‘The Big Bang Theory’: Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik Reveal Truth Behind Sheldon and Amy’s First Kiss


‘The Big Bang Theory’: Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik Reveal Truth Behind Sheldon and Amy’s First Kiss


AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s false claims on migrant child deaths



Catarina Alonzo Perez, the mother of Felipe Gomez Alonzo, the second Guatemalan child this month to die while in U.S. custody near the Mexican border, pauses during an interview in her home in Yalambojoch, Guatemala, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. Felipe was chosen to make the journey north with his father because he was the oldest son. It didn’t occur to anyone that the road could be dangerous. “I didn’t think of that, because several families had already left and they made it,” Alonzo said. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump twisted circumstances behind the deaths of two migrant Guatemalan children to insulate his administration from any blame, contending without justification that they were in dire health before they reached the border.

Felipe Gomez Alonzo

Felipe Gomez Alonzo , 8,

The children cleared initial U.S. health screenings and one of them was in the U.S. for five days before suddenly showing signs of illness.

His tweets on the deaths in U.S. custody of a 7-year-old girl and an 8-year old boy were his first words on the subject and came with no expression of remorse for what happened. Instead he said their fate shows why the U.S. needs a wall at the Mexican border

TRUMP: “The two … children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol. The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end.” — tweets Saturday.

THE FACTS: This account is not supported by timelines released by Customs and Border Protection or other sources.

As well, Trump is wrong in saying the father of the girl who died has absolved U.S. officials of responsibility. Through family lawyers, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz said he made sure his daughter Jakelin had food and water as they traveled through Mexico. The Border Protection timeline on her case says: “The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues.” And nothing was mentioned about the girl being dehydrated.

The record so far neither establishes that U.S. officials were to blame for the children’s deaths nor clears them of blame, despite Trump’s pronouncement. All the facts are not known, but he rendered what is known inaccurately.

Circumstances are laid out in the Customs and Border Protection accounts of the capture, treatment and deaths of Jakelin Caal, 7, and Felipe Gomez Alonzo , 8, who both came to the border with their fathers:

When Jakelin Caal and her father were caught the evening of Dec. 6, her father described her as in good health and no illness was observed by agents. It’s possible father and daughter did not acknowledge an illness. The next morning, she vomited on a bus waiting to take them to a Border Patrol station, then stopped breathing. Twice revived by Border Patrol personnel, she was then flown by helicopter to an El Paso, Texas, trauma center, went into cardiac arrest and was revived once more. She died Dec. 8 at 12:35 a.m.

Trump’s assertion that both children were very ill before their apprehension is even more flagrantly untethered from the record in the case of Alonzo.

Catarina Alonzo, the boy’s mother, told The Associated Press her son was well and eating chicken after arriving at the U.S. border when she spoke with him by phone.

According to a Border Protection timeline, Felipe and his father, Agustin Gomez, were caught Dec. 18 near El Paso. Agents recorded giving them 23 “welfare checks” — checking on the well-being of father and son — over the next four days. No concern about the boy’s health is noted in the timeline. But on Dec. 24, a day after being transferred to a New Mexico center, the boy was taken to a hospital with a cough and high fever, released after more than five hours with flu medicine, then taken back late that evening. He lost consciousness on the way and doctors could not revive him.



TRUMP: “I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.” — tweet Dec. 24.

TRUMP: “Yesterday, I gave out 115 miles’ worth of wall, 115 miles in Texas. It’s going to be built, hopefully rapidly. I’m going there at the end of January for the start of construction.” — remarks to reporters Tuesday.

THE FACTS: He appears to be representing work financed months ago, as new construction. A president cannot simply give out a construction contract. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers award contracts for border wall construction after Congress approves the money and months have gone into planning.

In March, Congress approved money for 33 miles (53 kilometers) of construction in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal border crossings. The government said in November that construction in the Rio Grande Valley would begin in February. Targeted areas include the nonprofit National Butterfly Center, a state park and privately owned ranches and farmland. Trump’s statement that he plans to visit the site in late January suggests he may be referring to this previously announced construction.

It’s a mystery how he comes up with 115 miles (185 km), and neither the White House nor the Homeland Security Department explained that when asked.

Homeland Security has said the money approved by Congress in March will pay for 84 miles (135 km) altogether along the southern border, including the Texas stretch. If the Trump administration got the entire $5 billion it’s requested from Congress, the administration says that would be enough to build 215 miles (346 km) of barrier.

What’s not a mystery is that Trump has repeatedly exaggerated what’s been accomplished on his campaign promise to build a wall sealing the border with Mexico.



TRUMP: “You just got one of the biggest pay raises you ever received. Unless you don’t want it. Does anybody here? Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? I don’t see too many hands. Ah, OK. Don’t give it up. It’s great. You know what? Nobody deserves it more. You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.” — remarks prompting cheers from troops Wednesday at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq.

THE FACTS: He’s wrong about there being no pay increase for service members in more than 10 years and about their raise being especially large. U.S. military members have gotten a pay raise every year for decades. As well, several in the last 10 years have been larger than service members are getting now — 2.4 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2019. Raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, were all 3.4 percent or more.

Trump has repeatedly told service members that they’re getting the biggest or only pay raise that they have received in 10 years or more. In May, for example, he told graduates of the United States Naval Academy: “We just got you a big pay raise. First time in 10 years.”


TRUMP: “You had plenty of people, they came up, they said, you know we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent, we could make it 2 percent, we could make it 4 percent. I said, ‘no, make it 10 percent — make it more than 10 percent.’” — remarks Wednesday at al-Asad base.

THE FACTS: Whatever he might have said at the time, the 2.6 percent for 2019 obviously falls far short of the 10 percent or more that he implied was achieved.



TRUMP: “For all of the sympathizers out there of Brett McGurk remember, he was the Obama appointee who was responsible for loading up airplanes with 1.8 Billion Dollars in CASH & sending it to Iran as part of the horrific Iran Nuclear Deal (now terminated) approved by Little Bob Corker.” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: There are three or more things wrong with this short tweet as he takes a slap at a retiring Republican senator who criticized him, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and a U.S. official who resigned in protest against Trump’s plan to pull troops from Syria, Brett McGurk.

First, Corker was no architect of the 2015 deal between world powers and Iran. He was a leading critic of it in Congress.

He argued at the time that President Barack Obama should have made the pact a treaty subject to approval by the Senate. When Obama didn’t do that, Corker helped fellow senators write legislation that subjected the accord to periodic congressional review. The legislation would have blocked the deal if that effort got enough votes. It didn’t. Obama brought the deal into effect, not Congress.

Corker has sharply criticized Trump, calling him “utterly untruthful” and responsible for “the debasing of our nation.”

Second, branding McGurk an “Obama appointee” is misleading. The veteran diplomat bridges administrations. Republican President George W. Bush appointed him as a senior aide for Iraq and Afghanistan. During the negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal by the Obama administration, McGurk led secret side talks with Tehran on the release of Americans imprisoned there. He is Trump’s envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria, but quitting in protest of the troop withdrawal.

As for cash flown to Iran, that’s true, though Trump is off on the amount and leaves out important context: The money was a debt owed to Tehran, which bought military equipment from the U.S. that it never received because relations ruptured when the shah was overthrown in 1979. A cargo plane took $400 million, representing the principal, to the Iranians. The remaining $1.3 billion, representing interest accrued over nearly 40 years, was transferred separately.

The diplomatic break meant that a variety of debts between the two countries went uncollected and became the subject of international arbitration. As part of that process, Iran paid settlements of more than $2.5 billion to U.S. citizens and businesses over the years.


Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant in Houston and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

Border Protection information on Jakelin Caal: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/speeches-and-statements/statement-us-customs-and-border-protection-death-seven-year-old

Border Protection information on Felipe Gomez Alonzo: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/12/25/cbp-shares-additional-information-about-recent-passing-guatemalan-child

Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

Throngs to pack Times Square for mild, rainy New Year’s Eve


NEW YORK (AP) — Snoop Dogg, Sting and Christina Aguilera will welcome 2019 in a packed Times Square Monday along with revelers from around the world who come to see the traditional crystal ball drop, fireworks and a blizzard of confetti.

Spectators are expected to start assembling in early afternoon for the made-for-TV extravaganza. As has been the case for years, the celebration will take place under tight security, with partygoers checked for weapons and then herded into pens, ringed by metal barricades, where they wait for the stroke of midnight.

FILE – In this Jan. 1, 2018, file photo, confetti flies over Times Square during the New Year’s celebration in New York. The New York Police Department is adding a drone this year to the security forces it uses to protect the huge crowds celebrating New Year’s Eve in the city. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig,

Any repeat visitors from last year’s celebration will undoubtedly be praying for better weather. Last year’s event was one of the coldest on record at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Forecasters say Monday’s party will take place amid mild temperatures but possibly rain. Umbrellas are banned for security reasons.

Rain or shine, performers will try to light up the crowd.

Bastille and New Kids On The Block will perform medleys of their hit songs on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” and singer songwriter Bebe Rexha will perform John Lennon’s “Imagine” before the 60-second countdown to the midnight ball drop.

People who arrive early enough to grab a standing spot in Times Square itself may have a good view of the stages where the entertainers perform. The rest of the throngs, stuffed into pens stretching several blocks north toward Central Park, will be able to follow the action on viewing screens.

There are no public toilets in the pens, backpacks are banned and there are no garbage cans either, so picnicking for the event can be rough. But revelers will have plenty of companionship, though experts say probably well short of the 1 million to 2 million spectators claimed by city officials and organizers.

Thousands of police officers will be on hand to provide security, with the help of bomb-sniffing dogs, 1,225 security cameras and 235 “blocker vehicles” used to stop any potential vehicle attacks.

The show’s official programing begins at 6 p.m., with the lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball up a pole atop One Times Square. The Sino-American Friendship Association will flip the giant switch that lights the ball before presenting a Chinese cultural performance culminating in red and gold pyrotechnics.


PM Sheikh Hasina wins landslide in disputed Bangladesh election


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory, Bangladesh’s Election Commission said on Monday.

Her ruling party and its allies have won 288 of the 300 parliamentary seats contested, surpassing its previous election wins.

The opposition has condemned the vote as “farcical,” marred by violence, intimidation and vote rigging claims.

They won just seven seats and have demanded a new vote.

Bangladesh’s parliament has 350 seats in total, 50 of which are reserved for women and allotted proportional to the overall vote.

“We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately,” opposition leader Kamal Hossain said.

“We are demanding that a fresh election is held under a neutral government as early as possible.”

Bangladesh grows tired of its battling leading ladies ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42999503 )
More on life in Bangladesh ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12650940 )

The Bangladesh Election Commission told Reuters news agency that it had heard vote-rigging allegations from “across the country” and would investigate.

At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between ruling party supporters and the opposition.

What are the allegations?

Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League has run Bangladesh since 2009, but one of the leading opposition parties has accused it of using stuffed ballot boxes.

A spokesman for the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) alleged there were “irregularities” in 221 of the 300 seats being contested.

Soon before polls opened, a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre in the port city of Chittagong. The presiding officer declined to comment.

Only ruling party polling agents were present at that and several other polling centres in the second-largest city of the country.

Human Rights Watch South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/mg2411/status/1079500622070575104 )  that “with serious allegations of voter intimidation, restrictions on opposition polling agents and several candidates seeking a re-poll, there are concerns about the credibility” of the election.

At least 47 candidates from the main opposition alliance withdrew before polling closed, alleging vote rigging and intimidation.

Activists, observers and the opposition party had warned that the vote would not be fair, but the governing party accused the opposition of peddling false claims.

Ms Hasina told the BBC on Friday: “On the one hand, they are placing allegations. On the other hand, they are attacking our party workers, leaders. That is the tragedy in this country.”

‘Too scared to speak out’

As we went from polling booth to polling booth on Sunday, one pattern became clear. People who were supporters of Prime Minister Hasina’s party were vocal, and happy to answer our questions on camera, about what issues they’d voted on. The others were mostly too scared to speak out.

One man told us that several members of his extended family found that their votes had already been cast when they went to the polling booth. He said he didn’t think it was a fair election but didn’t want to be identified.

It wasn’t hard to see why he felt intimidated. Outside every polling booth we went to, there were dozens of workers from the prime minister’s party, listening intently when anyone was interviewed. No-one from the opposition parties was visible.

While the election commission has said it will investigate claims of vote-rigging, the organisation has itself been accused of bias by the opposition.

So far, the prime minister has not responded to these latest allegations but two days ago rejected claims the election was unfair.

It was widely anticipated that her party would win the polls, but it will be a controversial victory.

Why was this election important?

Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority nation of more than 160 million people and faces issues ranging from possibly devastating climate change, Islamist militancy ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39477330 ) , endemic poverty and corruption.

The country has recently been in the international spotlight as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled there from neighbouring Myanmar.  ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41566561 )

Image copyright Reuters

Image caption  PM Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power since 2009, casts her ballot on Sunday

The lead-up to the election saw violence between rival supporters and a crackdown on dissent by a government that critics say has only grown more authoritarian during its 10 years in power.

Who were the contenders?

Sheikh Hasina’s long-term rival, Khaleda Zia, was sent to prison on corruption charges earlier this year and barred from competing in the vote, in a case which she claimed was politically motivated.

In Ms Zia’s absence, Kamal Hossain, who was previously both an AL minister and Hasina ally, leads the main opposition grouping, the Jatiya Oikya Front, which includes Ms Zia’s Bangladesh National Party (BNP).

However, the 81-year-old lawyer, who drew up the country’s constitution, did not stand in the election.

The BNP boycotted the last vote in 2014, making Sunday’s poll the first to involve all the major parties in 10 years.

Wife of Bauchi State Governor Donates Foods to Christian Homes

Church, News, personality
Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar
Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar

The wife of the Bauchi State Governor,Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed, recently put smiles on the faces of Christian women at Bayara community of Bauchi when she distributed food items in the spirit of Christmas.

The gesture was done through her pet project known as the Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace Initiative, B-SWEEEP

‘Christmas celebrations are not complete when we have not touched the lives of women who are the pillars of the family.This intervention is been carried out every festive season with the support of the state government who is mindful of the needs of the citizens at such celebrations’’

“This period calls for sober reflection on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the purpose of his birth.You should also use the season to pray for the peace of the state and nation, particularly we are approaching the general election,’’she said

She implored women to instill moral virtues in the lives of their children so that they can be responsible persons in the society and urged to acquire skills to empower thier lives and family.

In her remarks , the state Commissioner of Women Affairs, Rukaiya Ibrahim Kewat,noted that the cardinal responsibility of any government was to affect the citizens through interventions that bring radical improvement for them.

The commissioner, who said that the gesture was aimed at putting smiles on the faces of the women, urged the women associations to ensure that the food items are distributed justly to every woman beneficiary.

SUSAN EDEH- Nigeria Independent

Major US newspapers hit by cyberattack, disrupting printing and distribution

News, Terrorism
Los Angeles Times

By Mark Wycislik-Wilson

A number of major US newspapers — including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and New York Times — have been hit by a cyberattack that is said to originate from another country.

Malware was first detected on Thursday by Tribune Publishing, the owner of some of the affected titles, but unsuccessful attempts at quarantining meant that there was disruption well into Saturday. The Department of Homeland Security is currently investigating the incident which is not thought to have exposed any personal customer details.

Writing about the malware attack, the Los Angeles Times explains: “Technology teams worked feverishly to quarantine the computer virus, but it spread through Tribune Publishing’s network and reinfected systems crucial to the news production and printing process. Multiple newspapers around the country were affected because they share a production platform”.

An anonymous source is quoted as saying that the attack was launched from outside the US, but it is not clear whether it was the action of an individual, or an enemy state:

We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information.

The attack appears to take the form of the Ryuk ransomware, but more will not be known until the investigation proceeds. DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said:

We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation.

In a statement issued on behalf of Tribune Publishing, spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said: “There is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised”.

Source: Beta News

NASA Wants to Send Hot Air Balloons to The Hellscape of Venus


We know that Venus, our closest planetary neighbour, has a volcanic terrain and a hellish atmosphere with extreme temperatures. But we don’t know much about seismic activity on the planet, which in turn could give us more clues about its internal composition.

Now, NASA has a rather exciting proposal to try and answer those questions: a bunch of hot air balloons.

Recent tests carried out in the Nevada desert show that helium-filled balloons – either tethered or free-flying – can indeed be used to measure vibrations and quakes happening far below, and if the technology can be transferred to the second planet from the Sun it could give us unprecedented insight into its make-up and history.

The heat and pressure on the surface of Venus mean that any lander probe that tries to monitor Venusquakes would quickly get crushed and melted out of existence. However, the conditions in the upper atmosphere are much more clement.

“We’ve never made a direct seismic measurement on Venus,” Siddharth Krishnamoorthy, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, told Adam Mann at Science Magazine ( https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/12/desert-explosion-helps-scientists-plan-earthquake-detecting-balloons-venus ) . “There is a lot balloons can offer in terms of unlocking some major questions about the planet.”

For the Nevada desert test carried out on the 19th of December, a team from the US Department of Energy created a magnitude 3-4 tremor with the help of a 50-ton chemical explosion that happened around 300 metres (984 feet) underground.

Up in the sky above, two helium-filled balloons were carrying instruments to detect changes in atmospheric pressure and low-frequency infrasound waves beyond our hearing – both tell-tale signs of earthquake activity. One balloon was tethered to the ground, while the other was left to float freely.

Add the new experiments to previous tests ( https://www.seeker.com/space/planets/earthquakes-on-venus-could-be-detected-by-an-atmospheric-balloon )  carried out last year, and it seems this sort of approach might work on Venus. A pair of Russian balloons ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega_program )  were used to explore the Venusian atmosphere back in the 1980s, though they only lasted for a couple of days and weren’t designed to measure seismic activity.

Getting this tech working on Venus won’t be easy though, even with that precedent. While the atmosphere on Venus is thicker – and therefore easier to measure infrasound waves through – it’s also home to supersonic winds ( http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-just-revealed-a-shadowy-secret-hidden-in-the-dark-of-venus )  that could quickly confuse the balloon’s finely tuned instruments.

Nevertheless, the scientists think balloons could measure quakes as slight as magnitude 2, and help confirm a long-running hypothesis that heat is still trying to escape the core of the planet Venus – a process that would trigger surface tremors.

While Venus shares a lot of similarities with Earth (including its mass and proximity to the Sun), there are also plenty of questions about why it ended up evolving so differently, with no magnetic field and no water. A fleet of hot air balloons dispatched to measure Venusquakes could help us find some answers to those questions.

Future experiments are planned in Oklahoma as the NASA team works to get the technology more accurate and operating over longer distances. After that, it might be time to start prepping a mission to Venus.

Meanwhile, NASA is also working on a plan to develop drones ( http://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-happening-nasa-is-working-on-drones-that-could-survive-venus-hellish-atmosphere )  capable of operating in the Venusian atmosphere – which at 96 percent carbon dioxide is rather toxic, though pressures and temperatures away from the planet’s surface are similar to those on Earth. These remote workers could teach us more about Venus even from a long way up.

“We know, with a degree of certainty, that Venus has no global plate tectonics like on Earth,” Krishnamoorthy told Seeker ( https://www.seeker.com/space/planets/earthquakes-on-venus-could-be-detected-by-an-atmospheric-balloon )  last year. “Below the surface, there is seismic activity of a different nature, but we don’t know exactly what.”

Source link  ( http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/sciencealert-latestnews/~3/U9TdD4DfzAU/nasa-wants-to-use-balloons-to-find-out-if-venusquakes-are-actually-real )

Lion escapes enclosure, kills worker


By Deanna Hackney, CNN

As a team led by a trained animal keeper cleaned the enclosure, “One of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person,” the Conservators Center ( https://www.conservatorscenter.org/about/ )  in Burlington, west of Durham, said on its Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/ConservatorsCenter/posts/10155822865741232?__xts__[0]=68.ARDSvhJ_w0wxd69TTriMaaIS6_dOkSq8UR_72tMUsgv5u9CbYjEsU5tHNtLoCDSglWb-GO8m2uCnuYee1eLZPRyoR7qcORtmCKdRNAIHfhRO4B0NTmTNeAbat8pcZLebJBxMMVEXgHBlgkn21Fk96UBIcc0uha3tsDwhZUq8sY19dmlOW-lVLStewLYhCZgZ9iysl6PU4KzH15cyJxt9K3HR8EMQBZMXoQyUPFgM42PwO_DmOC3JRSoKMqgBCUfla8f8w_Vq-eMzVExc9GRgZP-ckPy-c7Sj5o4KoRRh-ktG7NFDcl4Zdmy8Qf_Xd51UsSRQCM8yN5M6D0SN&__tn__=-R )  page.

“The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today,” the center said.

The center did not name the worker but the Caswell County Sheriff’s Office identified her as Alexandra Black, a 22-year-old recent graduate of Indiana State University. Black, a native of New Palestine, Indiana, had been an intern at the Conservators Center for about two weeks, the sheriff’s office said.

Black’s “passion was the zoological industry — this was not this person’s first internship,” the center’s executive director, Mindy Stinner, said, according to CNN affiliate WNCN ( https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/22-year-old-intern-killed-in-nc-lion-attack-had-passion-for-animals-official-says/1680290248 ) .

“And this person wanted to spend a lifetime around these animals,” Stinner said in an emotional press conference.

Black was not a staff member but was working under the supervision of a staff member, according to Stinner.
Male lion was shot and killed
The male lion was euthanized, Stinner said. It was unclear how the lion escaped, the center said.

Stinner said all large cats are locked in a separate area from humans during the routine cleanings.

“At no time did the lion ever enter a space that was not enclosed by the park’s perimeter fence,” she said.

Stinner said visitors were at the park but officials safely and quickly got them out of the park.

“This is not a situation we’ve ever had before. Safety is a very, very important feature of running any zoological park,” she said.
Center is closed until further notice
The zoological park houses more than 80 animals, including tigers, small wild cats and other small carnivores, according to its website. It offers guided walking tours near the animal enclosures. The park is regulated the US Department of Agriculture, according to Stinner.

Stinner, an educator, co-founded the center in 1999 in Mebane, North Carolina, as an educational nonprofit to provide a home for select carnivore species, according to the center’s website. It relocated to a 45-acre swath in 2004, the website said.

Stinner said they first started doing rescue and sanctuary work, but moved away from that emphasis and worked with more species, trying to involve the community more.

“We like to think of ourselves as kind of a community zoo,” she said.

The center is closed until further notice, officials said.

“We need to assess our situation, and we need to make sure that everyone here is safe and feels safe,” Stinner said, “because this is a very scary thing.”

By Deanna Hackney, CNN


Senior Pastor Stabbed to Death during Church Service


Their was commotion at the Central Assemblies of God Church after a senior pastor was stabbed to death during church service.

The shocking incident happened on Sunday (today) at Tema Community 4 in Ghana.

According to media reports, the deceased pastor identified as Rev. Dr. David Nabegmado was attacked while preparing to leave his inner office to the main church auditorium to preach as Service was ongoing.

Ghanaian Pastor Stabbed To Death By Nephew During Church Service (Photos)

He was allegedly attacked by his nephew in his office and was rushed to a nearby medical facility for treatment and died hours later.

It was gathered that his nephew, Francis M.Nabegmado who lived with him for some time, has been identified as a key suspect in the gruesome murder and has been arrested by the police.

Jonathan Aide: Obafemi Hamzat Is A Compulsive Liar

A second suspect has also been arrested and being interrogated by the police.

The deceased was accosted by the suspect while moving from the church office into the main auditorium for the day’s service at about 9am.

US university’s 44th list of words it would like to banish


Lake Superior State University’s 44th annual list of words nominated for banishment by members of the public:


— In the books

— Wrap my head around

— Platform

— Collusion

— OTUS family of acronyms (such as POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS)

— Ghosting

— Yeet

— Litigate

— Grapple

— Eschew

— Crusty

— Optics

— Legally drunk

–Thought leader

— Unpack

— Importantly

— Accoutrements

— Most important election of our time

Associated Press

President Sheu Shagari 1925 -2018


That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind. William Wordsworth
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/william_wordsworth_147034

The Kardashian Academic Legacy


The Kardashians have built a brand that includes their long-running E! reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and various side ventures, from Khloé Kardashian’s Good American clothing brand to Kim Kardashian’s top-grossing mobile app. So, how did the family manage to build bustling empires that keep raking in dough year after year? Did they spend hours learning the ins and outs of how to run a business by taking grueling college courses and acing all of their exams? Well, not quite.

Though their business sense is admirable, the Kardashian family — including mom, Kris Jenner, and half-sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner — aren’t necessarily ones to have their heads buried inside of school books. Many of them decided to bypass the classroom and gain some good ol’ real-life experience instead.

Kim Kardashian, Esq.?

Here’s how far each Kardashian got in school. Spoiler: Three Kardashian siblings have flirted with the idea of going to law school.

Kim Kardashian was quite the social butterfly when she attended Marymount High School in Los Angeles. She was even popular enough to win two superlative honors in her school’s yearbook, snagging “Most Likely to Meet Her Husband at the Million Man March” and “Most Likely to Lie About Her Ethnicity,” according to Us Weekly. Whoa.

Kim went on to earn her diploma from the all-girls Catholic school, as reported by Bravo. And, soon thereafter, she enrolled at Pierce College — a community college in Woodland Hills, Calif., according to Life & Style. She eventually dropped out shortly after enrolling, but she has dreams of furthering her education one day. She told Wonderland in 2016, “If things slow down and I had time, I really want to go to law school — just something I can do in my older age.”

Her husband, Kanye West, dropped a bombshell in a 2018 interview with Extra, stating Kim had enrolled in law school, but Kim’s rep had to backtrack and shut that rumor down. Still, we wouldn’t be shocked if she finished her four-year degree one day and pursued her ambitions to become a lawyer, just like her late father, Robert Kardashian, Sr.

Kris Jenner earned success without a degree

Kris Jenner

Getty Images

Given as how Kris Jenner is the matriarch of the Kardashian family and the brains behind their massive empires, many would assume the walls of her home office would be lined with college degrees and educational certificates. However, Kris is proof that it doesn’t always take years of schooling to become financially successful.

The momager and entrepreneur attended Clairemont High School in San Diego, Calif. But instead of having her eye on, say, her school’s football captain, 17-year-old Kris was reportedly dating a man more than ten years older than her, according to Jerry Oppenheimer, the author of The Kardashians: An American Drama (via Page Six).

With her high school diploma in hand, Kris bid school adieu and married her first husband, Robert Kardashian Sr., when she was 22, as noted by Harper’s Bazaar. And college would have to wait because Kris soon became focused on being a mommy.

Despite never attending a college campus, Kris wanted to share her business acumen with those who admired her work ethic. She linked up with Legacy Business School in 2016 and became the institution’s “public face and chairman of the board,” the Daily Beast reported. The certification (which cost $105,360 per year) and the school turned out to have an uber-shady past, and Kris later disaffiliated herself from them.

Kourtney attended one of the top party schools


As the eldest sibling in the family, perhaps Kourtney Kardashian believed she needed to set a good example by pursuing a higher level of education. After graduating from the same all-girls school as her younger sister Kim Kardashian, Kourtney packed up her belongings and made a big move on her quest to become a college student.

Kourtney revealed on Twitter that, after graduating from high school, she attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas for two years. But she didn’t last long in the Lone Star State. After completing her first two years, she transferred to the University of Arizona, according to Life & Style magazine. The campus has a reputation for being one of the top party schools in the nation, but Kourtney apparently didn’t let any raging keggers get in the way of her dreams.

She graduated in 2002, and earned a degree in Theatre Arts with a minor in Spanish. According to Us Weekly, Kourtney considered going to law school, but ultimately decided against it after applying.

Did Rob want to follow in his dad’s footsteps?

Rob Kardashian followed big sis Kourtney Kardashian’s lead by also enrolling in a four-year institution after he graduated from high school. The Arthur George sock mogul attended the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and graduated from the prestigious school in 2009, The Hollywood Reporter stated.

However, Rob wasn’t content with just obtaining his bachelor’s degree. He decided to push his education to the max in 2012 when he revealed in a since-deleted tweet (via The Atlantic) that he was going to USC’s Gould School of Law. “School just never ends for me!” he wrote, in part.

But not so fast! USC responded to his tweet in the shadiest way. “News to us. Wish him luck at the law school he’s really attending,” they tweeted, before revealing he hadn’t even applied to the school. WTF, Rob?!

As of this writing, Rob has yet to enroll in law school. But we don’t blame him. He has other things to worry about — like the oodles of non-stop drama with his ex-fiancé, Blac Chyna.

Kylie did ‘everything to prepare for college’

By the time Kylie Jenner entered high school, KUWTK was still as popular as ever. In order to join in on the family business, Kylie eventually left regular school behind and was homeschooled through an institution called Laurel Springs High School.

Though leaving the confines of a traditional school worked out for her, Kylie expressed how tough it was to be homeschooled on an episode of Life of Kylie (via Entertainment Tonight). She revealed that she unfriended all of her high school friends on social media because looking at all of their prom photos was too tough for her. “It really just made me sad,” she said.

Despite being in the dumps and missing out on the typical high school experience, Kylie forged ahead with her studies. She shared the news of her graduation on Instagram in July 2015 when she posted a photo of herself wearing her cap and gown with her diploma in hand and her perfectly lined, pouty lips on full display.

Unsurprisingly, she didn’t have any plans to pursue a college education. “I have done everything to prepare for college, so if I wanted to in the future, I could go at any time. But I’m not planning on going anytime soon,” she told Interview magazine in 2015.

Kendall said peace out to school

Kendall Jenner attended the same private school as her younger sister, Kylie Jenner. And just like Kylie, Kendall took the homeschool route, as well, according to the Daily Mail.

What happened next is a bit fuzzy. While Kendall revealed on her website (via Daily Mail) that acne made her brief stint at a traditional high school nerve-racking, her homeschooling experience was somewhat glossed over. And, for a family who lives their lives in the spotlight, the Kardashian-Jenners failed to make mention of Kendall’s high school graduation until 2015 — the same year Kylie, who was a grade behind Kendall, graduated from Laurel Springs High School.

When Kylie was celebrating her graduation with a glam, fun-filled party in July 2015, Kendall was being honored at the party, as well. “Graduating class of 2014 & 2015! Congrats @kendalljenner & @kyliejenner for graduating high school!” Kim Kardashian wrote in an Instagram caption, in part.

Okay, so they kept Kendall’s 2014 graduation a secret up until 2015. No biggie. But the supermodel’s thoughts on attending college after high school was what really rubbed some people the wrong way. “You talk to people and they say the reason they went to college was to get a job, but I already have a job, so…” the supermodel told Vogue magazine.

If one day she decides modeling isn’t where it’s at, we’re sure her family will have a ton of other opportunities already lined up for her, no college degree required

Khloe ‘struggled really hard’

Being so close in age to her eldest sisters meant Khloé Kardashian had the pleasure of attending high school with Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. However, when both Kim and Kourtney graduated from their all-girls Catholic school, Khloé found herself all alone and super unhappy.

In a blog post on her official website (via Daily Mail), Khloé explained that she was never as popular as Kim and Kourtney, which made school very difficult for her. Sadly, her grades also suffered. “I struggled really hard in school, so I took myself out of Marymount [high school] and forged my parents’ names to enroll in Alexandria Academy,” she wrote.

Her late father, Robert Kardashian, Sr., was “livid when he found out,” but, because he was impressed by how much effort Khloé put into taking control of her own education, he allowed her to enroll in the special academic institution.

Khloé wrote that she excelled at the untraditional school, which is geared towards gifted students and children in the entertainment industry. Once she graduated — with honors, might we add — she hung up her backpack for good. “I knew college wasn’t for me,” she wrote.

Read More: https://www.nickiswift.com/138465/heres-how-far-each-kardashian-got-in-school/sl/khloe-struggled-really-hard?utm_campaign=clip

Nigerian President was at the ECOWAS Heads of Government meetings in Abuja


President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday participated at the 54th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS in Abuja.

Speaking at the session, Buhari said: “Despite these successes, ECOWAS is still confronted by several challenges. The sub-region continues to face difficulties in the economic, governance, peace, security and humanitarian fields.”

According to him, “These lofty ideals are however not attainable without peace and security. That is why I have decided to make the issue of peace and security the major focus of my Chairmanship. I am happy to inform this august assembly that our efforts have started yielding dividends as we have been able to douse tension and restore confidence in some potentially disruptive political situations, particularly in Guinea Bissau, Togo and Mali.

“It is a matter of concern that terrorism and violent extremism have continued to threaten the peace and security in our sub-region. This threat calls for collective action on our part, if we are to effectively and definitively eliminate it. As we work on new strategies to combat and eradicate this menace, we require the support of our partners…”

Read the full text of President Buhari’s statement here:


Royal Family attend Sandringham Christmas church service


Members of the Royal Family greeted well-wishers after attending the Christmas Day church service

The Royal Family have greeted hundreds of well-wishers after attending the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles as they left the service on the Queen’s estate in Norfolk.

Prince Charles attended but the Duchess of Cornwall missed church due to a heavy cold.

The Duke of Edinburgh also stayed home – but is said to be in good health.

Duchess of Sussex
Meghan and Prince Harry greet the crowds as they leave the church service
Duchess of Cambridge
Speaking to members of the crowd, Catherine revealed her children had woken her up very early
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex arrive at the morning service
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex appeared to be on friendly terms

Catherine and Meghan, who is pregnant with her and Prince Harry’s first child, walked side by side to church, chatting and smiling. The pair have been the subject of media reports of a rift.

Many of those gathered had brought bouquets of flowers and called out “Merry Christmas” as the royal party went past.

Royals looking ‘happy and relaxed’

By BBC correspondent Charlotte Gallagher

There were huge cheers from the crowd when the royal family arrived for the morning’s church service – especially for the Queen.

The queen was driven there by a chauffeur while the rest of the family walked up and greeted people when they went past. Some well wishers were waving Stars and Stripes flags for the Duchess of Sussex.

Despite newspaper reports about rifts and rivalry, the royals looked happy and relaxed with Princes William and Harry and their wives walking into church together.

Afterwards the Duchess of Cambridge told one member of the crowd that like many parents her children had woken her very early on Christmas morning.

After the service, Meghan hugged one of her former Instagram followers, who she spotted in the crowd.

Jessica Daniels, 17, from Peterborough, said it was an “amazing” experience to meet the duchess, who she’d been following since watching her on TV’s Suits.

“There were a group of us girls on social media she became kind of close with and interacted a lot online.

“This is the first time I’ve met her, she just said ‘it’s so lovely to meet you, incredible to finally see you’ and she was asking how we all are and if we’re still talking and supporting each other.”

The Queen
Crowds at Sandringham
Crowds at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk
Princess Eugenie of York and her husband Jack Brooksbank
Princess Eugenie of York and her husband Jack Brooksbank married in October
Autumn Phillips and Princess Beatrice
Autumn Phillips and Princess Beatrice were among the Royal party
Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall
Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall had their second child this year
The Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, James Viscount Severn and the Earl of Wessex
The Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, James Viscount Severn and the Earl of Wessex arriving at the service
Peter Phillips with his daughters Isla and Savannah
Peter Phillips with his daughters Isla and Savannah

The son of the Princess Royal, Peter Phillips, arrived with his daughters Savannah and Isla, followed by Princess Beatrice and Peter’s wife Autumn Phillips.

Behind them were Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank; the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their children, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn; and Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and Zara and Mike Tindall.

Tariro, aged seven, got up at 3:00 GMT to get a good view of the royals arriving.

Speaking to the BBC, she said the Queen was her favourite because “she is always wearing the crown with beautiful jewels”.

Her twin sister Tatenda said she was looking forward to seeing the Duchess of Sussex whose “elegant dresses” she admired.

Source: BBC

South Africa issues arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe

Africa, News

By Brent Swails and Jack Guy, CNN

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN)

South African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe, wife of deposed Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, over the alleged assault of a South African model in August 2017.The arrest warrant was issued last Thursday, South African Police Services spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told CNN on Wednesday.”

I can confirm that a warrant for the arrest of Grace Mugabe was issued last Thursday,” Naidoo said, adding that police were seeking Interpol’s help to enforce it. However there are doubts over whether Zimbabwean police would arrest Grace Mugabe, even if Interpol did issue a red notice.”We are not yet aware of the warrant,” Zimbabwean police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told CNN. “We will see when we cross that bridge.”

Model Gabriella Engels, seen here shortly after the alleged attack.

Model Gabriella Engels, seen here shortly after the alleged attack. South African model Gabriella Engels accused Grace Mugabe of attacking her in August 2017. Engels said on Twitter that the former Zimbabwe first lady “split my head open in 3 places. With an extension cord and plug to hit me.”

Latest blow for former first lady

Grace Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity over the incident by South Africa’s former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, allowing her to leave the country. However in July 2018 a South African High Court overturned the decision, paving the way for prosecution and possible extradition.The latest developments are another blow to Grace Mugabe, who was reportedly being lined up to replace her husband Robert as Zimbabwean leader before he was forced to resign in November 2017.

The former revolutionary leader ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years before leaving office after an apparent coup staged by the country’s military.At the time an army spokesman denied a military takeover was underway but the situation bore all the hallmarks of a coup: The military was in control of state TV in Harare, a significant army presence was at the city’s international airport, and Mugabe was not seen in public.President Emmerson Mnangagwa now rules Zimbabwe following disputed elections on July 30.

Brent Swails reported from Johannesburg. Jack Guy wrote in London.

Trump says no end to shutdown until border barrier funded, plans January visit to new section of wall


By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump said Tuesday the government won’t reopen until funding is secured for his border barrier, and he plans to go to the border in January to visit a new stretch of wall.”I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it,” Trump said in the Oval Office after a Christmas call with US troops.Negotiations between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over the President’s demands for a border wall have so far not yielded an agreement, and the shutdown will continue until at least Thursday, when the Senate returns to Washington.

Both sides seem entrenched in their opposing stances and it’s possible parts of the government could remain closed until the new Congress is seated in the first week of January, when Democrats will take control of the House.Trump repeated a claim made a day earlier — without explanation — that he’d recently approved 115 miles worth of border barrier. The White House hasn’t provided any further details about the claim, which Trump first made on Twitter on Christmas Eve.He said he would go to the new stretch of the wall in January.”It’s going to be built, hopefully rapidly,” he said. “I’m going there at the end of January for the start of construction.

That’s a big stretch.””We’re almost having a groundbreaking, it’s such a big section,” he said. “It’s probably the biggest section we’ll get out.”Trump has previously visited wall prototypes near the border.During a brief question-and-answer session with reporters, Trump also said he continues to have confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, despite the December downturn in the stock market. He also warned Democrats that oversight of his administration would amount to “presidential harassment.

“Trump also claimed, without evidence, that federal employees on furlough or working without pay understand his demand for a border wall — and support him in his mission.”I think they understand what’s happening,” he said. “They want border security. The people of this country want border security.””It’s not a question of me,” he continued. “I would rather not be doing shutdowns. I’ve been at the White House. I love the White House, but I wasn’t able to be with my family. I thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family, my family is in Florida, Palm Beach, and I just didn’t want to go down and be there when other people are hurting.

“Trump was presumably referring to his adult children; his wife, Melania Trump, returned to the White House on Monday to spend the holiday with her husband.Trump said many federal workers have told him to hold out for wall funding, though the President didn’t provide names or positions of those workers.”But many of those workers have said to me and communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall. These federal workers want the wall. The only one that doesn’t want the wall are the Democrats, because they don’t mind open borders, but open borders mean massive amounts of crime,” he said.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Regional Program Manager – West Africa Region


Africa – West – Flexibility to work from an office in Search West Region, N/A

Position Summary

The Program Manager aims to ensure excellence in performance in all areas of program implementation in full compliance with SFCG and donor rules and regulations. By supporting the country team and measuring their performance using specific and agreed-upon program implementation and quality measurement tools, the Program Manager shares a diagnosis of country programs’ strengths and weaknesses with the Regional Director. This diagnosis will be based on the efficacy and effort by the country team in utilizing organizational tools.

Based on this diagnosis, priorities for each country program are set with the Regional Director. This is done in a manner which consistently builds capacity, strengthens lines of accountability, and enables and inspires talent at all levels within the country program. Accountability of the performance in managing the awards remains with the Country Director, who is supervised by the Regional Director. The Regional Director thus focuses more so on strategic development, new business development, and management of the senior country team.

Key Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities include:

Program Implementation

Under the supervision of the Regional Director, the Program Manager supports in the timely, effective and compliant implementation of projects in country. Areas of focus will be dependent on the strengths and weaknesses of each country program as determined by the Regional Director and the Program Manager, but will include the following:

  • Ensure that basic SFCG program implementation tools are being used and shared, including start-up and close-out protocols, costed work plans, operational budgets, BvA meetings, and quarterly work plans.
  • Encourage standards of excellence, a reflective, learning and adaptive culture, with the strengthening of capacities and systems to enable this culture;
  • Support programs in using organizational best practices in the use of tools and methodologies to implement the program activities, and identify capacity building needs for in-country staff; provide technical inputs on projects when applicable and appropriate, and/or mobilize technical support on key areas (eg. Training tools, media products, etc)
  • Support programs to speak to results, encouraging an implementation logic that focuses on the objectives of a project and seeks to capture the change as per the theory of change. Facilitating collaboration with ILT when needed.
  • Based on a sharing of the reports between the PM and the Business Development team (including in-country Program Associates), review and edit reports of country programs prior to submission. Use Quarterly Report Scorecard to track ongoing improvements in staff capacity in reporting; design coaching and capacity building to improve capacity.
  • Liaise with any of Search’s HQ departments when appropriate to facilitate collaboration and trouble shoot issues; Collaborate with the Institutional Learning Team, the Communications Team and the IT department, to assist in their provision of pertinent and timely support to programs where they have direct budgets;
  • Quickly identify obstacles to timely delivery of quality programs and work with country teams and Regional Director and Regional Finance Manager (RFM) to solve obstacles creatively and rapidly. This includes assessing the risks related to overall program performance, as well as efficacy of SFCG procedures, tools and guidelines.
  • Mobilize and monitor short term consultants when appropriate and delegated by the Regional Director.
  • Travel to field offices to provide in-country support as needed. Participate in key project and program launch and close out meetings, key program events and workshops.

Grants and Operations Management

  • Track the performance of each country management teams in their implementation of grants, achievement of program and spending targets, and meeting of reporting deadlines for feedback to the RD. Ongoing coaching of the teams to improve performance in all of these areas.
  • In collaboration with Country Directors, Finance Managers, and Project Managers actively monitor burn rates to ensure that grants are spent out to 90% according to grant agreements and SFCG’s grant management policy.
  • Work in collaboration with specific units in HQ to ensure complete grant documentation, agreement review and signing, budget realignments, cost extensions, etc. as well as grant closure.
  • Engage support of other departments as needed to solve problems and provide support to country teams in addressing grant management challenges.
  • Contribute to ongoing improvement of grant management tools, including grant status tracking, donor requirements and regulations, burn rate monitoring, report compilation and collection, and SFCG policy and donor regulations.
  • Assume interim leadership roles in country programs when appropriate and timely.

Program Strategy

  • Although the Program Manager is not the lead in the business development, the Program Manager will at times be delegated to take on specific pieces of large and strategic proposals, such as engaging and negotiating with local or international partners in the development of a consortium.

External relations, communications & visibility

  • Be a focal point where delegated on donor communications, working together with the team to clarify information, follow-through on requests;
  • Liaise with ILT, GAP, and Communications to enhance the visibility of the region, through back-stopping on success stories and other data reflecting the change and transformation of our work.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.


You meet the following qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s Degree in relevant field.


  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in working in implementation and/or program support, with a preference for focus on conflict transformation and/or international development
  • Experience with grants management, including with EU, DFID, USG, or UN;
  • Experience in relevant region;

Skills and Competencies

  • Willingness to travel on a regular basis (up to 50%) and live in challenging contexts;
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work with a diverse team, with attention to mentorship and professional development of staff;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills in English and French required;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

This position will close on January 6th, 2019

To apply

To apply, interested candidates should send the following items  to our employment portal here:

  • current resume
  • cover letter

Only applicants invited for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please. Please see our website www.sfcg.org for full details of our work.

All Search Employees must adhere to the values: Shared Humanity – Empathy – Impartiality – Inclusivity – Courage – Hope – Humility – Audacity. In accordance with these values, Search enforces compliance with the Code of Conduct and related policies on Anti Workplace Harassment, Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Conflict of Interest and Anti-fraud.

Communications Specialist – West Africa Region


Job Openings

Communications Specialist – West Africa Region

Africa – West – Flexibility to work from an office in Search West Region, N/

Position Summary

The Communications Specialist is a member of the West Africa (WA) regional support team and will support all country and regional programming in regards to communications outputs. The Communications Specialist will help the team to increase the visibility of Search for Common Ground and peacebuilding among the general public, support WA country offices in producing high quality external communications and oversee strategic branding in coordination with Communications HQ in Washington D.C and Brussels. The Communications Specialist will work directly with Program Managers, Program Coordinators, and Program Associates part of the WA team, as well as WA country teams, to support the collection of field stories, proofreading and editing of communication products, effective presentation of project results, media campaigns, project related communications and other regionally-focused communication tasks. This position will be based in the Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal, or any other WA capital where Search has an office.

Key Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities include:

Content Production (30%)

  • Assist with special events and promotions in the WA region, including live-tweeting, taking photos, and other communications.
  • Create and maintain a WA regional information management system that enables the tracking and accessible storage of success stories, media campaign materials, blog posts, web updates, and other materials from Search’s regional country programs.
  • Coordinate with project managers and other country staff to update website project pages.
  • Responsible for creating and updating monthly editorial calendar in coordination with the HQ Communications team.
  • Travel within the WA region to provide in-country support when needed.
  • Lead in-country or remote communications capacity building trainings for country teams.

Copy and Written Communications (30%)

  • Support country team staff to develop regular success stories from projects.
  • Provide communication product drafting, proofreading, and editing support to country teams for external publications.
  • Ensure that web pages are updated on a frequent, rolling basis in line with individual project progress. 
  • Assist in the development of regional and global journalist and media contacts lists, draft mass press releases and media advisories, and follow up with press contacts.
  • Track media coverage of Search for Common Ground and peacebuilding in the region and coordinate with country management staff to highlight and source media interest.

Administration and Other (40%)

  • Help recruit consultants and other in-country communication support staff, including supporting procurement processes and following up on deliverables.
  • Manage intern communications staff as required.
  • Maintain and update media files, organize press clippings and photo files, and organize and manage collateral and promotional material inventory
  • Ensure the WA regional team and WA country management teams have and use up-to-date organizational materials
  • Update and monitor social media platforms for the region, coordinating with country teams and Communications HQ on social media campaigns.
  • Monitor and report on social media, email, press, and other analytics.
  • Assist with reporting and presentation creation for country teams and WA regional team.
  • Submit reimbursements, payment requests; otherwise interface with the finance department.
  • Provide scheduling support for team meetings, events, and travel itineraries and processes related to communications events and campaigns.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.


You meet the following qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, communications,  journalism, communications, mass media or other related discipline;


  • Minimum 4 years’ professional experience or 2 year professional experience with a Master’s Degree in communications, marketing, press office or related field;
  • Experience with copywriting and editing;
  • Experience in strategic outreach and creative marketing;
  • Experience writing for the web and social media;

Skills and Competencies

  • Fluency in English;
  • Fluency in French;
  • Proficient in Graphic Design (use of photoshop, illustrator
  • In-depth knowledge of social media usage and analytics; Including but not limited to  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google +, Pinterest…etc
  • Ability to think out-of-the-box and take initiative;
  • Able to work independently and effectively in a team environment;
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized, with a proactive approach;
  • Proficient in use of Microsoft Office Suite and able to learn new technology quickly.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Video shooting and editing experience with Final Cut;
  • Experience with photography;
  • Experience working with the Adobe Creative Suite;
  • Experience with Salsa or other CRM

 This position will close on January 6th, 2019

To apply

To apply, interested candidates should send the following items  to our employment portal here:

  • current resume
  • cover letter

Only applicants invited for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please. Please see our website www.sfcg.org for full details of our work.

All Search Employees must adhere to the values: Shared Humanity – Empathy – Impartiality – Inclusivity – Courage – Hope – Humility – Audacity. In accordance with these values, Search enforces compliance with the Code of Conduct and related policies on Anti Workplace Harassment, Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Conflict of Interest and Anti-fraud.

Mexican Asylum Seekers into US Are to Be Returned Back for Asylum Proceedings

law enforcement, News, Politics, SEcurity

The U.S. has reached a deal with the Mexican government to force asylum seekers at its southern border to remain in Mexico while they wait to bring their case before an American immigration judge, a process that could take several months or even years, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced at a congressional hearing on Thursday.

The new policy, effective immediately, is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to curb what it insists are loopholes in the immigration system. Like many of its immigration policies, the plan was likely to face pushback in court.

Nielsen’s announcement before a House Judiciary Committee came as President Donald Trump remained locked in a bitter dispute with lawmakers over whether to shut down the government if he doesn’t get the money he wants to buy a border wall.

PHOTO: A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents for illegally crossing the border near McAllen, Texas, June 25, 2018.
A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents for illegally crossing the border near McAllen, Texas, June 25, 2018.more +

“We have a huge problem with asylum fraud,” Nielsen told the House panel. “We need to work together to combat that.”

Nielsen’s testimony encountered immediate pushback from congressional Democrats who called the plan a misguided attempt to demonize immigrants.

“Is it as (though) you can’t see the realities of modern immigration or the contributions of anyone who came from countries other than Norway or other parts of Europe,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Illinois. “It’s as though you and others in the administration are blind.”

At issue is how the United States decides who should be granted asylum, a right granted to migrants by U.S. and international law. According to the Homeland Security Department, border officials have seen a surge in migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and that the vast majority are granted entrance into the United States after passing a “credible fear” interview.

DHS said in a statement Thursday that in nearly half of these cases in 2018, the person later failed to appear at a hearing or file an asylum claim, indicating that the person likely opted to remain illegally inside the U.S. As a result, DHS says, only 9 percent of people from those three countries are ultimately granted asylum.

John Cohen, a former acting under secretary at the Homeland Security Department and an ABC News contributor, noted that the law does allow for the federal government, through the attorney general, to deport someone to a “safe third country” pending an asylum claim, if there is bilateral agreement.

But, the law requires that the person’s “life or freedom” not be threatened, and that the person claiming asylum still have “full and fair” access to the U.S. immigration system. That means it’s likely the U.S. will have to devote resources to either bring people into the United States to see an immigration judge, or set up U.S. courts in Mexico — a highly unusual situation that presents legal complications, Cohen said.

“It’s highly probable this will be challenged in court,” Cohen said. “It’ll be up to the courts to determine whether processing someone in Mexico is consistent with the law or not.”

PHOTO: Central American migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, line up to borrow a sleeping pad, after arriving at a temporary shelter, set up in a stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 5, 2018.
Central American migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, line up to borrow a sleeping pad, after arriving at a temporary shelter, set up in a stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 5, 2018.more +

Administration officials said they expect a dramatic drop in asylum claims if people are not allowed to enter the U.S. and are instead forced to wait in Mexico. Several Republicans on the House committee said they supported the move.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the plan “historic” and said that the Mexican government has promised to give the migrants humanitarian visas to stay on Mexican soil, as well as the ability to apply for work.

“We think that they (migrants seeking asylum) will now see that they can’t disappear inside the United States, and so they will remain in their home countries,” Pompeo told Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

Mexico has previously refused to accept the return of migrants who aren’t Mexican citizens. But earlier this week, the U.S. signed a joint declaration with Mexico promising to invest $5.8 billion in southern Mexico and the three countries where most of the migrants were coming from — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The administration also promised a U.S.-Mexico business summit next year and a cabinet-level meeting in January.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department called the latest agreement to allow U.S. asylum seekers to remain in Mexico was a temporary, humanitarian measure)

Trump has been under political pressure from his supporters to take a hard line with immigration. While illegal crossings fell during his first year in office, they have returned to previous levels.

The president’s other executive actions aimed at curbing those crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have faced setbacks in court. On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a separate policy that restricts asylum claims of migrants fleeing domestic and gang-related violence. Another federal judge in California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a Trump administration rule that made anyone who crosses the southern border outside a port of entry ineligible for asylum.

Trump has expressed frustration in recent days that he hasn’t been able to fulfill his promise to build a border wall.

“When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership,” Trump tweeted. “Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries – but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!”

ABC News reporters Conor Finnegan and Luke Barr contributed to this report.Sponsored Stories

Bill Cosby: Expert Predicts Bankruptcy

Entertainment, News

Born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Bill Cosby dropped out of college to pursue a career in stand up comedy. After touring extensively and landing a spot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1963, Cosby took his comedy to albums, where he won seven consecutive Grammys for his comedy albums between 1964-1971. He then moved to television, where he became the first black man to star in a lead role in NBC’s 1965 special-agent adventure series, I Spy, according to Biography.

Cosby then struck critical and ratings gold with his depiction of an affluent black family in the 80s seminal hit, The Cosby Show. Now known as “America’s Dad,” Cosby amassed a fortune in television and commercials while projecting a wholesome persona and serving as a positive role model to generations of fans.

However, underneath that persona and image was a “sexually violent predator” who allegedly drugged and raped 60 women. On September 25, 2018, Cosby was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for one of those crimes. Once one of the highest-paid celebrities in the world, Cosby’s substantial wealth, now being siphoned off by legal fees, settlements, and civil suits, is falling faster than his fall from grace. Here’s what Bill Cosby’s net worth really is.

During the 80s, Bill Cosby was the world’s highest-paid entertainer and beloved the world over for his role as Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable on The Cosby Show. The show was such an astronomical success that, according to Forbes, it generated “$4 million an episode when sold into syndication, with reruns generating over $1.5 billion in the last two decades.” And per the Chicago Tribune, Cosby pocketed $166 million from the original syndication deal negotiated by Viacom.

Cosby leveraged his popularity and television success into lucrative TV commercial work, eventually becoming one of the most popular pitchmen of all time. Del Monte, Ford, Crest, Coca-Cola, Kodak, and of course, Jell-O pudding, are just a few of the big-name brands that wanted a piece of the Cosby pie. He was so good at selling Americans products that he was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall Of Fame in 2011. (The honor was rescinded in May 2018.)

With a mega-hit show and companies lining up for his endorsement, Cosby amassed an estimated net worth of $400 million.

During its primetime heyday and in re-runs, The Cosby Show was a staple of network programming and a syndication cash cow for Bill Cosby since its premiere on September 20, 1984. However, after sexual assault allegations against the comedian surfaced in 2014, networks jumped ship. Per ABC News, TV Land stopped airing episodes immediately. Netflix quickly followed suit, scrapping a taped comedy special set to premiere later that year.

And in the wake of his guilty verdict in 2018, that reliable revenue stream Cosby counted on for so long ceased to exist. “Effective immediately, Bounce is removing The Cosby Show from our schedule,” the Atlanta-based network said in a statement the day the verdict was handed down (per The Hollywood Reporter). It got worse from there.

“The Cosby Show is leaving Hulu,” The Hollywood Reporter revealed. “The streaming service has opted to not renew its licensing deal with producers Carsey Werner, and as part of the deal, The Cosby Show will no longer have a streaming platform.” Without a network home or VOD options, THR also pointed out that the only place left to watch episodes of The Cosby Show, at the time of the report, was on Amazon “for $1.99 a shot

Frank Scotti, a 90-year-old former NBC employee, told The New York Daily News in 2014 that he helped Bill Cosby make payments to eight women from 1989 to 1990. One of the women was Shawn Thompson, who allegedly received $100,000 from Cosby, and whose daughter later claimed that the TV star was her father, which Cosby denied. Scotti claimed that he was unaware that he was being used as a conduit by Cosby to pay off women and to serve as a guard when the comedian invited young models into his dressing room. “He had everybody fooled,” he said. “Nobody suspected.”

Scotti also claims that Cosby once presented him with “a satchel of money, all $100 bills,” to distribute money orders to the women under his own name so they couldn’t be traced back to Cosby. “I did a lot of crazy things for him,” Scotti said. “He was covering himself by having my name on it. It was a coverup. I realized it later.”

Saying that he was “suspicious that something was going on,” Scotti later determined that Cosby was having sex with these women and paying them for their silence. “Why else would he be sending money?” Scotti asked. “He was sending these women $2,000 a month. What else could I think?”

In 2004, Andrea Constand (above) was the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University (where Bill Cosby was a trustee), when Cosby drugged and raped her in his mansion in Pennsylvania. However (per NBC News), during Cosby’s retrial in April 2018, it was revealed that he paid Constand “nearly $3.4 million in a 2006 civil settlement.”

The settlement came with a confidentiality agreement, so after Constand spoke with prosecutors again in 2015, Cosby’s lawyers pounced and requested the terms of the settlement be known to the jurors. “Among other things, admissibility is warranted for impeachment of Constand, in showing her financial motive to lie about the allegations, she made against Cosby, or for any other purpose…including as may be warranted by the testimony of Constand or otherwise,” Cosby’s lawyers in court filings (per Seattle Medium).

“I just wanted to get it over with,” Constand replied (per ABC News), when asked by defense attorney Tom Mesereau on why she settled. “It tore me and my family apart and we just wanted to get it over with.”

“What’s next?” attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted after Bill Cosby was found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April 2018. “My defamation case on behalf of Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby, which we’ve been fighting and WINNING for 3+ years, goes on. Mr. Cosby, I’m looking forward to taking your deposition.”

In addition to Dickinson, Cosby was facing several additional civil suits, per a 2016 USA Today report. “Cosby was ordered to sit for another grilling in a deposition for a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused accuser Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion around 1974 when she was 15,” the publication reported. In another civil case, which was subsequently “dropped without explanation,” Las Vegas model, and dancer Chloe Goins claimed Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her “at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.”

And according to Time, seven women in Massachusetts — Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie — also sued Cosby for defamation. Their case was “pending the conclusion of the criminal trial.”

Camille Cosby

Bill Cosby’s wife of over 50 years, Camille Cosby, reportedly attempted to drain their joint account. “The first check for $100,000 supposedly went through,” an insider told Radar Online. “Then she did another one for a crazy amount, but the bank wanted Mr. Cosby’s approval before releasing the funds.”

The account, which reportedly contains “just under $120 million,” is a shared account, but Bill Cosby is the primary signatory. “The bank went through his assistants who patched Mr. Cosby in with them,” the insider said. “He told the bank to freeze the primary account.”

“She said she was ‘taking it’ because she ‘needed it’ to support family and staff,” the insider continued. “His royalties from The Cosby Show go to a separate account.”

In June 2018, rumors swirled that Camille Cosby was planning to file for divorce, but the comedian’s rep, Andrew Wyatt, spoke to People and quickly shot the allegation down, calling it a “ridiculous story from an egregious publication.” He also said that there were, “no issues in the marriage,” and that Camille was “with [Bill] in the Philadelphia home as we speak.”

According to contributor Scott Martin at the finance blog Wealth Advisor, several financial missteps by Bill Cosby could erode his entire fortune — a process that could continue long after his death if civil litigants continue to successfully chip away at his estate. Saying that Cosby’s financial maneuvering “doesn’t look like the behavior of a man with mega-millions to burn,” Martin guessed that Cosby failed to set up a trust to protect his remaining liquid cash and assets and pass them on to his “four living daughters and three grandkids.” Martin added, “The desperation and the gloom feel a little too real.”

Martin went on to cite Cosby’s $3.4M settlement with Andrea Constand as an example of his significant risk exposure, writing, “There would be zero rationale for [the settlement] if all his liquid assets were already safe in a property seasoned trust — in that scenario, he could have simply let her lawyers bang futilely against his shield and file personal bankruptcy to defeat the judgment.” Martin further explained that “Cosby may end up going bankrupt after all,” but instead of using the financial maneuver as a way to protect a legally impenetrable trust, it would be “because his victims got there first.”

Source: Nikki Swift

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST)

News, SEcurity, Terrorism

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa program, documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic, or social grievances. Different groups in Nigeria resort to violence. The militant Islamist movement Boko Haram is active in northern Nigeria. Violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen sometimes acquires religious overtones. A new generation of Niger Delta militants threatens war against the state. Government soldiers kill civilians indiscriminately. Police are notorious for extrajudicial murder.

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque: Secrets of the world’s grandest place of worship



Star attraction: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s most popular attractions according to TripAdvisor. It’s easy to see why.ShutterstockEditor’s Note — Editor’s Note — CNN Travel’s series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy.(CNN) — It’s Abu Dhabi‘s star attraction, attracting millions each year, yet despite the footfall, there’s a wonderful air of calm that surrounds the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.The UAE’s largest and most ornate place of worship doesn’t disappoint and with visitors traveling from around the globe to bask in the opulence, it’s no surprise a staggering 3.4 million tourists came to experience it in 2017.In the same year, it was ranked as the world’s second-favorite landmark according to TripAdvisor — surpassing other world stunners such as St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the Taj Mahal in India — with Angkor Wat in Cambodia beating it to the top spot.

The mosque’s amazing figures

The mosque cost a reported $545 million to build.Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesWork on Abu Dhabi’s beacon of splendor started in 1996 and took 12 years to complete at the reported cost of around $545 million. Now the third-largest mosque in the world at 22,412 square meters, it covers an area equivalent to nearly four football fields.It holds more than 40,000 worshipers and has three Guinness World Records, for largest handwoven carpet and the biggest chandelier, as well as the largest dome of its kind in the world.Related contentAbu Dhabi’s unusual architecture delivers surprisesSpiritual significance and endless superlatives come together under 82 white marble domes, 1,096 exterior columns, 96 semi-precious jewel-encrusted internal columns and seven 24-carat gold plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers, making it the jaw-dropping centerpiece of the city’s cultural legacy.

Architectural wonder

Over 3,000 artisans from 38 global companies were involved in making the mosque.Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesThe Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque takes its name from the UAE’s first president and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who conceived the idea.He took architectural direction of the project with his wish for it to be his final resting place. After his death in 2004, his body was buried in the mosque’s courtyard.Related contentEmirates Palace spends a hefty sum replacing gold ceilingThe spectacular monument was designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky. Inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish architecture, it was a truly international collaboration of more than 3,000 artisans from 38 global construction companies.Arguably the real opulence is in the tiny details, such as precious stones like amethyst and jasper embedded into the columns and the intricate floral patterns in mother-of-pearl radiating across the the walls.

Englishman in Abu Dhabi

Visitors to the mosque must dress approriately. Robes are available for loan.Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesBritish artist and illustrator Kevin Dean, who came up with the floral designs that adorn the Mosque, describes being involved in one of the world’s most exciting architectural projects as “life-changing.”Fellow Royal College of Art peer, Professor Salma Damluji, had put forward Dean’s name for the project and he was appointed by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed (son of Sheikh Zayed bin Zayed) who was also responsible for overseeing the mosque’s construction.

“I sent my portfolio across and a few days later I was on a plane to Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Sultan,” Dean, who’s also worked with the Natural History Museum in London, recalls.”He was a lovely guy and had a lot of ideas about the mosque as he didn’t want it to be traditionally decorated with Islamic geometrics.”Dean was stunned to be given free rein on the project.Related contentAbu Dhabi’s hottest hotel: Qasr Al Sarab vs. the desert“It was as much an artistic feat as it was a logistical one, in many ways,” he says. “To think I get such huge restrictions for projects like book illustrations but I was so lucky to have creative freedom for a project of this nature.”Despite working on the project for close to four years with frequent trips to Italy to see the designs being made — it took more than 30 million pieces of marble — nothing prepared Dean for the moment his botanical designs came to life around the 17,600-square-meter main courtyard.”I couldn’t quite believe it,” he says. “It was incredible and so beautiful.

“For the main courtyard I used flowers that can be found in the Middle Eastern region. In the main prayer hall, the species come from the Middle East; at the north entrance, they come from the northern hemisphere; and at the south entrance, they come from the south.”Sheikh Sultan really liked that idea as he saw the Islamic faith as being incredibly international and my designs reflect that.”

A-list and royal visitors

The mosque has seven 24-carat gold-plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers.Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesThe mosque has had its fair share of celebrity visitors and is especially loved by the supermodels — step forward Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Shanina Shaik, Chanel Iman and Halima Aden — who all donned traditional wear to marvel at the breathtaking place of worship.Britain’s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall kicked off their three-day tour to the UAE with a visit in 2016 while celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and British songstress Dua Lipa all made sure Abu Dhabi’s VIP landmark was on their Middle East itineraries.

Insider tips for visiting

The Mosque is free to visit and opens daily between 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last entry 9.30 p.m.), except on Friday mornings (Islam’s holy day), when it opens between 4.30 p.m. to 10 p.m.The free complimentary one-hour guided tours are definitely worth signing up for, as they’re a great insight into the incredible wonder, religion and culture.Catching the sunset tour, which starts at 5 p.m., makes the most of the romantic lighting. Visitors can also expect a completely different ambiance with the mosque’s spectacular illumination after dark.

Related contentAbu Dhabi’s best spots according to Instagram starsModest dress is a must for all visitors as it’s a Muslim site. Women should cover their legs, arms and heads and men are required to wear long trousers, however the mosque does provide free traditional abayas (robes) prior to entry, which takes the hassle out of trying to find a Mosque-appropriate outfit.Everyone must remove their shoes before entering so bring a pair of socks if you prefer not to walk around barefoot. You’ll need a pair of sunglasses when marveling at the outside as the sun reflects on the marble surface of the courtyard.The mosque is always busy but as it’s so vast it never feels overcrowded. An insider tip would be to avoid the searing midday heat by heading there first thing in the morning or late afternoon.

Photography pointers

The main courtyard was built using 30 million pieces of marble.Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesWith all its beauty, it’s no wonder everyone from budding amateurs to professional snappers regularly flock to the mosque for that picture-perfect shot.International photographer Mark Luscombe-Whyte, a specialist in Arab architecture, shot the mosque for the launch cover of Architectural Digest Arabia in 2016.”Like a lot of great buildings, I think it’s a combination of scale and faith that makes the Mosque so magical,” he tells CNN Travel.

“As we were pretty much alone while we were shooting, you have moments when you can pause and take things in without any distractions, and really feel the power of the building, appreciating the scale and workmanship.”Related contentDay trip from Abu Dhabi: The cool oasis of Al AinLuscombe-Whyte and his team were granted special permission to shoot before dawn to avoid the hundreds of tourists who flock to the landmark each day.”We shot the exteriors at 5 a.m. and focused on the wide and majestic shots. As it filled up we used figures to create a sense of scale and also drama,” he says.For those hoping to capture the perfect picture, Luscombe-Whyte advises: “Get there early if you can and work out one great shot and focus on that.”As for the crowds, he notes that rather than trying to avoid them, include them in the frame. “A single person can bring a building like this alive,” he says.

Getting there

For the best photos, it’s best to arrive early or visit at dusk.Guiseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty ImagesTaxis from Abu Dhabi city center are the quickest and most convenient way to get to the mosque as it’s just a 20-minute ride, and the fares are reasonable.Those staying in Dubai should definitely make the road trip as it’s around 90 minutes from Dubai Mall and a real sight to behold, whether you’re religious or not.Combine the mosque with another Abu Dhabi-based attraction to make the most of your trip to the capital. And those who prefer not to flag down a local Dubai taxi (although most would be grateful for the Abu Dhabi fare) can ask their hotel concierge to arrange a private taxi to travel in air-conditioned luxury complete with iPhone charging ports.The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; +971 2 419 1919Selina Julien is a celebrity, travel and lifestyle journalist and editor; Follow her on Instagram: @Selinajulien

At second memorial service, Bush remembered for humility and humor


Washington (CNN)Former President George H.W. Bush was remembered Thursday as a man of humility, honor and humor at the Bushes’ family church in Houston, providing the nation with a last farewell before he begins his journey to his final resting place.Family, friends, politicians, musicians, actors and athletes filled the pews of the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to say goodbye to the 41st president with heartfelt praises and gospel music, as well as some moments of levity.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alex Brandon/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10012791y) Former US President George W. Bush and other family members watch as the flag-draped of former US President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard to lie in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC, USA, 03 December 2018. Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda before his state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral on 05 December. George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States (1989-1993), died at the age of 94 on 30 November 2018 at his home in Texas. George H.W. Bush dies at 94, Washington, USA – 03 Dec 2018

“I must begin with an apology. Jefe, I’m about to do something you always hated and that your mother always told you not to do: Brag about yourself,” former Secretary of State James Baker said in his eulogy for his old friend and boss.Baker, who was also one of Bush’s chiefs of staff, recalled the former president’s sense of humor.”I have always been proud that George Bush used to describe our relationship as one of big brother and little brother. He used to say that one of the things he liked best about me was that I would always tell him what I thought, even when I knew he didn’t want to hear it,” Baker said.After a spirited debate,

Bush “had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over,” Baker recalled.”He would look at me and he’d say, ‘Baker, if you’re so smart, why am I president and you’re not?'” Baker said to laughs. “He was a leader and he knew it.”The former aide also reflected on Bush’s lifetime of military and civil service, calling the former commander in chief “temperate in thought, in word and in deed.”Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush also eulogized his grandfather, sharing personal anecdotes about “Gampy” that showed the elder statesman’s devotion to his family.Bush remembered how “Gampy” would host “intense” horseshoe games, go fly fishing with them in Maine and let the grandchildren “nestle up between him and ‘Ganny’ when they read the paper.

“He called it an “honor of a lifetime” to share his grandfather’s name.The former president’s granddaughters also read scripture at the service. Country singer Reba McEntire and the country quartet, The Oak Ridge Boys, both performed songs during the service.Before the service, Bush lay in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church from Wednesday night until Thursday morning.Houston has been Bush’s home for years since he left the presidency, and the family has worshipped at the church for decades. The church was also the funeral site for his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, earlier this year.

The nation honors President George H.W. Bush

The nation honors President George H.W. BushThursday’s funeral service in Houston follows the memorial service Wednesday in Washington, DC, attended by the former presidents and first ladies, family, friends and other dignitaries.The 41st President was honored at the Washington National Cathedral and eulogized by his son, former President George W. Bush, who remembered him as the “best father a son or daughter could have.”Thousands paid their respects to Bush as he was lying in state in the US Capitol Rotunda on Monday and Tuesday.View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Briefed in 2011 about his funeral and lying in state, the 41st President asked with typical humility, “Do you think anyone will come?” Tonight, people are waiting hours to pay their respects. This photo, taken Monday, is courtesy the Senate Press Photographers’ Gallery pool.

1,849 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacyAfter the Houston funeral service, Bush departed the church in a motorcade procession to the Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility.A departure ceremony took place before Bush took his last trip by train to his final resting place. The funeral train departed on a 70-mile route, taking Bush from Spring, Texas, to Texas A&M University in College Station, the site of the Bush Presidential Library and Museum.Once there, Bush’s casket was carried through a military honor guard cordon, followed by his family.A private burial service conducted by the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, Jr. and the Rev. Peter G. Cheney followed a Navy jet flyover.

Bush will be laid to rest on the museum’s grounds, alongside his wife, Barbara, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.Bush died late last Friday at his home in Houston at the age of 94

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has criticised the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, for allegedly abusing former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some All Progressives Congress governors. He, however, said the affected APC governors, rather than take issue with the chairman, had decided to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to caution…

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has criticised the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, for allegedly abusing former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some All Progressives Congress governors.

Image result for Okorocha knocks Oshiomhole for abusing Obasanjo

He, however, said the affected APC governors, rather than take issue with the chairman, had decided to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to caution him.

The governor claimed the party’s national chairman had, in less than six months, introduced the culture of rascality to the party, adding that the development was not good for the party.

He said, “The APC is not known for rascality and abuses. The earlier he is cautioned, the better for the party.”

In a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor observed that since Buhari became President, he had never used any foul language on any Nigerian, low or high.

Oshiomhole, he said, should borrow a leaf from Mr President, alleging that one of the reasons the Peoples Democratic Party lost in 2015 was the abuses the previous leadership of the party directed at Buhari, who was the APC presidential candidate then.

Concerning Obasanjo, the statement reads, “Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the former President of the country and no matter the provocation or his political activities this time, “Oshiomhole should have considered his status as the former President of the country in talking about him, and should have exercised caution in addressing him. Saying that God would punish the former President was never advisable. This should not be the language of the APC.”

The governor told the APC national chairman that the party did not belong to him, adding that he should carefully select his words when talking about certain categories of Nigerians.

“Oshiomhole should help the party and its candidates by making his points without abusing people. The way Oshiomhole is talking has become nauseating to most Nigerians and the earlier he is cautioned, the better. He should be talking about the achievements of President Buhari and the APC as a party instead of using the opportunities he would have used to do that to be insulting people.

“To say the least, few weeks to the elections, the APC and its candidates do not need Oshiomhole’s abuses or insults but the reasons Nigerians should re-elect President Buhari and elect APC candidates,” he said.

via Okorocha hits Oshiomhole for abusing Obasanjo — AdeLove.com|Best Nigerian Blog

Okorocha hits Oshiomhole for abusing Obasanjo

2019 Elections, Africa, News