Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Untold Story of the $10.8 Billion Tax Evasion and Fraud By Chevron Nigeria Limited and Its Associated Companies

Update on the Allegation of $10.8 Billion Tax Evasion Fraud against Chevron and its Associated Companies 1





On 1st July, 2005, ABZ Integrated Limited, a Nigerian company based in Abuja broke the news of the $10.8 billion tax evasion and fraud by the Nigerian branch of the Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX Euronext: CHTEX), an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, (see annexure 1b).

Following the disclosures, ABZ was duly engaged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria under the Executive Chairmanship of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (see annexure 1a) as a consultant for the recovery of the unpaid taxes from Chevron Nigeria Limited. The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) under Dr. (Mrs.) Obiageli Ezekwesili acknowledged the engagement and financial entitlement of ABZ Integrated Limited (see annexure 5b).


In the last quarter of 2005, the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), under the chairmanship of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, had a public hearing on the allegation of $10.8 billion tax evasion and fraud against Chevron Nigeria Limited. And in September 2006, the Chairman vindicated ABZ and confirmed that Chevron evaded tax as alleged and was ordered to refund the sum of $492 million. NEITI’s auditors also validated the claims of ABZ. But Chevron has only refunded a fraction of the total Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) evaded, without paying the penalties required by PPT Act. And ABZ has not been paid its entitlements since Chevron has refunded the sum of $866 million of the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) evaded so far.

This is the untold story of the whole financial scandal as reported by Fidelis Uzonwanne, the Managing Consultant of ABZ Integrated Limited.

~ Nigerians Report




UPDATE ON THE ALLEGATION OF $10.8 BILLION TAX EVASION AND FRAUD AGAINST CHEVRON AND ITS ASSOCIATED COMPANIES BY ABZ INTEGRATED LTD

THE UNTOLD STORY

In July 2005, when ThisDay Newspaper published ABZ Integrated Ltd’s open letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the allegation of $10.8 Billion tax evasion and fraud against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, some Nigerians believed it. Some took it with a pinch of salt. While some dismissed it with utmost disbelief.





Before ABZ took that bold step, an in-dept investigation of the activities of Chevron had been painstakingly undertaken. This culminated in a 106 –page report being forwarded to EFCC on the 12th of May 2005, with over 400 page annexures (Annexure 4).



The way and manner the relevant government agencies in Nigeria reacted to the issue was very shocking and unbelievable. Organizations such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary NAPIMS, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) etc, stood in stout defense of Chevron’s position and treated ABZ with disdain and scorn. We were undaunted because we were very sure of what we stated and were prepared to defend it till the last day.





Following our publication, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), under the chairmanship of Dr. (Mrs.) Obiageli Ezekwesili, held a meeting of stakeholders in Nicon Hotel on the 9th of August 2005. NEITI issued a press release (Annexure 5a) on the outcome of the meeting confirming inter alia:
(i) That ABZ was duly engaged as consultants by EFCC and that ABZ’s effort led to the recovery of $6.5 million

(ii) That the information provided by ABZ (i.e. the report) has been referred to the Hart Group to verify the claims made therein.

Other confirmations of ABZ’s efforts and entitlements are enclosed herewith as (Annexures 5b, c, d & e).





Recall that field work on the ABZ’s investigation of Chevron under EFCC Committee on Government Revenue Fraud was done between December 2003 and January 2005. FIRS and other Government agencies were answering questions on their respective roles relating to Chevron’s operations and their culpability thereon (Annexures 6a, 6b, 6c & 7a, 7b).

Between September and November 2005, the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), under the chairmanship of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, carried out a public hearing on the allegation of $10.8 billion tax evasion and fraud against Chevron. About September 2006, the report of the Committee’s investigation was laid before the plenary. The chairman in a press conference confirmed to the whole world that indeed Chevron evaded tax as alleged and was ordered to refund the sum of $492 million (Annexure 8).

On November 9, 2006, Segun Adeniyi, a former Editor of ThisDay Newspaper, Spokesperson to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and then a member of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI, confirmed to the whole world that ABZ had been vindicated because NEITI’s auditors had confirmed to them the veracity of ABZ’s claims (Annexure 9a). Please find enclosed an except from Hart Group report dated 14th August, 2006 for more details (Annexure 9b).

We want to confirm to you that the harassment Ribadu’s EFCC was giving to ABZ in 2005 was merely a decoy to shield the main issues from people’s prying eyes. This dummy sold by Ribadu’s EFCC enabled the trio of FIRS, Chevron and EFCC to conceal the recoveries being realized from Chevron through ABZ’s effort. Recent events have confirmed that the maneuvers were intended to enable them dip their fingers into the official tills. Their campaign then was that ABZ was making false claims, that Chevron never evaded tax and no money was refunded. Unknown to so many people was the fact that as at that time (July 2005), Chevron had refunded over $130 million and part of it diverted.




By a letter dated 6th October 2008, the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Omouigui-Okauru, in response to Nigeria’s House of Representative’s Ad-hoc Committee’s inquest, claimed that the sum of $131 million had been recovered from Chevron but that it was not from ABZ’s effort (Annexure 10). At the time of this claim (i.e. October 2008), ABZ, through its own information network was aware that Chevron had refunded $491 million (Annexure 11). ABZ, through its Solicitors, Messrs Fountain Advocates, petitioned Farida’s EFCC, alleging a diversion of $360 million. The petition was dated 17th November, 2008, with all the necessary attachments including bank statements treasury receipts, correspondences from Chevron (Annexures 12a, b, & c). Two reminders dated 12th January 2009 and 14th January 2010 have been sent to Farida’s EFCC and mum is the answer (Annexures 13 & 14).

As at December 2008, Chevron had refunded the sum of $866 million of the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) evaded (Annexure 15). The relevant penalties based on the provisions of PPT Act is three times the tax evaded i.e. $2.598 billion (Annexure 16). FIRS has no choice than to abide by the law. There’s no evidence that FIRS is prepared to make this demand on Chevron. Besides, ABZ is still willing and prepared to provide a report that will turn in additional recoveries of $2.0 billion from Chevron.



As at today, ABZ has not been paid its fees for this assignment. Instead, FIRS and Chevron have been busy plotting how to silence ABZ. One way they thought they could achieve this was to encourage Chevron to seek ICAN’s (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) support to “deal” with the Managing Consultant of ABZ. Chevron petitioned ICAN that ABZ’s report was baseless, unprofessional and that Fidelis Uzonwanne, the Managing Consultant of ABZ, should be charged with professional misconduct. The company represented to ICAN that it never refunded any tax evaded (Annexure 17a, b & c). This is contrary to its various letters evidencing refunds e.g. letters of January 24, 2005, November 29, 2005 and receipts obtained (Annexures 17d, e, f & g). True to type, ICAN set to work through malicious advertisement of the fact that Fidelis Uzonwanne was facing ICAN investigating Panel without first writing him as a member. He is currently facing trial at Disciplinary Tribunal for exposing corruption and helping his country to recover $866 million of lost revenue (Annexures 18a, b & c). That is the sorry state of the Nigerian Nation.

Over $400 million out of the $866 million recovered from Chevron through ABZ’s effort has been diverted by FIRS and their collaborators in CBN (Annexures 19 & 20). Farida’s EFCC does not appear prepared to bring the criminals to book despite all the information made available to it (Annexures 21a, b & c). See Annexure 25 for more details on diverted funds. Instead, the conspirators have vowed not to pay ABZ its dues and will prefer the option of eliminating Fidelis Uzonwanne by any means. Yes, the plot to assassinate Fidelis Uzonwanne is thickening and he is aware of it. What is his offence? He led a team that exposed tax evasion and fraud perpetrated by Chevron. The first process of his annihilation is through financial strangulation by denying his company its dues. The next in the chain is to make sure he stops practicing his profession by using forged documents, falsehood and undue influence to get ICAN do its bidding. The final is assassination.

Please ventilate this to the whole world. The Nigerian economy is seriously being threatened by the cabal in government revenue agencies, who have vowed not to allow any of their own go down no matter how corrupt. The anti-corruption crusade is at its lowest ebb. Nigeria’s economic future is getting dimmer with every passing day. The Executive Chairman of FIRS, who supervised and managed the looting of the money recovered from Chevron in a letter with reference no FIRSB/MD/001/130 of 4th February, 2009 requested CBN, its accomplice, to give her a clean “bill of health”. CBN, by its letter dated 12th February 2009, with reference no. FOD/DIR/GA/SEC/012/68, acted accordingly (Annexure 22). The duo made a fruitless attempt to conceal a diversion of $112 million. ABZ, by its letter of 2nd December, 2009, knocked the bottom off the unwholesome arrangement (Annexure 23). The same goes for the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) (Annexure 24). It set up a committee to investigate the allegation of fraudulent diversion of $360 million, concluded its investigation and attempted to give Ifueko a clean “bill of health” without inviting the company that made the allegation (Annexure 25). Although the OAGF confirmed a diversion of $8.6 million, those indicted are still sitting comfortably on their seats and using tax payers’ money to campaign and launder their image.



Like all other financial scandals that have rocked Nigeria, this would have fizzled out long time ago but because of the plan of the treasury looters to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. If the same Chevron project had been awarded to a foreign firm, the Federal Government would have easily parted with hundreds of millions of Dollars as professional fees with the perquisites attached thereto. Believe it or not, no foreign company would have been able to match ABZ’s achievements. After ABZ’s investigation of Chevron what happened next? Other oil companies are still enjoying their illicit funds.

Since the exit of Dr. (Mrs.) Obiageli Ezekwesili from NEITI, the agency has since joined the band wagon of other government agencies who are more interested in budgetary allocations than performing the role for which they were established. ABZ by a letter dated 20th April, 2009, alerted the organization of several issues that it should ordinarily make effort to know (Annexure 26). The organization never even bordered to respond. The reason is very simple. The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Omouigui-Okauru has pocketed the organization and has ensured no further audits are carried out especially 2006 audit of the oil & gas industry in Nigeria, because of the unprecedented fraud by FIRS that year. The Nation lost over $3 billion of PPT and Royalty revenue to fraud.


By Fidelis Uzonwanne
Managing Consultant of ABZ Integrated Limited,
Abuja (FCT),
Nigeria.


EDITOR'S NOTE:
ALL THE REMAINING DOCUMENTS ON THIS CASE WILL BE PUBLISHED IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS OF THE FIRST WEEK OF APRIL.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'T' is for 'Ten' at TFM&A!




08:00 30 Mar 2010

'T' is for 'Ten' at TFM&A!


At Technology For Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A) last week, 10 was the number everyone was talking about. The UK’s largest marketing event just got even larger, as over 10,000 marketing, media and advertising professionals walked through the doors...


Technology For Marketing & Advertising 2010 smashes the 10,000 Attendee Mark With a 10% Visitor Increase, in its 10th Anniversary Year.

* OVER 10,000 ATTENDEES OVER 2 DAYS
* 10% INCREASE IN VISITOR NUMBERS
* 10 TREMENDOUS KEYNOTES
* 10 YEARS OF TFM&A GROWTH

London, March 30 /PRNewswire/ — At Technology For Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A), 10 was the number everyone was talking about. The UK’s largest marketing event just got even larger, as over 10,000 marketing, media and advertising professionals walked through the doors of Earls Court 2 on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February to attend what has been described by Chris Underhill, CEO of smartFocus as “the busiest we have ever seen the show”.

TFM&A has enjoyed phenomenal growth since its launch 10 years ago. Back in 2001 TFM was a niche technology show focusing largely on CRM and Data solutions. With the explosion of digital within the industry, and the strategic addition of the ‘advertising’ arm to the show in 2007, TFM&A’s growth has been unprecedented with visitor numbers growing cumulatively by 107% in the last 3 years alone (4,544 visitors in 2007 – ABC Audited; 9,392 visitors in 2010 – pending ABC Audit).

Group Director Mark Snell, who launched the event in 2001 as Event Director and has been involved in all 10 events, says:

"To see any launch event through to its tenth year creates a sense of huge pride, but to see the amount of growth that TFM&A has achieved is truly elating. Every year we have been able to say it's our most successful event to date but I'm especially delighted that we have gone past the 10,000 attendee mark in this our 10th year. I'd also like to express our appreciation for the tremendous, ongoing support of all our customers, and the wider marketing & advertising communities. Thanks to them this year more than any has seen the show team really embed and extend still further TFM&A's long established market leading position."

The smashing of the 10,000 mark (total attendance 10,656 pending ABC Audit) was accompanied by a 10% increase in visitors attending the show, sourcing solutions from the 180 exhibitors and attending the comprehensive free seminar programme and ‘tremendous 10’ keynotes.

Event Manager, Natasha Berrow, comments: "The visitor numbers over the 2 days are a real reflection of the buoyancy currently being reported within the marketing industry. Professionals are actively seeking out new investment opportunities and taking valuable time out of the office to keep up-to-date with what's going on in their industry. TFM&A's success reinforces the optimism that we are all feeling for the year ahead."

Response from the suppliers exhibiting at the show was also overwhelming, with many claiming to have had their best show ever, with both footfall and quality of visitors the highest they’ve ever seen, and exhibitor re-bookings for TFM&A 2011 a record 83% of the 2010 show.

“TFM&A provides the right audience for us – attending with a budget to spend, who understand the complexities of digital marketing. We’re extremely happy, having launched a new technical product which was received extremely well by attendees at the show. We’ve already re-booked for 2011 – and upgraded our stand!”
Rob Pierre, Managing Director, Jellyfish.

“smartFOCUS have been with TFM&A since the launch event 10 years ago and every year our expectations are met and often surpassed! 2010 has been the busiest we have ever seen the show plus the quality of attendees has been excellent. We saw first hand how the very popular educational programme empowers marketers to make the right purchasing decision on the show floor. TFM&A is an essential part of our marketing plan and we’ve already re-booked our stand for 2011.”
Chris Underhill, Chief Executive Officer, smartFOCUS.

"TFM&A continues to be the place to be for meeting marketers looking for technology platforms - and allows us to set the stage for the rest of the year. The 2010 event was unbelievably busy, noticeably more so than in 2009 and the visitors were of a good quality. We are very happy with how the event went for us and the number of sales leads we generated."
Riaz Kanani, Director of Product Marketing, Silverpop.

“This is the best show we have attended in 2009 – 2010!”
Tony Argyrson, Director – Sales, Iomart.

“This was the first show we have exhibited at with our new brand InfogroupUK and we’ve had real genuine interest from a high level of attendees. The show itself has a great buzz about it, and it’s been really busy as the education programme is so popular. We’ll definitely be back for TFM&A 2011!”
Carly Ferguson, Marketing Executive,InfogroupUK

And it wasn’t just the exhibitors singing TFM&A’s praises. Feedback from visitors gathered onsite and through social media monitoring demonstrated that increasing capacity to reduce queuing for the seminars had worked to good effect.

“I was recommended to attend TFM&A by colleagues, and it definitely met my objectives: to hear people speak about new ideas and speaking to companies offering technical solutions. I attended some of the free seminar sessions, and followed up with exhibitors, allowing me to network and catch-up with new and existing suppliers.”
Data Intelligence Manager, B&Q.

“TFM&A is the most important show for social media and networking in my event calendar.”
Social Media Manager, Adjust Your Set.

“I was at TFM&A 2010 looking specifically for exhibitors offering SEO/database management services & solutions, and to gather information. I made some really good contacts with suppliers, and as it was my first show, I will definitely be coming back next year!”
Managing Director, Standing Ovation Enterprises.

“It’s great to mix with similar people in industry, and I attended a few keynote sessions which were excellent. I’ll be recommending this show to my peers.”
IT Analyst, Johnson & Johnson.

“I’ve been attending TFM&A for a few years and use the show as a great place to meet and network with new and existing clients & suppliers. There’s been a really good quality of exhibitors this year and I attended seminars on both days, which were great. I would definitely recommend the show.”
Marketing Manager, Volt.

With more sessions that ever before, the free education sessions were packed to the rafters with 6126 seats filled during the 2 day seminar programme which comprised 5 themed seminar theatres covering digital marketing, content management & ecommerce, online advertising & social media, CRM & campaign management software, and data & marketing analytics. A further 788 attended the ever-popular CIM Marketing Experience, 629 visitors experienced first-hand digital expertise in the Econsultancy Integrated Marketing Training programme, and the brand new Sift Social Media for Marketing Theatre also drew huge crowds with 580 visitors in attendance and many spilling out into the aisles not to miss it.

The ‘tremendous ten’ keynotes were delivered to a crowd of 3320 and featured Google, Econsultancy, AMV.BBDO, YouTube, Gyro:HSR, industry guru Dr Dave Chaffey, Facebook, digital media visionary Jay Stevens of The Rubicon Project, and an exhilarating CRM panel debate hosted by MyCustomer.com and featuring Microsoft, RightNow, Salesforce.com and Oracle. To accommodate demand, all sessions were filmed and will be available online to all attendees.

The showfloor presented a diverse range of digital, data and CRM solutions from industry leading suppliers, and was this year supplemented by the brand new Direct Marketing Zone, ensuring visitors needing truly integrated marketing & advertising campaigns were well catered for. A record 83% of stand space was rebooked for the 2011 event, with all key stand positions rebooked onsite, firmly confirming TFM&A’s position as the UK’s leading event for the marketing & advertising industry.

Unveiled at TFM&A was the launch of new co-locating event for 2011, Online Advertising & Affiliate Expo. Organised by UBM Live and out of the same successful portfolio, run by Group Director Mark Snell and Event Director Simon Mills, as TFM&A and Internet World, OA&A Expo will be a focused event bringing together advertising, media & publishing professionals. Its unveiling was met with much excitement by exhibitors, and research carried out to TFM&A and Internet World visitors found that 81% strongly agreed / agreed that they would attend an event covering all online advertising requirements alongside TFM&A.

More information on the launch can be found at: www.oaa-expo.co.uk

TFM&A is broadening its horizons in its tenth year with the first stage of its global roll-out. The team from TFM&A China, taking place 25-26 August in Shanghai, secured at least 6 exhibitor bookings while meeting with exhibitors at TFM&A.

TFM&A’s sister event, Internet World, is taking place 27-29 April and visitor registrations and exhibitor bookings confirmed so far indicate this will also be a roaring success for anyone providing online business and digital marketing solutions.

Notes to Editors:

Photography
A selection of photographs from TFM&A 2010 is available. If you require any images to support this release please email lydia.simpson@ubm.com.

About Technology For Marketing & Advertising
Technology For Marketing & Advertising is the UK’s only integrated marketing-solutions event delivering data, CRM, direct and digital solutions for marketing, media and advertising professionals. With increased visitor numbers year on year, the event moved from Olympia to Earls Court 2 in 2008. Total attendance to TFM&A 2009 was 9,643 of which 8,263 were pure visitors (ABC Audited) – an increase on 2008 visitors of 21% (ABC Audited).

TFM&A offers visitors access to a full range of marketing & advertising solutions to implement and deliver successful strategies and campaigns. For more information go to www.t-f-m.co.uk.

About UBM Live
UBM Live is a leading international provider of integrated media solutions. Working throughout various market sectors including Air Traffic Control, Care, Customer Management, Digital Marketing, Energy, Facilities Management, Fire, Health & Safety, Interiors, Leisure, Security and Venues, UBM Live produces a wide range of exhibitions, awards & events, publications, conferences, digital products and directories.

Amongst its brands, UBM Live boasts: ATC Global, Decorex, IFSEC, Interiors, International Confex, Internet World, TFM&A and The National Business Awards. UBM Live’s brands also have international replication in China, India, South Africa and UAE. UBM Live is part of United Business Media Limited (LSE: UBM.L), one of the world’s leading business media companies which employs more than 6,500 people in more than 35 countries. For more information go www.ubm.com.


Related Links

* www.t-f-m.co.uk
* www.ubm.com




Media Contact

* Ruth Galpine
* +44(0)207-921-8064
* Ruth.Galpine@ubm.com
* wwww.ubm.com


Pepsi to Showcase How Latinos Are Refreshing the Landscape of the United States




Pepsi Launches YO SUMO (I Add Up/I Count) to Showcase How Latinos Are Refreshing the Landscape of the United States.


One Year Later, Social Networkers Are Savvier About Keeping Information Private, But Still Take Risks

30 Mar 2010 13:00 Africa/Lagos


Webroot Research: One Year Later, Social Networkers Are Savvier About Keeping Information Private, But Still Take Risks

Second Annual Survey Shows 37 Percent More Users Block Strangers From Viewing Their Profiles Through A Google Search, Yet 81 Percent Allow Anyone on Their Network to See Their Recent Activity

BOULDER, Colo., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As the amount of activity on social networks continues to grow, more members are taking steps to protect their privacy but opportunities abound for security risks, according to new research commissioned by Webroot, a leading provider of Internet security software for the consumer, enterprise and SMB markets.

Webroot's second annual study surveyed more than 1,100 members of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other popular social networks. The survey showed an increasing awareness among social network users of how to keep personal information private. At the same time, it revealed how social network users still put their identities and sensitive information at risk. Among the findings:

-- More users are practicing certain safe behaviors, including blocking
their profiles from being visible through public search engines - a 37
percent increase over last year.
-- Yet more than a quarter of respondents have never changed their
default privacy settings.
-- And more than three quarters place no restrictions on who can see
their recent activity.



Social networks are a growing Web destination - and a growing target for cybercriminals

Facebook membership grew to more than 400 million active users, a 229 percent jump over the previous year(1). For the week ending March 13, Facebook surpassed Google in the United States to become the most visited Web site for the week(2). And earlier this month, Twitter reported a 1,500 percent growth in the number of new registered users in the course of a year(3).

"A perfect storm is developing between the number of people flocking to social networks and the new, increasingly sophisticated malware attacks cybercriminals are launching to prey on the personal data they're sharing," said Jeff Horne, director of Threat Research at Webroot. "For example, our team has noted over 100 different variations of Koobface, a worm known to trick people into clicking links they shouldn't in order to infect their PC's and often convince them to provide credit card numbers to buy phony antivirus products, among other fraudulent activities."

In addition, Webroot has seen a rise in spam on social networks, which commonly contains links to malicious Web site links: The Webroot survey showed a 23 percent increase in spam received on social networks since last year.

Summary of Key Findings

Social network users are sharing information that could help hackers breach their profiles, their wallets and possibly their homes:

-- Sixty-one percent include their birthday
-- Fifty-two percent include their hometown
-- Seventeen percent make their cell phone available.
-- More than three quarters (77 percent) don't restrict who can access
their photo albums.
-- Eighty-one percent don't place any restrictions on who can see their
recent activity, including updates generated by geo-location-based
tools that report where their users are visiting.



Younger users (ages 18-29) are the least likely to take steps to safeguard their information.

-- Forty-three percent of young users use the same password across
multiple sites compared to 32 percent overall.
-- Forty percent of younger users say they accept friend requests from
strangers while only 29 percent of total users have.
-- And while 69 percent of the general population has clicked on a link
sent or posted by a friend, 77 percent of younger users have done so.


Privacy settings continue to be underutilized.
-- Twenty-eight percent of users report they've never changed their
default privacy settings.
-- Seventy-three percent were aware of Facebook's December 2009 privacy
changes which automatically exposed their full profiles by default.
-- But 42 percent report they haven't made changes to their settings
since the switch.



But modest gains are being made toward safeguarding personal information on social networks.

-- Twenty-seven percent of users now restrict who can find their profile
through a public search engine, up from 20 percent last year.
-- Sixty-seven percent now use different passwords for each of their
social networks, up from 64 percent last year.
-- Forty-seven percent know who can see their profile, up from 41 percent
last year.


What Can Users Do?

"Consumers need to better protect themselves by guarding their profiles and setting stricter privacy policies - especially given the growing popularity in location-based social media tools that broadcast where you are. It's also important to make sure your computer has an added layer of security to stop attacks before they happen," continued Horne.

To help consumers understand and protect themselves from these types of attacks, Webroot has provided the following tips as a guideline for safer social networking:

-- Make personal information private--Protect yourself by updating
privacy settings on your profile to restrict or omit access to any
personal data. Users of popular geo-location services that allow you
to share where you are should be especially careful to not disclose
your location to the wrong people.
-- Read between the lines--Familiarize yourself with the social networks'
privacy options to ensure you're taking advantage of any enhanced
security features.
-- Be exclusive--Only accept friend requests, emails and site links from
people you know and even then, be selective about what you open.
Accepting items from sources you do not know could expose you to
malicious malware.
-- Protect the password--As a critical line of defense, it is more
important than ever for members to choose their passwords wisely, and
make them different from one site to the next. Incorporating numbers,
letters and special characters like !, $, and * into your password
makes it stronger. Webroot also recommends changing your password at
regular intervals, and never use the same password at more than one
site.
-- Suite Security-- Protect your PC with an Internet security suite that
includes antivirus, antispyware, and firewall technologies.
-- Always automate software updates--If you're already using antimalware
software, be sure to install updates which include the latest malware
definitions. Do the same with updates to your operating system,
Internet browser and other key applications. However, watch out for
fake software updates like emails that purport to be from Microsoft
which require you click on a link to update Windows. Toggle the
automatic updates setting within Windows.



Webroot offers several comprehensive Internet security solutions for consumers including Webroot® AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper®, and Webroot Internet Security Essentials. For more information about these and other products, please visit http://www.webroot.com/En_US/consumer.html.

About the Research

Between February and March 2010, Webroot sponsored an online survey of Internet users in the United States and the United Kingdom. The panel management company e-Rewards invited panel members who own a PC or laptop, have an Internet connection at home, and spend at least one hour per week online at home to participate in the study. With a total of 1,136 respondents, the margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. To view the complete results visit: http://www.slideshare.net/Webroot/webroot-research-one-year-later-social-netwo rkers-are-savvier-about-keeping-information-private-but-still-take-risks.

About Webroot

Webroot, a Boulder, Colorado-based company provides industry-leading security solutions to consumers, enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses worldwide. Webroot delivers a comprehensive range of cloud-based security services to business customers that encompass Web security, email security, email archiving, as well as endpoint protection. For more information visit http://www.webroot.com/ or call 800.772.9383.

Webroot Threat Blog: http://blog.webroot.com/. Follow Webroot on Twitter: http://twitter.com/webroot.

©2010 Webroot Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Webroot and Spy Sweeper are registered trademarks or trademarks of Webroot Software, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

(1) Source: Facebook Statistics: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

(2) Source: Experian Hitwise Analyst Blog, http://weblogs.hitwise.com/heather-dougherty/2010/03/facebook_reaches_top_rank ing_i.html

(3) Source: "Twitter update newsletter by Biz Stone reports 1,500 percent growth," March 2, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle Online, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail??blogid=95&entry_id=58321

Source: Webroot

CONTACT: Aimee Eichelberger of Borders+Gratehouse, +1-415-963-4174, ext.
15, Aimee(at) bordersgratehouse.com, for Webroot

Web Site: Webroot


African NGOs call for Competitive Elections for the UN Human Rights Council

30 Mar 2010 14:20 Africa/Lagos



African NGOs call for Competitive Elections for the UN Human Rights Council

KAMPALA, March 30, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A group of African NGOs from throughout the continent today urged African governments to support competition among African states for seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Elections to the council will be held in the UN General Assembly on May 13, 2010.


The African NGOs expressed concern that a closed meeting of a small committee of the African Union officially endorsed two states – Libya and Mauritania – and that Africa may have only four candidates running for the four African seats to be filled this year. The politicized nature of the process was illustrated by the fact that in recent years countries with admirable human rights records have been discouraged from running for the Council.


The NGOs urged that at least five African states come forward to run for the four available seats, and that the candidates be evaluated and elected based on their commitments to promoting human rights, rather than power politics, reciprocal agreements, and vote-trading.


UN General Assembly resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council, envisioned elections in which states would compete for membership based on their commitments to promoting human rights, and that elected members would “uphold the highest standards of human rights.” The NGOs applauded Africa for having an open slate last year with six states competing for five seats, and urged that similar competition be encouraged this year.


“Rather than deciding who will sit on the Human Rights Council behind closed doors, African states should support a transparent and competitive process,” said Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. “Africa is best served by having the most qualified and committed states fill its slots on the council.”


In the letter, the African NGOs urged their leaders to:

Call for greater transparency and representation within the selection process of candidates in the AU Ministerial Committee on African Candidatures within the International System;

Encourage the African group to ensure competitive elections by putting forward at least five candidates for the forthcoming May 2010 elections;

Closely monitor the human rights records of states nominated to run; and

Ensure that states are elected based on an objective assessment of the state's commitment to and promotion of human rights rather than the result of power politics, reciprocal agreements, and vote trading.


A copy of the letter is attached.



March 26, 2010

To: African Heads of State

Re: May 2010 UN Human Rights Council elections

Your Excellency,

As a diverse group of African human rights organizations engaged with the UN Human Rights Council (Council) in Geneva we urge you to seize the opportunity of the forthcoming May 2010 Council elections to ensure that the African group encourages the states from our continent with a human rights record of the ‘highest standard' to run for election, in line with the spirit of UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 creating the Council.

We would like to start off by applauding the competitive elections among the African candidates during last year's Council election and would like to encourage the African group to support competition for the elections this year.

We are however writing to express our concern about several recent and established procedures within the selection process that risk to undermine the level of competition and transparency of elections within the African group.

First of all, we are concerned that the nomination of candidates within the African Union (AU) Ministerial Committee on African Candidatures within the International System, a body in which a limited number of states are represented, prevents certain states from having their voices heard and heightens the risk of power politics, reciprocal agreements, and vote trading. In fact, in past years, countries from our continent whose human rights records should be applauded and whose membership would be a valuable addition to the Council have been discouraged from seeking a seat as a result of considerations unrelated to their commitment to human rights promotion.

We would also like to express our concern by the recent decision of the AU Executive Council to only officially endorse two candidates, notably Libya and Mauritania, for this year's election: four African seats are up for re-election in May and the elections are now just over a month away. One of the key aims of the Council was to improve the membership of the main UN human rights mechanisms, notably by ensuring that Member States are able to elect members based on the “contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights”; ensuring a competitive slate is therefore crucial.

We therefore urge you:

To call for greater transparency and representation within the selection process of candidates in the AU Ministerial Committee on African Candidatures within the International System;

To encourage the African group to ensure competitive elections by selecting in a fair and transparent manner at least five candidates for the forthcoming May 2010 elections;

To closely monitor the human rights records of states nominated to run; and

To ensure that states are elected based on an objective assessment of the state's commitment to and promotion of human rights rather than the result of power politics, reciprocal agreements, and vote trading.


Commitment by the African group to the Council election process can not only help to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the Council, but it can also shape the future of human rights in Africa by drawing international attention to Africa's specific concerns and by giving countries within the region who serve as proponents of human rights both the standing and space they deserve.

Many thanks for giving importance to this selection.

Sincerely,

Hassan Shire Sheikh

Executive Director

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), Uganda


Roshnee Narrandes

Chairperson

Southern African Human Rights Defenders Trust (SAHRDT)


Pacifique Nininahazwe

President

Forum for the Re-enforcement of Civil Society (FORSC)


Moataz El Fegiery

Executive Director



Source: Human Right Watch (HRW)



Chinua Achebe: "Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is Weak"


Prof. Chinua Achebe

The most lionized African writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe, 79, has said that there seems to be no legitimate government in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and where his literary genius sprouted and blossomed until an auto-accident on 22 March 1990 left him paralyzed; and disappointment in Nigerian political leaders made him to relocate to the United States of America, where he has been teaching at the David and Marianna Fisher University and as a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.

Chinua Achebe said Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is weak in his reaction to the horrifying massacres of native Christians in Plateau state and blamed the spread of Islamic extremism for the recurrent ethno-religious crisis in Jos and other parts of the middle belt and northern Nigeria.
“He suddenly doesn’t seem to bring good luck. He is weak. A strong man in any position in Nigeria should be horrified by what happened in Jos. Shamed is what we should feel. We don’t seem to have any government. People don’t know where their president — before the present acting president — where he went or where he is,” Achebe said.

He was speaking in an interview he granted Deborah Solomon for The New York Times on his historic Things Fall Apart which has been translated into over 40 different languages worldwide and sold over 8 million copies.
"That would be possible. I’m not grumbling; I have done well. But don’t imagine I’m a millionaire," Achebe said.

Prof. Achebe also spoke on the Nigerian Al-Qaeda underwear bomber, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying what he attempted was insane!


~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima


Read Books by Chinua Achebe:

The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

The African Trilogy: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and Arrow of God (Everyman's Library (Cloth))

No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (the author of Things Fall Apart)






Monday, March 29, 2010

Nearly 25 Percent of Hispanic Youth Aged 12 to 20 Drank Alcohol in the Past Month



17:21 29 Mar 2010, Africa/Lagos time

National Survey Shows that Nearly 25 Percent of Hispanic Youth Aged 12 to 20 Drank Alcohol in the Past Month


More than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 (27.6 percent) drank alcohol in the past month, according to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study shows that the underage drinking rates were as high as 40...


SAMHSA and Ad Council Launch National Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign

Haga clic aquí para ver este comunicado de prensa en Español.

Rockville, MD, March 25, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — More than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 (27.6 percent) drank alcohol in the past month, according to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study shows that the underage drinking rates were as high as 40 percent in some states such as North Dakota and Vermont.

In a major effort to combat the epidemic of underage drinking, SAMHSA and the Ad Council today launched a new series of national public service advertisements to encourage parents to talk to their children about drinking alcohol at an early age. The campaign and study are being released in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month (April) and as part of the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.” The PSAs are being distributed to media outlets throughout the country and will also be available on line at the campaign’s online fulfillment.

Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth. Alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death among 12-20-year-olds (unintentional injury, homicide and suicide). And research shows that those who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults than those who start drinking at age 21 or older.

The study also reveals that nationwide, approximately 8.6 percent of past-month drinkers aged 12-20 purchased their own alcohol the last time they drank. The rates were among the highest in Louisiana and the District of Columbia (18.8 percent) and among the lowest in Alaska (3.1 percent) and New Mexico (3.7 percent).

The data were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), using combined 2006-2008 data in estimates of past month alcohol use and self-purchase of alcohol among persons aged 12-20. The report will be available at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/180/SR180UADhtml.pdf

“Prevention is the number one priority of SAMHSA, and reducing underage drinking is a key part of that effort. Underage drinking is a national crisis putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk as well as the futures of many of our youth,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The national educational campaign SAMHSA is undertaking with the Ad Council aims at bringing to bear the most effective weapon against underage drinking – conversations between parents and their children.”

Created by ad agency Deutsch Inc. through the Ad Council, the new PSAs aim to reach parents of children ages 11-15, with an emphasis on parents of middle school children who have not yet started drinking. The television, radio, magazine, newspaper and Internet ads are designed to reduce and delay the onset of underage drinking by increasing communication between parents and youth. The ads encourage parents to talk early, talk often and get others involved.

“Despite its prevalence and serious consequences, many parents underestimate the extent to which their children use alcohol and even consider it inevitable,” said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of The Advertising Council. “These new compelling ads and interactive components will continue to build on our efforts to create a greater sense of urgency for parents and encourage them to talk to their children early and often about the dangers of alcohol.”

The PSA campaign includes resources for parents that illustrate the short and long-term consequences of underage drinking and for tips on talking with their kids about alcohol. The site features an action plan that parents can personalize for their children to help start the conversation and sharable resources to send to family members, peers, and other adult influencers on their child’s decision to drink. In an effort to further the reach of the campaign to parents online, a social media program will also kick off this week, in cooperation with Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect (www.ParentsConnect.com).

“The statistics show that in large and growing numbers, our underage kids, yours and mine, real kids in the real world are drinking,” said Val DiFebo, CEO of Deutsch NY, a subsidiary of Deutsch, Inc., and Ad Council Campaign Review Committee member. “Our mission is to get parents to consider that it could be their kid, and encourage open, ongoing dialogues. We are proud to be part of this important messaging to help raise awareness, and influence behavior to help prevent underage drinking.”

In addition to these ads, SAMHSA and the Ad Council are launching culturally relevant PSAs designed specifically to reach parents in the Hispanic, Chinese and American Indian communities.

The Ad Council and SAMHSA first launched the national Underage Drinking Prevention campaign in November 2005. According to the Ad Council’s tracking study, since the launch, there has been a significant increase in the number of parents who are extremely concerned about underage drinking with their level of concern now comparable to issues, including sex, drug use and academic performance.

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment and mental health services delivery system. SAMHSA can be reached at www.samhsa.gov.

The Advertising Council is a private, non-profit organization that has been the largest producer of PSAs in the nation since 1942. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

Deutsch Inc. (www.deutschinc.com) is a multi-disciplinary marketing communications agency.
Media Contacts:
SAMHSA Press Office
240-276-2130
Ad Council Press Office
news@adcouncil.org





Top 100 Hospitals in the United States of America

Africa/Lagos


Thomson Reuters Announces 100 Top Hospitals Award Winners

Twenty-three Hospitals Are Named Everest Award Winners for Fastest Improvement and Top Performance

ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomson Reuters today released its annual study identifying the 100 top U.S. hospitals based on their overall organizational performance.

The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals®: National Benchmarks study evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, adherence to clinical standards of care, and post-discharge mortality and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. The study has been conducted annually since 1993.

"This year's study magnified the value that 100 Top Hospital award winners provide to their communities. Even during the economic downturn, the 100 Top Hospitals maintained a profit from operations while raising the bar for clinical quality and patient satisfaction," said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters. "The insistence of these hospitals' leaders -- their boards, executive teams and medical staffs -- on overall excellence makes the difference."

For the second year, Thomson Reuters also is recognizing the 100 Top Hospitals Everest Award winners -- those hospitals among the 100 winners that delivered the greatest rate of improvement over a five-year period. This year, there are 23 Everest award winners.

To conduct the 100 Top Hospitals study, Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,926 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals. They used public information -- Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, and core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare data set.

If all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in these 100 Top Hospitals award winners:

-- More than 98,000 additional patients would survive each year.
-- More than 197,000 patient complications would be avoided annually.
-- Expenses would decline by an aggregate $5.5 billion a year.
-- The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day.


If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.

Here are the winning hospitals, by category, with the Everest award winners in bold:

Major Teaching Hospitals
University Medical Center--Tucson, AZ
UC San Diego Medical Center - Hillcrest--San Diego, CA
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center--Chicago, IL
Northwestern Memorial Hospital--Chicago, IL
Rush University Medical Center--Chicago, IL
NorthShore University HealthSystem--Evanston, IL
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital--Park Ridge, IL
Ochsner Medical Center--New Orleans, LA
Providence Hospital and Medical Center--Southfield, MI
Mayo Clinic - Rochester Methodist Hospital--Rochester, MN
University Hospitals Case Medical Center--Cleveland, OH
Doctors Hospital--Columbus, OH
Geisinger Medical Center--Danville, PA
Vanderbilt University Medical Center--Nashville, TN
Scott and White Memorial Hospital--Temple, TX

Teaching Hospitals (200 or more acute-care beds)
Scripps Green Hospital--La Jolla, CA
Rose Medical Center--Denver, CO
Cleveland Clinic Florida--Weston, FL
St. Luke's Boise Medical Center--Boise, ID
St. Luke's Hospital--Cedar Rapids, IA
Riverside Medical Center--Kankakee, IL
St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital--Indianapolis, IN
St. Elizabeth Medical Center--Edgewood, KY
Trover Health System--Madisonville, KY
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital--Ann Arbor, MI
Spectrum Health Hospital Group--Grand Rapids, MI
Bronson Methodist Hospital--Kalamazoo, MI
Munson Medical Center--Traverse City, MI
St. Cloud Hospital--St. Cloud, MN
Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center--Omaha, NE
Aultman Hospital--Canton, OH
Riverside Methodist Hospital--Columbus, OH
Hamot Medical Center--Erie, PA
Robert Packer Hospital--Sayre, PA
Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center--Sioux Falls, SD
Sanford USD Medical Center--Sioux Falls, SD
Baptist Hospital--Nashville, TN
McKay-Dee Hospital Center--Ogden, UT
Gundersen Lutheran Health System--La Crosse, WI
Meriter Hospital--Madison, WI

Large Community Hospitals (250 or more acute-care beds)
Scottsdale Healthcare Shea--Scottsdale, AZ
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center--Laguna Hills, CA
Memorial Hospital West--Pembroke Pines, FL
Martin Memorial Medical Center--Stuart, FL
Venice Regional Medical Center--Venice, FL
Northeast Georgia Medical Center--Gainesville, GA
Silver Cross Hospital--Joliet, IL
Central DuPage Hospital--Winfield, IL
Community Hospital --Munster, IN
Allegiance Health--Jackson, MI
Boone Hospital Center--Columbia, MO
Missouri Baptist Medical Center--St. Louis, MO
Gaston Memorial Hospital--Gastonia, NC
Memorial Health Care System--Chattanooga, TN
Maury Regional Medical Center--Columbia, TN
Saint Thomas Hospital--Nashville, TN
St. David's Medical Center--Austin, TX
Doctors Hospital at Renaissance--Edinburg, TX
Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center--Houston, TX
Trinity Mother Frances Hospital --Tyler, TX

Medium Community Hospitals (100-249 acute-care beds)
Baptist Medical Center East--Montgomery, AL
Montclair Hospital Medical Center--Montclair, CA
Memorial Hospital Miramar--Miramar, FL
Piedmont Fayette Hospital--Fayetteville, GA
St. Vincent Carmel Hospital--Carmel, IN
St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis--Indianapolis, IN
Jackson Purchase Medical Center--Mayfield, KY
Minden Medical Center--Minden, LA
Holland Hospital--Holland, MI
Mercy Hospital Clermont--Batavia, OH
Southwest General Health Center--Middleburg Heights, OH
Wooster Community Hospital--Wooster, OH
St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center--Youngstown, OH
DuBois Regional Medical Center--DuBois, PA
Skyline Medical Center--Nashville, TN
Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital--Katy, TX
Dixie Regional Medical Center--St. George, UT
Memorial Regional Medical Center--Mechanicsville, VA
Aurora BayCare Medical Center--Green Bay, WI
Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center--Sheboygan, WI

Small Community Hospitals (25-99 acute care beds)
Evergreen Medical Center--Evergreen, AL
Payson Regional Medical Center--Payson, AZ
St. Elizabeth Community Hospital--Red Bluff, CA
Desert Valley Hospital--Victorville, CA
Parkview Huntington Hospital--Huntington, IN
Major Hospital--Shelbyville, IN
The Finley Hospital--Dubuque, IA
Chelsea Community Hospital--Chelsea, MI
St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital--Howell, MI
St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital--Saline, MI
St. Joseph Hospital--Tawas City, MI
Buffalo Hospital--Buffalo, MN
Woodwinds Health Campus--Woodbury, MN
Northeast Regional Medical Center--Kirksville, MO
Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital--St. Peters, MO
St. Mary's Jefferson Memorial Hospital--Jefferson City, TN
StoneCrest Medical Center--Smyrna, TN
Connally Memorial Medical Center--Floresville, TX
Lake Whitney Medical Center--Whitney, TX
American Fork Hospital--American Fork, UT


About Thomson Reuters


Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TRI) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:TRI) . For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.

Source: Thomson Reuters

CONTACT: David Wilkins, +1-734-913-3397,
david.wilkins@thomsonreuters.com

Web Site: Thomson Reuters


CAIR Seeks Info on Militia Threats to Muslim Groups

29 Mar 2010 04:01 Africa/Lagos


CAIR Seeks Info on Militia Threats to Muslim Groups

FBI reportedly raids militia after threats of violence against Islamic organizations

WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization tonight called on federal law enforcement authorities to release more information about possible threats of violence against American Muslims by a militia group raided this weekend in several states.

[NOTE TO MEDIA PROFESSIONALS: Charges are expected to be unsealed in federal court in Detroit on Monday. If the reported threats to Islamic organizations are confirmed, CAIR will hold a news conference on the issue later on Monday in Washington, D.C. CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com]

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said at least seven members of a Christian militia group have been arrested in FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force raids and investigations in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. According to media reports, the "Hutaree" militia was targeted after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations.

SEE: Seven Arrested in FBI Raids Linked to Christian Militia Group (Detroit News)


http://tinyurl.com/detnewsmilitia
FBI Arrests 7 with Ties to Christian Militia (CBS)
http://cbs5.com/national/hutaree.militia.group.2.1595616.html


"Given the recent sharp spike CAIR offices nationwide have observed in anti-Islam rhetoric, it would not be surprising that an extremist group would seek to turn that bigoted rhetoric into violent actions," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "At this stage, we are seeking more information about possible threats to American Muslim organizations and are urging the offices of CAIR and other Islamic institutions nationwide to take appropriate security precautions."

He added that just last week, CAIR called on Republican leaders to repudiate racist taunts by tea party opponents of health care reform targeting a Muslim congressman and another African-American lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

SEE: Muslim Congressman Called 'N**ger' by Tea Party Protesters
http://tinyurl.com/carsonnword


Awad also noted that CAIR recently expressed concern about the reported rise in the number of anti-government and anti-immigrant extremist groups during the past year.

SEE: CAIR Concerned About Reported Rise in Militias, 'Patriot' Groups
http://tinyurl.com/riseinmilitias


CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."

SEE: Muslim Community Safety Kit
http://www.cair.com/ActionCenter/CommunityToolKit.aspx

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/CAIR/42590232694
Subscribe to CAIR's E-Mail List
http://tinyurl.com/cairsubscribe


CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, E-Mail: dwalid@cair.com; CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-mail: arehab@cair.com; CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson, 216-440-2247, E-Mail: jshearson@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,
+1-202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid,
+1-248-842-1418, dwalid@cair.com; CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab,
+1-202-870-0166, arehab@cair.com; CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia
Shearson, +1-216-440-2247, jshearson@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator
Amina Rubin, +1-202-488-8787, +1-202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

Web Site: Council on American-Islamic Relations


Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Dona Ana County, New Mexico

29 Mar 2010 18:08 Africa/Lagos

Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Dona Ana County, New Mexico

WASHINGTON, March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department announced today that a federal court has approved a settlement resolving a sexual harassment lawsuit against Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The department's complaint, filed in May 2008, alleges that the county subjected five women, all current or former county custodians, to a hostile work environment because of their sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The complaint alleges that over the course of approximately 10 months, the male supervisor of these female custodians regularly used derogatory and offensive gender-based terms to describe women and commented about the sexual activities of women. The complaint also alleges that, despite the county's receipt of multiple complaints about the harassment, the county repeatedly failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action to stop the harassment.

Under the terms of the settlement, approved by the federal court in New Mexico, the county must offer to pay $150,000, divided among the five female victims, to compensate them for their emotional suffering resulting from the harassment. The settlement also requires that the county make additional changes to its policies and procedures related to discrimination, including changes related to reporting and investigating complaints of discrimination and disciplining offenders and individuals who receive reports of discrimination but fail to take appropriate action. The county must ensure that policies and procedures related to discrimination are accessible to Spanish-speaking employees, as well as take additional steps to ensure that all employees are provided appropriate anti-discrimination training.

"It is critical that employers understand what constitutes sexual harassment, and that they take allegations of harassment seriously," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all individuals are able to exercise their right to report to workplaces that are free of harassment, and that employers who become aware of harassment within their ranks root it out promptly."

The division was assisted in its litigation of this case by the New Mexico U.S. Attorney's Office. The division's lawsuit and underlying investigation in this case were prompted by an investigation and referral by the El Paso Area Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its Web site at www.justice.gov/crt. Additional information about Title VII and how to file a complaint of discrimination can be found on the Justice Department Web site at www.justice.gov/crt/emp/.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs,
+1-202-514-2007, TDD, +1-202-514-1888

Web Site: http://www.justice.gov/

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29 Mar 2010
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18:22 Nine Members of a Militia Group Charged With Seditious Conspiracy and Related Charges
18:08 Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Dona Ana County, New Mexico
17:36 NAACP Legal Defense Fund Commends President Obama on Strengthening Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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American Doctors Sue to Overturn the Health Care Bill

29 Mar 2010 17:13 Africa/Lagos


Doctors Sue to Overturn the Health Care Bill


TUCSON, Ariz., March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) became the first medical society to sue to overturn the newly enacted health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). AAPS sued Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (AAPS v. Sebelius et al.).

"If the PPACA goes unchallenged, then it spells the end of freedom in medicine as we know it," observed Jane Orient, M.D., the Executive Director of AAPS. "Courts should not allow this massive intrusion into the practice of medicine and the rights of patients."

"There will be a dire shortage of physicians if the PPACA becomes effective and is not overturned by the courts."

The PPACA requires most Americans to buy government-approved insurance starting in 2014, or face stiff penalties. Insurance company executives will be enriched by this requirement, but it violates the Fifth Amendment protection against the government forcing one person to pay cash to another. AAPS is the first to assert this important constitutional claim.

The PPACA also violates the Tenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the provisions authorizing taxation. The Taxing and Spending power cannot be invoked, as the premiums go to private insurance companies. The traditional sovereignty of the States over the practice of medicine is destroyed by the PPACA.

AAPS notes that in scoring the proposal the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was bound by assumptions imposed by Congress, including the ability to "save" $500 billion in Medicare, and to redirect $50 billion from Social Security. HHS Secretary Sebelius stated that PPACA would reduce the federal deficit, knowing the opposite to be true if these assumptions are unrealistic.

AAPS asks the Court to enjoin the government from promulgating or enforcing insurance mandates and require HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue to provide the Court with an accounting of Medicare and Social Security solvency.

Congress recognized that PPACA cannot be funded without the insurance mandates, and will become unenforceable without them.

Court action is necessary "to preserve individual liberty" and "to prevent PPACA from bankrupting the United States generally and Medicare and Social Security specifically," AAPS stated.

AAPS is a voice for patient and physician independence since 1943. The complaint is posted at http://www.aapsonline.org/hhslawsuit

Source: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

CONTACT: Jane Orient, M.D. +1-800-635-1196, jorient@mindspring.com

Web Site: http://www.aapsonline.org/