Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Russia faces fury at UN over Syria deaths

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Syria Chemical attack
MIDDLE EAST - Russia has been sharply criticised by other world powers at the UN Security Council in New York over the chemical weapons deaths in northern Syria.

Moscow's suggestions that civilians were poisoned by rebel weapons on the ground have been widely rejected.

The UK's foreign secretary, a rebel commander and a weapons expert all said evidence pointed to an attack by the Syrian government, Russia's ally.

International donors have pledged $6bn (£4.8bn) in aid for Syria this year.
Seventy donor nations discussed aid efforts in the war-ravaged country in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

According to UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 20 children and 52 adults were killed in the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, on Tuesday.
Footage following the incident shows civilians, many of them children, choking and foaming at the mouth.

DISTURBING IMAGES  FROM SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK: Horrific Aftermath in Idlib 

Witnesses say clinics treating the injured were then targeted by air strikes.

Some of the victims were treated across the border in Turkey. One woman in hospital said: "We were affected by the gas. We couldn't stand up. I felt dizzy and sick. I suffer from shortness of breath. I couldn't breathe."

The World Health Organization said some of the victims had symptoms consistent with exposure to nerve agents.

A team from medical charity MSF treating victims in Idlib found patients' symptoms were "consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas", the charity said in a statement.

Sonia Khush, Syria director of the charity Save the Children, said victims had travelled far and wide to get treatment, making it difficult to estimate how many had been affected.

DISTURBING IMAGES FROM SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK: Horrific Aftermath in Idlib

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WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES: These are some of the horrific pictures which emerged from Syria after the reported chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, in Idlib Province. It left 58 people dead, and many others injured, including children.
Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos
A child looks up at the camera as she is treated by a medic. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported dozens of people suffered respiratory problems and symptoms including vomiting and foaming at the mouth after the attack, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib

Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos

A Civil Defence volunteer uses an oxygen mask to help him breathe. A Syrian military source has denied the government used chemical weapons.

Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos
Men are treated by rescue workers. The attack reportedly took place at about 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT).
Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos

A man carries the body of a dead child. The British-based Observatory says at least 20 children were killed.
Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos
Men stand over the bodies of people who have died. Russia's defence ministry has insisted it did not carry out any air strikes in the vicinity of the town, in Syria's north-west.

Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos
Medics treat a man after the attack. Mohammed Rasoul, the head of a charity ambulance service in Idlib, told the BBC that his medics had found people, many of them children, choking in the street.

Syria Chemical Attack: Horrific Aftermath in Photos
A man sits in the middle of bodies with his hands covering his faceREUTERS
A man cries surrounded by bodies. Photographers who rushed to the hospitals where people were being treated described a smell that they could not quite place.

Breaking: Marrying rapist can solve problems - MP

Marrying rapist can solve problems - MP

A Malaysian MP has drawn outrage for saying it can be OK for rapists to marry their victims and that some 12-year-old girls were "physically and spiritually" ready to get married.

Shabudin Yahaya from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition said marriage could help victims "lead a better life".

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, has just passed a new law on sexual offences against children.
Despite opposition efforts, the law does not ban child marriages.

It remains legal for Muslims under 16 to get married in Malaysia under certain circumstances.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on the bill on Tuesday, Mr Shabudin said that although rape was considered a criminal offence, the rapist and the victim should both be "given a second chance to turn a new leaf".

"Perhaps through marriage they [the rape victim and rapist] can lead a healthier, better life. And the person who was raped will not necessarily have a bleak future.

"She will have a husband at least, and this could serve as a remedy to growing social problems," he said.

He also said some children were "physically and spiritually" ready for marriage.

"Some girls who are aged between 12 and 15 years have bodies like 18-year-old women," he said, citing his experience as a former Sharia court judge.

He later said his comments had been taken out of context, but that he opposed criminalising child marriages as they are a part of Islamic law, Reuters reports.

In Malaysia, there has been an increasing emphasis on strict Islamic codes of conduct in recent years.

Sharmila Sekaran, chair of the Malaysia's Voice of the Children NGO, said the politician's words represented a "worrying trend" for young girls.

"You have politicians like him, giving voice to dangerous statements and backward views. It only serves to reinforce the view that rape is ok," Ms Sekaran told BBC News.

She described his argument that children could marry as "flawed and unsupported by any evidence".
"Sharia courts are full of divorces among young couples. There is a very, very high rate of divorce and re-marriage among couples in Malaysia."

Ms Sekaran, who was present in parliament on Tuesday, said most people there had been "outraged" by Mr Shabudin's remark.

Mum Unable To Conceive Used Daughter, 12 As 'Surrogate Mother' As Stepfather Raped Her

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Wicked Mum Unable To Conceive Used Daughter, 12 As 'Surrogate Mother' As Stepfather Raped Her

A couple who used the woman’s 12-year-old daughter as an unwilling “surrogate mother” because she was unable to have any more children of her own have been jailed . The schoolgirl was raped three times by her stepfather – and the resulting pregnancy was described as a “Godsend” by the victim’s mother, Warwick Crown Court heard.

The couple, who are both in their 30s from Warwickshire but cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity, had denied charges of conspiracy to rape and child cruelty. But on the day of their trial, the stepfather admitted two charges of rape and the mother’s plea of guilty to a charge of child cruelty was accepted.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ruled the stepfather posed an ongoing danger to children and jailed him for 18 years as part of an extended prison sentence. He will serve at least 12 years and, even then, will only be released when the Parole Board considers it safe to do so. He will be on licence for the rest of the period and for a further eight years.

The girl’s mother said by the judge to have “actively encouraged her to become pregnant” was jailed for six years and three months.

But, unlike her husband, she will not have to register as a sex offender.

Steven Bailey, prosecuting, said the couple met online and an “unhealthy atmosphere” developed in their home.

The mother had been sterilised and was told by her GP that it could not be reversed.

Mr Bailey said they “decided to do the next best thing”.

He went on: “With no regard for the feelings of the girl, let alone the baby they were about to force on her, the plan was for him to have sex with her to get her pregnant as a surrogate.

“The girl says her mother told her they wanted her to get pregnant by him, and her mother is on record as describing the pregnancy as a Godsend.”

Mr Bailey said that, because of her pleas, he could not say the mother was party to the rapes, “but she sought to take advantage of it for her own ends”.

She claimed her daughter had sex with a boy during a sleepover when the pregnancy was confirmed by a doctor.

And the couple rejected any question of the girl having a termination, saying they would raise the baby as their own.

But the truth began to emerge when the schoolgirl confided in a teacher, the court heard.

The mother was arrested and told police she and her partner planned to bring up the baby as their own, with her having pretended to be pregnant.

She initially said she did not know who the father was, but then claimed it was her partner’s idea to use the girl as a surrogate and that she had told him to leave her alone.

But the victim told a teacher that her mother had “sacrificed” her for the chance of a baby, adding: “She made me do it.

“He raped me, but she asked me to do it, my own mum.”

The schoolgirl later gave birth to a baby, which was taken into care, the court heard.

Amy Jackson, for the step-father, said: “He fully accepts what he did to this young girl.

“He says he’s sorry for what happened, and that they should not have put her through it.

“This is a grave and unusual case.

“It is born of a selfish wish by these defendants to have a child, and the use of a child to achieve those desires.”

ailing the couple, Judge Lockhart said: “It is the responsibility of those with the gift of children to look after them and prepare them for life with love and kindness.

“Great trust is placed in the hands of those who are parents; and when that trust is broken, great damage is done to the child and to society.

Russia Launches Its Fleet's 'Most Deadly Ever Nuclear Attack Submarine

Russia Launches Its Fleet's 'Most Deadly Ever Nuclear Attack Submarine
Russia government has launched its most dangerous nuclear attack submarine EVER - which can strike targets on land 1,500 miles away.

Much secrecy has surrounded the construction of the 'top secret' Project 885 Yasen class fourth-generation Kazan nuclear submarine since work began in 2009.

But the high-tech vessel set sail to huge fanfare at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in northern Russia on Friday - when the sub’s commander Captain Aleksandr Beketov smashed a bottle of champagne over its hull.

One of the most dangerous machines on the planet, the sub is rumoured to be intended by Vladimir Putin to evoke memories of the Soviet Cold War era for a nation in need of a morale boost.

The Russian military as a whole is finding life harder since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 - after which its navy was forced to scrap many of its relatively new ships and keep others in harbour due to its lack of funds.

Russian submarines have meanwhile recently increased patrols to a level last seen during the Cold War era.

And a recent boost in funding has enabled the Russian navy to develop technological advances beyond those of its Western counterparts.

House of Reps threaten to block 2017 allocation to Amaechi’s ministry

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Rotimi Amaechi's allocation to be blocked
The four committees of the house of representatives set up, on Tuesday jointly expressed dissatisfaction over the implementation of the ministry of transportation’s 2016 budget.

Former Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, is the one in charge of the ministry.

The committees on aviation; land transport; maritime safety and administration; ports, harbours and waterways visited the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on oversight function.

Mohammed Bago, chairman, committee on Maritime Safety and Administration, said the ministry presented different documents to the committees, and the documents did not contain facts.

He said that the ministry received N243 billion in 2016, and had not exhausted it, adding that if the money was not used before the end of the month, it would receive zero allocation in 2017.

“The different positions made to the committee of the house on both land transport, ports and harbour, maritime safety and administration as well as aviation has varied,” he said.

“We have received three different documents till date and all of them are not consistent and that is why we have asked for a new document to ascertain the value of what this project is all about.

“We are not going to appropriate on this budget until we have the fact and figure and if we do not have the facts and figure, the ministry of transport will get zero allocation.

“They have received 243 billion and they have not spent it when ministry of health needs money because people are dying of meningitis, Nigerian soldiers are dying in Sambisa, no money to fund the soldiers.

“The ministry of transportation is seating on billions of Nigerians’ naira released to it and is not utilised.’’

Patrick Asadu, chairman of the committee on ports, harbours and waterways, said members were at the ministry to ensure that money given to the ministry was well spent.

He said the committee was not satisfied with the document presented to it, adding that the money was not well spent.

“Our being here is to help the ministry to ensure that money given to it was spent for what it was given for,” he said.

“But when this money is not well spent, we are not going to release further money; we are trying to look at what happened in 2016 budget; we are insisting that the ministry spends it or we give it to other agencies.”

Aminu Sani, chairman, committee on land transport, said the budget presentation and performance presented before the joint committee was not impressive.

He said most of the items presented in the document were not in conformity with the expenditure.

According to him, the direct expenditure of the ministry is zero performance in terms of budget implementation.

Earlier, Amaechi said N60 billion had been paid for the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail but there was a challenge with the counterpart fund.

He said the Chinese EXIM Bank was to fund 85 percent of the project initially, but it was currently funding 78 percent.

He said the bank insisted it would not pay for land, survey and tax, stating that with the current foreign exchange rate and the extension of the rail to the ports, the project could not be completed this year.

BREAKING: Italy deports 40 Nigerians

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Italian Government deports 40 Nigerians
As the Italian government continue in deportation of Nigerians as third in 6 weeks, it has another 40 Nigerians for committing various offences in the country.

The deportees arrived at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA), Lagos, on Tuesday night.

The deportees,who are all male, were brought back in a chartered aircraft with registration number EL-SMU/3737.

Joseph Alabi, spokesman of the Lagos airport police command, confirmed the development to NAN.

Alabi said 39 of the deportees were alleged to have committed immigration-related offences while one of them was allegedly involved in drug dealing.

He said the deportees were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) , the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the police.

Also on ground to receive them were officials the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

They were profiled by immigration authorities while those without serious charges were allowed to depart to their various destinations.

This is the third time the Italian government has expelled Nigerians in less than two months.

On February 23, Italy sent home 33 Nigerians,  and on March 8, 37 were deported.

The latest deportees arrived Nigeria at a time the federal government announced that Germany had notified it of its plans to repatriate 12,000 Nigerian asylum seekers in its country.

BREAKING: Bag of rice to sell for N10k in June – Rice farmers

Bag of rice to sell for N10k in June – Rice farmers
NIGERIA - Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, has said that in June 2017, a 50 kilogram of rice bag will sell at N10, 000.

Speaking extensively on the current development in the rice industry, Aminu Goronyo, the national president of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), told newsmen that rice farmers now have direct access to fertilizer.

'Fertiliser was a very big challenge, but today it has become a history. We have signed MoU where the fertilizer is sold N5, 500 per bag of fertilizer, and is now a government policy. We have more fertilizer in the country and go direct to the hands of the farmers and is everywhere in the country.
'We have already achieved rice sufficiency in the last two years because all the rice we eat is grown here in the country. With the government through the Nigeria Customs Service on the land borders, including the high exchange rate no importer can go to other countries and import rice for profit. I assure you in the next three months a 50kg bag of rice will come down to N10, 000, he said.

According to him, the association has over 4.2 million registered members and there are not enough quality seed to go round.

Goronyo, however, blamed the past governments for failing to provide farmers certified and quality seeds for over 30 years, which has played a role in the inflation on rice, which currently sells for  N20k.

'I blame the previous governments because for the 30 years we don’t have enough certified seeds. The government has played vital role in creating this problem for the farmers.'

Young Americans Are Killing Marriage

Young Americans Are Killing Marriage
There's no shortage of theories as to how and why today's young people differ from their parents.

As marketing consultants never cease to point out, baby boomers and millennials appear to have starkly different attitudes about pretty much everything, from money and sports to breakfast and lunch.

New research tries to ground those observations in solid data. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University set out to compare 25- to 34-year-olds in 1980—baby boomers—with the same age group today. Researcher Lydia Anderson compared U.S. Census data from 1980 with the most recent American Community Survey 1   data in 2015.


The results reveal some stark differences in how young Americans are living today, compared with three or four decades ago.

In 1980, two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds were already married. One in eight had already been married and divorced. In 2015, just two in five millennials were married, and only 7 percent had been divorced.

Baby boomers' eagerness to get married meant they were far more likely than today's young people to live on their own. Anderson looked at the share of each generation living independently, either as heads of their own household or in married couples.


The chance that Americans in their late twenties and early thirties live with parents or grandparents has more than doubled. In 1980, just 9 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds were doing so. In 2015, 22 percent lived with parents or grandparents.

Millennials are also less likely than boomers to be living with kids—and to be homeowners.


It’s easy to look at these figures and say millennials are lagging behind their boomer parents. However, even as young Americans delay marriage, kids, and homeownership, they're ahead of their parents by one measure: education.


There's also no sign that young people today are lazier than three decades ago. In 1980, 74 percent of baby boomers reported that they had worked in the past week, the Census data show. In 2015, slightly more millennials, 77 percent, said they'd been to work in the past week.

Score another one for millennials.

DEADLY Meningitis: Death Toll Hits 215in Zamfara

Meningitis: God’s Wrath, Governor Says As Death Toll Hits 215in Zamfara
The number of people who have died from suspected cases of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in Zamfara State has risen to 215. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control had earlier on Tuesday said at least 336 have died from the disease across Nigeria.

Abdullahi Shinkafi, the Secretary to the Zamfara State Government, said the disease has claimed 215 lives in the last two months in the state. Mr. Shinkafi, who is also the Chairman of the state’s Committee for the Control of Meningitis, made the disclosure at a news briefing in Gusau on Tuesday.

He said that the committee was mobilising communities in the state, through the Local Government Meningitis Control Committee, to create more awareness on the disease. He said that additional 1,864 cases had been recorded in the state since the outbreak of the disease.

According to him, already 1,344 people have been trained as vaccinators and they have been divided into 224 groups of six people each.

He said that they would carry out vaccination throughout the state.

 Mr. Shinkafi said that the state government, which required three million dosages of meningitis vaccines, only got 300,000 from the Federal Government.

“We have to carefully prioritise the vaccination.”

Mr. Shinkafi said that the vaccination would be concentrated on high density areas including key public institutions and schools to curtail further spread.

Earlier, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the outbreak of Type C CSM is God’s way of showing his anger against Nigerians for turning their back on him.

Mr. Yari said this on Tuesday while speaking with journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigeria Medical Association in Zamfara had last weekend accused the government of Mr. Yari of failing to prepare for the outbreak of the despite warnings, and not responding adequately to the epidemic.

 Some residents, who also spoke to Premium Times over the weekend, accused the government of “neglect”.

Mr. Yari, however, said the outbreak might not be unconnected to the people’s total disregard of God’s commandments.

“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the Type A virus. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has carried out vaccinations against this Type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states.

“However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination.

“People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned.

“There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured,” the governor said.

Dispelling insinuations that his government failed to act accordingly, Mr. Yari said he called an emergency meeting comprising of all top state and local government officials and traditional rulers, adding that “the meeting came out with a strategy to be adopted and the money required to deal with the outbreak and a lot of work is going on”.

Facebook's Whatsapp Is Getting Into Digital Payments in India

Facebook's Whatsapp Is Getting Into Digital Payments in India
Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp is getting into digital payments in India, a first for a global messaging service that’s only just begun to explore ways to generate revenue.

It’s chosen to kick off that maiden effort in India, a market dominated by Alibaba-backed digital payments leader Paytm but where WhatsApp’s 200 million users outnumber any other country. WhatsApp wants to “contribute more to India’s vision for digital commerce,” it said in a statement Wednesday. The company also advertised on its website for a “Digital Transactions Lead, India” to be based in Menlo Park, California, but with an ability to understand local financial standards such as India’s digital-ID program Aadhaar and its banking payments interface.

Facebook agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, though that price tag eventually rose to $22 billion because of the social networks’ rising stock. Investors have been anxious to see how Mark Zuckerberg makes money from the deal. Rival services in Asia, most notably Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, have successfully opened up their platforms so businesses can interact with customers. It’s a strategy Facebook has also been taking with its own communications app, Messenger.

A WhatsApp representative declined to elaborate on the initiative when contacted about the posting, which local media first reported on. But the job ad suggests India is merely the beginning of a foray into digital payments. The company requires someone who “should help scale global support for digital transactions on WhatsApp.”

India is seeing unprecedented activity in digital payments, particularly since the government banned high-value currency notes in November and took a series of steps to incentivize digital payments in a country where cash remains king. Among the market’s recent entrants is Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins-backed Truecaller.

SCANDAL: Details shows that Mel B and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte had a threesome with Lady Victoria Hervey

Details reveals that Mel B and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte had a threesome with Lady Victoria Hervey

Scandal has been trailing Mel B's separation from her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte, 41, and more sordid details of their ten years marriage are being revealed each passing day. One of such scandal involves a threesome romp between Mel B, Stephen, and English aristocrat Lady Victoria Harvey.

News has surfaced that the former couple had a threesome with Lady Victoria Harvey, 40, during a drunken night of passion. The tryst happened in LA when the trio were celebrating the Spice Girl's success on Dancing With The Stars back in 2007, soon after Mel and Stephen got married. According to reports, Stephen pursued Lady Victoria, texting her on a number of occasions but she always turned down any invitations until that night when they all had dinner and drank too much red wine and tequila. Lady Victoria's friend revealed it was Mel who suggested carrying on the party back to their place. At their home, Mel suggested relocating to the bedroom where Lady Victoria sat on the bed with Stephen and Mel on either side.

There had been rumors that the former Spice Girl and Stephen had an open marriage but Mel denied it. However, she admitted to having a five-year affair with a woman before her marriage. News of the threesome with Lady Victoria is just now surfacing following the couple's separation divorce and though neither of the three involved openly confirmed it, a friend of Lady Victoria told The Sun that indeed it happened and the English socialite was very uncomfortable about the tryst afterward.

READ ALSO: Melanie Brown goes out without wearing a pant (Photos)

"It was all a blur and everyone was very drunk, especially Lady Victoria. She told me one minute they were laying in bed watching a movie together, then they got carried away and Stephen was on top of her and Mel was kissing her. Next thing she can remember they all woke up naked in bed in the morning," the source said.
When, the next day, Victoria woke up to Mel's nanny bringing in baby Angel and found herself in the couple's bed, she was reportedly "mortified", her friend said.

The pal added: “She felt really awkward but said Mel and Stephen were really bright and breezy with her, although nobody actually talked about what had happened."
Mel B recently opened up about the abuse she suffered while married to Stephen and said he forced her to engage in threesomes with him and random women and blackmailed her with videos of previous trysts, threatening to release the sex tapes to the public if she refused to succumb. She, however, did not mention Lady Harvey's name.

United Nations calls emergency talks after 'gas attack'

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UN calls emergency talks after 'gas attack'

MIDDLE EAST - The attack on a rebel-held town brought furious international reaction, with the US and other powers blaming the Syrian government for the deaths.

Officials in Damascus deny using any such weapons.

The attack will overshadow a conference in Brussels at which 70 donor nations will discuss aid efforts in Syria.

Delegates want to step up humanitarian access for thousands of civilians trapped by fighting.
Syria's civil war has raged for more than six years with still no political solution in sight.

Nearly five million Syrians have fled the country and more than six million are internally displaced, the UN says. More than 250,000 people have been killed.

Wednesday's emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was called by France and the UK as international outrage mounted over the suspected gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday.

The Russian defence ministry gave its version of events on Wednesday, saying a Syrian air strike had hit a rebel ammunition store that included "a workshop for the production of land mines filled with poisonous substances".

It seemed to support accounts by Syrian military sources a day earlier who reported an explosion at what they called a rebel chemical weapons factory in Khan Sheikhoun.

Earlier, Britain's ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the incident was "very bad news for peace in Syria".

"This is clearly a war crime and I call on the Security Council members who have previously used their vetoes to defend the indefensible to change their course," he told reporters in New York.
Footage from the scene showed civilians, many of them children, choking and foaming at the mouth.
Witnesses said clinics treating the injured were then targeted by air strikes.

UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 58, including 11 children.

It was unable to say which chemical had been involved but pro-opposition groups said it was believed to have been the nerve agent Sarin.

In a statement, US President Donald Trump condemned what he called "these heinous actions" by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused the Syrian government of "brutal, unabashed barbarism".
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said it was a "horrific" attack and that there should be a "clear identification of responsibilities and accountability" for it.

Syria has denied its forces caused the deaths and Russia, which is supporting the government, said it had not carried out any air strikes in the vicinity.

The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Brussels says the attack could prove a stumbling block at Wednesday's international conference.

The EU hopes to use the prospect of funds for reconstruction as a bargaining chip in the faltering peace talks, our correspondent says, but the latest developments will deepen the opposition of those who say now is not the time to discuss financial support for areas controlled by the Syrian government.

Source: bbcnews

Adorable photo of Ivanka Trump and her son Theodore Kushner

Adorable photo of Ivanka Trump and her son Theodore Kushner

Business woman and US First daughter, Ivanka Trump who has three children, shared this beautiful photo with her youngest child, Theodore Kushner and captioned it: "The best moment of the day!"

TRAGEDY: Five children killed in Abuja electricity fire

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Five children killed in Abuja electricity fireSad news - Five children have been reportedly killed in an inferno which occurred in Mpape community, in the Bwari area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The victims were said to have been burnt to death after fire gutted their apartment on Saturday.

PUNCH Metro gathered that there were sparks on the electric cables in the area after power was restored by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

The sparks were said to have triggered a fire, which ravaged the victims’ parents apartment.

The children were said to have been trapped in the house and burnt to death.

Residents said they could not save them because there was no water in the community.

The district head of the community, Alhaji Abubakar Gimba, told Ezeja.com, an online news site, that before the children could be brought out, they were already dead.

 “We rushed to see how we could put out the fire, but before we could do that, the five children were already dead,” he said.

The spokesperson for the AEDC, Ahmed Shekarau, said some officials of the company had gone on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the true cause of the fire.

Shekarau told PUNCH Metro that a resident informed the firm about the fire.

He said, “At the moment, we have sent our team to investigate and they have yet to report back to us. Yes, some people said the fire started after power was restored, but others said the fire started from the generator.

“It was just this morning that our attention was called to it by a resident of the community who attended a safety sensitisation campaign we organised last week.

“We are surprised they just told us. When we get a preliminary report, and it shows it has something to do with electricity, we will have to set up another committee to find out why it happened.”

He later informed our correspondent that a committee had been set up by the management of the firm.

The Abuja police spokesperson, Anjuguri Manzah, said he had yet to be briefed.

He, however, promised to call back. He had yet to do so as of press time.

BREAKING: North Korea fires missile into sea

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BREAKING: North Korea fires missile into sea

North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan.

South Korea's defence ministry said the missile flew about 60km (40 miles).

It is the latest in a series of tests which the North says is peaceful but the West fears is part of a programme to develop nuclear weapons.

The launch comes on the eve of a visit by China's President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump.

The two will discuss how to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

The North is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though has repeatedly broken those sanctions.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the launch as "yet another" intermediate range ballistic missile, adding: "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

The US military's Pacific Command said it appeared to have been a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile.

BREAKING: North Korea fires missile into sea

"The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America," it said.

Japan called the launch "provocative", while South Korea condemned it as "a blunt challenge" to the UN and "a threat to the peace and safety of the international community as well as the Korean peninsula".

Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan from the Tongchang-ri region, near the border with China.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe called it a "new stage of threat".

Last week, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on 11 North Korean business representatives and one company.

On Tuesday US politicians overwhelmingly backed a bill relisting the North as a state sponsor of terror.

North Korea responded by warning that it will retaliate if the international community steps up sanctions, saying the US was forcing the situation "to the brink of war".

Donald Trump warned in a recent interview that the US is willing to tackle North Korea alone if China does not help reign its troublesome neighbour in.

China has long been North Korea's closest diplomatic ally and trading partner, but the relationship has become increasingly strained over Pyongyang's refusal to halt nuclear and missile testing.

FOOTBALL: Ibrahimovic rescue a point for Man Utd. against Everton

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Manchester United Ibrahamovic
Manchester United Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a 94th-minute penalty on his return from suspension to help rescue a point for his team against Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic's goal equalised Phil Jagielka's opener for Everton, but the 1-1 draw is United's ninth at home this season. Another stalemate leaves manager Jose Mourinho's squad still adrift of the top four.

Meanwhile, champions Leicester City moved into the top 10 after a fifth league win in a row. The Foxes won at the expense of Sunderland, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Burnley and Watford also won on a night when United will be counting the cost of yet another draw.

MUST READ: Everyday Habits that are Risky to your Health

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 Everyday Habits that are Risky to your Health
Habits are like glue.|When it gets stuck, it either becomes indelible or takes forever to remove. This is why it’s not advisable to allow a habit overwhelm you because it requires painstaking efforts to abandon. If you, however, continue with these habits, it will affect your health and general wellbeing over time. Thus, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency identifies habits that are putting your health at risk.


  • Sitting all day

Since jobs are now performed mostly with computers in the 21st century, it is very possible that you will sit in front of it for hours without taking breaks. This is not good because the longer you sit, the more you are susceptible to heart diseases. Therefore, the import of breaks can’t be overemphasised.


  • Smoking

This is not new. A large number of people are smoking today disregarding the instruction that smokers are liable to die young. The health hazards associated with all kinds of smoking are unlimited. Even electronic cigars have not be certified safe.


  • Eating junk food

The food eaten today are not a balanced diet, no thanks to tight schedules. Consequently, we turn to processed or packaged foods that unhealthy. Generally, eating junk food can hurt our health. Take time out to cook.


  • Not wearing sunscreen

Not wearing sunscreen whenever it is sunny raises your chances of having melanoma, an eye disease. It is easy to overlook this but the consequences are dire. Your eyes need protection from sun rays.


  • Downing too alcohol

Too much of everything is bad. Alcohol is the gold many cannot resist. At classy hotels and bars in Lagos, you find people downing alcohol like water. There is nothing wrong with taking alcohol for some people. It is advisable though you drink moderately if you cannot do without it.


  • Not getting enough sleep

Sleep can help boost creativity. But very few persons are getting enough sleep. They are too busy. And at other times when they have the opportunity to sleep, they are distracted by their smartphones. If you cannot sleep the recommended 7 or 8 hours, try to sleep soundly even if you are sleeping for several hours.

Written By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke

Nigerian Police to pay N20M damages for brutalising 51-year-old woman

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Nigerian Police to pay N20M damages for brutalising woman in Ekiti

SOUTH WEST, NIGERIA - A state High Court sitting in Ikere Ekiti on Monday awarded a sum of N20m damages against the Ekiti State Police Command for illegal detention and brutalization of a 51-year-old woman.

The presiding Judge, Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi, also awarded another N250,000 cost against the police to cover the medical expenses of the woman as a result of the unlawful detention and beating she suffered in detention.

The victim, Mrs. Sola Aregbesola, was mercilessly tortured and detained for 72 hours at Ilawe Police Station in October 2016 over an illicit love affair between her husband and another woman.

According to reports, Aregbesola had been arrested by the police, on the orders of her husband’s mistress who had earlier attack her with hot soup, inflicting serious bodily injuries and causing deformation on her.

The mother of five claimed that she lost the use of one of her eyes as a result of the brutality she suffered at the hands of the policemen.

What A Savior! - Billy Graham

Today's Billy Graham's Daily Devotional, April 5, 2017

TOPIC: What a Savior!

TODAY: Wednesday April 5, 2017

Bible Text: It was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. — Luke 24:46 (TLB)

MESSAGE
What was the power and influence that changed the cross from an instrument of bloody torture into the most glorious and beloved of all symbols? The Romans crucified thousands of people before and after Calvary. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, no right-minded person would have glorified anything so hideous and repulsive as a cross stained with the blood of Jesus. By the miracle of His rising from the grave, Jesus placed the seal of assurance upon the forgiveness of our sins.

A dead Christ could not have been our Savior. An unopened grave would never have opened heaven. By bursting the chains of the tomb, Jesus proved Himself to all ages the conqueror of sin. The sacrifice on Calvary had fulfilled its purpose; the ransom price paid for your sins and mine had been accepted by God. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Prayer for the day: Each time I see the empty cross, let me be reminded of Your suffering and Your victory, Lord Jesus.

Divine Healing - Pastor E.A Adeboye

Today's Open Heavens Devotional written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Welcome to Open Heavens Daily Devotional written by Pastor E.A Adeboye

TOPIC: Divine Healing 

TODAY: Wednesday 5, April 2017

Memorise: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. - Matthew 9:21

Read: Luke 13:11-16 (KJV)

11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 10-12, Jeremiah 7:27-8:3

MESSAGE:
As children of God living in times of advanced technological developments, one truth we must never lose consciousness of is that God is still in the business of healing people. Some may want to ask why God still cares about healing people, since He has endowed humanity with laudable insights into the causes and cures of various sicknesses and diseases. The answer is not far-fetched: there are sicknesses that are not of physical origin; rather, they are demonically inflicted. Orthodox medicine is incapable of healing such sicknesses. Although orthodox medicine will always have a name of every sickness or disease it is confronted with, the truth of the matter is, some of these afflictions have their operations being supervised from the pit of Hell. Today’s Bible text tells the story of a woman who was bound by the spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, Jesus Christ ministered deliverance to her, and He set her loose from that bondage of sickness. We might not have known the source of her infirmity, but for the opposition voiced against her being healed on the Sabbath day. Jesus, in His response to the objections raised, revealed the source of this woman’s infirmity to be Satan. In Luke 13:16 He said:

“And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”

Nevertheless, the good news is: irrespective of whether a sickness stems from demonic or physical sources, the Almighty God is still interested in healing His people of all ailments afflicting them, especially those who believe in what He is capable of doing. In Jeremiah 32:27, the Lord Himself challenges us with this question:

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”

By this, He is telling us that since He created the human body, He cannot be incapable of fixing any problem that may arise within it. Automobile manufacturers cannot be incapable of fixing problems emanating from their inventions. In the worst case scenario, they will replace a problematic part of an automobile, and the whole system will bounce back to life. Even if automobile manufacturers cannot fix the problems of their inventions, the Almighty God can fix His. There is no sickness too small to attract God’s attention; neither is there any sickness too big to intimidate Him. The onus is on you to develop the living faith that will attract His healing hands to perform the needed miracle on you. My prayer for you is that your body will receive divine healing today in Jesus’ Name.

Prayer Point: Father, please lay Your healing hands on me and heal all my infirmities.

GOD IS MINDFUL - Pastor W.F Kumuyi

DCLM Daily Manna Devotional written by Pastor W. F. Kumuyi

Welcome to DCLM Daily Manna Devotional written by Pastor W.F Kumuyi

TOPIC: God Is Mindful 

TODAY: Wednesday April 5, 2017

Bible Text: Psalm 115:12-18

Key Verse: "The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron" (Psalm 115:12).

MESSAGE
John Claypool writes, "Do you remember Anthony DeMello’s anger as he looked one day at a starving child that was shivering in the cold and lifted his eye to heaven and said, God, how could you allow such suffering? Why don’t you do something? There was a long silence and then DeMello was startled when the voice of God said to him, "I have certainly done something-I made you!" In our text today, the Lord proved to the Israelites that He had not forgotten them.

He that delivered His people from great calamities and restored them to their native land after a long and painful experience in Babylon would not forsake them. Past experiences of God’s goodness to His children furnish believers with the fullest evidence that He will continue to bless His people. His words are yea and amen because He is ever mindful of His covenant. Sometimes, our situation may be so challenging that even some believers may begin to doubt the existence of their Creator.

When poverty threatens the family and it seems heaven is closed up, at that point, remember that He can never forget His own. "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee" (Isaiah 49:15). God’s love and goodness remain the same and His promises inviolable. The blessings of the Lord are not limited to the house of Israel or to the house of Aaron but for all that fear Him. To enjoy the blessings and promises of God, every wise man must have a definite, personal and abiding relationship with Him because He knows His own by name. And if you are one of His, then you can be sure He knows and cares for you.

Thought for the day: God’s promises are as sure as His Word is steadfast.

Bible Reading in one Year: Deuteronomy 7-9

Dealing With Negative Tendencies /Habits - Dr. Paul Enenche

Seed of Destiny Devotional 5th April 2017: Dealing with Negative Tendencies/Habits

Welcome to Seed of Destiny Devotional written by Dr. Paul Enenche

TOPIC: Dealing With Negative Tendencies/Habits 

TODAY: Wednesday April 5, 2017

Scripture: And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. Genesis 32:26-28

Thought For The Day: Nothing changes by chance, things change by choice; where there is no choice, there is no chance.

From our anchor scripture, we see that Jacob was a man who was plagued by negative tendencies that followed him for a long time.

He struggled with his brother, Esau from the womb of his mother in the process of delivery; he struggled to exchange his birth right with his brother’s; he lied to get the blessing of his father by pretending to be his brother, Esau; in Laban’s house, he laboured for fourteen years to get married to the woman he loved.

But when Jacob discovered these negative tendencies in his life, he decided to deal with them and they were broken.

Beloved, negative tendencies and habits are breakable – be it masturbation, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, cultism, robbery/stealing, cheating, etc.

What are some of the steps to dealing with negative tendencies or habits?

1. You must identify the tendency/habit that you are battling with. What has not been identified cannot be rectified.

2. Decide to confront the tendency/habit. Nothing changes by chance, things change by choice; where there is no choice, there is no chance.

3. Confront it. What you do not confront, you cannot conquer.

4. Refuse to give up the fight.

5. Replace negative tendencies and habits with positive tendencies/habits.

Remember this: Nothing changes by chance, things change by choice; where there is no choice, there is no chance.

Assignments:

1. Identify any negative tendency/habit in your life and trust God to break them away from your life.

2. Avoid the wrong company.

FOR FURTHER UNDERSTANDING, GET THIS MESSAGE: DEALING WITH NEGATIVE TENDENCIES/HABITS

Prayer: O LORD, I ask that You separate me from any negative tendency/habit that is holding my life bound. Help me LORD to live totally for You in Jesus’ Name.

Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1 to 68, Luke 11:14 to 36, Psalm 77:1 to 20, Proverbs 12:18

Quote: Progress is only made when lessons are learnt. Culled from 21 FOOLISH THINGS PEOPLE DO by Dr Paul Enenche.

Amazing Fact: Cows have best friends and experience stress when they are removed from them.

Today In History: 05/04/1971 - Canadian Fran Phipps becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole.