Mookie Betts, David Price introduced by Dodgers | Los Angeles Dodgers

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Mookie Betts and David Price returned to Dodger Stadium on Wednesday for the first time since defeating Los Angeles in the 2018 World Series as members of the Red Sox.

But as the Dodgers’ new duo was officially introduced in center field — not far from where they celebrated the final out of that World Series victory — Betts said he’s hoping to end the 2020 season in similar fashion.

“I’d like to celebrate here again in this jersey,” Betts said, moments after putting on his No. 50 Dodgers uniform for the first time.

The Dodgers are hoping for a similar outcome following Monday’s blockbuster deal that brought Betts and Price to Los Angeles in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo (L.A.’s top prospect — and MLB’s No. 35 — a year ago), shortstop Jeter Downs (their third-highest ranked prospect on the 2020 Top 100 list, at No. 44) and catcher Connor Wong (No. 28 on the Dodgers’ 2019 year-end list).

Los Angeles has won seven straight division titles, but remains without a World Series championship since 1988. The Dodgers watched the Astros and Red Sox celebrate titles on their home field in 2017 and ’18, respectively, then won a franchise record 106 games in ’19, only to be eliminated in the National League Division Series — once again in their own ballpark.

“To be able to jump onto a team like the Dodgers, a team that has had the amount of success they’ve had the last couple years, and then add a player like Mookie Betts,” Price said, “and to then be able to add myself to that mix as well, that’s something special to be a part of, and we’re both very excited about it.”

They’ve arrived. pic.twitter.com/UAcvATulxe

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers)

Manager Dave Roberts shared his excitement as well, as he is eager to pencil Betts into the NL’s highest-scoring lineup from 2019.

“As a coach, you just want to get going and what we do is compete, that’s what we love to do,” Roberts said. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

It’s hard to blame the skipper, who will have the luxury of rolling out the 2018 AL Most Valuable Player in right field alongside ’19 NL MVP winner Cody Bellinger in center field.

“We’ve kind of talked through passing at the All-Star Game and as we played here,” Betts said of his relationship with Bellinger. “It’s going to be pretty special. He won the MVP last year, so he’s definitely going to put on a show, and I’ll do my best to keep up with him.”

The Dodgers took on Betts’ entire $27 million salary for 2020. The 27-year-old outfielder is set to become a free agent following this season, and he has previously expressed his desire to test the market next winter.

Now that he’s arrived in Los Angeles, might Betts consider signing a long-term extension with the Dodgers?

“Right now, I just got here — still trying to find a house and those kinds of things,” Betts said. “I’m not even really thinking about that. I’m just focused on staying with 2020 and going from there.”

Along with the pair of MVPs in the outfield, the Dodgers will have multiple Cy Young Award winners in their starting rotation. Price, who won the 2012 AL Cy Young Award with the Rays, joins three-time NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

Price has plenty of history with Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman, who selected Price with Tampa Bay’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. The Red Sox and the Dodgers will split the remaining $96 million owed to Price over the next three years.

“I’ve watched him grow and continue to evolve on the mound — and obviously the success he’s had is evident and everybody knows about that — but he was as good of a teammate as I’ve ever seen,” Friedman said. “The impact he has in the clubhouse was as significant as I’ve seen. … What he does on the mound every fifth day is obvious and evident to everybody that follows, but as we look to continue to supplement and add to this core group, what David brings goes beyond what he does every fifth day.”

Though the trade process had its hiccups and took nearly a week to complete after reports of a deal initially surfaced, Price and Betts said they were both thrilled to be in Los Angeles on Wednesday and eager to report to Glendale, Ariz., next week.

“Once we found out we were both coming, we were excited,” Price said. “We shared some text messages and phone calls, and we’re excited to be here.”

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson paid tribute to his late father, Rocky Johnson, on Friday with an emotional letter to the WWE Hall of Famer on Instagram.

The “Jumanji” star, who is of Samoan and Black Nova Scotian heritage, shared a video from one of Rocky’s wrestling matches and credited his father for helping him embrace his diverse background.

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“You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” he said. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am.”

Dwayne, 47, shared that as he grew older, he realized Rocky had “other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood,” but said, “That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude.”

“Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side,” he added. “But you have ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.”

The WWE superstar then admitted, “Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass.”

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Celebrities, including Dwayne’s “Jumanji” co-star Kevin Hart, showed their support in the comments section. “Love you bro,” Hart, 40, wrote with several prayer hand emojis.

Rocky whose real name was Wayde Douglas Bowles died at age 75 on Wednesday. The cause of death has not been revealed.

The Cauliflower Alley Club a pro-wrestling non-profit was the first to confirm the news of his passing on Twitter, writing, “His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time.”

Source: New York Post

The post Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Dave Weckl @ All About Jazz

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1979 saw a move to the East coast and the University of Bridgeport. While playing the New York club scene with a band called Nite Sprite, Weckl started receiving accolades from established studio musicians such as Steve Kahn, Michael Brecker, and Peter Erskine. It was Erskine who recommended Weckl for his first ‘big gig’ with a group called French Toast, forerunner to the Michel Camilo band. That band featured iconic electric bass player Anthony Jackson.

From this group, Jackson recommended Weckl for the prestigious 1983 Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. This got Weckl noticed by a much larger industry audience and lead to many session opportunities, including radio and TV jingles, sound track sessions, and top recording dates with George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, Robert Plant, and many more.

In 1985, Michael Brecker recommended Weckl to Chick Corea for his new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven-year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic bands where nine recordings and three videos were produced. The Akoustic Band release earned Weckl a Grammy.

The Elektric Band showcased Weckl’s cutting-edge drumming and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums, bringing him worldwide recognition. Though the Elektric Band went on a 10-year hiatus in the early ’90s, the band still tours from time-to-time. They released a 17-part conceptual album entitled To The Stars in mid-2004, and have reunited for tours in 2011 and 2016/17.

Weckl’s solo career began in 1990 with the release of Master Plan. Co-written/produced with longtime St. Louis friend/colleague Jay Oliver, the album was a watershed moment in Weckl’s career. Some would say it ushered in a new generation of contemporary drumming.

Master Plan featured a dynamic and diverse collection of tracks featuring top jazz artists of the time. The album created a palette for Weckl’s wide-ranging abilities in jazz, fusion, and Latin-inspired music, solidifying him as an emerging leader in the drumming world.

The album’s title track, written and performed by Chick Corea, featured Weckl and Steve Gadd on drums. Weckl had been seen as a protege to Gadd and their styles meshed perfectly on the track. But in many ways, the tune marked a “passing of the torch” in terms of next-generation artistry on the drums.

Weckl has recorded and produced nine other solo/leader recordings to date. In addition to Master Plan, Heads Up and Hard-Wired earned him great notoriety in the early ’90s.

In 1998, Weckl realized his long-time goal of forming a world-touring band. The Dave Weckl Band released five studio records, including: Rhythm Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and Multiplicity. The band also released a hot live album, LIVE (And Very Plugged In) plus a compilation of DWB and instructional videos entitled The Zone.

Instructional videos have always played a big role in Weckl’s career. His original product, entitled Contemporary Drummer + 1, was one of the first play-along products ever published for drums. His Back To Basics and The Next Step releases were best-sellers in the ’90s and also continue to sell today.

Weckl updated his technical approach in the ’90s after studying with Freddie Gruber. He then released a three-part series of videos called A Natural Evolution, which included an appearance by Gruber. These products redefined earlier concepts to help drummers understand how to play in a relaxed, efficient, and musical way. They also helped solidified Weckl’s stature as an articulate and respected teacher. His clinics and master classes continue to attract capacity crowds worldwide.

After many years of sideman work with guitar legend Mike Stern, Chris Minh Doky’s Nomads, Oz Noy, and more, Weckl spent 2013 reuniting with Jay Oliver. They launched a crowd funding campaign that attracted more than 2,000 pre-orders of a project that would eventually be called Convergence.

The album featured 10 tunes, including piano and drum solo pieces and a remake of Stevie Wonder’s legendary tune “Higher Ground.” The video of “Higher Ground” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and Facebook. Drummer Chris Coleman, bassist Jimmie Johnson, guitarist Dean Brown, singer Chrissi Poland, and several amazing horn players and vocalists took part.

The project also saw collaborations with Canadian singer Emilie-Claire Barlow and Riverdance creator Bill Whelan. Oliver recorded several native Irish instruments at Whelan’s personal studio in Ireland.

Convergence was released with three companion products: a play-along package for drums, a play-along package for all other instruments on the album, and a full-length documentary entitled Flies On The Studio Wall.

In 2015, Weckl formed an acoustic jazz group with longtime friend/collaborator Tom Kennedy (bass), Gary Meek (sax), and Makoto Ozone (piano/B3). The group was called The Dave Weckl Acoustic Band. To date, the band has released a CD entitled Of The Same Mind and a live DVD filmed at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood.

More recently, Weckl has returned to touring with the Elektric Band, Mike Stern, and Oz Noy, while completing sessions in his Los Angeles-area home studio. He has also formed an online school with comprehensive lessons, new play along products, and live footage from current tours.

He says “it is my goal to inspire as many young (and not-so-young) people as possible to want to play music, whether it be on drums or another instrument. With all the negatives in the world today, I feel this is my way of contributing a positive action toward spiritual happiness, which music can be a big part of, if you let it. So parents, if your child has a talent for music, please allow them the opportunity to develop that talent!”

Outside of music, Weckl has a passion for automobiles and racing. He and his Corvette ZO6 regularly post competitive times at race tracks around Southern California. Check out his YouTube racing channel!

Beyond music and four-wheel indulgences, Dave’s biggest passions and sources of inspiration come from his daughter, Claire, and his wife, Clivia.

A future college graduate (psychology), Claire definitely has the music gene. She sang an amazing version of “Cups (You’re Gonna Miss Me)” for the Convergence album. Her talent, passion, and work ethic make her father proud every day.

Dave’s wife, Clivia (also formerly a singer) has a love and passion for music – and an amazing energy for everything life has to offer. She and Dave share time both in Italy and Los Angeles. Show less

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Nathan Miller obituary, death: Nathan Miller Chocolate Chambersburg

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Nathan Miller obituary, death: Nathan Miller Chocolate Chambersburg

Nathan Miller obituary, death: Beloved Nathan Miller Chambersburg chocolatier has passed away.

He is the proprietor and chocolatier at Nathan Miller Chocolate.

Please say a prayer for his grieving family mourning his death as you read the tributes below:

Please cover Deb and Rick Miller in love and prayers for comfort. They lost their beloved son Nathan and he will be greatly missed by so many.

I just remember him with this amazing dry sense of humor that brought joy to our lives as my sons middle school and highschool friend. Wrestling, soccer, cross country and many sleep overs at our house. Nate had an explorer’s spirit and wasn’t afraid to take risks like my son.

Looking back I never would have dreamed they both would have been business owners. Nate became a chocolatier in Chambersburg after studying abroad and here, all types of culinary skills. Nathan’s chocolates in Chambersburg made the best chocolate.

Nathan was a true example of an overcomer and showed the world that with faith and hard work you can find your dreams. You will be dearly missed and thankyou for the wonderful day I got to come down and have a tour.

Rest in Peace Nate until we meet again. Love and prayers

The Chambersburg community has a lost a real one. I’ll always remember going to $5 punk shows in the event space attached to the coffeehouse, buying bags of my favorite Little Amps coffee, having the best brownie I’ve ever tasted, and tearing up with hometown pride when seeing Nathan’s factory on national TV while on a flight home. Thank you Nathan Miller. Rest Easy.

Nathan Miller obituary

Nathan Miller I met you in the darkest part of my life. You took me under your wing. You told me your dreams of being a chocolatier, I knew you would not only make that a reality, but take it to the highest level.

You were in your twenties, with all your friends, drawn to your house almost nightly, and Sunday barbecues. You were all so smart, fun, creative and welcoming- to an older woman divorcee even though I never felt like the outsider I was.

Your gatherings, many which involved karaoke and music- your go to Karaoke was vintage Pink Floyd and David Bowie. We enjoyed art, the outdoors, our views of spirituality, of course gorgeous food, and a lot of laughter. Then when I was trying to make it as a realtor, you trusted me and hired me, giving me work. You referred your friends and your wonderful uncle Doug Walter.

You grew my business. As time went on your family, Deb Walter Miller with Doug, made me feel welcome, just as you had, with your friends.

When you trusted me to sell your home, I saw you off to go back to Chambersburg to pursue and conquer your dreams. We didn’t stay in touch. I didn’t visit you when your work brought you to Denver. And I didn’t support through your health battle. I never reciprocated any of the joy and generosity you naturally shared with me. I deeply regret that.

My heart is heavy and I pray your heart and soul have been set free. I miss you, and I’m so grateful for all the love and life you showed me.

Nathan Miller obituary, death: Nathan Miller Chocolate Chambersburg

Nathan was a kind, gentle person. He believed in us and helped us get started. He always gave us good advice and held great conversations over his amazing coffee and chocolates. He will be missed and we will think of him every time we take a bite of chocolate. May he rest in peace.

Our downtown mourns. We mourn the loss of Nathan Miller, proprietor and chocolatier at Nathan Miller Chocolate. Nathan provided encouragement and advice to many businesses with our downtown. He collaborated with GearHouse Brewing Co on a chocolate porter and crafted a product known world wide. We offer our condolences and prayers to the Nathan’s family and friends.

📸 – Nathan Miller Chocolate

Saddened to hear about the passing of Nathan Miller of Nathan Miller Chocolate. His dedication to his craft and his effort to revitalize Chambersburg’s Grant-Street-warehouse area were major inspirations for my own business ventures in this town.

“Made with ❤️ from bean to bar then handwrapped by our team. Come visit our factory at 140 North Third Street in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.”

[from the packaging – this bar was a gift to Rach and I from Alex and Moriah].

Missing – Accident – Death – Obituary – Cause Of Death – Funeral – Burial – Tributes – Memorial – Fundraiser – GoFundMe – Visitation  | Follow us – Our Loved Ones Alert on Facebook and Twitter.

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Martha Levert death, obituary: Sean & Gerald Levert mother passed away

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Martha Levert death, obituary: Sean & Gerald Levert mother passed away

Martha Levert death: Sean & Gerald Levert mother passed away January 2, 2020.

Gerald’s daughter Carlysia Levert announced Martha Levert death in a statement on social media that read:

 Heaven gained another Angel this morning… Granny, I love you. I will miss you.

I thank God I got to talk to you a week ago… and I thank him for all of our memories that I will forever cherish… you get to be reunited with both of your sons my daddy and uncle Sean… and We gained another Angel!

#RIPGrandmaMartha please keep my family in your prayers

Martha Levert cause of death is not public at this time.

Martha Levert death, obituary: Sean & Gerald Levert mother death

Martha lost her oldest son Gerald on November 10, 2006 at the age of 40 in an accidental death from a fatal combination of several prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

2 years later, Martha’s younger son Sean Levert died at the age of 39 while he was in jail for child support from complications of Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body.

The family then filed a lawsuit against Cuyahoga County after finding out jail staff took his medication away from him and failed to give him a single pill during the six days he was there. He was also denied a doctor. No criminal charges were brought on the staff but Sean’s wife did receive a settlement of $4 million.

Martha shared her two sons, Gerald and Sean, with ex-husband Eddie Levert of The O’Jays. Their sons then went on to start their own group, LeVert, with group member Marc Gordon where they made hits like: “(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind” and “Casanova.”

Marc expressed his hurt on the passing of Martha and said that she was like his second mom.

A post shared by Carlysia Levert (@carlysialevert) on

Please say a prayer for her grieving family. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

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Obeya ‘s Death Worries AFN; Gorge Regrets Loss of Talented Coach

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Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) acting president, Honourable Olamide George says the death of another veteran athletics coach, John Obeya has devastated the athletics community in Nigeria.

Coach Obeya died Tuesday in Jos, Plateau state after complaining of stomach ache. He was aged 65.

“This is a very sad day for track and field in Nigeria. When we are still mourning the untimely passing of coach Tobias Igwe, another blow has been dealt our dear sport with the report of coach Obeya’s death in Jos,” said George in a statement.

“Coach Obeya complained of a stomach problem on Monday and was taken to an undisclosed hospital in Jos where he was operated upon, but sadly he didn’t survive,” said George who lamented Nigeria has lost one of her most talented track and field coaches.

Until his death, Obeya was a sprints coach with the Bahrain Athletics Association and was instrumental to the recruitment of reigning world 400m champion, Salwa Eid Naser (formerly Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu) by Bahrain in 2014.

He trained Eid Naser to win the 400m gold at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics in Cali, Colombia and silver at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

Although Eid Naser struck gold at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha,Qatar under another coach, Dominican Jose Ludwig Rubio, it was Obeya that laid the foundation for her incredible feats in the women’s quartermile where she ran 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time of all time behind (East) Germany’s Marita Koch (47.60 seconds in 1985) and Czech’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99 in 1983).

“Like coach Tobias Igwe, coach Obeya was also in the Nigeria team to the first IAAF World Junior Championships in Athens, Greece in 1986 where he took charge of especially the two jumpers in the team, Beatrice Utondu and Caroline Nwajei and has produced so many top stars for Nigeria. It is on record that he trained Tina Ozoro to the first national triple jump record and top jumper, Chinedu Odozor and Samuel Onikeku,” George further stated.

The AFN acting president says the federation will send a condolence message to the family of coach Obeya and prays that God grants the family the fortitude to bear this great and monumental loss.

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Buhari reacts to death of Abubakar – Daily Post Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari has paid tribute to Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Wabili, Sarkin Malamai, Gombe who died on Friday.

He described him as a man of impeccable integrity who unshakably stood by him before and after his foray into politics.

Wabili was Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice when the President, then an Army Colonel, served as the Military Governor of the defunct Northeastern State, now made up of six states.

Speaking through a delegation he sent to Gombe, led by the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, President Buhari said it was rare these days to find men like the deceased who stubbornly held onto principles, standing for what they believed in, come rain or shine.

He recalled that from the moment he made up his mind to join partisan politics, the late Sarkin Malamai was part of a small group who sat down with him to draw his vision and programme of action to the voting public during the three times he ran for the presidency, until the fourth when he was elected.

‘‘He was in politics, not to make gains or hold positions but to see to the actualization of the vision for a greater Nigeria that we commonly shared. I remain appreciative of the intellectual and other forms of contributions he made to me since we started. May his soul Rest In Peace,” the President said.

At Government House Gombe the delegation was received by Governor Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya.

The Presidential delegation condoled with the government and people of Gombe State over the loss of the senior citizen and active elder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was committed to the party’s ideal until his demise.

Governor Yahaya of Gombe State thanked the President for sending a delegation to commiserate with the people of Gombe over the passing of Wabili.

“Your visit has given us succor. He lived a good life and lived for long.

‘‘He was an inspiration to Gombe State, the Northern geopolitical region and the Nation as a whole. He remained steadfast in support of Mr. President and we appreciate all he had been able to accomplish,” the governor said.

He assured the President that Gombe will continue to support the good policies of his administration to improve the welfare of Nigerians.

At the residence of the deceased, Sarkin Malamai, the family spokesman Alhaji Jibril Dukku also thanked the President for sharing in their grief.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Ali Pantami, the Senior Special Assistants to the President, Ya’u Darazo and Garba Shehu, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi and the Dan Madami of Daura, Musa Haro were on the delegation.

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Train Crushes Pregnant Woman To Death In Abia

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Train
Train

The family of a pregnant woman in Abia state are in mourning as a new report has confirmed that she was crushed to death by a commercial train passing through the rain line at Obuda community in Abia state on Saturday.

The deceased was reportedly on a bike heading to the city market when the bike was knocked down by the train.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident was caused by the bike rider who was listening to music at the time and was unable to hear the squealing wheels. He, however, escaped unhurt.

“I was not that far from the accident scene. I was coming from the other end of Uratta road off Port Harcourt road. Keke and other bikes parked on both sides of the road when they noticed that the train was close. Suddenly, this guy emerged from nowhere and before you could say Jack, the train was on the woman. People were saying that they overhead the woman hitting on the guy to stop.

Read Also: Train crushes at least 4 persons to death in Lagos

“But it was too late. It was out of fear that she jumped out of the bike, but it was too late for any miracle to happen. The train dismembered her legs and ripped open her skull from the back. Early caller to the scene managed to lift up her decapitated body to see if there could be anyone that knows her.

“The Okada man ran away, but I think people know him. It was alleged that he (commercial motorcyclist) was listening to music or radio using a headphone.

“It hasn’t been long when the husband and the relatives of the woman came to remove her body before policemen from railway cames. You know that if the railway police evacuate the body, they will find it hard to secure her body for burial” an eyewitness said.

The post Train Crushes Pregnant Woman To Death In Abia appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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84-year-old woman hacked to death in Osun – Daily Post Nigeria

Police in Osun State has confirmed the alleged murder of 84-year-old woman, Mrs Janet Alatede Ebo on Sunday, at Oke Aare, Iree, in Boripe Local Government Areaof the state .

According to a student of a tertiary institution in the town, who lives in the same apartment with the slain octogenarian, and preferred anonymity, the old woman was hacked to death around 8pm at her residence located in Afunsho compound area of the town.

According to the young chap, the old woman was seen alive in the house around 7:30pm, before he went out to recharge his phone only to come back and meet her in the pool of her blood.

He observed that the octogenarian must have been stabbed severally before passing away .

“The old woman lives here with us (tenants) who are students of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. Most of my colleagues were not around last night as I was the only one with her in the house.

“At about 7:30pm, I told her I wanted to charge my phone somewhere as there was no electricity, and urged her not to close the door, promised to return shortly. On returning I saw the doors of the house locked.

“I was furious because I had to go in through the back door to my own apartment which is upstairs to gain access to the building. On getting upstairs, I wondered why mama did not leave the door open as I requested, so, I got down to check Mama in her room and luckily, electricity had been restored.

“On getting to Mama’s room, I discovered she had been stabbed and as a result, had given up the ghost”, he explained.

Meanwhile, the Police, through its spokesperson in the state, DSP Folasade Odoro, said the matter was under investigation, as the atmosphere around the area remains tensed.

Odoro disclosed that detectives were carrying out investigation to unravel those behind the killing, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Abiodun Ige had visited the scene of the crime.

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Soyinka tackles NASS over death penalty for hate speech

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has written to the National Assembly, warning of the consequence of passing a bill which stipulates death penalty for hate speech.

The bill, which is sponsored by Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), has already scaled the first reading at the Senate. Titled: “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2019”, the bill also proposes the setting up of a Commission on hate speech.

In a letter to the National Assembly, titled: “Is it now cool to kill?– An anguished letter to Nigerian Lawmakers,” Soyinka said though, he is against Fake News and other debiitating vices on social media, he would not subscribe to pronouncing dead penalty for hate speech.

“I hope you will excuse me for distracting you from your onerous duties, but I am a current sufferer – and I am not alone – from a persistent nightmare. That affliction has been induced by your most recent approach to addressing an acknowledged problem that affects, not only Nigerians, but the entire global community. The nightmare consists of the fear of waking up one morning to discover that one’s name has been cited among those helpless victims on behalf of whom a repellent legislation is about to be enacted.

“The likelihood in my case is especially acute. Yes, indeed, it is no Fake News that I have denounced the purveyors of public lies and hate material as the very scum of the earth. I have called them names that come close to enrolling me among the very reprobates we all so fervently denounce. From Abuja, through Paris, London, Sochi, Dar es Salaam, Chandrigah, etc. etc., I have utilized every available platform to highlight their perverse mentality and call for concerted action against their hyper-activism against humanity in general. I have singled out the Nigerian species of this criminal pursuit as an especially virulent breed, as a subhuman aberration without conscience, incapable of remorse, sustained by abnormal reserves of sadism.

“I have closed down dozens of fake sites instituted over my name, and set in motion mechanisms for the pursuit of those who steal my identity, even where the content is quite harmless, even positive. Only recently, in Paris, I proposed that judicial mitigation under the recognition of crime passionnel should be considered for victims of Fake News who ‘lose control’ on physically encountering their violators. As you may have discerned so far, I again, and unapologetically, exploit this very development to reiterate my detestation and contempt for such pestilences that plague our humanity,” he said in the letter.

Soyinka urged the lawmaker to consider more deeply the path on which they had chosen to embark and invited them to reflect quite objectively on the company into which they were about to throw yourselves, and the consequences for the very nation they represent – including its social psyche.

According to him, the lawmakers were about to corrupt youthful impression, to join the brigade of closet psychopaths for whom the only solution to any social malaise from the trite to the profoundly” affective is – Kill! Is this what humanity and society are all about?”

“You are psyching up your ranks to pronounce yourselves affiliates of inhuman aberrations such as Boko Haram, Isis (Da’esh), al Shabbab, nomadic cow herders etc. etc. for whom killing is the only response for real or imagined wrongs, perceptions of entitlement and/or deprivation, sense of righteousness and generally – concept of a thoroughly sanitized community of mortals. You are sending out applications to join the ranks of those inadequate males who believe that the only cure for adultery is to b”ury a woman up to her neck in earth and reduce her head to a pulp under a rain of stones.

“You affirm yourselves – not for the first time, alas! –allies of those who believe that death is the appropriate cure for that physiological conditioning which, through no fault of theirs, attract them to others of the same sex. You pronounce yourselves clones of demented rulers like Yahayah Jahmeh of Gambia who preached that we all cut off the heads of homosexuals and poison alleged witches– and so on and on down a dismal list of silent, instinctive killers who have somehow managed to manipulate themselves into the corridors of ‘legitimatized’ – or illicit recesses of – Power and Force.

“By the way, are you aware that a school of thought passionately believes that thieves such as Yahayah Jahmeh, formerly of Gambia, Omar Bashir of the Sudan etc in company of numerous members of African leadership elite, including this very Nigerian society, deserve no less than the death penalty for pilfering public resources, and on a scale that continues to stagger even the most inured in this nation? Do you really, as presumably analytical minds believe that a facile and final recourse to the gallows or a fusillade of bullets at the stake, is the sole remedy to the phenomenon of the diffuse classifications possible under the abuse of communication and the sowing of hate among people?

“How precise is the definition of ‘hate’ when it becomes a yardstick for the extinction of even one human life? Haunting, hopefully, our collective conscience as a nation, even till today, is recollection of a clique of social army reformers who instituted, and carried out the execution citizens under a retroactive law. Yet others wiped out entire communities as collective punishment for the loss of members of their elite class, the military. And surely it is too soon to dismiss memory of the mass decimation of a religious group, the Shi’ites, for obstructing the passage of a motorcade of that same elite class. These are classic instances of murder, albeit under the immunity of power legitimation,” he stated.

He added that “Your motivations are also spectacularly dubious. Silencing the voices of criticism is a perennial preoccupation of power, but we know that a far more penetrative form of death, spelling the end of social vitality and relevance is incurred when human voices are silenced. Try and imagine how many “deserved” executions would be taking place in this nation right now – beginning with nearly all of you in the exalted homes of legislation – if Boko Haram had succeeded in subjugating this nation under its creed.

“Well, do not even bother with imagination, which is not as common a faculty as we tend to assume –simply check with neighbouring Mali how many, convicted of crimes against faith, Mr. Answar Dine eliminated during his brief sway in northern Mali. Or remain within this nation itself – check the statistics of death inflicted from indiscriminate bombings of the thriving concourses of humanity – schools, markets, motor parks, media houses, churches, mosques, shrines by believers in the doctrine of death as divine solution to the very crime of existence outside their narrow and perverted set of beliefs. Consider the fate of Uganda if Joseph Kony had indeed succeeded in his mission of converting Ugandans to his doctrine of – Salvation or Death!”

Soyinka said these were not imaginary scenarios, stressing that, that quick but facile option – killing – had become the current emblem of this very nation, effectively replacing the green-white-green, lamenting that something had collapsed.

He noted that the carefully calibrated structures of fellow feeling, supposedly inculcated from infancy, lied in ruins, as life wass now held cheap, casual, and trite.

He said “students kill for the thrill of it, and for assertion of cultic supremacy. Kidnappers collect ransom, yet kill. They kill even intermediary couriers. Fetishists kill in pursuit of illusions of instant wealth. Others, highly placed, kill for political office, and yet others to cover up criminalities by the deployment of killers. You cannot claim ignorance that there have been identified, over the past few decades, consortiums of killers who actually advertise their trade in select circles and canvass for clients. Your businessmen – and women – have used them. So have politicians.

“And now, you wish to add, to this culture of rampaging morbidity, the state empowered deaths of those dregs of society who titillate themselves with corrosive narratives from diseased minds, and boost their meaningless lives with the degradation of others? Are they even worth the cost of the hangman’s noose? No. True, governance has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but social malefactors must be fought and neutralized through far more painstaking methods. Reformed if possible, exposed and publicly humiliated, punished and compelled to make restitution where their actions have caused pain, anguish and destruction. That option, we know, is the more arduous path, but then, where did you obtain the notion that you were elected to occupy cushy, stress-free arm-chairs?”

Soyinka realled that when a section of this national community wanted to execute a lady called Safiyat for alleged adultery some years ago – and through the singularly revolting means of stoning to death – the nation rose above religious partisanship in repudiation of this barbaric trivialization of human life, saying that “we continue to rail against the solution of death as penalty against those whose sexual orientation is different from ours, and thereby offends the sensibilities of others. I await persuasion, offered through objective, not emotive arguments, that this new extension of the homicidal imperative is fundamentally different from those other globally repudiated candidates for the killing route to social sanitation.”

“For now, may I passionately plead with you to consider that the coarsening and debasement of youth sensibility – already too far gone – through the trivialization of life – is a spectre that may return to haunt you if coming generations are taught that it is “cool to kill”. Remember that example, especially by leadership, is a hundred times more explicit and enduring than the mere propagation of any counter-doctrine. Do not embrace the awful responsibility of impressing homicide as a way of life on the ethical template of coming generations. The chickens have a way of coming home to roost. I may be wrong of course, but their droppings already foul the common air we all breathe. Just take a deep breath, look around you, and re-consider,’ he stated.

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