Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kogi govt sacks NLC Chairman, says he’s a “ghost-worker”

Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

The Kogi State government says the state chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Onuh Edoka, is a “ghost worker”, and has fired him.

Mr. Edoka was one of about 9000 people sacked following a screening exercise to weed out illegal workers from the 21 local government areas of the state.

Mr. Edoka, who serves as head of both the Medical Health Workers Union and the NLC in the state, said he was employed in 1989, and currently serves as a Disease and Surveillance Officer in the state.

He said he was baffled by the result of the screening exercise headed by Paul Okuntimo, a retired general, who gained notoriety for his role in the incarceration of the late activist, Saro Wiwa.

“The General’s committee claims that I submitted the wrong bank statements. But they only asked for my statement of accounts for the past two years which I submitted,” Mr. Edoka said in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of the state chapter of the NLC, Mr Edoka said the workers union would take to the streets to challenge the government’s actions.

“The government just got a bailout based on the current staff strength. Suddenly they want to retrench workers to divert the funds even though some of these workers have not been paid for over 23 months,” he said.

“The NLC is saying that these people are not ghost workers. They are living beings and we are ready to bring them out on the streets of Lokoja so that the world can see that they are not ghosts but real workers of Kogi state,” Mr Eboka said.

The government said the screening process was transparent and designed to identify persons who gained employment or obtained promotions fraudulently.

Gbenga Olorunpomi, a media aide to Gov. Yayaha Bello of Kogi State, said some of the workers who failed the screening exercise did not furnish the committee with the required information.

“For example, many of them refused to supply their BVNs [Bank Verification Numbers]. This automatically brings up the question of why they don’t have BVNs if they don’t have anything to hide,” he said, adding that the current list is merely a preliminary list and that the said workers would be given the opportunity to rectify any deficiency.

“The governor has assured the people that no legitimate worker in Kogi state will be sacked. But there are some people who got into the system fraudulently. For those people, we have no apologies,” Mr. Olorunpomi said.

A new list, which will clarify the reasons for the screening failure, is expected to be released within the week.

Source: Premium Times

‘Obiano police’ in Anambra state attack market women, injure seven

    

Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano

Several market women at Ogbaru Market in Anambra State were on Wednesday allegedly attacked by a government agency, Ocha Brigade otherwise known as Governor Obiano’s Police.

Some of the injured women were rushed to an unnamed hospital in Ogbaru.

Trouble began when the brigade, led by one Kenneth Okonkwo, stormed the market and  allegedly shot into the air and thus forced the traders, mostly women to flee into safety.

The invaders destroyed goods worth huge sums of naira mostly plantains, water melon, tomatoes, vegetable and allied goods.

The Punch reported that seven women were injured in the fracas.

The spokesperson for the traders, Charles Orji, said, “We could not believe our eyes when these Ocha Brigade people and their thugs numbering over 300 invaded the market this afternoon.

“I got a phone call that some hoodlums had invaded the relief market and on getting there, I saw Okonkwo, the commander of Ocha Brigade with his men beating traders, destroying their goods and shooting sporadically.

“ It was like a war. I have not seen something like this before. They were beating these women like beasts,” Orji said.

One of the injured women, Mrs. Chinyere Okafor, a 35-year-old mother of five, told journalists that she lost N45,000 cash and her goods.

An eyewitness, Zeribe Ezeanuna, corroborated that the attack was like a war.

He said it appeared the government of the day had no interest of the common people at heart.

He added, “They did not inform anybody about their coming. They only invaded the market  and shot sporadically and injured people who had come to trade.”

Ocha Brigade has been having issues with traders in the state over revenue collection.

The traders see government’s levies and taxes as arbitrary.

Reacting, the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mrs. Uzoamaka Ilobi, assured the traders that the Chief Willie Obiano administration,  being a responsive government, would look into the attack.

She said the Ocha Brigade’s operatives were working according to the directive of the government to decongest roads which was exactly what they were carrying out when the fracas ensued.

It was gathered that the brigade men’s action followed the directive by the government to relocate the traders because, according to the government, the traders were causing obstruction along major roads.

Source: The Punch

Over 10 houses of suspected kidnappers demolished by Imo State Government

Imo State Government Thursday demolished houses belonging to suspected kidnappers who were arrested by the Police in the recent onslaught against kidnapping and other heinous crimes by the State Police Command.

In the operation tagged “Operation Osheebe” led by the Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere and the State Police Commissioner, Taiwo Lakanu and the Commander 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze, Brigadier General Kay Isiyaku,  over ten houses were pulled down in Ohuba, an agrarian community in Ohaji-Egbema Council Area of the State.

According to Police sources, most of the kidnap incidents in the State is coordinated from a massive forest located in the community, where the victims are kept in connivance with the villagers who conceal the information from security agents.

According to the Deputy Governor, the operation was in line with the determination of the State government to give priority to the security of life and property of the people living in the State.

He said that the State government will not rest on its oars until those behind the unwholesome acts of kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes are brought to book.

Madumere who was shocked by the massive buildings owned by the kidnappers, said that the demolition exercise is a strategy that will have a lasting effects in the minds of the people so serve as a deterrent to others.

He noted that it will be an unpardonable error on the part of the government if it allows those known for ill gotten wealth to continue to show off with their wealth, adding that, “such will be contradicting the cherished value and the very foundation of the society”.

The Commissioner of Police, in his speech, noted that the strategy of demolishing the homes of criminals and their accomplices will send a warning signal that whosever indulges in crime and those abeting and protecting them will not go unpunished

Source: The Nation

April allocation shared among Federal, States and Local Govts drops to N281.5b



The monthly allocation shared among the federal, states and Local governments dipped by N18.2 billion, leaving the tiers of government with a total of N281.500 billion for April, shared yesterday in Abuja

For March, N299.747 billion was shared.

Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun blamed the drop in allocation on the huge decline recorded in the price of crude oil. She said there was a revenue loss of $45.9m as a result of the drop in average price of crude oil from $39.04 in December, 2015 to $29.02 in January.

Mrs Adeosun noted that “while oil production increased slightly between December 2015 and January 2016 despite explosions at Escravos terminal, she said force majeure declared at Brass terminal, shut-in and shut-down of pipelines at other terminals for repairs maintenance affected government revenues.”

These developments also led a decline of N18.8 billion in gross statutory revenue from N232.61 billion in March to N213.81 billion in April.

As a result of these fall in revenue and what was left for the three tiers of governments to share, the statutory revenue distributable also dropped to N207.878 billion as against N226.875 billion previously shared.

Of this amount, the federal government got N101,215 billion, states received N51.338 billion while local governments got N39.579 billion. The oil producing states got N15.745 billion as their 13 per cent derivation while balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $2.261 billion.

The Minister announced that N6.330 billion was refunded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account while N2.424 billion being the exchange gain was equally shared by FAAC stakeholders.

For Value Added Tax (VAT) distribution, the minister said N9.39 billion was allocated to the Federal Government, states received N31.32 billion while the local government councils were allocated N21.92 billion.

Source: The Nation

PHOTO: Guard’s son is Lagos State University’s best graduating student



Odubola Israel Damilola and Arowosegbe Michael Aderibigbe are the best graduating students of the Lagos State University for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions.

The former with Cumulate Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.60 is of the Department of Economics and his counterpart of the Biochemistry Department with 4.68 CGPA.

Aderibigbe was yesterday the cynosure of all eyes because of his grass-to-grace testimony.

  His valedictory speech  moved the large crowd of guests to tears.

Aderibigbe’s father was a member of contract staff of LASU security unit, popularly tagged ‘Campus Marshall’.  He is a computer.

Unfortunately, the elder  Aderibigbe was involved in an accident on campus, which made him almost bedridden.

Aderibigbe revealed how he kept his father’s identity for fear of being attacked.

“My dad had been here for about five years before I secured admission, but I could not tell my friends because I was afraid of being attacked. So I kept it a secret.

“I witnessed a protest  in 100 Level, where my father was stoned. I could not cry.”

He recounted how his choice of LASU was accidental, having failed a couple of times to clinch admission to study Medicine and Surgery at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

His superb 287 Post-UTME score could not guarantee him a space in OAU.

But his persistent father urged him to settle for LASU, which he initially chose as second choice.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, thanked Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for stepping up the infrastructural pace of the institution.

He admonished the graduands to behave with honour, adding that they are still a part of their alma mater

Source: The Nation

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Police arrest Fulani herdsmen involved in Enugu attack

ACP Olabisi Kolawole

The Nigeria Police Force has announced the arrest of five persons who allegedly participated in the midnight attack on Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State on April 25.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Acting Commissioner of Police, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, the Force Public Relations Officer, on Wednesday in Abuja.

It said that the arrest followed the police’s renewed determination to rid the society of crimes and all forms of criminality.

The statement said the arrest was also based on the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) credible technical intelligence.

“The IGP’s IRT, based on the intelligence gathered on the attack, arrested the suspects and recovered one Gionee L88 mobile phone with memory card containing the video recording of the massacre in the community.

It said the team also on May 6 busted a 3-man syndicate of deadly bank robbers/kidnappers and recovered arms, ammunition, dynamites and rifle servicing tools from them.

The statement said the gang members had been terrorising Rivers, Imo and Enugu States, respectively.

It said items recovered from them include 3 AK-47 rifles; 1 LAR rifle; 310 rounds of live ammunition; 12 rifle magazines; rifle servicing tools; cache of dynamite explosive; 1 Toyota Highlander Jeep; 1 Toyota Venza jeep; and 1Ford Edge Jeep.

The statement said the IRT also in Kaduna State, on May 20 arrested three suspects in the State for alleged kidnapping and robbery.

It said different caliber of weapons were also recovered from the bandits.

The statement attributed the recent break-through to the growing trust and cooperation between the Force and the public.

It assured Nigerians that the Police would remain dynamic and creative in formulating new strategies for fighting crimes and criminality, urging Nigerians to continue to support the Force

UK, Australia deport 40 Nigerians

    

The United Kingdom and Australia on Wednesday jointly deported 40 Nigerians alleged to have committed various offences in both countries.

The deportees comprising 33 males and seven females arrived at the Hajj Camp area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 7:25 a.m. with two chartered aircraft.

Thirty-six of the deportees were flown into the country in a chartered aircraft with registration number ZTA -4741, News Agency of Nigeria reported.

The other four were repatriated through an Air Seychelles aircraft with registration number SND-1.

A reliable source at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) told NAN that apart from the Nigerians, some unspecified Africans from Ghana, Liberia and Egypt, were also deported.

The source said they were deported from their host countries for overstaying their visas and other immigration offences.

According to the source, they were received by various agencies such as the Police, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the National Agency for Protection and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

NAN, however, gathered that some of the deportees refused to allow the immigration officers to capture their biometrics for record purposes and forced their way out of the airport.

The Public Relations Officer, NIS, Mr Ekpedeme King, confirmed the development to aviation correspondents on phone, but could not provide further details.

It would be recalled that 50 Nigerians were deported from the United Kingdom on Nov. 25, 2015 for similar reasons.

The deportees, made of 44 males and six females, were flown into the country at about 6.30 a.m. in a chattered B767 belonging to PITAN Airways, with registration number ETA.

Source: NAN

DEMOCRACY DAY: Federal Govt of Nigeria declares Monday May 30,2016 as public holiday

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal Government has declared Monday, May 30, 2016 as a public holiday to celebrate the 2016 Democracy Day.

Making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, the Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), assured Nigerians that with the signing into law of the 2016 Appropriation Act, the country would witness a “New Deal” with its full implementation, especially of the Social Intervention Programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of the populace.

In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Bassey Akpanyung, he minister was quoted as saying, “Dambazau congratulates Nigerians on the attainment of one year in office of President Muhammadu Buhari and enjoined all to continue to support the President in his sustained effort in building a peaceful, enduring and democratic legacy.

“The minister wishes all Nigerians a happy Democracy Day celebration.”

Source: The Punch

WhatsApp Gold: Beware of hackers,don't upgrade to this 'advanced' version of WhatsApp

NEW scam is trying to trick users into upgrading to WhatsApp Gold, which includes 'advanced features designed for celebs'.



GETTYFAKE: WhatsApp Gold is not real and you shouldn't upgrade

If you're invited to join a premier version of WhatsApp DON'T be fooled.

A new scam is attempting to trick users of the popular messaging service into downloading a secret upgrade called WhatsApp Gold.

This update is said to include a host of advanced features such as Video calling, Deleting messages you send by mistake and the ability to send more than 100 pictures at once.

It's unclear how many users have received the fake message which reads: “Hey Finally Secret Whatsapp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too"

PH

WARNING: Don't open this fake WhatsApp Gold message



WHATSAPP

WhatsApp users are then asked to click on a link to download the update which takes them to website thought to be full of malicious software.

If you get any messages claiming to upgrade you to WhatsApp Gold you should delete them immediately.

This latest scam comes just weeks after Apple users were targeted by a similar online threat.

Daily Star Online reported that a new scam that attempts to trick iPhone users into handing over sensitive and very private date.






The new message claims to be from Apple's iSupport.

Users real names are used at the beginning of the text with the message saying: "Your iCloud ID is due to expire today."

Apple fans are then asked to click a link to prevent deletion.

Daily Star Online ivestigation reveals that it actually takes one to an official looking Apple account – if you get this message DON'T click on the link.

Source: UK Daily Star

Twitter hackers have used these boobs to trick thousands of people into viewing porn 

SOCIAL media accounts hacked in major cyber attack.

PH

HACKED: Twitter users are being warned about their accounts being

Thousands of innocent Twitter users have been hit by a cyber attack which tricks other social media fans into viewing X-rated content.

An investigation by security firm Symantec, found over 2,500 accounts had been compromised in a major attack.

Some Twitter users had even had their profile photo, biography, and full name of the changed to promote adult dating and sex sites.

During their investigation Symantec found a few notable compromised Twitter accounts belonging to electrofunk band Chromeo as well as an international journalist from a UK national newspaper.

TWITTER

Once the attackers take over your Twitter feed they then use the accounts to like tweets and follow other users, hoping to capitalise on users being curious enough to investigate their Twitter profiles.

If a user visits the compromised profile, they will see tweets that claim to offer free sign-ups to watch “hot shows” over webcam, or dates and sexual encounters. Each of these tweets includes sexually suggestive photos and shortened links using either Bitly or Google’s URL shortener, goo.gl.

Symnatec says that it’s likely that the attackers are making money by redirecting users to these sites through affiliate programs.

The news comes as WhatsApp users have also been warned of a new cyber scam.

The attackers are attempting to trick users of the popular messaging service intodownloading a secret upgrade called WhatsApp Gold.

This update is said to include a host of advanced features such as Video calling, Deleting messages you send by mistake and the ability to send more than 100 pictures at once.

GETTY

ALERT: Thousands of Twitter accounts have been attacked

PH

TRICKED: If you get the is message from 'WhatsApp' don't open it

How to secure your Twitter account

If you’re an active Twitter user and you are concerned about your account being compromised, there are a few things you can do to secure your account:

1. Create a strong and unique password: It is likely that many of the compromised accounts used weak passwords or re-used passwords on other services.

2. Use a password manager: If you want to create and securely store your passwords, we suggest using a password manager. While there are plenty to choose from (LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass, Password Safe, Norton Identity Safe), we suggest you use one that best meets your needs and your budget.

3. Consider enabling Twitter’s Login Verification: Instead of relying on just a password, Login Verification requires you to enter a code that is sent to your mobile phone. This adds an extra layer of security and helps prevent unauthorized access to your account. Just be sure to securely store your backup code in case you lose your mobile phone.

Source: UK Daily Star

KIDNAPPING: Inspector General of Police deploys helicopter, mobile police to Kogi State


Following the increase in criminal activities, particularly, kidnapping in Kogi State, the Inspector General of Police  (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, has deployed four units of mobile policemen and 32 special anti-robbery squad and a helicopter in the state to stem the tide.
Receiving the squad and the materials at the Government House, Lokoja, on Tuesday, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, warned criminals and their sponsors to relocate from the state or face the full wrath of the law.
The governor said the state government was ready to collaborate with  security operatives to ensure that criminals are flushed out of the state.
 “The state government is ever ready to give all the necessary support to  security agents in the state to assist in tackling the menace of kidnapping, which he noted, had given  the  state a bad image,” he said.
“In my inauguration speech, I vowed to have a state where citizens will  sleep with their two eyes closed, where people will do their legitimate businesses without hindrance, where travellers will pass through without any harassment or molestation by any criminal.
“But in recent time, the increase in crime wave is worrisome and as a result of that, I cried to the president of this country and the  IGP and today, we are receiving four units of mobile policemen from  IGP, including special anti- robbery squad and a helicopter. These men will face the criminals squarely until they bring them to their knees.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Yakubu Usman,  said that the IGP deployed 32 special squad to the state and four unit of mobile policemen to get rid of kidnappers, who have been terrorising the people of the  state.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

Kogi screening exercise: Drama as Kogi state NLC chairman declared as 'ghost worker'


Another round of industrial crisis looms in Kogi State as the organised labour in the state, on Tuesday, demanded  the removal of the chairman of the screening committee set up by the state government, Brigadier-General Paul Okuntimo (retd), and also that he should be relieved of his appointment as the special adviser to the governor on security matters.
This is just as the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Onuh Edoka, was said to have been screened out of the civil service and categorised as one of the ghost workers on the payroll of the state government.
The labour unions, comprising NLC, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC),  accused the chairman of high handedness and taking unilateral decisions on issues that affected the screening of the state and local government workers.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the unions, the state chairman of TUC, Ranti Ojo, said Okuntimo should be removed as he cannot deliver on such sensitive assignment, adding that the labour unions had, since last Thursday, withdrawn their members from the committee.
The organised labour, which rejected the purported list of local government workers released by the committee, however, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the state government, after which they would resume the strike  that was suspended earlier in the year.
However, while reacting to the allegations by the unions, Okuntimo said the labour leaders were only crying wolf because of their involvement in the acts ongoing in the state public service.
He said the unions lacked locus standi to call for his removal as they were not consulted by Governor Bello before he was appointed.
Okuntimo said: “What I saw in those union leaders is that they are not sincere, they were found compromising their position in the field, when I discovered this, I confronted them. I am preparing my case against them.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

Mass Sack: Kogi Labour Leaders Back-out of Screening Exercise, Issues Notice of Strike Action

The leaders of organized labour in Kogi state have pulled out their representatives in the workers’ screening committee due to what it described as antics of the state government to massively downsize the workforce.

Arising from a meeting held in lokoja yesterday, the leaders of NLC, TUC and PSJNC resolved ro embark on strike action if the state government fail to do the right thing.

Labour declared that the purported list of ‘cleared’ Local Government workers sent to the councils are not know to the labour and should be withdrawn within 24 hours.

The labour leaders also demanded that the chairman of them screening committee, Brigadier General Paul Olushola Okuntimo (Rtd.) be removed with immediate effect because he lacks capacity, morality and integrity to deliver on such a sensitive assignment.

Labour queried the integrity of the Yahaya Bello-led government on the recently released bailout fund. The leaders asked why the government is yet to come up with the bailout implementation committee as stipulated by the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The state government is deceiving workers and public because of her ulterior motives.

“Labour is not unaware of the deceit of government to massively retrench the state workers, local government workers and primary school teachers and also reduce the numbers of pensioners through the so called ‘first list’.

Labour issued a 7-day ultimatum to the state government to meet stated demands and vowed to embark on strike action if government fails.


Source: Kogi Reports

New Oba of Benin of Benin appointed by Edo State Government


The Edeaiken N''Uselu, Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa

The Edo State government has approved the appointment of His Royal Highness Edaiken N’Uselu, Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa as the Oba of Benin with effect from April 29, 2016.
A letter dated May 24, 2016 signed by the Secretary to State Government, Prof Julius Omozuanvbo Ihonvbere, announced the appointment which it said was in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 19 (1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law, 1979  (as amended) and by virtue of all other laws enabling the executive council of the Edo State government. The appointment followed the death of the former Oba of Benin, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa, at the age of  92.

Source: Daily Trust

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nicki Minaj flashes her boobs

RMALLY when Nicki Minaj wants to serve sex appeal she’s hard at twerk in one of her outrageous music videos.

INSTAGRAMPEEK-A-BOOB: Someone needs a bigger bra...

But the Anaconda rapper proved that she doesn’t reserve flashing the flesh for her hip-hop exploits – she’s more than happy to do it in the comfort of her own home, too.

Suffice to say, a quiet night in never looked so good.

Donning nothing but a lacy bra and a whole lotta extensions, the curve queen put her breast foot forward as she smouldered into the mirror.

Judging by the insane levels of bulge, someone definitely needs a bigger bra…

 

With her arm wrapped around her waist and her black and white tresses tumbling over her shoulder, Nicki channeled fallen (Victoria’s Secret) angel as she sassily arched her eyebrow.

Her fans certainly seemed to appreciate her, ahem, generosity.

“And people say she’s bottom heavy,” one user joked.

“Looks Photoshopped but we know it ain’t, her body’s just that insane,” another added.

“Hot damn! Kneel before the queen,” a third chimed in.

We bet Kim Kardashian’s quaking in her designer, custom-made boots…

Although she did manage to serve more boob than we thought biologically possible afterfalling out her dress on date night earlier this week.

Source: UK Daily Star

North Korean workers defect from overseas restaurant, says South

*GETTY IMAGES* captionNorth Korea operates restaurants staffed by its citizens in several countries

A group of North Koreans working at a state-run restaurant overseas have defected, South Korea has confirmed.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said that the workers had "broken away", but refused to comment further. It said they would now come to South Korea.

Yonhap News Agency, citing an unidentified source, said the defectors had been in China but were currently in a third country in South East Asia.

This would be the second restaurant defection this year.

In April, a group of 13 North Koreans workers defected to South Korea from a restaurant in Ningbo, China.

Pyongyang has accused Seoul of abducting them, but Seoul strongly denies this.

North Korea runs some 130 restaurants in other countries, a vital source of income.

The staff are usually chosen for their loyalty to the North Korean leadership.

Source: BBC

Facebook to update Trending Topics

*GETTY IMAGES*

Facebook has announced changes to the way it runs its Trending Topics feed, following an internal investigation.

There will be more training for staff and the feed will no longer rely on a list of news organisations, including the BBC, Washington Post and Buzzfeed News, to validate subjects.

The feed, which lists popular headlines along with a brief description, has been accused of political bias.

However, Facebook's report found no evidence of this.

Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said the investigation analysed 3,000 reviewer decisions following allegations that conservative issues were being suppressed.

*FACEBOOK*An example of the column, which appears on the right hand side of the platform for logged-on members

The site was accused by anonymous former employees of tampering with its Trending Topics feature, promoting "progressive" views and websites over content presenting views from the American right.

Current and former staff were also interviewed by the firm.

The findings were revealed in a 12-page letter, addressed to US Senator John Thune but also published online, in response to Mr Thune's questions about the workings of Trending.

The Trending Topics feed currently works as a mixture of AI and human input, with potential subjects being suggested via algorithm and then reviewed by staff.

They are a mixture of popular subjects discussed on the social network and sourced from 1,000 media organisations. There was also a list of 10 organisations used to determine importance.

However, "as much as half" of the topics suggested algorithmically are rejected "because they do not make sense at the time or are duplicative", Mr Stretch said.

Media captionThe BBC's Dave Lee reports from outside Facebook headquarters in California

So-called "stale topics" - events still popular in discussions after two days but with no new developments - and "junk hashtags" - popular topics not related to actual events - are also sidelined, he added.

Topics with sources in foreign languages may also not be included on the grounds that the team may be unable to identify them, Mr Stretch explained.

The report did find that historically some topics that were discussed over a long period of time did not show up algorithmically.

For example, hashtags relating to the Black Lives Matter campaign failed to appear in December 2014 and were not manually inserted by the Trending Topics review team either.

However, the topic "Ferguson", which related to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri, was added to compensate for this, wrote Mr Stretch.

Some Facebook users have queried the relevance of Trending Topics, which at the time of writing range from a "reported wardrobe malfunction" by US socialite Paris Hilton to the results of the Austrian presidential election.

Source: BBC

Twitter revamps 140-character tweet length rules

Twitter is overhauling some of its rules to try to make itself simpler to use and more attractive to newcomers.

Members will be able to add multimedia to tweets - including pictures, links and videos - without eating into the 140-characters-a-post limit.

The service is also changing the way it handles conversations between users.

Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey told the BBC his aim was to ensure that "when people tweet, it makes sense".

One analyst said the moves marked a "positive change", but added that they only addressed "one symptom" of Twitter's difficulty in increasing its audience.

Despite constant references to tweets in the news, over the past year Twitter has struggled to attract fresh users to its platform - a problem partly blamed on it being confusing.

"One of the biggest priorities for us this year is to really refine our product, to make it simpler," Mr Dorsey said.

"I think there's a story to be told about what Twitter's for, and to continue to strengthen why you would use Twitter."

Some of the details were reported by theBloomberg news agency a fortnight ago, and were, for the most part, welcomed by users.

The changes, as outlined by Twitter, will be:

media attachments, such as photos and videos, will no longer count towards the character limit@names in reply to tweets will not be counted. People will be able to retweet and quote-tweet themselves, enabling them to resurface any of their previous posts and add new commentary

In addition, any new tweet - ie one that isn't a reply to someone else's tweet - that starts with a username will now be seen by all of a person's followers.

*AP*Twitter is seeking to make it easier for new users to get to grips with how it works

That last change does away with one of Twitter's more baffling systems, in which posts beginning with a username would only be seen by a person's followers if they too were following the member mentioned at the start of the tweet.

To override the rule, people have been adding a full stop to their tweets, so that they read ".@username".

"It doesn't make sense to anyone," Mr Dorsey told the BBC. "And people have had to work around it. That just looks ugly, and it's confusing."

Brian Blau, an analyst at the consultancy Gartner, said Twitter's problems in gaining new users would not be solved with these changes.

"The core problem is attracting new users and getting them to be loyal users over time," he explained.

"And we haven't seen anything from Twitter yet that leads me to believe that they're addressing that fundamental problem."

The changes will not be made until later this year.

This is to allow developers to integrate the new rules into their third-party apps and websites.

Source: BBC

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet 50 year-old notorious English football thug who vows to attack Muslims during Euro 2016

AN English thug dubbed the “Pig of Marseilles” has vowed to return to the French city to target Muslims.

JONATHON BUCKMASTER

THUG: James Shayler has vowed to attack Muslims at Euro 2016

Shaven-headed James Shayler, 50, plans to team up with Russian yobs when the nations meet on June 11.

He earned his nickname during the 1998 World Cup in France when he was jailed for leading a gang in an attack on police after England’s victory over Tunisia.

Police had feared England fans may clash with far right Russian yobs at the game.

SYGMA

PIG OF MARSEILLES: He earned his nickname during the 1998 World Cup in France

GETTY

HOOLIGAN: He has vowed to return to Marseilles

“England will be with Russia against the Muslims”

James Shayler


But Shayler, of Wellingborough, Northants, claims the two factions will instead unite to launch attacks on Muslims.

He said: “The Russians hate them, don’t they? England will be with Russia against the Muslims.’’

He said: “The Russians are getting me the tickets for Marseilles, for the Russian game, so more than likely I’ll be watching at their end.’’

GETTY

Shayler was jailed for two months in France and banned from the country for a year after throwing missiles at police in the 1998 riot.

But he insists he is not one of nearly 2,000 Brits subject to police banning orders barring them from travelling to France for the Euro tournament.

Source: UK Daily Star

Pope Francis meets the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican



Pope Francis made several gestures towards Islam including bringing Syrian refugees to the Vatican [Reuters]

Pope Francis has met the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican in a historic encounter that was sealed with a hugely symbolic hug and exchange of kisses.

     

The first Vatican meeting on Monday between the leader of the world's Catholics and the highest authority in Sunni Islam marks the culmination of a significant improvement in relations between the two faiths since Francis took office in 2013.

     

"Our meeting is the message," Francis said in a brief comment at the start of his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Vatican officials told a small pool of reporters covering the event.

     

In a statement on the trip, Al-Azhar, an institution that also comprises a prestigious seat of learning, said Tayeb had accepted Francis' invitation in order to "explore efforts to spread peace and co-existence".

     

The "very cordial" meeting lasted around 30 minutes, the Vatican said in a statement after the talks. In all, the imam spent just over an hour at St Peter's.

Conciliatory gestures

     

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement that the pope and the imam had "mainly addressed the common challenges faced by the authorities and faithful of the major religions of the world".

     

At the meeting, the pope presented the imam with a copy of his recent encyclical, Laudato Si', a letter to the faithful in which he urges the world to wake up to the threat posed by climate change and also calls for a rebalancing of the economic relationship between the industrialised and developing worlds.

     

Tayeb decided to accept the invitation to Rome as a result of the numerous conciliatory gestures Francis has made to the Muslim world since being elected in early 2013.

     

"If it were not for these good positions the meeting would not be happening," the imam's deputy, Abbas Shuman, told AFP on Sunday.

Ties were badly soured when the now-retired Benedict made a September 2006 speech in which he was perceived to have linked Islam to violence, sparking deadly protests in several countries and reprisal attacks on Christians.

     

After the tensions of the Benedict years, Francis moved quickly to set a new tone, sending a personal message to the Muslim world to mark the end of the first month of Ramadan of his pontificate.

     

The Argentinian pontiff followed up by pushing various inter-faith initiatives and he was accompanied by both Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Islamic studies professor Omar Abboud when he visited Jordan and Israel in 2014.

     

But perhaps the gesture that clinched the deal was the most dramatic piece of political theatre of his papacy: his April visit to the refugee crisis island of Lesbos which concluded with him bringing three Syrian Muslim families back to the Vatican.

Source: AFP