.

His British operations have remained under intense scrutiny after revelations of widespread phone hacking, which included celebrities and public officials, by people working for his newspapers.

The controversy prompted News Corp. to shut down its venerable British tabloid, News of the World, last year, and preceded a decision to withdraw a multi-billion-dollar bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting.

The coming split would separate operations like 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel from the firm’s newspapers holdings such as Britain’s The Sun, the London Times and the London Sunday Times.

News Corp.’s American media holdings include The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Barron’s. Its book publishing assets include such companies as HarperCollins.

- CNN

Ogun Polls: ACN chief, 4 others held with stuffed ballot boxes

An Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, chieftain identified and four others were yesterday morning caught with stuffed ballot boxes in Remo North Local Government, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.
They were allegedly intercepted at ward 01, Ishara by the men of the Nigerian police.

They were immediately taken to Ishara police station where they wrote statements before being transferred to the Police Area Command, Shagamu.

Michael Jackson’s mom reported ‘missing’ in ongoing family dispute

A nephew of Katherine Jackson reported the Jackson family matriarch missing late Saturday night after her grandchildren were unable to get in touch with her for a week.

It is the latest chapter in a messy dispute between several of Jackson’s children and her advisers over her finances and legal affairs.

Jackson’s nephew, Trent, filed the report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. But one of her sons involved in the dispute said she was fine and resting in Arizona.

“I want to reassure everyone (inc all sudden medical experts) that Mother is fine but is resting up in AZ on the orders of a doctor, not us,” Jermaine Jackson tweeted.

“This is our mother and her health is paramount. We are not inventing or plotting anything. We are following doctor’s advice. Period,” he added.

The missing persons report follows a letter made public Wednesday in which two daughters — Rebbie and Janet — and three sons — Jermaine, Randy and Tito — charge that Jackson, 82, was being mistreated by the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate and mis-advised by her manager and lawyer.

According to Jackson’s lawyer, Sandra Ribera, Jackson left her Calabasas, California, home on July 15, to fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to attend a Jackson brothers concert two days later.

Traveling with her was her oldest daughter, Rebbie.

But when Paris, Michael Jackson’s 14-year-old daughter, called her aunts Rebbie and Janet over the past several days, she was told each time she could not speak to her, Ribera said.

“yes, my grandmother is missing . i haven’t spoken with her in a week i want her home now,” Paris tweeted Sunday morning.

In another tweet, she gave out her bodyguard’s phone number and asked people to call the authorities if they saw Jackson.

“The kids were trying to get a hold of their grandmother and they haven’t been able to reach her for almost a week,” Ribera said. “They are told she’s unavailable.”

“I’m concerned that she’s not safe,” Ribera added.

Jackson has not called Michael Jackson’s three children, who have lived with her since their father died three years ago, the lawyer said.

Jackson “has never gone 24 hours without talking to her kids,” she said.

“I’m concerned that she would never do this,” Ribera said. “We have no idea what’s going on with her. No one has talked to her.”

CNN reached out to Janet Jackson’s representatives several times but did not hear back.

Jackson’s manager Lowell Henry questioned Jermaine Jackson’s claim that a doctor ordered her to leave her home and not communicate with her grandchildren.

The sheriff’s homicide-missing persons unit has been asked to investigate, Ribera said.

- CNN

 

Sex workers protest visa denial to AIDS conference in US

Hundreds of sex workers from around the world who said they were denied visas to attend an international AIDS conference in the United States began their own meeting in Kolkata on Saturday in protest.

Some 550 representatives of sex workers from India and 41 other countries were attending the seven-day event in the eastern Indian city, organisers said.

“Sex workers wanted to be a part of the US conference to fight the challenge of HIV/AIDS across the world,” said Bharati De, secretary of the Committee for Coordination of Indomitable Women, which represents sex workers in Kolkata.

India’s AIDS control programme has cut new HIV/AIDS infections by 50 percent in the last 10 years. The country has an estimated 2.4 million people with HIV.

One of India’s key strategies has been to scale up preventive education campaigns among high-risk groups such as sex workers.

But despite the significant drop in fresh cases, India still has the highest number of people living with HIV after South Africa and Nigeria.

The Indian conference has been called the sex workers’ “Freedom Festival”.

The Kolkata meeting will deliberate on the “Seven Freedoms” — the right to move, work, have access to healthcare, participate, organise, be free of violence and discrimination — without which sex workers say they cannot reduce their vulnerability to HIV.

“Sex workers have decided to hold a parallel conference here in Kolkata to make their voices heard,” Smarajit Jana, chairwoman of the Indian event, told AFP.

“We hope this conference will make sex workers’ voices louder and stronger,” Jana said outside the conference auditorium on the eastern fringes of the West Bengal state capital.

Held every two years, the International AIDS Conference is returning to the United States for the first time since 1990, after being kept away by laws that barred people with HIV from travelling to the country.

Some 25,000 people, including celebrities, scientists and HIV sufferers are expected to attend the US conference which opens on Sunday to call for a jumpstart in the global response to the three-decade AIDS epidemic.

The US conference runs until July 27.

But “the US government’s travel restriction for sex workers will bar many of them from attending the conference,” Andrew Hunter, president of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, said in Kolkata.

“With the US now leading the fight for lesbian, gay and transgender equality, we are extremely disappointed they refuse to revise their restrictions on sex workers and refuse to recognise we’re human beings with basic rights,” he added.

Kolkata sex worker Bharati De said she was disappointed she could not go to Washington.

“The restrictions imposed by the US on granting visas to sex workers have dashed our hopes of sharing our opinions with others,” she told AFP.

More than 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV, a higher number than ever before, and around 30 million have died from AIDS-related causes since the disease first emerged in the 1980s, according to UNAIDS.

- Vanguard

D’banj gives Naeto C a Porsche as wedding gift?

According to the Linda Ikeji Blog:

The singer presented a 2012 Porsche Cayenne to Naeto C at his wedding reception today and some people are saying he did it on behalf of someone else. No, he didn’t! D’banj bought the brand new 2012 Porsche Cayenne with his own money and presented it to Naeto, who is one of his best friends and brother in the music industry, as a wedding gift.

I don’t want to speculate on the amount because they refused to tell me, but from findings on Google, the car is worth between 12million and 15million. I know it’s hard to believe that someone will buy such a gift for another person, but this is fact. That was D’banj’s gift to Naeto C. Guess the kokomaster has a big heart! God continue to bless him!

Sorry girls, the Canada stripper visa is no more

The Canadian government says it’s protecting foreign workers from sexual exploitation.

Strip bars and their patrons say the government is just being prudish.

Our neighbors to the north announced that they will be cutting off the Canadian stripper visa. With a shortage of homegrown strippers, Canadian bar owners say their entire industry is threatened. The bars will now either have to pay more to attract Canuck strippers or seek out strippers from a different source — foreign students.

There are about 700 foreign strippers legally working in Canada working on a visa, reports Newser. Just under 500 visas have been issued since 2006, and only 12 were issued last year. These workers will be allowed to finish working as strippers for the duration of their one-year visa, and will then be forced to leave the country.

It wasn’t reported what country these strippers came from. But given the apparent bounty of strippers in the United States (particularly Las Vegas), it’s probably a safe bet that many of these strippers are American.

Without foreign stripper aid, Canadian strip clubs have already indicated that they are going to target foreign students, reports Newser. That’s because foreign students are allowed to work part-time in Canada. So an unnatural result of the repeal of the Canada stripper visa is that foreign strippers may be left out, but students could be targeted.

In the alternative, if a strip bar is desperate to get a foreign stripper into the country, a creative immigration attorney could try to make an argument that strippers are performers or artists. If Canada has similar laws to the United States, the strippers could get the equivalent of a P-visa.

- Reuters

Syrian forces battle rebels in nation’s capital

Syrian soldiers and armored troops pushed into a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Saturday after striking back in Damascus against fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle.

Activists in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and a northern commercial hub, said hundreds of families were fleeing residential districts after the military swept into the Saladin district, which had been in rebel hands for two days.

Fighting was also reported in the densely-populated, poor neighborhood of al-Sakhour.

“The sound of bombardment has been non-stop since last night. For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a battle zone,” a housewife said by phone from the city.

An escalation in the fighting in Aleppo would prove another challenge to Assad, still reeling from the assassination of four of his top security officials and a six-day attack on the capital which rebels have named “Damascus Volcano”.

The president has not spoken in public since the killings, and failed to attend funeral ceremonies for his brother-in-law and two other slain officials on Friday.

The clashes in Aleppo came as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was sending his peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and top military adviser Gen. Babacar Gaye to Syria to assess the situation.

In Damascus, Assad’s forces hit back overnight. Helicopters and tanks aimed rockets, machineguns and mortars at pockets of lightly armed rebel fighters who moved through the streets on foot, attacking security installations and roadblocks.

Residents who toured the city on Saturday said it was relatively quiet, though gunfire and explosions could still be heard intermittently in some areas.

Most shops were closed and there was only light traffic – although more than in recent days. Some police checkpoints, which had been abandoned earlier in the week, were manned again.

Most petrol stations were closed, having run out of fuel, and the few that were open had huge lines of cars waiting to fill up. Residents also reported long queues at bakeries and said vegetable prices had doubled.

“I feel depressed and lonely because I have to stay indoors as there is nothing good outside. Everyone else is depressed as well,” said a woman in her 50s in west Damascus who supports Assad’s opponents.

An opposition activist said he had sneaked back into the Midan district, which Assad’s forces seized back from rebel control on Friday, only to find his house looted.

“The doors were broken and I walked into several houses which were in the same condition,” said Fadi al-Wahed. “Safes were broken into, drawers broken and furniture and television screens missing. Three army trucks were parked under the ring road flyover with loot.”

HUNDREDS KILLED

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group which monitors the violence in the country, said 240 people had been killed across Syria on Friday, including 43 soldiers.

The Observatory’s combined death toll over the past 48 hours stands at 550, making it the bloodiest two days of the 16-month-old uprising against Assad.

On Wednesday, a bomb killed four members of the president’s narrow circle of kin and lieutenants, including his powerful brother-in-law, defense minister and intelligence chief.

In the days since, rebels have pushed deep into the heart of the capital and seized control of other towns. On Thursday, they captured three border crossings with Iraq and Turkey, the first time they have held sway over Syria’s frontiers.

The surge in violence has trapped millions of Syrians, turned sections of the capital into ghost towns, and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Lebanon.

The U.N. Security Council has approved a 30-day extension for a ceasefire observer mission, but Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended changing the focus of its work to pursuing prospects for a political solution – effectively admitting there is no truce to monitor.

Diplomats said only half of the 300 unarmed observers would be needed for Ban’s suggested shift in focus, and several monitors were seen departing Damascus on Saturday.

Speaking two days after Russia and China vetoed a resolution to impose further sanctions on Assad’s government, Ban called on the U.N. Security Council to “redouble efforts to forge a united way forward and exercise its collective responsibility”.

“The Syrian government has manifestly failed to protect civilians and the international community has collective responsibility to live up to the U.N. Charter and act on its principles,” he said.

Regional and world powers are now bracing for what could be the decisive phase of the conflict, hoping to wrench Assad from power without unleashing a sectarian war that could spill across borders.

“The regime is going through its last days,” Abdelbasset Seida, the leader of the main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, said in Rome, predicting a dramatic escalation in violence.

A senior Syrian military defector said Assad could now rely only on an inner core of loyal army regiments, saying “the collapse of the regime is accelerating like a snowball”.

But General Mustafa Sheikh also said Assad’s forces were transporting chemical weapons across the country for possible use against rebel forces.

“The regime has started moving its chemical stockpile and redistributing it to prepare for its use,” said Sheikh, citing rebel intelligence obtained in recent days.

His comments could not be verified, but Israel said on Friday it would consider military action if needed to ensure Syrian missiles or chemical weapons did not reach Assad’s allies in Lebanon, the Shi’ite Islamist movement Hezbollah.

“I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that … (if necessary) … we will be able to consider carrying out an operation,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

- Reuters

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