Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

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Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

As we reported late Thursday evening, the death toll from the viral outbreak on mainland China has surpassed 600. With global markets once again in the red, Bloomberg reports that Beijing has silenced two of the citizen journalists responsible for much of the horrifying footage seeping onto western social media.

As BBG’s reporter explains, Chinese citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin have effectively been “the world’s eyes and ears” inside Wuhan (much of the film produced by American news organizations has consisted of drone footage). In recent days, SCMP and other news organizations reporting on the ground and publishing in English have warned that Beijing has stepped up efforts to censor Chinese social media after allowing citizens to vent their frustrations and share news without the usual scrutiny.

On Wednesday, China said its censors would conduct “targeted supervision” on the largest social media platforms including Weibo, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin. All in an effort to mask the dystopian nightmare that life in cities like Wuhan has become.

But that brief period of informational amnesty is now over, apparently. Fang posted a dramatic video on Friday showing him being forcibly detained and dragged off to a ‘quarantine’. He was detained over a video showing corpses piled up in a Wuhan hospital. However, he has already been released.

Chen, meanwhile, seems to have vanished without a trace, and is believed to still be in government detention. We shared one of Chen’s more alarming videos documenting the severe medical supply shortages and outnumbered medical personnel fighting a ‘losing battle’ against the outbreak.

The crackdown on these journalists comes amid an outpouring of public anger over the death of a doctor who was wrongly victimized by police after attempting to warn the public about the outbreak. Beijing tried to cover up the death, denying it to the western press before the local hospital confirmed.

The videos supplied by the two citizen journos have circulated most freely on twitter, which is where most in-the-know Chinese go for their latest information about the outbreak. Many “hop” the “great firewall” via a VPN.

“There’s a lot more activity happening on Twitter compared with Weibo and WeChat,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. There has been a Chinese community on Jack Dorsey’s short-message platform since before President Xi Jinping rose to power, she added, but the recent crackdown has weakened that social circle.

Chen has now been missing for more than 24 hours, according to several friends in contact with BBG News.

Chen has been out of contact for a prolonged period of time. His friends posted a message on his Twitter account saying he has been unreachable since 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. In a texted interview, Bloomberg News’s last question to Chen was whether he was concerned about his safety as he’s among the few people reporting the situation on the front lines.

It’s all part of the great crackdown that Beijing is enforcing, even as the WHO continues to praise the Communist Party for its ‘transparency’.

“After lifting the lid briefly to give the press and social media some freedom,” said Wang about China’s ruling Communist Party, the regime “is now reinstating its control over social media, fearing it could lead to a wider-spread panic.”

With a little luck, the world might soon learn Chen’s whereabouts. Then again, there’s always the chance that he’s never heard from again.


Tyler Durden

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Nigerians react as Maryam Sanda is sentenced to death by hanging for killing husband (Video) – Davina Diaries

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Nigerians have reacted to the Court verdict sentencing Maryam Sanda to death by hanging for killing her husband Bilyaminu Bello in November 2018.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Monday sentenced Maryam Sanda to death by hanging after convicting her for the death of her husband Bilyaminu Bello.

Sanda had faced trial over an allegation of stabbing Bilyaminu to death, son of former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello.

In November 2017, the police charged Sanda for culpable homicide and sought a death penalty against the accused on two counts.

She was pregnant when she killed her husband and has since birthed a baby girl.

They informed the court that the killing was premeditated.

According to the charge sheet, Sanda was said to have stabbed her husband with broken bottles.

The police charged her for culpable homicide and sought a death penalty against her on two counts.

They informed the court that the killing was premeditated. According to the charge sheet, Sanda stabbed her husband with broken bottles at about 3:50 am.

But the accused who was initially remanded in custody has repeatedly pleaded not guilty to the crime.

After her conviction, she fled the dock immediately. However, court officials and prisons officials dragged her back into the dock.

Maryam started wailing and shouting “Inna lilahi Inna roji hun”, as her family and lawyer try to console her. She was heard saying, “I was fasting and praying … Ya Allah, why?”

Watch video below:

The news of the court’s verdict has been met with different reactions on social media with some people including celebrities preaching against anger or staying in an unhappy marriage.

However, a Nigerian activist identified as Rahama (@Forever_Rayyan) on Twitter, has taken to the microblogging site to show support to Maryam. According to Rahama, men are demonic and can push one to extreme lengths.

She added that Maryam’s life matters in this case and that her husband misbehaved which led to her stabbing him in anger.

Rahama reiterated that she stands with Maryam and that even though she killed her husband, it is not a reason for them to pay evil with evil. She added that because Bilyaminu Bello’s father is a former PDP chairman does not mean Maryam does not have rights.

See some reactions below:

We should take this Maryam sanda situation as a lesson to control our rage and anger in life,because 2minutes can ruin your life forever so please and please let’s try and control our rage before we do what we will regret in life …

— 👑👑Nûmérö Ûñô🚀 (@Haidaer__) January 27, 2020

Maryam Sanda’s kid is going to be like ‘my mom killed my dad then the government killed my mom’

— Boardman (@TimelineBandit) January 27, 2020

I’ve no pity for her; Maryam Sanda, for that’s the provision of QUR’AN and constitutionally it’s a law we must to abide by. I wish you the best when approaching the MASTER OF all the JUDGES

— Amb Shuaibu Gomna (@Shuaibu_Gomna) January 27, 2020

Justice well served!

As an activist I stand with MARYAM SANDA😌 men are demonic and can push you to extreme lengths, yes we should learn to control our anger but even the Qur’an said you should seek for protection and defend your self when necessary in the 1999 constitution as been amended.

— R(a)HaM(a)❤ (@Forever_Rayyan) January 27, 2020

There is no reason to pay evil with evil, you didn’t ask her for her reason for the murder even taught islam prohibits killing, sometimes men do really push women to the wall you know🙄🤔 just cause his father is a former PDP chairman doesn’t mean she has no right Nigeria 😪

— R(a)HaM(a)❤ (@Forever_Rayyan) January 27, 2020

I also stand with Maryam sanda,she is d only one that knows what she went through.u shouldn’t blame her for what she did.Dont be judgemental

— Miss Rabiah (@RabiatAbdulkad1) January 27, 2020

Maryam Sanda opinions in this case matters as well, human rights are women right, her husband mis behaved she stapped him out of anger without knowing, he died & you’re now blaming her. Put yourselves in her shoes arewa Twitter.

— R(a)HaM(a)❤ (@Forever_Rayyan) January 27, 2020

What happens to the child, they should leave her for the child sake, so the child is now an orphan, mommy killed dad and everyone starts running away from the child thinking she is also gonna be a serial killer? Weve to change our mind sets. Nigeria law is scam.#MaryamSanda https://t.co/uV6dNxvNhR

— R(a)HaM(a)❤ (@Forever_Rayyan) January 27, 2020

Hours after Mayam Sanda was sentenced to death by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the nation’s capital, for killing her husband, a special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media, Bashir Ahmad, has described the incidents as devastating and traumatic.

The presidential aide made this known on his Twitter page on Monday, January 27, stressing that only Allah could strengthen the couple’s families.

Ahmad said it would be sad for Maryam Sanda’s daughter to know while growing up that her mother killed her father and that the court in return sentenced her to death.

He said it might not be easy for the innocent girl to cope with such traumatic incidences, adding that it is only Allah could give her strength to bear the burden and agony of losing both parents in such circumstances.

Ahmad further stated that thoughts and prayers have been with Bilyaminu and Maryam’s families since the incident happened.

I feel so sorry and sad for Maryam Sanda’s daughter, growing up to understand such devastating incidences will not going to be easy. May Allah give her the strength and be with her. Thoughts and prayers have been with Bilyaminu and Maryam’s families. May Allah comfort them.

— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) January 27, 2020

He prayed Almighty Allah to be with both families and Sanda’s daughter.

Meanwhile, the police had told the court that Sanda had stabbed her husband with a broken bottle with the intention of killing him.

However, the accused denied the claim and pleaded not guilty to the crime. She said her husband died after he accidentally fell on a broken bottle in their home.

She was eventually granted bail after many attempts. As part of her bail condition, the court-mandated her father to produce her in court till the end of the trial.

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Maryam Sanda to Appeal Death Sentence

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•Justice was served, says co-convener of BBOG

Alex Enumah and Udora Orizu in Abuja

Mrs. Maryam Sanda, who was on Monday sentenced to death by hanging for killing her husband, will appeal the judgment, a member of his legal team has told THISDAY.
Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had given her the maximum sentence for killing her husband, Mr. Bilyaminu Bello.

However, some women and civil rights activists have condemned the death penalty, describing it as unacceptable.
But another activist and co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) movement, Mrs. Aisha Yesufu, welcomed the death penalty, saying that it was not only an adequate punishment but also that justice had been served in the case.

The federal government had arraigned her on a two-count charge bordering on murder.
In the judgment delivered, the trial judge held that there was circumstantial evidence coupled with the defendant’s testimony and statement to the police that she “fatally” stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on November 19, 2017.
The judge while stating that the offence for which the defendant was convicted was based on Section 221 of the Penal Code imposed the maximum sentence.

“It has been said that thou shall not kill. Whoever kills in cold blood shall die in cold blood,” the judge said, adding: “Maryam Sanda should reap what she has sown. It is blood for blood.”
However, reacting to the judgment yesterday, one of the lawyers, who spoke off the record, said they would go on appeal against the judgment.

“She has a constitutional right of appeal and definitely she has to exercise it,” he said, adding: “We will definitely appeal the judgment.”
Sanda killed her husband on November 19, 2017, through multiple stabbing.
She was arraigned alongside three other persons, including her mother and brother.
However, the others were discharged because the prosecution was unable to link them to the charges.
The late Bello is a son of a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Haliru Bello.

Activists Condemn Death Penalty

Some women and civil rights activists have condemned the death penalty given to Sanda, describing it as unacceptable.
In a WhatsApp conversation with THISDAY, an activist and Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Mrs. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, condemned the court’s ruling.

Though she agreed that anyone found guilty of such conduct should be punished, she said death penalty was condemnable.
She said: “It’s a very unfortunate situation, killing of a spouse whether a man or woman is condemnable and anyone found guilty of such conduct should be punished, as deterrence.

The society should have zero tolerance to gender-based violence. “However, death penalty is condemnable. I think maximum sentence in this instance is not the option given the background of the offence. The society should shift from the culture of death penalty; it is no longer acceptable, it has not served the purpose it was meant in the society.”

Corroborating Akiyode-Afolabi’s comment, human rights lawyer and Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), Mr. Frank Tietie, said Sanda should not have been given the maximum punishment.

Tietie in a phone conversation with THISDAY hinged his claim on the possibility of defendant being mentally unstable during the time the crime was committed and the defence team not doing enough to explore all the possible defences available to the woman.
He added that Nigeria must move beyond being a retentionist country in these modern times and realise that death penalty does not solve problems.

According to him, “Mental incapacity is something that should have been brought to the court and with the use of expert witness to prove that she’s not mentally capable of organising herself in such a state of frustration.

“Firstly, for someone to want to kill her husband is an expression of abnormality; it’s not quite natural. I suspect that her mental health was something to be questioned, which should have been brought before the court. If to argue that the woman did not do it, it’s a different thing but to say that she did it, her mind set was not in control of her mental faculty as at the time she did it because of the marital trauma she must have been exposed to which was prolonged and eventually led to pent-up anger and she was also left unattended to by relatives and friends.”

He expressed optimism that Sanda has a window for appeal both at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
He said: “It’s my hope that some new pieces of evidence will be introduced.

“Even by law, death penalty is barbaric; Oscar Pistorius wasn’t given maximum sentence not to talk about this kind of culpable homicide that was done based on crime of passion. What led her to committing those crimes should have been brought to the court.”
But activist and co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls, Yesufu, believed that justice was served.

She, however, tasked the judiciary to also apply the same energy in ensuring that everyone gets justice regardless of one’s status or gender.

She said: “For me basically the case is simple. Maryam Sanda was found guilty of killing her husband and of course justice has been served. My take out from this is that if the Nigerian judiciary system can be very strict in ensuring that people get justice, a lot of things that happen in Nigeria, we wouldn’t see them happening.

“People won’t have any reason to take the laws into their hands and feel that they can do anything and get away with it. No matter who you are, you have to pay for your crimes no matter your gender, age or status. It’s all a tragic ending for the families involved but it’s what it is, justice has been served.”

The post Maryam Sanda to Appeal Death Sentence appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.

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Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa Ibom

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Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa IbomBy Chioma Onuegbu

A police officer in Akwa Ibom state police command identified as Inspector Bassey Ikpe has allegedly beaten one widow, Mrs. Deborah Mkpenie to death over a civil matter based on inheritance rights.

An eyewitness and a tricycle rider Sunday Umoren told newsmen yesterday that the brutal murder of the widow and mother of three occurred last Thursday, Jan 16, 2020, following the invitation of late Mrs. Mkpenie by Bassey Ikpe who was the Police Investigation Officer (I.P.O) in the civil matter.

Umoren who brought the deceased to the Police Headquarters Ikot Akpan narrated how Ikpe attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department, (SCID) manhandled Mrs Mkpenie at the police premises.

He said, “The policeman approached my Keke which bore the woman, shouted at her that she was lying about her sickness. He made efforts to drag her out, in anger, he knocked her head several times by the side rail of the Keke. The woman was screaming that she is not well.

“She began to suffocate and found it difficult to breathe. The policeman kept insisting that she was lying that she was not feeling well. He even told her that, if she wanted to die, she should die. As the policeman kept trying to pull her out of the Keke, she was screaming until her voice grew faint.

“We even begged the policeman to refrain from his hostile act towards the woman. He even refused our taking her to hospital. It was after she breathed her last, that he eventually ordered that she should be taken to the hospital.”

Another eyewitness and sister to the deceased Mfonobong Peter corroborated Umoren’s explanation that Inspector Ikpe went wild that the deceased was lying about her state of health to escape being arraigned in court.

READ ALSO: Graphic: One shot dead, another injured as police disperse Shi’ites protest in Abuja

“My late sister was beaten to death by Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe. He had threatened her repeatedly ever since this matter came up. My sister had waist pains arising from the dislocation she had while caring for the late husband. This made it difficult for her move about freely.

“She was also hypertensive due to the health complications that led to the husband’s death. But this policeman refused to take even the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. I don’t know what interest he had on the matter.

“He had forced her to come to the police station, so that they could appear in court on a fictitious criminal charge, against the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, the previous day. He beat my sister to death. I want Justice to be done”, she lamented.

She noted that when her late sister was rushed to the Police Clinic, the doctor confirmed she was already dead, adding “On returning to the police headquarters, we were denied entry into the premises by the police officers at the gate”.

However, it was gathered on Wednesday that Inspector was arrested on Tuesday January, 21 and detained pending completion of investigation into the murder case.

A human rights activist and Executive Director, Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights and Development Advancement (FoCERaDA) Mr Clifford Thomas (Esq) described the action of Inspector Ikpe as highly condemnable.

Thomas who said the organisation petitioned the IGP,and CP when the matter was brought to her said “What this development means is that we still have police officers who needs further training in respect to observance and promotion of Human Rights.

” We are insisting on justice for the late widow because the action contravenes section 33 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). However, the reaction of the Commissioner of Police in the state is commendable.

“He swung into action immediately he got the report and after enquiries got him (Ikpe) arrested yesterday (Tuesday) and detained him while investigation is ongoing”

Thomas added that their brief has it that Victor Nkereuwem Mkpenie, Mkpenie Nkereuwem Mkpenie, and Aniekan Nkereuwem Mkpenie, stepsons of the deceased reported a civil matter based on inheritance and sharing of properties of the late husband of the deceased to the said Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe, who thereon tutored them to frame up a lame charge against the deceased.

“The charge never came up but the deceased had filed for the enforcement of her fundamental human rights following the repeated harassment she received from the Inspector Ikpe and her three stepsons. The trio had threatened that the deceased would die and the case discontinued.

“On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the SCIID , S. U Horsefall had warned Inspector Ikpe against his very obvious violation of police regulations and procedure and advised him to bring all the parties for interview on that fateful day to see if going to court would still be an option”

Several efforts by newsmen to get police reaction on the incident was abortive.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, in a statement yesterday made available to newsmen said, “The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has been drawn to a publication in some dailies and online media that Police personnel attached to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, one Inspr. Bassey Ikpe reportedly beat up one Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Mkpenie to death on Thursday, 16th of January, 2020.

“To authenticate this serious allegation, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, CP Imohimi Edgal has ordered the immediate arrest of the said Inspector.

“The Commissioner has instructed the Deputy Commissioner, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter, while reiterating the Command’s commitment to policing with great respect for human rights”.

The post Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa Ibom appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Looking Back Through a Misty Film: Recollection from the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop

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by Bura-Bari Nwilo

In December 2019, I stood over Oly in my apartment in Nsukka and drew her attention to posts of Facebook friends who had screenshot acceptance letters signed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the year’s creative writing workshop. And in my eyes, she could see mild fury hinged on disappointment. I deafened her with tales of my yearly rejections and why I felt I had a right to be disappointed with all things Nigerian.

Then by whatever stroke of fate it was, I checked my email and saw my own letter. Like a letter I had once received explaining how I was among a shortlist of 50 amazing writers and the apology for what could not become my invitation letter, I read those years of rejection and apology into what was an acceptance letter for 2019. When I read through to the second paragraph, I felt an inch taller and almost swiftly, I was massively subdued, like I stood on a tower of resentment for all that had been my misfortune and it turned out it was a day of glory.

When I read through to the second paragraph, I felt an inch taller and almost swiftly, I was massively subdued, like I stood on a tower of resentment for all that had been my misfortune and it turned out it was a day of glory.

Oly shared kind words with me and I went back to the email to see if I had not been too optimistic to have read into a poor letter an acceptance that was only in my imaginations. And I was not dreaming. I was truly invited to the now renamed Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop after more than five rejections.

At the workshop, I shared experiences of my years of application and some of the wild thoughts I had nurtured. Once, I had thought that my serial rejection, after many of my friends were invited, was because I was not Igbo and I thought I could change my name to allow me entrance. Don’t die yet. And for the year I received a consolidation email signed by Ms. Adichie, I could not mix anger with such obviously patronizing letter. Goodwill messages from Facebook friends, of how I was such an interesting writer, added in me some courage to keep writing. And looking back at such thoughts, I am grateful it ended up between Arinze and me.

And for the big question in class, I asked Ms. Adichie what interested her in my entry that did not meet her many years ago, especially since it was just a regular story, something I had not even taken seriously, against the many I had written with all hopes and concern. And there, I concluded that maybe what makes the big mark comes in the funniest wrap. I had written a story about a serial killer who lured her victims, especially taxi drivers. The killer writes about the incidents on her blog. The few paragraphs I sent were the reason I was invited.

And there, I concluded that maybe what makes the big mark comes in the funniest wrap.

I come from a place of ‘serious’ literature. And I have tried creating most of that seriousness. I have given elbowroom to experimentation and maybe it is why I am yet to decide on writing a novel. And after listening to other participants share their acceptance tales; I knew that I was not alone. We were a universe of people motivated by Chimamanda and would do as much as applying for several years just to hear her up-close, watch her read and share thoughts on story writing and being a writer while addressing us by our names and whatever it was that made us stand out.

The 2019 workshop had it a bit unfortunate. The classes were cut to five days instead of ten days and a lot of things had to be stuffed into a really tiny car. Chimamanda, Lola Shoneyin, Eghosa Imasuen, and Novuyo Tsuma Rosa gave us thrilling experiences with backbreaking tasks: reading multiple stories into late night and class writing tasks that would see you read aloud your writings and listen to others and give constructive feedback. We made a coolly glossy family in a few days than would have been imagined. And maybe the shared rooms enabled bonding, but the 2019 workshop was tense, practical, overwhelming, indulging, compelling and it ended on such evenings where writers knew tears like they knew words and sentences. And those whose tears did not make the warm walk through cheeks, it formed a bubble in their hearts and stayed there as a priceless memory.

Her brilliance lies more in her ability to share quite controversial yet informed thoughts without breaking anyone’s back.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is brilliant and adorable in giving kind words. We share a birth date with a ten-year age difference and that’s my consolidation for being a lazy writer. Her brilliance lies more in her ability to share quite controversial yet informed thoughts without breaking anyone’s back. Her playfulness and humane jibes and photo sessions informed me that it takes more than a fine head and great skill to be a superstar. A sprinkle of warmth, friendliness and sometimes vanity could be other awesome additions.

With the workshop, Chimamanda builds confidence, encourages collaboration, and invents homes for broken yet agile storytellers whose shortcomings are not only placed outside the spotlight, but their strength and wellness are given so much cheers and support to germinate.

Bura-Bari Nwilo is the author of The Colour of a Thing Believed, a book of short stories.

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Abdication, divorces and death: a century of UK royal crises

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The announcement Saturday that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are to give up their titles and stop receiving public funds is only the latest instalment in a royal soap opera that has gripped Britain and the world.

– Love over country –
The 1936 abdication of Edward VIII 326 days into his reign remains the biggest scandal in modern royal history and caused a worldwide sensation.

Britain’s brief king provoked a constitutional crisis when he stepped down in order to marry the twice-divorced US socialite Wallis Simpson.

The union was deemed impossible while Edward was monarch and head of the Church of England, which at the time refused to remarry divorcees while their former spouse was still alive.

Edward was the first monarch in the 1,000-year history of the British Crown to give up his throne of his own free will.

His brother King George VI replaced him on the throne, and Edward — who married Simpson in 1937 — was subsequently ostracised by the rest of the Windsor family until the late 1960s.

He died in 1972.

– Margaret’s heartbreak –
Queen Elizabeth II’s fun-loving younger sister, Princess Margaret, also sparked a firestorm with her choice for marriage.

In 1952, the then-22-year-old began a romance with her late father’s divorced equerry, former Royal Air Force officer Peter Townsend.

The couple’s wish to marry prompted a battle between the government and the public — which was seen to be sympathetic to the union — with the queen caught in the middle.

READ ALSO: Minister tasks Nigerians on patriotism, commitment to nation-building

Margaret was eventually persuaded to abandon the relationship, under the threat of losing her royal position, and instead married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.

They divorced in 1978.

– A horrible year –
The queen memorably described 1992 as an “annus horribilis” after three of her children’s marriages crumbled.

Heir to the throne Prince Charles’ split from Princess Diana after 11 years of marriage caused a media sensation.

The princess then rocked the monarchy by leaking shocking details of palace life to author Andrew Morton for his 1992 book “Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words”.

Around the same time the queen’s second son Prince Andrew separated from wife Sarah Ferguson, whom he had married six years earlier.

Meanwhile, Princess Anne, the reigning monarch’s only daughter, finalised her divorce from first husband Mark Phillips following their separation in 1989.

– Diana’s death –
The popular princess died in a high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.

For the next week leading up to her spectacular funeral, Britain was plunged into an unprecedented outpouring of grief which shook the monarchy.

Anger had soon mounted at the silence of senior royals holed up in Balmoral in Scotland, where the queen, Diana’s ex-husband Charles, and their two children, William, 15, and Harry, 12, were holidaying over the summer.

Newspapers, furious that the Union Jack flag was not flying at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, called on the queen to address her subjects.

Within days she had paid homage to her former daughter-in-law in a televised speech for only the second time in her reign. She also publicly bowed before Diana’s coffin.

– Prince Andrew scandal –
Prince Andrew has been dogged by allegations he had sex with one of the then-teenage victims of deceased US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The prince often referred to as the queen’s “favourite son”, attempted to clear his name in a BBC interview in November but it backfired spectacularly.

He looked stiff and unapologetic in a performance that one public relations consultant said was akin to “watching a man in quicksand”.

The prince promptly promised to “step back from public duties” a few days later but remains under pressure to cooperate with United States authorities still investigating the Epstein case.

VANGUARD

The post Abdication, divorces and death: a century of UK royal crises appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Trending: Fat church rats sting Pastor Oyedepo | P.M. News

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Oyedepo: stung by church rats

Presiding Bishop of the Winners Chapel, Dr. David Oyedepo, is in the news after his shock revelation that some top officials of his church had looted the church’s treasury.

He made the revelation at the empowerment summit organised for ordained workers of the church on Saturday, with the story going viral since then.

Oyedepo said the officials, the fat church rats, mainly accountants have been sacked. He did not however say whether the church would seek retributive justice in the court of the land.

“Can you imagine accountants perpetrating fraud in the house of God?”, the angry bishop said.

“We had no choice but to dismiss them. You can imagine top church officials engaging in doubling figures and other dubious practices.

“Even after we dismissed them, we discovered more fraud.

“Those who should discover the fraud were the ones involved in it. One of them refused to confess until the last minute.”

He admonished the church members against employing the dismissed officials. He said he had to tell everyone present because he knew the dismissed officials “will come to you for employment.”

“Don’t employ them and don’t sympathise with them. Whoever sympathises with the wicked is wicked himself.”

Dead silence fell on the gathering as the Bishop reiterated: “Don’t sympathise with any perpetrator of fraud, otherwise you are a partaker of the evil act.”

Oyedepo did not disclose the volume of money stolen by the church rats, but newspaper reports assumed it must be in millions to provoke his anger.

However, his critic, Daddy Freeze, is not shedding any tear for him. In an Instagram post, Freeze refers Oyedepo to the scriptures, asking if the missing money came from the sweat of Oyedepo or whether it is a donation.

“This to me, is nothing more than a daunting cocktail of scriptural misinterpretation, misplaced priorities and misdirected resources, making this seem like it’s an odd in between compromise amidst a church and a business enterprise.

“For starters, the church building is NOT the house of God (the scriptures in acts 17:24 clearly tell us so)!

“Is money they stole money you worked for from your personal business enterprises? If yes they should face the wrath of the law.

“However, If it came from donations, let Acts 4:32 guide you. According to the aforementioned verse, the disciples shared everything equally, so there was no lack. Could it be that you haven’t been giving them their share and they now took it by force?🙄

“Remember, the offertory the early church received was shared equally among ALL believers, maybe if you practice that, you won’t fret over accountants pilfering.

Acts 17:24 New Living Translation:“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples,

Acts 7:48 New Living Translation: However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,

2 Corinthians 5:1 New International Version: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

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Creators of Netflix gay Jesus film suffer petrol bomb attacks – Davina Diaries

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The Rio de Janeiro headquarters of Porta dos Fundos, the creators of Netflix controversial gay Jesus movie was hit by a Molotov cocktail attack in the early hours of December 24.

Molotov cocktails were thrown at the headquarters of a comedy troupe behind Netflix’s ‘gay Jesus’ film on Christmas eve.

The First Temptation of Christ roused anger among Christian viewers for insinuating that Jesus was gay – returning home for his 30th birthday alongside a new ‘friend’ named Orlando.

More than 2million people have signed a petition for Netflix to take the show down and have threatened to boycott if they fail to do so. In the early hours of Christmas Eve, two masked men launched the petrol bombs at Porta Dos Fundos’ headquarters in Brazil.

In a statement released, Porta dos Fundos states that no one was injured in the attack but it ‘endangered several innocent lives in the company and on the street.’ The building had security footage which has now been handed over to the police.

The petrol bombs were lobbed at the door but thankfully no one was hurt.

‘Porta dos Fundos condemns any act of violence. We expect those responsible for the attacks to be found and punished,’ the statement read.

‘However, our priority right now is the safety of the entire team that works with us. ‘We will speak again once we have more details.

Meanwhile, Porta dos Fundos would like to reinforce our commitment to good humour and declare that we will move on stronger, more united, inspired, and confident that Brazil will survive this storm of hatred, and love will prevail along with freedom of speech.’

In the controversial 40-minute short, Jesus is seen being surprised with his birthday party after walking the desert, becoming embarrassed by the introduction of new friend Orlando.

The show never explicitly states that Jesus is gay, however, it’s been largely inferred by his interaction between Orlando, and his bashfulness about the friendship to his parents and family.

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Maiduguri Airport Full After 70+ Jets for Nigeria PLC Arrive NNPC GMD Kid’s Wedding; Cops Lock Down Capital – NewsRescue.com

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by Abdulkareem Haruna

Residents of Maiduguri, Borno State, on Saturday, had a bitter experience commuting around the city as the police blocked major highways in the city for “federal government functionaries” attending a wedding.

Two children of the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kyari Mele, wedded in Maiduguri on that day.

The wedding, which turned out to be the biggest social event so far held in the state this year, drew guests from across Nigeria.

At least 46 aircraft reportedly landed at the Maiduguri International Airport, most conveying guests to the ceremony. On a normal day, about five aircraft land at the airport.

But the event turned out to be a nightmare for motorists and locals in the state who woke up to see armed security personnel barricading roads in strategic locations in the state capital.

The police had on Tuesday issued a statement that they would be blocking routes on Saturday for federal government functionaries visiting the state.

UPDATE: Over seventy jets landed in Maiduguri International Airport from yesterday to today for GMD of NNPC children wedding others are asked to turn back due to shortage of space to land.

Source FAAN

— Mustapha Maina Umar (@MustaphaMainaUm)

The statement, signed by police spokesperson in the state, Edet Okon, did not state the nature of the visit of the functionaries.

Mr Okon, a deputy superintendent of police, said in the statement that the roads were closed for security purposes.

“This is to inform the general public that, owing to the expected visit of Federal Government functionaries and other dignitaries to the State, the following roads will be partially and temporarily closed to traffic on Saturday, 28th December 2019.”

He went on to list how each of the major routes leading from the airport to different locations would be shut down till the guest leave.

“One lane of the Maiduguri-Kano Road – particularly the left lane when coming from Airport Roundabout up to Horseman Roundabout; and the right lane when moving from Horseman Roundabout through Sir Kashim Ibrahim Way/Dandal Road up to the Shehu’s palace, ” he said.

“One lane of Mai Ibrahim road and Shehu Laminu way (Polo Road)– particularly the right lane from Horseman Roundabout to the Government House.

“Also, there will be road diversion at Horseman Roundabout, Damboa Road Junction along Mai Ibrahim Road, Bolori Roundabout and at Dandal Police Station; while the West-End part of the UBA roundabout will be completely closed.

“To this end, motorists are advised to stick to the lane that will be open to traffic or to explore alternative routes for the period that the temporary closure will be in force.”

The development caused a lot of discomfort to road users especially those out to attend other events.

On a normal day, Maiduguri records a high rate of vehicular movements due to the large presence of displaced persons from various parts of the state.

The development had stirred public anger in the state capital as many residents took to social media to vent their frustration.

Some commentators wondered why the public highways would be shut down or blocked when the event in question was not a state function.

A Facebook user, Usman Alkali, said on his page that “While issuing his vote of thanks to the Who-Is-Who that grace the wedding of his children, the GMD should likewise tender his sincere apologies to the hundreds of thousands of Who -Is-Not that suffered inconveniences as a result.”

Haliru Musa wrote on a Facebook post celebrating the wedding that, “The poor mass and good people of Maiduguri were oppressed by the high and mighty in the state capital just because the son of a rich man is getting married all the major roads in the metropolis were shut down. We shall all meet in heaven.”

Habila Mutah said on Facebook that “I can’t understand why people don’t like the truth!”

“The poor people’s right has been trampled upon Today and looks at how people suffered today just because of marriage and yet others are trying to support simply because they have a position in government. Hmmm! God is watching oo!!”

Ali Mustapha commented on a Facebook photo post of the wedding that Borno people would prefer to enjoy the benefits of Mr Kyari’s position.

“How good (it would be) if we feel the impact of his position as NNPC GMD the way we felt his children wedding in Maiduguri with the attendant inconvenience of holdup and roadblock….”

Another Facebook comment by an obviously unimpressed Dawud Abana reads: “Since his appointment, the only good news he takes to his home town (is) guest of his daughter’s wedding hmmm… No news of drilling Borno oil No reasonable plan for his people.”

There were several wedding ceremonies that took place in Maiduguri on Saturday. The restriction of movement imposed by the police for only one of the events thus upset many in the town.

“I had about six weddings lined up for me to attend, but I could only attend one because the roads were blocked,” said Ibrahim Habib, a businessman in Maiduguri.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of NewsRescue

Such mass closure of roads in Maiduguri normally occur when top public officers like the president or the vice president, and some times, the Chief of Defence Staff, visit the state capital for state functions.

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Priest tightens security after latest threats at Quinn firm – Independent.ie

person frisbee

It hardly inspires confidence that the parish priest known for speaking out against this intimidation is forced to take security measures for his own protection.

Fr O’Reilly delivered a searing homily last month calling out the mafia-like “paymaster or paymasters” who funded the savage attack on Mr Lunney. In an interview with the Sunday Independent, he said: “The more you speak, the more you are at risk.”

For now, he plans to step back from the robust public commentary he has become known for, in the hope of fostering peace. “I want to get back to my normal parish work… I find that in the last month, a whole lot of things have happened. I want to take a back seat for a while. But if there is further intimidation, I intend to return to the fray.”

A second death threat to the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) last week – companies founded and lost by the former billionaire Sean Quinn – has finally catapulted the long-standing campaign of intimidation and violence into the lap of Government.

The threat was issued via the Irish News last Monday by a man in a balaclava reading from a statement purporting to be a “last warning” to directors to resign or face a “permanent solution”. The directors “hadn’t learned their lesson” since the attack on Mr Lunney, the man said, chillingly noting that they could have “easily killed” him if they had wanted to.

In the same week, Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny’s car was set alight outside his home in Leitrim, the Garda station in Emyvale, Co Monaghan was set ablaze and two Monaghan hauliers were named as persons of interest in the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people smuggled into the UK.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, have struggled to explain why the years-long intimidation has not been stopped.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar privately rang John McCartin, one of five directors of QIH under threat, twice last week saying he was “appalled” at the intimidation. That the Taoiseach should open a direct line of communication with the victims of this campaign indicates that the penny has finally dropped.

For eight years, the directors of QIH and its property have been under siege. The businesses were once owned by Sean Quinn, the local former billionaire who lost control of his empire in 2011. He has repeatedly denounced the attacks on the companies, saying they are not carried out in his name. According to Mr McCartin, the failure of authorities to act – from Cavan County Council not taking down signs to gardai not making arrests – has “emboldened” those responsible and allowed for an escalation of violence and the creeping involvement of paramilitaries.

A photograph in the Irish News of the masked man bearing the latest death threat prompted a number of calls to the police confidential lines from local people claiming to recognise him, sources said. They suspect he is a dissident republican, originally from Northern Ireland but now living in Cavan, who has served jail time for possession of explosives. He was once prominent in the Real IRA. A director of QIH has also reported this man’s suspected identity to the PSNI and gardai.

The abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney bore the hallmarks of a paramilitary- style operation. He was kidnapped, tortured and had his legs broken in an attack resembling a punishment beating. The care that his attackers took to destroy a forensic trail, viciously pouring bleach over Mr Lunney before dumping him on a Cavan roadside, was also redolent of paramilitary thugs.

Drew Harris said last week that the investigation into the attack is making progress. Garda sources say several of the suspected gang members have been identified, and a van seized in Meath recently is believed to have been used by the gang in the attack.

But the directors of QIH struggle to see that progress. On Tuesday, the directors will hold their first meeting with the Garda Commissioner in Monaghan. Present will be chief executive Liam McCaffrey, chief financial officer Dara O’Reilly, non-executive director John McCartin and production director Tony Lunney. Mr Lunney’s brother Kevin, the company’s chief operating officer, will also attend if he is well enough.

“We are preparing for the meeting with the Commissioner. We will be asking for an update on the investigation, what progress has been made and why there have been no arrests six weeks after Kevin was attacked,” Tony Lunney told the Sunday Independent.

An obvious question is whether in the vacuum of any arrests, those responsible for the intimidation felt emboldened to issue a second death threat. The paramilitary theatrics surrounding its delivery suggests an element of playing to the media gallery too, and the statement even referenced newspaper articles about the attacks on the Quinn group.

John McCartin believes this is all part of the strategy: “We have had intimidation, signs and posters going up, defamation on Facebook and on social media, physical assaults, and now torture and kidnapping, and using mainstream media attention to scare away future investors.”

The directors believe the endgame of the campaign of violence is to run them, and the US investors, out, risking more than 2,000 jobs connected to the businesses and leaving the remnants of the group there for a new buyer to pick over. The Garda investigation is building on the question cui bono? Who ultimately benefits from running the directors and their investors out of town?

Sean Quinn has made no secret of wanting “his” company back. But he has repeatedly condemned the attack on Kevin Lunney as “barbaric”, acknowledging that his family would be “blamed”. He told Channel 4 News that he no hand, act or part in the attack, and had abandoned his ambitions to return to the businesses as a result of it. In his most recent statement to RTE last week, he said: “I call on those who have advanced threats to withdraw them immediately. If they feel that they are doing it in mine or my family’s name, they are badly mistaken.”

Mr Quinn is also clearly irked at Fr O’Reilly. He called to his home two weeks ago to challenge him on his now famous homily, even though the priest did not identify anyone in it.

This weekend, Mr Quinn confirmed to the Sunday Independent that he has complained to the priest’s Kilmore Diocese. He said he met the administrator, Monsignor Liam Kelly, and has written to “other people”.

He denied threatening legal action but he didn’t rule it out either. “I made no threats to anybody,” he said, in a phone call. Asked if he is considering legal action, he replied: “Well, we are where we are…”

Asked why he wrote the letter, he said: “I’m not going there but sure any fool would know why I wrote the letter.” He accused the priest of “telling lies” from the altar. “So, it’s not hard to know, anybody with any wit would know the man was off his head.”

Fr O’Reilly told the Sunday Independent this weekend that he wrote his homily in “anger” at the “awfulness of the inflicted injuries on Kevin Lunney”.

“It is not a good way to be writing something when you are angry,” he said. “I have to take that on board myself before asking anyone else to do that. I don’t want to vilify anyone. It never was my intention. I want to give more rational debate a chance, with the hope that these years of intimidation are now coming to an end.”

In the sitting room of his parish home in Ballyconnell, a large detached house clearly visible on the hill, Fr O’Reilly cited Nelson Mandela’s words about “leaving bitterness and hatred behind”.

“The most terrible walls are the walls that grow in the mind. I believe that applies to this area. Walls grow in the minds of some people that are causing great difficulty for themselves and for others. These walls are about perceived grievances, and I suppose prejudice plays a major part and they become entrenched,” he said.

“We must find ways and means of helping people to take down these walls.”

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