WikiLeaks launches plea for donations as it is almost out of cash

WikiLeaks; a name known that has been ascribed deifferent description depending what side of the party you are dining with, if from the angle of any government parastatal or agency i.e. an agent of the U.S government, then WikiLeaks is seen as a thorn in the flesh giving rise to an all-out crippling of the organization in the U.S. as Visa and MasterCard, along with other U.S.-based financial firms such as PayPal, blocked all transactions headed for WikiLeaks since 2010 after the website published more than 250,000 American classified diplomatic cables.

The household name the world over has been living in past glory since it’s the bombardment of its founder being found liable of a crime, facing  possible extradition, with the organization almost being grounded too in terms of not getting finances to run the show of what its known best for “Whistleblowing”.

WikiLeaks, has been down financially to about $120,000 as of the end of June 2012 in total reserves, no thanks to the move of the blockade program initiated against the by Visa and MasterCard giving the reason why the organization’s goal is to raise €1 million (about $1.22 million) in quick transition because it is expected to run out of cash within a few months..

The good news is that WikiLeaks has been able to find a way around this blockade which is almost crippling the Whistle-blower as it has is now started accepting donations again through a French credit card system known as Carte Bleue, it announced on Wednesday.

WikiLeaks said although the French credit card company still has links with Visa and Master Card systems universally but two credit card companies are barred in contract from cutting off merchants who are under the radar of Carte Bleue system which why the non-profit FDNN in France (Fund for the Defense of Net Neutrality or Fonds de Défense de la Net Neutralité) has set up a Carte Bleue fund for WikiLeaks and with this success a quick donation is being asked for by the organization from its supporters before the  loophole for payments is blocked again by MasterCard and Visa.

Speaking of the extradition case against its founder; Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader requested political asylum from Ecuador after losing his appeal against extradition from the U.K. to Sweden last month. He’s wanted by Swedish authorities to answer for accusations of sexual misconduct, but says he believes Sweden would send him to the United States to be tried for crimes related to WikiLeaks releases.

Chinese football fan dies after 11 sleepless nights

A Chinese football fan has died of exhaustion after going 11 straight nights without sleep, watching every single game of the on-going Euro 2012 championship.

Jiang Xiaoshan,26, passed away, Tuesday morning.

He was said to be a fervent supporter of both the French and English team at the tournament.

Due to time difference, the late Jiang reportedly stayed up each night to watch the match with friends and then went to work the following day.

Following the Ireland versus Italy match, Sina.com reported that he went back to his Changsha home at 5am on Tuesday, had a shower, fell asleep and never woke up.

Friends said the news of his death came as a shock, as he lived a ‘relatively healthy life’, and had played football for his university team just a couple of years before.

Sources said, however, that the effect of alcohol and tobacco, combined with the chronic exhaustion, was to blame for his death as it weakened his immune system.

This is not the first time Chinese football fan have suffered from trying to keep up with their on-pitch heroes.

EURO 2012: Jermaine Defoe loses father, flies home

England football squad for the EURO 2012 tournament is one man short as Striker Jermaine Defoe returned home from Poland where the tournament opened today with news of father’s death Jimmy who died overnight.

On hearing the sad news, Jermaine flew back to England and it has been confirmed that the striker could miss England’s opening game against France which will be played on Monday.

Jermain’s father; Jimmy has been battling throat cancer for a while now before he died early hours of today.

The English Football Association released a statement to confirm the return of the Tottenham star saying: “England striker Jermain Defoe has returned home to England this morning following the passing of his father overnight. Jermain will re-join the England Euro squad in due course. There will be no replacement player called in.’

Defoe left England’s hotel ten minutes before the rest of the squad boarded a coach for their first training session in Poland having only arrived in the country on Wednesday evening.

Tottenham Hotspur passed on their condolences to the forward. A statement on their website said: “Jermaine Defoe has returned home from the England squad base in Poland this morning after receiving the sad news of the passing away of his father overnight.”

England players paid their respects to Jermaine, who grew up in Beckton and is currently a supporter of many local charities, at press conferences this afternoon.

Chelsea-bound Hazard replies ‘lazy’ accusations

Lille and Belgian winger; Eden Hazard has lashed out at the press for interpreting his recent remarks concerning pre-match training as the 21-year old tagged ‘lazy’.

After he announced on his twitter account to his followers and fan alike that he would be signing with the recent Champion League winners; Chelsea it went viral as he will be joining Chelsea this summer because it was unexpected of Hazard to pick Chelsea from the pack which included the new English Premiership winners; Manchester City and the Red Devils’ Manchester United.

Hazard was touted by pundits to definitely sign either of the two Manchester clubs but following the player’s decision, there has been some negative press coming from critics, who have slammed his somewhat questionable approach to training.

He responded to the press saying his passion for the game of football exceeds his enjoyment for training even though the latter contributed so much to his present status as world class player.

He said that people interpreted as him not wanting to work hard but he only meant that he does both training ad playing but enjoys the playing as he trains seriously to achieve his present status in the world of football.

“I don’t go out on the pitch thinking I’m going to do it because it comes instinctively. My left foot’s not quite as strong as my right,” Hazard began arguing his case.

Hazard claimed that it is his constant training that has helped him in the field of play to be explosive and not being able to shove off the ball when in contention and he owes to weight training.

Hazard will however need to be stronger as he will be launched into the English Premier League as a top flight player playing for a top flight club where pace and strength is necessary to cap overall skill.

Hazard plays waiting game with EPL suitors

Eden Hazard, the star player for Lille has made a decision that will affect his future talking of his career either with Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United as they were the main bidders for the signature of the young game changer with serious transfer fees involved.

His uncanny ability to get goals when necessary and his ability to make his teammates achieve high-percentage shot at goal set the fame rolling for the 21-year old that has just started his career in football with high physical condition.

The player who is one of the hottest chases in the transfer market said he made his final decision on which English club he will be lacing his boots for by the new season.

Also known as Hazardous for scoring 20 goals and adding 16 assists for Lille in 38 matches this season, he and his agent; John Bico, said a final decision has been made and will be letting the world know what his decision is as everything is off the negotiation stage now and an agreement has been reached with all parties involved in the bid.

Eden, who said he wants the transfer to whichever club to be fixed before June 2, will decide after the Red Devils’ (Belgium) games against Montenegro and England, and then go on holiday with peace of mind.

While the news of Hazard’s decision has fans on edge, it is also a big deal for the three squads in play for his services.

For the team that is lucky enough to land Hazard, everything is set. Nothing they do the rest of this transfer window is going to mean as much as he does.

But looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, the two clubs remaining will feel a great sense of relief knowing that they made a hard run at him, but now the ability to allocate those resources elsewhere will improve their manpower.

Obviously, the first priority for everyone is to get Hazard signed. If that doesn’t work out, it is going to make the rest of the transfer season easier on those squads.

All eyes will be focused on June 2.

Chelsea to loot for Eden Hazard as he decides future tonight

Chelsea are ready to capitalise on their Champions League success by making a big money move for Lille playmaker Eden Hazard who has attracted interest from across Europe with his displays this season, admitted recently that his future does not lie at the Stade Metropole.

Representatives of Manchester City and Manchester United are expected to hold talks with Lille; the Belgian’s agent was in London yesterday.

Blues owner Russian Roman Abramovich believes that a £30m fee will be enough for the 21 year old to move to Stamford Bridge and Hazard is expected to be offered £250,000 a week on a five year deal.

Chelsea will now be in contention for the signature of the 21-year old with the two Manchester clubs.

Abramovich and his chief executive Ron Gourlay will have to put together an attractive package to bring the Belgian international to West London for he stated earlier that he will possibly be moving to Manchester City next season.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard was reported to have decided to make a final decision tonight as to whether he will be playing with Chelsea, Manchester United or English Premier League winners, Manchester City.

Hazard is a hot commodity in the market in the EPL, as he has played impressive football with Lille this season. In 37 games, Hazard has netted 17 goals, recorded 16 assists and got off 101 shots in the process.

Hazard is an elusive dribbler that is as quick as anyone in football in the attacking end of the pitch. At just 21 years of age, the young Belgian talent is among the world’s best footballers with his top-notch play.

His goal-scoring abilities and control of the ball are scary for opponents to have to handle to say the least. Hazard is as “hazardous” as they come with the ball in his possession.

With such developed and strong programs to choose from, there is no question Hazard will be able to prosper significantly well over the next several seasons.

Global Market: Hollande’s support for anti-austerity measures not good

With the Capital Market Probe still going on,Esther Ugbodaga our Business Morning presenter had Bade Ajidahun a global market analyst with her to discuss the global market live in the studio.

Gunman kills 4 outside Jewish school in France

A motorcycle gunman on Monday opened fire in front of a Jewish school in the southwest French city of Toulouse, killing a father, his two sons and one other child.
The Prosecutor, Michel Valet said a 30-year-old man and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons were killed in the attack just before classes started at the Ozar Hatorah school. He said another child, between 8 and 10 years old, was also killed, and a 17-year-old seriously injured.
According to Valet, “The drama occurred a bit before 8 a.m. A man arrived in front of the school on a motorcycle shooting at everything he had in front of him, children and adults,”. He added that the suspect made his getaway on a dark-colored scooter.
The school behind a high white wall with few external markings has been cordoned off by police.

Live World War II bomb found in southern France

French officials evacuated 1,500 residents from their homes in Marseille, in the south of France, on Sunday after discovering a live bomb that was placed there by Germans during World War II.

The bomb which was wrapped with a cable and pillows to absorb any potential shock, was discovered by builders working on a retirement home construction site and was gently lifted for fear that it might explode.

The bomb, which took up the better part of a moving truck, has been transported to Canjuers military camp, where it will be destroyed.

Too Many Foreigners in France- President Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says there are too many foreigners in France and has pledged to cut the number of new arrivals in half.

In his words, “Our system of integration is working more and more badly, because we have too many foreigners on our territory and we can no longer manage to find them accommodation, a job, a school”.

Sarkozy stressed that while immigration could remain a boon for France in many areas, it must be tightly controlled through tougher residency qualifications for newcomers.

“Over the five-year term I think that to restart the process of integration in good conditions, we must divide by two the number of people we welcome, that’s to say to pass from 180,000 per year to 100,000,” he said.

Sarkozy also announced new plans to limit some welfare benefit payments currently available to immigrant workers to those who have enjoyed residency for 10 years and have worked for five of those.

Earlier, Sarkozy had been accused of moving to the right in the run up to the presidential election in order to recruit voters tempted by anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen.

France will vote in the first round of a presidential election on April 22, followed by a second-round run-off on May 6.

France calls for talks to end Mali rebellion

Mali must negotiate with separatist Tuareg rebels to end renewed fighting in its northern desert, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Sunday during a visit to the West African state.

Nomadic Tuaregs seeking an autonomous desert homeland and bolstered by fighters and weapons from Libya’s war began attacking military garrisons in northern Mali last month, renewing a rebellion that had ended in 2009.

“There will be no military solution to these clashes, so the only path is dialogue that is as inclusive as possible to all who want to sit at the table,” he said, following a meeting with Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure.

He pledged France’s support in ending the fighting and said France was committed to helping Mali maintain its territorial integrity.

Scores of people have been killed in the fighting between Mali’s military, armed with helicopter gunships, and the Tuareg fighters, and the United Nations said more than 125,000 people have been forced from their homes.

The rebellion has complicated Mali’s efforts to fight al Qaeda operatives in the vast and lawless desert.

Recent fighting near Mali’s border with Mauritania killed 50 people, including 47 rebels, according to a hospital source working with the military’s medical service speaking to Reuters on Saturday. A rebel spokesman denied that, saying 30 soldiers were killed, along with only four rebels.

The fighting comes two months before Mali’s Apr. 29 presidential elections. President Toure, who is not standing in the polls, has said the vote will be held on time despite the fighting.

Guinean immigrants in France send food home online

Intercontinental grocery shopping — a recently launched website offers a new way for Guineans living abroad to support family back home.

As an alternative to traditional funds transfer companies, Wontanra.com gives Guinean migrants the opportunity to buy groceries online that recipients in Guinea can immediately collect from their local grocer against a simple phone transaction, or even have them delivered to their home.

Forty one year-old Guinean engineer, Aboubakar Kourouma — founder of the project, said this “e-social transfer” is a new concept that aims to ensure food security and contribute to the local economy.

Wontanara — meaning “all together” in Guinea’s Soussou language, was launched in August 2011 and already has 5000 users.

Kourouma came to France six years ago with no papers. The idea for Wontanara came to him while he was working illegally in a bakery.

He said he wanted to change the money transfer system used my many like him because traditional money transfer methods were expensive and not available for those who live far from a big city.

“Wontanara has the advantage of providing a completely zero-cost service to the giver, that’s one thing, the other thing is that Wontanara allows a distribution of proximity, that means the system in place allows the recipients to benefit from our products from wherever they live in Guinea,” Kourouma said.

For now, Wontanara.com is only available for Guinea, but Kourouma said they were working on expanding it further, starting in the West African region.

Soon the website will provide ways to pay for school supplies, medicines, or even electricity bills, he said.

With this social business concept, Kourouma won the “RE THINK” prize from the prestigious French business school H.E.C (Haute Ecole de Commerce) in 2009.

Thanks to it, he met Alexandre Peisse, a 31-year old H.E.C (Haute Ecole de Commerce) student who offered to fund and launch his project.

“There is a very large African, Guinean diaspora outside Guinea which sends approximately 60 millions US dollars every year, and those 60 millions dollars are very wrongly allocated, with enormous commissions taken by the traditional money transfer firm,” Peisse said.

“The idea of Wontanara is to remove teh middle man and to give back some purchasing power to everybody, donors and beneficiaries,” he added.

Money transfers between African migrants and their families are an important share of foreign investment in Africa but transfer charges could be holding the foreign capital inflows back.

A report by the African Development Bank and the World Bank last year estimated that about 30 million Africans live outside their home countries, but African governments had not realised the full economic benefits of remittances, which accounted for 40 billion US dollars between 1990 and 2010.

Analysts say this can be attributed to the fact that it is still very expensive to send remittances to Africa.
One of the clients of the website, Mamadou Boubacar Diallo said that since he discovered Wontanara.com his use of traditional money transfer services has drastically reduced.

“We must encourage ideas like this, it’s is very beneficial for Africa, that people think about that kind of service for the diaspora,” he said.

Wontanara.com developers said the service was aimed at guaranteeing fresh products were delivered to the recipients, as the site works directly with local shops in Guinea to ensure immediate delivery of daily groceries to families who would otherwise not afford it.

Reuters