Merkel To Seek Fourth Term As German Chancellor

Angela MerkelAngela Merkel told top members of her party on Sunday that she wants to run for a fourth term as German chancellor in next year’s election.

Reuters reports that senior party sources gave a hint of her plan after months of speculation about one of the world’s most powerful women.

Despite a voter backlash over her open-door migrant policy, the conservative is seen as a stabilising force in Europe amid uncertainty caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president.

Merkel told leading figures in her Christian Democrat (CDU) party about her intentions at a meeting to prepare for the September election, several participants said.

Colleagues welcomed the long-awaited decision, which she is expected to announce at a news conference at 18:00 GMT.
“Angela Merkel stands for stability, reliability and thoughtfulness,” senior CDU politician, Julia Kloeckner, said.

“With her straightforward and calm nature she had led us safely through the financial and economic crises,” she told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

Merkel, 62, has steered Europe’s biggest economy through the euro zone debt crisis and has won respect internationally, for example with her efforts to help solve the Ukraine crisis. U.S. President Barack Obama last week described her as an “outstanding” ally.

With Trump’s victory in the United States and the rise in support for right-wing parties in Europe, some commentators see Merkel as a bastion of Western liberal values.

Rescued Chibok Girl In Abuja Says She Wants To Go Home

Amina AliOne of the over 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls rescued from Boko Haram after two years in captivity in northeast Nigeria said she just wants to go home.

Amina Ali and her four-month-old baby were rescued in May near Damboa in Borno State by soldiers and a civilian vigilante group, more than two years after being kidnapped by the Islamist militants from a school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria.

After her rescue sparked a blaze of global media attention, the 21-year-old and her child have since been hidden away in a house in the capital Abuja for what the Nigerian government has called a “restoration process”.
She granted an interview to Reuters.

In her first interview since her rescue she said: “I just want to go home – I don’t know about school.

“I will decide about school when I get back, but I have no idea when I will be going home,” Ali said, speaking softly while staring at the ground.

Boko Haram kidnapped 219 girls from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014, as part of an insurgency which began in 2009 to set up an Islamic state in the north that has killed some 15,000 people and displaced more than two million.

Some girls escaped in the melee but parents of those still missing accused former President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s then leader, of not doing enough to find their daughters, whose disappearance sparked a global campaign #bringbackourgirls.

Ali spoke to Reuters days after the Islamist group published a video showing dozen of the girls.

In the video published by the militants on social media on Sunday, a masked man stands behind a group of the girls, and says some of their classmates have been killed in air strikes.

While Ali had not heard about the video, she said Boko Haram had told the abducted girls that everyone was looking for them.

“I think about them a lot – I would tell them to be hopeful and prayerful,” Ali said. “In the same way God rescued me, he will also rescue them.”

Eating Raw Maize

Ali, who was found by the army in May along with a suspected Boko Haram militant, Mohammed Hayatu, claiming to be her husband, said she was unhappy to have been separated from the father of her four-month-old baby girl.

“I want him to know that I am still thinking about him,” Ali said, relaxing and lifting her gaze off the ground only to breastfeed her child when she was brought into the room to feed.

“Just because we got separated, that does not mean that I don’t think about him,” Ali added.

Ali’s mother, Binta Ali spent two months with her daughter before going home to Chibok. She said last month she feared for Ali’s future.

She said her daughter had wanted to further her education before being kidnapped, but now she was afraid of school and wanted a sewing machine to start a business making clothes.

Ali told her mother earlier this month that the girls, who are being held in Sambisa forest, were starved and resorted to eating raw maize, and that some had died in captivity, suffered broken legs or gone deaf after being too close to explosions.

Austria, Germany Open Borders To Migrants

Migrants-in-Germany-and-AustriaAustria and Germany on Saturday threw their borders open to thousands of exhausted migrants, who had travelled to the Hungarian border after efforts by a right-wing government to stop them failed.

The rain-soaked migrants, many of them refugees from Syria’s civil war, were whisked by train and shuttle bus to Vienna, where authorities arranged for thousands to head straight on to Germany.

According to Reuters, German police said the first 1,000 of up to 10,000 migrants expected on Saturday had arrived on special trains in Munich.

“A Horrible Situation”

Austrian police said over 6,000 had entered the country by midday with more expected in what has become Europe’s most acute refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Munich police said Arabic-speaking interpreters helped refugees with procedures at emergency registration centres. The seemingly efficient Austrian and German reception contrasted with the disorder prevalent in Hungary.

“It was just such a horrible situation in Hungary,” said Omar, arriving in Vienna with his family.

In Budapest, almost emptied of migrants the night before, the main railway station was again filling up with new arrivals but trains to Western Europe remained cancelled. So hundreds set off by foot, saying they would walk to the Austrian border, 170 km (110 miles) away, like others had tried on Friday.

After days of confrontation and chaos, Hungary’s government deployed over 100 buses overnight to take thousands of migrants to the Austrian frontier.

Austria said it had agreed with Germany to allow the migrants access, waiving asylum rules that require them to register in the first EU state they reach.

UN Pledges Support For Nigeria Against Insurgency

UNThe United Nations (UN) has pledged to work more closely with Nigeria in tackling its increasing humanitarian challenges and to support the Nigerian Army’s reviewed counter-insurgency operation in the north-east.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to West Africa, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, gave this assurance during a visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai, in Abuja.
Dr Chambas said that the UN would fully cooperate with the Nigerian authorities and its armed forces to stem the tide of terrorism within its territory.
However, he appealed to the Nigerian armed forces to give attention to the growing humanitarian crisis occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said that addressing the humanitarian aspect of the problem would go a long way in winning the confidence of the civil populace.
In response, Major-General Buratai reaffirmed the new focus of the military operation in the north-east, identifying humanitarian assistance and protection of human rights as priority areas.

Earlier, Dr Chambas had visited President Buhari on Friday to discuss issues of insecurity and terrorism.

Budget Implementation Will Be A Major Focus – Gbajabiamila

Femi-GbajabiamilaThe majority leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila says a 100 per cent budget implementation will be one of the major focus of the 8th Assembly now that the principal officers of the National Assembly have been chosen and the lawmakers are set for work.

Gbajabiamila told Journalists that the 8th Assembly would open up its books to the public with a breakdown of what lawmakers earn to allow public scrutiny and end the unfavourable speculations over salaries of lawmakers at the National Assembly once and for all.

Nigerian Army Pulls Out 33 Generals

nigeria armyThirty-three retired Generals of the Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery were on Friday pulled out of service in Kaduna State, North-west Nigeria.

The retired officers comprise of 12 Major-Generals and 21 Brigadier Generals, including a former General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Lawrence Jokotola.

In a valedictory speech, Major-General Jokotola, who spoke on behalf of the retired generals, expressed hope that the current security challenges in the Northeast are surmountable if only the old ideals of military training, good administration and discipline are maintained.

He commended the Army authorities for re-engaging a number of its retired officers to serve as consultants and instructors at the Nigerian Army School of Artillery (NASA), Kachia in Kaduna State, stating that such sharing of knowledge and expertise will be of immense benefit to the serving officers.

The Generals retired between 2005 and 2013, having served for the mandatory 35 years in service.

Having served their fatherland meritoriously, the officers were formally pulled out at a colourful ceremony that was attended by their friends and family members.

Despite the heavy downpour, a colourful match past and parade were held in honour of the retired Generals.

General Jokotola, in his speech, pledged that the retired officers would continue to keep the Nigerian Flag high by providing timely, accurate and effective fire support in the fight against all forms of external and internal aggression.

The General urged the serving military personnel to continue to be loyal, extra-vigilant, and however expressed the conviction that the Nigerian military would overcome the current security challenges in the country.

Other retirees also expressed their gratitude to the Army and Nigerians for the opportunity to serve the nation.

The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Bala Bantex, who represented the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai at the occasion, commended the effort of officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces in trying to restore peace to all troubled parts of the country.

Nigerian Special Athletes Continue To Impress In Los Angeles

los angelesTeam Nigeria has won nine medals at the ongoing Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. The medals are six gold and three silver.

The star boy of day-5 is Sunday Olowoniyi. The 20-year-old beat Panama’s Loaiza Tamir and South Korea’s Jeong Seong Jun by three games to top the men’s singles division six and win another table tennis gold for Nigeria.

Victoria White set the ball rolling on day-4 of the competition, winning gold in table-tennis. It was an almost flawless performance by the young Nigerian who defeated her opponents from India, Macau and the United Arab Emirates without dropping a game in her division.

Rasaq Muraina and Jeffrey Olu-Imaferami continued the gold rush for Nigeria with excellent displays in badminton, adding to the cycling gold won by Emuwa Chidubem in the 500 meters time trial.

Sikiru Sadiq threw a distance of 6.72 meters to win silver in the 4kg division mo8 shot put event, while the basketball team rounded off proceedings with an exciting 28-23 win over Belgium.

Once again, Moshood Popoola emerged the star of a good team performance scoring 10 points and recording 10 rebounds. The next game is a top of the table clash against Korea.

Team Nigeria started their campaign at the Special Olympics World Games with Tejumoluwa Ogunlela winning silver in division 15 of the 100 metres women’s freestyle.

Adebiyi Olatunji and Adedamola Roberts consolidated to win gold and silver in division 17 of the 100 meters men’s freestyle event.

On day-2, Nigeria crushed South Africa 6-0 in division one of the unified soccer event. Two first half goals from Daniel Osadolo ensured a great start at the Balboa Sports Center.

In the second half, Coach Stephen Adeyomo’s team turned up the heat on their opponents with further goals from Abubakar Adebayo and Eziema Chukwudi, ensuring a comfortable win.

On the same day, Nigeria defeated Canada 33-21 points in Basketball, to advance to the next round. The West African team dominated the first quarter 17-9, but the Canadians fought back in the third to reduce the deficit. The 4th quarter saw another close battle, before Nigeria eventually pulled away late in the game.

With athletes such as Sadiq Sikiru, Chidubem Emuwa, Fatai Fatimoh and Mbum Esther also receiving medals for successful outings in shot put, cycling and standing long jump.

Team Nigeria will be hoping the medal chase continues before the competition ends on August 2, 2015.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games opened on July 25, 2015 in  Los Angeles, California. The 2015  Games feature competitions in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, football (soccer) and many other summer sports involving 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world.

Robbers Attack Commercial Bank In Kogi State

robbers attack in kogi stateArmed robbers, on Friday morning, attacked a commercial bank in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State and killed two policemen in an attempt to break into the banking hall.

Channels Television gathered that the gunmen, numbering four, arrived at the premises of the bank which is situated along the Local Government Secretariat at about five minutes before nine o’clock in the morning and started to shoot sporadically.

This left passersby, traders and motorists scampering for their lives while the shooting lasted.

According to Kogi State Police, all attempts by the robbers to gain entrance into the banking hall proved abortive as they were successfully repelled.

While the Police lost two of their men in a gun duel with the suspected armed robbers, two of the robbers were also killed.

One, who was shot in the head, died instantly, while another one who was shot in the lap died in the hospital were he was being treated.

Police IG Explains Reasons For Removal Of Checkpoints

IGPThe Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, says he ordered the removal of police checkpoints on the highways upon assuming office to reduce bribery and corruption.



Mr Arase gave this explanation during one of his routine visits to commands during which he holds security briefs with the commissioners.

The Police boss on his visit to the FCT Police Command, said that such roadblocks encouraged corruption among some of his officers who collect bribes from commuters on the highway.

The IGP said that such act only reduced officers of the Police Force to mere beggars and had also brought the image of the force to disrepute in the past.

Mr Arase then emphasized the need for officers to carry out their duties professionally.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, however, appealed to the IGP to create more commands within the FCT.

According to him, the current population of the capital city has overstretched the FCT Police Command.

The IGP has made similar visits to Lagos, Anambra, and Plateau States recently to hold the same meeting with their commissioners.

Nigeria, Neighbours Have Increased Capacity To Deal With Boko Haram – Buhari

president buhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, says that with the formation of a stronger regional coalition, Nigeria and other neighbouring countries have an increased capacity to deal with Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.

President Buhari said this on Friday during a conversation with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.

According to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President reaffirmed his belief that the full activation and deployment of the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which has been established under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, would lead to the speedy defeat and elimination of Boko Haram.

President Buhari also said that with the Command and Control Centre of the Nigerian military now in Maiduguri, Borno State, the morale of troops in the front-line states had improved significantly.

“You can tell the Secretary-General that we are doing our best and our best will be good enough for the nation and the sub-region,” President Buhari said.

Against the background of upcoming elections in Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina Faso, the President also called on the United Nations to assist African countries in the acquisition and use of innovative technologies to ensure more credible elections.

“When citizens recognize that their votes count, it will boost their confidence in democracy and their countries’ electoral systems,” he said.

Recalling that in the last general elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used smart card readers to authenticate prospective voters, President Buhari observed that while Nigeria could afford the use of such technology in its elections, other African countries may require support and assistance from the international community.

Dr Ibn Chambas commended President Buhari for his strong and positive actions against terrorism.

The United Nations envoy also welcomed President Buhari’s successful visit to Cameroon during the week and his reaffirmation of Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of all border issues with Cameroon.

HIV Can Be Flushed Out By Cancer Drug, Researchers Say

hiv virusThere is good news from the health world where researchers say the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be flushed out of its hiding places in the body using a cancer drug.

Already, the anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream, but leaves “HIV reservoirs” untouched.

This latest study shows that the cancer drug is “highly potent” at reactivating hidden HIV.

Experts say the findings are interesting, but it is important to know if the drug is safe in patients.

A strategy known as “kick and kill” is thought to be key to curing HIV. The kick would wake up the dormant HIV, allowing the drugs to kill it.

MH370 Search: Officials Predict Debris Is Part Of Plane

mh370 Search and rescue officials involved in the MH370 search have said that they are quite optimistic that the debris found on the Indian Ocean Island of Reunion is that of the missing flight.

Martin Dolan, who heads Australia’s search efforts, also said that the operation was continuing “in the right place” in the southern part of the ocean.

The wreckage, said to be a wing part, is to be flown to France for analysis.

The Malaysia Airlines flight – a Boeing 777 travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing – vanished in March 2014.

There were 239 passengers and crew on board when the MH370 went missing.

Aviation experts who have studied photos of the debris said that it resembles a flaperon – a moving part of the wing surface – from a Boeing 777.

“There is no other recorded case of a flaperon being lost from a Boeing 777,” Mr Dolan said.

“We are confident we have the quality of the search to cover that area and find the missing aircraft,” he added.