Wednesday, November 29

The migrant slave trade is booming in Libya. Why is the world ignoring it?Ross Kemp.

Ross Kemp with migrants back in port

It’s a mass grave that we don’t need the United Nations to verify. Every day an average of 14 migrants,the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean.Many more see their European dream turn into a nightmare long before they’re corralled on to flimsy rubber dinghies on Libya’s beaches. They’re the victims of a silent massacre in the Sahara desert a journey more deadly than the crossing from the coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.Come the spring, thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing poverty and violence will die in Libya, but I doubt you’ll hear much about it. Compassion fatigue has set in. The numbers have become too big to comprehend. It’s an old story; we feel numbed by the now familiar news images of men huddled together on boats. Maybe it’s because they’re African and have been written off as “undeserving economic migrants”. These are the people some of our political leaders have in mind when they talk of swarms, plagues and marauders. The understandable focus on Syrian refugees has taken the spotlight away from the more dangerous route to Europe through Libya.
Ross Kemp with migrants waiting to be picked up
Or maybe it’s because, with three rival governments presiding over anarchy in Libya, and the real power lies in the hands of armed militias, getting inside the country to tell the story is just too difficult and dangerous. One thing is becoming clear many people have come to see this tragic situation as though it were more a problem for us than for the migrants. We have stopped caring about them. As a documentary-maker, I believe it’s our job to make people care. That was the reason my team and I went to Libya to try to shine a light on the under-reported plight of migrants away from the coastline and to tell the human stories of the men and women making the journey.What I saw there is nothing short of a modern-day slave trade, with migrants treated as commodities. It’s as though nothing has changed in the 300 years since desert tribes used the very same routes to bring slaves to North Africa: Nigerian women told they are going to Italy to work as housemaids only to be trafficked into desert brothels with no idea when they might leave, young men cruelly beaten and held captive for months until their families pay a ransom, women forced to take contraception to stop themselves becoming pregnant at the hands of smugglers.What makes their plight even sadder is that most have no idea what sort of country they’re entering. I saw this when I spoke with men and women at the very start of their journey dazed and battered from the drive across the desert border with Niger but filled with a naive optimism.Not only are they at the mercy of people smugglers but also the authorities themselves in the main, armed militias with no one to hold them to account and few other sources of income apart from the migrant trade. In the desert town of Brak, I met a young man who told me he had no choice but to work for a smuggling ring ferrying migrants to a handover point on the back of a pickup.While Libyans may rely on their own militias for protection, the migrants have nothing and no one to protect them. When they are intercepted by what authorities do exist in the country, they are taken to squalid, overcrowded warehouses generously referred to as detention centres. In one centre for women in the coastal town of Surman, I met Aisha, a young Nigerian. She was bleeding to death after giving birth to her baby girl on the toilet floor. The child died three days later. Since coming home we have tried but been unable to find out what has happened to Aisha. I fear the worst.Even in the worst refugee camps in the world, there is often food, medical facilities and aid workers to offer support. In the Libyan detention centres, migrants are locked up and left to rot. It’s a humanitarian disaster with barely any humanitarian organisations there to help. For tens of thousands of migrants in the country at the moment, they have no means of escape. Libya doesn’t want them, Europe doesn’t want them and even their own countries don’t want them.We have a heightened responsibility towards Libya because of the role Britain played in bringing down Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship with no strategy for what was to come next. In the five and a half years since his death, lawlessness and anarchy have created the perfect conditions for people smuggling to thrive.Last month, EU leaders under pressure to stop the tide of migrants travelling to Europe signed a deal with Libya. Far from helping people escape, this deal is aimed at keeping them there. It’s only one step away from forcibly returning them. Whatever your view on the migrants’ rights, forcing them back into the conditions we know they will experience in Libya is far from a humane solution. Conditions for migrants in the country need to drastically improve and until there is evidence of this, can we really consider the current deal an acceptable solution to such a horrific situation?

Russian girl, 8, born with heart outside her chest.

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 An eight-year-old girl with a rare congenital condition that caused her heart to be outside her chest is currently in the United States to seek treatment.Virsaviya Borun, who was born in Russia, suffers from the thoraco-abdominal syndrome, otherwise known as Pentalogy of Cantrell, which affects five in a million people.Her heart is protected by only a thin layer of skin, while she is also missing part of her chest bones, a diaphragm and abdominal muscles.Her story first came to light in 2015, when Virsaviya's mother Dari Borun launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for her medical bills.The campaign has raised over US$71,000 (S$95,600), although the last donation made was in August 2016.Ms Borun had travelled to Florida in the hopes of her daughter undergoing surgery but was told that Virsaviya's blood pressure was too high.Virsaviya, who enjoys dancing and drawing, was featured in the BBC series Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston's Casebook in February this year."This is my heart. I'm the only one that has this," she said. "When I'm getting dressed, I put soft clothes on to not hurt my heart."I walk around, I jump, I fly, I run, I'm not supposed to run but I love running."Ms Borun also revealed that doctors had warned her to expect the worst when Virsaviya was born, but she has since defied the odds."It's not easy for Virsaviya to live with her heart on the outside because it's really fragile. She has to be careful as of course she can fall and it can be really dangerous - she can die from that," she added.

Tuesday, November 28

Libya opens investigation into slave auctions.

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Libyan authorities have launched a formal investigation into slave auctions in the country following an exclusive CNN report earlier this week, the government said Friday.''A high-level committee has been convened encompassing representatives from all the security apparatus to oversee this investigation," Anes Alazabi, an official with the internationally recognized government of Libya's Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency, told CNN."Priorities of the investigation are not only to convict those responsible for these inhumane acts, but also to identify the location of those who have been sold in order to bring them to safety and return them to their countries of origin."Alazabi's agency will be overseeing the probe. Part of its work will be to assess whether all the locations of these auctions are under the control of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.The International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva that focuses on migration management, welcomed the investigation. But its chief of mission for Libya warned in an interview with CNN's Nima Elbagir "that the smuggling networks are becoming stronger, more organized and better equipped.""We definitely welcome the news for an investigation and we hope that this will cover not only this case but definitely all the cases of abuse and violence against migrants in Libya," Othman Belbeisi said from Tunis.Libya has long struggled to cope with an influx of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom hope to transit in Libya before travelling to Europe with the help of smugglers.Estimates from the United Nations put the number of migrants in Libya at 700,000. For years, migrants crossing the Mediterranean have brought with them stories of beatings, kidnapping and enslavement.Many make harrowing journeys from West African countries. Those migrants who do make it to Europe are often too terrified to go on the record about their ordeal.

Libya slave auctions may be crimes against humanity.

Related imageImage result for libya slavery today
The UN secretary-general said he is "horrified" at reports showing African migrants sold as slaves and called for immediate investigations.The reports demonstrate some of "the most egregious abuses of human rights" and may amount to crimes against humanity, Secretary-General António Guterres said."I abhor these appalling acts and call upon all competent authorities to investigate these activities without delay and to bring the perpetrators to justice," Guterres said. "I have asked the relevant United Nations actors to actively pursue this matter."Urging the international community to unite on the issue, the UN chief called on all countries to adopt the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on human trafficking.He further said the Libya story provides a reminder of the need to manage migration flows in a humane manner that addresses the root causes,increases opportunities for legal migration and cracks down on smugglers.After obtaining footage of a human auction in Libya,a CNN team travelled in October to that country to investigate. It saw a dozen men sold at an auction outside of the capital,Tripoli some for as little as $400.The crew was told of auctions taking place at nine locations in the country.Libyan authorities have launched a formal investigation into the auctions.It is being overseen by the government's Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency."Priorities of the investigation are not only to convict those responsible for these inhumane acts, but also to identify the location of those who have been sold in order to bring them to safety and return them to their countries of origin,"Anes Alazabi,an official with the agency,told CNN.News of the auctions spurred protests outside of the Libyan Embassy in Paris, and French soccer star Paul Pogba raised the issue after scoring a goal for his club, Manchester United, on Saturday, putting his wrists together as if they were handcuffed."My prayers go to those suffering slavery in Libya. May Allah be by your side and may this cruelty come to an end!" Pogba wrote later on Instagram.The United Nations estimates there are 700,000 migrants in Libya, and for years those who have crossed the Mediterranean have shared stories about beatings, kidnapping and enslavement.

Wedding plans: Harry and Meghan's big day out will happen in May.

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PRINCE HARRY AND his American fiancee Meghan Markle will marry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in May next year, a royal spokesman said today.Markle will be baptised and confirmed for the wedding and intends to become a British citizen, Harry’s spokesman Jason Knauf told reporters.Knauf said Windsor, Queen Elizabeth II’s weekend residence, was a “very special place” for Harry and that he and Markle had spent time there together.He said the couple would be putting their personal stamp on their wedding day, adding: “They will be making sure it reflects who they are as a couple.”The two will be visiting the city of Nottingham in central England on Friday for their first trip together since announcing their engagement yesterday.


Sunday, November 26

Man Spends Black Friday Paying For $10K Worth Of Toys For Local Kids.

Image result for toys r us charlie k
A New Jersey man spent this Black Friday putting together a great surprise for dozens of local families. The man, identified only as Charlie K., told CBS 3 that he woke up Friday morning planning to shop for his son when a bright idea hit him. He went over to the Toys R Us store in the town of Cherry Hill, where he paid for orders that customers had put on layaway. He wound up paying for more than 60 orders totalling over $10,000, according to WMUR“I’m trying to bring some happiness to people, to the community that brought happiness to me and my family,” he told CBS 3. “I love this community and I am trying to provide back to it.”“We love the heartwarming acts of one secret Santa who visited Toys R Us Cherry Hill this morning - Charlie K. paid off more than 62 Layaway orders totaling approximately $10,780,” the spokeswoman told top of that, Charlie K. also purchased an additional $2,000 worth of toys for Toys for Tots, a charity run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve that brings Christmas gifts to children whose parents can’t afford them.

Saturday, November 25

5 courses Nigerian parents were crazy about in the 80s.

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Nigerian families in the 80s were so obsessed with these courses that it was considered a part of parenting to guide your children to study these courses.If you had gained admission into a University in the 80s or early 90s, chances are that your parents would have wanted you to study one of these five courses.Nigerian families in the 80s were so obsessed with these courses that it was considered a part of parenting to guide your children to study these courses in the university.Other courses like Business Administration, Public Administration, Music, Zoology and so on were adjudged to be of no value. In fact, any course that has to do with administration in the eyes of the minds of Nigerian parents was reduced to a clerk's job while music and theatre arts were believed to have been designed to keep simpletons academically busy in the University.You must have heard about how the Afro Beat Legend, Fela Anikulapo's parents sent him abroad to study Medicine, but instead of following his parents' whims listened to his inner self and followed the path that led to music.This exemplifies the kind of control Nigerian parents exercise on the career choice of their children. And here are the five courses your parents would have loved you study in the 80s.


It was common to hear people gossip about the son of their neighbour who works as a doctor in a big hospital in Lagos, Port Harcourt or Kano.The idea of having a son who is a medical doctor was a thing in the 80s and some parents could sell their cocoa farm to ensure their children become a medical practitioner in a big Hospital in Lagos or other cities in the countrySo, for these Nigerian parents, Medicine is the only choice they endorse for their son or daughter can study in the university. Any other interest could cause rancour in the family.


Some Nigerian parents were obsessively fascinated with Engineering as a course in the University. The Engineering field like Medicine is big and diverse, and parents in the 80s usually want their children to excel in one of the many subfields of Engineering.Saying, my son is an Engineer in Lagos is one of the proudest things for fathers and mothers to say.


Law is another profession parents were strongly endeared to. These parents did not enjoin their children to study law because they were troublesome, rather their interest in the legal profession stems from the respect lawyers command in the society.This respect is also transferred to the parents too as neighbour hold such parents in high esteem. And who wouldn't like to be revered for having a prosperous child?

Banking and Finance:

This is a profession that is closely associated with money. You can say parents who encouraged their children to go to University to study Banking and Finance have money in mind.They understand what it means to be a Banker. They know the value attached to working in financial institutions and they want their children to be a respected financial expert in their lifetime.

Accountancy :

Just like Banking and Finance, the relationship between accounting and money is responsible for the reason why parents want their kids to become accountants. To some of these parents, every accountant is automatically a rich man and of course no parent wanted to spend money on a child to go to University to bring home are reasons why parents invest in the education of their parents and one of such reasons is for their children to become accountants
These five courses were majorly the notable professions parents subscribe to. Some parents still do choose for their children though, but to a great extent, the rate has reduced. Children now have the liberty to choose Music, Zoology, Sociology, Geology even Traffic Management in University.It may be argued that parents chose these courses because they are lucrative, we cannot also deny the fact that these courses command respect, prestigious and relevant.So, let's not blame our parents, they only want the best for us.

Friday, November 24

Anthony Joshua Boxer knocks out Takam to retain world heavyweight titles.

Anthony Joshua has beaten Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to retain his world heavyweight titles.Joshua dominated the fight from round one and not even a bleeding nose could stop him.He knocked down Takam in round four but had to wait until another knock-out in round 10 for the referee to end the fight.Joshua dominated the fight from round one and not even a bleeding nose could stop him.
Boxer knocks out Takam to retain word heavyweight titles

Anthony Joshua Boxer makes ring entrance with Wizkid’s Ojuelegba.

Anthony Joshua

British boxer Anthony Joshua for his fight against Carlos Takam on Saturday, October 28,the 28-year-old walked out to the ring to Wizkid’s hit record 'Ojuelegba'.British boxer Anthony Joshua continues to show that he is very much in touch with his Nigerian roots.Joshua’s parents Robert and Yeta are from the Sagamu in Ogun State, Nigeria and the boxer identifies very well with it.The Olympic medalist was well cheered when his name was mentioned at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff where the fight is holding.In his parents’ hometown of Sagamu, the memorial hall in honour of his great-grandfather has been filled to the brim by indigenes of the town who are all gathered to watch the fight from huge screens.Ojuelegba' is a hit record by Nigerian pop star Wizkid which was in his 2014 sophomore 'Ayo'.

Anthony Joshua

Love Your Body.

Do you love exercising and healthy eating? well if you do be careful because this is the story of the girl who got Anorexia Nervosa because she wanted to change the way she looked, she wanted to look very skinny and thin. She felt good with what she was doing but her doctor, therapist and mother wanted her to stop because it was affecting her health, HERE IS A SHORT VIDEO:

Thursday, November 23

Donovan Livingston's"Spoken Word Poetry" Harvard Graduate School of Education Student Speech 2016.

kiddiesinspiration:Muniba Mazari explaining the power of words and how to be get rid of faliure.

Olumo Rock Abeokuta's favourite tourist attraction.

A journey to Abeokuta is incomplete without a visit to Olumo Rock. Period.The story goes that the people of Owu fled the Oyo Kingdom and settled in the place that is now Abeokuta during the inter-tribal wars of the 19th century (the 1800s). They sought refuge at the rock we now know as Olumo, meaning "Gold moulded it".Today, for a few naira notes, you get to talk a work through the history of Olumo Rock.

The first stop when you've climbed the flight of stairs leading up the rock (over 130 stairs), is the main shrine of Olumo Rock.
This Shrine has an interesting story. In the past, human sacrifices were made here every year as part of the ritual rites in a yearly festival to thank the deities. Thanks to modernity, human sacrifice has now been replaced to animal sacrifice; black cows, goats, cocks, and snails to be specific.Moving forward from this spot leads you to one of the most important parts of Olumo Rock, the wartime hideouts.
It's a hollow under the rock that had chambers. It's where the women and children lived and spent most of their lives for three years.
They made groves in the rocks where they ground pepper and food.  The ceilings are so low you'd have to crawl to get in.
Away from the hideouts. We move to the place of the women.
The women here are worshippers of various deities, including Ogun (god of Iron), Sopono (god of smallpox), and the deity of the rock, which they attribute to their longevity. Talking about longevity, a photo of "Iya Olumo" was taken last year.
She was 151 years old when the photo was taken. When people pass by, they pray for them. Your prayer back to them should be some token money as a thank you, kinda. Moving on.The next place is the old route to the top of Olumo.

At the base of the rocky stairs to the peak is this statue, along with others. It symbolises the warriors of the old Egba land, like Lisabi, who fought to protect their people. The rocky trail led to the peak of the rock which served as a good vantage point for warriors.
It really was just a narrow path between two rocks, now it's a good place for selfies. If you're scared of this route, there's a staircase alternative.Finally, to the peak of the rock. The view is breathtaking.
No matter what side of the rock you look from
Looking at how far Olumo Rock has come, from being a place of refuge, to become a sight to wonder, a link to the past, it's safe to say it hasn't done very badly at all.when next you are in  Nigeria do drop by Ogun State  Abeokuta to be  precise and say hi. 

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