Manchester Bomb Explosion Kills 19 and Injures About 50 People
By Juliana Uzoka
A twin bomb explosion has claimed about 19 lives and injured over 50 people towards the end of a concert by an American singer, Ariana Grande, in Manchester. A suicide bomber was suspected in the terror attack.
The U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May has described the incident as a potential terrorist attack. This would be the worst terrorist attack in Britain if confirmed, after the London transport system suicide attack by four British Muslim citizens that killed 52 people in July 2005.
The Police arrived the showground which has a capacity to contain about 21,000 people, on receiving information regarding the explosion. Sources confirm there were a lot of children who had come out with their families to watch the U.S. singer Ariana.
Reuters reports that an eyewitness account by one of the audiences who had exited the concert ground discloses she was on her way out after the concert had ended, and then came a powerful explosion which got people screaming and thousands running in different directions trying to leave the building.
A video posted on twitter showed the chaos that ensued after the explosion went off at the concert, as fans were heard screaming and parents frantically searching and calling out for their children, sharing their photos on social media of any information of their whereabouts.
“We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming,” concertgoer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.
“It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.”
A spokesman for the music artiste said she was ok.
Prime Minister May, who will run an election in the next two weeks and a half, has expressed her condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.
“We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the Police as an appalling terrorist attack,” May said in a statement. “All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
Emmanuel Macron was elected French president on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union.
The centrist’s emphatic victory, which also smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain’s vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president.
With virtually all votes counted, Macron had topped 66 percent against just under 34 percent for Le Pen – a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had suggested.
Even so, it was a record performance for the National Front, a party whose anti-immigrant policies once made it a pariah, and underlined the scale of the divisions that Macron must now try to heal.
After winning the first round two weeks ago, Macron had been accused of behaving as if he was already president; on Sunday night, with victory finally sealed, he was much more solemn.
“I know the divisions in our nation, which have led some to vote for the extremes. I respect them,” Macron said in an address at his campaign headquarters, shown live on television.
“I know the anger, the anxiety, the doubts that very many of you have also expressed. It’s my responsibility to hear them,” he said. “I will work to recreate the link between Europe and its peoples, between Europe and citizens.”
Later he strode alone almost grimly through the courtyard of the Louvre Palace in central Paris to the strains of the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, not breaking into a smile until he mounted the stage of his victory rally to the cheers of his partying supporters.
His immediate challenge will be to secure a majority in next month’s parliamentary election for a political movement that is barely a year old, rebranded as La Republique En Marche (“Onward the Republic”), in order to implement his program.
Outgoing president Francois Hollande, who brought Macron into politics, said the result “confirms that a very large majority of our fellow citizens wanted to unite around the values of the Republic and show their attachment to the European Union”.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, told Macron: “I am delighted that the ideas you defended of a strong and progressive Europe, which protects all its citizens, will be those that you will carry into your presidency”.
Macron spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he hopes to revitalize the Franco-German axis at the heart of the EU, saying he planned to visit Berlin shortly.
Trump also tweeted his congratulations on Macron’s “big win”, saying he looked forward to working with him.
The euro currency EUR=EBS, which had been rising for two weeks as the prospect receded that France would elect an anti-EU president, topped $1.10 in early Asian trading for the first time since the U.S. elections.
Trump is now America’s 45th president, cloud of uncertainty pervades the air
President Trump’s talk of unity in his inaugural address sounded less like an appeal and more like an imperative, maybe even a command.
“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice,” Trump said.
It’s laudable any time a leader seeks to make an argument for bringing people together, and America certainly needs to hear such sentiments. But as a predictor for how effective Trump will be in continuing to lay out such a vision, his remarks on the topic were lacking.
Even in Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981, which was reportedly one of the few speeches Trump consulted as he crafted his own, the former Republican president touched on themes of overcoming hate and division that were pointedly missing from Trump’s address.
“We shall reflect the compassion that is so much a part of your makeup,” Reagan told the nation. “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?”
There was an echo of this in Trump’s argument that loyalty to country will produce loyalty to countrymen. But Reagan also heavily emphasized compassion and love, elements largely missing from Trump’s speech.
Trump’s logic was that love of country can overcome division. But that is an ahistorical statement. Patriotism has often fueled, rather than suppressed xenophobia, racism and systemic oppression of minorities.
If Trump displayed more interest in the principles of the U.S. Constitution — that the rights of men come from God and not from government, respect for the rule of law, checks and balances, a balance between the will of the people and the moderating influence of government institutions — there might be less concern about his absolutist talk of “total allegiance” to the country he now leads and represents.
Before his speech, Trump raised his right hand and promised to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But as he spoke moments later, Trump told the crowd that he had taken “an oath of allegiance to all Americans.”
And the fuel of Trump’s candidacy was anger against a roster of villains including Muslims, Mexicans, the media and so on. His candidacy drew the support of white nationalists who — encouraged by Trump’s years-long promotion of the theory that the nation’s first black president was not an authentic American — saw in him a sympathetic figure.
There has been a strong undercurrent in Trump’s support that white Americans — who make up the overwhelming majority of his supporters — have lost cultural and political power over the last few decades at the expense of gains by minorities and immigrants. These are not entirely baseless fears. Numerically, white Americans are certainly not the overwhelming majority they used to be, and they will continue to decline as the dominant group.
Yet whatever Trump might have done in the past to encourage this by winks and nods, many hoped he would strike a more inclusive note and appeal to something even higher and deeper than country — to the common humanity of each American. His speech did not do this.
The case for Trump is that he encouraged Americans of all races, colors and creeds to recognize their common citizenship. But prejudice has been overcome by individuals recognizing the inherent dignity of every human, an idea grounded in the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Additionally, a healthy dose of humility has helped, produced by a clear-eyed recognition of one’s own imperfection.
But Trump is not known for his humility. And his grandiose rhetoric — “I will never ever let you down,” an echo of “I alone can fix it” from his convention speech — suggests Trump envisions a much bigger role for himself in the life and imagination of the average American.
The phrase “total allegiance” was of a piece with other parts of Trump’s speech that sounded more like the words of a monarch than of a democratically elected president — notably one who received almost 3 million fewer votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump said he would make Americans “the rulers” of their own country, and spoke of issuing “a new decree.”
And the idea of “total allegiance” shaped the words Trump said moments later: “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.” In other words, some disagreement is fine, but then fall into line.
One of Trump’s first acts as president was to sign a formal proclamation announcing a national day of patriotism. In one sense, this was in line with the main theme of his speech: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”
But Trump’s talk of unity through patriotism showed the limits of his own thinking and is ultimately a weak foundation on which to try to rebuild the country, if that is indeed his goal.
Gambia averts catastrophe as Jammeh concedes, to leave on exile
By Juliana Uzoka
Gambians have released bated breath with a sigh of relief as their maximum ruler, former president Yahya Jammeh agrees to step aside, and allow his opponent ascend mantle of leadership.
Jammeh was on Gambia’s state television early on Saturday to announce his decision to cede power to President Adama Barrow.
In a report, Aljazeera news quoted Jammeh as saying: “I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians.”
The regional leaders who had thronged Gambia to prevail on Jammeh to let go of power succeeded in talking him into accepting to go on exile.
Although the Defence Forces chief, Ousmane Badjie, who spoke to the Associated Press said Jammeh had accepted to step down on condition that he should be granted amnesty, to absolve him of any crime he committed in the past 22 years he ruled The Gambia.
Badjie said: “You cannot push us to war for an issue we can solve politically.”
Jammeh wanted to relinquish power but to stay in his home village of Kanilal, reported News24. The request which ECOWAS found unacceptable.
President Adama Barrow who was sworn in at the Gambian Embassy, in Senegal due to Jammeh’s refusal to step down and to provide him with adequate security for his inauguration; said to Jammeh on the day of his swearing-in, to respect the will of the people and step aside.
Former President Jammeh was alone in his struggle to cling to power as his military declared allegiance to Barrow, who gave them order to all stay in the barracks.
The two African leaders that paid him a visit of Friday in Banjul: Guinean President, Alpha Conde and the Muaritanian President, Ould Abdel Aziz, offered to let him stay Mauritania for exile.
The West African regional force, comprising troops from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Togo and Mali had advanced the Gambia without any resistance, moving in tanks, said Marcel Alain de Souza, Chairperson of West African regional bloc, ECOWAS.
However, the situation has been brought under control with the latest development of Jammeh accepting to cede power to President Barrow, after ruling The Gambia for 22 years.
Barrow disclosed late on Friday through his twitter handle that: Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today.”
I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia
Obama is Confident Diversity Will Prevail In the History of U.S. Politics
President Barack Obama has reassured Americans that his exit from office does not portend any future uncertainties, but rather, a promising future awaits them.
Obama said to Americans in his final press briefing on Wednesday, as President that: “We’re going to be OK.”
“It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK,” he said. “We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted.”
Yahoo news reports that President Obama made it known during the press conference that he would be compelled to voice out on particular social and political issues after leaving office as president.
He did not mince words in repudiating allegations that there was in-person voter fraud during the elections; but clearly stated that the black community still do not enjoy equal rights during elections as their white counterparts.
Some of the policies he advanced, such as the gay rights might not be easy to overturn, he said.
The outgoing President however called on his successor, Donald Trump to thread gently by surrounding himself with the right team, saying the presidency “is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself.”
Obama cautioned Trump to have good considerations bothering on his administration’s policy on Middle East and relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
During the interactive session, President Obama gave reasons on why he chose to grant clemency to the whistle blower, Chelsea Manning that leaked thousands of classified documents to wikileaks
Yahoo news further reports that Obama was not subjected to questions bothering on any regrets he may have had as president on issues like Syria, North Korea or the Iran deal; but he did joke that he once wore a tan suit to a press conference, which his wife Michelle Obama found disagreeable.
Furthermore, Obama explained to a White House reporter, his daughter Sasha and Malia’s reactions after Trump was voted in; he explained the intrigues, especially knowing the standpoint of their mother, the first lady.
“They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign,” Obama said. “But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience, and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is at the end of the world is the end of the world.
“You get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude. I think neither of them intend to pursue a future of politics, and in that, too, I think their mother’s influence shows.”
Fielding questions during the press conference on the possibility of another U.S. black president, he responded that the Oval Office is likely to have a more diverse disposition, which would create more opportunities for people of other race and cultures.
“If, in fact, we continue to keep opportunity open to everybody, then yeah, we’re going to have a woman president. We’re going to have a Latino president. And we’ll have a Jewish president. A Hindu president. You know, who knows who we’re going to have.” He said. “I suspect we’ll have a whole bunch of mixed-up presidents at some point that nobody really knows what to call them.”
President Obama emphasised on the need for the President-elect, Trump to carefully choose his advisers.
“That’s probably the most useful constructive advise and the most construct advice that I’ve been able to give him: That if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down, or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything, or if you haven’t created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you’ve made. That’s when you start making mistakes.” Obama said. Reality has a way of biting back if you’re not paying attention to it.”
Demoted Army Veteran Kills 5, Claims He is Haunted by ISIS Videos
By Marymagdalyn Francis
A gunman has killed five people and injured eight others at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Florida.
The suspect identified as 26-year-old Estenab Santiago, opened fire on passengers at the baggage claim area of the airport on Friday.
According to Yahoo News, the Broward County Sheriff said the shooter has been caught unharmed and under interrogation.
In an update by Associated Press (AP), the suspect is an Army veteran who had complained that his mind was being manipulated by the government, by making him watch Islamic State videos .
He was arrested after he surrendered, an eye witness said.
“People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs.” AP quoted MSNBC reporter who spoke with the witness, Mark Lea. “He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.”
The gunman who had walked into the FBI office in November to report what he sensed was the control of his mind by the US government, had worked in Iraq and was demoted and discharged for poor performance in the Army.
AP reports that the nervous and incomprehensible Santiago was taken by the police for medical examination to ascertain the state of his mental health.
“One witness said the attacker gunned down his victim without a word and kept shooting until he ran out of ammunition for his handgun, sending panicked travellers running out of the terminal and spilling onto the tarmac, baggage in hand,” AP further reports.
Presidnt Barack Obama has been briefed by the White House security, while the President-elect, Donald Trump described the incident as “disgraceful”, but said it was too soon to conclude if it was a terrorist attack.
Michelle Obama calls for stronger appreciation of diversity in the US
By Marymagdalyn Francis
First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has called on Americans to embrace their cultural differences, in her farewell message, two weeks to the inauguration.
At an event to honour high school counsellors, on Friday, the First lady, in what seemed like a call for caution to her husband’s successor, to quell the aggression on non white and be a bridge builder said:“America belonged to people from all backgrounds and walks of life.
“Our glorious diversity-our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds – that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are,” she said.
She passed the message while recalling the ideals of her intense campaign for Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton.
Reuters reports Mrs. Obama said:“If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition: the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth.
“If you are a person of faith, know that religious diversity is a great American tradition, too…And whether you are a Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh-these religions are teaching our young people about justice and compassion and honesty,”
She had during the campaign that ushered Trump in, made it clear that his allegations that her husband was not born in the US was fabricated lies; also disdainful she said was his boasting about”groping women.”
In an emotion laden voice, Michelle Obama said she felt honoured to serve her country as the first lady, and promised she would render her services to the cause of humanity in fight to unify the diverse groups.
Brazil’s Powerful Drug Gangs Kills 31 in Gruesome Prison Massacre
By Marymagdalyn Francis
The First Capital Command (PCC), Brazil’s most powerful drug gang has killed 31 prison inmates in a most gruesome revenge for a separate prison attack that left 56 dead, last week.
The PCC decapitated and cut out the hearts of most prison inmates that were killed.
The massacre which took place in the Monte Cristo prison in the Amazonian state of Roraima, on Friday, spread fears in the city of months of reprisal attacks by the rival criminal gangs controlling the Brazil’s prisons.
Reuters report that notorious criminal gang PCC, was also attacked in the Amazonian state last Sunday in what was the most chilling bloodletting massacre that had happened in over two decades.
In a video recording that went viral, the PCC were seen hacking away bodies which they littered in the veranda of the prison.
“You killed our brothers, didn’t you? Look here, look what is going to happen to you! This is Revenge for what you did to our brothers,” a PCC member was saying in the video as showing the bloodbath of killed rival group.
“One victim, bare-chested and wearing sky-blue surfer shorts, began to move on the ground. The inmate taking the video calls out to fellow gang members “We’ve got a live one!” before another gagng member rushes over and cuts off the victim’s head with a white-handled barbecue knife,” Reuters reports.
Roraima’s top security official Uziel de Castro blamed Friday’s killings on the PCC, saying he was not sure if the group murdered had anything to do with the attack on PCC members in Amazonas.
Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes was adamant that the prison which is the fourth largest in the world and home to over 620,000 inmates, was definitely in control of Brazil’s government.
A source said the prison had been neglected for over 50 years, which was the reason for the uncontrolled violence.
A public security expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rafael Alcadipani said:“it’s getting really ugly. This situation is clearly snowballing and there is nothing the government can do to stop the violence in the short term.”
35 Expelled Russian Diplomats Arrives Moscow with Relatives
By MaryMagdalyn Francis
The 35 Russian diplomats expelled by the United States over allegations of interfering with the presidential elections, have arrived Moscow after leaving the US on Sunday, reports RT in a tweet today.
In another report by AFP, the plane which was sent by the Russian government conveyed also relatives of the diplomats; there were 96 people on board.
President Barack Obama had slammed the Russian government with sanctions over the alleged interference with the presidential elections, on Thursday and gave them 72 hours to leave the country.
“We can confirm that the 35 Russian diplomats declared persona non grata have, along with their family members, departed the United States,” AFP further reported.
The diplomats kicked out from their offices in Washington and Francisco were said to be intelligence personnel.
Intelligence reports from the US points to an orchestrated plan by the Kremlin, of using leaked emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign staff, to manipulate the presidential elections.
The buildings used by the Russian diplomats “for intelligence-related purposes,” in New York and Maryland were also asked to be closed by president Obama.
AFP reports that economic sanctions were also issued against two of Russia’s intelligence agencies: FSB and GRU; including four GRU officers, including their top boss, Chief Igor Koorobov.
President Vladimir Putin, has decided not to retaliate the Barack Obama US sanctions by looking to re-establish ties with the US, after the 20 January swearing in of the president elect, Donald Trump.
Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Kenya amidst tight security to discuss possible bilateral cooperation in the areas of Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Kenyan government.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, received the Netanyahu in his official residence on Tuesday; the Prime Minister was given a 19-gun salute and guard of honor by Kenyan soldiers.»
AU FLAGS-OFF A SINGLE E-PASSPORT TO GRANT AFRICANs ACCESS TO 54 MEMBER COUNTRIES
The African Union (AU) is set to launch a common passport that will grant Visa –free access to 54 member countries. The union intends to distribute them to African citizens in the year 2018.
“The passports represents a key plank of the Agenda 2063 action plan, which emphasizes the need for greater continental integration, drawing on the popular vision of Pan-African unity.
Freedom of movement has been a longstanding priority among member states, as enshrined in previous agreements such as the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Common passports have already been adopted for several regions, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). »
Queen Elizabeth has marks her official 90th birthday with the Trooping of Colour parade in Central London
The Queen’s official birthday was marked seven weeks after her actual birthday – which was 21 April.
Her Majesty’s birthday had 300 horses for the Trooping of Colour.