Wednesday, November 25, 2015

National University Commission (NUC) accredits LASU’s 11 academic programmes

The National University Commission (NUC) had accredited 11 out of 20 postgraduate and undergraduate academic programmes of the Lagos State University (LASU).

This is contained in the institution’s official bulletin released on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to the bulletin, NUC carried out the exercise in October 2014 and June 2015 respectively.

It said that the result of the accreditation was conveyed to the university by the NUC.
The bulletin said that the Commission had granted Law, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Theatre Art, Music, Physiology, ‎Physical and Health Education full accreditation.

It said that terminal and academic masters of Business Administration, Human Resources and Personnel Management and Public Administration were also accredited, while Masters of Public Administration was not accredited.

It added that at the undergraduate level, Business Administration, English, French, Philosophy and Yoruba were denied accreditation.

The bulletin also stated that Insurance, Electronics, Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering were placed at interim.

The commission also fixed the maturity for the review of the courses ‎at 2017 and 2020 respectively, the bulletin further stated.

Source: NAN

UN says 2015 may become hottest year on record

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on Wednesday in Geneva said that year 2015 would likely become the hottest year since the pre-industrial era.

WMO in a report said that due to man-made global warming and the strong El Nino weather phenomenon, the average global temperature this year was set to rise one degree above the levels seen between 1880 and 1899.

Ocean surfaces have also reached record temperatures, and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have crossed the level of 400 parts per million since January 2015.

“This is all bad news for the planet,” WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud said as he presented the preliminary annual assessment, ahead of the UN climate talks starting Nov.30 in Paris

Source: NAN

Russian, Syrian special forces rescue pilot

Russian and Syrian special forces on Wednesday rescued one of the pilots of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey near the Turkish-Syrian border, a report said.

According to the report, the pilot, whose Su-24 jet came down in Syrian territory on Tuesday, was rescued from an area where rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad were present.

Syrian special forces “last night carried out a joint operation with Russian special forces, penetrating four to five kilometers into areas where terrorists are located, and were able to save one of the pilots of the Russian plane”, the report said.

It also stated that the pilot had been returned to a military base while noting that the other pilot was shot dead from the ground.

Reacting to the development, Turkey said the jet had violated its air space while Russia maintained that the plane had not left Syrian air space.

It would be recalled that Russia an ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad on Sept. 30 began air campaign in support of Assad, whose forces are fighting insurgents backed by regional powers including Turkey

Source: NAN

LASU: Students’ union postpones election indefinitely

Protesting students

The Lagos State University Students Union (LASUSU) has postponed till further notice its 2015 election earlier scheduled to hold on Nov. 26.

Prof. Kabir Akinyemi, Dean, Students Affairs (SA) Unit, LASU, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Akinyemi said the postponement was due to the tussle among the Executive, Judiciary, parliamentary, Electoral Committee, ‎some contestants, as well as some members of the students’ congress.

He said that counter accusations were levied against one another over breach and misinterpretation of the union’s constitution.

Akinyemi said that the electoral committee, contestants and the concerned members of the congress ‎were invited to a meeting on Nov. 24, for settlement.

“At the meeting, we resolved their differences and gave them a mandate to discuss with ‎one another and decide if the election should hold on Nov. 26, or should be postponed.

“After the meeting, the students came up with a resolution sent to the Acting Vice-chancellor and Dean SA that ‎the election be postponed until the judiciary rules on the eligibility of some of the contestants.

“Meanwhile, election into the parliament, scheduled for Nov. 25 will now hold on Nov. 26 while others have been postponed until further notice, “he said.

Akinyemi said the management had allowed the students’ union to take the decision on the preferred date to hold their election for transparency and respect for the union’s rule of law.

“The management is not interested in who emerges as the winner but in transparency and respect for the rule of law,” he said.

The dean said the management also advised the students during the meeting to remember that the authorities needed time to prepare for the election, because the rift had slowed down its preparations.

“We must not forget that the LASUSU election was usually done electronically, ‎so the system must be configured, besides, names of the screened aspirants must be verified at the Students Affairs Unit,” he said.

Akinyemi, however, urged the students to shun violence and embrace peace for the success of the election and protect the image of the institution.

Source: NAN

Kogi: SANs disagree on INEC’s stand

Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) yesterday held divergent views after the Independent National Electoral (INEC) asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to replace the late Prince Abubakar Audu with another candidate of its choice in order to conclude the supplementary election.

In statement by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, INEC announced December 5 as the date for the supplementary election.

But INEC’s decision, allowing APC to fill the vacuum created by Prince Audu’s death generated controversy among laywers.

Two SANs – Prof Gabriel Olawoyin and Mike Ozekhome disagreed with the electoral umpire. But the trio of Prof Itsay Sagay, Rotimi Akeredolu and Mahmoud Magaji – all senior advocates – backed INEC.

Prof Olawoyin said INEC’s statement would give rise to a lot of controversies because the legal issues were so complex and cannot be so easily resolved.

His words: “It is a constitutional matter and the best option would have been to take it to court in line with Section 295 of the Constitution for the court to arrive at a decision.

“I’d have preferred a situation in which the matter is referred to court for resolution of the legal logjam. The legal arguments on both sides are very strong and should have been subjected to judicial interpretation.”

Ozekhome, who agreed the APC has a right to present another candidate faulted INEC’s decision to go ahead with the supplementary election.

“The reason is that my good friend Prince Audu died before he was confirmed governor, which means the mandate had not been given. If he had died after he was confirmed governor, the provision of Section 181 (1) and (2) would have played out,” Ozekhome said.

According to him, the scenario was neither the same as contemplated by Section 181, nor was it similar to the Adamawa case after Atiku Abubakar had to be replaced with his running mate, Boni Haruna.

He said: “What ought to happen in this case should be the conduct of a fresh election between Idris Wada and a new candidate from the APC, but not a supplementary election.”

A supplementary poll, he said, became null and void with Audu’s death as he was to partake in it.

His words: “The problem APC may run into, and they have to be very careful, is that they would have to contend with the provisions of Section 179 (2) of the Constitution, as well as sections 31, 33, 53 (2) (3), 85 (1), 87 (1) and 141 of the Electoral Act, all of which show that the candidate they put forward must have passed through the various stages including emerging from valid primaries.

“That is where I believe their best option is to go into the pool of those who contested the primaries and lost to Audu and pick a candidate from there to face Wada, as such a person would have gone through various electoral stages.

“If they pick Falake, I can see the PDP challenging them in court that it has not fulfilled Section 85, 87 and 141 of the Electoral Act,” he said.

Professor of Law, Itsey Sagay, yesterday hailed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  to proceed with the governorship election in Kogi State which the umpired declared inconclusive on Sunday.

He said such step remains the only logical solution to the confusion created by the death of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Abubakar Audu, who scored 240, 867 votes to lead incumbent Governor Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 199, 514.

Prof Sagay pitched tent with those suggesting that Audu’s running mate, James Faleke, should step in to carry the party’s flag at the supplementary election.

He said: “With the passing away of Abubakar Audu, the only logical and solution closest to the law on ground now is to allow his running mate to step into his shoes for the supplementary election.

“We already have that in the constitution with regards to somebody who has won an election but died and is unable to assume office for any reason.”

Giving explanation on constitutional provisions on the matter, Sagay referred to Section 181 (1) of the Constitution which states that “where there is a governorship election and the victorious candidate dies before he is sworn in, his deputy or running mate shall be sworn in as governor.”

“In this case, there is nobody elected as governor. But the election has been held, leaving only supplementary election to be done and the candidate of one of the political parties died, by analogy, I think that provision in Section 181 (1 ) shall apply so that the deputy governorship candidate should now be regarded as the governorship candidate for the purposes of the supplementary election.”

Akeredolu, who was a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, said INEC’s decision was in line with the law.

He said: “INEC took the right decision. This cannot be faulted having regards to the state of the law. “The commission has taken the position that the death of the candidate can be likened to the death of a candidate before the commencement of the election. The death in this instance occurred before the election was concluded.

“The election remains inconclusive and the APC has the right in law to produce a replacement. I expressed this opinion from the onset. The decision of INEC is in line with my position.”

Magaji said INEC cannot be faulted. “The provision of Section 178 (3) of the Constitution is very clear that where a candidate nominated for an election is incapable of contesting the election, a political party shall be given an opportunity to present another candidate.

“This is what has happened in this case. Section 33 of the Electoral Act says they can present another candidate to replace Audu, so INEC is within the law.”

Source: The Nation

Pope sets off for landmark Africa trip...left for Kenya today

Pope Francis

Pope Francis flew out of Rome on Wednesday, bound for Kenya on the first leg of a landmark trip to Africa that is fraught with security risks.

The 78-year-old pontiff, the third pope to visit the continent, is also scheduled to visit Uganda and the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on a six-day trip.

The final leg of the tour, in the CAR, could yet be curtailed or cancelled depending on security conditions in a country that has been wracked by sectarian conflict in recent years.

A densely packed schedule will see the Pope visit, amongst others, a shanty-town in Kenya, a major Catholic shrine to Christian martyrs in Uganda and both a mosque and a refugee camp in the CAR. He is due to make a series of speeches on various issues including a major one on the environment ahead of the Paris climate change summi

Source : AFP

Atiku Abubakar pledges to boost democracy, education as he clocks 69 


A former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said that he will continue using his experience and fortune to bolster democracy and education in the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr Paul Ibe on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the statement was issued to mark his 69th birthday on Nov. 25.

According to the statement, the former vice president has provided scholarship both in Nigeria and abroad to thousands of needy Nigerian students and had also built several schools across the country.

This, the statement said, included the American University in Yola which he founded with the cooperation of the American University in Washington, among others.

“I get enduring joy from seeing my people empowered with jobs, skills, income and opportunities through my investment,’’ the statement quoted Atiku as saying.

The university, which was started 11 years ago, presently, has 1,500 students.

Although a private university, the 60 per cent subsidy from the former Vice President has enabled children of both the rich and the poor to gain access to world-class education, the statement stated.

“Gifted children, regardless of their parental background, are also afforded opportunity to better their fortune in the university.

“The university not only helps students acquire first rate degrees, but promotes entrepreneurship courses to meet the challenges of the present Nigerian realities, ‘’ the statement said.

It added that the former vice president was inspired by his early life experience as an orphan who struggled through life to make it to the top.

The statement noted that Atiku was not only committed to education, but was also a remarkable philanthropist who dedicated his life to bringing succor to humanity.

It added that the former vice president had donated to worthy causes to tackle many deadly but preventable diseases like the now eradicated polio and had identified with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“Atiku is also an exponent of peace, unity, tolerance and peaceful coexistence as exemplified by the setting up of the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API) by the America University,’’ the statement said.

The API, the statement noted, was presently, a viable model for dealing with strife in multi-religious communities.

It further stated that Atiku`s generosity had extended to the United Kingdom where he recently endowed a Professorial Chair in African History at Oxford University.

Source: NAN

APC can substitute candidate, says Attorney-General and Minister of Justice

Attorney-General and Justice minister Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday spoke on the controversy generated by the death of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.

He said since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election held in the state last Saturday inconclusive, the exercise must be concluded.

Malami said the APC would have to substitute its candidate for the purpose of the supplementary elections.

He spoke in Abuja at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) on the review of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act.

On whether the substitution could result in the late Audu’s running mate, James Faleke, becoming, the governorship candidate, he said the choice was for the party to make.

“The issue is very straightforward. Fundamentally, Section 33 of the Electoral Act is very clear in case of death. The right for substitution by a political party is sustained by the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.

“And, if you have a community reading of that Section with Section 221 of the Constitution, which clearly indicates that the right to vote is the right of a political party and, the party in this case, which is the APC, has participated in the conduct of the election.

“It is therefore apparent that the community reading of the two provisions does not leave any room for conjecture.

“APC, as a party, is entitled to substitution by the clear provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act. Also, Section 221 of the Constitution is clear that the votes that were cast were cast in favour of the APC.

“Arising from that deductions, it does not require any legal interpretation. The interpretation is clear: APC will substitute, which right has been sustained by Section 33 of the Electoral Act. So be it.

“The supplementary election has to be conducted along the line. It all depends on the appreciation of  issues arising from the primaries conducted before now.

“There was a first and a second candidate. That primaries that had taken place over time had not by anyway  been nullified. And it is recognised by law.

“But then, a further consideration would be the idea of  conducting another primary, but that is not envisaged in view of the sustainability of the first primaries,” Malami said.

Source: The Nation

Looters returning cash, says President Muhammadu Buhari

Some former public officials who looted public funds are returning them to the government’s coffers, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.

He told Nigerians living  in Teheran, the Iranian capital, during a question-and-answer session with them at the Nigerian House that his administration had intesified efforts at recovering public funds in private pockets.

The President was in Iran to attend a summit of gas producing nations. The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and host President Hassan Riouhani, among others.

President Buhari said he was not satisfied with the partial return of the “looted funds”.

“On corruption, yes, they are still innocent.

“But, we are collecting documents and some of them have started voluntarily returning something. But we want all. We want to have everything back-all that they took by force in 16 years.

“When we get those documents, then we will formally charge them to court and then we will tell Nigerians to know those, who abused trust when they were entrusted with public funds or when they took it by force for 16 years.

“So, the day of reckoning is gradually approaching.’’

President Buhari explained that those accused of corruption would have been prosecuted by now but for the need to thoroughly investigate them with a view to gathering enough evidence for their eventual trial.

He said it was easy for him, during his tenure as a military Head of State in 1984, to arrest and put suspected corrupt individuals “in protective custody’’ for them to prove their innocence.

He, however, said that now the dictates of the Rule of Law and due process had slowed him down in the prosecution of corruption cases.

The President attributed the epileptic power supply in the country to “power saboteurs who go and blow up installations’.

“I believe if you are in touch back at home you would have been told that already there is some improvement in power.

“We haven’t said anything to them yet. I think they only find it sensible or appropriate for them to try and improve power supply.

“I’m sure you know about the privatisation of the power sector. Your old friends NEPA or Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been sold to a number of interest groups.

“But, the fundamental thing about us is that we remain potentially in everything except performance.

“We have a lot of gas, we have a lot of qualified people, but again we have a lot of saboteurs who go and blow installations.

“Those, who normally steal Nigerian crude (oil) and those who blow up installations, whether they call themselves militants or whatever, they are still there.’’

He pledged to deal with such saboteurs to restore sanity in the power sector and improve service delivery to Nigerians.

He said the military task-forces with representation from Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the secret services will be reconstituted to secure the pipelines.

“Supplies will become steady; there will be less sabotage as we secure the pipelines.”

On security, the President reassured the Nigerians of the government’s resolve to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency and restore peace in the Northeast.

The President also restated the government’s determination to address the rot in education,  beginning from the primary to the tertiary level.

He praised the Nigerian community for its good conduct, saying the government would continue to encourage more Nigerians to study in that country because of the level of discipline and orderliness there.

On healthcare delivery, President Buhari said that efforts had been intensified towards ridding the country of fake drugs and fake doctors, and also what he called “the disgraceful aspects” manifested by “baby factories”.

On creation of jobs, he placed the prevailing joblessness in the country at the door-step of the last administration, which he blamed for giving “ a devastating blow to the economy through corruption and incompetence”.

The President said something urgent would be done about the bad condition of roads, citing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as one to be addressed from next week by the Minister of  Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who sat next to him at the meeting.

The Nigerian Charge de Affairs in Iran, Dr Ali Magashi, attested to the zero crime rate among Nigerians living in Iran.

He, however, said that a few Nigerians based in Afghanistan had been arrested by the Iranian authorities for alleged drug trafficking.

Source: The Nation

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Getting married was the best decision I made-Naeto C

Naeto C has reacted to reports his marriage slowed down his career .The rapper and father of two who got  married in 2012 dropped his first album in three years ''Festival' this month.He told Encomium though he hasn't released a song as great as 10/10,it has nothing to do with getting married.

I got married in July 2012.  Later that year, I released Tony Montana.  The song did a lot for me.  I have released songs with Phyno and Flavour.  At least, I release two, three singles every year.  The truth of the matter is that, I am a Nigerian artiste not a Lagos artiste.  We have fans all across Nigeria. 

Sometimes you will realize some songs are bigger in the East than in the West because of that, when you are getting an opinion from someone from the West, to have a holistic view you need to understand that some songs are big in the West and they might not be big in the East.

After I got married, I was a Glo ambassador for two years.  I am now Yudala ambassador.  I have always had stuffs going on.  I think if people say that marriage has affected my career, I think what they mean is that since I got married, I have not released a song like 10/10.  But the truth of the matter is, you cannot do a song like 10/10 again.  2Face cannot do African Queen again.  Wande Coal cannot do Bumper to Bumper again.  That is the way music works.  I am happy that 10/10 made a lot of impact on my career.  My job is to continue to work hard, make more music.

 Now that you are married, do you still have time for your female fans? How did they react when you announced you were getting married?

I got text messages showing disappointment. A good friend of mine who is also a musician told me that when he got married, he lost some fans and also gained some. Some didn’t want you married. They want to fantasize on the possibility of being your woman. I got married because I found a friend, a companion that I want to spend the rest of my life with. That was the best decision I made. It made me a better person. I take pictures with my female fans, I sign autographs with them, anything outside that is inappropriate.

If you were not married, would you be in the league of artistes with baby mama?

No, people intentionally want baby mama for their own reasons. At times, it is accidental. Part of the reasons I decided to get married when I did was because I didn’t want to find myself in that situation. I don’t believe in raising kids out of wedlock, it is not easy. It is very difficult. If I wasn’t married, I would be more concerned about settling down than having a friend who will give me a baby.

Meet Mison Sere winner of Zimbabwe’s annual Mr Ugly competition

A BIZARRE beauty pageant for ugly men descended into chaos – after the winner was accused of being “too handsome”.


WINNER: Mison Sere is the ugliest bloke in Zimbabwe

Mison Sere won Zimbabwe’s annual Mr Ugly competition – only to face allegations of CHEATING from fellow contestants.

Former winner William Masvinu – and several of the other 34 beaten rivals – claimed the triumphant 42-year-old was not “naturally” ugly – and just had bad teeth.

Unemployed Mr Sere – who hopes to land lucrative TV work on the back of his win – said his critics "should just accept I'm uglier than them”.


FINALISTS: Here is who Mr Mison was up against

“He is ugly only when he opens his mouth.”

William Masvinu

Mr Masvinu – a veteran with four previous Mr Ugly titles – and his supporters mobbed the judges when Mr Sere was announced winner.

The gang started pushing and shoving and hurling insults at the refs.

Mr Masvinu said: “I am naturally ugly. He is not.

“He is ugly only when he opens his mouth.”

Another contestant, Patrick Mupereki, asked: "Do we have to lose our teeth to win?

“This is cheating."


COMPLAINT: Four-time champion William Masvinu came second


VICTORIOUS: Mr Masvinu won marketing contracts on the back of his success

But the judges explained Mr Sere was victorious thanks to his impressive array ugly facial expressions.

Judge Abigail Mataranyika said: “Sere made tremendous effort to enhance his ugliness by pulling facial stunts – but Masvinu thought he is so ugly that he didn't need to try hard.

“That cost him the crown."

Mr Sere – who pocketed $500 in prime money – said: "I already moved around schools performing and showcasing my ugliness – so this is a chance to make it on TV.”

A number of beauty pageants have been marred in controversy with winners stripped of their titles after posing for nude photo shoots.

Let’s hope Mr Sere has no plans to follow suit.

Source: UK Daily Star

Battle of the bikinis: Ferne and Vicky strip for jungle swim

JUST how many bikinis did these girls pack?

REXBIKINI BATTLE: Ferne and Vicky strip off

Ferne McCann and Vicky Pattison are truly embracing the bikini weather in Oz.

Much to the delight of their fans, the I'm A Celeb stars stripped down to their swimsuits for a dip in the jungle pool.

Geordie Shore's Vicky appeared to be lathering herself up — have the campmates been given some luxury bubble bath?

REXRELAX: It's the week of the Myleene Moment

It has been a week of Myleene moments, withVickyFerne and Hollyoaks beauty Jorgie Porterall getting their bikinis on.

The girls joked around while they washed, with Ferne no doubt still recovering from her bushtucker trial.

She faced the trial called Floods of Fear, in which she had to swim through water to get stars.

Sounds simple right? Wrong.

"I don't know if I can do it," Ferne sobbed before going in.

She faced eels, spiders, crocodiles and toads — and it was the toads who apparently suffered the most.

"I'm so sorry to the toads," she said.

I'm sure they'll forgive you, babes.

REXSQUEAKY CLEAN: Vicky scrubs up

The Towie star managed to get ten stars out of a possible twelve. Success.

Vicky had a difficult day in camp with Brian Friedman, who she called a control freak.

"He's so fussy all the time, but listen mate you might be friends with Britney Spears, you might know Cheryl Cole, you might have partied with all the Pussycat Dolls but you are in the jungle," she ranted.

That's Brian told.

REXFLOODS OF FEAR: Ferne had a difficult bushtucker trial

Source: UK Daily Star

Hottest look ever? Rita Ora's sideboob flashing show


STUNNER: Rita showed off her new look on Instagram

But her latest look may be her hottest yet.

The X Factor judge slipped into a classy black outfit teamed with a kinky chain as she attendGlobal's Make Some Noise Gala night in London.

But not wanting to hit the red carpet without a bit of colour Rita stuck countless tiny jewels on her eyelids for that extra sparkle.


SIDEBOOB: Rita flashed her boob during her set

Not that people were really looking at her eyes.

Rita's outfit laced up at the front making sure she showed off her breast assets.

In fact during her set at at Global's charity bash she rocked major sideboob.


WINNING JUDGE? Rita's girls are tipped to win the X Factor

The 24-year-old celebrated both her X Factor girls making it through to the next stage of the competition despite fierce competition.

And if the bookies are anything to go by it may be a case of beginners look for first time judge Rita as Louisa Johnson is heavily tipped to win the show.


CHART TOPPER: Rita is one of the biggest stars in the world.                                         Source: UK Daily Star

Murder charge for Chicago officer who shot black teenager

*AP*The officer who shot the black teenager turned himself in

A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times last year has been charged with first-degree murder, state lawyers have said.

Jason Van Dyke was not justified in shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, state lawyer Anita Alvarez said.

A police dashcam video to be released on Wednesday is "chilling", she added, and will "tear at the hearts".

Police use of excessive force against African Americans has been the subject of nationwide protests for months.

In Minneapolis on Monday night, one of those protests was marred by violence when three white men opened fire at a rally, injuring five people.

In the Chicago case, a post-mortem showed that McDonald was shot at least twice in the back.

Ms Alvarez said McDonald was carrying a knife when he was stopped by police in 2014 but was not threatening them or moving towards them.

Mr Van Dyke opened fire seconds after he arrived and continued shooting at the teenager as he lay on the ground, he said.

"While we expect officers to do their jobs... there are a few bad apples who go too far and break the law," she said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the officer was not justified in killing the teenager, calling his actions "hideous".

"At every point, he violated what we entrust," Mr Emanuel said on Monday.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has said the video is "very troubling" and he expects a strong public reaction, though he hopes it will be "thoughtful and peaceful".

The police union in Chicago has opposed the release of the video and said it would taint a trial jury.

The officer, through his lawyer and the the police union, has said he feared for his life because McDonald was holding a knife.

Chicago police have also said McDonald threatened officers with a knife and slashed the tyres and windows of a patrol car.

Source: BBC

Hostages held in northern French town of Roubaix

*AFP*Police cordon off the area close to where armed men have taken hostages

A group of armed men are said to have taken hostages in the northern French town of Roubaix near the border with Belgium, reports say.

A police operation is under way and an area of the town has been cordoned off.

Local media said the incident took place at around 19:00 local time (18:00 GMT).

The incident does not appear to be related to the ongoing security situation in France following the 13 November attacks in Paris.

Gunshots were fired, according to reports and local residents.

The armed men may have been planning a robbery, reports say.

Source: BBC

Marium Mukhtiar, Pakistani female fighter pilot, dies in crash

A female Pakistani fighter pilot has died after her aircraft crashed in Punjab province.

Marium Mukhtiar was on a routine training mission when her plane met an "in-flight emergency" over Mianwali district, the air force said.

She and her co-pilot ejected. She later died from her injuries in hospital.

Flying Officer Mukhtiar was one of a small number of women to work as fighter pilots in Pakistan, and the first to die on operational service.

She told BBC News last year of her journey into a traditionally male-dominated world and desire to "do something different".

Marium Mukhtiar explains why she decided to train to be a fighter pilot

Marium Mukhtiar was among about 20 female fighter pilots in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which only began inducting women in combat roles in 2006.

It was not immediately clear why her aircraft crashed. The male pilot was not badly injured and is recovering in hospital.

"Both the pilots handled the serious emergency with professionalism and courage and tried to save the ill-fated aircraft till the very last minute," a PAF statement said.

Pakistan's military has suffered a series of air disasters in recent months.

In September a trainer jet crashed near Mastung in Balochistan province. The pilot ejected to safety.

A military helicopter crash in May killed seven people, including the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines. Another military helicopter crashed near Mansehra district in August, killing 12 people.

Source: BBC

Pakistani born International bomb plotter jailed for 40 years in US

A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for plotting attacks in several countries.

Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York.

US authorities said he had been part of a plot to attack Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen.

In March, a jury found him guilty of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device.

FBI assistant director-in-charge Diego Rodriguez said that Naseer, who moved to the UK to study, failed to use the British education visa system to make the best of his life.

Instead, he exploited it "to take away the lives of many others in large numbers", said Mr Rodriguez.

Naseer was first arrested in the UK in 2009 along with 11 other men suspected of planning an attack on a shopping mall in Manchester.

No explosives were found but the men were ordered to leave the country. Mr Naseer avoided deportation after a judge ruled it was likely he would not be safe if he returned to Pakistan.

UK officials arrested him again in 2010 at the request of US prosecutors.

In 2013 he was extradited to the US, where prosecutors argued Naseer was part of a broader al-Qaeda conspiracy to attack various Western locations, including the New York subway system and a newspaper office in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The trial heard from MI5 operatives dressed in wigs and make-up

The US Department of Justice said the plots were "directed by and co-ordinated with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan".

Evidence at Naseer's trial included a document found in the raid of the Bin Laden compound and MI5 officers testifying in wigs.

His defence was largely based on his own testimony and cross-examining prosecution witnesses.

Prosecutors brought in MI5 agents who had previously tracked Naseer in 2009 at a shopping centre in the UK.

They also relied on the testimony of two co-conspirators who pleaded guilty to the subway plot - Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay.

Prosecutors say coded emails show all three men were under the direction of the same al-Qaeda handler.

Source: BBC

Israel to displace thousands of Palestinian Bedouins

Palestinians have protested for years against Israel's displacement of Bedouin villagers in the Negev region [Reuters]

An Israeli plan to build several new Jewish communities in the Negev region of the country's south will displace thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel from two Bedouin villages, rights groups have said. 

Approved by the Israeli government on Sunday, the plan allows for the construction of five new Jewish planned communities, two of which will be on top of a pair of Bedouin villages.

Bir Hadaj village is home to at least 6,000 people, while an estimated 1,500 live in Katama village, which is classified by the government as an "unrecognised" village. 

"This is part of an ongoing policy of pushing Palestinian Bedouins off their land in the Negev," Sana Ibn Bari, a lawyer for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), told Al Jazeera.

Israeli Minister of Housing Yoav Galant praised the government's decision and said the government should aim "to turn [the Negev region] into a desired and flourishing area, in accordance with the Zionist vision".  


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for more Jewish communities "to be built quickly while bypassing bureaucratic processes". 

An estimated 1.7 million Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship live in cities, towns and villages across the country.

"We will potentially have to deal with the eviction of thousands of people from their homes," Ibn Bari said.

"If the government wants to establish new Jewish settlements, why are they doing it on top of existing Arab communities?"

In a joint press release, the Israeli rights group Bimkom joined ACRI in condemning the measure as "especially harmful for the Bedouin community". 


Sunday's decision was made just a month after Israel razed the Negev village of al-Araqib for the 90th time since 2010. 

Scattered across the Negev, some 80,000 Palestinian Bedouins live in 40 villages that are not recognised by the Israeli government. They are denied access to state resources such as electricity, water, paved roads, clinics and education. 

The Israeli government claims these villages were built without permits, while residents say most of them - including Katama and al-Araqib - predate Israel's 1948 establishment. 

In December 2013, under pressure as protests gripped the country, Israel froze the Prawer Plan, a programme designed to forcibly relocate an estimated 40,000 Bedouins in the Negev. 

But ACRI's Ibn Bari says that village evacuations and home demolitions have continued without pause since that time. "The government is still not willing to find a solution," she said.

Israeli policy aims to "promote Jewish settlements and put Jewish citizens in the place of Arabs who have already lived on these lands for more than six decades," she added.

A diverse community of Christians, Muslims, Druze and Palestinian citizens of Israel suffer from more than 50 discriminatory laws that muzzle their political expression and stifle their access to state resources, according to the Adalah Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights. 

The Israeli government has cracked down on Palestinians in Israel, according to Yousef Jabareen, a Knesset member and politician from the Joint List electoral coalition. 

"The idea is to de-legitimise our political role in Israeli politics [which] serves Netanyahu to go ahead with his discriminatory policy against the Arab community in Israel, such as the demolition of these villages," Jabareen told Al Jazeera. 

Source: Al Jazeera

Indiana governor sued over bid to block refugees

Pence is one of 31 governors who oppose the resettlement of refugees within their states [Michael Conroy/AP]

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a lawsuit against Indiana Governor Mike Pence for trying to block the resettlement of refugees in the US state.

Ted Faulk, a legal director for ACLU's Indiana chapter, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that Pence's decision to order local refugee programmes to not cooperate with the federal government was "unconstitutional", because states do not have the authority to prevent the accommodation of refugees within their borders.

"The governor has no right to dictate what to do with funds allocated by the federal government for refugees," he said.

US states refuse to accept refugees after Paris attacks

"The state has already sent away a family of refugees to Connecticut," Faulk added.

The ACLU said in a statement that it launched the suit on Monday against the governor and the Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Pence's spokeswoman Kara Brooks reacted on Tuesday with a statementwhich said the governor was confident he has the legal authority to suspend the state's participation in the refugee programme.

"The governor believes that caution and compassion are not mutually exclusive. We can take measures to ensure the security of our nation even while we continue to extend support and refuge to people around the world fleeing from the ravages of hardship and war," Brooks said.

Thirty-one state governors, nearly all of which are from the right-wing Republican party, have announced that they would reject refugees. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is the lone Democrat to have joined the group.

The number of states opposing refugees have grown gradually after a series of assaults claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group killed 130 people in Paris on November 13. 

Several governors cited allegations that a Syrian passport found at the site of an attack in the French capital had belonged to one of the suspected assailants as a cause of their concerns in allowing refugees into their states.

Campaign to promote acceptance

In an effort to change their stance on refugees, the Syrian American Council (SAC), a Washington-based rights group, told Al Jazeera that it has launched a nationwide campaign, including in Indiana, to encourage the governors to engage in direct meetings with refugees.

Omar Hossino, a SAC spokesperson, said: "We are confident that once they meet refugees and hear their stories, they will realise that the Syrian people share the same fears of violence as them."

"We understand where they are coming from, but we are confident they will reconsider their decision," he said. "We also hope the broader public will become more welcoming [of refugees]".

Hossino also said the SAC initiative has been gaining support from various rights and religious organisations, including ACLU, as well as a number of Jewish and Christian groups.

Source: Al Jazeera

Kogi State Gov. Idris Wada sacks 15 council chairmen for defecting to APC

Governor Idris Wada of Kogi on Tuesday removed 15 chairmen of local governments from office for defecting to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is contained in a statement issued in Lokoja and signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr James Adedoyin in Lokoja.

The statement cited section 20 sub section (1) and section 36 sub section 1 (d) of Kogi State Local Government Law 2000 as amended to back the action.

It explained that the sacked chairmen can no longer remain in office having decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that sponsored them.

Some of the affected council chairmen include that of Lokoja, Ogori-Magongo, Idah, Adavi, Ankpa, Okehi, Bassa, Yagba East, Yagba West and Okene among others.

They defected to the APC during the grand finale of its governorship campaign held in Lokoja on Nov. 18.

The statement warned the sacked council chairmen to stay away from offices, directing the vice chairmen or the council leaders to take over the affairs of the affected councils as may be appropriate.

The governor said the handing and taking over should be completed by Wednesday Nov. 25, the statement said.

One of the grounds for their defection was the refusal of Wada to implement a decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Oct 29 that nullified the removal of the elected chairmen from office.

They were removed from office based on the order of a Kogi State High Court sitting in Koton Karfe which ruled that the election of May 4, 2013 which brought them into office was faulty.

Relying on the judgment, Kogi State Government asked the chairmen and councillors to vacate office but the affected officials approached the Appeal Court which set aside the ruling and declared that they resume immediately.

Kogi state government refused to give effect to the ruling until Nov. 23.

Source: The Nation