Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amaechi blames corruption in politics on docile followership

  • written by  Bolaji Ogundele -Port Harcourt
  • Wednesday, 23 October 2013 02:59

  • The Rivers state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has challenged the followership in Nigeria to demand for accountability from the ruling  class in the country even as he lamented the lack of performance of the nation’s economy.

    Amaechi spoke on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt Book Festival, held at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, where former World Bank Vice President (Africa), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, identified corruption as the root of Nigeria’s economic backwardness.

    In his speech, Governor Amaechi observed that those behind the political crisis in Rivers state were people whom the people of the state ought to have challenged and asked for the source of their huge wealth.

    He said further that his adversaries were politicians who had either retired from the state’s politics or were losing out already and were afraid that the wealth afforded by political office would soon end and would fight to make sure that they remained in politics and continue to have access to state’s funds.

    “After writers like Profs. Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe responded to the ills of the society and wrote about reality, who among the writers has responded similarly? Is any writer talking about the N2.3 trillion oil subsidy? Our budget last year was N4 trillion. People are buying private aircraft, just to go to Abuja. What is our response to that? How have we been responding to the attitude of the current politicians?

    “In the midst of poverty, public officials are building mansions for themselves with impunity, without anybody asking them questions, especially about their salaries. This is a country where somebody wins election, two months after his inauguration; he comes to church for thanksgiving with a car key and God is watching.

    “Nigeria’s followership is also the problem. The political crisis in Rivers state is about some individuals who have retired from politics and those who are about to retire, they are afraid that the way we are going, if they do not grab power, hunger will set in for them.

    “I said to them, they are graduates. Chibudom Nwuche (former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who hails from Ahoada East LGA of Rivers State) is a lawyer. Why is he not practising? Let him tell us what case he has won. The only thing they want to win is government. I have done my own, I have provided service and I am going.

    “Nwuche is from a rich background. Let him go and build on his father’s wealth and leave government’s funds. Let somebody who is the governor use the money to govern. Rivers people need to rise and say to ourselves, no more godfather. Let the governor be allowed to govern in the state and take decisions. I make mistakes. I do not allow the mistakes to weigh me down and I will move on.

    “We have people who have served as deputy speaker and they do not want to go home. Lawyers should go and practise. Let them come. I will tell them how much they have stolen and let them show me the ones I have stolen.

    “Creative economy will be an economy that challenges the people. They stole your money. The followership should be able to rise. In Nigeria, it is a different case. When Nigerians overcome hunger, then they will be able to read.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Another Aviation Agency Bought 4 Toyota Tundras For Minister Oduah, Alongside Four Limousines For VIPs

    Stretch limos bought for VIPS by NAMA
    By SaharaReporters, New York
    A new SaharaReporters investigation reveals that the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), another agency under the Ministry of Aviation, also purchased four Toyota Tundra vehicles for the Minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah.
     Nigerians are currently up in arms about two armored cars purchased for her by another agency, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, at the scandalous rate of N225million, and many are calling for her to be fired.

    The Tundras are in addition to four stretch limousine cars that were allegedly purchased for the movement of VIPs.
     Saharareporters obtained the photos of the Limousines, which were parked at the headquarters of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON)
    grounds in Abuja today.

     Efforts to get the NAMA spokesperson, Supo Atobatele, to comment on the fresh allegations proved abortive as he claimed he was driving and could not speak on the wheel. When later confronted with the facts, Mr. Atobatele denied the existence of the stretch limos claiming that NAMA is a “professional agency” that provides navigational aid to aircrafts flying within Nigeria’s airspace. He hung  up and switched off his phone when further told that Saharareporters had the photos.

     NAMA’s CEO, Nnamdi Udo, reportedly made the purchase and ‘donation’ of the Tundras to the Minister in June 2013. The four Limousines were received in the third week of June but have never been put to use.
     Last week after SaharaReporters revealed the purchase of two BMW armored cars for the Minister, her aides and later the Managing Director of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Fola Akinkuotu, claimed the vehicles were meant for VIP movement, but a former lawmaker and leader of Anti-Corruption Network, Dino Melaye, told SaharaReporters today that it is the duty of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to transport international VIPs in Nigeria.

     He also revealed that the most important Aviation inspectors are teams from the ICAO who already have a Nigerian office which handles all their transactions.
     SaharaReporters could not confirm if the NAMA limos are armored. It is also unclear why NAMA, an agency believed to be cash-strapped, would need stretch limos that are normally used by celebrities, to ferry international VIPS.

     Meanwhile, a high-level source has confirmed to SaharaReporters that the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, which Mrs. Oduah brags about as one of her achievements in office, provides epileptic service. 

    Because it often breaks down, the objective of establishing a safer national airspace is said to have been compromised. Foreign airlines are said to rely on their built in navigational equipment for air safety within the Nigerian airspace.

    Monday, October 21, 2013


    Irma Lopez, 29, with her newborn son, Salvador, at a clinic in Jalapa de Diaz, Mexico. Mexican officials suspended two hospital directors after Lopez, an indigenous woman, was denied entry and was forced to give birth on the lawn. (Chema Alvarez / Associated Press / October 6, 2013)

    Irma Lopez

    MEXICO CITY — Irma Lopez, a Mazatec Indian, waited to receive attention at a medical clinic in Oaxaca, but her labor pains became overwhelming. Spurned by the nurses, she retreated outdoors — and abruptly gave birth to a baby boy on the hospital lawn.
    A few days later, it was revealed that two other pregnant indigenous women had also been turned away from Oaxaca hospitals, one of whom also delivered on the lawn, and that a fourth woman had been forced to have her baby on the reception floor at a hospital in Puebla.

    On Oct. 6, yet another woman, Susana Hernandez, of the indigenous Tzotzil community in Chiapas state, died after childbirth in what relatives and maternal rights advocates say may have been medical negligence.

    The cases have underlined the inferior treatment often given to Mexico's indigenous communities, especially women. They have prompted new demands for greater access to healthcare, especially for Mexico's poor, and, unusually, have resulted in punishment for several hospital managers.

    "The right to health protection is a fundamental right … especially for pregnant women," Mexico's human rights ombudsman, Raul Plascencia, said. He opened investigations in the Oaxaca and Puebla cases. "The vulnerability of indigenous communities is worse for women, who suffer a lack of basic material needs and services."

    Mexico's maternal mortality rate is twice that of the United States but below the average for Latin America, according to the World Health Organization. However, the statistics for indigenous women in Mexico are dire: Childbirth and infant deaths are highest in states with the largest indigenous communities, according to Mexico's Maternal Mortality Observatory, exacerbated by poverty, isolation and abysmal educational systems.

    According to the most recent data from the national statistics institute, 72.3% of indigenous Mexicans live in poverty (about 8.2 million people), compared with 42.6% of the non-indigenous (43.1 million people). The poorest states are Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

    Lopez, 29, had arrived at the hospital in San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz in Oaxaca state early in the morning on Oct. 2. Labor pains had already started, she later said, but the nurse refused to admit her. After about an hour and a half, and without having been attended to, Lopez stepped outside. And there her baby was born.

    The hospital then admitted her, charging her for medicines, supplies and even the bed she recovered in, Lopez said.

    The case received considerable attention because someone took a photo of Lopez giving birth on the lawn, and the picture made the rounds of social media, horrifying many Mexicans.
    But it turned out that such treatment was far from unique. Oaxaca officials reported that two other women in the last six months had been refused attention at local hospitals and were forced to give birth outside.

    Initially, authorities at Lopez's hospital offered several excuses, at one point saying she didn't speak Spanish and couldn't make herself understood. In fact, as she proved in interviews with reporters, she speaks perfectly intelligible Spanish.
    A week after the incident, two top directors of the hospital were suspended.
    "It's good for everyone to see how these nurses and doctors act," Lopez said.

    In the Puebla case, the woman was of modest means but not indigenous. Maria del Carmen Oceguera, 21, was ignored by hospital administrators even as her labor pains increased, her family told reporters. When she could no longer resist, the baby was born on the reception area floor.
    The state government fired the director of that hospital after a video of the birth was circulated.

    Hernandez, the Tzotzil woman, checked into the women's hospital in San Cristobal de las Casas, one of the main cities of Chiapas state, on Oct. 4, already in labor, according to her family and a coalition of maternal rights groups. Doctors delivered her baby by caesarean section on Oct. 6, and she died shortly afterward.

    The family contends they were not informed of the complications that apparently put Hernandez in danger, nor did they give permission for several medical procedures that were performed along with the cesarean, including the tying of Hernandez's tubes. Her father was quoted by the rights groups as saying he felt they were treated "like animals."

    "There is a general problem in Mexico with the handling of women" by the medical establishment, said Estefania Vela, a health law expert at a Mexican think tank. "Then with indigenous women it becomes what is often called double discrimination. It becomes also a problem of class, of marginalization. "

    MEET CHRISTIANE TAUBIRA, the powerful and intelligent JUSTICE MINISTER of FRANCE

    "My conscience is my boss, and my conscience dictates rules that are extremely, I’d say, grand — they’re rough but beautiful," Christiane Taubira said.

    “Societies have their resistances,” said Ms. Taubira, 61, a diminutive, fiery woman from French Guiana who serves as France’s minister of justice. “There are those who, for their own sense of security, but also by choice — by doctrinal choice, that is to say by their choice of model — choose to hold on to old images.”
    She has been the object of similar resistances herself, she says. She once wrote that she “became black in Paris,” though not by choice, and she has not been made to forget her otherness.
    In protest chants this year, opponents of the marriage bill initially identified themselves as “families” — “Taubira, you are beat, families are in the street!” — but later as “the French,” Ms. Taubira recalled, as if to cast her as a foreigner. There were more overt racist slurs, as well, she said.
    “I don’t believe there have been other protests, or that it would be conceivable that a protest address another minister with the slogan ‘You are beat, the French are in the street,’ ” said Ms. Taubira, who has tight-braided cornrows and a slight vocal lilt. “There’s a message of exclusion. So, I hear it! That’s all. I want to be lucid. I know what’s going on, I know what a word means, what an attitude signifies, but it is out of the question that a word or an attitude determine my life or my behavior.”
    She remains sensitive to her difference, though, an outspoken woman of color in a position of considerable visibility and influence; few have come before her in France.
    Her successes have not come without cost, though, and her ambition has alienated some. “I don’t like mediocre people — I’m not mediocre,” she once told reporters, and some family members are said to address her as “Madame Taubira.”
    “I have always made my choices,” she said, and accepted their “price.”
    MS. TAUBIRA has positioned herself as an advocate for the marginalized or excluded, most recently turning her attention to an effort to expand the rehabilitation of young offenders.
    She applied herself intensely to the same-sex-marriage bill, which, though a campaign promise of President François Hollande, received only tepid support from many French officials, Mr. Hollande included. Critics on the right accused her of intransigence.
    Eloquent and erudite, she embodies much of the French political ideal; she cites poetry from memory. But the writers she prefers are those who wrote of their otherness in France, the statesmen-poets of the anticolonial movement known as Négritude, including Léon-Gontran Damas of French Guiana, Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal and Aimé Césaire of Martinique.
    Her willingness to discuss race frankly is a distinction of some note, too, in a nation where such matters remain delicate and often unspoken. The French state does not officially recognize skin color or ethnicity.
    She was born the sixth of eight children in Cayenne, the capital of a racially divided French Guiana, an overseas department and former colony of France. Her mother, a nursing assistant, raised the family alone and died young.
    Ms. Taubira came of age in the 1960s, idolizing from afar the heroes and agitators of the American civil rights movement, like Angela Davis, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, but also Simón Bolívar, Che Guevara and other revolutionaries of her native South America.
    She left to study economics and sociology in Paris, where she took up the cause of Guianese independence from France. A proud sense of obligation drew her back to French Guiana, she said, where she held various posts in the local administration. In the early 1990s, her politics having grown more moderate, she won seats in the French and European Parliaments.
    In 2002, she ran for the French presidency, one of several candidates in a divided left. She won just 2.3 percent of the votes, but siphoned enough from the main leftist candidate to keep him out of the final runoff. To the horror of many French, a candidate of the xenophobic far right reached the second round, and though he did not win the presidency, Ms. Taubira was viewed by many as an insolent spoiler.
    Party politics have never much agreed with her, she said, and she is known within the political establishment as having streaks of authoritarianism and pridefulness.
    “I can’t stand having a boss,” Ms. Taubira said. (She serves as minister of justice, it bears noting, at the pleasure of Mr. Hollande.) “My conscience is my boss, and my conscience dictates rules that are extremely, I’d say, grand — they’re rough but beautiful.”
    HER taut upper lip most likely contributes to what has been called an air of disdain, but when she laughs, it rises up over her teeth, and her eyes crinkle with a warmth that may or may not be genuine but is unquestionably rare among French politicians. A divorced mother of four, she often rides a yellow bicycle to and from the Justice Ministry, on the Place Vendôme.
    With no background in law, she is an anomaly among recent justice ministers, but she has impressed lawyers with her “elegance” and “tenacity,” said Christiane Féral-Schuhl, who heads the Paris bar association. She has an “ease about her that is quite charming,” and has been unabashed in seeking counsel on technical matters, Ms. Féral-Schuhl said.
    Ms. Taubira has now turned her focus to the prisons, promoting a politically hazardous overhaul that would institute probation in place of jail time for some misdemeanors, part of an effort to reduce recidivism rates and relieve some of the strain on France’s overcrowded penitentiaries. Opponents accuse her of naïveté. She speaks of a need to educate the populace.
    “We’re going to seek out, in the depths of people, their capacity to, firstly, reject a whole series of platitudes, of stereotypes, of clichés,” Ms. Taubira said, and to “understand that justice is not vengeance.”
    In what seems a break from the standard philosophy of France’s welfare state, her interest is not so much in protecting the vulnerable, she said, as it is in empowering them.
    The slogan of her presidential campaign, “The republic that respects you,” seemed to reflect what she called a deep attachment to an almost libertarian notion of “freedom over yourself,” an uncommon ethic in a nation of often rigid social and political hierarchies.
    It has at times proved complex to reconcile her personal ambitions with a sense of pride and duty toward her roots.
    “I know that I would gain by playing the Black Woman,” she wrote in her memoir, published last year, but that would mean a “stunted identity.” She asked, “How to embrace what one is without allowing one’s identity to be assigned?”
    On a recent visit to a school in Lyon, Ms. Taubira seemed to offer a partial answer. Asked by one student about Mr. Césaire, the poet and politician, she began a brief recitation.
    “He says, ‘My négritude is not a cathedral,’ ” Ms. Taubira said. “Négritude is not just pride in being black, it’s the rejection of domination and oppression in the world.”
    Later, on the steps above the concrete schoolyard, a visitor spoke with Steve Degbevi, the black 15-year-old who had asked about Mr. Césaire.
    To see a woman of color in a position of power, Mr. Degbevi said, is “a source of pride.” Ms. Taubira’s response to his inquiry about the poet was not altogether satisfying, though, he said, laughing in an adolescent’s high tenor.
    “She used words I didn’t understand,” he said.


    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    French Politician Suspended For Calling Nation’s 1st Black Minister ‘Monkey’

    Christiane Taubira

    The National Front in France has suspended a politician who called Christiane Taubira, the country’s Black justice minister, a “monkey” who she would “rather see in the trees than in the government.”

    According to a report in the National Post,the racist outburst by Anne-Sophie Leclere, a mayoral candidate in Rethel, in the Ardennes, north-eastern France, is an embarrassing blow to Marine Le Pen, the leader of the party, who has threatened to sue anyone who describes them as “extreme right.”

    On her Facebook page,Leclere, 33, who runs a fishing shop, posted a montage of photographs placing a picture of a baby monkey, with the caption: “At 18 months” next to one of Taubira, with the caption: “Now.”

    Quizzed by Envoye Special, an investigative television program that unearthed the pictures, she said that it had “nothing to do with racism.” But she went on to say: “To be honest, I’d rather see her in the branches of a tree than in the government. Quite frankly, she’s a savage when she arrives with a devilish grin. But it’s not racist.”

    According to IBT: “The treatment of Taubira in France follows a similar campaign of racial hatred that has been directed at Italy’s first Black cabinet minister, Congolese-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge. Kyenge has been called an ‘orangutan’ by far-right Italian lawmakers and even had a banana thrown at her during a public appearance.

    “Kyenge was named to the government ministry by Prime Minister Enrico Letta in April, making her the first Black Cabinet member in the country’s history. The 49-year-old doctor has endured a steady stream of abuse from extreme right-wing Italians, and even anonymous death threats, underlying the country’s deep divisions over race and immigration.”

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Nigeria's Aviation Minister Admits She Bought Two BMW Cars That Cost $1.6 Million

    By SaharaReporters, New York
    Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Stella Oduah has admitted that she used the funds of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to buy two BMW armored cars for her personal use, according to an official ministry response published by The Punch, Nigeria’s leading newspaper.

    The paper’s report is carried in its October 17, 2013 edition and titled, “Ministry confirms purchase of N255m vehicles for Oduah”. The story, reported for Punch by Udeme Ekwere, stated, “The Ministry of Aviation has confirmed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority bought two bulletproof vehicles worth $1.6m (N255m) for the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah.

    “An online news medium, SaharaReporters, had reported on Tuesday that the armored vehicles were delivered to the minister in August.
    “The medium reported that documents in its possession showed that the transaction for the purchase of the two BMW cars started in June, but the request for the delivery of and payment for them was fast-tracked between August 13 and 15, 2013.

    “The transaction involved the NCAA, First Bank of Nigeria, and Coscharis Motors Limited, according to the report.
    “The two black BMW 760 Li HSS vehicles had chassis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044, and were reportedly delivered to the NCAA on August 13, 2013. They were received by two store managers, F. Onoabhagbe and Y. A. Amzat, who is also the agency’s head of transport.”

    The paper stated that Joe Obi, the Aviation Minister’s special assistant on the media, confirmed the purchase, claiming that “the vehicles were purchased to protect the minister from some external threats.” According to the Punch, Mr. Obi had told the paper, ‘“Yes, it is true that some security vehicles were procured for the use of the office of the honorable minister in response to the clear and imminent threat to her personal security and life following the bold steps she took to reposition the sector.”’

    The paper further quoted the minister’s media aide as stating: ‘“When she came on board as the minister, she inherited a lot of baggage in terms of the concession and lease agreements in the sector, which were clearly not in the interest of the government and people of Nigeria. And so, she took bold steps and some of these agreements were reviewed and some were terminated, and these moves disturbed some entrenched interests in the sector, and within this period, she began to receive some imminent threats to her life; therefore, the need for the vehicles.”

    Mr. Obi added: ‘“It should be noted that these vehicles are not personal vehicles and were not procured in the name of the honorable minister; they are utility vehicles and are for the office of the minister, and if she leaves the office, she will not be taking the vehicles along with her.”’

    However, the Punch reported that the NCAA’s spokesperson, Mr. Fan Ndubuike, “feigned ignorance” about the cars.
    ‘“I am not aware of anything like that,”’ he told our correspondent at 8.05 p.m. on Wednesday.”
    The Punch report added that “two major air crashes have occurred under Oduah’s watch.

    These were the Dana Air crash in Lagos on June 3, 2012, in which 163 people died; and the Associated Airlines crash of October 3, 2013, also in Lagos, which claimed 15 lives. A day after the Associated Airlines’ crash, a Kabo Airlines’ Boeing 747-400 plane carrying 512 pilgrims made an emergency landing at the Sokoto airport with deflated tires and damaged the airport’s Instrument Landing System.

    “On Sunday, an IRS Airlines Fokker 100 plane carrying 99 passengers also made an emergency landing at the Kaduna airport, after developing hydraulic problems mid-air. Four days after the tragic crash involving Associated Airlines’ Embraer 120 plane, Oduah described air accidents as God’s will that were inevitable.” She said notwithstanding this reality, the Federal Government would continue to ensure that there were no accidents.

    “The minister made the submission while fielding questions from State House correspondents on investigations into the crash. The minister said, ‘We do not pray for accidents but they are inevitable. But we will continue to do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents. But an accident is an act of God. Again, we do not speculate on the causes of accidents. Until they happen, you cannot say this is the cause or that is not the cause. But what is obvious and is the truth is that in aviation, there are shared responsibilities, starting from the man that carries your luggage to the man that makes sure that your boarding pass is issued to you. And so, the regulatory agency, the operators, the management, everybody has his/her  responsibility and all must work in tandem for there to be an optimal, secure and safe aviation sector in the country. And that is what we have been working on.”’

    The paper further reported that Ms. Oduah “described those saying that she left the issue of safety in the airspace to dwell on money-making ventures as ignorant.”
    Sources within the NCAA had told SaharaReporters that the minister was irresponsible for demanding the purchase of two armored BMW cars for her personal use when the agency is unable to buy critical equipment and send its staff for important training. In her statement after the October 3, 2013 crash of an Associated Airline plane, Ms. Oduah herself “had explained that security and safety could not be achieved without proper funding,” according to the Punch.

    The NCAA is responsible for monitoring the airworthiness of commercial planes flying within Nigeria’s airspace.
    The Punch reported that the agency “has been under fire lately over a series of mishaps and near crashes involving planes being operated by domestic airlines that were certified fit for flight operations by the NCAA. There have also been rumors that the NCAA does not have enough funds to upgrade its equipment, send its employees for critical training and hire enough qualified hands, while questions are also being raised by industry watchers on the ability of the cash-strapped agency to procure such expensive vehicles.”

    The paper reported that the NCAA’s Director-General, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, “had on Monday denied the claims of being cash-strapped, saying that the agency was buoyant.” Mr. Akinkuotu reportedly stated, “We are not broke, we have been carrying out all our responsibilities and have been undertaking the training of our staff as and when due. I can tell you that right now, some of our staff members are undergoing training abroad and we still have others that are waiting for approval; we do not joke with training here and I challenge anyone to come up with anything otherwise to that effect.”

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Victim of latest Lampedusa boat tragedy revealed to have been giving birth as she drowned after her corpse is found with baby boy still attached by umbilical cord

    • The mother and baby were the 288th and 289th corpses found by divers

    • Horrifying detail emerged after EU commissioner asked why one coffin was so large, unaware mother and child were being buried together

    • Premature male baby still attached by umbilical cord when rescue divers pulled their corpses from the wreck

    • Diver who found them said: 'We all began to cry - my mask was full of tears'

    A baby, born as its mother drowned, is among the latest victims of the boat tragedy that has claimed the lives of more than 300 migrants off the coast of Sicily.
    Their fishing boat caught fire and sank last Thursday just half a mile offshore.
    The Eritrean woman, who was seven months pregnant, would have given birth in her death throes, the mayor of Lampedusa Giusi Nicolini told reporters.
    The premature male baby was still attached by the umbilical cord when rescue divers pulled their corpses - 288 and 289 -  from the wreck.
    Coffins of those who died when a ship carrying African migrants towards Italy sank after a fire. A woman, who gave birth as she was dying, and her prematurely born son are among the dead. They are to be buried together, rather than in the small white children's coffins (at front)
    The child will be buried in the same coffin as its mother rather than in a small white coffin like the other children. The mother herself was only around 20 years old.
    The tragic story only emerged when European Union Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso asked why one coffin was noticeably bigger than the rest, the Italian newspaper Il Messagero reported.
    The newspaper wrote: 'It was up to the mayor of the island to tell the terrible, unimaginable events.
    'Doctors had told her an Eritrean woman had died and as she died she brought her son into the world. They didn't even separate, there was no time.'
    Italian Coast Guards rescue a survivor of the ship transporting hundreds of migrants which caught fire and sank off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italy
    Victims after a boat packed with African migrants caught fire and sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. A mother and her prematurely born son are among the dead
    Police diver Renato Sollustri said he had not slept since he had brought up the two corpses, the baby hidden in the folds of his mother's white leggings, under pulled-down trousers. 
    He said: 'It was three in the afternoon when we finally got into the last cabin in the bow after having got past a wall of bodies.'
    The divers still had ten minutes' oxygen left when they got to the last cabin in the bow and saw a mother with a baby bump.

    Mr Sollustri told La Repubblica: 'We couldn't leave without doing something for her. We took her out forming a human chain with our arms. Then we lay her on the sea bed.
    'With a rope we joined her to the other bodies and with buoyancy aids we took them towards the light.
    'It wasn't until we passed the body to our colleagues in the boat that they made the shocking discovery - in her leggings was a newborn baby.
    A bunch of flowers reading 'Dead at sea' floating in the sea near the Lampedusa harbour after the boat with migrants sank killing more than a hundred of people
    'None of us could believe it. We all began to cry - my mask was full of tears.'
    The police marshall said he had never before lost control in the job, but added: 'In front of that newborn baby I lost my cool.
    'The baby may never have seen light - only the darkness at the bottom of the sea. It was a horrible job.' 
    Italian premier Enrico Letta has ordered that all the victims be given state funerals. They are to be buried in a cemetery in Sicily.
    His government is now on track to repeal the offence of illegal immigration which, under a 2002 law, meant that all the survivors were automatically facing criminal charges.
    On Wednesday a Senate committee approved an amendment to cancel the offence.
    Deputy Interior Minister Felipe Bubbico said a more 'global' approach was needed to manage immigration.

    Read more:
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    Saturday, October 5, 2013


    Back on the sickening absurdity, idiosyncrasy and outright political hypocrisy of most Republicans in Congress that has always puzzled me and gets me enraged from time to time…. as was the case on my Facebook Status Update a few days ago prior to the government shutdown. The raw TRUTH this append is about to unveil below will undoubtedly come across as unbelievable to anyone of sound mind....especially in the light of the fact that ON PAPER, the U.S. Congress boasts the most educated and highly qualified public servants of any government in the world. And on top of that, Republicans often sees their party as the party of GOD…which explains why they consistently invoke the scriptures and Godly morality in almost everything they do publicly. But in reality, as evident in their modus operandi, their god is no other than the devil.

    Although it is transparently obvious that most Republicans...particularly the Tea Party wing, detest Obama with a passion synonymous with that of George Wallace and his likes during the Civil Rights era, but the evil-mindedness of these bunch of inhumane narcisssists parading as God-fearing lawmakers, runs much deeper.

    Check this out: When hurricane Sandy decimated parts of New York and New Jersey in late October 2012, a whopping 77% of Senate Republicans and 78% of House Republicans voted AGAINST Federal Hurricane Relief for Sandy's victims in NY and NJ.  

    Among those who voted against Sandy relief were the four House Republican Reps from the State of Colorado---Congressmen Doug Lamborn, Corry Gardner, Scott Tipton and Mike Coffman.

    As fate would have it, disaster struck again recently, but this time, it was the excessive and devastating FLOOD that crippled a large part of the state of  COLORADO. And believe you me, the very same Congressmen listed above, went public, tails between their legs, to ASK for aid from the Federal Government for flood water victims in their STATE. 

    So in essence, the Federal relief that wasn't good enough for them to VOTE FOR in the case of NY and NJ, suddenly turned GOLDEN when disaster hit their own state. How is that for numbing hypocrisy and narcissistic egotism? 

    Congressman Bill Flores and Senator Ted Cruz from Texas (yes, the same filibuster-happy Cruz who regurgitated nothing but crap on the Senate floor for 21 hours) voted AGAINST Federal aid for Sandy, but came panhandling for the same Federal aid when explosion flattened the town of West Texas.

    Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma also voted against hurricane relief for Sandy, but like his hypocrite pals above, he didn't hesitate for a second to ask for Federal aid when Tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma a few months later.

    Well, I guess the so-called BIG GOVERNMENT they relentlessly rant against is A-okay when Big Government funds are being channeled to their States and their States only.      

    Remember the Stimulus Package? Remember how most Republicans viciously ripped and sliced Obama to pieces because of it? Well, most (if not all) of the Republicans who bedeviled the President on account of the stimulus, wholeheartedly accepted HUGE stimulus checks from the Federal government and shamelessly took credit for programs successfully implemented with the stimulus money in their various States. Are you getting the picture as to how these ignoramus lawmakers operate? 

    But it doesn't end there. The Republican controlled house of Reps recently passed a bill that would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program----a program that helps over 4 million poor, low income earning American Families and their children keep the wolf off their doors every year. Families that are just the absent of a month's food stamps away from skid row. Is there anything remotely Godly about this dastardly act? If there is, then I must be reading from a strange Bible.

     And  how these heartless Republican reps did it as you will discover in a sec, clearly exposed their mind-boggling hypocrisy and deviousness. First they cunningly extracted the food stamp program from the Farm Bill which it has always been a part of over the years, then they wrote it out as a separate bill, and then voted to slash $40 billion from the program over the next ten years.

    Meanwhile, absolutely NOTHING was done to slash farm subsidies under the same FARM BILL. Why not? Well, the reason is simple. It helps many already rich members of the republican party like Michele Bachmann who has received more than a quarter of a million dollars in farm subsidies from the Federal government simply because her family owns a farm. And that amount is peanuts compared to the colossal sums that a few of her fellow republican food stamps killing buddies have received from the Federal government as farm subsidies.

    Here's a list 13 Republicans Reps who receives farm subsidies but voted to slash food stamps:

    892b32aa29d0c2ce66b87d6d633a6c1eRep. Blake Farenthold
    Republican–Texas 27th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $1,205
    Net Worth: $9,659,099 to $38,785,999

    skitched-20130921-133624Rep. Stephen Fincher
    Republican–Tennessee 8th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $3,483,824
    Net Worth: -$1,149,999

    skitched-20130921-133746Rep. Vicky Hartzler
    Republican–Missouri 4th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $516,000
    Net Worth: $2,218,026 to $13,854,995

    4d4baa6c9c2c770bffd09be9e8b0b64dRep. John Kline
    Republican–Minnesota 2nd District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $6,548
    Net Worth: $248,009 to $645,000

    skitched-20130921-134249Rep. Doug LaMalfa
    Republican–California 1st District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $1,710,385
    Net Worth: $1,268,007 to $5,596,000

    skitched-20130921-134503Rep. Tom Latham
    Republican–Iowa 3rd District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $313,776
    Net Worth: $2,315,175 to $7,650,167

    skitched-20130921-134614Rep. Frank Lucas
    Republican-Oklahoma 3rd District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $40,613
    Net Worth: -$264,990 to $1,059,995

    skitched-20130921-134806Rep. Cynthia Lummis
    Republican–Wyoming At-Large
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $14,289
    Net Worth: $7,252,036 to $30,584,999

    9fed5d42eaa63ffaaba812bfab931431Rep. Randy Neugebauer
    Republican–Texas 18th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $4,321
    Net Worth: $6,560,080 to $19,129,998

    skitched-20130921-135027Rep. Kristi Noem
    Republican–South Dakota At-Large
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $503,751
    Net Worth: -$464,992 to $674,999

    skitched-20130921-135133Rep. Marlin Stutzman
    Republican–Indiana 3rd District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $196,268
    Net Worth: $14,019 to $1,082,995

    skitched-20130921-135308Rep. Mac Thornberry
    Republican–Texas 13th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $29,774
    Net Worth: $241,007 to $580,000

    9ba942ceefe4b1f7757e70779385f26cRep. Robert Aderholt
    Republican–Alabama 4th District
    Total Farm Subsidies Received: $207,426
    Net Worth: $506,019 to $5,815,999

    And their hypocrisy, undiluted pride and ego continues unabated as they have now forced a shutdown of the government by taking the nation hostage in their bid to repeal the same Obamacare they've been trying to squash since 2010 but have been unable to through the legislative process, through legal procedures and via the ballot box. Yes, they're ready to burn the house down if they don't get that piece of meat they crave for. 

    Folks, as you can see, the Republican Party has clearly gone to the dogs. They are now political terrorists, and must never again be trusted to take control of the House, the Senate or the Presidency. 

                            Monday Midnite