Job Creation Is Not The Solution In Nigeria, But Entrepreneurial Explosion – Dr. Charles Omole

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Your View, May 11, 2020

“A lot of our workforce are not geared for the economy of the future. Covid has helped to make it more obvious that there is a need for a complete retraining and refocus of our education and the capacity of our workforce to deal with the economy of the future.” Speaking on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nation’s economy, Resource person, legal and economic strategist, Dr. Charles Omole pointed out feasible solutions to Nigeria’s major challenges, with reference to the Great Depression (Economic depression) in the United States during the 1930s.

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Mosque offered as Covid-19 quarantine facility in Pune | SabrangIndia

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Azam CampusImage Courtesy:painamdar.in

Over the last few decades P A Inamdar has artfully juggled multiple roles as an educationist, legal luminary, social worker, builder and much more. As President of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society that runs a host of educational institutions at Pune’s sprawling Azam Campus, Inamdar has created educational infrastructure that at present empowers 27,000 students including 14,000 who hail from economically backward families living in low-income neighbourhoods.

Now, Inamdar has offered 9,000 sq ft. of space on the first floor of a mosque located in the Azam Campus as a quarantine facility. In an exclusive interview to SabrangIndia, he explained his motivations and hopes:

What prompted you to offer the space in the mosque as a Covid-19 quarantine facility?

Ultimately all religions and all religious places are meant for human beings. No religion teaches discrimination, especially when a human life is in danger. Now is the time to put into practice what religion teaches us. Now is the time to act. If we are not able to apply religious principles now and help our fellow human beings, then when will we?

What are the facilities you are offering?

We are offering a hall that measures 9,000 sq ft. It is located on the first floor of the mosque. I have already spoken to the Municipal Commissioner. They will arrange for the doctors and the police. They had originally asked for about 40 beds, but we are offering them 100 beds. All arrangements are being made in compliance with social distancing measures. If they can arrange for lunch and dinner that is fine. Otherwise, we can also offer them food.

Is it true that you are also trying to arrange for 10 more similar facilities in mosques across the city?

I have already spoken to them (mosque authorities). It is important that we offer as much help as possible. What is the meaning of religion if we cannot help our fellow human beings?

We have seen various instances of Muslims being targeted and accused of spreading the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you think your efforts will help send out a positive message on behalf of the community?

See, politicians often play with people’s emotions as it is easier to do that instead of actually solving their problems. That is how they get votes. But that should not stop us from setting a good example in whatever way we can. Our organisation has already helped distribute food and rations worth Rs 30 lakhs to people living in Pune’s slums and low-income neighbourhoods. We did this with full cooperation of the police. Now with this space we have another opportunity to offer our service to humanity, so we are doing it. This is not the time to make speeches or hold meetings. This is the time to act.

Do you think our education system has failed to root out communalism or is that a much deeper problem?

The educational gap between the haves and have-nots is thousands of years old. The higher classes and castes have always benefitted more. But luckily, we are now able to bridge the gap gradually with technology. When more people will be on the same platform, we can expect real development. There are 27,000 students studying on my campus and 14,000 of them some from the slums. But we teach them all about technology and they are now making computers and cell phones.

Additionally, it is also the responsibility of religious leaders to speak out in wake of hate crimes. We always hear the activists and intellectuals speak, but why are the religious leaders silent? No religion supports lynching. Therefore, everyone, whether a Maulana or a Shankaracharya, should come out and condemn it.

What is your message to your fellow Indians in this holy month of Ramzan?

It is very important that when it comes to religion, we don’t limit ourselves to just learning about philosophy, but instead put that philosophy into practice and help our fellow human beings. We can’t leave religion in temples and mosques. We must make it a part of our daily conduct and serve humanity, because that is what all religions teach us.

Azam CampusImage Courtesy:painamdar.in

Over the last few decades P A Inamdar has artfully juggled multiple roles as an educationist, legal luminary, social worker, builder and much more. As President of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society that runs a host of educational institutions at Pune’s sprawling Azam Campus, Inamdar has created educational infrastructure that at present empowers 27,000 students including 14,000 who hail from economically backward families living in low-income neighbourhoods.

Now, Inamdar has offered 9,000 sq ft. of space on the first floor of a mosque located in the Azam Campus as a quarantine facility. In an exclusive interview to SabrangIndia, he explained his motivations and hopes:

What prompted you to offer the space in the mosque as a Covid-19 quarantine facility?

Ultimately all religions and all religious places are meant for human beings. No religion teaches discrimination, especially when a human life is in danger. Now is the time to put into practice what religion teaches us. Now is the time to act. If we are not able to apply religious principles now and help our fellow human beings, then when will we?

What are the facilities you are offering?

We are offering a hall that measures 9,000 sq ft. It is located on the first floor of the mosque. I have already spoken to the Municipal Commissioner. They will arrange for the doctors and the police. They had originally asked for about 40 beds, but we are offering them 100 beds. All arrangements are being made in compliance with social distancing measures. If they can arrange for lunch and dinner that is fine. Otherwise, we can also offer them food.

Is it true that you are also trying to arrange for 10 more similar facilities in mosques across the city?

I have already spoken to them (mosque authorities). It is important that we offer as much help as possible. What is the meaning of religion if we cannot help our fellow human beings?

We have seen various instances of Muslims being targeted and accused of spreading the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you think your efforts will help send out a positive message on behalf of the community?

See, politicians often play with people’s emotions as it is easier to do that instead of actually solving their problems. That is how they get votes. But that should not stop us from setting a good example in whatever way we can. Our organisation has already helped distribute food and rations worth Rs 30 lakhs to people living in Pune’s slums and low-income neighbourhoods. We did this with full cooperation of the police. Now with this space we have another opportunity to offer our service to humanity, so we are doing it. This is not the time to make speeches or hold meetings. This is the time to act.

Do you think our education system has failed to root out communalism or is that a much deeper problem?

The educational gap between the haves and have-nots is thousands of years old. The higher classes and castes have always benefitted more. But luckily, we are now able to bridge the gap gradually with technology. When more people will be on the same platform, we can expect real development. There are 27,000 students studying on my campus and 14,000 of them some from the slums. But we teach them all about technology and they are now making computers and cell phones.

Additionally, it is also the responsibility of religious leaders to speak out in wake of hate crimes. We always hear the activists and intellectuals speak, but why are the religious leaders silent? No religion supports lynching. Therefore, everyone, whether a Maulana or a Shankaracharya, should come out and condemn it.

What is your message to your fellow Indians in this holy month of Ramzan?

It is very important that when it comes to religion, we don’t limit ourselves to just learning about philosophy, but instead put that philosophy into practice and help our fellow human beings. We can’t leave religion in temples and mosques. We must make it a part of our daily conduct and serve humanity, because that is what all religions teach us.

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Coronavirus update: One death and five more Covid-19 cases | Stuff.co.nz

There has been another Covid-19 related death in New Zealand.

The woman in her 70s was one of the residents from an Auckland rest home transferred to Waitakere hospital.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also announced there are five more cases, bringing the total number of people affected by Covid-19 to 1445.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Leaves gather at Witherlea School, Marlborough.

This included two confirmed cases, and three probable cases. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins joined director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield for the daily Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Cabinet decided the country would stay in level 4 until 11.59pm on Monday April 27.

GETTY IMAGES
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said The current plan is for schools to be able to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on April 28 as part of their preparation, and the Government expects those who need to attend, to be able to from 29 April 29.

​Hipkins discussed the rules around schools during alert level three and explained what will be happening this week, in the lead up to schools opening safely.

  Under alert level 3, most children will be learning from home still. Schools will only be open for families that need to have their children at school, he said.

“Education for students in years 11 to 13 will continue remotely,” Hipkins said.

Universities will be mostly remote, only allowing staff and students to only attend when crucial – such as hands on research.

“If students went home to join their family bubble, they must stay home.”

1 NEWS
From next Wednesday, some schools will be welcoming back students.

Referring to early childhood concerns, Hipkins said he would continue to talk with the sector and provide further guidance.

“We’ve reached the point where the director-general of health is confident there is no widespread community transmission … so the chance of it coming through the gate or door is low,” he said.

The public health advice said it was safe for children to learn together, though Hipkins acknowledged that maintaining physical distancing would be difficult.

As leader of the House, he also gave an update about what will happen when Parliament sits again next week.

Christopher Furlong
Schools and early learning centres can be accessed this week for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations.

This week, businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, such as re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary, but will have to stick to social distancing and their bubbles.

The same principle applies for preparing schools.

Schools and early learning centres can be accessed this week for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations.

The current plan is for schools to be able to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on April 28 as part of their preparation, and the Government expects those who need to attend to be able to do so from  April 29. 

However, Ardern acknowledged it may take a bit longer for some schools and early learning centres to be ready.

During level 3, the Government still wants the vast majority of children and young people learning from home. 

The official advice is for children who can stay at home should, and so should at-risk students.

Early childhood centres, and schools right up to year 10, will physically be open for families that need them.

Ardern said children should still learn from home if they can – except for those situations where it was not possible.

For example, parents who cannot manage the kids as well as work. Those who do go to school will be kept within one bubble while there.

She was not expecting large numbers of pupils to be in attendance.

Bloomfield said international evidence and New Zealand’s experience so far shows that Covid-19 does not affect or infect children and teens in the same way as adults. There were low infection rates, they don’t become too unwell and don’t tend to pass the virus to adults.

School principals said they are still awaiting guidance on what level 3 will look like in the classroom. 

Senior ministry officials met with education unions and school associations early on Monday to discuss those guidelines. 

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Metropolitan Onuphry: “Consistency During Fasting Is More Important Than a Measure of Abstinence” | A Russian Orthodox Church Website

During Lent, one should try to exercise abstinence from certain types of food and encourage oneself to pray more than usual, said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine in his homily at the evening service on March 1, 2020, the Information and Education Department of the Ukranian Orthodox Church reports.

“The Lord gave us fasting not so that we kill ourselves with fasting, but for us to kill our passions. The sinful “oncology” that we have is destroyed by fasting. And if a person fasts in a correct way and does not go to extremes, then they begin to feel better … and receive benefits for their soul,” said the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The metropolitan recalled that each person should fast according to his or her state of health. During a fast, he noted, consistency and diligence are more important than a strict measure of abstinence.

“There are such extremes during Lent that, as they say, some day a person eats so much that he cannot breathe, and the other day he eats so little that he cannot breathe. Extremes shake both the spiritual and bodily forces of a man. Consistency here is even more important than a measure of abstinence. … Even a small measure of fasting, observed with consistency, is beneficial for the soul,” said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.

“May the Lord help us during Great Lent to work to the best of our abilities, to abstain from certain types of food, to force ourselves to pray more. We should not wait when we want to pray, but we should push ourselves to go to church more and participate in a public church prayer, to do good, and to humble ourselves before people. It will be a feat that cleanses a person of spiritual and bodily defects and makes us worthy to see the light of the Resurrection of Christ,” concluded the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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From Near Death Experience To Top Of Her Class

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The induction of Shrdha Mala as the new head girl of Rakiraki Public Secondary School has got people talking.

Shrdha, 18, who has had a history of heart problems, is not only a student body leader but is also a top academic student, as well.

In 2014 she survived a near-death experience.

She suffered severe chest pain and acute breathing difficulties. Shrdha thought she was going to die.

She was flown to New Zealand and successfully underwent an emergency laser treatment.

Kalidass Mani, a farmworker, said Shrdha “is an inspiration to everyone and a very strong girl.”

Mr Mani said he knew her family and how they struggled after she was diagnosed with a heart defect in 2008. Shrdha was in year two then.

“She is a fighter. Others may have given up after what she went through. But not Shrdha,” he said.

Her mathematics teacher, Ashneel Raju, said Shrdha kept up her maths study despite her condition.

Ravi Chand, her school principal, said Shrdha was among the students who never gave up.

“She has inspired the students and the teachers with her excellent performance and is tackling her challenges very well,” he said.

He said Shrdha was an example to many students who did not do well in their studies as she was good in managing her time with school work and with leadership.

She has made the school and her parents proud by excelling in her education despite her challenges.

Shrdha said her battle was not over yet, but she was not allowing it to slow her down.

She has some breathing issues and she still fights to tackle the challenge and to become an inspiration to others.

Shrdha’s experience has motivated her to become a cardiologist to treat people like her and to show them that nothing is impossible.

She said if anyone had health or medical problems, they could still fight their battles and chase their dreams.

Shrdha topped the Fiji Year 12 Certificate Examination last year and she is looking forward to top this year and become the dux at her school.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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UK officially leaves EU after 47 years of European membership – World – TASS

LONDON, February 1. /TASS/. After 47 years of European membership, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union at 23:00 GMT (2:00 Moscow time on Saturday).

The withdrawal, known as Brexit, was initiated after Britons voted to quit the European Union during the 2016 referendum. The margin was 1.3 million votes (52% versus 48%).

Thousands of Brexit supporters celebrated the withdrawal by gathering in downtown London. Brexiteers have gathered in Parliament Square to celebrate the historic moment, chanting and waving flags. Governmental buildings were illuminated with national flag colors – blue, red and white.

An hour before this turning point in the UK’s political history, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an ardent Brexit supporter, delivered his address to the nation.

Flag removed

Earlier in the day, the flag of the United Kingdom has been removed from the building of the EU Council. The video of the flag being removed was released via the Council’s official Twitter shortly before midnight.

“The UK flag is removed from the EU Council building in Brussels as the country leaves the EU at midnight,” the EU Council said in a Twitter post.

Premier’s speech

After quitting the European Union, the United Kingdom will finally “rediscover muscles that we have not used for decades,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address to the nation shortly before Brexit.

“For all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country. And that is a judgment that you, the people, have now confirmed at the polls,” Johnson said.

“I believe that with every month that goes by we will grow in confidence not just at home but abroad,” he continued. “And in our diplomacy, in our fight against climate change, in our campaigns for human rights or female education or free trade we will rediscover muscles that we have not used for decades.”

According to the premier, in order to achieve those ambitious tasks, the country needs to overcome the differences, generated by the Brexit issue.

“Tonight we are leaving the European Union. For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss. And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end,” he said.

The premier went on to say that finding a common ground for all political and social groups was his cabinet’s task.

“I understand all those feelings, and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward,” he said. “And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.”

Johnson expressed hope that constructive dialogue with the European Union would continue.

“We want this to be the beginning of a new era of friendly cooperation between the EU and an energetic Britain,” he said.

After January 31, the UK and the EU enter a transition period meant to maintain the existing state of affairs, particularly on trade and tariffs, while the two sides are negotiating a deal on future trading relations. The transition period is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020. London is also obliged to continue paying membership fees to the EU budget until the end of 2020.

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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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Facebook hammered for Nigerian child trafficking adverts on its platform | P.M. News

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Cameroonian children who fled the fighting in their country’s English-speaking regions are taking refuge in Adagom community in south-central Nigeria, where some have been exploited by people looking to take advantage of their vulnerability. [Photograph: Philip Obaji Jr.]

By Philip Obaji Jr.

The Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, United Kingdom, and Centre for Children’s Health, Education, Orientation and Protection, Nigeria, have criticised Facebook following revelations that children, especially girls, were being trafficked from a refugee camp in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State, after being advertised for labour exploitation on the popular social networking platform.

The groups slammed Facebook for permitting child trafficking to take place on its service and also being slack to take action when such incidents happen.

In a joint statement, the non-profit organisations expressed dismay that it took Facebook 29 hours to suspend the account of the suspect, after investigative journalist, Philip Obaji Jr, had reported the account in contravention of the company’s policies of responding to enquiries within 24 hours.

The report revealed details of a named person, who had used his Facebook page to advertise photos of Cameroonian girls fleeing the ongoing conflict in Southern Cameroon’s Anglophone region.

This conflict has so far displaced millions of people with several thousand staying in refugee camps across Southern Nigeria.

The NGOs were exceptionally concerned that despite this case being reported to Facebook, it took the online platform hours to take action, thereby putting the victims at further risk of harm.

In one of the Facebook posts cited, the person had uploaded an image of a girl he claimed was “intelligent, hardworking and about 17,” and asked persons “interested in hiring her as a maid to inbox me.”

The organisations recalled that this would not be the first time Facebook would be accused of enabling child trafficking on its platforms.

“In 2018, Facebook was severely criticised by NGOs in South Sudan and across the world that its site had been used for the auctioning of a child bride in the country.

“Human trafficking is a growing global problem with over 40 million people at risk, according to the International Labour Organisation.

“Nigeria is known as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking victims with over one million trafficked each year, according to the Global Slavery Index.

“Human trafficking and slavery is illegal in most countries around the world, including Nigeria,” the NGOs said.

Debbie Ariyo, Chief Executive Officer of UK-based AFRUCA, an anti-child trafficking organisation, said, “It is concerning that social media platforms are increasingly being used by human traffickers to facilitate the sale of human beings, with little being done to address this. Social media platforms have become the 21st century slave markets. This has to stop.”

Betty Abah, Executive Director of CEE-HOPE Nigeria, stated that it appears Facebook has a discriminatory approach to addressing crimes against vulnerable children in Africa than other more advanced parts of the world.

“I do not believe Facebook would have failed to act if this was happening in a European country,” she added.

Both organisations urged the relevant government agencies in Nigeria to act to secure the well-being of refugee children in the country, and investigate the child trafficking allegations to ensure all perpetrators are brought to book.

They also called on Facebook to investigate the case as well as tighten its safeguard mechanisms to ensure that crimes such as human trafficking are completely eradicated on its platforms.

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READ IN FULL: Parktown Boys’ High School releases statement following death of pupil at orientation camp

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Parktown Boys’ High School have released a statement outlining its version on the turn of events at a Grade 8 orientation camp where a 13-year-old pupil died.

Enoch Mpianzi’s body was found on Friday after he went missing during a water activity at the camp.

He was last seen on Wednesday when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on, overturned on the Crocodile River.

In a statement posted in the school’s Facebook Page, the school said the camp was aimed at introducing the new Parktonians to one another and creating an environment that focused on teamwork and achieving of common goals through various activities.

Here is the full, unedited statement:

The Parktown Boys’ High School Grade 8 Orientation Camp took place at Nyathi Bush and River Break in the North West Province. The Grade 8 group arrived at camp on Wednesday the 15th of January. The camp is aimed at introducing new Parktonians to each other and creating an environment which focuses on team work and the achieving of common goals through various activities offered at the camp.

The school’s Headboy, Deputy Headboy and SEC members along with 7 staff members were also present on the camp along with the Headmaster, Malcolm Williams and a Senior Child Development and Protection Consultant, Luke Lamprecht.

In the afternoon the boys were involved in a water activity that was supervised by trained camp facilitators. After the activity there was a hike and supper, followed by a sleep out in the veld.

ALSO READ | Parktown Boys’ High tragedy: Gauteng Education Department launches own investigation

Late on Thursday morning, it became apparent that a boy had gone missing from the camp. Internal emergency procedures were immediately instituted by camp management, staff and members of the community. The Headmaster contacted the father to alert him to staff concerns.

At 15h20 the Headmaster again contacted the father to confirm that all efforts to locate Enock had failed and shortly thereafter transport was arranged to take the family to the venue. Two trained counsellors from the school accompanied the family.

By this time the SAPS Emergency Services had already been called, including the Search and Rescue unit who at the point assumed control of the search.

On Thursday evening the decision was made to curtail all camp activities for the Friday and return the boys to school following breakfast and a briefing by the Headmaster and the Senior Child Development and Protection Consultant.

At 11h00 on Friday the school was informed of the tragic news that the body of Enock Mpianzi had been found by SAPS Search and Rescue personnel.

The Staff, Learners, SGB, and the Parktonian Alumni express their deepest sympathy to the Mpianzi family following this tragic loss. The school community remains in a state of shock and counselling support has been implemented.The Alumni of the school have committed to support the family where possible.

Further details will be communicated once more information becomes available.

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The General’s Death Upsets Iran’s Plan

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Qassem Soleimani, who was Iran’s most hyped general, loved publishing “selfies” showing himself close to battlegrounds in the Middle East. He was never present anywhere near a battle but was always to come after the dust had settled, to take “selfies” and claim the credit. (Photo by Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images)

While analysts and policymakers are busy speculating on ways that Tehran’s ruling mullahs might avenge the killing of their most hyped general, the real question that needs considering may be elsewhere.

The question is: what effect Soleimani’s death might have on the power struggle that, though currently put on hold, is certain to resume with greater vigor in Tehran.

Tehran’s propaganda tries to sell Soleimani as a kind of superman who, almost single-handedly, brought Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and parts of Afghanistan and Yemen under Iranian control while driving Americans out of the Middle East and crushing ISIS’s so-called Caliphate which tried to rival the Islamic Republic in Tehran. Soleimani himself did a lot to promote that image and, doing that, received much help from Western, especially American, and Israeli media that bought the bundle of goods from Tehran.

Facts, however, offer a different portrait of the late general. Soleimani joined the Islamic revolution in 1980, aged 27, at a time that the mullahs were busy putting together a praetorian guard to protect their new regime. A few months later, the ragtag army that Soleimani had joined was sent to help the remnants of a heavily purged national army fight an invading Iraqi force. With over 8,000 officers and NCOs of the national army purged by Khomeini, the new regime offered a fast track to people like Soleimani who had joined the military with no proper training and often little or no formal education. Thus, just three years after he had joined the military, young Soleimani found himself in command of a division of raw recruits. Under his command, Iranian forces suffered three of their biggest defeats in operations Al-Fajr 8, and Karbala I and Karbala II. Mohsen Reza’i, then chief of the Revolutionary Guard, describes the three battles as “a string of catastrophes” for Iranian forces.

However, Soleimani, who was to demonstrate his genius for networking and self-promotion, scored one lasting victory when he attached himself to Ali Khamenei, the mullah who was to become the Islamic Republic’s “Supreme Guide”.

Khamenei started as Deputy Defense Minister and rose to become President of the Islamic Republic. Soleimani, mocked as “the mullah’s bag-carrier”, was always at his side. In the 1990s, as Khamenei slowly built himself as the sole arbiter of Iran’s fate, Soleimani seized the opportunity to secure a fiefdom for himself.

That came in the shape of the project to “export” the Iranian Revolution to other Muslim countries. Initially, exporting the revolution, mentioned in the regime’s constitution as a sacred duty, had been regarded as a matter of propaganda and organizing sympathizers in Arab countries through outfits named Hezbollah. The task was handled by a special office in the Foreign Ministry headed by Ayatollah Hadi Khosroshahian. Partly thanks to lobbying by Soleimani, the task was taken away from the Foreign Ministry and handed over to the Revolutionary Guard. But even then Soleimani didn’t get the top job, which went to then Col. Ismail Qaani, the man who has now succeeded Soleimani as Commander of the Quds Force. Soleimani’s next move was to dislodge Qaani and get the top job himself. (Qaani was named as deputy). Even that configuration would not satisfy Soleimani, who had bigger ambitions. As long as he was part of the IRGC’s chain of command, he had to obey rules set by superiors whom he despised.

Thanks to Khamenei’s support, he succeeded in securing his independent fiefdom in the shape of the Quds Force which, though formally part of the IRGC, has its own separate budget and chain of command and is answerable to no one but Khamenei.

Next, Soleimani seized control of Tehran’s foreign policy in Arab countries, Afghanistan, North Korea, and South America and, in some sensitive areas, even Russia. The Islamic Republic’s presidents and foreign ministers have never had tête-à-tête talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Soleimani had.

It became a matter of routine for Soleimani to appoint Iran’s ambassadors to Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Doha and several other Arab capitals.

A dramatic illustration of Soleimani’s “independence” came when he shipped Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad to Tehran in a special airplane without even telling the Iranian president, let alone the foreign minister, who were also excluded from the Syrian’s audience with Khamenei.

A control freak, Soleimani insisted on deciding even the smallest details himself. In his one, and now final, interview, last November, the general talks of how Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah had to clear every move with him.

Inside Iran, Soleimani built a state within the state. According to the Islamic Customs Office, the Quds Force operates 25 jetties in five of Iran’s biggest ports for its “imports and exports” with no intervention by the relevant authorities. A levy on imports of foreign cars is reserved for a special fund, controlled by the Quds Force, to cover expenditures in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and help pro-Iran Palestinian groups.

Soleimani had his own network of lobbyists in many Arab countries and some Western democracies. Hundreds of Iranian and Arab militants have enrolled in Western universities with scholarships from the Quds Force.

The Quds Force has registered vast tracts of public land in its name, claiming the need for future housing for its personnel. It also runs two dozen companies and banks, several shipping lines and an airline.

Soleimani, who loved making and publishing “selfies” showing himself close to battlegrounds in the Middle East, was never present anywhere near a battle but was always to come after the dust had settled, to take “selfies” and claim the credit.

A master of self-promotion, Soleimani received the rank of major-general without having risen through the hierarchy of the top brass like the other 12 men on the list. (After death, he has been promoted to Lt. General).

Some analysts in Tehran believe that Khamenei was planning to promote Soleimani further by making him President of the Islamic Republic in 2021. An image-building campaign started last year, as Soleimani was marketed as “the Sufi commander”, a label given to Safavid kings in the 16th century.

A committee of exiled Iranians in Florida also started campaigning to draft Soleimani as president.

If that was Khamenei’s game plan, there is no doubt that Soleimani’s demise will lead to more uncertainty regarding the future course of Iranian politics.

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987. He is the Chairman of Gatestone Europe.

This article was originally published by Asharq al-Awsat and is reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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