Friday, 25 March 2016

Congolese president wins third term after 32 years in office, opposition cries foul

Congo president Denis Sassou Nguesso was on Thursday declared the winner of presidential elections, extending his 32 years in power in a vote the opposition says was marked by "massive fraud".

Interior Minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results at 3:30am (0230 GMT) on national television, saying Sassou Nguesso had secured 60 percent of the vote in the tense weekend poll held under an ongoing communications blackout. Sassou Nguesso has ruled Congo for all but five years since 1979, having lived in Paris in exile from 1992 to 1997.

The official count gave runner-up Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas 15 percent of the vote, while General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko came in third with 14 percent.
Sassou Nguesso hailed the victory at his campaign headquarters, saying the Congolese people had "taken their destiny into their own hands" and adding that the campaign had produced a "very open" democratic debate in the former French colony.
Both of his main rivals had already rejected the partial results released Wednesday, with Kolelas' spokesman Vivien Manangou saying there had been "massive fraud".
Mokoko, who until February was Sassou Nguesso's security advisor, added: "I knew beforehand that the dice were loaded, but we had agreed to play the game."
He called for a recount, saying: "How do you want us to accept such a result?"
With telephones and the Internet cut off, neither candidate was immediately reachable after the official results were announced.
Oil- and timber-rich Congo has been on edge since an October constitutional referendum that ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates, allowing Sassou Nguesso, a 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel, to run for office again.
Critics accuse him of rampant corruption and nepotism, blasting the referendum result as a "constitutional coup".
Authorities imposed a communications blackout during the election to prevent opposition candidates from publishing "illegal results". A government source said they blackout would remain in place until after the official results.

Most shops in the south of the capital Brazzaville, an opposition stronghold, had stayed shut on Wednesday amid fears of unrest.
Kolelas' spokesman Manangou said security forces had stormed the candidate's campaign offices on Tuesday, hurling tear gas cannisters and causing a stampede that left one person dead.
A French journalist was present but was unable to confirm the death.
Mokoko and Kolelas, along with the three other opposition candidates, have urged people to "exercise their sovereignty" in the event of a Sassou Nguesso victory.
They created their own parallel "technical commission" to monitor the vote and compile information from polling stations to compare it to the official results.
They said they could say "with certainty" that the opposition had beat Sassou Nguesso in the first round and that a second-round election should be held.
The European Union refused to send election observers to monitor the polls, saying conditions had not been met for a transparent and democratic vote.
The international community has since expressed concern over the fairness of the vote and called for the opposing sides to resolve their differences calmly.
"This vote took place in a worrying context, particularly due to the cut in communications," said France's foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.

Source: AFP

Woman pays for a Cinderella and Snow White tattoo, see what she got

Sarah Blackley from Christchurch, New Zealand, said on Facebook that she had paid $400 for a Cinderella and Snow White tattoo but the artist drew Cinderella clutching a knife and Snow White with no eyeballs.
She shared photos of the botched tattoo work on Facebook, asking people to share and help get the business shut down. She wrote:
'I recently got this "tattoo" and I am so utterly disgusted and embarrassed. $400 for what?! I refuse to wear short sleeves.
I am a tattoo lover as most of you know, this is on my skin forever,' she wrote.'I put my trust in him to give me Cinderella and Snow White. I have tried to contact him [the tattooer] prior to this post but no reply. I know how bad this is all I ask is no snarky comments please just share and help these guys get shut down.'
The spokesperson also said she had requested a 'zombie princess' sleeve tattoo - not a 'standard Disney-themed' one.
Sarah Blackley later took to her Facebook to apologize about asking for people to help her shut the business down. She wrote:
 “it was not my intentions to ruin the business and even though I said it, I regret it and apologise for what has happened to the business. I mean I'm still upset about my arm but they're losing business which isn't fair." A staff member at the studio says Ms Blackley's partner made contact with him.

Chris Hemsworth covers Modern Luxury, explains why he moved his family back to Australia

Thor and The Avengers actor,  Chris Hemsworth covered the April issue of modern luxury where he talked about why he relocated his family to Australia. He said he  made the decision with his wife Elsa Pataky, to move back to Australia to raise their three kids - daughter India, two, and 12-month-old twin sons Tristan and Sasha.

He said Hollywood lifestyle was suffocating and he wanted his children to live normal lives.
He said:
"I love what I do as an actor, but when you are surrounded by it constantly, it becomes a bit suffocating," he explained to the publication. "It's nice to have conversations with people and be a part of a community that doesn't live and breathe that world." 
"We were living shoulder to shoulder in the suburbs and thought that's not how we want our kids to grow up. Moving to a kind of farm setup back here on the coast in Australia has been the best thing." 
Speaking of his kids, Hemsworth said having children helped him step out of the "self-absorbed world" of acting.
He added:
"It's no longer all about me, which is quite refreshing,". "Once the kids arrived, I was like, 'Wow, this is what life is about.'"
He also explained that he no longer needs to live in Los Angeles to secure work, having established a reputation as a leading man in the movie industry.

Man arrested for not returning VHS tape he rented 14 years ago

A North Carolina man, James Meyers Jr., a single dad, says he was arrested for not returning a videotape cassette tape he rented 14 years ago.

Meyers said he was driving his 10-year-old daughter to school at around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday when police pulled him over for a broken brake light.

Meyers gave the police officers his driver’s license and was shocked when they said there was a warrant out for his arrest for not returning a VHS rental, the title of the movie was "Freddy Got Fingered," from 2002, he said.

Meyers told ABC News yesterday:
"They were chitchatting with me and talking about how ridiculous this is, then they arrested me". "Because I had my daughter in the car and we were on the way to school they said that I could take my daughter to school and go to work and then find a babysitter, and then come into the police and turn myself in."
According to a police news statement, the arrest warrant had been issued on Feb. 28, 2002.
So after he dropped his daughter off at school and found a baby sitter to watch her after school, he went to the police station and turned himself in. There he was processed at the Concord Police Department on a charge of "failure to return hired property" before being transferred to Cabarrus County Jail, where he was released on a written promise.

Meyers, who is a drum and bass musician, said he had never been arrested before said:
"They took my belt, I was trying to hold my pants up while trying to sign papers,” he said. “It was very embarrassing." 
"It scared my daughter,” he said. “She thought I was going to jail for a bad brake light."
Meyers rented the VHS from J&J Video in Salisbury, North Carolina, according to police. "The store has been closed for about 10 years now, if I'm not mistaken,” he said.

Meyers said Tom Green, the writer, director and star of "Freddy Got Fingered," reached out to him from his stand-up comedy tour in Australia when he heard the news, he said Green also tweeted about his 2001 action-comedy film: "I just saw this and I am struggling to believe it is real."

He said:
"Tom Green called and started singing to me on the other end of the phone. He said not to worry, and he can help anyway he can, and please keep in contact with him and keep him updated".
"He was so cool, he was a class act. It made me feel a lot better because of all the stress that is going on."
Meyers, who said he has no idea what became of the tape, is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Source:ABC News

Current deplorable state of School Road in Oyigbo, Port Harcourt

What a mess. The people in the area are calling on the government to do something about this road!

Mark Zuckerberg shares adorable photo feeding his daughter

The Facebook founder posted the photo above on his Facebook wall and wrote "Most important meeting of the day.#LeanInTogether". Mark & his wife welcomed their daughter, Max, in Dec. 2015.

Photos: See the fake iPhone a man bought at Computer Village

According to twitter user @IceRaj, this is the "Icephone" a guy got when he went to computer village Lagos to buy an Iphone. Lol. See more photos after the cut..

'Stop killing me for my bones' Popular 'Albino' artist Owenrugie writes

In some parts of Africa, being an 'Albino' puts you at risk of being killed or maimed. There have been many abductions, attempted killings and brutal murders of people with albinism, by 'albino hunters' and witch doctors who think their bones can solve the world's problems

Photo: Pregnant woman and her 5 year old daughter die in Building collapse in Ogun

A pregnant woman identified as Kafayat Somoye and her 5 year old daughter, Ganiyat, were killed after a building said to be 70 years old, collapsed at Onifufu/Aderupaba compound in Oke-Ijeun area of Abeokuta, Ogun state yesterday March 24th.

Eyewitnesses say the building unexpectedly caved in, killing the woman and her daughter instantly. The woman who is a petty trader was taking her daughter to school when the incident happened.

Photo from an accident in Ikeja last night

Thankfully, the driver survived...

Judge explains why he gave footballer Adam Johnson 6 years jail term (full statement)

Yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose after a lengthy trial pronounced a six year jail term for Adam Johnson for having sexual relations with an underage girl, with some saying that the punishment was too harsh given that it was his first reported case plus the fact his career will be ended by the long prison sentence. The County Durham police  have revealed Judge Rose's full statement. Read it after the cut
'In my view that offence is also a Category A offence in terms of culpability. I identify the following factors as being present: There was undoubtedly significant planning involved, in the communications and in the arrangement of meetings.
''There is an abuse of trust, inasmuch as those who enjoy positions of what today is known as 'celebrity' are trusted by their fans and the family of fans to act in an entirely appropriate manner towards, in particular, young people who are less able to protect themselves.
You solicited sexual images of [the victim], albeit that you did not receive any naked photographs of her.
There was a significant disparity in age; [she] was 15 and you 27 at the time.
I identify the following aggravating factors: the location and timing of the offence – the dark and secluded location and the efforts to dispose of or conceal evidence.
You made to have [the victim] dispose of the WhatsApp messages and you yourself deleted over 800 messages.
''You required the subsequent change to using Snapchat messages because they would automatically delete.''
You repeatedly directed [the victim] that she should tell no one what was happening as between you.''
A further aggravating factor in such cases is where there is severe psychological harm...
I have read with care the reports to which I have already referred and listed with care to Dr Hopley.
''It seems to me they speak of a person with a gift for football who enjoyed success from an early age, yet whose immaturity both physical and mental caused difficulties and may in part explain why, notably when you had moved to play for Manchester City you embarked on an extensive social life which involved sexual activity on a very frequent basis with a number of different partners, even when you were ostensibly in a settled relationship.''
'You made a deliberate decision to engage in sexual activity with this young girl, no doubt in the expectation that you would get away with it.'  
'She speaks of entering many dark places in that year and said she had suffered bullying and stress and had underachieved at school as a result of the case.'

''Accordingly, the total sentence is one of 6 years' imprisonment... The sentence you must serve will doubtless contribute to deterring you from future offending.''

Photos: Troops clear more Boko Haram camps, rescue 520 hostages

Troops of newly inducted 3 Battalion, 22 Brigade, in conjunction with Army Headquarters Strike Group (AHQ SG) and the Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF), cleared out Boko Haram remnants in Kala Balge general area on Tuesday, March 22nd. The team also rescued 520 hostages during the operation.

P-Square land in Amsterdam with their crew for a concert (photos)

P-Square land in Amsterdam with their crew for a concert (photos)

Amazing to see the brothers together (side-by-side) doing what they know how to do best, Entertain. They are currently in Rotterdam in Holland for a concert they are performing together. See another pic after the cut...

When you get a selfie with the Pope (photo)

This was during an Easter Week Mass with asylum-seekers at a shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside of Rome, yesterday March 24th.

Young man beaten nearly to death for attempting to snatch a lady's bag in Abuja (photo)

This happened last night at Passo in Gwagwalada, Abuja at exactly 8:30pm. The young Fulani man was caught and beaten nearly to death for attempting to snatch a lady's bag. He was beaten mercilessly by a mob and left in the pool of his own blood. He was lying passed out for a while until police came to remove him. Nobody is sure whether he was even still alive when the police came. See his photo after the cut...

Photos: Pope Francis kisses and washes feets of Muslim, 4 Nigerian Catholics and Hindu refugees in Easter ritual

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees on Thursday and declared them all children of the same God, as he emphasised solidarity with other faiths at a time of increased anti-Muslim sentiments following the attacks on Brussels which killed over 30.

Pope Francis denounced the carnage as a “gesture of war” carried out by bloodthirsty people beholden to the weapons industry during an Easter Week Mass with asylum-seekers at a shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside of Rome.

The Holy Thursday rite re-enacts the foot-washing ritual Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified, and is meant to be a gesture of service. Francis contrasted that gesture with the “gesture of destruction” carried out by the Brussels attackers, saying they wanted to destroy the brotherhood of humanity represented by the migrants.
"We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace,” Francis said in his homily, delivered off-the-cuff in the windy courtyard of the court.

Several of the migrants then wept as Francis knelt before them, poured holy water from a brass pitcher over their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them.
Francis was greeted with a banner reading “Welcome” in a variety of languages as he walked down a makeshift aisle to celebrate the Mass. But only a fraction of the 892 asylum-seekers living at the shelter attended, and many of the seats were left empty. Those who came out, though, received a personal greeting from the Pope at the end of Mass, with the pontiff even posing for selfies and accepting notes as he moved down the rows.

Vatican rules had long called for only men to participate in the foot-washing ritual, and previous popes and many priests traditionally performed it on 12 Catholic men, symbolising Jesus’ 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood.

The Vatican said on Thursday that four women and eight men took part. The women included an Italian Catholic who works at the centre and three Eritrean Coptic Christian migrants. The men included four Catholics from Nigeria, three Muslims from Mali, Syria and Pakistan and a Hindu man from India.

The Vatican’s new norms said anyone from the “people of God” could be chosen to participate in the ceremony. While the phrase “people of God” refers to baptized Christians, the decree also said that pastors should instruct “both the chosen faithful and others so that they may participate in the rite consciously, actively and fruitfully,” suggesting that the rite could be open to non-Catholics as well.
The Vatican spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican norms are meant for traditional liturgies in Catholic communities, not necessarily a unique papal Mass where the overall message is one of universal brotherhood and the love of God for all his children.
"We must always take the pastoral context into account," Lombardi said in an email. “Norms that are appropriate for a parish celebration aren’t to be considered binding on a very unique celebration of the pope in a refugee center with a non-Christian majority."
More photos...