Sunday, September 29

Elementary School Kids Surprised With New Backpacks Full of Supplies.

These elementary school kids couldn't believe what was in store for them. Thanks to the help of Kids in Need Foundation, the students of P.S. 052 in Queens, New York, got quite the surprise when they were given new backpacks filled with all the school supplies they could need. After a loud countdown, curtains were pulled on the auditorium stage to reveal the loot. And the kids went wild. As the kids went up on stage to receive their gifts, their smiles could not be contained.

Two children beaten to death by furious men .

A young girl and her 10-year-old nephew were beaten to death by two men after they defecated outside. In what appears to be the latest case of violence against lower-class - or 'caste' - children in India, a 12-year-old girl, named only as Roshni, and her nephew Avinash were violently attacked by the men. The shocking killings happened at around 6.30am on Wednesday. Rajesh Chandel, superintendent of police in Shivpuri, a district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, told news agency Reuters that two men have been arrested. They were named as Hakam Singh and Rameshwar Singh. Superintendent Chandel said: "The accused are mentally stable and during the interrogation, they have said they committed this crime."He added that the investigation was continuing. India is seeing repeat incidents of communal violence and still sees widespread discrimination on the basis of caste, despite it being illegal. Incidents of violence against lower-caste children are especially still prevalent in rural areas. The two men belonged to what is known officially as 'scheduled castes', but also called 'Dalits', or 'untouchables' for their position in India's ancient caste hierarchy. Both superintendent Chandel and the father of 10-year-old victim Avinash, Manoj Balmiki, said the murders followed an earlier verbal altercation between the two families where 'casteist slurs' were used by the accused.

Mr. Balmiki, 32, said: "There is a lot of untouchability issues in our village."Our children cannot play with their children."Poor sanitation that forces Indians to defecate outdoors is one of the country's biggest health issues, and its eradication has been a top priority for the Bharatiya Janata Party government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi launched the Swachh Bharat, or Clean India, mission in 2014, and has promised to make India 'open defecation free' (ODF) by Oct. 2 this year. This week Modi was given an award by the Gates Foundation at a ceremony in New York for his role in the scheme. Swachh Bharat has constructed more than a hundred million toilets for some of the poorest in Indian society, according to official data, but problems in some areas remain. Anugraha P, the district's top civil servant, told Reuters that Bhaukhedi village, where the two families live, had been declared as ODF in 2018, but that Mr. Balmiki's house did not have a toilet.

Friday, September 27

I had no idea Nigeria had challenges in its health system until Bill Gates told me – Dangote

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has said that he was not aware that Nigeria had challenges in its health system until he had a chat with Bill Gates. Speaking at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2019 Goalkeepers’ event in New York, Wednesday, Dangote said that since his talk with Gates, he has been focusing on his country’s healthcare needs, particularly, enabling children to have access to nutritional food. The Chairman of the Dangote Group said his efforts have helped to shape policy around nutrition in Nigeria. At the moment, the Nigerian government’s policy on food fortification makes it “compulsory for producers of certain products such as rice, sugar, wheat, spaghetti, noodles to include vitamin supplements in their products,” reports Vanguard.“When I started my foundation in 1994, I never realised we had this massive challenge in the health sector.“Really, it was mind-boggling when we had this agreement to collaborate with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and that really opened my eyes to realise that there are a lot of challenges in health.“At that time I didn’t have the opportunity of meeting Bill but meeting Bill changed me into a different person.“This is somebody that has nothing to do with us in Africa or Nigeria but he is putting his money and his soul into everything.“He is very committed to helping humanity and that really surprises me a lot and I realised that he is a simple person and I never knew Bill would be this simple. He is a very soft-spoken guy and kind-hearted.“It is very difficult to find people like Bill in this world. My only prayer is that in the next few years, I will try and give my chunk of wealth to charity to,” the Nigerian business magnate said. Gates, who is the co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also pointed out that his relationship with Dangote has enabled him to make inroads with his projects in Africa. Gates recently criticised the Nigerian government for failing to improve the basic infrastructural elements needed to enhance the lives of people in the country. According to him, the execution process of the Economic and Recovery Growth plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 to restore the country’s economy does not reflect the needs of the people.“Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad.One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.“The Nigerian government’s economic recovery and growth plan identify investing in our people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital,” he was quoted by local media, The Cable.“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people. “People without roads, ports, and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy,” he said.

Edmond Albius, the slave African child who created the multi-million dollar vanilla industry

Vanilla is one of the world’s popular spice. The expensive ingredient is the principal flavouring in ice-creams and cola drinks and is usually used in some fine perfumes and delicacies in the world. In the mid 19th century, before the revolutionisation of vanilla, the world, and Mexico, in particular, was producing not more than thousand vanilla beans, as a result of the pollination by bees. Now, the world is producing more than a million beans, not only in Mexico but in other countries like Kenya, Madagascar, China and Indonesia, thanks to a technique introduced by a young African slave, Edmond Albius. Edmond was just 12 when he solved the problem that beat Europeans for centuries: the practical process for the pollination of vanilla. Born in Sainte-Suzanne in 1829, on the island of Bourbon (modern-day Réunion), Edmond was orphaned from birth, as his mother died in childbirth and never knew his father. When he was a few years old, his master sent him to work with Fereol Bellier-Beaumont, who introduced him to horticulture and botany.
Edmond spent most of his time following Beaumont around the estate, learning about flowers, vegetables and fruits, including a vanilla vine belonging to Ferreol. French colonialists had in the 1820s brought vanilla beans to Réunion with the hope of starting production there, but the vines, like Ferreol’s were sterile because no insect would pollinate them. In 1841, while Ferreol was taking his normal walk with Edmond, he was amazed to find that his orchid, barren for many years, had produced fruit. Edmond told him that he had pollinated the plant himself. Ferreol initially did not believe the child but when more fruits appeared later, he asked Edmond for a demonstration. With a thin stick or blade of grass and a simple thumb gesture, Edmond was able to show his master how he quickly pollinated the vanilla orchid. Edmond soon started travelling the island teaching other slaves how to pollinate vanilla orchids. His technique spread to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar, which currently produces 80% of the world’s vanilla. Edmond died in 1880, at the age of fifty-one after being freed from his master in June 1848 and being given the last name “Albius”.

Thomas Fuller: The enslaved African math genius whose intellect shocked white people.

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Often called the “Virginia Calculator”, Thomas Fuller was born in 1710, somewhere between the “Slave Coast” of West Africa (present-day Liberia) and the Kingdom of Dahomey (modern-day Benin). He was taken away from his native land during the scramble for slaves and sold as a slave. At the age of 14, Fuller was taken to Colonial America in 1724. Fuller was illiterate as he could not read and write English but had a rare gift; the ability to give accurate and speedy calculation, which for so many years stunned the colonisers. He simply was able to solve complex math problems in his head. Antislavery campaigners who had recognized his rare talent used him to drum home the point that blacks were not mentally inferior to whites. Northern Virginia planters, Presley and Elizabeth Cox, also used Fuller’s talent in the management of their plantation farm, about four miles from Alexandria, Virginia. So how did Fuller acquire this talent, especially in a period where slaves were not allowed to learn to read and write? He said his skills come from experimental applications around the farm such as counting the hairs on a cow’s tail. Complex computations related to astronomy are carried out by a computer but Fuller was amazingly able to do those computations in his head. When Fuller was 70 years old, he met a businessman who had come with other associates from Pennsylvania just to know more about him. They asked him some questions. Examples were: how many seconds were in a year and a half? how many seconds had a man living who is 70 years, 17 days and 12 hours old?. When he correctly answered 47,304,000 and 2,210,500,800, respectively, in less than two minutes each time, one of the men raised an objection, saying his own calculations were much smaller. Fuller quickly responded, “(Stop), Massa, you forget de leap year.”After taking into consideration the leap year in their calculations, they agreed with Fuller. They later submitted Fuller’s computational abilities to the Abolitionist. Fuller died on the Cox farm near Alexandria, Virginia in 1790. He was 80.

14-Year-Old Is Impaled in Brain by Anchor in Freak Accident And Survives.

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A Florida teen ended up with an anchor piercing his skull during one of his many routine boating trips and the 14-year-old somehow lived to tell the tale. Caleb Bennett’s recovery from the freak accident is “one in 1,000,000,” according to his doctor.“I can’t believe I had an anchor in my head, like, that’s pretty crazy,” Caleb said, according to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “My friends now call me the ‘Anchorman,’ so that’s kind of cool.”But Caleb wasn’t all smiles at the time of the accident. He was fishing with his friends and his brother in March, as they do on most nice days when the anchor fell off the boat and lodged itself nearly three-inches deep into his right frontal lobe.“As soon as I got my hands on it, I kind of felt what it was and I realized it was in my head pretty far,” he recalled. “I just stayed calm. I told my friend, ‘Hey, you need to call 911 or I’m going to die.’”Caleb was rushed to the emergency room and put into a medically induced coma. His parents, who were in the Bahamas celebrating their wedding anniversary at the time, took the first flight back.“We just heard that there was a boating accident,” his dad, Rick Bennett, said. His mom added, “They were going to have to do an emergency craniotomy. We needed to get back quickly.”His doctor Luis Rodriguez, a pediatric neurological surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explained that they needed to first remove a large piece of his skull, not only to remove the debris from the anchor but also to allow his brain room to swell.“When I first saw Caleb, I thought I was going to be sick,” mom Kelli Bennett said. “It’s very hard to see your kid hooked up to every tube, to see that stand with seven to 12 different medicines going in his body, neck brace,” Rick said he wasn’t sure his son would talk or move again. But more than a week later, Caleb’s recovery seemed to be successful, news that shocked even his doctor.“I’ve seen arrows through and through [the head]. I’ve seen bullets through and through [the head]. I’ve seen things like this, but I’ve never seen an anchor, number one,” Rodriguez said. “And number two, I’ve never seen anybody with an injury like that walk out of the hospital almost completely neurologically intact. That’s one in a million.”Today, Caleb is back to his healthy and happy self and is spending his days enjoying a new hobby: spearfishing.“Now here we are, ultimately sitting with really the same Caleb we had,” his mom said. Caleb added, “I’m kind of a big deal around here.”

Expectant Parents Use Hippo for Gender Reveal — Was It Safe?

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A father-to-be fed watermelon to a hungry hippo to reveal the sex of his child. The reveal happened Saturday at Capital of Texas Zoo in Cedar Creek. Blue Jell-O poured out of Tank the hippo’s mouth, indicating the couple is having a boy. But not everyone thinks getting the hippo involved was a good thing. “Worst gender reveal,” was one tweet. “That person's baby is not important enough to feed a hippo food colouring,” goes another comment. Bridgette and Jonathan Joseph are expectant parents. “It was a very small amount of Jell-O and mostly fell out on the ground anyways, but it would not have mattered because it is the same Jell-O that people feed their kids,” she said. “This is a regular practice in zoos.”The zoo director told Inside Edition watermelon and Jell-O are Tank the hippo’s favourite snacks, adding that they're "perfectly harmless" and "approved by our vet.”“Tank was more than happy to have the treat."

Mattel Creates Its 1st Gender-Neutral Doll.

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Instead of Barbie or Ken, here’s a third option to consider offering your kids. Mattel is introducing its first line of gender-neutral dolls, which skip breasts and broad shoulders, and instead, take a more customizable route. The Creatable World dolls, available in several different skin tones, come with different hairstyles, different clothing options and different accessories, from long hair wigs and skirts too short hair wigs and hats.“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” said the company’s Senior Vice President Kim Culmone in a statement. The dolls are intended for all kids and all families, and Culmone explained they came to develop this product after speaking with physicians, parents, experts and kids.“Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,” said Culmone. “This line allows all kids to express themselves freely, which is why it resonates so strongly with them.”Each $30 kit comes with one doll, two wig options and a variety of clothing and accessories, and is available to purchase at any major retailer.
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11-Year-Old Joshua Trump Is Changing His Name Due to Bullying: 'Everybody Would Laugh'.

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Joshua Albert Trump, an 11-year-old Delaware boy who shares the president's surname says he's getting bullied at school because of it. "They ask me if I'm related to Trump," Joshua Albert Trump said. "I say, 'Would I be here if I’m related to him?'"The boy says some students call him stupid. “When the teacher would say, ‘Joshua Trump, are you here?’ Everybody would laugh except my friends,” he said. He says the bullying got so bad that his teachers decided not to use his last name in class. His parents even tried homeschooling for a while, then enrolled him in a new school but they say the bullying continued. The bullying has gotten so bad for Joshua Trump at his middle school that teachers have decided not to use his last name in class. Trump is actually Joshua's mom's maiden name so from now on he's going to use his dad's name, Berto. “I'm tired of the bullying,” he said. “I just want it to stop.”The principal of Talley Middle School, Mark Mayer, said the school carried out an investigation after a recent meeting with the boy's parents. The school has agreed to change Joshua's last name to Berto in their system immediately, and they are working on providing Joshua with extra support so he is comfortable reporting any future incidents, Mayer said.

Mom Posts Photos of Late Children's Lunchboxes Atop Their Graves to Remember Them.

The kids were killed in a drunk-driving accident.
A mom remembered her late children, who were tragically killed by a drunk driver, in a social media post with the lunchboxes they would have been carrying to school this year. Jennifer Neville-Lake of Bampton, Ontario, posted the lunchboxes of her children Daniel, 9, Harry, 5, and Milly, 2 who were killed in 2015 along with their grandfather when a drunk driver hit their car. In September, Neville-Lake posted the photo around the time the children would have been going back to school. She lined their lunchboxes up atop their graves.“Social media is full of images of milestones. Like everyone else, I share my life, including all the milestones, holidays and celebrations we should be living and enjoying as a family,” Neville-Lake said. “This year Daniel would have started grade 8, Harry grade 4 and Milly grade 2.”The mom said her life has been “destroyed by someone else’s selfishness,” and she hopes her post encourages others to make better decisions."Most people I know don't want to hurt others or cause pain,” she said. The lunchboxes, which all have writing on them, each have a special meaning.“Milly's is the only one with her full name on it,” Neville-Lake said. Although she hadn’t started school yet, her siblings designed the bag because they knew she would start school soon and wanted her to “practice.”“The boys’ bags in the photo are their lunchboxes from the year before as they were still in good shape. Daniel's is the camo one with his favourite number of 10,000 and Harry chose the name of his guinea pig for his, Fixer.”Fixer has since died and been cremated, she said. The mom said that her post emphasizes that people’s choices have consequences. “My right to parent my three living children was taken by a man who chooses to drive drunk. I will never, ever get to watch, participate in and with, enjoy, celebrate, cry with, learn with, grow with, be with any of my children again because of another adult's decision to drive drunk,” Neville-Lake said. “This is the consequence I am forced to live with and, frankly, hate.”Neville-Lake has also founded an organization to honour her children and father, called “Many Hands, Doing Good,” which funds art and music therapy for children suffering trauma.

Baby Born With Rare Condition to Have 'Batman' Skin Patch Removed.

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Little Luna Fenner is just like any other 6-month old. She spends her time laughing, eating and bouncing around. But Luna was born with a rare skin condition called congenital melanocytic nevus. It presents as a dark skin patch that increases the risk of developing cancerous melanoma. In Luna's case, the dark patch is on her face, shaped like a Batman mask. Mom Carol Fenner says she wants it removed and has been searching high and low for treatment.“We're going to remove it. That can turn to cancer, also because of the bullying and stuff we are going through when we go out, people saying bad things about it,” Fenner told“There are a lot of racist comments. A lot of people get so angry,” she told news agency SWNS. After learning about Luna’s condition, Russian surgeon-oncologist Dr Pavel Borisovich Popov reached out to Fenner, offering to perform a treatment that is not yet available in the United States. Fenner and Luna are travelling to Russia to run tests before any treatment begins.“We went to a lot of doctors before here in the U.S. We went to Chicago, Boston, New York, and I didn’t like the results and the doctors in Russia have shown me very good results like the before and after pictures, so we’re gonna try it,” Fenner told says she wants it done before Luna starts school, in order to avoid the possibility of her daughter continuing to be bullied. Luna is expected to undergo several procedures. The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs. Their goal is to raise $98,000.

American Man Drowns in Tanzania While Proposing to His Girlfriend Underwater.

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A Louisiana man drowned while diving underwater to propose to his girlfriend, BuzzFeed News reports. The couple was on vacation in Tanzania. Steven Weber and Kenesha Antoine were reportedly staying at a resort on the coast that’s famous for its underwater rooms. Antoine wrote on Facebook that she was in their underwater room when Weber swam down and tapped on the glass with a message and a ring.“I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you. 
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But... Everything I love about you I love more every day,” he wrote in a note pressed against the glass. “Will you please be my wife. Marry me???”But Weber didn’t return to the surface and he never got to hear Antoine say yes.“We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruellest twist of fate imaginable,” Antoine wrote on Facebook. “I will try to take solace in the fact that we enjoyed the most amazing bucket list experiences these past few days, and that we both were so happy and absolutely giddy with excitement in our final moments together.”
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Kenesha Antoine is feeling devastated with Steven Weber.
20 September at 09:16
There are no words adequate enough to honour the beautiful soul that is Steven Weber, Jr. You were a bright light to everyone you encountered. You never met a stranger, and you brought so much joy to so many people. You were kind, compassionate, you regularly made me cry with laughter, and you showered me with a love like none I’d ever experienced. You never emerged from those depths, so you never got to hear my answer, “Yes! Yes! A million times, yes, I will marry you!!” We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruellest twist of fate imaginable.
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I will try to take solace in the fact that we enjoyed the most amazing bucket list experiences these past few days, and that we both were so happy and absolutely giddy with excitement in our final moments together. Just a couple days before you died, you said to me, “I’ve seen a few cancer patients on this trip, and it dawned on me that this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that people want to experience before they die.
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And here we are in the prime of our lives doing this. We are so blessed.”Yes, we were, my perfect love, my angel, my soul. Yes, we were, and I will carry the blessing of the love we shared with me forever. I will find you and marry you in the next lifetime, and the next, and the next, and the next... I love you so much, and I always will. 💔Please pray for all the family and friends that loved him so much. Please love each other while you can, as hard as you can.
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I know that wherever in the universe Steven’s spirit now resides, that is exactly what he’s doing: giving love and spreading joy and laughter. And knowing him, always quick with an off-colour joke, he’s probably entertaining someone with a story about how he royally screwed up that proposal and died while being extra. Rest well, my sweet baby! Always know that you are forever loved! ❤️😢🙏🏽.
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New Zealand College Student Found in Dorm Room 8 Weeks After Dying.

Armed police officers are seen at Riccarton Racecourse
Police and New Zealand government officials are investigating the death of a college student whose body wasn't found until 8 weeks after his death, according to USA Today. Authorities received complaints of a strange odour coming from a room in the Sonoda dormitory on the University of Canterbury's Christchurch campus. When police arrived, they discovered a decaying male body. New Zealand news outlet Stuff reports that the body was not noticed until almost 2 months after the student's disappearance, even though his stepfather contacted the police on several occasions."[His stepfather] contacted my friends first to try and reach him and when they couldn't he told us he would call the police," a friend of the unnamed student said. The length that the body was decaying forced responding officers to call in a disaster victim identification team (DVI) team to identify the deceased. The DVI had to use the deceased's dental records and fingerprints to confirm his identity. The school's Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, called the incident "inconceivable" and said that the university is "deeply troubled by the case." Police are still investigating the incident, but the death has caused other students to speak out against the conditions at the university. "We have no idea who is running this place, there is an overwhelming lack of presence from adult staff in this hall," another unidentified student told Stuff. "If a student was in crisis the hall of residence would have no idea ... we could disappear for weeks and it would go unnoticed by the staff here."The Associated Press found out that an Australian company named Campus Living Villages operates the dorms. The company also mans residences in the United States and the United Kingdom. Campus Living Villages told AP that it was "saddened by the death but wouldn’t comment further per the family's request for privacy." "If you're going into a hall of residence or a hostel, you are paying top dollar for not just a roof over your head but also the pastoral care that goes with that," Hipkins said. "And I think clearly that’s not been present in this case."

11-Year-Old Boy Drives 200 Miles Hoping to Live With 'Unknown Male He Met on Snapchat'.

An 11-year-old boy drove 200 miles to meet a stranger he met on Snapchat. After three hours of driving across South Carolina, the boy found a police officer and pulled up next to the car to say he was lost, CNN reports. The child had driven from Simpsonville to Charleston before reaching the city at around 12:30 a.m. on Monday. He told the officer he’d taken his brother’s car to drive to Charleston, where he wanted to live with “an unknown male he met on Snapchat,” the police said. When the boy lost the GPS signal on his father’s tablet, he couldn’t retrieve the man’s address, since Snapchat messages disappear or delete after they’ve been read. The child gave the officer his name, and his father’s name and cell phone. He was reunited with his family that day. Police have begun an investigation into the unidentified male. “This kid drove three and a half hours by himself. At night, on the interstate. Can you imagine?” he told the Post and Courier. “God was by his side.”“I would love tonight, right now, anybody who's watching this, who is a parent of a child, especially an 11-year-old, to sit down with your 11-year-old, right now, right this moment and have a conversation about what you're doing on social media, the dangers, the benefits and things that as a parent we need to talk about every day,” Charleston Police Chief Luther T. Reynolds said.

Professor backs her student’s baby throughout a 3-hour class.

College is already a challenge, but the added pressure of taking care of a child can make it an overwhelming experience. Professor Ramata Sissoko Cissé recognized this and found a way to take a load off one of her students. Cissé is an assistant Biology for Anatomy and Physiology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College. The night before an important 8 a.m. class, one of her students reached out to ask for help. "She asked if she could bring the baby with her to class because she had missed a class already and did not want to be behind. ...I know the student is very smart and ambitious. She really wanted to learn," Cissé said to Yahoo. Cissé told the student to bring her child to the lecture and that they would "figure it out" together. But when Cissé saw her pupil couldn't balance taking notes and soothing the infant her "mother instincts" started to tingle. "I knew I could make it easy for her not only to concentrate but also to take notes with ease," Cissé said while explaining how she decided to hold the student's baby and teach the class. "In my native Mali, we used sheets and other pieces of fabric to securely carry babies on our backs. My natural instinct was to find a way to secure the baby and I was standing next to a rack with a clean lab coat." After being safely secured to Cissé's back, the baby slept for the rest of the three-hour class. "Towards the end, he woke up and I took him off my back, sat in the first row and fed him with a bottle. He did not cry once," Cissé said. Later that day, Cissé's daughter tweeted out a picture of her mother teaching with the baby on her back. The tweet went viral, but Cissé didn't do it for the attention."My decision to help out this student was driven by the school culture with a student’s success being foremost. We do all we can for the student to be successful," the professor said. "I did not want to see her struggling, because as a mother, I know how hard it could be."Not too far from the Georgia Gwinnett College campus, a professor at Morehouse College also went the extra mile. In March, Dr Nathan Alexander held a student's baby during a math lecture so the student could focus. Like Cissé, Alexander's dedication to his students went viral.
Annadote @AnnaKhadejah
my mom is my role model her student couldn’t find a babysitter today & being the true African mother that she is, taught a THREE-hour class with the baby on her back & fed him.I’m so blessed to be raised by a woman who loves the world as much as her own children.
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A student came to class today with his child due to no babysitter or anybody to watch her while he was in class. My professor NATHAN ALEXANDER said, “I’ll hold her so you can take good notes!” #HBCU #morehouse #Respect
327K The Atlanta University Center.
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Shock as Haitian senator opens fire on protesters outside parliament, leaving photojournalist wounded.

Haitian senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière opened fire during a protest outside the country’s parliament building on Monday, injuring two people, including a photographer. Leon Leblanc, a security guard, was wounded while Chery Dieu-Nalio, a photographer for the Associated Press, was hit in the face in the incident. Reuters photographer, Andres Martinez Casares, took the dramatic photos of the Haitian senator firing shots outside the parliament in the capital, Port-au-Prince.“I’ve covered shootings before and have also photographed fights in official buildings, like in the National Assembly in Caracas in 2017 or recently in the Haitian parliament between lawmakers, but I never thought that I would see a politician using a gun like Monday.”Recounting the incident, Casares said he followed a group of opposition supporters who went to the car park of the Haitian parliament and later began shouting at Féthière, who got into his car.“I moved to the side as I thought they could drive aggressively to leave.”“But some men went to the door and started shouting again, and then Féthière came out and pointed the gun in the air and fired some shots, and then fired to the ground,” Casares said. Reportedly defending himself from armed individuals who threatened him, Senator Féthière opened fire as he left parliament in the capital, Port-au-Prince.“I was attacked by violent militant groups, so I defended myself,” he told Haiti’s Radio Mega, adding: “Self-defence is a sacred right.”Meanwhile, another senator, Patrice Dumont, told local media that Féthière issued a warning before opening fire. According to the BBC, Casares put his ability to remain calm and take pictures down to experience.“It was a matter of a few seconds, my pictures were taken in two or three seconds; there was just enough time to go from one side of the car to the other and frame some quick pictures.”“I don’t think you are totally calm because you are alert, trying to be aware of the whole situation; there is a man shooting in the air, but there are also scared people running away that push you, and you don’t know if there is anybody else willing to use a gun,” he said.“You are there, and there is an unusual event in front of you that might not last, you just try to get something in focus to be able to show it to the world.”Casares told BBC that he was concerned that the situation could get worse. After the shooting, wounded photographer Dieu-Nalio “came calling me and pointing to his chin, so when I saw the blood I checked him and I stopped the bleeding with a bandage.”The photographer has since been treated and released from a Port-au-Prince hospital. He is, however, expected to undergo further treatment this week to remove the object from his jaw, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The story behind Nigeria’s $9.6bn judgment debt in London that has shaken the West African nation

Although Nigeria is the largest producer of sweet oil in OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), the country has shown little determination to improve its oil infrastructure base to generate maximum returns and use the accrued funds to develop other sectors of the economy. According to the International Energy Agency, although Nigeria has the production capacity of producing over 3 million barrels (480,000 m3) of oil per day, as at 2011, it was producing just about 2.53 million barrels (402,000 m3) per day, showing that a lot more work had to be done to become efficient. There’s the case of the country improperly managing its oil and gas resources such that between January and June 2019 alone, the country lost 22 million barrels of crude oil. Pipeline vandalism and aged pipelines contribute to the losses but the twin troubles of corruption and fraud are not far behind. Compounding these problems is a US$9.6 billion judgment debt the West African nation faces, following non-fulfilment of a contract it entered into with private company, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), in 2010. On January 11, 2010, P&ID, a company based in the British Virgin Islands, signed a gas supply and processing agreement contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria for Nigeria to supply natural gas (wet gas) to P&ID’s production facility over a 20-year period. In return, P&ID would process the wet gas by removing natural gas liquids and return approximately 85% of it to the government in the form of lean gas. This lean gas was to be returned at no cost to the Nigerian government. With the agreement, the Nigerian government was to construct pipelines and arrange facilities for transporting the wet gas, however, it failed to do this for three years. For P&ID, the Nigerian government’s inability to fulfil its obligation meant it had repudiated the contract. In March 2013, P&ID began an arbitration action against the government before a London tribunal as the city was agreed by both parties to be the centre for the resolution of disputes although other venues could be settled upon. In July 2015, the tribunal decided that by failing to fulfil its obligations, the Nigerian government had repudiated the agreement. By January 2017, the tribunal, by a majority of 2 to 1, made a final award of $6.597 billion together with interest at the rate of 7%, starting from March 20, 2013, until payment is made, The Conversation writes. The 7% interest reflects what P&ID would have paid to borrow the money or earned by investing the money in Nigeria.P&ID sought to enforce its damages by March 2018 and on August 16, 2019, the court made an order enforcing the tribunal’s final award which now stood at about $9.6 billion. According to P&ID, it had invested $40 million in the project even though it had not acquired the land or built any facilities for gas processing. It claimed damages of about US$6.6 billion dollars the amount of the net income it would have earned over the 20-year period of the agreement, The Conversation added.But the Nigerian government, even if by its own failure caused the judgment debt, argues that damages sought by P&ID are not fair and reasonable as the company never commenced building the gas processing facility. It also argued that P&ID should be awarded only three years’ worth of income as the company, by that time, should have found some other profitable investment which would reduce its losses from the breach. The Nigerian government is yet to pay the judgment debt, saying that it intends to appeal the amount awarded. Given that the damages sought by P&ID amount to 20% of the country’s foreign reserves, the federal government is aware such payment could easily destabilize the economy, something it would rather avoid.

Janice Bryant Howroyd first black woman to own a billion-dollar company which is now eyeing $3bn in revenues.

Despite being worth $400 million already, Janice Bryant Howroyd hopes that her company, ActOne Group, will realise a $3 billion revenue by next year.This will mean an increase from its $2.8 billion yearly revenues of 2018 and 2017.ActOne Group, among others, offers employment, workforce, and procurement solutions to a broad range of industries, Fortune 500 organizations, local and mid-market companies, and government agencies, according to Black Enterprise. It operates in 19 counties, has 17,00 clients, and employs more than 2,600 people. It is the nation’s largest certified, woman-minority-owned full-service staffing agency.ActOne Group, a BE 100s company, also captured the No. 2 spot on the Black Enterprise annual listing of America’s largest black-owned businesses. For over 40 years, Howroyd has served as businesswoman and entrepreneur, becoming the first black woman to break the billion-dollar revenue mark with her company despite emerging from the segregated South.And now the woman, who has 11 siblings, has authored a new book ‘Acting Up: Winning In Business and Life Using Down-Home Wisdom’, which touches on her journey and climb to the top.The book also centres on various caps she’s had to wear, either as a business innovator, mentor, educator, author, ambassador or speaker while detailing growth tools and strategies for her California-based company.“At the ActOne Group, we are a company of entrepreneurs all working under the belief that together, we win. The key thing is having an inclusive decision-making team who, once a decision is made, rally to it,” she said. Howroyd told Black Enterprise that one of the areas of growth for her company is the new staffing brand, AllSTEM Connections Inc.“As a diversity certified staffing agency, AllSTEM streamlines job fulfilment through expert-level recruiting and sourcing specialists who understand the nomenclature, nuances, and screening methods necessary to ensure we are delivering leading STEM talent to our clients,” she said. She said that through the agency, minorities and women are getting “the champion career sponsorship and guidance” needed as the agency offers direct hire and contract opportunities to the “diverse community working for populations.”According to Howroyd, not having the right knowledge to make the right technology decisions can prove costly as obsolescence can quickly occur. This is why she believes that it is ideal for leaders to keep learning or have experts give inputs into major decisions. On why the need for the new book, Howroyd said: “Over the last two years, I’ve visited many campuses and attended many conferences. The questions I’m most asked at these are the ones I answer in Acting Up!”The experienced businesswoman also mentioned that most entrepreneurs are not able to make profits due to the following: lack of financial advice, poor hiring practices, and the absence of strong banking relationships. In rounding things up, the author of ‘Acting Up’ stated that “for black entrepreneurs: Racism isn’t dead, but don’t you help to keep it alive!”

Florida cop who arrested and handcuffed 6-year-old black girl for throwing tantrums fired.

The Orlando police have fired a school resource officer after he arrested two 6-year-old students at their school on misdemeanour charges officer Dennis Turner, who was initially suspended after the incident, arrested and handcuffed 6-year-old Kaia Rolle, a first-grader at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy after she reportedly got agitated and kicked someone. Another 6-year-old, initially thought to be 8 years, was also arrested in a separate incident. Turner transported both children to the Juvenile Detention Center. Charges against both children were, however, dropped. Authorities also confirmed that Turner did not follow the approved departmental policy of seeking approval from a watch commander before arresting children under 12 years old.“The first transport officer was not aware an approval was not obtained, and the 8-year-old was processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. The child was released to a family member a short time later,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said. The 6-year-old was also returned to the school after it was established that Turner did not follow the correct procedure.“The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor, and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed. As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old, this is very concerning to me. Our department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations,” Rolón added. Speaking Kaia’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, expressed her dismay and shock when she received a call informing her of her granddaughter's arrest.“I said, ‘What do you mean, she was arrested?’ They say there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she’s being charged and she’s on her way,” she said. To add insult to injury, Kirkland said Turner brushed her off when she told him Kaia’s behaviour was as a result of a medical condition she was suffering from.“He says, ‘What medical condition?’ ‘She has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,’ and he says, ‘Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that,’” she added. Turner’s actions were heavily criticized with most questioning why he would move to arrest two 6-year-old kids.“No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them,” Kirkland said. In the aftermath of the incident, Orlando Rolón released a statement, announcing that Turner had been relieved of his duties.“As Chief of Police, one of my top priorities is the trust between the community and our officers and because of this incident that trust has been put in question. Officer Turner was immediately suspended and as of this morning Officer Turner is no longer employed by the Orlando Police Department,” the statement read.“On behalf of the entire Orlando Police Department, I apologize to the children involved and their families. As a grandfather, I can understand how traumatic this was for everyone involved.”This isn’t the first time Turner has had disciplinary issues, he was served a written reprimand for excessive force after tasing a man five times in 2017 with the final two coming after the suspect was on the ground and not resisting. He was also charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 after welts and bruises were found on his then 7-year-old son’s arms and chest.

Kenya’s academics paid $1 to write essays for cheating British and American students, investigations reveal.

Cheating in college is nothing new; it is a reality that almost every school faces. With the increase in technology, the practice is now being done on a global scale. In Kenya, the quest to make money and earn a living has led many youths into academic writing, an emerging and very lucrative industry with the mandate of doing school assignments online for college students in the United States, Britain, and Australia. There are many websites that allow people in developing countries to bid for and complete American assignments. A cheating scandal reportedly exploiting Kenyan academics and paying them as little as $1 an hour to write essays for British and American students have been uncovered by a British daily newspaper’s investigation. In its August 23 report, The Daily Mail gained access to the ‘secretive’ firms that have been described as a ‘cancer’ undermining Kenyan universities. “Slaving away in ‘essay factories’ in Nairobi, the highly educated experts earn as little as a dollar an hour while their millionaire bosses cream off the profits and cheating Western teenagers take the credit,” the Daily Mail wrote.“Like most people, I started my essay writing business while I was at university,” the 36-year-old founder of Mambi Microsystems James Karuri told the newspaper. According to him, he expanded his business into other markets and hired 80 freelancers and 15 administrative staff members. “I remember clearly when I made my first million, I felt a great sense of achievement, like all my hard work was paying off.”The Daily Mail said 115,000 British students buy essays each year. The paper spoke to an undisclosed source, one of Karuri’s former colleagues, who revealed that “A Kenyan student starting this work might get 50 cents per page for a school essay when the original fee might be $50.”Pay does go up as the writers gain more experience, but not before spending years working 12-hour shifts for minimal pay, the former employee said.“After a few years, for technical writing at the PhD level, an experienced writer could earn $2,000 per job still a small amount of the total but very good money for Kenya.“At that level, writers subcontract the work, paying peanuts and keeping the lion’s share. But on average, most writers just earn about a dollar an hour.”Similarly, 33-year-old Kamau, an IBM expert with two degrees in computer science, told the Daily Mail he has been writing essays from his Nairobi home for two years and has paid tens of thousands of dollars to buy access to better-paid commissions.“If you want to make big money, you need to pass academic tests and work very well for many years to improve your ranking,” he said. “It is all done online, like a computer game. When your rank goes up, better commissions are unlocked.“The quick way is to buy a high ranking account from a broker. But that is very expensive.”Kamau told the Daily Mail he and six friends used their life savings to buy a top account for $2,000 that allowed them to pick more profitable essay jobs, such as masters dissertations and PhD theses. Their account was shut down when they missed two deadlines, so they raised $4,000 to buy an even more profitable account. Again, Kamau and his friends missed two essay deadlines which led to the closure of the account by the online provider, he told Daily Mail. Kamau and his friends have not given up, they now hope to break even in about five years. “It is a long road, but there is no other way to make money in Kenya,” Kamau said. However, computer scientist and expert in contract cheating, Thomas Lancaster, told the newspaper that from his research, “Everything to do with cheating is more widespread than we know, Kenya rules the world in this type of work.”

Saturday, September 21

Two teenagers injured after shooting breaks out during high school football game.

Two teenagers were injured after shooting broke out at a high school football game in Philadelphia, USA. The shooting happened just before 8pm local time on Friday. Two city schools - Simon Gratz High School and Imhotep Charter High School - were playing in the Nicetown-Tioga section when the gunfire broke out according to ABC News, a 15-year-old was shot in the thigh and a 14-year-old was shot in the foot. They were sent to Albert Einstein medical center in stable condition. Hundreds of fans and family members were evacuated from the Marcus Foster Memorial Stadium on Staub Avenue amid the chaos. A police cordon is in place as Philadelphia police attended the scene for investigation. An ambulance outside the stadium was seen taking at least one victim to a nearby hospital, according to a video captured by NBC's helicopter. Witnesses said the game was in the second quarter when the shooting started.

Moment arsonist with petrol can walks into Santander and sets bank on fire.

Terrifying footage shows the moment a man walks into a Santander bank brandishing a meat cleaver and sets the building on fire. Ahmad Mohammed was captured on CCTV footage walking up to the row of cashiers in the branch in Hull city center with a jerry can of petrol and a dark bag. He is seen talking to cashiers, before unscrewing the jerry can lid while a member of the public moves out of his way. He then pulled a meat cleaver out of his bag, Hull Crown Court heard. Mohammed walked around the shop splashing petrol on the floor while shouting at terrified members of the public, who walked inside the branch before quickly fleeing. Mohammed, 25, then can then be seen igniting the petrol, causing flames to lick up from the floor before heading to the exit.n CCTV and bodycam footage were shown to the court, Mohammed was seen running across the street to Barclays. He tried to replicate his actions in the second bank — splashing petrol around the floor as stunned members of the public looked on — before failing to ignite it. He then headed into the street waving a meat cleaver before he was Tasered by police and arrested. Witnesses Mohammed laughed as he ran into the street chased by a group of brave police officers and members of the public. 
When Mohammed put the jerry can down he reached inside his bag and pulled out a meat cleaver. The staff immediately reach for a panic button, triggering an automatic safety response which brought up the shutters over the windows. Mohammed was found guilty of attempted robbery, arson with intent to endanger life, three counts of possession of a bladed article and affray. He also was found guilty of criminal damage and threats to commit criminal damage. He did not enter any pleas or appear in court during the hearing. His case has now been adjourned for a report into his mental health to be conducted.

these are the 3 most dangerous African countries to live in right now.

South Africa
With recent cases of attacks by local South Africans on other Africans and their businesses in what is described as Xenophobia, it comes as no great shock that South Africa is listed as the most dangerous country in Africa security-wise. Also, earlier this month, a dismal crime report from South Africa was released, which showed that murders, robberies at residential properties, bank robberies and sexual offenses increased over the last 12 months.
The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria, is listed as the second most dangerous country in Africa, placing only a number before South Africa in the InterNations survey. Also known for kidnappings and most recently, terrorist groups insurgencies, it is no surprise that Nigeria is listed as a dangerous place on the continent
A Danish expat, according to Forbes, complained that walking around Kenyan streets is a ‘No’ for them and that they have to drive or be driven everywhere.

Boy, 14, told to shave beard and moustache as his facial hair 'breaks school rules.

A schoolboy has been told to shave his beard and moustache or risk being put in isolation because his facial hair breaks the school's appearance and uniform policy, it has been claimed. Oliver Parsell, 14, was told he would have to spend time in isolation for breaking the uniform and appearance rules at Somercotes Academy in Lincolnshire. His mum Katherine insists she doesn't want Oliver to be forced to start shaving and has launched a petition claiming the rule is a breach of her son’s human rights, Katherine says: “I am just a mum fighting for change. My son is 14 years of age and is not as yet ready to begin the lifelong routine and responsibility of shaving.
"We don’t believe that a school should enforce such policies on children between the ages of 11-16 or even 18 years of age," Katherine says the school insists being clean-shaven is in the guidelines and uniform policy which Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust, which runs Somercotes, has confirmed. But she also says she has been told that being unshaven is “scruffy” and clean-shaven is “smart”.
She said: “I absolutely disagree. I don’t believe that teachers should be going around schools targeting and approaching students to tell them they need to go home and start shaving.“It is a very personal choice and a very individual characteristic, purely governed by how late or early any child reaches puberty. They have no control at what age their facial hair grows, both boys and girls. Oliver said he didn’t want to shave.He said: “I was surprised, it was pretty weird that they were telling me to shave. Some of my friends shave and they have sore faces and it looks horrible.”
In the uniform and appearance rules, parents and pupils are given a list of what is “NOT allowed at all in an academy”.One is: “Beards of moustaches, or sideburns below the earlobes”.A spokesperson for the school said it has a “very clear dress and appearance policy” and exceptions were only made on religious grounds. The Trust said it was entitled to set its own standards and they were not breaking any rules or breaching pupils’ human rights. It also said all parents signed an agreement to comply with the school’s policies.
Speaking to BBC Look North, Katherine said: “Oliver was asked to go home and shave what they class as a beard, he has a beard. Initially, they wanted to isolate him at any break or lunchtime and he wasn’t allowed to represent the school. We’ve pushed forward and he’s allowed to attend freely at school, just like any other pupil, until we can resolve the issue.“He’s still a child. He’s a young 14-year-old and why should he have to begin the adult part of life which is shaving. It’s a personal, family issue.”
In her petition to Tollbar MAT chief executive David Hampson, which has attracted almost 300 signatures by Friday night, Katherine says: “I believe that under the Human Rights Act of 1998 Tollbar Multi Academy Trust is seen as a Public Authority."I believe whole heartily that their policy, and that of any other school that has this kind of shaving policy infringes on each and every child’s human rights."Human rights are based on dignity, fairness, respect and equality (just to name a few). I believe that my son and any other child should be able to choose when they are ready to begin shaving.”“I urge you to support us in getting this policy changed and choice put into place for not only my son but all children, and to highlight whether this kind of policy remains suitable today.”

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