• “Angel’ shows up in church

    16/Oct/2016 // 827 Viewers

     

    A strange image of a perceived supernatural being believed to be an angel has been captured on camera during a church service by the Arjarquah Ministries in the Eastern region.

    The picture has subsequently gone viral on social media in particular, on the walls of some powerful men of God including Prophet Kofi Danso, a Canadian-based Ghanaian Prophet, who ministered at the interdenominational service when the incident took place, at the Koforidua Center for National Culture .

    Starr News understands several miracles were recorded during the revival program.

    According to reports, a female church member who was supposedly filled by the Holy Spirit during the service, saw the strange image on the walls of the auditorium at the time the service had closed around 12:30am and took the pictures after zooming in with her phone.

    Angel in ghana


    The strange being was captured on phone after the church service
    The image then disappeared before she could prompt the ushers who were praying nearby after the service.

    The leader of the church reportedly announced the wonderful sighting to the congregation in church the following day.

    Scores of politicians, musicians and radio personalities including Black Rasta have been attending the program for spiritual impartation.

    Credit:GHANABreakingnews


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  • Danger Alert! Swiss firms dump dirty fuel in Nigeria, other West African countries

    16/Sep/2016 // 665 Viewers

     

    Swiss trading companies are blending and dumping dirty fuel in Nigeria and other West African countries with more than 100 per cent toxic (sulphur) levels allowed in Europe, causing health and environmental hazards, according to a report.

    The report, “Dirty Diesel” from Swiss, watchdog group, Public Eye, said the companies are taking advantage of weak African regulatory standards to use cheap and dirty additives to create what’s called “African Quality” fuels.

    Senegal and Ghana are the other countries mentioned in the report. Vitol, Trafigura, Addax & Oryx and Lynx Energy have been named because they are shareholders of the fuel retailers. The practice is not illegal. The report quotes Swiss trading giants, Oryx, Trafigura and Vitol as noting that the blends met standards in the importing countries, with the largest amounts going to Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana. They said they have no vested interest in keeping sulphur levels higher than they need to be.

    But Public Eye accused the companies of lowering a fuel’s quality to just above a country’s legal limits to maximise profits by adding toxic products known to cause respiratory diseases.

    Although this is within the limits set by national governments, the sulphur contained in the fumes from the diesel fuel could increase respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis in affected countries, health experts said.

    The picture is changing but there are still several African countries that allow diesel to have a sulphur content of more than 2,000 parts per million (ppm), with some allowing more than 5,000ppm, whereas the European standard is less than 10ppm.

    Rob de Jong from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) told the BBC that there was a lack of awareness among some policy makers about the significance of the sulphur content. For a long time, countries relied on colonial-era standards, which have only been revised in recent years.

    Another issue is that in the countries where there are refineries, these are unable, for technical reasons, to reduce the sulphur levels to the standard acceptable in Europe. This means that the regulatory standard is kept at the level the refineries can operate at.

    Some governments are also worried that cleaner diesel would be more expensive, therefore, pushing up the price of transport. But De Jong argued that the difference was minimal and oil price fluctuations were much more significant in determining the diesel price.

    The sulphur particles emitted by a diesel engine are considered to be a major contributor to air pollution, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks as one of the top global health risks.
    It is associated with heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems.

    WHO said that pollution is particularly bad in low and middle income countries. Reducing the sulphur content in diesel would go some way to reducing the risk that air pollution poses.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Dorothy Bassey told Daily Sun in a telephone interview that there is no cause for alarm as all petroleum products are tested before entering the shores of the country. According to her, any product or products that fail the specification test are sent back to the country of origin.

    ‘’But if by error of omission or commission any product/s that fall short of the required specification find their way into the country, the importer of such products will be severely sanctioned,’’ she said.
    On his part, the  NNPC spokesman, Mr. Mohammed Garbadeen, said that, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will not deliberately import toxic fuel into the country.


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  • As Gambians lose fear, President JAMMEH's isolation grows

    17/Dec/2016 // 1689 Viewers

     

    (BANJUL) : Lawyers, trade unions, teachers and journalists have joined a growing chorus of demands for Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to accept his defeat in a Dec. 1 election, as people lose their fear of the man who has ruled them for the past 22 years.
     
    As lawyers prepared to attend a meeting of the Gambian Bar Association on Monday, the intelligence service rang them with threats and monitored the ritzy Coco Ocean Hotel where they gathered, said the association's Secretary General Aziz Bensouda.
     
    But since the shock opposition victory that brought Gambians out on the streets of the capital Banjul in boisterous celebration, the familiar menacing tactics have lost their usual effectiveness.
     
    "The intimidation did not work," said Bensouda. "At the end, no one feared anything."
     
    After first conceding defeat to little-known challenger Adama Barrow, Jammeh last week rejected the voting results and his party is challenging them at Gambia's Supreme Court.
     
    Whether the small West African country can achieve its first peaceful transition of power in more than 50 years is an important question for a region long used to authoritarian rulers and sporadic coups. A top United Nations official said this week that Jammeh would face strong sanctions if he tried to cling to power beyond the end of his elected term next month.
     
    Following the five-hour bar association meeting, dozens of lawyers stood on the tiled steps of the resort's meeting room at dusk and accused Jammeh of "treason" for refusing to step down.
     
    Just a few onlookers were present, but the statement prompted an unprecedented cascade of similar denunciations.
     
    The next day, the Gambia Teachers Union called Jammeh's refusal to leave office a "recipe for chaos and disorder which undoubtedly endangers the lives of all Gambians."
     
    On Wednesday, the Gambian press union, one of the most harshly persecuted groups under Jammeh, said he must back down.
     
    "The defeat was conceded. There is, therefore, no turning back," it said.
     
    Transport and medical unions and the Chamber of Commerce echoed that call in statements on Thursday.
     
    "ILLUSION SHATTERED"
     
    The public demands have left Jammeh, who took power in a 1994 coup and once vowed to rule for "a billion years", looking isolated both internationally and domestically in the country of 1.8 million.
     
    Gambians are now openly speaking out against him in places they didn't dare before - in taxis, markets and on the phones and computers they used to worry were tapped.
     
    "The illusion of Jammeh as Gambia's all-seeing and all-knowing overlord has been shattered for ever. The fear among Gambians is gone," said Jeffrey Smith from campaign group Vanguard Africa.
     
    The lawyers who first spoke out against Jammeh had pent-up frustrations to voice. Their jobs had long been a struggle. Gaining access to detained clients was often impossible in the face of recalcitrant security officials. Many received death threats for representing Jammeh's political opponents.
     
    With Gambians too fearful to serve on the Supreme Court and the High Court, lawyers and judges have had to be brought in from abroad to fill key positions.
     
    So when the association brought forward this week's meeting to discuss the president's defiance, its attendance ballooned from the usual couple of dozen members to nearly 100.
     
    As they scoured the constitution for legal arguments against Jammeh, the tense atmosphere was suddenly broken.
     
    "A senior lawyer said, 'Let's just call it what it is. It is treason.' The room exploded in applause," said Bensouda, who was present.
     
    The lawyers voted to approve that wording, then celebrated with a meal of butter-fried shrimp and beef brochettes. Many hugged and laughed.
     
    "We have compromised ourselves for too long and have not stood up because of fear," said Bensouda. "When Jammeh lost the election, it solidified everyone."

    (Reuters)


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  • ECOWAS summons EXTRA-ORDNIARY MEETING, to discuss crises in The GAMBIA, GUINEA BISSAU, decide next line of action

    17/Dec/2016 // 2308 Viewers

     

    At the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government (HOSG) scheduled to hold today in Abuja, the political crisis in Gambia would top the agenda.
    President Muhammadu Buhari, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and current Chairperson of the Authority of HOSG, and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra-Leone, were in The Gambia on Tuesday.

    The leaders went to convince the long-ruling President Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power after losing an election on 1 December.

    The leaders urged Jammeh to reconsider his rejection of the election results, based on what he called “tallying errors” and his call for new elections.

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Chairperson of ECOWAS also said leaders of the sub-region would address the situation in Guinea Bissau.

    The ECOWAS chairperson had described the situation in Guinea Bissau as ‘very complicated’, noting that “it is pertinent to choose a leader that reflected the will of the people”.

    In April 2012, the military staged a coup d’état in that country, and military leaders and a coalition of political parties announced the formation of a Transitional National Council, under international pressure.

    Guinea-Bissau has also been in a political impasse since August 2015, when President José Mario Vaz sacked the Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, leader of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.

    Vaz also dissolved the government on Nov. 12 in an attempt to solve a political succession crisis.

    A delegation from ECOWAS on Nov. 6 demanded that Vaz name a new prime minister and deal with dissenting deputies with the aim of resuming parliament’s normal functions.

    It was also gathered that the summit would consider the report of the 77th Ordinary Season of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the 37th session of the Mediation and Security Council.

    The meeting would also consider the 2016 Annual Report of the President of the commission and discuss the sub-regions strategy for elections to African union positions.

    A final communiqué is expected to be presented at the end of the meeting.


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  • ECOWAS SUMMIT TODAY: More trouble for JAMMEH as regional leaders sentence him in ABUJA ahead of January 19

    17/Dec/2016 // 1948 Viewers

     

    West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS unanimously passed a sentence insisting that Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh steps down when his mandate ends in January because he lost an election, the bloc’s chairwoman, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, said on Saturday.

    Her comments came at the start of an ECOWAS summit in the Nigerian capital aimed at DECIDING AN ACTION ON AGAINST JAMMEH in the face of what regional leaders say is a challenge to its principles of democratic accountability.

    Johnson Sirleaf did not spell out what measures the bloc would take but they could include sanctions, which could hurt Gambia because ECOWAS member Senegal is the country’s only neighbour.

    “It’s now important that the authority at this summit considers measures to bring the matter to a successful conclusion before January 19 … when the mandate of the current President expires,” Johnson Sirleaf told the summit.

    Jammeh’s 22 years in power have been marked by allegations of human rights abuses and repression against perceived political opponents. He lost a Dec. 1 election to little-known challenger Adama Barrow and is due to step down on January 18.

    Initially, he conceded defeat but a week ago he rejected the results and called for a fresh vote in a move that was widely condemned. His party is now challenging the result in Gambia’s Supreme Court, reports Reuters.

    Johnson Sirleaf’s remarks follow a mission to Gambia this week accompanied by the leaders of several West African countries including Nigeria and Ghana, whose President John Mahama lost a December 7 election and said he would step down.


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  • ECOWAS leaders shrug as BUHARI accused of defying regional court orders calls for speedy reforms of ECOWAS institutions

    17/Dec/2016 // 9632 Viewers

     

    President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make the regional organisation more responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.

    The president made the call at the opening of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, held in Abuja on Saturday.

    He also called for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and to prepare member nations for the challenges of such Institutional reforms.

    Buhari also stressed the need to make conscious efforts to improve on governance and accountability at all levels.

    “We also need to make conscious efforts to improve on Governance and accountability at all levels.

    “This calls for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and prepare us for the challenges of such Institutional reforms.

    “To this end, we should ensure that priority is given to the implementation of development programmes, while the ECOWAS Parliament should be entrusted with more functions.

    “In addition, the cost of governance must be reduced across all ECOWAS Institutions while resources should be devoted to programmes and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population.

    “In this regard, it is necessary that measures be taken to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make ECOWAS responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.

    On economic integration, Buhari observed that the modest achievements in regional integration were being challenged by globalisation.

    According to him, most member countries continue to record low volume of trade, occasioned by declining level of economic activities, caused by the sharp fall in commodity prices.

    He said: “While oil prices fell by an astounding 57 percent between June 2014 and January 2015, other commodity prices have also weakened sharply thereby putting pressure on the current account and fiscal balances of our countries.

    “This ugly situation demands that we diversify our respective economies from commodities into other sectors such as banking, construction and telecommunications and most importantly agro–processing, manufacturing and services.

    “As we adjust to a more challenging globalised environment, stronger efforts are required to increase domestic revenue mobilisation in our countries and Community Institutions.”

    He said that Member States must diversify their economies away from trade in commodities towards developing robust infrastructure that would support manufacturing and industrialisation.

    Buhari, therefore, urged the Community to invest more in infrastructure and human resources so as to unleash the potentials that exist in our respective economies and in our peoples.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 15 member states of the ECOWAS are currently attending the summit with The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso being represented by their foreign ministers, while Cape Verde is being represented by Ambassador of Senegal to Nigeria.

    The summit will be discussing behind closed doors, the political situation in Gambia and Guinea Bissau while the 2016 Annual Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission (Report of the 77th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers would be presented and considered).

    The Report of 37th Session of the Mediation and Security, date and venue of the 51st Ordinary Session of the Authority as well as signing of Community Acts and Decisions will be discussed and considered at the summit.


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  • Embattled outgoing Gambian leader, JAMMEH, in a quandary as COURT rejects request to stop BARROW's inauguaration

    17/Jan/2017 // 1196 Viewers

     

    Gambia Supreme Court yesterday declined to stop Thursday’s inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow.

    The Supreme Court ruling followed a petition by President Yahya Jammeh, seeking an injunction aimed at blocking Barrow’s swearing in.

    Jammeh’s constitutional term in office is expected to end on Wednesday after he lost to businessman Barrow, in the December 1, 2016 poll.

    Although he initially accepted defeat, he has since lodged a case before the Supreme Court requesting the result be annulled.

    But the court is unable to hold a hearing until May – as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries – and Jammeh has said he is going nowhere until then.

    Barrow, who has received the support of the international community, has said he would go ahead with his inauguration on Jan. 19 despite Jammeh’s rejection of the result.

    Supreme Court Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle told Jammeh’s lawyer that he could not make the order being sought to stop the January 19 inauguration.

    Fagbenle said he was unable to preside over the motion filed because he was named in the petition.

    Already, thousands of people have begun fleeing Gambia amid growing signs that ECOWAS could invade the former British colony within days.
    Regional leaders have signalled their determination to mount a rare African defence of democratic principle by using force to ensure that Jammeh, Gambia’s president of 22 years, gives up power.

    Ferry terminals on the River Gambia are recieving passengers hoping for safe passage into Senegal. The United Nations refugee agency says it is assessing the situation.


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  • Again, JAMMEH hit by RESIGNATIONS, four MINISTERS quit - BCC

    17/Jan/2017 // 3100 Viewers

     

    Four government ministers have resigned in The Gambia, amid a growing political crisis over long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh's refusal to step down when his mandate ends on Thursday, Reuters news agency reports. 

    The environment minister has quit, along with the ministers of foreign affairs, finance and trade, it quotes ministry sources and state media as saying.

    BBC


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  • Gambian president declares state of emergency - The Guardian reports

    17/Jan/2017 // 2226 Viewers

     

    The president of The Gambia has declared a state of emergency in the west African country two days before he is due to leave office.

    The declaration is the latest in a series of attempts by Yahya Jammeh to hang onto power beyond his current tally of 22 years. Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who beat Jammeh in the December election, is due to be inaugurated on Thursday, but the incumbent is refusing to leave.

    Meanwhile, four government ministers, including the foreign and finance ministers defected on Tuesday, leaving Jammeh increasingly isolated.

    Thousands of Gambians are fleeing the country or sending their children abroad, afraid that the regional organisation ECOWAS will make good on its promise to resort to force to remove Jammeh if necessary. Hundreds of women and children balancing suitcases on their heads took the ferry out of Banjul, the country’s capital, on Tuesday, many bound for the border.

    “Everybody’s leaving,” said one Gambian immigration official. “They’re worried there might be war.”

    Jammeh said he was making the order “to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum”, although Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, is poised to return to Gambian soil at midnight on Wednesday under heavy security to be sworn in as The Gambia’s first new president in more than two decades.
    “I hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout The Gambia, as a situation exists, which if it is allowed to continue, will lead to a state of public emergency,” Jammeh told the nation over national radio and television. As the president’s voice boomed out from an old radio in Churchill’s Town in Serrekunda, welders stopped their work momentarily to listen.

    “This declaration is necessitated by the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the December presidential election and in the internal affairs of The Gambia, and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.”

    Under the state of emergency, the constitution and citizens’ rights can be suspended, and the president can rule by presidential decree. Jammeh made the order despite the fact that parliament had not yet agreed to it.

    However, as he spoke, the matter was being discussed by the national assembly, and with most of the country’s opposition lying low, every member spoke in favour of it. By the constitution, a state of emergency last seven days, but in the same order, the national assembly extended it until July.

    Jammeh initially accepted the results of the election but later declared it null, saying the electoral commission had made errors. He took his case to the supreme court, but there were no judges to hear it, so it has been delayed until May. Then Jammeh tried to bring an injunction to stop Barrow attending his own inauguration, but the country’s chief justice said he could not rule on it.

    Several mediating missions by the Nigerian and Liberian presidents have failed to result in a deal.

    “He’s trying every trick he can think of to appear strong to local supporters and to appear peaceful to the international community, but he can’t change what’s coming. There are so many deals he should have taken,” a legal expert in Banjul said. “Perhaps he will wait until the last possible minute and then take a deal.”

    One of these deals offered to Jammeh is a “golden retirement” in Morocco, according to local reports, as long as he steps down. Nigeria has also apparently offered him asylum. 

    This post appeared first on The Guardian


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  • Liberia gets $18 million EU grant to support its budget

    17/Jun/2016 // 183 Viewers

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian leader


    The Liberian government has received EUR 16 million (USD 18 million) from the European Union (EU) to support the budget of the West African country targeting justice and security sectors.

    In a statement released by the EU on Wednesday, the regional body said the grant is the second payment under their EU budget support programme and the disbursement will be done directly into the treasury account of the Liberian government.

    The conditions of the disbursement, according to the statement, was agreed on with the government to channel the money into the areas of improved public financial management and some sector specific targets relating to justice and security.

    The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide.

    “The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide: health, education, justice and security,” the head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, said.
     
    She urged the Liberian government to continue the improvement of public finance management, fight against corruption, security and access to justice.

    The first payment of the grant disbursed in July 2015 was EUR 29.2 million (USD 33 million) and together with the second payment, they amount to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s 2015/2016 budget.

    Liberia has received a number of grants from the EU and other donor organisations to support its fragile economy due to the Ebola epidemic.
    For the 2015/2016 Financial Year, the country approved a budget of $622,743,420 and is expecting a revenue of $555,993,000 which will be a decline of almost 11 per cent.

    It attributes the losses in the fall of demand for iron ore and rubber, which are their two top exports and also reduced budget support, the government announced. - today.ng

     


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