Wednesday, 31 October 2012

President Jonathan Names Orubebe New Power Minister

Godsday Orubebe

President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed Godswill Orubebe as the new Power Minister. Reuben Abati, the president’s spokesman said this on Wednesday. Mr Orubebe was the former minister of the Niger Delta ministry. The president also made a minor change to his cabinet.

The president swapped the Minister of State for Power, Gauis Dickson, with the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Zainab Kuchi. The change takes effect from next week, Abati, the president’s spokesman said.
The president is yet to give reasons for the reshuffle.

President Jonathan reshuffles cabinet

Published: October 31,2012

The Ministers of state for Niger Delta Affairs and power will swap roles next week.

President Goodluck Jonathan has announced a Minor cabinet reshuffle with the Minister of State Niger Delta Affairs and the Minister of State of Power swapping roles and positions.
The changes were made during the Federal Executive Council meeting which was chaired by the President.
Darius Dickson Ishaku becomes the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs and former Minister of State Niger Delta, Hajia Zainab Kuchi becomes Minister of State Power.
The Special Adviser to the President, Reuben Abati said this was one of the two major directives given by the President at the Council.

Does Kim Kardashian have sex tape No2?

Report claims another video of Kim and former boyfriend Ray J has emerged

KIM Kardashian is the star of a second sex tape, according to a report.
The beauty shot to fame in 2007 when an X-rated clip of herself with then boyfriend Ray J was leaked on the internet.
But more footage is allegedly back to haunt her as Showbizspy says a new tape has emerged of the former couple.
The saucy video, which is reportedly on sale for £24million, is said to be even raunchier than the one that made her famous.
It is believed to feature curvy Kim, who is now dating Kanye West, performing a variety of erotic acts.
It could now be released on DVD like Kim's first tape.

Former lovers ... Kim cuddles Ray J

A source told Showbizspy: ”It’s definitely Kim in the video. And it’s even raunchier than her last one.
"There are all kinds of eye-popping moments.
“Kim fears this will damage her relationship with Kanye West.”

Dating ... Kim Kardashian with current squeeze Kanye West

Kanye West has recently been dogged by sex tape rumours as well, as a 20-minute video surfaced online of the rapper and a Kim Kardashian lookalike, who states her age (above 18) for the camera.

Ref is alleged to have called black Chelsea star Mikel ‘monkey’

Mikel with ref Clattenburg
Row ... Mikel with ref Clattenburg

TWO Chelsea players say they heard race-row referee Mark Clattenburg call Blues’ star John Obi Mikel a “monkey”.
It is understood the pair made the claim to teammates in the dressing room after Sunday’s explosive clash with Manchester United.

Mikel ... yesterday
Nick Razzell
Clattenburg vehemently denies making any racist jibe and is confident he will be cleared by match officials, who heard his every word through a microphone headset.
A source said last night: “He said nothing of the sort — and he will fight this all the way.”
Clattenburg, 37, is also accused of calling Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata a “Spanish t***” during the West London side’s 3-2 defeat.
The referee denies making racist comments — and believes his innocence will be proved by the linesmen and fourth match official.
They will have heard every word he spoke during the game through the headset all referees wear.
A source said: “There’s always a lot of noise on the pitch and the players could easily have misheard.”
Clattenburg now faces a police investigation as well as FA inquiry. He has the full backing of fellow referees amid claims that bitter Chelsea stars “ganged up” on him.

Orubebe denies Hon. Melaye’s allegations of 29 billion naira fraud in Niger Delta Ministry

…. threatens to  sue Melaye.

Mr Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, in Abuja on Tuesday denied the alleged N29 billion fictitious contract awarded by the ministry.
Orubebe described the allegations as “total fallacy”, stressing that contracts that were awarded for development of the Niger Delta region were visible and verifiable.
The minister was reacting to the statement made by Mr Dino Melaye, the Executive Secretary of Anti- Corruption Network, a Civil Society Organisation.
He said there was no phantom contract in the ministry and threatened to sue  Melaye and his organisation.
The minister said he would  not allow anyone  to rubbish a name that he built over the years.
He said the alleged contract of Canalisation/River Training centre was located in Foupolobulou Ndoro Creek, in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.
Orubebe said the contract was awarded to First Marine and Engineering Service Ltd. at the sum of N2.3 billion on Feb. 2, 2011.
He explained that the sum of N355 million had been paid to the contractor through First Bank Plc as mobilisation fee.
The minister said the contracting firm started executing the project on June 6, 2011,and had done 40 per cent of the work.
He said the ministry currently owed the contractor N661 million after making some part payments.
Orubebe said another canalisation contract was awarded to Ogbosite International Ltd. at Odoubou, Ogbabagbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta on Feb. 2, 2011.
He said the contract sum was N1.2 billion and N188 million was paid to the company as mobilisation fee.
He said work commenced at the site on June 7, 2011 and that the contractor had achieved 65 per cent of the job, while the ministry still owed the contractor N299 million after some part payments.
The minister said the Land Reclamation/Shoreline protection project at Ogbobagbene in Burutu Local Government of Area of Delta was awarded to Snecou Group of Companies Ltd. at the sum of N2.4 billion on March 3, 2011.
He said the ministry mobilised the contractor to the site with N364 million and the work commenced on June 7, 2011 with 8 per cent of the job done.
Orubebe said the ministry owed the contractor N350 million after making many part payments.
He said the procurement bill was passed into law when Melaye was in the House of Representatives.
The minister said Melaye should have known that “the law only permits the ministry to write project proposals and permits Due Process Office to certify all contract processes.’’
“I am an elder in the church, I go to church to preach righteousness, holiness and fear of God. So I cannot compromise my integrity.
“And I will not allow anybody to rubbish my name that I have built over the years,’’ the minister said.
Melaye on Monday alleged that the ministry was involved in fictitious contracts totaling N29 billion between 2010 and 2011.
He said the scam involved payments for phantom projects, over-budgeting and violation of Bureau of Public Procurement guidelines for the award of government contracts.

“Superstorm Sandy” heading to lagos in 7 days.....Commissioner

As the United States of America continues to grapple with the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy, one of the worst hurricanes to ever descend on the country, the Lagos State Government has  warned residents of the state to prepare for the ripple effect of the hurricane in the state.

The Commissioner for Waterfront Development and Infrastructure, Mr. Adesegun Oniru told us that the government was projecting that within seven to 14 days, the state would experience the ripple effect of the hurricane in its coast lines.

He explained that the government based its projection on, “experience, records and study of past happenings” and had started taking precautionary measures.

“This warning is not to cause panic in Lagos, but to place us all on alert that if we notice anything unusual in our coast lines, we should not go near the waters but rather call government attention.

“This storm has hit the Caribbean and is now in USA. We always get a ripple effect of such happening in Lagos.

“This wind started in Africa, went west gathering more wind and later turning to hurricane. We expect a splash back effect. It could be on our coast lines and shore lines, it could be more than that. And it may not happen at all. Everybody must be vigilant. Let us be careful around our oceans and lagoons.”

The Commissioner added that the government was planning to protect Kuramo, Oniru, Majidun, Alpha beach and other areas affected by the last ocean surge in the state.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba also urged the  state residents not to  panic, saying the alert was for them to know what to do to prepare for such occurence.

Hurricane Sandy is a 2012 late-season violent tropical storm that has affected Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the eastern seaboard of the United States of America.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the death toll has reached 50 and damages in the country tops $20billion.

Developer flees after duping 31 accommodation seekers

10, Church Street, Ojodu-Abiodun
10, Church Street, Ojodu-Abiodun

A developer, Mr. Ibrahim Ajayi, is on the run after allegedly duping 31 accommodation seekers using four apartments – a self-contained apartment, mini-flat, and two two-bedroom flats.

The victims all paid amounts ranging from N140,000 to N450,000 to rent the apartments at a storey-building at 10, Church Street, Ojodu-Abiodun, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.

One of the victims, Uwem Raymond, told us that he had paid N130,000 out of the N140,000 he was supposed to pay, before the developer fled.

He said he could no longer locate the agent, known simply as Kunle, who took him to the house.

Raymond said, “When I approached the agent for a mini-flat, I was told to pay N100, 000 as the rent and N40,000 for agreement and commission.

“In August, I paid N130, 000 out of which I paid N20,000 to the agent as his commission. I was to pay the balance of N10, 000. At that time, work was still ongoing on the upper floor, which was being let out.

“But in September, I started noticing some delay in the work that was going on in the building. I approached a son of the landlord just to be sure the developer was genuine.

“The landlord’s son later told me that the developer had used the apartments to dupe many people and had fled. I am a student. I saved the money through hardwork. I failed an exam because of this problem because I was so disoriented.”

Another victim, Tajudeen Ibrahim, had a more bitter story to tell. He just wedded when he paid N400,000, with the hope of moving into his apartment with his wife.

He said, “I did not go through the agent.  I paid N300,000 rent and N100,000 agreement fee directly to Ajayi. I went to the building one day to see whether the work going on on the upper floor had been completed when I saw a notice on the wall, warning people to stay off that there was a case on the building.”

 Ubong Nyang also paid N350,000. Like other victims, he went to the house, hoping to pack into the house on September 1, when he discovered that the developer had fled.

Ubong said he was living temporarily with a family member.

However, the victims said when they reported the case at the Ojodu-Abiodun Police Division, the case was transferred to Police headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

They alleged that the police demanded N40, 000 for “mobilisation,” which they paid, but the police had since not done anything to apprehend the developer or to help them in anyway.

When our correspondent contacted the Investigative Police Officer in charge of the case at Eleweran, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, he confirmed that the victims were duped.

He said, “The money we collected was for mobilisation. When the case was reported, we mobilised to the house, but it seemed the developer had got wind of our coming and he fled before we got there.

“We then placed the house under surveillance but he has not turned up since. We live in Abeokuta, so they cannot expect us to be sleeping in the place.

“Right now, I am planning to go and spend a whole day there and visit MTN office if we can trace the developer through his cell phone, because his phone number no longer goes through.”

He said it was not true that the police had abandoned the case.

Our correspondent dialed Ajayi’s two numbers but they were switched off. The number of the agent went through, but the receiver insisted he was not Kunle (the agent).

Jonathan Denies Plot to Excise Five Rivers’ Communities to Bayelsa

Graham-Douglas.jpg - Graham-Douglas.jpg
Former Minister of Aviation, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas

By Ogugua Obidike

President Goodluck Jonathan has dissociated himself from the boundary dispute between his home state, Bayelsa and the neighbouring Rivers State.

This also came as the Bayelsa State Government equally described allegation as misleading and demanded an unreserved apology to the state and President Jonathan over the unguarded, and mischievous statements, aimed at disparaging the Presidency  and incite violence between the sister states.

A socio-political group, the Kalabari National Forum, led by former Minister of Aviation, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, and other eminent traditional rulers from Kalabari Kingdom had on Monday protested the alleged surreptitious moves by the Federal Government, excise their five oil producing communities and give them to Bayelsa  State for political reasons.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described the allegation as “irresponsible and most unfortunate considering the status of the persons who reportedly championed the protest.”

The Presidency said the federal agencies being referred to by the protesters were independent bodies, which do not take orders from the President.

It noted that there were laid down procedures for resolving inter-state boundary disputes, which the protesters should have explored before jumping into conclusion.

“In this particular case, the dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa States predates the Jonathan administration, and has been a matter for consideration by the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other relevant agencies, long before now. The matter has never been brought before either the President or the Vice President.

“The school-boy style protest is an attempt at cheap blackmail. We find the motive deplorable. It is all the more surprising that a man of Alabo Graham-Douglas’s stature, a former Minister who ought to know what is right, will team up with a group intent on causing disaffection between the President and his Ijaw kinsmen.

“We advise the Kalabari National Forum, its members and hidden sponsors, to avoid the temptation to instigate conflict between the Nembe and Kalabari people of Rivers and Bayelsa States, who are both of the same Ijaw stock. The statutory agencies assigned the responsibility of resolving boundary disputes should be allowed to do their work.

“President Jonathan appeals to the good people of Rivers and Bayelsa State to refuse to be dragged into the politics of conflict being orchestrated by individuals pursuing a hidden agenda.

“The Federal Government, under President Jonathan’s watchful eyes and supervision, remains committed to the promotion of fairness and justice in the interest of all parties concerned,” the statement added.

The Bayelsa State government in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, dismissed the alleged move to forcefully  annex any territory or people into Bayelsa State, saying Ijaw strategic interest demands that Ijaws wherever they are should be supported and strengthened and not to be forced into Bayelsa State.

It described the purported claim as an attempt by detractors  of the Ijaw nation to create unnecessary strife and hostility within the Ijaw ethnic family to their collective disadvantage.

The statement which was issued Tuesday in Yenagoa reads,  “the attention of the Bayelsa State Government  has been drawn to media reports credited to chiefs and elders of some Ijaw clans of Kalabari extraction in Rivers State, alleging attempts by some persons to forcefully annex communities and ancestral lands as well as oil facilities and installations in Kalabari land to Bayelsa State for the purpose of claiming derivation entitlements.

“The government of Bayelsa State wishes to react as follows: Firstly, we assure our Ijaw kith and kin in the Kalabari clan of Rivers State that there is no such move to forcefully annex any territory or people into Bayelsa State. We further wish to state that the Ijaw strategic interest demands that Ijaws wherever they are should be supported and strengthened and not to be forced into Bayelsa State.

That the purported claim is an attempt by detractors of the Ijaw nation to create unnecessary strife and hostility within the Ijaw ethnic family to our collective disadvantage.”

The true state of affairs is as follow “That by the 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria published in 2000, Bayelsa State as a state was entitled to derivation and other claims from crude oil production in respect of oil exploration carried out within its territory as stated in the said map.

“It is important to note that the claim of a state to derivation on account of oil production within its territory is different from ownership of land by families, communities and even clans. Whereas the claim of a state is based on territorial boundaries contained in the administrative map, that of a clan, family and community is based on traditional history, possession and other forms of ownership. Therefore, it is very common in the Niger Delta, owing to the way and manner states were created, for communities or clans to be in one state while part of the ancestral land is in another.

“The family, clan or community does not cease to be traditional owners of such lands, while the state in which the land forms a part exercise administrative control over such land and therefore, entitled to derivation. By the said 11th edition of the administrative map of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 2000 Bayelsa State is entitled to derivation in respect of all the oil wells within the state territory.

“The government of Rivers State has been receiving derivation revenue over several oil facilities and installations which are clearly within Bayelsa territory from 1999 till date in spite of the clear boundary delineation in the said map.

“We acknowledge the long standing dispute between the Ijaws in Bayelsa in Nembe clan and the Ijaws in Kalabari clan in Rivers State over traditional land boundaries. The claims predate the creation of Bayelsa State However, the present issue is not about Nembe people laying claim to Kalabari land or of people trying to annex Kalabari land and communities as part of Bayelsa State.

“Rather, the present claim is about the right of Bayelsa State like any other state, to derivation revenue in respect of activities within its territory as stated in the administrative map of Nigeria. Even if any land in question in Bayelsa State is found to be the ancestral land of any family, community or clan in Kalabari clan, it does not detract from the right of the state to receive derivation.

In the same vein, it does not also detract from the ownership or title to such land by the family, clan or community which must be acknowledged and treated as such. Derivation revenue is not paid to families, clans or communities but to state governments, exercising administrative control over the territory where production takes place.

“The government of Bayelsa State has through its consultants verified and computed all such derivation monies wrongly paid to or received by Rivers State over the years.

“We condemn the deliberate and mischievous attempt to link the President to what is clearly an exercise of Bayelsa State Government’s right. The government of Rivers State itself has made several such claims of wrongful payments of derivation monies and has severally received refund in deserving cases.

“The questions to be answered by Rivers State government are as follows: Is the Rivers State government saying that because the President is from Bayelsa State, it therefore means that the state should sleep over its rights and entitlements? Or was Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Vice President and President of Nigeria in 1992 and 2000 when these maps were produced?

“What about the refunds received by the Rivers State government from other states that such funds were wrongly paid to? Should we then associate the refunds with the Presidency?

“We take serious exception to the antics of the Rivers State government in its attempt to always blackmail the President in a bid to gain unnecessary advantage.

“The facts remain that all the relevant maps - the administrative map of Nigeria 10th edition produced in 1992 and the 11th edition produced in 2000 were clearly produced long before Dr. Goodluck Jonathan became the Vice President and later President.

“It is therefore pertinent to state that no amount of blackmail or propaganda will deter the government of Bayelsa State from pursuing its legitimate rights and entitlements under the law.

“We wish to urge our good brothers in Rivers State not to allow themselves to be used for cheap blackmail or any form of propaganda against the President and Bayelsa State.

“Let it be clearly stated that the government of Bayelsa State is not interested in annexing Kalabari clan, as it is being alleged, for the purpose of claiming derivation entitlements or any other purpose whatsoever.

“We therefore request the government of Rivers State to tender an unreserved apology to Mr. President and the government of Bayelsa State over its unguarded, mischievous and misleading statements, which clearly are calculated to disparage the Presidency and incite violence between the two states.”

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rape in the military: exposing the shocking truth

Ariana Klay
Ariana Klay claimed she was raped by a senior officer and her civilian boss. 

'He hit me across the left side of my face … and my face hurt so bad. He screamed at me and he grabbed my arm and he raped me." Kori Cioca's heartbreaking account of her rape by a commanding officer while serving in the US Coast Guard is not the most shocking part of her testimony. Following the attack, Cioca was told by her superiors that if she went forward with her case she would be court-martialed for lying; her assailant, who admitted the attack but denied rape, then received just 30 days of base restriction and loss of pay and the US Department of Defense continues to refuse to pay for the surgery she needs for the nerve damage to her face.

Cioca is just one of the women interviewed in The Invisible War, a feature-length documentary that lifts the lid on the abuse of women in the US military and which got its first UK screening in the Frontline Club in London last week.

The film has raised similar concerns this side of the Atlantic that rape is a hidden scourge in the military. According to figures released to Labour MP Madeleine Moon, a rape or sexual assault is reported by a member of the armed forces every week. Over the past two and a half years, there have been 53 reported rapes and 86 reported sexual assaults in the army, the navy and the air force, but Moon believes the figure is an underestimation and could be as many as an attack a day.

Between 2001-2011, Ministry of Defence figures show 56 members of the armed forces were court-martialed for sexual offences – of these, just 16 resulted in a conviction.

UK screenings of The Invisible War are in the pipeline, as is its release on iTunes in the UK, while its makers are urging UK viewers to host their own screenings.

Lifting the lid on the extent of the abuse is vital to tackling the problem of rape in the military, says Amy Ziering, producer of the film, which was directed and written by Kirby Dick. "There is a perfect storm of conditions to keep this secret," she says, speaking from Los Angeles. "There is no incentive to report rape, it is not treated as a priority in the military and the nature of the crime means that it is so implosively devastating that many women get the blame, or blame themselves."

The statistics revealed in The Invisible War, which won the audience award at this year's Sundance film festival, make shocking reading: a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire, over 20% of female veterans have been sexually assaulted while serving in the US army, of 3,192 sexual-assault reports in 2011 only 191 members of the military were convicted at courts martial.

Rape within the military has been exposed before – the Tailhook Association meetings in 1991, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1996 and the Air Force Academy in 2003 – but it has rarely been done with such a devastating combination of first-person testimony, watertight research and high-level interviews.

Through the testimony of victims and their families the extent of that devastation is laid bare, as well as the failings of a system that sees a rape victim's commander decide whether to take action after a rape report.

Ariana Klay, who graduated with honours from the US Naval Academy and served in Iraq, describes her violent rape by a senior officer and her civilian boss. "He said that if I told anybody, that he was gonna have his friend Marv, from Indiana, kill me and throw me in a ditch, 'cause that's how they took care of things in Indiana," she tells the camera. When she reported the rape she was told to do "what a Marine officer should do, and that's to ignore it and move on," and she alleges the Marine Corps said she must have welcomed the assaults because she wore makeup and skirts – part of her regulation uniform.

"The thing that makes me the most angry," says Klay, "is not even the rape itself; it's the commanders that were complicit in covering up everything that happened."

Lieutenant Elle Helmer
Lieutenant Elle Helmer: brought a case against her commanding officer in the US

The film shows Andrea Werner, who reported her rape to her army superiors, only to be charged with adultery, even though it was her assailant who was married; Lieutenant Elle Helmer, whose case against her commanding officer at the Marine barracks in Washington DC, was closed owing to "lack of evidence" before a new case was opened charging Helmer with conduct unbecoming of an officer and public intoxication.

Ziering was instrumental in getting the women to open up about their horrific experiences. She readily agrees that her gender invariably played a role: "I became very emotionally involved in the victims' stories, it was what drove me, and I wanted the film to have that heart and passion," she says.

Ziering finds the documentary world "more welcoming and equitable" for women than Hollywood. "There is absolutely no balance in the movie world. It is so bleak there are so few women directors, it's still very much an all boys club. It's just horrible," she says, though she notes the "big star" directors in documentaries still tend to be men.Dick and Ziering's film has already had a far-reaching impact: offers of financial donations and support for victims have been made after almost every screening and when US secretary of defense Leon Panetta watched the film earlier this year he ordered military commanders to hand over all sexual-assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel, and announce the creation of a special victims unit in each branch of the armed forces.

Ziering reveals that some commanders are using the film as a training tool, showing it to new recruits. "My real hope is that in 10 years' time there is not another film made about this. We're going to keep the pressure on – this can't just be allowed to blow over."

United States of Europe: can it ever be achieved?

Actor Frank Samson (L) reenacts the 1813 Battle of Leipzig as Napoleon during the Napoleonic War
French actor Frank Samson (left) reenacts the 1813 Battle of Leipzig as Napoleon during the Napoleonic war near Leipzig, Germany. In the 1813 battle a coalition of Russian, Prussian, Austrian and Swedish armies defeated Napoleon in a raging, four-day battle that involved 600,000 soldiers, the most involved in a single battle in Europe until the first world war.

The motto of the United States of America is "E pluribus unum" (Out of many, one). The European Union's motto is "In varietate concordia", which is officially translated as "United in diversity". It is difficult to express the differences between the US and the European model any more clearly than this. The US is a melting pot, whereas Europe is a mosaic of different peoples and cultures that has developed over the course of its long history.

That difference raises the question of whether it is worth striving for a United States of Europe – a concept that many refuse to accept, because they do not believe in the possibility of a unified European identity. A single political system like that of the US, they insist, presupposes a common language and a single nationality.

Perhaps the idea of a United States of Europe, the dream of postwar children like me, can never be realised. But I am not so sure. After all, deeper European integration and the creation of a single political system offer solid, practical advantages that do not require a common identity or language. These advantages include the right to move freely across borders, the free movement of goods and services, legal certainty for cross-border economic activities, Europe-wide transportation infrastructure, and, not least, common security arrangements.

Banking regulation is the most topical area in which collective action makes sense. If banks are regulated at the national level, but do business internationally, national regulatory authorities have a permanent incentive to set lax standards to avoid driving business to other countries and to lure it from them instead. Regulatory competition thus degenerates into a race to the bottom, as the benefits of lax regulation translate into profits at home, while the losses lie with bank creditors around the world.

There are many similar examples from the fields of standards, competition policy, and taxation that are applicable here. So, fundamental considerations speak for deeper European integration, extending even to the creation of a single European state.

The danger of following such a path always lies in the fact that collective decision-making bodies not only provide services that are useful to everybody, but also may abuse their power to redistribute resources among the participating countries. Even democratic bodies are not immune to this danger. On the contrary, they make it possible for majorities to exploit minorities. To counter this threat democratic bodies invariably need special rules to protect minorities, such as the requirement of qualified majority voting or unanimous decision-making.

The decisions taken by the European Central Bank are a particularly dramatic example of this problem, taken as they are by a simple majority of a body that is not even democratically elected. The ECB's decisions lead to a massive redistribution of wealth and risk among the eurozone's member states, as well as from stable countries' taxpayers, who have little stake in the crisis, to global investors directly affected by it.

The ECB has been providing virtually all of its refinancing credit to the eurozone's five crisis-stricken countries: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland. All the money circulating in the eurozone originated in these five countries and was then largely used to buy goods and assets in the northern member countries and redeem foreign debt taken from them.

The US Federal Reserve would never be allowed to conduct such a regionally imbalanced policy. The Fed cannot even provide credit to specific regions, let alone states on the verge of bankruptcy (for example, California).

Now European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, backed by most of the troubled eurozone countries, is again proposing Eurobonds and debt-mutualisation schemes. These ideas go well beyond the American system. The kind of fiscal integration and centralised power that they would require do not even remotely resemble those in place in the US.

Van Rompuy's proposals are extremely dangerous and could destroy Europe. The path toward a union based on joint liabilities, against the wishes of large parts of its population, is not leading to a federal state in the true sense of the term – that is, to an alliance of equals, who freely decide to unite and promise to protect each other.

Nor can this path lead to a United States of Europe, simply because a large part of Europe refuses to follow it. Europe is not identical with the eurozone. It contains many more countries than those that use the euro. As useful as the euro could be for Europe's prosperity if its obvious flaws were corrected, the way that the eurozone is now developing will split the EU and undermine the idea of unity in diversity.

The assertion that the eurozone could be transformed into a United States of Europe is no longer convincing. The path toward joint liability is far more likely to lead to a deep rift within Europe, because turning the eurozone into a transfer and debt union that can prevent the insolvency of any of its members would require more central power than currently exists in the US.

Money laundering: Gov Ajimobi sues media outfit for N1bn


FOLLOWING alleged money laundering of about N500m in London by Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s wife and her arrest by Metropolitan police, the governor has filed N1billion suit against Independent Communications Network Limited.
This was disclosed by the Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Dr. Festus Adedayo.
According to him, the evening newspaper had on Tuesday published a piece entitled ‘Anxiety over Florence Ajimobi’s alleged arrest in UK’ wherein it published a story purportedly written by an online agency named Newsleak which alleged that the wife of the governor had been arrested in London for money laundering.
According to the release, the government of Oyo State had the responsibility to ensure that the media does not become an instrument in the hands of blackmailers for such acts.
“We want to state unequivocally that this report is not only wicked, it is the figment of the imagination of the writers.
Mrs. Ajimobi was never arrested for any offence whatsoever. Even though our investigations have shown that this is the work of some arrowheads of the opposition, it was done in such an amateurish way that beats the imagination of any responsible reader,” the release said.
The government said that though it had a lot of respect for the media, there was the need to drag the runners of these media to court to explain the details of their reports to the rest of the world.
The government decried what it called dirty politicking by the opposition in the state who use the media for the propagation of their falsehood, stating that the courts would be able to compel those behind this wicked lie to provide details of the veracity or otherwise of their claims on the governor’s wife.

Superstorm Sandy pictures from New York

New York taxis are stranded on a flooded street in Queens

Rising water, caused by Hurricane Sandy, rushes into a subterranian parking garage in the Financial District of New York

A swan makes its way down a flooded street in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Superstorm Sandy
People in New York's Tribeca neighborhood wait for a chance to charge their mobile phones on an available generator setup on a sidewalk.

Superstorm Sandy
A general view of submerged cars on Ave. C and 7th st, after severe flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy

Romeu: Mata heard nothing from ref

Referee Clattenburg speaks to Mata during the clash at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea's Juan Mata was not aware of any comments referee Mark Clattenburg is alleged to have directed at him during Sunday's defeat to Manchester United, according to his Spanish team-mate Oriol Romeu.

The European champions and Premier League leaders lodged an official complaint against Clattenburg following the weekend's controversial clash at Stamford Bridge by what they claim were racist and xenophobic comments made by the official towards two of their players, Mata and John Obi Mikel.

Chelsea's complaint is that Mikel was the victim of a racist comment, while Spain midfielder Mata was allegedly called a "Spanish t**t" by Clattenburg.

The FA announced on Monday that it would be conducting an official investigation, while the Metropolitan Police also confirmed they have received a complaint.

The Professional Game Match Officials organisation has confirmed that Clattenburg will not officiate a match this weekend stating, "that with any football match the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself"

But Romeu, one of four Spanish players in the Chelsea squad along with Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta, said that neither he nor any of his compatriots heard Clattenburg say anything untoward.

The Sun quoted the former Barcelona midfielder as telling Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: "Neither Juan nor Fernando told me they heard it because from what I have understood they didn't hear anything.

"It was someone else who heard it, but not directly at them. It was another player who heard it and that is what they told me.

"I didn't hear anything as I left quickly to go home but after talking to Juan he told me there was some problem and he had to stay.

"I only know Chelsea made a complaint and I think there could really be a problem if what Chelsea players say happened really happened."

Oriol, who was an unused substitute for the match in which Chelsea had Torres and Branislav Ivanovic sent off and lost to a controversial goal from Javier Hernandez, added: "If there was really a racist comment or something said against a Spanish player this will be serious

"We know in this country people are very vigilant about these issues."

BN Making It!: Beauty, Brains & Business! A Day in the Life of Ruth Obih – Lawyer, Serial Entrepreneur & CEO of 3Invest Ltd

When Ruth Obih was denied a visa to travel to the UK for a Masters degree in Oil & Gas Law, her life was being redirected for greatness through another path. She would later pass the British test to practice Law, start a Real Estate company, venture into fashion and become a versatile entrepreneur. When she returned home in 2007, started 3Invest Ltd., a Real Estate company specialized in providing acquisition and investment service for private clients and funds looking to invest in Nigeria’s most coveted real estate. In the wake of the global financial meltdown and plummeting real estate value, Ruth found innovative ways to remain relevant in the industry. Thus, in January 2011, she started “3Invest Intelligence”, an innovative division of the company focused on real estate media and advocacy. Through this division, several thousand Nigerians and real estate investors have been empowered with useful and relevant information to make wise investment decisions, via the platform, Her hard work and determination to make impact in the industry has even caught the attention of Forbes Africa, which recently profiled her. In this exclusive interview with Gbenga Awomodu, Ruth, who anchors the bi-weekly radio programme, Real Estate ON AIR, talks about entrepreneurship, her journey from the Law school to success the real estate business, and planning the first edition of her brain child, the Real Estate UNITE Conference, Exhibition and Awards 2012 holding this month.

Lewd singer St Janet denies catching her husband in bed with her daughter

Some of you must have read on some blogs a few weeks back that lewd singer St Janet ended her marriage after catching her husband, Kaode Iyun, in bed with her 16 year old daughter from another relationship. The report claimed that the singer had moved out of her matrimonial home and was now living in a hotel. St Janet has responded to the story and says it's all lies. What she said below...

When I read the story I was shocked. I don't know where it came from. Nothing of such happened to me or anybody I know. My marriage is not perfect but it's intact. There's no issue of my husband sleeping with my daughter. I don't even have a 16 year old daughter. I have younger sisters who live with me, but nothing of such ever happened. I strongly believe my detractors are at work. I am strongly investigating where the story came from. It it targeted towards my career and they felt the best way they could go about it is to go about spreading false tales about my personal life.