Dozens Killed In Istanbul New Year Nightclub Attack

Dozens Killed In Istanbul New Year Nightclub Attack Dozens of persons have been killed in an attack which took place during a New Year’s bash in an upscale club in Istanbul.

It was supposed to be a celebration welcoming in a new start, after a trying, bloody year in Turkey.

Almost 70 people have been hospitalised following the bloodbath by an unknown number of attackers who stormed the club and started shooting.

According to CNN, an eyewitness, Yunis Turk, explained after police secured the Reina nightclub: “We were having fun, at first we thought it was a fight then there was a lot of gunfire.

“After the gunfire everyone started to run toward the terrace. We ran as well. There was someone next to me who was shot and fell on the floor. We ran away and hid under the sofas.

Some people jumped into the Bosporus, he said, a testament to the panic that engulfed the nightspot – it is freezing in Istanbul but people were willing to leap into the frigid water to escape the panic.

“For ten minutes there was gunfire and then for another five minutes they were throwing bombs, fired a bit more, then left,” Turk recalled.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, also told CNN that the attacker was a lone assailant and that the authorities “are trying hard” to identify and apprehend the person in order to investigate any ties to terror groups.

He said that security forces are analyzing CCTV footage.

“I hope we will shortly identify the attacker and find who is behind it,” he said

Kaduna Residents Believe Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges In 2017

Kaduna Residents Believe Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges In 2017Residents of Kaduna state, have expressed hope that things would get better in Nigeria in 2017, with prayer and commitment on the part of the leaders as well as citizens.

They believe that although the nation witnessed several socio-economic challenges in 2016, things would improve in the New Year.

At the Cathedral of Saint Michael Anglican Communion in the state capital, residents marked the event with praise and thanksgiving, appreciating God for keeping them alive to see the New Year.

The Bishop of Kaduna Arch- Diocese, Mr Timothy Yahaya in his New Year message, prayed for a better and prosperous Nigeria. He then told citizens to start the New Year with a new hope and begin to think and act positively.

Speaking to Channels Television, Mr Yahaya expressed hope that militancy in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram in the north east and Fulani herdsmen attacks as well as other related crimes that have set the country backward, would be over in the New Year.

He also said the current economic recession in Nigeria can only be addressed with a sound economic team, and then called for a re-engineering of every sector of the nation’s economy.

“My prayer is that Nigeria will be better in 2017, that Nigeria will prosper in 2017. We must start this year with a new hope, we must start this year with a new beginning.

“Nigerians must begin to think differently. The leaders must begin to think Nigeria, act Nigeria and believe in Nigeria. Followers must also act Nigeria, sing Nigeria and believe in Nigeria.

“The whole sins of last year we are supposed to leave them this year. All such things that have made Nigeria a shame and disgrace in the world today, would be over in this New Year.

“Our resolution will be a rebirth of a new country. And there will be a re-engineering in every sector of our national life. This is my hope and prayer for Nigeria in this New Year,” the clergyman said.

23 Dead In Indonesia Ferry Blast

indonesia-flagAt least 23 people have been killed and 17 more missing after a ferry caught fire off the coast of Indonesia on January 1, 2017.

The Zahro Express ferry was said to have been carrying more than 230 people who were off to celebrate the New Year holiday at Tidung Island, a resort about 50km (30 miles) from the capital, Jakarta,

Officials explained that it burst into flames about 1.5 km from Muara Angke port in Jakarta, shortly after setting sail.

According to the BBC, an official said 194 people were rescued and nine remain in the hospital, after many had jumped into the sea.

“15 minutes after the boat set sail, people at the back of the boat started making noise,” one passenger told local media.

“Then I saw smoke, there was more and more, the boat was crowded and people were fighting for life jackets.”

Another passenger said thick smoke suddenly filled the cabin.

“All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water. In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored,” Reuters quoted the passenger as saying.

The charred remains of the boat were however towed back to Jakarta.

Bauchi Police Intensify Security To Ward Off Criminals

Bauchi Police Intensify Security To Ward Off CriminalsThe Bauchi state police command has intensified efforts in ensuring the safety of lives and property with constant raids on identified black spots and flash points.

Police Commissioner of Bauchi State Command, Zaki Ahmed, while reviewing activities of the command, commended the public for availing the police with useful information that led to the successful warding off of various crimes.

Mr Ahmed said: “several arms and ammunition were recovered while suspects were arrested for offences ranging from armed robbery, cattle rustling as well as kidnapping.

Also according to him, the command recorded the rescue of 163 hostages and arrested over 636 suspects in relation to abduction of citizens within the state.

Furthermore, he revealed that no fewer than 43 motorcycles and nine vehicles were recovered although, the owners are yet to be ascertained.

“The suspects of the stolen vehicles have however been charged to court for prosecution,” he said.

This follows an agreement between President Buhari, the Bauchi and Jigawa state governors, to collaborate in order to beef up the fight against insurgents.

It also follows the recent launching of the ‘change begins with me’ campaign and public complaint Rapid Response Unit, which was believed would speed up the process of counter-insurgency.

Buhari Meets With Saraki, Signs Endangered Species Act 

Bukola-Saraki-and-Muhammadu-BuhariNigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari, and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have met behind closed doors, where he assented to the ‎Endangered Species Control of International Trade and Traffic Amendment Act 2016, earlier passed by the National Assembly.

This brings to 17, the total number of acts the president assented to in the year 2016.

The meeting took place on the last working day of the year at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Saraki who arrived at about noon on Friday, also joined the President to observe the Jumat prayer at the villa.

Speaking to journalists on what Nigerians should expect in 2017 from the National Assembly, Saraki said attention would be on the economy.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, explained:

“The intent of this amendment is to bring the penalty provisions in line with economic realities and to act as a deterrent or deter people from trafficking and trading in endangered species because endangered are preserves of the country.

Headies 2016: Mayorkun Announced As Rookie Of The Year 

Headies 2016: Mayorkun Announced As Rookie Of The Year Exactly a week after the 2016 installment of the prestigious Headies Awards, Davido music worldwide act, Mayorkun, has joined the league of winners of the prized statuette.

The ‘eleko’ singer, was announced winner of the omitted ‘rookie of the year’ category, post event, beating contemporaries including label mate, Dremo, Chocolate City singer, Dice Ailes; Terry Apala and Mz Kiss.

The organizers explained that the winner of this category was not announced on the night of the award because the artistes gave their opening performance late.

Hosted by Rapper, Falz and Actress, Adesua Etomi, the show threw up few exciting moments, mainly coming from artistes’ performances and the great job done by the hosts.

It was, however, a disappointment for many Nigerian music fans who had hoped to see their favourite stars, as many A-list artistes did not attend the event.

As a result, many award winners were not on stage to receive their plaques.

However, Kiss Daniels, Darey Art Alade and some others who bagged awards were present to receive theirs. See full list here.

Clashes Reported In Syria Despite Truce

Syria CeasefireFighting between government and rebel forces has been reported in parts of Syria, despite a nationwide truce, brokered by Russia and Turkey, overnight.

Reports however say, the new nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government forces and rebel groups, appears to be largely holding in the Middle East.

The deal includes many rebel groups but not jihadists such as the Islamic state, or the Kurdish YPG.

Peace talks are scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan within a month, if the ceasefire holds.

At least 300,000 people are believed to have been killed in fighting that followed the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad in March 2011.

Meanwhile, four million others have sought refuge in neighbouring states or Europe.

Nigerian Women Can Be Change Agents If Empowered- NGO Founder

Nigerian Women Can Be Change Agents If Empowered- NGO FounderFounder of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Brave Women Association, Mrs Matilda Farinde, believes Nigerian women possess the potentials to transform the nation, if empowered and given proper orientation.

According to her, women have become “change agents” that should be given chance to contribute to nation building.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Brave Women Association in Osogbo, Osun State, Farinde explained that the association, which has been in existence since 1980, has been assisting women, especially widows, to be good ambassadors of their families and the nation at large.

She said that the association had helped numerous women, orphans and the needy in Nigeria and beyond, stressing that the nation would experience transformation if women were properly empowered and given the right orientation.

Farinde, however, tasked the women in the state to be virtuous and take good care of their families and not allow themselves to be harassed by male politicians.

The philanthropist advised women against becoming “cheap tools” in the hands of politicians, but to be brave women of substance in the society.

Farinde, who doubles as the state commandant of the National Task Force in Osun, said that the association has also been offering financial assistance to women.

According to her, “Women should desist from giving themselves out to politicians. During electoral periods, some women are “used” and after the election, most of them are “dumped,” she explained.

“Brave Women Association is here to help women, especially widows, orphans and the needy to realise their potentials and know that they are change agents and not cheap commodities.

“Most homes have been destroyed because women are not virtuous. Women can redeem the image of Nigeria if proper orientation and empowerment are put in place.

“We don’t want our women to suffer. If our women participate in politics without being abused, there will be development in the country.” she said

Also speaking at the inauguration, the President of Market Women in the state, Alhaja Awawu Asindemade, urged women to explore their feminine values to transform their families and their societies.

She said empowerment of women has the potential of creating social, economic and political change in the country.

“As women, we need to realise that men will try to use us for their gains because they are aware of the power God has put in us. I will only encourage you to ‎be brave, do not allow yourself to be used as instruments to sow evil especially at election periods,” she appealed.

“If we as women have a particular trade we are engaged in, then we will be busy and not be used as agents of evil, so we are appealing to government to create rim for women empowerment.

“Some women do not need huge capital to start up businesses that will keep them off evil, so wealthy people, government and philanthropists can assist in making the Nigerian woman great.

“By this the society will be well developed and the economy will also be bouyant”. she said.

The Ataoja of Osogbo land, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, exppreciation towards the founder of the NGO, for establishing it in the state, saying the association came at the right time.

The monarch, therefore, charged the hundreds of women in attendance, to make creative and beneficial use of the association in liberating themselves.

Members of the executives in the state were inaugurated and charged to be hard working.

Putin Reverses Expulsion Of US Diplomats

vladimir-putin-and-donald-trumpRussian President, Vladimir Putin, has declined to engage in a tit-for-tat after the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats over a hacking scandal.

Describing the move as “irresponsible diplomacy”, he said Russia would not “stoop” to that level and would work to restore ties with America, under President-elect, Donald Trump.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry, has recommended that the Kremlin expels 35 US diplomats from Russia in response to sanctions announced by Washington.

The foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, called US allegations of Russia’s interference in the US election campaign “groundless”.

Meanwhile, the US had on Thursday, ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and also ordered the closure of two Russian compounds.

The diplomats and their families were given 72 hours to leave the country.

Serena Williams To Marry Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian

WimbledonAmerican professional tennis player, Serena Williams, has revealed plans to get married to Reddit website Co-founder, Alexis Ohanian.

Serena who has arrived in Auckland ahead of the ASB classic next week, was accompanied by her new fiancée and sister, Venus.

The world number two, has won 22 grand slam singles titles and needs two more to equal Margaret court record of 24.

She has never competed in new Zealand and hopes to use the event for preparation ahead of the Australian open in January.

Sambisa Conquest: Military Officer Warns Troops Not To Relax

sunrise1A retired military officer an anti-terrorist specialist, Colonel Tony Nyiam, has sounded a note of warning on the defeat of Sambisa forest.

While praising the military for achieving defeat, he warns that there is need for the authorities to watch it, as the war against terrorists may not have been completely won.

He was speaking on our breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.

We must make a distinction – What they have achieved is much more on the conventional warfare aspect in recapturing territories.

“We must not lose sight that there is the unconventional warfare which to my humble estimate, we have achieved over 50% degrading of the threat, but we are still at it.

“In other words, with all these terrorists now scattered all over, they would now resort to hiding and going back to other unconventional methods in our major cities such as Abuja, Lagos, Maiduguri,” among others.

The ex-miltary officer believes that fighting insurgency, is not only the role of the military.

He therefore stated that other agencies such as “the Department of State Security Services (DSS), the National Intelligence Agency, and of course all other agencies have roles to play”.

“We need to rely on un-uniformed security agencies, to complement what the military has done, Nyian suggested.

“We should just keep on improving on the good efforts we have given so far.”

Best Christmas

About a week ago, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, had announced that the era of Boko Haram militants had ended as Nigerian soldiers raided and conquered the group’s “last stronghold” in Sambisa forest.

Following this development, the Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, described the news as the best Christmas and New Year gift to the people of Borno State.

Commander of Operation Lafia Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, has however said that the military is now more concerned about winning the peace in the north-east after winning the war in Sambisa forest.

He told Channels Television on Friday, that the military is now carrying out a mop up operation to establish full control of the area.

Russian Ministry Announces Plans To Expel 35 US Diplomats

Vladimir Putin, Russia, France, Syria CrisisRussia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has on Friday recommended that the Kremlin expel 35 US diplomats from Russia in response to sanctions announced by Washington.

Lavrov said his ministry proposed that 31 staff members be expelled from the US Embassy in Moscow and four from the US consulate in St Petersburg.

The Russian foreign minister called US allegations of Russia’s interference in the US election campaign “groundless.”

The US on Thursday, ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and ordered the closure of two Russian compounds.

The diplomats and their families were given 72 hours to leave the country.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama was ending in “anti-Russian death throes”.