All

Ambazonians Highly Awaiting Supreme Court Decision fornAbducted Leaders

By Delavil Lekunze | 16 Nov 2018 After rejection of the 0 on Nov 15 at the Mfoundi Appeals court in Cameroun, for release of Ambazonia leaders at the Mfoundi their lawyers had 48hrs to fill an appeal at the supreme court. This was a big disappointment to the people of Southern Cameronns/Ambazonia, who were expecting fair trial for them and their unconditional release. They are anxiously waiting for the next hearing at the Appeals court. Tassang, Eyabe and Kimeng at the Mfoundi court The lead lawyer of the leaders, Barrster John Nsoh, was accompanied to court by a battery of lawyers following this case. A picture of some of the plaintiffs was gotten for the first time by someone in the audience. During the previous court hearings it was strictly forbidden for anyone to take a picture of these leaders. President Sissiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, Tassand Wilflred, Dr Ngalla Mfor, Barrister Eyambe, Dr Kimeng and co. were illegally abducted in Nigeria by the Rep of Cameroun agents, in complicity with Nigerian authorities and extradited to Cameroun last January. This was outrightly against international law, as some amongst the 10 abductees were Nigerian nationals and others on refugee status. The outrcry against this crime has been resounding throughout out the over nine months that they were kept incommunicado and as they started showing up in the courts. Yet the Cameroun government keeps confining them under torture in its dungeouns in Yaounde,, without issuing a statement...

‘Tuition-free for all in public universities in Liberia’, says President George Weah

University of Liberia, 2009. Photo by mjmkeating via Flickr/CC BY 2.0. Abdoulaye Bah | 14 Nov 2018 Liberian students at the University of Liberia have protested a tuition increase they say they simply can't afford, leading to low student enrollment this semester with only about 11,000 registered students out of approximately 20,000. Students were paying $4 United States Dollars per credit hour in 2017 but the amount increased to $6 USD per credit hour for 2018/2019 school year. Faced with mounting pressure, newly elected President George Weah surprisingly declared tuition-free university during a visit to the main campus in late October 2018. Prince Kurupati reports: Speaking at the University of Liberia, Liberian president George Weah said that with immediate effect, all undergraduate students are no longer required to pay tuition fees. The Liberian president also took to his Facebook page to make the sensational announcement declaring that tertiary education with immediate effect is free for undergraduate students, ‘Today, I am excited to announce that I have declared the University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia Tuition-free for all undergraduates.’ Journalist Sebastiane Ebatamehi continues: During the last campaign before his election, George Weah said to a large congregation of his supporters, ‘I played football in Europe. I would have stayed in Europe and enjoyed my money, but I came to Liberia to redeem you from the bondage of hardships. See what I have done in this country in terms of development.’ Today, will come down as one to be remembered in history as the president, in a few months after his election, has declared the prestigious University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia tuition free … This is indeed good news and one which will go down well with youth, not only in Liberia, but Africa in general. Many students on the main campus celebrated and praised President Weah's declaration with singing and dancing, telling reporters that the news came as an enormous relief. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban explains that students across all of Liberia's four public universities had protested against fee hikes in the past because of incremental increases in the costs of registration and tuition, causing many to drop out. This time, students mainly from the Fendall Student Association (FENSA) staged a protest before the Offices of the President, led by student Heylove Mark, who told school officials that the tuition hikes would prevent many students from matriculation. President Weah heard the students’ concerns and returned with his surprising declaration of tuition-free university education. Can Liberia afford a free-for-all college education? Former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called Liberia’s education system “a mess” after 25,000 high school students failed state university entrance exams five years ago. This has led Liberia to enter a nationwide experiment with private-public partnerships to help alleviate strains in the education system caused by civil war and the Ebola crisis. Given the burdensome cost of running a state university as a line item on the national budget, Front Page Africa (FPA) wrote a post wondering if Weah's populist move is sustainable. According to FPA, Liberia allocates $16,299,877 USD to the University of Liberia per fiscal year, which already presents enormous challenges. FPA continues: A recent World Bank report puts Liberia’s fiscal deficit at 5.2 percent of the GDP in FY 2018. This is a result of a significant shortfall in revenues and higher than anticipated non-discretionary expenditures … [T]he government is facing a hard time with generating finance and the situation might just worsen. Therefore, it is important that we face the reality: this government cannot afford to underwrite the hefty cost of running a free public universities or colleges. Has this government backtracked to assess the impact of the free primary and secondary education? Or is it only desperate to thrive on the popularity of abysmal policies? vv

Every Six Seconds, One Person Dies Of Diabetes, Says Consultant Endocrinologist

By SAHARA REPORTERS, NEW YORK Nov 14, 2018 Dr. Adenike Enikuomehin, a medical consultant, has said that at least one person dies every six seconds of diabetes globally. Noting that the situation is worrisome, Enikuomehin added that 700 people out of 1,500 admitted to the hospital recently have diabetes. She spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at an event to make the 2018 World Diabetes Day, themed 'Diabetes and the Family'. She revealed that Ondo State is recording an increase in the cases of diabetes as a result of the number of patients in the hospital. She stated that 3,500 out of 8,500 patients admitted at the teaching hospital since January this year till date are diabetic. “When you admit 40 patients in our hospitals, almost 30 out of them are living with diabetes," said Enikuomehin, a Consultant Endocrinologist at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Ondo. "And this is more than two-thirds of admitted patients. This is worrisome and calls for attention and the support of all and sundry. The family has a major role to play in this aspect by giving the necessary support to all the people living with diabetes." According to Enikuomehin, the main factors contributing to diabetes include high level of calorie intake, obesity rate and inducement of drugs. Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, Ondo State Commissioner for Health, said diabetes has become a major global concern among the people. Adegbenro also observed that diabetes is so rampant that one in every five persons has the disease. He, however, revealed that the state government has been doing much to create awareness to help nip the disease in the bud. He also advised people to shun self medication and avoid eating junk in order to have good health. “Diabetes and hypertension are major diseases troubling the whole world and incidentally, two of them can go together in a person," he said. "We have a lot of specialists and facilities that can handle diabetes. However, people should stop eating junk and self medication." Michael Ajayi, Secretary of the Diabetes Asociation of Nigeria in Ondo State, urged the people to always engage in regular checkup in order to know their status on time. "It is better for people to know their diabetic status on time because it would help save money and time," he said. Source; saharareporter.com

U.N. Security Council removes Eritrea sanctions after years

Michelle Nichols | 13 Nov 2018 UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift a nearly decade-old arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea after a rapprochement with Ethiopia and thawing of relations with Djibouti. A vendor sells bananas to a customer at her grocery shop in downtown Asmara, Eritrea in this photo taken on February 21, 2016. Picture taken February 21, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya The British-drafted resolution also urged Eritrea and Djibouti to work toward normalizing ties and settling a border dispute. It asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report to the council on progress by Feb. 15 and then every six months. The measures against Eritrea - which include a travel ban and asset freeze on certain people and entities - were imposed in 2009 after U.N. experts accused it of supporting armed groups in Somalia. Eritrea has denied the accusations. British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said the resolution “recognizes the improvements in regional peace and security.” ot only is it a very important step for the countries in the region, I think it sends a helpful wider signal to the international community that if the right steps are taken sanctions can be lifted,” Pierce said. The Security Council currently has more than a dozen sanctions regimes in place, including measures on North Korea. Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel posted on Twitter: “The Government of Eritrea welcomes this belated decision to redress injustice, almost a decade after nefarious acts were taken inculcating indefensible harm on the country.” Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom told reporters that the council action provides Eritrea with a “good basis for improving the human rights situation.” Eritrea has long rejected U.N. accusations of rights abuses, including alleged extrajudicial killings and torture. The resolution also removes a requirement for countries to ensure that people or companies working in Eritrea’s mining sector prevented funds from being diverted and used to undermine peace and security in the region. In July, Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to their state of war and agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities. “All this could mean Eritreans can live normally again. It could mean youngsters may not need to be soldiers again,” Eritrean refugee Luwam, 27, said of the lifting of sanctions and the peace deal with Ethiopia. “That is my hope,” said Luwam, an Eritrean refugee who crossed into Sudan before making her way into Ethiopia last month. Eritrea and Djibouti then agreed in September to work on reconciling. Deadly clashes broke out between the Horn of Africa countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Asmara of moving troops across the border. Both the United States and China have military bases in Djibouti. Israel-Gaza border ignites after botched raid The United Arab Emirates has a military base in Eritrea, which has been used as part of the Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which lies just 40 km (25 miles) across the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa nation. In a report to the Security Council last month, U.N. sanctions monitors signaled that a continuing expansion of the military base in Assab was in breach of the arms embargo on Eritrea because it did “not allow for military activities by member states involving the transfer of military materiel and personnel to Eritrean territory.” The United Arab Emirates U.N. mission said at the time the country was “in full compliance with the sanctions imposed.” Eritrea refused to allow the U.N. monitors to visit the country. Source; reuters.com

Politics

Ambazonians Highly Awaiting Supreme Court Decision fornAbducted Leaders

By Delavil Lekunze | 16 Nov 2018 After rejection of the 0 on Nov 15 at the Mfoundi Appeals court in Cameroun, for release of Ambazonia leaders at the Mfoundi their lawyers had 48hrs to fill an appeal at the supreme court. This was a big disappointment to the people of Southern Cameronns/Ambazonia, who were expecting fair trial for them and their unconditional release. They are anxiously waiting for the next hearing at the Appeals court. Tassang, Eyabe and Kimeng at the Mfoundi court The lead lawyer of the leaders, Barrster John Nsoh, was accompanied to court by a battery of lawyers following this case. A picture of some of the plaintiffs was gotten for the first time by someone in the audience. During the previous court hearings it was strictly forbidden for anyone to take a picture of these leaders. President Sissiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, Tassand Wilflred, Dr Ngalla Mfor, Barrister Eyambe, Dr Kimeng and co. were illegally abducted in Nigeria by the Rep of Cameroun agents, in complicity with Nigerian authorities and extradited to Cameroun last January. This was outrightly against international law, as some amongst the 10 abductees were Nigerian nationals and others on refugee status. The outrcry against this crime has been resounding throughout out the over nine months that they were kept incommunicado and as they started showing up in the courts. Yet the Cameroun government keeps confining them under torture in its dungeouns in Yaounde,, without issuing a statement...

Fighting between Cameroon army, separatists ‘kills 15’

13 Nov 2018 A Cameroonian soldier is seen walking past a burnt car while patrolling in the city of Buea, in the Anglophone Southwest Region, on October 4, 2018. (Photo by Reuters) Fighting between army troops and armed separatists in Cameroon has purportedly claimed at least 15 lives in an Anglophone region in the French-speaking West African country. Ivo Tapang, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Ambazonian Defense Force — one of the main Anglophone secessionist militia groups — said on Tuesday that the fighting had occurred in Nkambe on Saturday. He said the group’s forces had encircled and attacked a government army truck near Nkambe after it was overturned as a result of the explosion of a roadside bomb. “Two of our fighters were killed and we killed 13 of them,” he claimed. There was no immediate comment from the Cameroonian government or army, however. Army representative Didier Badjeck has previously said that some 29 separatists have been killed in clashes with government troops since November 10. The two sides often provide conflicting accounts of the fighting, but both have reported heavier casualties in recent weeks. Violence in the separatist regions has been on the rise despite a recent call by President Paul Biya on armed groups to “lay down their arms” and his acknowledgement of the Anglophone regions’ “frustrations and aspirations.” President Biya has also promised decentralization policies that would give the Anglophone regions more leeway. The government of the 85-year-old president, who was sworn in for his seventh term in office earlier this month, has carried out several raids in Anglophone areas over the last months. Violence in the country’s two English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions erupted last year after a security crackdown was reportedly launched on mass protests — led by lawyers and teachers — over the government’s alleged failure to give enough recognition to the English legal and education systems in the separatist regions. Cameroon’s English-speaking minority make up about 20 percent of the population of the French-speaking country. presstv.com

‘Tuition-free for all in public universities in Liberia’, says President George Weah

University of Liberia, 2009. Photo by mjmkeating via Flickr/CC BY 2.0. Abdoulaye Bah | 14 Nov 2018 Liberian students at the University of Liberia have protested a tuition increase they say they simply can't afford, leading to low student enrollment this semester with only about 11,000 registered students out of approximately 20,000. Students were paying $4 United States Dollars per credit hour in 2017 but the amount increased to $6 USD per credit hour for 2018/2019 school year. Faced with mounting pressure, newly elected President George Weah surprisingly declared tuition-free university during a visit to the main campus in late October 2018. Prince Kurupati reports: Speaking at the University of Liberia, Liberian president George Weah said that with immediate effect, all undergraduate students are no longer required to pay tuition fees. The Liberian president also took to his Facebook page to make the sensational announcement declaring that tertiary education with immediate effect is free for undergraduate students, ‘Today, I am excited to announce that I have declared the University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia Tuition-free for all undergraduates.’ Journalist Sebastiane Ebatamehi continues: During the last campaign before his election, George Weah said to a large congregation of his supporters, ‘I played football in Europe. I would have stayed in Europe and enjoyed my money, but I came to Liberia to redeem you from the bondage of hardships. See what I have done in this country in terms of development.’ Today, will come down as one to be remembered in history as the president, in a few months after his election, has declared the prestigious University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia tuition free … This is indeed good news and one which will go down well with youth, not only in Liberia, but Africa in general. Many students on the main campus celebrated and praised President Weah's declaration with singing and dancing, telling reporters that the news came as an enormous relief. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban explains that students across all of Liberia's four public universities had protested against fee hikes in the past because of incremental increases in the costs of registration and tuition, causing many to drop out. This time, students mainly from the Fendall Student Association (FENSA) staged a protest before the Offices of the President, led by student Heylove Mark, who told school officials that the tuition hikes would prevent many students from matriculation. President Weah heard the students’ concerns and returned with his surprising declaration of tuition-free university education. Can Liberia afford a free-for-all college education? Former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called Liberia’s education system “a mess” after 25,000 high school students failed state university entrance exams five years ago. This has led Liberia to enter a nationwide experiment with private-public partnerships to help alleviate strains in the education system caused by civil war and the Ebola crisis. Given the burdensome cost of running a state university as a line item on the national budget, Front Page Africa (FPA) wrote a post wondering if Weah's populist move is sustainable. According to FPA, Liberia allocates $16,299,877 USD to the University of Liberia per fiscal year, which already presents enormous challenges. FPA continues: A recent World Bank report puts Liberia’s fiscal deficit at 5.2 percent of the GDP in FY 2018. This is a result of a significant shortfall in revenues and higher than anticipated non-discretionary expenditures … [T]he government is facing a hard time with generating finance and the situation might just worsen. Therefore, it is important that we face the reality: this government cannot afford to underwrite the hefty cost of running a free public universities or colleges. Has this government backtracked to assess the impact of the free primary and secondary education? Or is it only desperate to thrive on the popularity of abysmal policies? vv

U.N. Security Council removes Eritrea sanctions after years

Michelle Nichols | 13 Nov 2018 UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift a nearly decade-old arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea after a rapprochement with Ethiopia and thawing of relations with Djibouti. A vendor sells bananas to a customer at her grocery shop in downtown Asmara, Eritrea in this photo taken on February 21, 2016. Picture taken February 21, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya The British-drafted resolution also urged Eritrea and Djibouti to work toward normalizing ties and settling a border dispute. It asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report to the council on progress by Feb. 15 and then every six months. The measures against Eritrea - which include a travel ban and asset freeze on certain people and entities - were imposed in 2009 after U.N. experts accused it of supporting armed groups in Somalia. Eritrea has denied the accusations. British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said the resolution “recognizes the improvements in regional peace and security.” ot only is it a very important step for the countries in the region, I think it sends a helpful wider signal to the international community that if the right steps are taken sanctions can be lifted,” Pierce said. The Security Council currently has more than a dozen sanctions regimes in place, including measures on North Korea. Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel posted on Twitter: “The Government of Eritrea welcomes this belated decision to redress injustice, almost a decade after nefarious acts were taken inculcating indefensible harm on the country.” Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom told reporters that the council action provides Eritrea with a “good basis for improving the human rights situation.” Eritrea has long rejected U.N. accusations of rights abuses, including alleged extrajudicial killings and torture. The resolution also removes a requirement for countries to ensure that people or companies working in Eritrea’s mining sector prevented funds from being diverted and used to undermine peace and security in the region. In July, Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to their state of war and agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities. “All this could mean Eritreans can live normally again. It could mean youngsters may not need to be soldiers again,” Eritrean refugee Luwam, 27, said of the lifting of sanctions and the peace deal with Ethiopia. “That is my hope,” said Luwam, an Eritrean refugee who crossed into Sudan before making her way into Ethiopia last month. Eritrea and Djibouti then agreed in September to work on reconciling. Deadly clashes broke out between the Horn of Africa countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Asmara of moving troops across the border. Both the United States and China have military bases in Djibouti. Israel-Gaza border ignites after botched raid The United Arab Emirates has a military base in Eritrea, which has been used as part of the Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which lies just 40 km (25 miles) across the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa nation. In a report to the Security Council last month, U.N. sanctions monitors signaled that a continuing expansion of the military base in Assab was in breach of the arms embargo on Eritrea because it did “not allow for military activities by member states involving the transfer of military materiel and personnel to Eritrean territory.” The United Arab Emirates U.N. mission said at the time the country was “in full compliance with the sanctions imposed.” Eritrea refused to allow the U.N. monitors to visit the country. Source; reuters.com

Exploration

VOX POPULI: Japan’s insular mind-set in the face of more foreign residents

Nov 3, 2018 Rene Hoshino (Asahi Shimbun file photo) Cameroon-born manga artist Rene Hoshino was 4 years old when he moved to Japan. His Cameroonian mother's new husband was a Japanese citizen. Fluent in Kansai dialect, Hoshino has published a manga titled "Afurika Shonen ga Nihon de Sodatta Kekka" (The results of an African boy growing up in Japan), where he recalls his surprise and bafflement at many of the situations he encountered as a boy. For instance, just because he was a foreigner, most Japanese automatically assumed he spoke English and were tickled pink to see him using chopsticks. Hoshino remembers being terrified to death of short-distance races on sports day at his school. There was the "unspoken expectation" that any black person would excel in physical activities and be able to run like the wind. "I want to scream at the whole world," a line in his manga goes. "Not all blacks are superhuman athletes!" Japan today has a growing number of residents with foreign roots. All they are asking is that they be treated as persons, and not as stereotypes stemming from their "foreignness" or countries of origin. Hoshino's manga clearly conveys this all-too-reasonable plea. The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 2 approved a government-drafted bill to revise the Immigration Control Law to allow more foreign workers into Japan. But I have my doubts about the extent to which the government is prepared to welcome them as people, not just as faceless members of the work force. The revised law limits their stay in Japan to five years in principle, and does not recognize their families' right to accompany them. Yasutomo Suzuki, mayor of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, was quoted by The Asahi Shimbun as saying, "That is tantamount to treating those people as robots." Suzuki's point is that, from the standpoint of a municipality such as his that has a large foreign population, Japan is already a nation of immigrants. And that means appropriate education and welfare systems must be in place, but the central government is backpedaling. His criticism is quite correct. Now in his 30s, Hoshino appears to have assimilated fully into Japanese society. Asked if he sees himself as Japanese or Cameroonian, he replied, "That's like asking me to choose between the heart and the brain." He is clearly very enamored of Japan. I hope there will be more people like him. Source:asahi.com

Hilarious journey of coming to America

By Kari Mutu | Nov 3, 2018 Eventually, it was the US that became his new home. His most recent book, Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American, maps his journey. Like the book title, the chapters have intriguing headings such as On a Croc’s Back, Will Edit for Food and Wole Soyinka Saves my Christmas. Ndibe begins his story in 1960 in Nigeria, the year he was born and the country attained Independence. His narration is charming interspersed with humour, a sprinkling of folktales from his youth, and a rich vocabulary. Growing up in a strict Roman Catholic family, which he says was poor but happy, and, with few material possessions, Ndibe let his imagination run wild. At university, he was a lukewarm business student who preferred novels and literature to classwork. Upon graduating, he worked as a journalist in Lagos. It was during this time that he met the renowned Nigerian novelist, the late Chinua Achebe. Achebe later invited him to become the founding editor of the US-based magazine, African Contemporary. As Ndibe was embarking on his immigrant journey to America in 1988, his uncle gave him advice that inspired the title of this book. It is interesting to read about Ndibe’s close associations with Achebe and Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel laureate. Equally absorbing are the funny anecdotes about the culture shock he experiences in the US, like nearly getting arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank, Americans’ fetishes about their pets, misunderstandings about personal space, and stereotypical attitudes about Africans and Africa. Over the years, his unusual first name has caused much confusion and amusement. The African Contemporary constantly operated at near bankruptcy, forcing Ndibe to beg for rent money and deal with angry unpaid writers. After three years, the magazine folded. Ndibe then managed to complete both a Masters in Writing and PhD in Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The book is not in chronological order: Ndibe talks about his life through vignettes that meander between the present and past, sometimes in a disorderly fashion. He tells of the tender yet unconventional relationship between his parents who took cold baths together and held hands in public. But we learn little about his marriage and family in America, so that side of the story feels underrepresented. Beyond recounting his life, he reviews the reasons behind key events, questions around identity, colonialism and culture clashes. Secretly reading letters of correspondence between his father and a retired English missionary he met in Burma during World War II are driven by his “desire to deepen his self-knowledge.” He is a natural raconteur with an ability to make anyone understand the challenges and achievements of the newcomer in the US. His musings on the socio-political woes of Nigeria, which informed his decision to seek American citizenship, are frank but not overly bitter. “Naturalisation is not a loss-gain dialectic but a gain-gain proposition… I am proudly Nigerian American,” he writes. Sometimes his contemplations become long-winded, which slows down the lively narrative. Nevertheless, there is familiarity in Ndibe’s life story that African readers who have lived in and travelled to Western countries can relate to. Source:theeastafrican.co.ke

The 2018 Draft Is an African Immigrant Story

By Connor Orr | April 24, 2018 The ekwang is so good, Natalie Cabinda says, that if you taste it in her native Cameroon you won’t want to eat anything else again. Ever. She doesn’t make it as often here in her spacious home in western New Jersey, although the local ShopRite has surprised her at times with a stock of cocoyam, an essential ingredient to the rich stew of boiled beef, fish and greens. It takes time—hours for the onions, peppers and spices to marry with the broth and tenderize the proteins—and Natalie Cabinda has never had much time for anything that didn’t involve making a better life for someone else. When she was a child, her family managed to smuggle her out of the village where she was born, Batibo, to live with her older sister near Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. She mastered two languages in college. The second was for the family that lifted her to a better place. There was an unspoken pressure and pride in escaping a social and economic system that encouraged women to marry young in exchange for a dowry. “I never wanted to stop going to school,” Natalie says. “I always felt like I was learning for them. I am the first girl who ever succeeded in graduating with a degree from the University of Yaoundé. Nobody ever succeeded in that.” When she was 28 and a mother of two, she and her former husband fled the country amid a brush with the country’s shadowy and ruthless political empire. A relative of her husband’s was shot and killed for seemingly no reason by someone they believed was a government operative, bringing the dark side of her beloved and vibrant Cameroon too close to home. They moved to Hawthorne, Calif., then Fullerton. Her husband, who’d been a doctor in Africa, was relegated to non-medical moonlighting duties at emergency clinics. Natalie had been a teacher in Cameroon, a country so enamored with its educators that if students aren’t instructed to take their seats, they would remain standing at attention throughout the class. Now, she was a substitute teacher getting harassed for having an accent. Natalie and Jason Cabinda. Courtesy the Cabinda family “They didn’t listen to me,” she says of her American students. “They were like, ‘Where are you from? Where’s Cameroon? They didn’t know Africa was a continent.” In the 25 years since she arrived in America, Natalie published two books, became a high school teacher, college professor and U.S. citizen. This week her youngest, Penn State captain and linebacker Jason Cabinda, will be selected in the 2018 NFL draft. Jason is one of roughly a dozen NFL prospects in this year’s class with first-generation African roots—a small snapshot of a league and country that are becoming at the same time more diverse and more insular. At a moment in history when the immigrant experience in America is loudly debated but rarely understood, they and their parents represent the distillation of the core values many Americans claim in themselves. Hard work and sacrifice. Respect and compassion. NFL From Small-Town Idaho to the NFL Draft, Leighton Vander Esch Ready to Take the League by Storm Jason remembers his mom, worn down from two teaching jobs, still ensuring daily to remove his X Box video game console from the entertainment center and lock it in her trunk during school every day, to guarantee his homework was done; still making time for family prayer; still keeping touch with his coaches and academic advisors on a daily basis. All the while, she was painfully homesick for her beautiful village, sending money back to a family she missed dearly but had seen once in almost two decades. Never for one moment did she relax. Neither can he. “I feel like I have more to lose,” Jason, one of the leading tacklers in Penn State history, said. “There’s so much more invested in me.” The most recent Census recent data show that the African population in the U.S. has doubled each decade since the 1970s. More than two million African immigrants live in the U.S. and, as the Pew Research Center noted last year, immigrants from Africa represented the “fastest growth rate” of any U.S. immigrant population between 2000 and 2013. Despite certain damaging political commentary, the recent wave has gifted the country with tens of thousands of highly trained medical professionals, business people, engineers, architects, writers, accountants, artists and lawyers. “We all share the same cultural values: Democracy, education, the rule of law,” Herman Cohen, a former U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs under George H.W. Bush, told me. Cohen, who recently issued a strong rebuke of the political sentiment surrounding African immigrants in a column for The Hill, remains plugged in on America’s relationships and responsibilities to the continent. He added: “People don’t know that those coming from Africa are bringing a lot of good things with them.” The NFL has seen a similar boon of talent and character. In 2017, the Undefeated counted 68 NFL players from 18 African countries who were either native-born or first generation in the U.S. Of that 68, 12 were first-round picks, nine were Pro Bowlers, four have won Super Bowls and six were named to an All-Rookie team. NFL So, Are Any of These Quarterbacks Going to Be Good? Those players have successfully shined the light on Africa, introducing fans, teammates and media to the food, music, cultural traditions and geographical highlights of a continent that is often blanketed by the American media as rife with corruption and poverty. And when it comes to Africa’s struggles, there are numerous recovery efforts that have an NFL player attached. Ezekiel Ansah works with Ghanaian youth to promote physical education; Tamba Hali was nominated for a Walter Payton Man of the Year award for assisting in the construction of an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. In the U.S., Brian Orakpo led efforts to help Houston rebuild after Hurricane Harvey as a first-generation citizen whose parents came from Nigeria. That global consciousness has informed the next generation of prospects. Peter Kalambayi, a linebacker out of Stanford projected to go early in the 2018 draft, wants to be a correspondent in his down time. His father is Congolese, though he was raised by his mother, Liselle, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. “I like listening to peoples’ stories, and I was a communications major,” he says. “I took a journalism class, and if I went in that direction that’s where I want to go. I want to gather stories.” Peter Kalambayi, Stanford. Icon Sportswire via AP Images Kalambayi felt an undeniable warmth in bouncing between cultures. One day running into a distant cousin who recognized him as Congolese because of his last name, resulting in a traditional home cooked meal later that night. The next day talking about the President of the United States with his relatives in Trinidad. Maybe, by example, he can help show the rest of the country how to fearlessly and respectfully transition from one set of ideas to another; from one continent to the next. “It’s just good to have a worldview from three different perspectives,” Kalambayi told me. “I hear what my Congolese family thinks about politics, religion and everything. Same with my Trinidadian family. And obviously I’m engulfed in American culture. I pretty much—I’m very in tune with three different worldviews. “I think that’s good in a society that’s kind of torn these days in a partisan way. I think it’s good to be able to look at things from different perspectives. We don’t do much of that anymore.” Leo Igwebuike got off the plane from Nigeria, and his mother handed him a coat. He remembers wearing his sandals outside the airport in northern Ohio. It was late fall, and the cold stung his feet for the first time. Everything was unfamiliar. He was seven years old, only vaguely aware that his family left home after the end of the Biafran War in the early 1970s to start a new life. His father, a university professor, got a year’s head start to establish a home. His journey underscores the bravery and fortitude of American-bound parents and first-generation children. In a traditional Catholic Nigerian household, parents were true matriarchs and patriarchs. There was no explanation of events. No sitcom moment where the parents level with their children and discuss their mutual struggles. This was an opportunity. Success was expected. No one, young or old, fell back on excuses. Now, decades later, Leo’s son Godwin is preparing for the NFL as one of the draft’s top safeties, out of Northwestern. That seemed like a lifetime removed from the first steps Leo took on a football field as a young immigrant trying to pinball his way through American culture. By then, he’d upgraded to Converse high-tops, unaware that the kids shoving him around on the icy turf all wore cleats that could dig into the dirt. He played tight end and was deemed most improved player at the end of his freshman year. He told his parents about the accolades, asked football shoes and was told to get a job at the library and focus on his studies. He earned all A’s. Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern. Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images On the football field, he learned to deflect the bullying, which was prevalent, by using a move he brought from Nigeria—a sort of sumo sweep that he initiated by grabbing the offender’s legs and pummeling them to the ground. “If I was being harassed—and this was weeks of harassment, and I’m a quiet guy and I don’t say much, people teasing me about my accent, where I’m from, my name—but once I slammed them, Boom! That was it, they didn’t mess with me anymore. You get that strange respect.” Just before he began college, a second-cousin of Leo’s started dominating the NFL, leading the league in rushing in 1989 and reaching a second Pro Bowl in 1991. They called Christian Okoye the Nigerian Nightmare, and his rise to fame was a seminal moment during Leo’s formative years. Okoye’s punishing style blended with a proud cultural identity—Leo had always been firm in his roots among the Igbo tribe, and he reveled in the warrior spirit. Everything about who they were and why they were here was starting to come together. “For me, it was defining,” he says of Okoye’s NFL prominence. “Not to be arrogant, but we’re a very powerful people. I recognized my physical abilities when I was younger, but for him to transition to football, it was incredible. He broke a lot of the stereotypes. People didn’t believe it.” NFL Monday Morning Mock Draft: Darts, Deals & Wild Guesses He is happy now. At peace, but always looking for lessons in his family’s past. He’s helped create a world where Godwin can wear that warrior mentality, but can also project his humility. It rounds him out in a way that serves as the payoff for a lineage of sacrifices. “Even though my kids weren’t born there, I always remind them—you are Nigerian,” Leo says. “You should always be proud, and always be focused on spirituality first, family second and education third. That’s been their walk. That’s Godwin’s walk. And I demonstrated that myself by how I pursued my life.” Source: si.com

Cameroonian Lady Who Disappeared In Nigeria 28 Years Ago While Writing WASCE Narrate her story Camer

24 April, 2018 EDUCATION NEWS – Latest update as in 1990, Martha Eyong, a Cameroonian, was 16 years old when she came to Nigeria to write the West African School Certificate Examination (WASC) in Calabar, Cross River State. Meanwhile according to a report by newsmen, the young woman had come in the company of few friends who were also natives of Cameroon to write the same examination. But four days after their coming and having written some papers, Martha’s path crossed that of one Alhaji Aliyu Ameh, who allegedly hypnotised her with a powdery substance and took her away, first to Lagos and then to settle with him in Otukpo, Benue State. Ameh was alleged to have raped his victim and put her in the family way while ensuring that no one had close relationship with her over the years as he kept an eye on her and the two children produced from the unlawful union. Luck, however, ran out on him last week when he was apprehended by the police at a court premises where he had dragged a certain individual to on account of his closeness to his ‘wife’. The State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the alleged abductor before newsmen at the police headquarters in Makurdi, said the man would be charged to court for kidnapping and rape of a female victim. “The victim, a Cameroonian, came to Nigeria in 1990 to write WAEC. While with her friends, she came across an elderly man who bought food for her and hypnotised her. She had given him children in the process. Her father had been looking for his daughter for the past 28 years. The abductor kept her in a way that no one could reach her,”Owoseni said. The police commissioner added that someone who she narrated her predicament to, helped to trace her family which subsequently led to the arrest of the man in Makurdi early last week. Corroborating the police, Martha, who said her abductor changed her name to Sabina Ameh, said the incident happened on the fifth day of her arrival to Calabar for the examination when the man came by her side and ordered her to look at him. She added, “He asked what I wanted to do with the N20 in my hand and I said I wanted to buy food, he collected the money and bought food for me, then he poured a substance like powder in a handkerchief which he sprayed in my direction and ordered me to follow him. “And that was how I did whatever he said. I followed him to wherever he wanted, he took me to Lagos, I had to ask someone when he was not watching where I was and I was told it was Lagos. I begged him to take me back to my parents in Cameroon, he agreed and the next day I found myself somewhere I did not know and when I inquired someone told me I was in Agila in Benue State. “Whenever he realizes that I’m in my senses and asked questions, he would repeat the handkerchief spray on my face, then I will begin to do exactly what he wanted. He forcefully slept with me most nights and he prevented everybody in the village from talking to me. It was when I got pregnant that he brought me to Otukpo,” the woman narrated. Source: http://mynationnews.com

Business and Economy

Eutelsat gains satellite television market leadership across key West African countries Read more:

Joseph O'Halloran | 13 November 2018 A Nielsen study of television reception throughout Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, has positioned Eutelsat as satellite market leader within these countries. The face-to-face interviews were conducted with 3,000 households in Nigeria, 2,000 in Cameroun and 2,000 in Ivory Coast. It found that satellite television reception is the dominant technology in Ivory Coast reaching 68% of TV households (1.5 million households) and also a major technology in Nigeria reaching 41% (10.3 million households) and in Cameroon with 38% households (1.3 million households). Moreover, in theses satellite marketplaces, Nielsen also discovered that Eutelsat’s 16° East neighbourhood is the leading FTA position in Cameroon and Ivory Coast with a combined reach of 1.2 million households in those two countries. The 16° East position caters for over 160 channels, among which are local channels CRTV, Canal 2 International, Trace Africa, Novelas TV, RT1 and RT2 as well as popular international channels in French and English. In Cameroon, 16° East reached a total of 940,000 households representing 73% of the DTH installed base. In Ivory Coast, it has the largest FTA installed base, reaching 240,000 households, or 37% of the installed base. Eutelsat's three positions — 36° East, 7° East and 16° East — also served as the largest combined audience in the Nigerian market. “Eutelsat is pleased to have established a strong presence in the regional audio-visual landscape, providing millions of households with access to a wide range of local and international channels,” remarked Nicolas Baravalle, vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa at Eutelsat. “It is a testament to our long-standing partnership with many of Africa's leading TV channels and bouquets. We look forward to strengthening these partnerships to develop our services as these dynamic markets continue to evolve.” Source: newsnow.co.uk

https: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yvs5I2gWpY

African diaspora work in partnership with Ghana on business opportunities in Africa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yvs5I2gWpY

Medical Marijuana Has Healthcare Companies Scrambling to Invest in the $10 Billion-Dollar Opportunit

Oct. 18, 2018 Press Release Santa Clara, California — Frost & Sullivan will host an interactive briefing discussing the medical marijuana market revenue trends and challenges Frost & Sullivan, the growth partnership company, announced today that it will host a live, complimentary Growth Innovation Leadership (GIL) briefing titled, "Medical Marijuana Market Trends - Future Clinical Role of Medical Marijuana & CBD," on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Pacific Time. The webinar will offer expert insight from Nitin Naik, Global Vice President, Life Sciences, Barbara Gilmore, Senior Consultant, Life Sciences, both at Frost & Sullivan, and Dr. Joseph C. Maroon, Clinical Professor and Vice Chairman, at the University of Pittsburgh. For more information and to register for the webinar, please visit http://frost.ly/2t3. Medical cannabis use is driving industry revenues into the billions. Investments by pharmaceutical and Big Tobacco companies in the development of cannabis and CBD-based products and devices, along with healthcare-conscious consumers having access to these products, are spurring growth. Physicians, aware of increasingly widespread medical marijuana legalization, are interested in understanding the potential of these treatments. In the US states where cannabis is approved, the use of prescription drugs, including the use of opioids, has decreased. "The use of medical marijuana is sparking keen interest not only with investors, but also doctors and patients. All but four states in the US have legalized either medical marijuana or CBD use. There are over 770 clinical trials underway studying the use of medical cannabis in various diseases and another more than 500 trials studying the use of CBD," noted Gilmore. "With all of these studies underway, it is interesting to note that states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use have seen a steady decrease in the number of recorded patient prescriptions. This is a trend that will be studied going forward as physicians learn more about the medical marijuana efficacy as it related to the diseases it is successfully treating." The informative webinar will cover key insights: Source: allafrica.com

Africa: 'Erotic Capital' - a New Way for Uganda to Get Economic Growth?

Oct.18, 2018 By Charles Onyango-Obbo On the weekend, I was at a retreat of diverse African intellectuals, tinkerers, and policy folks, at the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi. It was to discuss anything under the sun that might have significant impact on Africa in the years ahead. In shorts, t-shirts, kicking back into cosy garden chairs, fellows sliced open lobsters and fine wine (vegetarians and teetotalers like myself were condemned to a weekend of salads and sparkling water, though), as we explored crazy ideas and veered into politically incorrect corners. In a moment of unfettered brainstorming, someone referred to a book titled Erotic Capital, of which only two other people in the gathering had heard of. I hadn't either, so I searched it. The full title of the book is Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom" Here is what a Google Books summary says about it: "In 2010, pioneering sociologist Catherine Hakim shocked the world with a provocative new theory: In addition to the three recognised personal assets (economic, cultural, and social capital), each individual has a fourth asset - erotic capital - that HE or SHE can, and should, use to advance within society. "In this bold and controversial book, Hakim explores the applications and significance of erotic capital, challenging the disapproval meted out to women and men who use sex appeal to get ahead in life. "Social scientists have paid little serious attention to these modes of personal empowerment, despite overwhelming evidence of their importance. In Erotic Capital, Hakim marshals a trove of research to show that rather than degrading those who employ it, erotic capital represents a powerful and potentially equalising tool - one that we scorn only to our own detriment." The proponent of the Erotic Capital in our small gathering, argued that good looks - being tall, dark and handsome, long beautiful neck, and bewitching eyes, are no different from athletic, sports ability; the ability to write a brilliant book, and the skill to write code. Why, he asked, should we celebrate and turn athletes, writers, techies into multi-millionaires, and frown upon a woman who makes money from her beauty and a man who exploits his hunkishness? Of course, when you have such gathering of smart fellows, possibly half of them aetheists and men and women of science, his argument was well received. We all presumed the sale of sex was excluded, although we know some liberal countries where that too is legal. Also, excluded, were things like sex for marks. Where does that leave us, if we are to pursue the higher logic of Erotic Capital seriously at national level? When it comes to Africa, the world of high fashion loves South Sudanese (Alek Wek, Ataui Deng, Ajak Deng, Grace Bol, Mari Malek et al) and Ethiopian (Liya Kebede, Gelila Bekele, Anna Geteneh, Lydia Asghedom, Gate Maya Haile) models. At the most immediate level, it would mean the South Sudanese belligerents must end the deadly conflict, that has killed possibly up to 300,000 people and sent nearly three million of its people fleeing as refugees. The conflict is possibly killing off many future Alek Wek's, and preventing a large crop of supermodels emerging. Of course, the uncomfortable side of that is that nearly all of South Sudan's many international models wouldn't have been "discovered" in the West and Kenya if they hadn't fled its wars in the first place. But there is one place where Erotic Capital can be leveraged in the most benevolent and rich way - on social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest. On Instragram, about 42 per cent of users are male, and 58 per cent female. Women are also the majority on Pinterest. On combative Twitter, men far outweigh women, and depending on the market, they are about tied on Facebook. Women are far more popular than men on Instagram, aided in part by the fact that many blokes go on women's pages to check them out. Women's posts are liked five times more on Instagram than men's, whereas on Twitter in some countries, men are retweeted three to four times more than women. Instagram (with Pinterest a little behind) has become huge in growing women's businesses (from photographs, clothing design, to art). The erotic factor, therefore, brings eyeballs that they can commercialise. So, if women influencers sell products better than men, you can see where this leads. It means if a government invests in broadband, it is investing in raising women's opportunities. And social media taxes therefore, likely harm women's businesses more than men's. Catherine Hakim would probably say a country that has got many men with beautiful athletic bodies, should encourage them to train to be masseurs if that will attract female customers seeking massages, or fitness instructors. I haven't read the book, so let me shut up before I get into trouble, and go and buy it. Mr Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africa data visualiser Africapedia.com and explainer site. Roguechiefs.com. Source: allafrica.com

ArtCultainment

‘Tuition-free for all in public universities in Liberia’, says President George Weah

University of Liberia, 2009. Photo by mjmkeating via Flickr/CC BY 2.0. Abdoulaye Bah | 14 Nov 2018 Liberian students at the University of Liberia have protested a tuition increase they say they simply can't afford, leading to low student enrollment this semester with only about 11,000 registered students out of approximately 20,000. Students were paying $4 United States Dollars per credit hour in 2017 but the amount increased to $6 USD per credit hour for 2018/2019 school year. Faced with mounting pressure, newly elected President George Weah surprisingly declared tuition-free university during a visit to the main campus in late October 2018. Prince Kurupati reports: Speaking at the University of Liberia, Liberian president George Weah said that with immediate effect, all undergraduate students are no longer required to pay tuition fees. The Liberian president also took to his Facebook page to make the sensational announcement declaring that tertiary education with immediate effect is free for undergraduate students, ‘Today, I am excited to announce that I have declared the University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia Tuition-free for all undergraduates.’ Journalist Sebastiane Ebatamehi continues: During the last campaign before his election, George Weah said to a large congregation of his supporters, ‘I played football in Europe. I would have stayed in Europe and enjoyed my money, but I came to Liberia to redeem you from the bondage of hardships. See what I have done in this country in terms of development.’ Today, will come down as one to be remembered in history as the president, in a few months after his election, has declared the prestigious University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia tuition free … This is indeed good news and one which will go down well with youth, not only in Liberia, but Africa in general. Many students on the main campus celebrated and praised President Weah's declaration with singing and dancing, telling reporters that the news came as an enormous relief. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban explains that students across all of Liberia's four public universities had protested against fee hikes in the past because of incremental increases in the costs of registration and tuition, causing many to drop out. This time, students mainly from the Fendall Student Association (FENSA) staged a protest before the Offices of the President, led by student Heylove Mark, who told school officials that the tuition hikes would prevent many students from matriculation. President Weah heard the students’ concerns and returned with his surprising declaration of tuition-free university education. Can Liberia afford a free-for-all college education? Former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called Liberia’s education system “a mess” after 25,000 high school students failed state university entrance exams five years ago. This has led Liberia to enter a nationwide experiment with private-public partnerships to help alleviate strains in the education system caused by civil war and the Ebola crisis. Given the burdensome cost of running a state university as a line item on the national budget, Front Page Africa (FPA) wrote a post wondering if Weah's populist move is sustainable. According to FPA, Liberia allocates $16,299,877 USD to the University of Liberia per fiscal year, which already presents enormous challenges. FPA continues: A recent World Bank report puts Liberia’s fiscal deficit at 5.2 percent of the GDP in FY 2018. This is a result of a significant shortfall in revenues and higher than anticipated non-discretionary expenditures … [T]he government is facing a hard time with generating finance and the situation might just worsen. Therefore, it is important that we face the reality: this government cannot afford to underwrite the hefty cost of running a free public universities or colleges. Has this government backtracked to assess the impact of the free primary and secondary education? Or is it only desperate to thrive on the popularity of abysmal policies? vv

BBN: Enhancing TV experience with social media

By Lawrece Amaku | April 21, 2017 It is common knowledge today that reality TV show organizers not only use the social media to create awareness for their shows, but also to obtain viewer feedback, reactions and opinions, aimed at forging deeper audience engagement. Oftentimes, the information that viewers get from their friends online serve as reviews of a TV show, and the media choices they make are influenced by such secondhand information. In corroborating this view, producer of a popular US TV show, The Voice (NBC), Nicolle Yaron, notes that “In this day and age, digital and social media for a successful television show can’t be an afterthought.” A study carried out by The Hollywood Reporter stated that over half of the people who were sampled said the social media determine the choices they made about entertainment. The report revealed that “of those who make posts about TV shows, 76 percent do so live and 51 percent do so to feel connected to others who might also be watching.” It is not surprising, therefore, that show organisers encourage fans to take their dialogue to the second screen – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms in order to enhance and deepen the experience. There is no doubting the fact that these platforms, especially Twitter and Instagram, have earned the reputation of being the choice media because their fast-paced environment lends itself to the television. Twitter, for example, enables television producers and advertisers to get prompt feedback about their programming. It is in the light of the above observations that I examine the role of the social media in the just-concluded Big Brother Naija (BBN) reality show. BBN has come and gone, but not without leaving memories and talking points that will surely linger. The show, which is a spinoff of the Big Brother Africa game show, was relaunched and renamed ‘Big Brother Naija.’ Its first edition, Big Brother Nigeria, was aired in 2006. Featuring 12 original contestants, otherwise known as ‘housemates,’ Big Brother Naija, which started shooting on January 22, 2017, came to a climax on April 9, 2017 after 78 days with Delta-born Efe Ejeba clinching the coveted prize of N25 million cash gift and a brand new Kia Sorento SUV car. No doubt, a lot has changed between now and when the first edition of the show aired eleven years ago. That time interval has seen massive evolution in the mass media space with the emergence of various platforms and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Youtube, and Wechat, among others. For instance, while the BBN 2006 only made provision for viewers to vote via SMS, fans of the 2017 edition of the game show, in addition to being able to vote via SMS, were availed of social media messaging app, Wechat, to vote for their favourite housemates and determine who gets evicted or not from the show. Other social media platforms and the Internet were also effectively used to enhance viewers’ participation and push conversations on the show. In packaging the show, the BBN organisers harnessed the power of social media to leverage audience interaction, thereby engaging the viewers and making them become a part of the event. The show generated so many internet trolls while it lasted and still continues to do so. Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, in a statement in Lagos, shortly after the commencement of the game show, disclosed that in the show’s first week, controversy over its shooting in South Africa topped Google trend stories. The debate on the matter raged for several days before being eclipsed by more interesting developments in the show which grabbed viewers’ attention. It is not surprising though that at the end of the game show, the host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, announced that it won over 420,000 Facebook fans, 320,000 followers on Instagram, and 160,000 followers on Twitter. Over 26 million votes were recorded for the finale alone, while 13 million votes were garnered in the penultimate week. These are further testimonies of the attention and buzz it generated in the social media. From Ebuka reading out live tweets from viewers during live eviction shows, twitter comments from viewers/fans scrolling while the show was streaming live; to off-screen competitions, which included asking viewers to do a video of themselves with the show’s theme song in the background, the organisers effectively employed the social media to get more viewers and create better viewer experience for it. Besides that, celebrity comments, opinions, banters and criticisms about the show; predictions on eviction, support for favourite housemates, as well as the entertainment created by the memes, mimicry, and jokes on the social media had a massive impact on the show’s viewership and helped it to create an appeal to different audiences. Of particular note is a meme posted on Instagram by popular female comedian, Chioma Omeruah, aka Chigurl mimicking evicted housemate, Uriel’s effusiveness during her Diary Room sessions with Big Brother, which earned her the moniker, Drama Queen of the Diary Room. Fans favourite and winner of the show, Efe, also had a solidarity song composed for him by a certain Jude Nj and posted on Twitter. The title of the song, which was inspired by Efe’s now very famous tagline, is ‘Based on logistics.’ The social media continues to swell with conversations and memes on the show even after its conclusion. In addition, social media communities were built around virtually all housemates, especially as the show drew to an end. This helped to shore up support and votes for the housemates involved. At the live viewing centre in Lagos, where the winner of the 2006 edition of the BBN show, Katung Aduwak, anchored the event, were significant numbers of fans and family members of the five finalists, who had followed them on the social media all through the show. With the social media now technically the second screen through which audiences watch/follow their favourite shows on TV, it is expected that the shows’ marketers will harness this to forge even closer engagement between their products and the audience in the foreseeable future. Source:sunnewsonline.com

How do you make a film about detained women that your government doesn't want you to see?

February 2017 Phones and recording devices are banned at the notorious Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, so filmmaker Jade Jackman had to be creative in documenting the lives of women asylum seekers detained there. Here, Jackman issues a rallying cry to artists looking for new ways to engage a news-numbed audience. In the midst of a business park in Bedfordshire, you'll find Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Slotted in amongst the stocky offices of cement and the tall street lights that curve ominously towards the sky, you'd be forgiven for not noticing the 400 women that live between them; you weren't meant to. Across Europe, our governments routinely detain asylum seekers with the hope of removing them back to their 'country of origin'. Out of all of these, Yarl's Wood, operated by Serco, is perhaps one of the most notorious. The women are not held for having committed any criminal offence, yet they are left to wait indefinitely for the outcome of their asylum cases. Despite allegations of sexual and verbal abuse by the guards, and being labelled 'a place of national concern', access remains rigid and almost impenetrable. When I went inside, I wasn't even allowed to bring a scrap of paper with me, and phones, or any video recording devices, are strictly prohibited. Then, in the dead of night, people are deported. As one woman told me, "We are constantly living in a state of fear. There are so many planes, we never know if we will be forced to leave". Others have said how they have seen women taken half-naked, their heads covered by blankets and chained by several guards. The severity of the force used by the guards shouldn't be underestimated. Jimmy Mubenga, a man detained inside one of Britain's male detention centres, suffocated to death while G4S guards attempted to take him aboard one of these very same flights, using force that failed to comply with their training. These chartered flights are intentionally kept secret; there is no set date or time. For one young couple, this meant not saying goodbye to her partner as she was 'returned' to India. But, for international governments, the hidden disappearances are what gives these places power. Their secretive nature gives the British government a veneer -- one that allows William Hague launch a very public campaign, with Angelina Jolie, about how rape is used as a weapon of war and the need to prevent it. Many women inside Yarl's Wood have fled this very same thing, but it is our part of our policy to detain them, causing more harm. The home office have refused to reveal whether women have been raped at Yarl's Wood, with a staff member telling the Independent that "disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests" of the people running the centre. Similarly, the hidden nature of these centres allows the United Kingdom to say that it proudly defends the LGBT community while simultaneously deporting individuals who could face persecution for their sexuality. Due to the ways in which invisibility is forced on these asylum seekers, there can be almost no resistance. What it actually means, is that the resistance must be visual. Aside from the horrific stories of the women's treatment inside, one of the reasons Yarl's Wood has received so much attention is due to the continued efforts of Movement For Justice. Since 2015, the organisation has planned actions, now reaching several thousand attendees, outside the detention centre's walls. The sheer mass of bodies, signs and colourful smoke passes over the facilities' fences, acknowledging and reminding us of the continued presence and struggle of the women inside. With my documentary, Calling Home, I took motivation from Movement For Justice and shone visibility on the lives of the women inside Yarl's Wood. It is no accident that the women aren't allowed camera phones and that the position of all these detention centres is as far away from towns and transport as possible (you have to take a two hour long train and a taxi before you even get to the detention centres gates). Even if we had been granted access for our film, it would have been mediated through SERCO and the Home Office. So we had to think creatively instead, and the constraints on our style turned out to be a blessing. Rather than taking a rigid approach to documentary, we borrowed techniques from fashion and art, and collaborated with performance artist and founder of She-Zine, Diana Chire, to amplify the voices of the women inside. And, as the women told me, they were excited to contribute to a piece that would present their experiences in a new light. As the women inside don't have the ability to represent themselves, as a filmmaker, I felt a greater responsibility to take a more collaborative approach to my questioning, and instead of asking them about the various traumas they have suffered and forcing them women to relive it, we decided to chat about Beyonce's new album, Rihanna's hairstyles, and how they missed certain brands of make-up from the outside. Of course, the pain of being held in detention emerged, but in a way that many people can understand and associate with. Dorcas, one of the women interviewed, told me, "I was so desperate to have a sense of me again, I used staplers from the post-room to pierce my ears". In a time when society is growing increasingly divided, we need to fuse forms to generate work that, whilst remaining political, speaks to a wide range of people. A powerful example of this was Yasiin Bey's decision to use his body and fame to undergo the force-feeding practice used against prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. In the video, by Asif Kapadia (Amy; Senna), Bey submitted his status and body to highlight the torture that people routinely undergo there, using his fame to attract an audience who may have never acknowledged or engaged with the suffering of the people held there. Look also to the political but funny music videos of Swet Shop Boys, such as T5, where the rappers put their own personal experiences of racism to a beat. These approaches are more important now than ever before. ?It is easy to dismiss people who don't agree with us as ignorant and stupid, but as it has been widely noted, if we are to take away one thing from the vote for Trump and Brexit, we should recognise that people are fed up and disillusioned by the 'establishment': politicians who lie to them and a media that ignores or belittles them. Whilst this is having a catastrophic impact on global politics, it means there is also an opportunity. This sense of dissatisfaction tells us that people are fed up with old-fashioned ways of receiving information or knowledge. Rather than complain about them, as artists or creators, it is our job to look for new ways to engage them. Calling Home has been produced as part of the Postcards series by Just So. Source: i-d.vice.com

11 Things to do in the days between Christmas and New Year

By Ellen Scott | December 27, 2016 Nothing is happening. It feels like there’s nothing to do. The excitement of Christmas is over with but you’re not quite yet to commit to being the glorious version of yourself you intend to be in the new year. So we’d recommend using these days as a chance for some quiet contemplation, reflection, and planning. Sort your sh*t out in time for the new year, basically, while remaining chilled out, cosy, and enjoying all your Christmas leftovers. Here’s all the stuff it’s worth doing in these weird inbetween days (otherwise known as Twixtmas, if you need a catchier term). 1. Do your shopping for the new year Boxing Day is always a bit too much to handle, but the days afterwards are perfect for buying up any new homeware and clothing you fancy for the year ahead. Use your days off wisely. Do a morning of shopping then nap in the afternoon. (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) 2. Sign up for the gym Or find another way to stay fit and healthy. If you leave it ’til the New Year gyms and sportswear shops will be rammed with people. Strike now by sorting out all the little things that are preventing you from getting healthy – a gym membership, new trainers, no one to work out with – then feel free to save actually exercising for the new year’s. 3. Spend some time reflecting on what you’ve learned this year We’re all so keen to move forward and set resolutions that we forget to ponder the year behind us. Have a proper sitdown with a cup of tea and reflect on how the year has gone. Write down your answers, if you fancy. Ask yourself what the best bits of the year were (I know it’s hard, but try to list out ten good things), and the worst. Ask yourself if there are things you would have done different. Ponder how you’d like next year to be different. 4. And make goals, not resolutions Trackable goals – meaning goals with specific deadlines and specific actions you can take – are better than more general resolutions. Resolving to ‘be healthier’ can leave you in a limbo, never knowing if you’ve actually achieved what you set out to do. Resolving to work out three times a week, however, is an actionable, trackable goal. Go for that. Have a think this week about what you’d like to achieve, then write down your plans. Now’s the perfect time to ponder. (Picture: Getty) 5. Use up your leftovers Try not to let your blowout Christmas dinner turn into a massive waste. Use the leftovers for meals while you’re still at home, then freeze the rest or turn vegetables into soups, curries, and anything else you fancy. 6. Spend quality time with people you love After all the excitement of Christmas, you might be thoroughly sick of your family and desperate to go home. That’s fine. Just try to dedicate a few of your spare days to friends or the people you don’t get to spend quality time with very often. It’ll help combat the risk of loneliness over the festive period, and make everyone feel loved and listened to. Which is always a good thing. 7. Have a clear-out If you’ve just received a bunch of snazzy presents, you’ll need to make room. Use the next few days to sort everything out and donate anything you don’t need to someone who’ll appreciate it. (Picture: Getty) 8. Do something good for another person Loads of people volunteer in the run-up to Christmas, leaving charities with a bit of a lull post Boxing Day. Instead of lazing about watching rubbish TV and waiting to go back to work, spend a day helping out someone in need. Try Crisis or find a volunteer group you can join with Volunteer London. 9. Make the most of all the festive activities on offer Finally, the queues for ice skating, winter markets, and festive special events have died down a bit. But they’re just as fun post-Christmas, so you might as well get involved. 10. Take care of your mental health Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for those of us will mental health issues. It’s stressful spending time with family, it can be difficult to stick to a routine, and all the alcohol and parties can take their toll. Add to that the feeling of pressure to have everything perfect, shiny, and new for the new year, and you’re at risk of experiencing serious lows. So be proactive. Accept that this is a tough time, and get help if you need it. (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk) I’m a firm believer that Twixtmas is the perfect time to rest, recuperate, and take care of yourself. Spend the next few days reflecting on your mental health, working out what you need – whether that’s support from friends and family, more sleep, less stress, medication, or someone to talk to – and give yourself whatever that is. 11. And of course, take the time to relax Turn off your office-related emails, stop trying to get ahead with work, take off the pressure, and just give yourself permission to relax and unwind. You deserve this, and it’s incredibly important. There’s no way you can glide into the new year while you’re holding on to a load of stress. Snuggle into the sofa with a blanket, a book, and a cup of tea (or whatever else makes you feel your most zen) and enjoy all the cosy, relaxed feelings Twixtmas can bring. Source: metro.co.uk

Safe Earth

Engineering students present green energy project for Africa at PG4 Summit

Engineering students from Aarhus University will present their green energy project at the P4G summit in Copenhagen (photo: Institut for Datalogi, Aarhus Universitet) October 18, 2018 Six third-semester engineering students will represent Aarhus University with their own invention at the P4G Copenhagen Summit (Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030), which takes place between October 19 and 20. The group has designed a prototype flexible and modular solar cell pavillion which can be used in rural areas of Africa to provide both shade and green energy. They have been collaborating with a Dutch company that will look into the possibility of putting the pavillion into production and distribute it in Zambia in south-central Africa, where just over five percent of the rural population has access to electricity. Taking the lead “As engineering students, it’s our job to take the lead with technology for sustainable solutions and show that economic growth and achieving global goals can easily go hand in hand – also in developing countries,” said Mads Dalkjær Riis, one of the diploma engineering student at Aarhus University’s Engineering College. He added that those goals had inspired the project and that he and his fellow students felt extremely honoured to be allowed to attend the summit. Grim outlook for mammals Slowly but surely the earth appears to have entered another period of mass extinction – for the sixth time. Already before the existence of mankind, natural disasters and meteorological impacts caused the environment on earth to change so much that the majority of plant and animal species were eradicated. Yet each time evolution ensured that new species emerged, restoring the earth’s biological diversity. This time, however, researchers from Aarhus University have calculated in a study recently published in the recognised scientific journal PNAS, that human activity is so damaging to other mammals it will take to 7 million years before evolution can restore the biodiversity of mammalian species, if mammal species continue to die at the current rate. Source:cphpost.dk

‘Increased tree felling poses danger to air quality’

By Seth J. Bokpe | Oct. 13, 2018 Professor Godwin Aflakpui, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Methodist University College Ghana, delivering the 2018 Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR Professor Godwin Aflakpui, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Methodist University College Ghana, delivering the 2018 Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR The increasing felling of trees in Accra to pave the way for construction poses danger to air quality, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Methodist University has s Prof. Godwin K.S. Aflakpui said trees were important in urban planning because they ‘modify the micro climate for you to enjoy. Don’t cut down everything, leave some to protect you.” Delivering the 2018 Annual Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture on the topic “Plants and Human Development,” he said the country’s planners and developers needed to be up and doing about balancing construction and the need to have more trees. In a lecture that touched on a number of plants and their benefits, Prof. Aflakpui said most people appreciated the value of trees only when there was heat and they found comfort under shades provided by trees. Across Accra, more and more trees continue to fall, to give way to development projects. However, the regulatory institutions, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Parks and Gardens, have not done much to ensure that trees cut down during these projects are replanted. With urban space at its premium and competition for urban land resources being intense, experts say it is extremely important for local authorities to quantify the value of green infrastructure that trees provide. According to experts, trees serve multiple functions as “nature's air conditioners” by cooling urban heat spots and shading buildings, as well as the uptake of carbon dioxide from the environment. Atewa Forest Earlier, Prof. Aflakpui, while falling short of speaking to the government’s decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa Forest, said the forest was very important to the country because it protected four rivers that were a source of water supply to a number of regions. He, however, said the views of a mining expert were needed to explain whether the exploitation would benefit Ghanaians. The government, this year, passed into law the Ghana Bauxite Integrated Aluminium Industry Act, 2018, which is the legal framework to take opportunity of the vast bauxite resources to help in the economic development of the country. Plants and industry Prof. Aflakpui said plants provided opportunity for the auto industry and cited for example that in 2013, Ford and BMW, in an effort to make vehicle production more sustainable, produced some materials for some automobile body parts from kenaf, a fibre crop. “The use of kenaf is anticipated to offset 30,000 pounds of oil-based resin per year in North America and should reduce the weight of the door bolsters by 25 per cent,” he said. Turning attention to the opportunities in biofuel production, he stated that in 2010, worldwide biofuel—ethanol and biodiesel-- production reached 105 billion litres, contributing to 2.7 per cent of the world’s fuel for road transportation. On drug manufacturing, Prof. Aflakpui said nearly one quarter of all prescription drugs came directly from or were derivatives of plants. “Additionally, four out of five people around the world today rely on plants for primary health care. Green plants are the source of many of our orthodox medicines. “By promoting sustainable exploitation, we can attain some of the sustainable development goals aimed at poverty reduction, food security, promotion of health for people of all ages, sustainable and reliable water supply, making cities and human life livable, resilient, as well as combating climate change,” he stated. Source:graphic.com.gh

FSC-certified timber importer failed to check legality of shipment from Camer

By John C. Cannon on 19 March 2018 Hardwood Dimensions, a timber importer in the U.K., violated the EU Timber Regulation by not properly verifying the legality of a shipment of Cameroonian ayous in January 2017. A judge ordered Hardwood Dimensions to pay 4,000 pounds ($5,576) plus court costs in the case. The case calls into question the effectiveness of Forest Stewardship Council certification, which Hardwood Dimensions has held since 2000. A British government office has prosecuted a wood importer certified by the Forest Stewardship Council after it was found to have failed to ensure the legality of a shipment of timber from Cameroon. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an international organization dedicated to ensuring companies harvest and source timber according to a set of environmental and social standards. On March 2, a judge ruled that Hardwood Dimensions had violated a set of laws known as the EU Timber Regulation that came into force in March 2013. According to a statement, the company didn’t properly verify that a shipment of ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon), a tropical tree species used to make furniture and guitars, had been legally harvested in Cameroon. Simon Counsell, the executive director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said such legal violations by certified companies were “red flags.” “To me, what that points to is simply that the FSC system isn’t working properly,” Counsell said in an interview. Cameroon is considered a “high-risk” country for illegal timber, according to conservation NGOs. Photo by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. Simon Marsden, a director of Hardwood Dimensions, said the violation demonstrated the stringency of the EU’s laws governing timber imports, in a statement from the Timber Trade Federation, an industry organization. “As a company, we felt we had adequate procedures in place, particularly in this case as we were purchasing FSC Certified material,” Marsden said. “However, this is clearly not the case and we admitted that for this one particular supply line our Due Diligence systems were deficient.” Hardwood Dimensions has held an FSC chain of custody certificate since 2000, meaning it is required to perform checks “at every stage of processing.” A company has the “sole responsibility” to verify that its supply chain is legal, said David Hopkins, managing director of the Timber Trade Federation, in the group’s statement. “FSC alone is no guarantee of having complied with legal process,” Hopkins added. In an email obtained by Mongabay, an FSC representative said the organization was “closely studying” this case and had reported the incident to one of its partners, Accreditation Services International (ASI). Firms like ASI are supposed to ensure that timber buyers comply with FSC standards. But the fact that ASI as the certifier didn’t turn up this gap in Hardwood Dimensions’ due diligence raises the question of whether certifiers might have missed other issues in the past, said Rainforest Foundation UK’s Counsell. “The certifying companies aren’t identifying problems of illegality within the companies that they’re certifying,” he said, “and the FSC isn’t checking that the certifiers are doing their job properly.” A stream runs through the rainforest in western Cameroon. Photo by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. The judge ordered Hardwood Dimensions to pay 4,000 pounds ($5,570) plus court costs in a case brought by the U.K.’s Office for Product Safety and Standards, the British agency in charge of EU Timber Regulation enforcement. The Timber Trade Federation statement said “none of the material imported was from an illegal source,” according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which houses the Office for Product Safety and Standards. But Counsell said “They must have had good information to know that that timber was at least questionable,” particularly when it was coming from a “high-risk country” for timber like Cameroon. A court last year fined U.K. furniture importer Lombok 5,000 pounds ($6,970), plus court costs, for a similar violation of failing to do its due diligence on wood furniture brought in from India. Source: news.mongabay.com

Native forests threatened by myrtle rust

April 4, 2017 The arrival of myrtle rust, threatening some of New Zealand’s most precious native trees, shows the kind of impact climate change could have on the country, says Forest and Bird. Myrtle rust, or Puccinia psidii, is a fungus with spores that are spread by the wind, and is likely to affect pohutukawa, rata and manuka, as well feijoas and guavas. Originating in South America, it has already spread to other countries, including Australia, where it has wiped out some native tree species. It has now been found on pohutukawa on Raoul Island, in the Kermadecs north of New Zealand, and scientists, conservationists and the honey and horticulture industries fear it will make it to the mainland. "MPI and the Department of Conservation must put in place rigorous bio-security controls between the Kermadecs and New Zealand to stop this fungus ever reaching our mainland forests," says Forest & Bird climate advocate Adelia Hallett. Ms Hallett says that while its not known whether this particular disease is linked to a warming climate, we should expect to see new and potentially devastating pests and diseases arrive in the country and take hold as the climate changes. “The north of New Zealand is likely to get warmer and wetter, and that means that diseases like myrtle rust could thrive here,” she said. “Nature is already in crisis in New Zealand, with some 1000 species heading for extinction. They now also have to cope with the impacts of climate change, including a host of new pests and diseases.” Forest & Bird says the Government needs to join the battle to protect our native species against climate change by: • Requiring real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the extent of climate change. • Making sure our natural ecosystems, including forests, are as healthy as possible so they have the best chance possible of surviving the arrival of new pests and diseases. Source:scoop.co.nz

Health

Every Six Seconds, One Person Dies Of Diabetes, Says Consultant Endocrinologist

By SAHARA REPORTERS, NEW YORK Nov 14, 2018 Dr. Adenike Enikuomehin, a medical consultant, has said that at least one person dies every six seconds of diabetes globally. Noting that the situation is worrisome, Enikuomehin added that 700 people out of 1,500 admitted to the hospital recently have diabetes. She spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at an event to make the 2018 World Diabetes Day, themed 'Diabetes and the Family'. She revealed that Ondo State is recording an increase in the cases of diabetes as a result of the number of patients in the hospital. She stated that 3,500 out of 8,500 patients admitted at the teaching hospital since January this year till date are diabetic. “When you admit 40 patients in our hospitals, almost 30 out of them are living with diabetes," said Enikuomehin, a Consultant Endocrinologist at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Ondo. "And this is more than two-thirds of admitted patients. This is worrisome and calls for attention and the support of all and sundry. The family has a major role to play in this aspect by giving the necessary support to all the people living with diabetes." According to Enikuomehin, the main factors contributing to diabetes include high level of calorie intake, obesity rate and inducement of drugs. Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, Ondo State Commissioner for Health, said diabetes has become a major global concern among the people. Adegbenro also observed that diabetes is so rampant that one in every five persons has the disease. He, however, revealed that the state government has been doing much to create awareness to help nip the disease in the bud. He also advised people to shun self medication and avoid eating junk in order to have good health. “Diabetes and hypertension are major diseases troubling the whole world and incidentally, two of them can go together in a person," he said. "We have a lot of specialists and facilities that can handle diabetes. However, people should stop eating junk and self medication." Michael Ajayi, Secretary of the Diabetes Asociation of Nigeria in Ondo State, urged the people to always engage in regular checkup in order to know their status on time. "It is better for people to know their diabetic status on time because it would help save money and time," he said. Source; saharareporter.com

Medical Marijuana Has Healthcare Companies Scrambling to Invest in the $10 Billion-Dollar Opportunit

Oct. 18, 2018 Press Release Santa Clara, California — Frost & Sullivan will host an interactive briefing discussing the medical marijuana market revenue trends and challenges Frost & Sullivan, the growth partnership company, announced today that it will host a live, complimentary Growth Innovation Leadership (GIL) briefing titled, "Medical Marijuana Market Trends - Future Clinical Role of Medical Marijuana & CBD," on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Pacific Time. The webinar will offer expert insight from Nitin Naik, Global Vice President, Life Sciences, Barbara Gilmore, Senior Consultant, Life Sciences, both at Frost & Sullivan, and Dr. Joseph C. Maroon, Clinical Professor and Vice Chairman, at the University of Pittsburgh. For more information and to register for the webinar, please visit http://frost.ly/2t3. Medical cannabis use is driving industry revenues into the billions. Investments by pharmaceutical and Big Tobacco companies in the development of cannabis and CBD-based products and devices, along with healthcare-conscious consumers having access to these products, are spurring growth. Physicians, aware of increasingly widespread medical marijuana legalization, are interested in understanding the potential of these treatments. In the US states where cannabis is approved, the use of prescription drugs, including the use of opioids, has decreased. "The use of medical marijuana is sparking keen interest not only with investors, but also doctors and patients. All but four states in the US have legalized either medical marijuana or CBD use. There are over 770 clinical trials underway studying the use of medical cannabis in various diseases and another more than 500 trials studying the use of CBD," noted Gilmore. "With all of these studies underway, it is interesting to note that states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use have seen a steady decrease in the number of recorded patient prescriptions. This is a trend that will be studied going forward as physicians learn more about the medical marijuana efficacy as it related to the diseases it is successfully treating." The informative webinar will cover key insights: Source: allafrica.com

The amazing ways intermittent fasting affects your body and brain

20 March, 2018 Many people say they experience an energy boost while doing intermittent fasting. Jacob Lund/Shutterstock It's odd to think that depriving yourself of a necessity for life might be one of the most powerful ways to transform your health. Yet there's more and more evidence for the idea that fasting could have powerful health benefits for both the body and brain. There are many different forms of fasting, ranging from going extended periods without food to consistently eating less (perhaps cutting caloric intake by 20%) to intermittent or periodic fasting. But of all these different kinds of fasting, intermittent fasting is very likely the most popular and certainly the trendiest one. Celebrity adherents include Hugh Jackman, Tim Ferriss, and Beyonce. In Silicon Valley, whole groups of self-optimization-obsessed biohackers meet to collectively break their fast once a week, and executives at companies like Facebook say fasting has helped them lose weight and have more energy. The hard part about classifying "intermittent fasting" is that there are a number of different forms of this kind of fast. Intermittent-fasting regimens range from allowing yourself to consume calories only within a certain span of the day, likely between six and 12 hours, to eating normally five days a week and dramatically cutting calories on two fasting days, to taking a 36-hour break from food every week. The different forms that these fasts can take mean that much of the research showing benefits might be true for one of these fasts but not necessarily others. Yet there is good research on several of these fasts indicating that the benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond weight loss. There may be real long-term disease-fighting health improvements. A recent study suggests that intermittent fasting can do more than help people lose weight; it also may improve blood pressure and help the body process fat. Shutterstock For this small study, researchers had overweight participants either cut calories every day or eat normally five days a week and consume only 600 calories on their two fasting days. Both groups were able to lose weight successfully, but those on what's known as the 5:2 diet did so slightly faster (though it's unclear if the diet would always help people lose weight faster). More significant, those from the intermittent-fasting group cleared fat from their system more quickly after a meal and experienced a 9% drop in systolic blood pressure (the "regular diet" group had a slight increase in blood pressure). Again, this was a small study, and researchers say participants had a hard time following the diet, but these are promising results. Other studies indicate intermittent fasting could reduce risk for forms of cancer, but more research is needed. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images Other small studies on a similar 5:2 diet and on other intermittent-fasting diets have shown that this form of intermittent fasting is associated with physical changes that could lead to reduced cancer risk, particularly for breast cancer. Much more research on this area is needed, but these are promising results, Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, previously told Business Insider. There may be evolutionary reasons why depriving ourselves of food for some time makes us feel energetic and focused. Thomson Reuters "Hungry," from an evolutionary perspective, isn't lifeless or drained. It's when our bodies and brains need to function at maximum capacity. "It makes sense that the brain needs to be functioning very well when an individual is in a fasted state because it's in that state that they have to figure out how to find food," Mattson told Business Insider. "They also have to be able to expend a lot of energy. Individuals whose brains were not functioning well while fasting would not be able to compete and thrive." Periodic fasting may make it easier for us to burn fat and enter ketosis. Fox Blood samples have shown that people who fast from 12 to 24 hours at a time enter a state called ketosis — when their bodies start to derive more energy from fat, Mattson told Business Insider in another interview. The more you enter this state, the better your body gets at using fat as fuel. For that reason, some people try to trigger ketosis with "keto" diets that involve consuming a lot of fat. But, according to Mattson, fasting is a significantly more effective way of boosting ketone levels. Intermittent fasting may strengthen neural connections and improve memory and mood. human brain connectome Human Connectome Project, Science, March 2012. Many people who fast intermittently say that at times they feel clearer and more focused while fasting. There's real science to back up the idea that being "hungry" gives you a sense of focus. Entering ketosis triggers the release of a molecule called BDNF, which strengthens neurons and brain connections linked to learning and memory. That's one of the reasons researchers have suggested that ketogenic diets (both the fasting kind and the fat-heavy kind) could be useful for people fighting degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's. That also could explain the clarity or focus some people feel after fasting. It may provide a mood boost as well. Research indicates that some forms of intermittent fasting may help with diabetes. Shutterstock Both in mice and in people, there's evidence that certain forms of intermittent fasting can improve the body's response to sugar. In mice, researchers have basically been able to reboot the pancreas, which produces insulin, reversing diabetes with periods of fasting like the 5:2 diet. In people, a form of fasting that involves 25 days of unrestricted eating followed by five days of eating a very restricted fasting diet seems to cause big improvements for those with high blood sugar. Intermittent fasting works at least as well as other forms of dieting for weight loss. Shutterstock/Siberian Photographer No form of restricting food is necessarily easy, and people who get started with intermittent fasting for the first time agree that it's no picnic. On the one hand, it's nice to eat whatever your want when your diet isn't restricted — but it's also very hard to know you are still hours away from food when struck with a craving. Yet research does indicate that intermittent fasting is at least as good as other forms of dieting for weight loss. That, plus the other health benefits, might make it a preferred candidate for many. Certain forms of fasting are associated with antiaging health effects, though it's not clear whether intermittent fasting does this for humans. Shutterstock Several forms of fasting have been associated with significantly improved lifespan and healthspan — the time an organism is healthy — in several studies. This has mostly been demonstrated with caloric restriction in animals, which cuts the number of calories these animals are provided by between 20% and 30%. There's limited evidence that this may work for humans too. But that sort of fast doesn't sound necessarily safe or pleasant. Valter Longo, an antiaging researcher at the University of Southern California, has published research and written a book about a diet he's developed that he says provides the health and antiaging benefits of fasting while still letting people eat normally 25 days a month (the other five are pretty rough). It's unclear whether intermittent fasting would trigger the same benefits, though it's possible. More research is still needed on the different forms of intermittent fasting. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters It's appealing to think that fasting might be an ancient survival mechanism that triggers healing processes in the body, as many fasting researchers suggest. But that doesn't mean all forms of fasting are the same or that they have the same health effects. Many will vary from person to person, and you should always consult your doctor before trying any severe dietary changes. In his new book, "The Longevity Diet," Longo cautions against using the term "intermittent fasting" too broadly. We know various forms of fasts — like eating only during certain hours, restricting eating one or two days a week — are associated with health benefits. But we don't know that all these health benefits are the same for all fasts. But even so, many of these intermittent-fasting regimens are considered relatively safe for a healthy person. So if they appeal, they could

Here's what happens to your body when you're happy

Happiness Day * smiley face emoji * And while we appreciate that it’s not possible for everyone to snap their fingers and suddenly feel happy, it is a good opportunity to celebrate some of the health benefits happiness can bring." data-reactid="22" type="text"> 20 March, 2018 Happiness Day * smiley face emoji * And while we appreciate that it’s not possible for everyone to snap their fingers and suddenly feel happy, it is a good opportunity to celebrate some of the health benefits happiness can bring." data-reactid="22" type="text"> It’s International Happiness Day * smiley face emoji * And while we appreciate that it’s not possible for everyone to snap their fingers and suddenly feel happy, it is a good opportunity to celebrate some of the health benefits happiness can bring. According to research happy people are less likely to get sick, more likely to reach their goals, and make more money on average than those who aren’t getting out of bed on the sunny side. not smoking could have!)" data-reactid="24" type="text"> Those with a positive outlook even live seven and a half years longer on average than those who drink from a glass half empty (that’s similar to the effect on your life span as not smoking could have!) mental health, but there are plenty of other sneaky ways happiness can impact other aspects of our bodies…" data-reactid="25" type="text"> Sure we know being happy can have a positive effect on our mental health, but there are plenty of other sneaky ways happiness can impact other aspects of our bodies… Your skin Dr Andrew Affleck, consultant dermatologist at BMI Fernbrae and BMI Albyn hospitals in Scotland." data-reactid="27" type="text"> Want to tell how happy you are? Look at your skin. “The skin is the most sensitive organ in the body to assess a person’s happiness,” advises Dr Andrew Affleck, consultant dermatologist at BMI Fernbrae and BMI Albyn hospitals in Scotland. “If you are happy and relaxed, your skin will be happy too, with optimal blood flow (not pale or too flushed), and no excess sweat that you can sometimes get if you are stressed or anxious.” Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist at BMI The Manor Hospital in Bedford agrees with." data-reactid="29" type="text"> That’s something Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist at BMI The Manor Hospital in Bedford agrees with. “When people are happy, they produce hormones called endorphins – there is emerging evidence that endorphins are involved in strengthening the skin barrier, have an anti inflammatory effect and promote wound healing,” he explains. “So, if you are happy, it can be argued that you are less likely to suffer from dermatitis, psoriasis and more likely to heal wounds faster and better.” On the flipside Dr Affleck says being unhappy can aggravate many skin disorders via neuroimmunological and endocrine mechanisms. In other words bad mood can = bad skin. Yikes! Your brain Remente." data-reactid="45" type="text"> “Being elated and happy lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing the production of endorphins and serotonin, which is also known as the happiness hormone,” explains David Brudö, CEO and Co-founder of mental wellbeing and personal development app Remente. “These happiness hormones create a sense of feeling content, which in turn make the brain function at its best capacity.” Your heart Smile Train “This means that you can lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems – just by cracking a smile!”" data-reactid="48" type="text"> When you’re happy you smile and smiling can have a positive impact on your health, including your heart health. “The release of endorphins through smiling increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure,” explains Susannah Schaefer, CEO of the International Children’s Charity, Smile Train “This means that you can lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems – just by cracking a smile!” Your wrinkles Rana Das-Gupta, consultant plastic surgeon at The Meriden Hospital in Coventry." data-reactid="50" type="text"> Who knew being happy could keep wrinkles at bay? “Happiness can mean retaining the appearance of youth for longer,” says Rana Das-Gupta, consultant plastic surgeon at The Meriden Hospital in Coventry. Das-Gupta says happiness can influence skin ageing through reducing the shortening seen in telomeres (the protein caps on the ends of our DNA chromosomes that shorten as we get older). “This research promises to show a cellular link between happiness and youthfulness,” she says. Your blood pressure Dr Robin Northcote, consultant cardiologist at Ross Hall, King’s Park and Carrick Glen hospitals in Scotland." data-reactid="53" type="text"> “Happiness and contentment can lower blood pressure,” explains Dr Robin Northcote, consultant cardiologist at Ross Hall, King’s Park and Carrick Glen hospitals in Scotland. And this in turn can have a knock on effect. “We eat less and more healthily, drink less and smoke less,” Dr Northcote continues. “All of these result in less heart disease, diabetes and stroke and all the while we enjoy the endorphin release which makes us even happier!” Winning! Your stomach eat your way to happiness by consuming the right kind of foods, but how content you are has an effect on your stomach health too. “If you are happy, your body is more likely to carefully swallow, digest and process a range of foods without any ill effects, acid reflux or indigestion,” explains Mr Ewen Griffiths, consultant general and gastrointestinal surgeon at The Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham." data-reactid="60" type="text"> They say you can eat your way to happiness by consuming the right kind of foods, but how content you are has an effect on your stomach health too. “If you are happy, your body is more likely to carefully swallow, digest and process a range of foods without any ill effects, acid reflux or indigestion,” explains Mr Ewen Griffiths, consultant general and gastrointestinal surgeon at The Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham. “Interestingly, an unhappy mind and stress can significantly affect the gastrointestinal tract,” Dr Griffiths continues. “For example irritable bowel syndrome or indigestion and reflux are known to be much worse if you are stressed or anxious.” If you’re at all concerned he suggests getting checked by a medical professional. Your immune system Feeling under the weather? Time to put a smile back on your face. “Laughing and smiling encourages the release of serotonin,” explains Susannah Schaefer. “Like endorphins, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which contributes to a person’s happiness and wellbeing. Serotonin has many positive benefits – one of which is boosting the immune system.” Your stress levels Dr Simon Taggart, consultant chest and general physician at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester." data-reactid="76" type="text"> “Happiness has real physical changes in the body,” explains Dr Simon Taggart, consultant chest and general physician at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester. “Lower levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline gives us a warm glow inside the body and warms our hands and feet. Happiness creates a more relaxed state of mind, and this shines through as a loss of the excessive muscle tension in our faces.” Your life span The simple act of cracking a smile could add years to your lifespan! “Studies have shown that a happy disposition can have a powerful impact on a person’s health, as well as their life expectancy,” explains Susannah Schaefer. Source: uk.style.yahoo.com

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