‘Superman’ Director Richard Donner Dies At 91

(FILES) Richard Donner, a prolific filmmaker who directed the first “Superman” movie, “The Goonies,” and other blockbusters hits, died on July 5, 2021 at age 91, US media reported. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

 

 

 

Richard Donner, a prolific filmmaker who directed the first “Superman” movie, “The Goonies,” and other blockbuster hits, died on Monday at age 91, US media reported. 

Donner’s other credits include the 1976 horror classic “The Omen,” the “Lethal Weapon” cop franchise with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starting in 1987,  “Scrooged” (1988) and his final movie in 2006, “16 Blocks.”

He also directed episodes of iconic 20th century television shows such as “Get Smart,” “Perry Mason,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Twilight Zone,” according to IMDB, and took on a producer role for blockbuster hits including “X-Men” and “Free Willy.”

The Hollywood Reporter cited Donner’s assistant in confirming his death, while Deadline said there was no cause of death revealed by Donner’s business manage or producer wife, Lauren Schuler Donner.

“Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine,” “Goonies” star Sean Astin said on Twitter.

“He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared,” Astin tweeted about his time acting in the 1985 teen treasure hunt movie.

Fellow director Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story on which “The Goonies” was based, said in a statement that Donner had a “powerful command of his movies.”

“Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all,” Spielberg said in the statement tweeted by his production company Amblin.

Donner was born in the Bronx and grew up in New York before attending New York University and joining the US military, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

COVID-19: Death Toll In US Surpasses 600,000 – Johns Hopkins

In this file photo taken on May 21, 2020 Worker move a coffin with the body of a COVID-19 victim out of a refrigerated container.
Ernesto BENAVIDES / AFP

 

The death toll in the US from the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday surpassed 600,000 according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with President Joe Biden mourning the latest “sad milestone” and urging Americans to press on with vaccinations.

The United States has racked up by far the largest death toll of the pandemic, ahead of Brazil and India.

“There’s still too many lives being lost,” Biden said, noting that the daily number of dead has dropped sharply since the peak of the pandemic but that the continuing loss of life was still “a real tragedy.”

“My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one,” Biden said, speaking on Monday in Brussels as the tally ticked close to 600,000.

“We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now’s not the time to let our guard down. Please get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The massive vaccination campaign has been pushed by US health authorities since the authorization of the first vaccines in December, and peaked in April, with up to more than four million shots a day.

But the pace has slowed rapidly since then, and unvaccinated people still remain vulnerable to the disease.

Just over 52 percent of the US population, or 174 million people, have already received at least one dose of one of the three vaccines authorized in the country, according to health officials.

Biden has set a goal of 70 percent of adults to have received at least one shot by the national holiday of July 4, but the program may fall short of that goal.

At Least 39 Dead In Two Attacks In Eastern DR Congo

A DR Congo flag.

 

At least 39 people were killed in two new attacks in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds have died in massacres since the start of the year, monitors said on Monday.

“At least 20 civilians were killed overnight in the village of Boga and at least 19 in the village of Tchabi,” in Irumu territory in Ituri province, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) group said, as a local civil society leader blamed a notorious militia, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

AFP

10 Killed In Fresh Kaduna Attacks

A combination of file photos of the map of Kaduna State and a gun recovered from crime suspects.

 

At least ten people have been killed by bandits during an attack and counter-attacks at two villages in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The gunmen according to the Kaduna State Commissioner for internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan invaded Naiko village in Giwa local government and engaged the community volunteers in a gun duel, which led to the death of three residents of the community.

Aruwan explained that in a reaction to the killings, youths of Na’ikko village attacked a nearby Fulani settlement, Rugan Abdulmuminu and killed two persons whom they alleged to be involved in the initial attack.

In another incident, armed bandits invaded Dakyauro village of Sabon Birni in Igabi LGA and killed four persons after rustling about 25 cows.

READ ALSO: Buhari Appoints New Chief Of Army Staff, Major-General Yahaya

Two persons were equally injured in the attack.

Similarly, a community leader, Dauda Adamu has been killed by bandits at Ungwan Ayaba in Chikun local government area.

Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has expressed sadness over the attacks that led to the death of some people.

The governor while condoling with the families of all who lost their lives in the attacks, also wished those injured a speedy recovery.

El-Rufai noted with deep concern the incidents in Na’ikko village in Giwa LGA, appealing to the residents to embrace recourse to the law and avoid killings and reprisal actions that would prove utterly detrimental to peace in the area.

He assured farmers in Giwa, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun local government areas of the state government’s awareness of their plight, stating that his administration is taking active steps towards ensuring that they will continue to pursue their livelihoods in safety.

On the security challenges in Kaduna, the state government asked private schools operating in high-risk areas to adhere to the security advisories issued to them. This followed reports that some schools have continued to operate outside of the guidelines presented to them by the security agencies for the safety of their students and staff.

Governor Bello Mourns COAS, Says Ibrahim’s Death Is Shocking

A file photo of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.
A file photo of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.

 

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has mourned the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, describing his death as shocking.

Attahiru and seven top military officers were killed on Friday when a military Beechcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.

Reacting, Governor Bello described the death of the COAS as a “colossal loss to Nigeria particularly at such a time when the country was confronting numerous insecurity challenges in different parts of the country.”

According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu, the governor said the ill-fated plane crash while on an official assignment to Kaduna.

While commiserating with the family, friends and associates of the late COAS, Bello described “Lt. General Attahiru as a hero who gave his all to the service of his fatherland and similarly died while attending to his duties.”

READ ALSO: Military Aircraft Crashes In Kaduna

He also extended his condolences to the families of the COAS’ aides and entourage who also lost their lives in the tragic incident.

Bello also commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari over the loss of one of his service chiefs, stating that he would be dearly missed.

He also condoled with the Nigeria Army over the loss of the COAS and others who died alongside him while praying for the repose of their souls.

Attahiru was appointed Chief of Army Staff on January 26, 2021. Born on 10th August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, he graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy.

At Least 15 Dead After Guinean Gold Mine Landslide

 

At least 15 people died Saturday after a landslide at a clandestine artisanal gold mine in Guinea’s northeast Siguiri region, rescuers and witnesses said.

A rock overhang collapsed near the village of Tatakourou according to first telephoned reports from the area which did not clearly establish whether the victims had been crushed by falling rock above the mine or buried inside the facility.

A Red Cross official on site said on condition of anonymity at least 15 people had been killed but did not rule out that others had been buried at the mine entrance.

Sinaman Traore, a gold panner at the mine, said he had seen volunteers rescue two colleagues.

READ ALSO: Pope Francis Calls For End To Clashes In Jerusalem

“This situation in the Siguiri mines concerns all of us — at the end of the day these landslides are more deadly than the Covid-19 pandemic,” said police capitain Mamadou Niare after arriving at the scene.

The country’s Covid-19 death toll to Saturday stood at 149 but recent years have seen a spate of accidents at artisanal mines, particularly around Siguiri near the border with Mali, a region where more than 20,000 panners are officially active.

At least 17 clandestine miners were killed in a landslide in February 2019 and another dozen nine months later.

Despite the country boasting rich deposits of minerals such as bauxite, diamonds and gold the bulk of the population faces a daily struggle to survive with the UN estimating around one two live below the poverty line.

The search for gold riches attracts clandestine miners from Mali, Senegal and several other West African neighbours.

Ex-Minister, Aisha Al-Hassan ‘Mama Taraba’ Dies At 61

Maybe It's Not In My Destiny To Be Taraba Governor – Aisha Alhassan
Former Minister of Women Affairs of Nigeria, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan

 

Former Minister of Women Affairs of Nigeria, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.

Her media aide, Bala Maina, confirmed the incident to Channels Television via the telephone on Friday.

The ex-minister was said to have passed away at an undisclosed hospital in Cairo, Egypt.

She was  61 years old.

Al-Hassan was appointed the Minister of Women Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

She, however, resigned her position on July 27, 2018 and thereafter dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the United Democratic Party (UDP) where she emerged as the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections in Taraba State.

The ex-Minister however lost to the incumbent, Governor Darius Ishaku who ran for a second term in office under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Prior to her ministerial appointment, Al-Hassan was a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing the Taraba North Senatorial District under the PDP.

Ishaku Mourns

Governor of Taraba State, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku reacted to Alhassan’s death on Friday.
He said he received the news with deep shock.
Gov Ishaku described Aisha Alhassan as a woman of great courage, noting that her death was a personal loss for him.
He said he and Alhassan had enjoyed a robust political relationship and had kept in touch even while both of them contested for the same seat of Governor of Taraba State from different political platforms in 2015 and 2019.
A press statement by the Governor’s media aide Bala Dan-Abu described Alhassan as an asset, one which death has robbed Taraba State and Nigeria of.
He added that as minister of Women Affairs, Alhassan contributed immensely towards social and political emancipation of women.
He urged her family to take solace in the fact that Alhassan lived a life of service to humanity and prayed God to grant her soul eternal rest.

Six Killed In Ogun Road Accident

A map of Ogun, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

Six persons have been confirmed dead in an early morning accident involving three vehicles around Ajede Ogbere on the Sagamu-Benin expressway area of Ogun State.

The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps in the state, Ahmed Umar, confirmed the incident on Tuesday in Abeokuta, adding that the accident involved a Mazda bus marked JJJ 862 XV, a Toyota Sienna with registration number KRD 306 BJ and a Mercedes Benz marked AGL 05 XZ.

According to him, the accident occurred at 12:01 am and was caused by wrongful overtaking, excessive speed and loss of control on the part of the driver of the Luxurious bus.

A total number of 39 people were involved in the accident, comprising 25 male adults and 14 female adults, with six persons said to have died.

READ ALSO: ‘Please Help Us!’ Mothers Of Abducted Kaduna Student Weep During Protest

“The suspected causes of the multiple crash were wrongful overtaking and excessive speed on the part of the Luxurious bus driver which led to the loss of control,” he said.

“The luxurious bus hit the incoming Sienna car and the Mazda bus. Immediately,  the driver ran away because all the occupant in the Sienna vehicle lost their lives while those in the Mazda bus sustained injuries.”

He explained that the deceased were deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ijebu Ode, saying that four people were injured and were taken to the same hospital for medical attention.

Umaru described the crash as an avoidable act and advised motorists to avoid excessive speed, dangerous driving and also obey traffic rules and regulations at all times.

While commiserating with the families of the victims, he enjoined them to contact the FRSC command in Ogbere for details of the crash and reclaim those things recovered from the scene of the crash from the victims.

How Does A Heart Break Twice? – Chimamanda Adichie

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie and her late mother Grace Ifeoma Adichie

 

 

Chimamanda’s emotional tribute to her mother, Grace Ifeoma Adichie. (November 29, 1942 – March 1, 2021)

How does a heart break twice? To still be immersed in grief, barely breathing again, and then to be plunged callously back into a sorrow you cannot even articulate. How can my mother be gone forever, and so soon after my father? My warm, loving, funny, kind, quick-witted, beautiful mother. Unconditional supporter and cheerleader of her children, fun and funny, source of delicious sarcasm, style icon, so sharply observant she never missed a thing. She made history as the first female registrar of the University of Nigeria. She was a permanent board member of the Anambra State Basic Education Board ASUBEB. On Friday she was at work, in her ASUBEB office in Awka. Her lovely assistant Mimi said she seemed a bit tired. Still, back home after work, she walked the half mile to St. Paul’s Church for Stations of the Cross. On Saturday, she spent time in Louisa’s shop, outside the gate of our house in Abba, watching the cars and people on the dusty road.

On Sunday, her driver drove her to Mass. Sunday evening she was unwell. She was taken to a private hospital in Awka. We were worried, but a few hours later, she was better, sitting up, eating rice. On the phone I told her, “We love you, Mummy, try and rest.” The next morning, the doctor sent an update to say she was doing even better. But moments later, he took the sudden bewildering decision to transfer her to the Teaching Hospital, and she was hastily moved there. He claimed the Teaching Hospital had better facilities. “Do my children know I’m being transferred?” she is said to have asked. Two hours after she arrived at the Teaching Hospital, she died. It was March 1st, my father’s birthday.

How does a heart break twice? As the days have passed my disbelief has grown. This perpetual astonishment of grief: Did it really happen? My mother is gone forever? How is it possible?

We were planning for my father’s iyipu-akwa, to mark the end of the formal mourning period, and now I cannot believe that we are planning a funeral. Again.

How does a heart break twice? You discover emotions you cannot name. There is an emotion more hollow than sorrow. There is an acceptance drenched in disbelief. Language fails. Clichés come startlingly alive: the heart is truly heavy, it is no mere metaphor. The mornings so dark you cannot get up from bed, the erratic pulse, the anger, the surprise, the tiny moments of forgetting, the regrets, the doomed attempts at escape. But the pain is waiting. The pain is inescapable. The desperate longing to turn back time, just to see her again, hear her laugh one more time, hug and kiss her. Even if just to say goodbye, even if just to have the chance to say goodbye, to say thank you for everything you did for me and everything you were to me, to say I love you, again.

The questions. Why so soon? Why like this? Has the universe not given us our own fair share of pain for now?

To have loving parents, an entire life propped up by them, and in months to have it all end, so abruptly, with such unbearable finality. O kwerom edi.

So much laughter and teasing and jokes, the easy companionship, the stories told and retold, the time spent. Time. Time makes memories. And now that is what is brutally left. The shock. The sense of sinking, of surfaces giving way, of falling through forever. The world feels wrapped in gauze. Everything is hazy and unclear.

This is how a heart breaks twice, this feeling of being utterly lost.

Auto Crash Claims Three Lives In Ondo

A map of Ondo, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

Three persons have died in a lone auto crash along Ondo/Ore road in Ondo state.

The accident occurred around 7am on Sunday.

Three others who sustained injuries in the crash have been rushed to a nearby hospital.

The vehicle was said to be travelling to Akure when the unfortunate incident happened.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Eight In Plateau

According to an eyewitness account, the crash was caused by overspeeding which led to the loss of control.

The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ondo State, Ahmed Hassan confirmed the auto crash, adding that three persons lost their lives.

Hassan said that he is yet to get full details on the auto crash from the officials investigating the incident.

Nigerian Civil Society Leader, Innocent Chukwuma Dies

One of Nigeria’s civil society leaders and founder of the CLEEN Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma. Credit: CLEEN Foundation

 

One of Nigeria’s civil society leaders and founder of the CLEEN Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma, has died.

His death was announced on Sunday via CLEEN Foundation’s Twitter handle.

Although the foundation did not indicate his age, multiple reports suggest that he died at 55.

“We are extremely pained to announce the death of Innocent Chukwuma on April 3. He was the founder and pioneer Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation,” the statement signed by Professor Etannibi Alemika on behalf of the foundation’s Board of Trustees.

“Until February 2021, a few weeks ago, Innocent Chukwuma was the West Africa Representative of Ford Foundation.”

The foundation described its late founder as a patriot, who throughout his years, struggled for a Nigerian nation where peace, justice and development are attained and sustained.

READ ALSO: Five Suspects Arrested Over Abduction, Murder Of Policemen

The late Chukwuma was one of the students within the National Union of Nigerian Students (NANS) platform that opposed the arbitrary powers of the military rule in the 1980s.

He continued the struggle as a staff of the Civil Liberties Organisation where he led research and advocacy on police reform.

In 1989, Chukwuma established the Centre for Law Enforcement of Education in Nigeria registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as CLEEN Foundation.

Reacting to the unfortunate incident, one of his close allies and comrade in a civil right crusade, Chidi Odinkalu, said the late Chukwuma, “passed before the needle could be inserted.

“He was a man of decency. I knew him for nearly 35 and I am grateful for the privilege. In all things, as my late mum always said, we must learn to give thanks. He was a man of decency,” he told Vanguard.

Lagos Data Omitted As Nigeria Records 864 New COVID-19 Cases

A medical official performs a throat swab on a resident of Mabushi in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory Abuja as part of the community testing for COVID-19… on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
File Photo: A medical official performs a throat swab on a resident of Mabushi in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory Abuja as part of the community testing for COVID-19. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Nigeria has recorded 864 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total caseload of the country to 127,024.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this in a post in the early hours of Friday.

According to the agency’s report, 129 cases were recorded in the FCT, 87 were recorded in Anambra, while Lagos State, which has been the epicenter of the virus in the country with a total of 46,935 cases, was omitted.

Rivers State had 82 cases, Benue-80, Oyo-76, Plateau-61, Kaduna-54, Delta-51, Nasarawa-38, Kwara-36, Edo-32, Katsina-26, Kano-24, Taraba-18, Ogun-14, Sokoto-11, Gombe-10, Jigawa-7, Akwa Ibom-6, Cross River-6, Zamfara-5, Bauchi-5, Osun-4, and Ekiti-2.

 

 

Confirmed Cases by State

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos46,9358,43138,205299
FCT16,4705,38110,964125
Plateau7,8017756,97353
Kaduna7,5126236,83257
Oyo5,3081,1224,11076
Rivers5,1757284,36879
Edo3,7215853,000136
Ogun3,2775692,66642
Kano2,9133462,49176
Delta2,3005111,73752
Ondo2,2221752,00047
Kwara1,9233441,54039
Katsina1,8381101,70127
Nasarawa1,7581,42032513
Enugu1,7382961,42121
Gombe1,5911321,41742
Osun1,4743221,12032
Ebonyi1,3931661,19730
Abia1,2201141,09412
Bauchi1,141391,08517
Imo1,04623879018
Borno9009077436
Benue82926654320
Anambra80745433419
Akwa Ibom78930747210
Sokoto7182566726
Niger68825741714
Bayelsa6617456324
Adamawa63136324028
Ekiti534914358
Jigawa4575639011
Taraba36711923315
Kebbi2675120313
Yobe221141998
Zamfara199211708
Cross River195417912
Kogi5032

 


 

Read Also: [COVID-19] Nigeria Trying Hard To Avoid Another Lockdown, Says Health Minister

Three new deaths were also recorded from the last 24 hours.

On a positive note, however, 100,853 persons are said to have fully recovered from the virus.

As the virus surges on and calls for more testing intensify, the country is also looking to secure vaccines as soon as possible.

As of Thursday, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria had secured an additional 41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

However, the delivery date for the vaccines remains unknown as manufacturers struggle to meet global demand in time.

The 41 million doses were secured as part of efforts by an African Union task team to help countries on the continent gain equitable access to vaccines.

The AU earlier on Thursday had announced that it had secured an additional 400 million doses of the vaccines for the continent.

This comes on top of an earlier announcement by the AU that it had secured 270 million vaccine doses.

Many African countries, including Nigeria, are yet to start vaccination programs.

Nigeria was expected to take delivery of 100,000 vaccine doses via the WHO-backed Covax sharing facility by the end of January, but the timeline has now been shifted to February, Minister Ehanire also confirmed on Thursday.

Cases top 100 million Globally

At least 2,176,000 people have died of coronavirus across the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019,  an AFP tally from official sources said on Thursday night.

More than 100,829,878 cases have been registered.

The US has suffered the highest toll with 429,202 deaths, followed by Brazil with 220,161 and India with 153,847.