Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Catalog of Pastors Deaths by Boko Haram Militants

A Catalog of Pastors Deaths by Boko Haram Militants

As anxiety is mounting over the activities of Boko Haram group, some Muslims are defusing the fear as misplaced. They see the group as only a new breed of young Muslim activists who have aggressively embraced a stricter version of Islam, rejecting anything Western and Christian. Boko Haram began life as a peaceful group focused on the study of the Koran, according to Abdulmumin Sa’ad, a Muslim scholar and professor of Sociology at the University of Maiduguri.

“The idea was that there is a lot of sin in the larger society and their parents had amassed a lot of ill-gotten wealth,” says Sa’ad, who taught some of the militants. “There is widespread immorality, and so the best thing to do is to remove themselves and camp elsewhere, where they can concentrate on their religion, mediate, reach out and begin to form a fellowship.” Sa’ad claims that group turned violent when authorities harassed it.

In retaliation, the group had killed about 16,000 policemen and was responsible for the death of pastors in Christian circle. Worried about the safety of Christians and pastors in Nigeria, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, asked the federal government to curb the growing trend of terrorism in parts of the country. “We can no longer allow this group of disgruntled elements to get away with these acts of terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.

The catalogue of death of pastors by Boko Haram militants is raising alarm immediate change. Pastor David Usman, 45, and church secretary Hamman Andrew of the 'Church of Christ in Nigeria' in the troubled city of Maiduguri on the 7 June and Pastor Solomon Uzor of Trinity Chapel in Bauchi on the 10 May were among the latest casualties in what local Christians called "an upsurge of Islamic militancy" in these states.

Evangelical Christians said the two men were shot and killed by members of the Boko Haram sect near an area of Maiduguri, known as Railway Quarters, where their church is based. Hours earlier the gunmen also participated in blasts and attacks that left at least ten people dead, police said. A Catholic church, which was also targeted in the attacks, has been badly shattered, according to witnesses.

The same incident was reported in Lagos where Boko Haram members allegedly killed Pastor Daniel Okolu with two other people in November 2010. Pastor Michael Madugu, had just returned to his medicine store when his assailants pounced on him. Eyewitnesses said: “Two motorcyclists just stopped in front of the shop around 7.00pm and started shooting into the air to scare away people before they opened fire on Madugu. His assailants then moved immediately to the next medicine store where one Obinna and his brother were also shot to death. Unlucky James, another victim, who was about to enter Obinna’s store to buy medicine was also shot dead .

It was gathered that Michael Madugu, a district pastor in charge of Hausa church, was killed by a gang of four fundamentalists in his pharmaceutical shop while dispensing drugs to customers at about 7.05 p.m., leaving his wife and seven children to mourn him.

On December 24, armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect stormed some churches including the Victory Baptist Church at Dala-Alamderi and shot to death the resident pastor, Rev. Bulus Marwa (37), Christopher Balami, a lecturer in the state-owned polytechnic, Paul Mathew, Philip Luka and a tea hawker, Yohana Adamu. The rampaging gunmen also set the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Ruwan Safi ablaze. A Deeper Life pastor, 3 others were killed in Maiduguri by suspected members of Boko Haram Jan 20, 2011.

Danjuma Akawu, who survived the attack on the Baptist church, said “they hacked the two choir members using knives and petrol bomb before heading to the pastor’s residence, where he was killed.”

On 26 July, 2009 the girl identified by CSW only as Mary was in church with her pastor, his brother and an older Christian woman when a group of fifty militants broke in. She and her pastor hid as the group killed the pastor’s brother and dragged the older woman out of the room. On discovering their hiding place, the militants cut off her pastor’s hand to stop him holding on to her, then hacked him to death with machetes before setting him on fire.

The girl and the woman were dragged to Boko Haram's compound in Maiduguri's Railway district, and were placed in a room with around 100 other Christian women and girls. They were all asked to renounce their faith or face continued imprisonment, while Christian men were given the choice of renouncing their faith or dying.

Mary vividly describes how she was forced to wash the blood stained clothing of Boko Haram fighters. She was in the camp for four days, but managed to escape with a few others when military forces intensified their attack on the compound.

Mary's pastor was one of three Christian ministers targeted and killed by Boko Haram during that week's violence. "Local Christians have also expressed disappointment that some western media have disregarded the targeted nature of attacks on their community, and the brutal murders of Christian pastors. "Unless this aspect of the violence is recognised by all and dealt with effectively, people in Northern Nigeria will continue to suffer because of their religious beliefs.”

One of the victims of that week’s attack by the Yusufiya sect in Borno State has given a shocking account of how the Islamic extremists killed three pastors who were captured along with other victims on the second day of the insurgence 28 July 2009. The victim was among those held hostage in Yusuf’s enclave.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun in Maiduguri, the eye witness who preferred anonymity disclosed that the three pastors were beheaded on the instruction of the sect leader, Mohammed Yusuf shortly after bringing them out of his inner chamber.

“The pastors alongside one Ibo man were asked to change their faith to Islam like they did to other people taken as hostages. And there was an argument by one of the pastors which gave the others some level of confidence to also resist accepting Islam.

“The Yusufiya men who were armed on that Tuesday afternoon were not comfortable with the pastors and they took one of them to the sect leader in his inner chamber. They came out later to the courtyard within the compound and cut their heads one after the other and thereafter, shouted allah akbar in wild celebration accompanied with several gun shots,” the eye witness disclosed.

Corroborating the account of the killing, a Senior pastor with Good News Church, Wulari Maiduguri Rev. Baba Gata Ibrahim told Daily Sun in an interview that a pastor in his church, Pastor George Orjih was beheaded on the instruction of the Boko Haram leader because the clergy man refused to accept Islam.

The late Pastor George Orjih was said to have arrived Maiduguri last week from Jos where he was doing his Masters programme in Theology. Described as a fearless, hardworking, and intellectually sound, his care for the welfare and well being of his family allegedly contributed to his capture and eventual death. “He was mindful of his family and their welfare. He was really out of the house but thought to go back again. That was how he was captured by the Boko Haram before he was killed,’’ the senior pastor added.

“An eye witness who was also captured by the Islamic militants gave us details of how the pastor was killed. He told us they were persuading him to accept Islam and he said over his dead body. He was even said to have preached Christ to Mohammed Yusuf and that reportedly angered the sect leader who then as he ordered that the pastor and others be killed immediately,” he disclosed.

He said the hostages numbering about 50 within the area of the execution of the pastors and another fair complexioned man which he could not identify, were gripped with fear as non could foretell the outcome of their stay at the enclave of the fundamentalists. He was however lucky to escape as he was freed in the night with others with a warning not to mix with kafrici (infidels).

Late Rev. Sabo Yakubu, slain COCIN Church pastor, was assassinated in Bauchi by Boko Haram militants March 2011. The late pastor had once complained about the activities of Boko Haram, saying that unless the Nigerian government faced up to the challenge of its attacks, the extremist group would consume the lives of innocent persons, according to Gongchi. But Reverend Titus Dama Pona of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Maiduguri said local Christians remain concerned about their future. He told reporters that Christians can no longer worship freely for "fear of becoming targets of these unprovoked attacks" by Muslim militants.

A statement was issued by pastor Ladi Thompson, the founder of the Living Water Church, Anthony Lagos that the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Ogun State is an obvious target of the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram. This is not just a possibility but one of the deadly plans of the fundamentalist group, according to a Christian cleric, Pastor Ladi Thompson.

He particularly advised the leadership of the RCCG to beef up security as the fundamentalists are angry that in the build-up to the last election, President Goodluck Jonathan who visited the camp knelt down for prayer before the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye.

Pastor Ladi advised authorities of the church not to allow worshipers come into its worship hall with more than their Bibles. He also cautioned the church against allowing people to enter the camp with paper bags or other suspicious containers.
When the group launched its attacks in July 2009, Pastor Ladi had alerted the government that what happened then was just a tip of the iceberg and revealed that the Islamic fundamentalists had been at plan since early 1990s, fully backed by some northern former military leaders, Emirs, intellectuals and Imams.

According to Umaru’s declaration the acting leader of the sect in 2009 said: For the first time since the killing of Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, our leader, we hereby make the following statements-

*That the Boko Haram is an Islamic Revolution which impact is not limited to Northern Nigeria, in fact, we are spread across all the 36 states in Nigeria, and Boko Haram is just a version of the Al Qaeda which we align with and respect. We support Osama bin Laden, we shall carry out his command in Nigeria until the country is totally Islamised which is according to the wish of Allah.

It must be recalled that the Islamic group that goes by such names as Boko Haram and Jama’atu ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad had made an open declaration of war on the 28th of December 2010 after several bombs were exploded in the city of Jos, along with various Islamic killings in Kano, Bauchi and Maiduguri on the Christmas Eve. Abu Mohammed also known as Abubakar bin Mohammad Shekau the leader and spokesperson for the group said;

“I want to tell the Muslims in this country and the whole world that they need to know that this is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims… this is not a tribal war, nor is it similar to the wars of the pre-Islamic era, it is not a war for financial gains, it is solely a religious war. We did not start this war so it would not end in one week, or one month or one year. Only when we are completely annihilated and nobody chooses to continue with our struggle may be that could be the end. Or we establish a system where [Islamic] religion has the final say or [Islamic] religion determines everything, that will be the end of this war…” He went further to boast that “We are ready for anyone willing to face us, whether it is a group of people or even the government because we know who supports us, God the Creator of the universe, Allahu Akbar. Therefore, we are warning every Muslim who believes in the religion of Islam that he should never help a non-Muslim in this war. If he helps any non-Muslim and in so doing, a fellow Muslim suffers due to that, he should know that he is a dead person.”

The Police Commissioner Mohammed Abubakar admitted a security lapse on the part of his divisional police officers, whom he said had been told to watch out for Boko Haram members. The activities of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram, whose names means “Western education is sin,” were crushed by police in 2009 with the arrest of many of its members and the killing of its leader.

Lagos Police command beef up security to prevent the dastardly incident happening in Lagos, the state command yesterday beefed up security around its environs. Anti-bomb operatives from the Bomb Disposal Squad unit, Ikeja, were spotted at the entrance of the Lagos State Police Headquarters, the force Annex headquarters in Moloney, the Special Anti-robbery squad, Adeniji-Adele and the Special Fraud Unit, Milverton, Ikoyi, screening vehicles that were entering the premises. Even people on foot were not spared as they were thoroughly frisked.

The general superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Kumuyi, demanded the arrest and prosecution of the Boko Haram members and others to serve as a deterrent.

“A situation in which feuds easily lead to the burning of churches and the endless killings of church ministers and innocent citizens is an abhorrent trend which must not be allowed to continue,” Pastor Kumuyi said. “The initiative rests on the doorsteps of the security agencies to bring this unfortunate trend to an end.”
The attack on the National Police Headquarters in Abuja last week was a slap and insult on the part of the security forces. Ndigwe said the attack on the Force Headquarters "is a very strong signal that nobody is safe in this country because if the seat of the nation's Police Force could be easily attacked without any resistance, then there is serious danger for the nation.

According to the report from the sect spokesman Abu Zaid: The man who bombed the Nigeria Police Force headquarters in Abuja on June 16 was a fairly well-to-do businessman who was actually on a suicide mission on behalf of the Islamic sect the Boko Haram, Blueprint can authoritatively report.

Mohammed Manga was a 35-year-old married man with five children who drove overnight from Maiduguri to Abuja in order to carry out the morning attack which left about five people dead, including a police officer, and many cars incinerated in the blast. He had left N4 million in his will for his five children – two girls and three boys – before embarking on the fateful journey to the nation’s capital.

There was proof also that Manga was accompanied on the deadly mission by at least a collaborator in the plot, who took his last photograph alive as he drove through the streets of Abuja. The collaborator(s) might have disembarked from the car before Manga reached the Louis Edet House headquarters of the Nigerian Police.

Blueprint can also authoritatively report that, contrary to a claim by the police authorities that the bomber had used a Mercedez Benz ‘V Boot’ car in his terror mission; he actually used a Honda 86 model.

These shocking details and others were made exclusively available to this newspaper by the leadership of the Islamist sect, Jama’atu Ahl-Sunnati Lil Da’awati wal Jihad, popularly called the Boko Haram, in a telephone interview in the Hausa language, fielded by the group’s spokesman who goes by the name Abu Zaid.

The group also e-mailed to our Borno State correspondent startling photographs of a grinning Manga as he undertook the revenge mission. It was the first time it was giving a glimpse into its operations.One of the most startling information given by Abu Zaid was that the attacker was one Mohammed Manga, who was better known and addressed by his friends and business associates as Alhaji Manga.“He is originally from Adamawa State but he was born and brought up in Maiduguri, where he embraced the teachings of the late Mohammed Yusuf,” the spokesman said.

Mohammed Yusuf was the leader of the group and was killed by the police in 2009 following the bloodiest clash involving the Boko Haram in which thousands of the sect’s members and other people died.Blueprint was also told by the sect that Manga was Fulani by tribe and that he started both as a commercial and private driver at different times in his adult life. A few years before the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising, Manga began to travel to Cotonou in Benin Republic and later Dubai frequently in order to buy all kinds of goods.He was a major contributor to the Boko Haram’s arms build-up.

Abu Zaid also confided in this newspaper that Manga left a will of over N4 million to his two daughters and three sons and urged fellow believers to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah. This, the group said, is evident in the last-minute pictures of Manga, believed to have been taken at a camp somewhere in Borno State.The man’s last will and the photographs are proof that Manga was on a suicide mission and that his death at the Louis Edet House headquarters of the police was not an accident.
“He was calm and never hesitated or showed fear,” Abu Zaid recalled, adding that everyone at the scene that night on the eve of the attack was envious, wishing it was their chance to act and gain entry into paradise.

According to him, the planning of the attack targeting the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Ringim, was not in any way different from the way and manner they plan other attacks around the country, insisting that the only difference was that this mission was abruptly brought closer in response to the remarks made by Ringim that he would eradicate the Boko Haram within weeks.The IGP had on June 15 boasted, while receiving10 armoured personnel carriers donated to the police by the Borno State government, that the Boko Haram’s days were numbered.

“Now that the (general) elections are over, our attention would be concentrated and I want to assure you that the days of the Boko Haram are numbered,” Ringim had told a gathering at the Government House in Maiduguri, with the state governor Kashim Shettima present.

Abu Zaid also claimed that the bomb his group used in the attack was a ready-made one, which the sect acquired from abroad. “And we are going to use several of them in future attacks,” he warned.The group dismissed media reports and commentaries that suggest it might not have planned a suicide attack but that the bomb blast was merely an accident in which the attacker was trapped, insisting that it was really pre-planned.“Everyone had waited patiently for the outcome of that operation,” said Abu Zaid.

According to him, the car that was used was not a Mercedes Benz ‘V-Boot’, but an ash-colour Honda 86 model.“I was surprised when the police said the car was a Mercedes ‘V-Boot’,” he said. “It was never a Mercedes. The car used for the attack was an ash-colour Honda 86. We are surprised over the way the police are confused anytime we strike.”

Meanwhile, the group has discredited the conditions for dialogue ostensibly given by the Boko Haram by one Usman Al-Zawahiri and others, challenging them to give a single proof that they are with the authentic group.

“We don’t know Al-Zawahiri; he is not with us,” Abu Zaid said.
“In fact, our investigation revealed that he is an SSS (State Security Service operative) and was brought in to discredit what we are doing and give an impression that we are divided. There is no faction in our group.”

Giving a reason why the Boko Haram chose Blueprint correspondent for breaking the news, Abu Zaid remarked: “You were the first journalist who repeatedly wrote about us when we were not known to the world; you were the first journalist who reported when our brothers were shot at on their way to a funeral procession by members of a security outfit setup by the Borno State government, known as ‘Operation Flush.’ We see you as an objective writer who is never afraid to say the truth; that is why our leader approved the idea to give you the final evidence that we were solely behind the suicide attack at the police headquarters.”

The Boko Haram is believed to be headed by one Malam Abubakar Shekau, the deputy of the late Mohammed Yusuf.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) calling on President Jonathan to urgently re-strategise and tackle the current security challenges which had become a major threat to his administration, Ndigwe said that the Ohanaeze would soon convene a meeting to discuss the security of the nation and come up with a position because "the bombings in Iran, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East started like this."


Source: Chidi Ahmed, Blueprint Correspondent.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

FOCUS LIBYA: G8, Gaddafi has to go



30 May 2011 13:32 Africa/Lagos


FOCUS LIBYA: G8, Gaddafi has to go

ROME, May 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The violence in Libya and Syria needs to stop but the “Arab Spring” must be helped, starting with support for economic and social development. The G8 Summit in Deauville, the first since the rebellions broke out in North Africa, shone the spotlight on the upheaval on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. It also set up an ad hoc fund to support the region (and more in general the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region).


“Today we launched the ‘Deauville Partnership' with the people of the region, based on our common goals for the future, in the presence of the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, the two countries that originated the movement, and of the Secretary General of the Arab League”, reads the declaration on the Arab Spring. “We stand ready to extend this long term global Partnership to all countries of the region engaging in a transition towards free, democratic and tolerant societies (‘Partnership Countries'), beginning with Egypt and Tunisia, in association with countries wishing to support transition in the region”.


According to the Final Declaration, “this Partnership is based on two pillars: a political process to support the democratic transition and foster governance reforms, notably the fight against corruption and the strengthening of the institutions needed to ensure transparency and accountable government; and an economic framework for sustainable and inclusive growth”.


The funds will be delivered through the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks and will be linked to support for development and to the reform effort.


The G8 also calls for the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces and a political solution that reflects the will of the Libyan people. It states that Gaddafi and the Libyan government have lost all legitimacy and that the Libyan leader must go. It calls on the Syrian leadership to stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people and to engage in dialogue and fundamental reforms in response to the legitimate expression of the demands of the Syrian people.


The G8 leaders also appeal for an urgent solution in the Middle East. “We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through negotiations more important, not less. We urge both parties to engage without delay in substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues”.


Source: Italy - Ministry of Foreign Affairs



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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Clinton warns of civil war as Libya is suspended from the UN Human Rights Council

Clinton warns of Libya civil war



U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is warning that Libya could descend into civil war if Muammar Gaddafi refuses to quit. Jon Decker reports.

© 2011 Reuters


3 Mar 2011 13:15 Africa/Lagos

Libya suspended from the UN Human Rights Council

OSLO, March 3, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The UN General Assembly has suspended Libya from the UN Human Rights Council in response to the Libyan authorities' gross and systematic human rights violations against the country's own population.

This is the first time a member of the Human Rights Council has been suspended since the Council was established in 2006. Suspension requires a two-thirds majority among the member countries. The decision taken in New York was unanimous.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented: “This decision by the General Assembly is important most of all for the credibility of the UN. It underscores that member states were serious when in 2006 they said that members of the Human Rights Council would be suspended if they committed gross and systematic violations of human rights.”




Norway co-sponsored the resolution, which was put forward by the Arab countries Lebanon, Jordan and Qatar together with the African countries Botswana, Gabon and Nigeria. The fact that the resolution was supported by the two regional groups Libya belongs to underscores the broad consensus on the suspension of Libya.

In the course of five days, the UN has unanimously condemned the situation in Libya in clear terms by means of separate decisions by the Human Rights Council (on Friday), by the Security Council (on Saturday) and by the General Assembly (on Tuesday). These decisions have also imposed measures that put further pressure on the Libyan authorities and serve to hold them accountable.

“This latest decision demonstrates once again that the UN member countries stand united in their condemnation of the regime in Tripoli. The Libyan authorities have a responsibility to protect the country's own population. The abuses must come to an end immediately, and those responsible be held accountable,” said Foreign Minister Støre.

Source: Norway - Ministry of Foreign Affairs




































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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Americans Give President Obama Negative Job Rating


President Barack Obama

28 Feb 2011 15:53 Africa/Lagos


Almost Six in Ten Americans Give President Obama Negative Job Rating

Almost nine in ten give Congress negative ratings

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011

NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking ahead, President Obama most likely sees many battles forthcoming. There's the current budget showdown which has the potential to lead to a government shutdown. There is the labor issue and all eyes are watching to see how the White House responds to what is happening in Wisconsin. And then there is his own electoral battle, albeit 20 months from now, but still on the horizon.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

Going into these battles, almost three in five Americans (58%) have a negative opinion of the job the President is doing while 42% have a positive opinion of it. This is slightly down from last month when 44% of U.S. adults gave the job the President was doing positive marks and 56% gave it negative ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Partisanship definitely exists in looking at President Obama's job approval ratings. Nine in ten Republicans (90%) give the President poor ratings while almost three-quarters (73%) of Democrats give him positive marks and Independents are more negative than positive with 60% giving the President negative marks and 40% positive. What is interesting is the depth of support among Republicans and Democrats. Almost six in ten Republicans (57%) give President Obama a rating of poor, the worst on the scale. Among Democrats, just one in five (22%) give the President a rating of excellent, while half (50%) say he is doing a pretty good job.

There is also a large regional divide. Just three in ten Southerners (31%) give President Obama positive ratings as do 42% of Midwesterners. Westerners are very split as 49% give the President positive ratings while 51% give him negative marks. The President's strongest ratings come from the East where over half (54%) give him positive ratings on the job he is doing.

It is almost two months into the new Congress and yet they are not faring much better than the previous Congress did in terms of their ratings. Over four in five Americans (86%) rate the overall job Congress is doing negatively while just 14% give Congress positive ratings. Last month, 84% of U.S. adults gave them negative marks while 16% positive ratings.

It's not just Congress and the President who are mired in negative ratings, the direction of the country is as well. Almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) say things in the country are going off on the wrong track, almost the same as last month (63%). Over one-third of U.S. adults (36%) say things are going in the right direction; 37% said this last month.

So What?

Americans may be hearing that things are getting better and they can see the stock market has had a nice run, but this hasn't translated into better job ratings for President Obama or for Congress. And, if turmoil in the Middle East continues and impacts gas prices for the summer driving season, expect these numbers to move down, not up. That's something the White House definitely does not want to see one year before the presidential election.

Click here for more details

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Americans Divided on U.S. Involvement in Egypt


Phot Credit: Overoll.com

7 Feb 2011 18:21 Africa/Lagos


Americans Divided on U.S. Involvement in Egypt

Almost half of Republicans and Democrats think U.S. should be involved while almost half of Independents think the U.S. should not be involved

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2011

NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the political unrest in Egypt continues, there is a question of how involved the United States should be in helping to solve the problems. Should the U.S. sit on the sidelines or is it more appropriate for U.S. diplomats to be front and center on this issue? Americans are clearly divided on how involved the United States should be. Just over two in five U.S. adults (43%) believe the U.S. should be involved, with 12% saying very involved and 31% saying somewhat involved. Almost the same number (42%) believe the United States should not be involved with 21% each saying not very involved and not at all involved, while 15% of Americans are not at all sure how involved the U.S. should be.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll ® of 2,060 adults surveyed online between February 2 and 4, 2011 by Harris Interactive®.

Ideas on involvement vary by age

When it comes to how involved the U.S. should be in the political unrest in Egypt right now, there are some differences that emerge by age. Almost half (48%) of those 55 and older as well as 45% of those 18-34 believe that the United States should be involved. Those 35-44 and 45-54 are of a different mind. Almost half (47%) of both of these age groups say the United States should not be involved in Egypt. In fact, over one-quarter of those 45-54 (26%) say the U.S. should not be involved at all.

Partisan agreement

There are not many things Democrats and Republicans agree on right now, but involvement in Egypt's current political unrest is one of them. Almost half of Democrats (48%) and Republicans (48%) say the U.S. should be involved while 40% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats say the U.S. should not be involved. Independents, however, think differently. Almost half of them (47%) say the United States should not be involved in the current unrest while two in five Independents (40%) believe the U.S. should be involved.

So what?

The political unrest in Egypt is not likely to disappear any time in the near future. Things may calm, but the tension will still be simmering. And, even when President Mubarak is no longer in power, there is no guarantee that the unrest will be over. Americans are all watching events unfold but, at the moment, seem to be unclear as to the level of involvement the United States should have. As things evolve there, likely so will attitudes in the U.S.

More details.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

iJET Outlines Risk Landscape in Nigeria and other countries for 2011

19 Jan 2011 18:22 Africa/Lagos


iJET Outlines Risk Landscape for 2011

Intelligence Firm Issues Recommendations for Protecting Travelers, Operations and Supply Chains

PR Newswire

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 19, 2011

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, a leading provider of global intelligence and business resiliency services, today outlined the major risks and trends that it anticipates will most significantly affect business travel, risk management and resiliency planning in 2011.

"As businesses continue to expand globally, it becomes increasingly important for organizations to understand, track and plan for a myriad of risks that can jeopardize their success," said Steve Hoffman, CEO of iJET. "Leveraging our team of world-class intelligence experts, iJET has provided a critical look at the year ahead and forecasts events that could have the greatest impact on our clients' day-to-day operations, enabling them to better survive and thrive amidst a growing threat landscape."

iJET's analysts predict that many of the issues faced by businesses in 2010 will continue to remain a concern in the coming year. These include economic volatility in Europe, Latin America and Africa , drug-related violence in Mexico and neighboring Latin American countries, and the ongoing challenges surrounding airline passenger security. iJET also warns organizations to watch for a number of developing risks that could threaten business operations and travel around the globe.

A regional breakdown of the forecasted areas of concern for 2011 include:


* The Americas: 2011 will be a critical year for Guatemala as it combats a surge in drug cartel-related violence spilling over from Mexico. Increased government instability could materialize in Nicaragua and Honduras resulting in civil unrest, while important elections in Argentina , Peru , Ecuador and Bolivia could perpetuate political instability and violent protests.

* Europe : Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to announce early in 2011 whether he will run for president in elections slated for 2012. There are fears that civil unrest would grow more common if Putin makes a run for the office he previously held for the maximum allowable term limit. He undoubtedly enjoys more de jure power as prime minister, but many suspect he won't be able to help himself, and that he will attempt to replace incumbent Dmitry Medvedev, who many view as a "placeholder" until Putin returns.

* Middle East/ North Africa : Presidential elections taking place November 2011 in Egypt have the potential to spur civil unrest before, during and after voting, especially in light of the overthrow of Tunisia 's regime, which many unfavorably compare to Hosni Mubarak's decades-old autocratic regime. Continued violence can be expected in Yemen , further exacerbated by the release of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks in late 2010. In addition, Saudi Arabia may face issues with succession that could bring uncertainty and instability. Lebanon awaits on tenterhooks the verdict in the death of Rafik Hariri, and the controversy will keep regional politics – already perennially unstable - particularly unsettled.

* Africa : The ongoing battle for the presidency of Cote d'Ivoire will strongly influence a number of key political referendums and elections that will take place throughout Africa in 2011, including: Zimbabwe , Southern Sudan , Nigeria , Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo . If Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent president refuses to resign, leaders in other African nations could follow suit and threaten the positive governance trends across the continent. The outcome of the coming divorce between Sudan and South Sudan will also resonate strongly across Africa and beyond and could embolden less worthy separatist movements elsewhere.

* Asia : Succession issues could arise in Thailand leading to another wave of violent protests and riots, and uncertainty and animosity between the two Koreas will keep the region unsettled. Pakistan and Afghanistan will continue to pose grave challenges for the region and the world.


In addition to regional threats, recent events such as Haiti's category 7.0 earthquake and the Eyjafjallajokull ash cloud crisis reveal that other unforeseeable events such as natural disasters and terrorist incidents continue to remain a threat to business operations in 2011.

Finally, with outbreaks of H1N1 on the decline, pandemic-sized health threats are not expected for 2011. However, iJET cautions organizations to monitor seasonal influenzas and other health risks – such as the recent Cholera outbreak in Haiti – closely as epidemics are also unpredictable.

For more information, including tips for mitigating risks and additional resources to help your organization, please visit iJET's Resiliency Resource Page at www.ijet.com/tips.

About iJET Intelligent Risk Systems

iJET Intelligent Risk Systems (iJET) is an intelligence-driven provider of business resiliency and risk management solutions to nearly 500 multinational corporations and governments – helping them survive and thrive amidst global threats to their people, facilities and supply chain assets.

iJET's services, team of world-class intelligence analysts and patented Worldcue® Global Control Center technology solutions equip decision-makers and organizations with real-time information to anticipate, respond to and emerge from business disruptions with a competitive edge. iJET's Worldcue solutions provide decision makers with timely, actionable intelligence on potential disruptions and emerging threats to employees, operating assets and suppliers.

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Africa/Lagos time 19 Jan 2011

19:49 Itzhak Perlman and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Join Rotary's Effort to End Polio Now
18:22 iJET Outlines Risk Landscape for 2011
10:00 Political Risk Rising: 2011 Aon Political Risk Map

14 Jan 2011
17:51 Educators Teach Next Generation of Entrepreneurs at Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Elie Wiesel and 6 Nobel Laureates Counter Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky on Israel

Bishop Desmond Tutu

17 Apr 2010 13:00 Africa/Lagos

Six Nobel Laureates, Connected with Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and Elie Wiesel Counter Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky's Statements on Israel Divestment Issue at UC Berkeley


Noam Chomsky


LOS ANGELES, April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the debate on whether or not to divest from Israel discussed by the student senate at University of California, Berkeley moved toward conclusion, six Nobel Laureates connected to Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a seventh Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel, independently wrote to the senate arguing in opposition to divestment support advocated by Desmond Tutu.


Elie Wiesel


Scholars for Peace in the Middle East represent more than 55,000 academics and scholars on more than 3500 campuses world-wide. SPME opposes boycotts and attempts to divest from Israel as they are forms of the ongoing attempt to demonize Israel. This student legislation rather than fostering dialogue and trust that might lead the Israelis and the Palestinians toward peaceful negotiations only has created an atmosphere of division and distrust. Moreover the one sided nature of the legislation is clearly a cause for concern as pointed out by Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Stanford University.


Peter Haas, SPME's President commented: "The situation at UC Berkeley did not have to reach this level. Had the university administration taken a more principled solid stance against one-sided anti-Israel activity earlier, they could have saved themselves and everyone else a lot of trouble. We hope the lesson has been learned."


Edward S. Beck, SPME's Immediate Past President who coordinated the effort for SPME, added, "It was important that students hear from these Nobel Laureates on this important issue who know and believe that the situation in the Middle East is not comparable to the situation in South Africa and are aware of the real issues and history of the region."


Sam Edelman, SPME's Executive Director worked with UC Faculty during this effort and observed: "The one sided nature of this resolution; the ignoring of massive human rights violations on the part of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas make it imperative that the AS President's veto be up held."


The full texts of the Nobel Laureates letters are as follows:

Dear Members of the University of California- Berkeley Student Senate:


May I respectfully urge that you not adopt the one-sided and unjust resolution which condemns the state of Israel and urges divestment. The resolution ignores that Israel is a democratic state, respecting the political and civil rights of its Arab minority. Above all, it exists in an environment in which its very existence has been threatened ever since its inception. Proposals and negotiations which would have led to Palestinian independence have always been rejected by the Palestinians from the 1968 "three nos of Khartoum" to Yasser Arafat's refusal to accept President Clinton's very favorable proposals, a refusal followed by a campaign of pure terrorism, directed against vulnerable civilians, called, "the second intifada." A withdrawal of Jewish settlers from Gaza, enforced by the authority of the state of Israel, was followed, not by renewed efforts at negotiation or even by quiescence, but by a steady barrage of rockets against unquestionably Israeli towns.


The world is full of states with abominable records on human rights, including most of Israel's neighbors. A failure to mention Saudi Arabia, for example, must be regarded as approval for discriminatory treatment of women (they cannot even drive!) and, of course, of homosexuals. Hamas, in Gaza, has not only consistently inflicted whatever harm it can against Israel but has bloodily suppressed Arab political opposition within its boundaries. Israel's independent judiciary has no counterpart in the area.


I trust you will reconsider your original vote and uphold the veto.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth J. Arrow
Stanford University
Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, 1972.


Dear Members of the University of California- Berkeley Student Senate:


We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, urge the members of the UC Berkeley student senate not to adopt an immoral resolution singling out the state of Israel, a liberal and democratic state seeking peace with the Palestinian people and neighboring Arab states, for condemnation and divestment.


We commend your idealism and desire to provide leadership to the university; but true moral leadership requires taking responsibility, accessing knowledge and making correct, not ideological and radicalized, choices. The resolution before you is wrong in many points of fact and it is unjust by intention: Israel is an imperfect democracy defending itself in a threat environment by Western standards of warfare and checking itself constantly by way of a fiercely independent judiciary committed to international standards of human rights.


A decision by the Berkeley Senate to single out Israel for condemnation, rather than any of the myriad real human rights offenders in the world - including the majority of contentious states surrounding Israel such as Iran, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon is frankly a decision of the highest moral obtuseness, which we trust you will not pursue.


It is our hope that the UC Berkeley Student Senate who represent future leadership in the world will find a more constructive and effective way - but primarily a moral and just way - to address the difficult and complex issues of Middle East peace rather than siding against one side in the conflict. In no way can your resolution advance peace, as it is an expression of the very radicalism and historical blindness that drives the conflict and blocks reconciliation.


We have faith in your ability to rise to the occasion and shed light instead of hatred on this most difficult issue. Please defeat this wrong resolution.


Roald Hoffmann
Nobel Prize-Chemistry, 1981
Cornell University

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
Nobel Prize-Physics, 1997
College de France Paris

Dudley Herschbach
Nobel Prize-Chemistry, 1986
Harvard University

Dr. Andrew V. Schally
Miami, Florida
Nobel Prize in Medicine 1977

Steven Weinberg
University of Texas
Nobel Prize-Physics, 1979

Source: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

CONTACT: Samuel Edelman, Executive Director, +1-530-570-8137, or
spmeexecdir@gmail.com, Peter Haas, President, Peter.haas@case.edu, or Edward
S. Beck, Past President, +1-717-576-5038, or ScholarsforPeace@aol.com, all of
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East


Web Site: http://www.spme.net/


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NBK Partners with Visa and Zain to Launch the First EMV-Chip Compliant NFC Mobile Payment Trial in the Middle East

20 Oct 2009 23:08 Africa/Lagos


NBK Partners with Visa and Zain to Launch the First EMV-Chip Compliant NFC Mobile Payment Trial in the Middle East

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest bank in Kuwait and Visa Inc, the world's leading payment solution provider have partnered with Zain the leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa to launch the first Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment trial in the GCC, using NFC enabled Nokia 6212 devices.


The six month pilot will take place from October 2009 to April 2010 using NFC software technology provided by ViVOtech. Registration will be open from October 2009 for interested NBK customers to participate in the trial. To register for the trial, customers will visit NBK website and follow the registration instructions.


The trial will allow 500 selected NBK cardholders to download their Zain Visa credit card account details directly to their Nokia 6212 classic handset over the Zain network. Once the account has been personalized on the phone, customers can then begin to make purchases at any one of the 100 merchant partner outlets at Kuwait's largest mall, The Avenues by simply passing a Nokia mobile phone over the Visa payWave reader at the point of sale. The trial uses the same EMV technology which protects all NBK credit and debit cards.


There are three milestone innovations occurring within this trial. The concept of 'smart posters' will be introduced to consumers, allowing them to collect retail offers that can be immediately redeemed for purchases at partner outlets simply by tapping their mobile phone against the poster. Secondly, customers and trial participants will be able to download a free Visa prepaid card by tapping the phone on a smart poster. Thirdly, participants with a credit card and a pre paid card, will also have the option to choose to pay from either cards from their phone at the point of sale, allowing greater on the go flexibility and convenience.


Purchases will be charged directly to the customer's NBK Zain Visa credit card or Visa prepaid card account just as they would be with a traditional card payment. Payments initiated with a mobile phone benefit from the same security as all NBK Visa card transactions, making mobile payWave a fast, reliable and secure method of purchasing goods. ViVOtech, the market leader in contactless/NFC payment software, is providing the underlying technology, including the NFC wallet, over-the-air (OTA) card provisioning software, smart posters and the mobile coupon application.


Shaikha Khalid Al Bahar, NBK Deputy Chief Executive Officer said, "NBK is proud to launch the first EMV Chip compliant NFC Visa payWave mobile payment trial in the Middle East. We strive to offer the best and most comprehensive financial services to all our customers, as well as being at the forefront adopting cutting edge technology to enhance services and develop innovative products. Partnering with Visa and Zain has given us a strong platform from which to launch this innovative mobile payWave payment trial for our customers. We are pleased that our customers can benefit from the ease and convenience of paying for their everyday items with their everyday device and also enjoy dynamic retail offers through smart posters while still enjoying the same level of security that a NBK Visa card transaction provides".


Kamran Siddiqi General Manager for GCC, Levant, Iraq and Pakistan from Visa said, "As the shift from cash to electronic payment methods continues, Visa is extending its products and services through the mobile channel to deliver fast, efficient and safe mobile payments and related services. We are very excited to have partnered with NBK and Zain to introduce this first trial in the GCC market and are looking forward to deploying it to NBK customers in Kuwait. Recent Visa market research reveals that nearly 80% of Kuwaitis polled were very interested in the idea of having mobile payWave on their phones. We therefore believe that the NBK Visa mobile payWave will appeal to Kuwaiti consumers who are eager to adopt new innovations and technology which brings greater convenience and choice to their lives.


Khalid AlHajery, CEO of Zain Kuwait, said: "This exclusive agreement is in line with Zain's ongoing effort to offer the best and the latest technology to its growing customer base. Mobile phones are no longer merely devices for making and receiving calls, instead continuous investment in innovation has meant that mobile phones are increasingly becoming a platform for new technology such as proximity payments".


Through this pilot, NBK, Visa and Zain will gather user insight across a wide range of parameters that include customer acceptance of making contactless transactions through mobile NFC, customer card preference between credit and Visa prepaid while making a payment and tracking of response to NFC-enabled smart posters and coupon redemptions.


About National Bank of Kuwait (NBK):


NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. NBK reported profits of USD 925 million (KD 255 million) for 2008, among the highest in the Arab world. NBK's total assets were USD 43.4 billion (KD 12 billion) at the end of 2008, while shareholder equity stood at USD 5.2 billion (KD 1.4 billion).


NBK is by far the largest financial institution in Kuwait with effective market dominance in the commercial banking market and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. NBK also stands out in terms of its local and international network, which includes branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, Singapore, and Vietnam alongside its regional presence in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE.


About Visa:


Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.


About Zain


Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 69.5 million active customers as at 30 June 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries.


Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine (currently known as Paltel Group), Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages 'mtc-touch' on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31% of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.


Zain offers innovative services in its markets such as 'One Network', the world's first borderless mobile telecommunications network enabling customers when abroad to receive calls and sms without charge and to make voice and data calls at local rates throughout 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. This service allows a customer to top up airtime in one's home country or from more than 1,000,000 outlets within Zain's One Network footprint.


The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). Zain is listed in the Financial Times' Global 500 Index which ranks the world's largest companies based on market capitalization (http://www.ft.com/reports/ft5002008). Zain aims to become one of the top ten mobile operators in the world by end of the year 2011. For more, please visit www.zain.com or email info@zain.com


Source: ViVOtech

CONTACT: Kristin Miller of SSPR, +1-719-634-8292, kmiller@sspr.com, for
ViVOtech


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