Saturday, 31 March 2018

World: Feared Russian bike gang comes to Bosnia. Bosnia shrugs

Feared Russian bike gang comes to Bosnia. Bosnia shrugs

The Night Wolves, a Russian motorcycle gang known as “Putin’s Angels” and widely feared as agents of meddling and mayhem beyond Russia’s borders, provoked more bemusement and giggles than awe on their latest outing.

Instead of roaring into town amid throbbing engines and clouds of smoke, the tattooed, potbellied bikers arrived by car and minivan in Banja Luka, the capital of Republika Srpska, a would-be state born in bloodshed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Anxious about the cold weather, they left their bikes behind in Moscow but did bring along leather vests, an icon of the Virgin Mary and a “press secretary,” a snarling Russian woman whose main job was to keep away the press.

At a time of growing alarm over Russia’s readiness for reckless action abroad following the nerve agent attack on a former spy in England, the bikers’ so-called Russian Balkans Tour set nerves on edge, highlighting how easily Russia can keep everyone off balance by dialing tensions up and down with low-cost foreign forays.

The Night Wolves billed their tour, funded with a $41,000 grant from the Kremlin, as a “pilgrimage” meant to showcase the shared Orthodox faith of Russia and the region, at least the bits of it inhabited by ethnic Serbs like Republika Srpska, which is legally part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

But they enveloped their activities — mainly visits to churches and drinking sessions with local nationalist hot heads — in such secrecy that they stoked concern over what Russia is up to in Bosnia, a rickety state backed by the West but undermined from within by the Republika Srpska, which covers about half its territory and wants to secede.

“Russia is very good at creating tension and getting attention — it is like a dog running after a car,” said Aleksandar Trifunovic, the editor of Buka, a popular online news site in Banja Luka. The tubby bikers, he added, were “a joke” but had nonetheless sent a message that “Russia stands behind” the Republika Srpska and its leader, Milorad Dodik, whom the United States last year labeled a “significant threat” to Bosnia and placed on a Treasury Department sanctions list.

Sending bikers without bikes, Trifunovic noted, was much cheaper than sending hard cash, with which Moscow has been extremely sparing.

Dodik, the Republika Srpska’s president, complained in an interview that, despite his frequent meetings with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, he was still waiting for Moscow to follow through on what he said was a 2014 promise to provide his government with loans of at least $625 million.

“We have received nothing from Russia,” said Dodki, a former American protégé who has morphed into a hard-line Serb nationalist. “We had a promise but got nothing. We are a bit disappointed.”

Instead, Dodik got the Night Wolves, such a motley crew that one local newspaper asked whether it would not have been better for Moscow to send some ballet dancers.

“They looked pathetic; even I am taller than they are,” said Srdjan Puhalo, a bookish, ethnic Serb psychologist who posed with the bikers for photos outside Christ the Savior Cathedral in Banja Luka, perhaps the most enthusiastically pro-Russian city outside Russia.

Dodik, whose security forces have been stocking up on weapons and recently purchased 2,500 automatic rifles for the police forces, insisted that he did not want violence and wanted the Republika Srpska to secede peacefully from Bosnia and join the European Union. The chances of that happening, however, are near zero, not least because his would-be country claims territory, like the border town of Brcko, that does not belong to it and has a habit of belittling Bosnian Muslims as fanatics.

He described the Night Wolves, a mix of Russians and Serbs, as harmless “tourists” who were far more welcome than “men in short trousers with beards but no mustaches,” a reference to the dress code and shaving habits of Muslims who follow a rigid form of the faith promoted by Saudi Arabia and who many Serb nationalists believe, against all evidence, are numerous in Bosnia.

While claiming not to know much about the Night Wolves, Dodik in January gave a medal to their leader, Alexander Zaldostanov, a burly bruiser and friend of Putin’s, to honor what he described as the biker’s contribution to human rights, the rule of law and relations between Republika Srpska and Russia.

That the Night Wolves are not just another group of motorcycle enthusiasts, never mind human rights activists, however, has been evident since March 2014, when its members traveled, this time with their bikes, to Crimea to set up road blocks and provide other support for a Moscow-orchestrated takeover of the Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea.

Some of them went on to fight alongside pro-Russian rebels who seized power in eastern Ukraine.

They then reappeared in 2016 in Montenegro, joining events celebrating pan-Slavic solidarity and hostility to the West ahead of what authorities there have since claimed was an unsuccessful, Russian-sponsored coup attempt aimed at blocking the country’s entry to NATO.

Washington takes such a dim view of the Night Wolves that the Treasury Department placed the gang on a sanctions list in December 2014, accusing the bikers of kidnapping, assault and close ties to Russia’s security services. It has since added various affiliates, like a bike shop in Moscow, to the list.

“These guys are not goodwill ambassadors — we can all be sure about that,” said Emir Suljagic, a former deputy defense minister in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital.

The Night Wolves gang, which has local branches around the region, he added, are part of an “extremist ecosystem” nurtured by Russia through its ties to the Serbian Orthodox Church and radical Serb nationalists who still dream of a “Greater Serbia.” It was that idea that led to murderous ethnic cleansing in the early 1990s and also the creation of the Republika Srpska, whose founding president, Radovan Karadzic, was convicted in The Hague of war crimes in 2016.

The Security Ministry in Sarajevo declared the bikers, a security threat and barred Zaldostanov and the leader of the Night Wolves’ Serbian chapter from its territory. The Bosnian news media covered the progress of the Night Wolves as if they were an invading army, something that Dodik dismissed as anti-Russian hysteria.

As the bikers started out on their meandering journey from Belgrade, the Serbian capital, to Banja Luka and then back, the United States put down markers of its own by sending the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Wess Mitchell, on a diplomatic tour of the region.

The parallel tours, one by a button-down American diplomat, the other by a group of unkempt Russian and Serbian bikers, are all part of a long struggle for influence in an unstable region with an unhappy history of inciting wars and an insatiable appetite for great power conspiracy theories.

“Spying is a very popular game in the Balkans,” said Milos Solaja, a professor of international relations at the University of Banja Luka. “People here greatly enjoy intrigue and conspiracies.”

Russia “is not going to start World War III over the Republika Srpska,” he said, and only “wants to be represented here — there is no big conspiracy.” Bosnia, he added, has been “permanently failing” for more than a decade and did not need any prodding by Russia to become a failed state.

After a night of heavy drinking, the Night Wolves started their Russian Balkan Tour with a visit to Velika Remeta, an Orthodox monastery founded in the 14th century near the Serbian town of Novi Sad.

Their host was the monastery’s abbot, Father Stefan, whose office displays a big map of Serbia showing the country’s borders at the time of the monastery’s founding: They reach down into what are now Greece and Albania. “We had access to three seas then,” the abbot lamented. “Now we have none.”

He denied having any interest in politics and said he was not sure what the bikers were up to. But, with a clock decorated with a portrait of Putin on his office wall and a Russian flag on his desk, Father Stefan said he was happy to receive anyone who cherished the long spiritual bonds between Russia and Serbia.

He served the bikers — who he acknowledged “did not seem very religious” — homemade red wine and cherry liquor.

Apparently eager to avoid parallels with the Night Wolves’ antics in Crimea, the group’s leader, Zaldostanov, did not join his comrades on their Balkan tour.

“The purpose of our pilgrimage is to expand the spiritual bond between people and friends in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska,” Yevgeny Strogov, the stand-in leader, told journalists at the border crossing between Serbia and Bosnia.

The trip, he said, was all about “connecting cultures,” adding that Russia and Serbs “have the same culture and the same religion. That means a lot to us.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

ANDREW HIGGINS © 2018 The New York Times

World: Feared Russian bike gang comes to Bosnia. Bosnia shrugs



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'It's not my problem' – Conte in the dark over his Chelsea future

The Blues boss is focusing on the goal of trying to qualify for the Champions League next season and also reach the FA Cup final

'It's not my problem' – Conte in the dark over his Chelsea future



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'It's not my problem' – Conte in the dark over his Chelsea future

The Blues boss is focusing on the goal of trying to qualify for the Champions League next season and also reach the FA Cup final

'It's not my problem' – Conte in the dark over his Chelsea future



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Strategy: We tried loaded fries from major fast-food chains to see who does it best — and the winner is shocking

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We ranked six cheese-slathered, bacon-filled fries from fast-food chains — and the results weren't what we expected.

  • Many fast-food chains have some form of loaded fries on the menu.
  • We ranked loaded fries from the major chains that offer them.
  • Amazingly, Taco Bell was found to have the best loaded fries, despite only just launching french fries in January.

Loaded fries are the very definition of decadence.

Strips of fried potato topped with copious unhealthy, yet delicious, additions like cheese, bacon, chili, beef, or gravy — the breadth of options is limited only by the scope of the imagination.

But as with any fast-food item, there's a fine line to walk between decadence and disgusting. Too much cheese, and they can become a soggy morass; too many toppings, and a gilded lily can become a gilded mess.

Most fast-food chains have offered some form of loaded fries over the years as a limited item, and a handful have them on the menu permanently. Of the six fries we tried from four chains — Arby's, Shake Shack, Taco Bell, and Wendy's — only one was a limited item.

Six cheese-slathered, bacon-filled orders of loaded fries later, we managed to rank them from worst to best — and the results were pretty surprising.

6. Wendy's Baconator Fries

With the Baconator fries, a fork is 85% necessary. The topping coverage is lackluster, and lots of bare fries are unearthed just below the surface. Wendy's fries are typically on the floppy side anyway, so the heat and moisture of cheese and condensation building in their little fries greenhouse play only a partial factor in their sogginess.

On the plus side, they do manage to retain heat for a fair amount of time. But they do not live up to the storied Baconator name, for all its grease and glory. There's nothing to temper the extreme richness of cheese and bacon — at least a Baconator has ketchup.

5. Shake Shack Cheese Fries

Shake Shack's cheese fries are decadent at best and wanton at worst. The cheese tastes like a fancy version of that nacho cheese that comes out of a pump — that's a good thing in this instance. It's velvety smooth, rich, and kind of buttery.

Once poured, however, the cheese loses heat faster than a new Taylor Swift single. It coagulates into a less-than-appetizing, lukewarm, cheesy sludge with the consistency and hold of spackle. Let's not put on airs — it's still liquid cheese on top of french fries, so I'll still eat it.

4. Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries

The chili cheese fries are much soggier, but they have much more going on than the Baconator fries. Bacon and cheese can only get so far — and with the stewy, tomato-based chili, you tangentially get that necessary acidic note to cut through the cheese. Plus, the ground beef in the chili is pretty good, too. I like the combo of beef and fries — it just sits right with my soul.

And while this may sound — and assuredly is — completely absurd, it almost feels healthy because beans are in the equation. Just barely. Please allow me my blissful ignorance as I chow down on a heap of soggy cheesy chili fries.

3. Shake Shack Bacon Cheese Fries

The better-burger chain's bacon fries are even more messily opulent. The main issue with Shake Shack's loaded fries is this: they don't travel well in the slightest. They're best enjoyed fresh and at the restaurant; the to-go option means cheese in a cup and rapidly cooling fries in the chain's poorly designed takeout bags.

But obviously, cheese fries with bacon are superior to cheese fries without bacon. And Shake Shack's bacon is no slouch — it's really thick applewood-smoked bacon that's equally as delicious crumbled.

2. Arby's Loaded Fries

A fork is 100% necessary here; this is essentially a curly fry casserole.

Bacon, liquid cheese, shredded cheese, and a ranch-like sauce are layered onto a massive tangle of curly fries. The topping saturation is a huge plus — often, loaded fries are just mounds of french fries with toppings plopped on top, leaving an arid bedrock of topping-less potato.

But here, attention is paid to the construction, making for a cheesy and bacon experience throughout. If anything, more fries are needed to balance out the huge amounts of cheese and sauce.

1. Taco Bell Nacho Fries Supreme

Taco Bell has done a fantastic job shoehorning french fries into its Tex-Mex theme, and the loaded fries are no different. The chain's new seasoned fries make for a great foundation on which to lay what are essentially nacho ingredients: cheese sauce, taco beef, diced tomatoes, and sour cream.

What I find most successful is that the fries are already seasoned, so they aren't just bland sticks of potato and topping coverage doesn't matter as much. That being said, the topping-to-french-fry ratio is well balanced. There's a tiny bit of spice, too, which is nice. If Wendy’s chili were spicier, the chili cheese fries would be more exciting, but alas. These are by far the most satisfying loaded fries of the bunch.

Strategy: We tried loaded fries from major fast-food chains to see who does it best — and the winner is shocking



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Commonwealth Games 2018: Indian athletes face probe over needles

The Commonwealth Games hasn’t even started yet, but already the drama is bubbling.

Indian athletes were facing investigations on Saturday after the discovery of syringes in their accommodation at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

A cleaner at the athletes’ village tipped off authorities about the syringes, which will now be analysed, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive David Grevemberg said.

He added that the Commonwealth Games has a “no-needles” policy for athletes – and “zero tolerance” for doping. The Games will open in Gold Coast on Wednesday.

The Indian team denied any wrongdoing or that the syringes were even in their rooms.

“The CGF medical commission responded to a report from a cleaner of the presence of needles in the athletes’ accommodation in the Games village,” Grevemberg said.

“Under the 2018 Commonwealth Games anti-doping standard, a no-needle policy applies to athletes for the entire Games period, unless under approved exemptions.”

 

 

The post Commonwealth Games 2018: Indian athletes face probe over needles appeared first on Vanguard News.

Commonwealth Games 2018: Indian athletes face probe over needles



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‘It was a fantastic goal’ – Reading boss Clement salutes Aluko’s strike vs. QPR

Sone Aluko - Reading

The Nigeria international scored a stunning goal against Ian Holloway’s men to hand the Royals their first victory since January

‘It was a fantastic goal’ – Reading boss Clement salutes Aluko’s strike vs. QPR



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Big Brother Naija: PayPorte is angry with Cee-C for 'disrespecting brand,' viewers react

PayPorte is angry at Cee-C Big Brother Naija

Before tearing the dress given to her by Payporte for the Saturday party, Cee-C asked, "na person sit down do [design] this?

Payporte has responded to Cee-C's comments regarding the outfit given to her for this week's house party.

For this week, the housemates were given outfits that represent the different Nigerian cultures, and Cee-C’s outfit was inspired by the Calabar bridal attire.

The housemate was displeased by the outfit and decided to alter the style. Before cutting the dress and turning it into a top, Cee-C made several comments and asked: "na person sit down do this?"

 

Following her reaction to the outfit, Payporte took to Instagram to call her out. They described her comments as disrespectful and offensive.

"PayPorte is very dis-pleased by the comments made by @ceec_official about the outfit given to her. We take out time to style all housemates with respect to the theme of every Saturday party. We consider this a disrespect to our brand and consider this offensive," they wrote.

What other housemates would be wearing for the party

 

Reactions  to the drama between  Cee-C and Payporte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme for tonight's Saturday party is #RepYourCulture and Afro-jazz band, Saxokay, will be performing.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Big Brother Naija: PayPorte is angry with Cee-C for 'disrespecting brand,' viewers react



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Cultists Clash: Police arrest 5 in Ilorin

Police men arresting a suspect (for illustrative purpose)

Mr Samuel Okasanmi the spokesperson of the state Police command disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in llorin.

The Kwara Police Command on Saturday confirmed the arrest of five persons in connection with violence that erupted among suspected Cult members at Agaka area of llorin, the Kwara capital.

Mr Samuel Okasanmi the spokesperson of the state Police command disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in llorin.

According to him, the command is still making some arrests, and has deployed its personnel to Agaka to ensure law and order.

The police image maker assured residents in the area to go about their legitimate business, stating that peace had since returned to the area.

When NAN correspondent visited Agaka, all shops in the area were locked as traders desert the area.

Security operatives were seen keeping vigil to ensure maintenance of law and order.

The Chairman of Agaka Traders Association, Alhaji AbdulRahman Mohamned said the violence has paralysed business activities as most shop owners have deserted the area.

He appealed to the police to ensure that peace returns to the area.

Cultists Clash: Police arrest 5 in Ilorin



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Lacazette at 10 for Arsenal? Bould backs striker to overcome recent struggles

The France international has endured form and fitness issues during a debut campaign in England, but has seen his value hailed by a supportive coach

Lacazette at 10 for Arsenal? Bould backs striker to overcome recent struggles



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LIVE: Paris Saint-Germain vs Monaco

The first piece of silverware in France is up for grabs in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue – follow all the action LIVE!

LIVE: Paris Saint-Germain vs Monaco



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Sudani From Nigeria: Samuel Abiola Robinson accuses movie producers of racism

Samuel Abiola Robinson accuses movie producers of racism

According to the reports, Robinson alleged that he was manipulated into being paid less than his Indian co-actors.

One of the lead actors in the film "Sudani From Nigeria", Samuel Abiola Robinson, has accused the producers of racial discrimination.

According to the reports, Robinson alleged that he was manipulated into being paid less than his Indian co-actors.

The 19-year-old said, “I am saying this now because I cannot sit back and allow it happen to another helpless young black actor."

Samuel who is the first Nigerian actor to play a lead role in an Indian movie, added: “I believe that I was a victim of racial discrimination while in Kerala. It was nothing violent or directly in my face but for my role in Sudani from Nigeria, the producers offered me far less money than the Indian actors who are not half as popular or accomplished as I am.

READ ALSO: Akin Omotoso's "Colour of Wine" premieres at 8th edition [Photos]

"I only became better enlightened after meeting several young actors and discussing payment with them. I am of the opinion that this happened purely because of my skin colour and the assumption that all Africans are poor and don't know the value of money," he wrote in a post he shared via Facebook.

Throwing more light on the way newcomers are treated and how they are allegedly being cheated as regards payment, Samuel said that he was manipulated by the producers.

Promises were made to me by the producers while shooting to pay me more if the movie eventually becomes successful but no promise has been honoured and now I am back in Nigeria. I believe the promises were simply tools of manipulation to get me to eagerly commit the 5 months of availability for work being October, November, December 2017, January and March 2018 for the shoot and promotion of the movie.

READ ALSO: Kate Henshaw, Jemima Osunde talk favourite scene, what to expect and challenges during shoot

"The movie is a huge commercial success now and I am grateful for all the love that the fans have shown me and I have been privileged to experience the warm culture of Kerala but I can no longer suffer in silence about this. As I am black, it is my responsibility to speak up because it could ease the suffering of the next generation of black actors. Say no to racial or caste discrimination,” he wrote.

However, the actor only had wonderful things to say about the director Zakariya, who according to Samuel, “did his best to help but as he was not financing the movie himself, there was very little change he could foster”.

Samuel added that the writer-director was a “good guy with a good heart and a brilliant director”.

In another post shared on the social medium by the actor, two hours after his initial post, Samual made it clear that he had not been subjected to racial discrimination by the people of Kerala and that he had been talking solely about the producers of the movie.

READ ALSO: Blossom Chukwujekwu, Tope Oshin and Etim Effiong talk making of Nollywood film

I do not think that Kerala people are racist as I experienced no such racist treatment from the general Kerala public, I very much enjoyed my stay in Kerala, the culture, the Biryani and all. But I am offended and feel that it is unfair that I should have this much-unexpected scrutiny on my activity and general life without the cushion of decent financial payments, which could have easily been afforded by the producers."

"Sudani From Nigeria" which was produced by noted cinematographers Samir Thahir and Shyju Khalid, centres on the hospitality of the Malappuram people with Football as its backdrop. The movie which was released on March 23, 2018, was written and directed by debutant Zakariya and was also well received by both critics and the box office.

Samuel started his career in 2013 and has since appeared in several major productions such as Walt Disney's "Desperate Housewives Africa".

Sudani From Nigeria: Samuel Abiola Robinson accuses movie producers of racism



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Jealous Rage: Woman stabs husband to death over secret child

Woman stabs husband to death over secret child

The Gabonese military officer was, on Wednesday night, March 28, 2018, stabbed to death in his sleep, by his wife whose identity has not been revealed.

A woman has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her soldier husband to death after discovering that he had secretly fathered a child outside of their marriage.

The Gabonese military officer was, on Wednesday night, March 28, 2018, stabbed to death in his sleep, by his wife whose identity has not been revealed.

Local media in Gabon reports that the wife had become enraged by the fact that the deceased secretly fathered a child.

READ ALSO: Man murders boss's neighbour over job transfer

The officer's corpse was reportedly picked up on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

May his soul rest in peace.

Unwanted lover slices ex-boyfriend's neck with blade after argument

Following a disagreement, a woman has reportedly sliced the neck of her ex-boyfriend who earlier warned her to stop reporting him to family.

This was her response following a slap from former partner who reportedly slapped her for disobeying the order.

 

The victim was rushed to the St James Hospital, Amukpe, Delta State, where the incident occurred.

A gory image of the violent assault showed the ex-boyfriend on a bed with a deep cut to his neck.

ALSO READ: Pastor murders pregnant girlfriend, church member and baby

Jealous Rage: Woman stabs husband to death over secret child



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Aaron Samuel brace propels Amkar Perm past Lokomotiv Moscow

The Nigeria international scored a second half brace as the Red and Blacks edged past the Red-Greens in a topflight outing

Aaron Samuel brace propels Amkar Perm past Lokomotiv Moscow



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In Lagos: Association offers free medical check-up for residents

The Chairman of the association, Alhaja Lateefat Gbajabiamila, said that the aim of the exercise was to create awareness about the need for people to go for regular medical check-up.

Residents in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State on Saturday enjoyed free medical check-up, treatment, and counselling organised by Ajowa, a Community Development Association in the area.

The Chairman of the association, Alhaja Lateefat Gbajabiamila, said that the aim of the exercise was to create awareness about the need for people to go for regular medical check-up.

The exercise was organised in collaboration with Motus Health Initiative, a non-governmental organisation.

Gbajabiamila said: “I have realised over time that many people do not care about their health status; they just want to work.

“Even when they are ill, they diagnose the ailment and treat themselves without even going to the hospital.

“We do not want them to carry on with such attitude and that is why we try to educate them on the importance of going to visit the doctor when they are ill.

“I am so happy about the turn out of people; it is all for their good. Some people have high blood pressure which is hidden and they are not aware.

“It is important that people check themselves regularly so that they can know their status and stay healthy. “

She said that the association plans to carry out more free medical exercise in future in order to provide healthcare delivery for residents.

Gbajabiamila said: “We just started this exercise; we intend to carry our more medical check ups, maybe twice in a year and also depending on the turn out of people and funds available.

“This way, we will be able to reach out to many residents in the area and also create awareness about the CDA so that people attend meetings.

“We want people to be aware of the CDA, because we are next to the government.

“The government asks from the association what the community wants and when people do not come for meetings, they do not get to participate in the community. “

Also, the Executive Director, Motus Health Initiative, Dr Babajide Onanuga, said that the major challenge facing communities include inaccessibility to healthcare delivery.

According to him, the organisation is partnering with the CDA to revolutionalise healthcare delivery in the community and country at large.

“One reason we engage in what we are doing is we have found out in communities that there is a great divide in accessing healthcare.

“Also, even if the facilities are available, people cannot pay for healthcare.

“We are trying to limit these barriers by reaching out to communities to give free healthcare services, and in that way, the healthcare is delivered, “ he said.

Two participants, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed gratitude to the association for the exercise.

A business woman, Mrs Juliet Mbekwe, said she was happy to be part of the exercise as she was never opportuned to visit the clinics for check-ups.

“This is a good initiative that is being brought to our community; I have not visited the hospital since my last delivery.

“This is so, because I go to work everyday and never have time for myself.

“Exercise like this one will give many people the opportunity to know their health status and also help peole who cannot afford healthcare, “ Mbekwe said.

Another participant, Mr Kehinde Olaniyi, said he was passing by and saw that free medical treatment was given to people in the area.

Olaniyi said: “I had to come and participate, because it is the only opportunity I have to get checked by the doctors.

“A free exercise like this is good for me, because I cannot afford to pay for healthcare each time I try to visit a hospital.

“I appreciate this gesture by the association and hope they continue in the future so that we can enjoy the services and stay healthy. “

NAN reports that the free medical services enjoyed include eye, malaria, breast cancer, diabetes screening.

Children were also dewormed and measles vaccines were administered.

In Lagos: Association offers free medical check-up for residents



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Alexis finally blossoming into a Swan in breakout Man Utd performance

Alexis v Swansea

The January signing from Arsenal scored one and laid on the other as Jose Mourinho finally found a system for the Chilean to thrive in

Alexis finally blossoming into a Swan in breakout Man Utd performance



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Malam Garba Shehu: Presidency advises opinion leaders against inciting statements

Presidency accuses Nigerian media of causing more problems

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday.

The Presidency has appealed to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to desist from making inciting statements but rather use their influence wisely.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday.

The presidential aide said the appeal became necessary to caution Nigerians against engaging in public declarations that were likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten national security.

He said: “The Presidency is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal governing and democratic institutions, and authority of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.

“Silence can be dignified, but sometimes it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves.

“The Presidency commends the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilize the country and government for their selfish reasons.

“What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organized, trained and equipped military?’’

Shehu, therefore, advised former leaders to use the various fora where people with a history of national security could offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.

“The civil war motto: “TO KEEP NIGERIA ONE IS A TASK THAT MUST BE DONE” rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia,’’ he concluded.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the statement by a former minister of defence, retired Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, that the military was failing to protect Nigerians from attacks had continued to attract reactions from prominent Nigerians.

The latest of such reactions came from the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, which raised concerns that security agencies in the country may have been corrupted ahead of the 2019 general elections.

A spokesman for the group, Akin Osuntokun, who stated this in an interview with a national newspaper, said the statement credited to TY Danjuma that the security agencies were allegedly failing in their duties should not be dismissed.

Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba had on Tuesday also blamed the nation’s security heads for allegedly doing nothing to check security threats in the state.

Malam Garba Shehu: Presidency advises opinion leaders against inciting statements



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Who's to blame for Arsenal struggles? Maitland-Niles suggests players, not Wenger

The versatile Gunners full-back acknowledges those on the field need to shoulder as much responsibility for a testing campaign as their manager

Who's to blame for Arsenal struggles? Maitland-Niles suggests players, not Wenger



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Would you fight off your mother-in-law raising your kid?

By Bunmi Sofola

THREE days after she had her first child, Halimat’s husband, Doja, brought mother and child home – with Doja’s mother happily settled in the family home. “Shortly after we arrived, I put my son in the Moses’ basket we already had ready for him”, Halimat said. “All of a sudden, the sound of my new-born son’s cries filtered through to the living room, stinging my ears and piercing my heart. I rushed to where he was but I was too late. He was already in the possessive grasp of my mother-in-law who’d placed an exclusion zone of fierce grand-motherly love around him, barring all from going near.

“Grandma is here” she cooed as she clasped Jare to her chest and peered at me, her wrinkly face filled ith a direct challenge. ‘Mine’ she seemed to say as she sang to him. So began one of the most painful weeks of my life, one which still smarts now when I think about it, and which pushed my relationship with my husband to the brink. To this day, I still feel hurt and resentful when I recall how my first weeks of motherhood were tainted by the interference of my mother-in-law – a typical village woman she made me feel superfluous, useless and inferior – that I was nothing more than a uterus that had d livered her first born grandson!

“Maybe it was partly down to the clash of cultures, ‘Grandma’ is from my husband’s very remote village and speaks barely a word of English, and I couldn’t understand her native tongue that well. Maybe it was also because she’d been ‘widowed at 29; Doja, her youngest was just two years old when his father was killed in a road accident, leaving her to raise three children single-handedly. It has left her fiercely proud of her family, as well as being very critical of their partners.

“From the self-consciousness of my post-baby body to the way I held my son, I felt short in every department. And Doja, the devoted mama’s boy, seemed to accept her word on everything, excluding me as they gabbled on in their own language. Whenever I heard friends complain about how little help they get from their in-laws, want to shout how lucky they are. After the hospital staff fussing over my son, I’d arrived home to find her waiting at the door and literally wrenching Jare from my arms. Taken aback by her forthrightness, I tried to put it down to excitement. He was, after all, her first grandchild. Yet as she clutched him to her chest, ignoring me, my heart pounded in panic. Although logically I knew he was safe, a new mother’s protective hormones turned hcr into a lioness.

“I would have fought and killed for my son. The trouble was, so would Grandma. But instead of standing up to my mother-in-law, I went to our room and cried. Looking back, I can’t believe I was so weak, so unassertive.  I can only put it down to the shock I felt at having a domineering stranger barge into my life. This was her first visit to our home. Although I’d met her a few times, when we went for family functions in her village, we’d never got beyond small talk due to the language barrier. Although she’d never said it, I wondered if she blamed me for luring her son to marry outside his clan.

“Doja and I had met at the university. He was one of our lecturers and we quickly recognised that we had a lot in common. He transferred to another university close to my family’s home when I graduated. He later set up his consultancy business. But it wasn’t until I gave birth that I realised the true character of my mother-in-law. From the outset of her visit, she made it clear that ‘Grandma knows best’. And Doja did nothing to correct her. She was constantly barking ‘advice’ on everything from feeding to sleeping. Everything she did contradicted modern parenting advice. She put Jare on his tummy to sleep and swaddled him in layers of blankets. I put my foot down when she wanted to feed him herbal concoctions. Since when did a newborn baby need that? ‘Its just how they did things in her days’, Doja said as his mother went off in a huff. Of course my husband ran after her to console her, rather than me.

“Breast-feeding became my only solace, the only time my son was all mine. Even then, she’d stand so close that I felt inhibited and self- conscious. Once, she unexpectedly yanked up my top, revealing my postnatal belly. ‘What a stomach’, she remarked in her native tongue. It was utterly humiliating. In our bedroom, Doja and I hissed at each other. I was sick of being undermined and humiliated. In my worst moments, I wanted to run away with my baby.

“Her month-long visit, eventually ended, but the effect on Doja’ and my relationship reverberated for long after. Despite the tension, she would arrive at our door every six months without fail and stay for two weeks. ‘You can’t stop me seeing my mother!’ Doja would fume. ‘She can’t stop me from being a mother!’ I would retort, I loved my husband, but there were times when I wondered if I’d be better off alone. But after I’d given birth to two girls, I felt stronger and more in control. Yet Grandma still came down to undermine me. I had to justify everything I did, from not putting salt in my children’s food, to not letting them ‘sweat out’ a fever, to letting them run around barefoot – as she believed colds are caused by floors, not viruses.

“On one of her visits, I left her to give the girls their breakfast while I took Jare to school. I got back to find both children triumphantly sucking chocolate coated digestive biscuits, having clearly ignored the cereal, toast and eggs on offer. She knew my views on this. Biscuits were a treat, not breakfast. ‘No biscuits!’ I protested at which she and the children smirked conspiratorially. It was only when my youngest was two years old, the same age Doja had been when his father died – that relations between us started to thaw.

“One day, exhausted and stressed, trying to juggle work, money and the family, 1 tried to imagine being responsible for these three little ones all on my own. How did grandma manage it, producing such loving, loyal and well-adjusted son as Doja? Suddenly, the thought of my mother-in-law’s next visit didn’t feel quite so much as an invasion, but a welcome extra pair of hands. The children clearly adore their Grandma, and love chatting in her native language which she’d tried to teach them. I’m now determined to grit my teeth and meet her halfway. Who knows, maybe we can start again!”

Doja still couldn’t get his head around how things could be so thorny between the two women he loved. “I have no recollection of my father”, he said. “He died far too soon and my mother sacrificed everything to give me, my brother and sister a good upbringing. It’s no surprise then, that I will always love and admire her. After our son was born, I couldn’t wait to share the experience with my mother. So, I couldn’t

understand why Halimat felt so threatened. The first visit was a nightmare. Mum just wanted to get to know her grandson, but Halimat couldn’t bear to share him. Somehow she thought mum was trying to steal him. She couldn’t see how ridiculous that was, or disrespectful to my mother’s feelings. After all, she was just visiting her a few weeks.

“I couldn’t help but feel that all this highlighted the massive cultural gaps between the ethnic groups in the country. In my village, families are much stronger, there’s none of this ‘not interfering’ business. I felt like a hostage in my own home, stuck in a field between two raging bulls! It didn’t help that mum and Halimat didn’t speak the same language. Not only was I torn between two different cultures, I was constantly having to translate for them too. 1 love Halimat – and my mother. I just hope that, over time, they will learn to love each other”.

At Cross Purposes (Humour)

A young man was keen to buy his girlfriend a very special present but, unsure of what to get, he took her sister along to help him choose. A little later, they decided to buy her some gloves – something not too personal but at the same time something that she would wear often and think of him. As he gave the gloves to the assistant to be wrapped, the sister had also been buying for herself and handed in a pair of knickers. However, unknown to the two buyers, the assistant muddled up the package before sending it off. He simply wrote the following note to go with it:

“My darling, 1 hope you like the enclosed gift. 1 bought them because 1 notice you never wear any when we go out together and your sister thought the short ones were better than the longer ones because they’re easier to remove. I hope you like the colour. 1 know they’re a little light but the lady in the shop showed me the ones she’s been wearing for the past month and there was hardly a mark on them. She also tried them on for me so that I could see what they’d look like. It’s such a shame I won’t be there to help you put them on for the first time. Others will see them before I do. Just one little tip. When you take them off, blow in them as they will be slightly damp from wearing. Looking forward to seeing you wear them on Saturday night. Much love. – Ken xxxx.

 

The post Would you fight off your mother-in-law raising your kid? appeared first on Vanguard News.

Would you fight off your mother-in-law raising your kid?



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Politics: Obamacare premiums are still on the rise — here's how much they're increasing in every state

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The average cost of the cheapest silver-tier plan increased 32% nationally, while the average cost of a gold-level plan jumped 19.1%.

  • Obamacare premiums increased between 2017 and 2018, according to a new study.
  • The average cost of the cheapest silver-tier plan increased 32% across the US. Gold-tier plans saw a 19.1% increase.
  • There were a variety of reasons for the increases, from Trump administration changes to marketplace fundamentals.
  • Check out the increases for silver and gold plans by state in maps below.

Affordable Care Act premiums are headed in the same direction as last year: higher.

According to a new study from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, premiums in the Obamacare exchanges — which provide insurance for people who do not get coverage through work or a government program like Medicaid — jumped 32% nationally for the lowest-cost silver-tier plan, as well as 19.1% for gold-tier plans.

There are a variety of reasons for the increase in premiums from last year, according to the study, ranging from Trump administration actions to unresolved deficiencies in the individual insurance market.

"The premium increases reflect significant policy changes and policy debates specifically affecting insurer decisions for the 2018 plan year as well as more typical annual considerations such as trend and healthcare costs," the researchers wrote.

Of particular interest to the researchers was the difference between the increase for silver-level plans, the middle-tier of Obamacare coverage, and the gold-level plans.

Silver plans generally saw larger increases in premiums because insurers predominately loaded onto those plans the loss of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, which helped offset the cost of covering lower-income patients. President Donald Trump ended the CSR payments in October.

States had the option of loading the lost CSR payments into just the silver tier or spreading them out among all the levels.

"26 states had insurers allocate the CSR costs to silver marketplace premiums alone, eight states had the costs allocated to silver plans on and off the marketplaces, three states had insurers spread the costs across all metal tiers in the marketplace, three had insurers spread the costs across all metal tiers on and off the marketplace, and in three states' approaches varied across insurers," the study found.

Much of the cost increases won't be passed onto consumers, since 70% receive subsidies, which bring their premiums below $75 a month. But it means the program costs the federal government more in the end than if Trump had kept the payments in effect.

Overall, 15 states saw an increase of more than 40% for the lowest cost silver plan while eight saw an increase of 10% or less. Of those, four saw a decrease in premiums.

The largest increase in the lowest-cost gold plan premiums came in Kentucky, a 66.2% pop. Kentucky also shifted from a state-based marketplace to the federally run Healthcare.gov platform for the first time in 2017 and suffered a drop off in enrollment last year.

On the other end of the spectrum was Alaska, which saw gold premiums fall by an average of 27.9% between 2017 and 2018.

Politics: Obamacare premiums are still on the rise — here's how much they're increasing in every state



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Entertainment: Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race

Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race

Less than five weeks after declaring her candidacy for Congress, actress Stacey Dash announced Friday that she was withdrawing from the race to represent a heavily Democratic House district in California.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Dash — who is best known for her role in the 1995 movie “Clueless” — said she had concluded that the “bitterness surrounding our political process,” the “rigors of campaigning” and even the act of holding office itself would be harmful to her family.

“Deciding to withdraw my candidacy was a difficult choice, but I have to go where I feel God is leading me,” she said.

Dash, 51, is a Republican, and her decision to compete for a seat in California’s 44th District was puzzling. The district encompasses much of South Los Angeles, including largely black cities and neighborhoods like Compton and Watts, as well as communities that are increasingly Latino.

Hillary Clinton received 83 percent of the vote there in the 2016 presidential election, and Barack Obama won similar shares in 2008 and 2012.

Nanette Barragán, a Democrat, is the district’s current representativeand has announced that she is running for re-election. Among Barragán’s challengers will be Aja Brown, a highly visible Democrat who became Compton’s youngest mayor in 2013.

Dash came onto the political stage in earnest when she endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. She was a Fox News contributor from 2014 to 2016 and an early supporter of President Donald Trump. Her endorsements of Republican candidates drew significant attention, and backlash, in part because she is black.

In an interview with journalist Nicholas Ballasy in June 2016, after she released a memoir titled “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative,” Dash said she had been ostracized in Hollywood because of her political views. Her agents had dropped her, she said, and she had not auditioned for a role in more than a year.

Asked in that interview how she would pitch Trump to African-American and Hispanic voters, she paraphrased the adage that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

“Why do you keep voting Democrat, and nothing changes?” asked Dash, who has said she voted for Obama in 2008 before switching parties. “Try something new.”

In her statement on Friday, she continued that line of attack, arguing that constituents in the 44th District had been forgotten by the Democratic Party.

People “on the lower end of the economic spectrum” had been offered “little more than symbolic gestures,” she said. Politicians, she argued, had come to accept high crime, decaying infrastructure and staggering high school dropout rates as the norm.

“The people living here deserve better,” she said. “I will continue to speak out.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

MATT STEVENS © 2018 The New York Times

Entertainment: Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race



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LIVE: Manchester United vs Swansea City

Jose Mourinho’s side are looking to consolidate a second-place in the Premier League as they host the Swans at Old Trafford – follow the action LIVE!

LIVE: Manchester United vs Swansea City



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World: Tesla says crashed vehicle had been on autopilot before fatal accident

Tesla says crashed vehicle had been on autopilot before fatal accident

Tesla said Friday that its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature had been turned on before a fiery crash of a Model X SUV that killed the driver last week in California, raising more questions about the safety of the company’s self-driving technology.

This is the second fatal crash in which the Autopilot system had been engaged, including a 2016 crash in Florida that killed a Tesla driver.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that the Florida crash did not result from a flaw in the system, but the agency found that the system lacked safeguards to prevent its misuse.

Federal investigators are looking into the crash in California, which occurred March 23.

The company said in a statement posted on its website that the driver in the crash last week had “about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view” before he crashed into a median barrier, adding that “the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.” The driver, Wei Huang, had been given “several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive,” Tesla said.

Still, Tesla defended its Autopilot hardware. In its statement, the company said there was one automotive fatality for every 86 million miles across all vehicles in the United States, compared with one fatality for every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot.

“If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident,” the company said.

The crash has only added to Tesla’s woes. The introduction of the company’s Model 3 has been mired in delays, and the company has continued to lose money quarter after quarter. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company’s credit rating, concerned that it was burning through cash.

The crash occurred five days after a woman was struck and killed by an autonomous car operated by Uber in Tempe, Arizona. It was believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving technology.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

GREGORY SCHMIDT © 2018 The New York Times

World: Tesla says crashed vehicle had been on autopilot before fatal accident



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Drogb, others rally round former Chelsea great Wilkins

Justice At Last: Police commissioner orders investigation into police assault case

New Commissioner of Police for Lagos State, Imohimi Edgar.

The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Dopemu has been given the mandate to look into the case of physical assault which was shared on Social Media and succeeded in getting the CP's attention.

A press release issued by the Lagos State Police Command has revealed that the State Police Commissioner has ordered an investigation into a case of police assault in the state.

According to the statement shared on Facebook, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Dopemu has been given the mandate to look into the case of physical assault which was shared on Social Media and succeeded in getting the CP's attention.

According to the reports, a police inspector is alleged to have slapped a young lady inside a bus transporting passengers from Obalende to Dopemu.

The CP via the statement assured the public that the findings in the case would be made public as usual.

ALSO READ: Woman tortured to death by banker husband buried amidst tears

Justice At Last: Police commissioner orders investigation into police assault case



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