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Legalize wee – Government told

Stakeholders at a public lecture on drug policy reforms in Ghana have called for the decriminalization of the use of cannabis popularly known as ‘wee’.

According to them, the move by government would ensure the implementation of regulatory schemes that would enhance quality control of narcotics, generate jobs and tax revenue for the country.

There is currently a new Narcotics Control Commission Bill before Parliament which when passed would replace the existing Narcotics Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Law, PNDC 236, 1990.

Unfortunately, the Bill, as it exists, pays little attention to harm reduction, public health, welfare of users, prison population and alternative to incarceration.

Dr. Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, former Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) Executive Secretary speaking during the panel discussion of the lecture, said the current law on narcotics lacked a clear definition of whether narcotics qualifies to be classified as illegal.

“It just says the cannabis plant has various species and varieties and some of them can be used in manufacturing; so my understanding of the drug reform policy is that the definition ought to be specific,” he said.

He emphasized that decriminalization was the first step the country needed to take to reach legal regulation of the narcotics in Ghana.

Dr. Sarpong stressed that the country did not need to be “ready” before decriminalizing narcotics use.

According to him, just as the country gained independence when it did not have all the regulations or infrastructure needed to run an independent country, so also can narcotics be decriminalized without having all the regulatory mechanisms.

“Now that the bill is before Parliament, let all of us here as stakeholders start saying things about regulation and then we can all get together,” he appealed.


In his presentation themed: “Drug Policy Reforms; Perspectives on Criminal Justice and Decriminalizing Drug Use in Ghana,” Prof. Carl Hart, a professor of neuroscience and psychology, well known for his research in drug abuse and drug addiction, said myths surrounding cannabis use and the gains people stand to benefit from its criminalization have made it attractive to many governments.

Dispelling some of the known myths about cannabis used backed by research, Professor Hart said the use of cannabis does not lead to addiction, adding that most drug users are regular everyday people who go about their business and contribute to the development of society.

He again noted that there is no causal link between cannabis and psychosis as many have been made to believe. However, he said there are correlations between cannabis and psychosis. “There is no evidence to the notion that cannabis causes psychosis. In terms of causal link there is no link,” he said. 
Prof Hart pointed out that the notion that addiction is a brain dysfunction was not entirely true.

He added that for Ghana to reach the stage of legal regulation of cannabis which he recommended, it would require people having evidence and not anecdotes as well as better education and implementation of psychopharmacology.

In his remarks, Seth Kwame Acheampong, Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, said it was refreshing to hear scientists speak on important societal matters like narcotics regulation, adding that it was the way to go if government was to find solutions and help the society grow

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Man climbs onto plane wing before takeoff at Nigeria airport

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigerian aviation authorities say an intruder who climbed onto the wing of a commercial plane that was preparing to fly from the country's busiest airport has been detained.

viral video of Friday's incident at the international airport in Lagos also showed panicked passengers who appeared eager to flee the plane.

In the video taken from inside the plane, the man can be seen moving along the wing as passengers look out and shout. 

Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria spokeswoman Henrietta Yakubu said the Azman Air plane had been waiting for clearance from air traffic controllers. She said it taxied back for a "thorough check" before departing for Port Harcourt.

It was not clear how the man reached the plane or what his intention was.

It was the latest Nigerian airport security breach. In 2017, passengers on a private jet in Lagos said thieves forced open the cargo door and stole luggage.

Azman Air is a privately owned Nigerian airline founded in 2010 that flies within and outside the African nation.

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A mother killed and chopped by son in law.

The gruesome murder of a mum who was killed by her son-in-law, chopped up and kept at his grubby takeaway has torn a family apart.

Zainab Begum was killed by Muhammed Arshad following an argument about the mum-of-six's home.


He then dismembered the devoted mum and kept his body in his takeaway - but no trace of her has ever been found.

Her death shattered her family and now her daughter has set up a support group to help other vulnerable women in abusive relationships.

Teacher Samina, 47, from Accrington, Lancashire, says: “My mum’s death is something I will never come to terms with.

Zainab (left) was killed by her sn-in-law after a row about a house

Her own son-in-law murdered her and disposed of her body in bin bags. We have no grave and no way of knowing what really happened to her body.

“Mum was such a positive, maverick person that I would like some good to come from this tragedy.

"I am hoping to tackle issues such as grooming and abusive relationships. I want other women to know that it’s Ok to walk away from abuse.”

Samina raised the alarm when her mum, then 52, went missing in January 2004.

Samina says: “My mum was very forward-thinking. She had encouraged us to go to university, to learn to drive and to make our own decisions.

“Arshad was a bully. He had the potential for evil and we could see that. From the day he married my sister he treated her badly.

"He was a chef and collected knives – which he would later use to cut up my mother’s body.

“He was jealous of my mum’s home and wanted the house for himself. He even tried to sell it from under her, and make her move out, but she stood her ground.”

The day before she was killed, Zainab had argued with her son-in-law about the house.

She asked him to return his key and he was so furious that he returned the next day to kill her.

Samina said: “His motive for the murder was greed, pure and simple. He wanted mum’s home and thought he could bully her out of it.”

After spending hours searching for her mum, Samina called the police.

She said: "It was so out of character; I just knew something had happened. Arshad refused to answer my questions and I felt he knew more than he was letting on – though of course I had no idea of the real truth.

“Mum had always been very house-proud and clean but there was a smell like rotting meat inside her home. I couldn’t work out what it was.”

In December 2004 Preston Crown Court heard how Arshad, a pie factory worker, had murdered his mother-in-law, chopped her body up and hid it in his takeaway.

He was jailed for life.

In his defence, Arshad claimed that Zainab made sexual advances towards him and that she had died accidentally when he pushed her away from him.

The body had been stored behind the bar in the takeaway but what happened after that remains a mystery.

Zainab’s blood was found in the takeaway and forensics concluded the body parts had been stored on the first floor and then taken down to the kitchen.

The blood trail stopped in the kitchen.

Samina said: “There was speculation that they cooked the body in curries but there is nothing to prove that and I don’t believe it.

"They also claimed they had dumped different body parts in dustbins around the city.

“I think mum’s body was burned. But we will never know for sure. It’s hard not having a grave for her. She deserves to have a real memorial.”

Muhammed Arshad, 37, was sentenced to life in prison for killing Zainab after a two-and-a-half week trial at Preston Crown Court in December 2004.

His brother, Mohammed Sharif Khan, 39, also Zainab’s son-in-law, was sentenced to seven years in prison for helping to dispose of the body parts.

In the years after her death, grief drove the family apart.

Samina said: “Slowly, I began to face the future. I knew she would want me to be strong.

"I had been unhappily married for a long time and I decided enough was enough.”

Four years after her mum’s death, she remarried and now has two sons, Sayaam, 10, and Aryaan, nine.

Samina said: “With six daughters herself, mum had longed for a boy. She would have adored my sons and I feel so sad that she is missing out on them.

“In her memory, I decided to set up a support group, called ‘Empowering Women,’ and I now help women and girls who find themselves trapped by abusive relationships – no matter what the cause.

"We meet up every Wednesday, we have around 25 members and we run charity events too. It’s a comfort to know we can help other women.

“The women in my family were bullied by Arshad and Khan. If they’d had the courage to stand up to them, it could have been very different. My mum might still have been alive today.

“I will make sure that my sons are brought up to treat women as equals. It is something I am passionate about.

"The group has even brought me and my sisters closer again and sometimes, they come down to our meetings too.

“I think there are lessons to be learned from what happened to my family. I want women to be able to be open if something bad is happening to them.

Mum was such a positive, maverick person that I would like some good to come from this tragedy and I want other women to know that it’s OK to walk away from abuse.

“The grief of her death and the way she died is still very raw. But Mum’s legacy will live on and that gives me strength. I hope to make a difference and make her proud.”

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Shoppers 'scream' and 'run for their lives'

Shoppers were heard screaming and running for their lives this afternoon after a reports of a man with a gun at the Manchester Arndale shopping centre.

One person described "mass panic" as crowds were told to evacuate, while another said everyone "ran out screaming" amid the chaos.

Police confirmed they were called to the shopping centre at 1.20pm to reports of a man with a gun, but found no evidence of anyone with a firearm.

Now a senior officer has said they believe it was a 'deliberate attempt to cause mass panic'.

Police are looking for a black male in his mid-late teens, medium build and around 5ft 7in, as they appeal for more information on the incident.

An eyewitness told the Manchester Evening News that the drama was sparked by the behaviour of a teenage boy, who stood on a table in the food court and began to take his clothes off.

The boy, thought to be 15 or 16, was said to have stood on a table before he starting 'shushing everyone',  'telling them to be quiet' and saying they should 'listen to him'.

He then said 'can I have everyone's attention please', the eyewitness said.

It's claimed he then started to undress, taking a jacket and a bag off, until he was topless and just wearing trousers.

Arndale staff intervened and began talking to him, but shortly after the boy ran off, the eyewitness said.

Screaming and shouting could then be heard as the incident appeared to cause panic amongst shoppers.

Some shops within the centre put their shutters down as the incident unfolded, according to a shopper.

Andy Appleby wrote on the social media site: "Sat enjoying a subway salad in Manchester Arndale foodcourt, crazy man gets on a table shouting and mad panic ensures.

"Not sure what happened but the rumours are flying."

Other shoppers told how security staff were shouting "get out" and telling customers to leave.

A parent who was caught up in the scare wrote on Twitter: "Turned out to be a false alarm but there was mass panic at the Arndale from outside Wilko to High Street, it was chaos people running and screaming. I've never ever felt more instinct to get my kids to safety."

Another witness said he was "herded out by police, at least one with a Taser out. Grabbed my bag and my lunch, and headed away rather than rubbernecking."

Eyewitnesses described people descending the wrong way down the escalators on Market Street, that provide a direct entrance to the food court.

As people were told to vacate the building, they urged members of the public to avoid the area.

"If you're in Manchester, we have just been evacuated from the Arndale because reports of an armed man with a firearm.

"Stay away from the Arndale and stay safe."

One employee who works in the centre said he was told by police to leave the shop.

But he added that he has since been given the all clear to go back into the store.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: "Officers are appealing for information following an incident earlier today at Manchester Arndale.

"Around 1.20pm today, officers were called to the food court at Manchester Arndale in the city centre to reports of a man with a gun. Armed officers attended but found no evidence of anyone with a firearm.

"Witnesses reported seeing a man stood on a table and shouting. He was not seen to be carrying a weapon, but it is believed his actions were intended to cause alarm and panic amongst members of the public.

"The man then fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to trace him.

He is described as black, in his mid-late teens, around 5ft 7in, medium build and he was wearing light-coloured tracksuit bottoms. He was not wearing a top, but is believed to have put on a t-shirt as he fled the scene.

Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle, of GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch, said:  “We responded immediately to this incident, and thankfully it was quickly established there was no credible threat to the public.

“The man who caused the disturbance was not seen with any weapons, but nevertheless it caused fear and panic to quickly spread amongst people in the Arndale.

“Despite no evidence of a credible threat, we are taking this very seriously. A full investigation has been launched to establish the full circumstances of what happened and enquiries are ongoing to trace the person responsible.

There will be increased patrols in the area, and anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to speak to officers on the ground.

“I would urge anyone with information or footage of the incident to contact police on 0161 856 4275.”

A spokesperson for the Arndale Centre said: "We can confirm that Greater Manchester Police were called to the centre on the afternoon of 13 July 2019 following a reported incident.

The incident is closed and the centre is open and trading as normal.

"The safety of our shoppers and staff is always our first priority.”


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Conjoined twin sisters, 18, who can never be separated

Twins conjoined at the head who will never be separated are surviving years beyond what doctors predicted.  

Neev and Nelly Kolestein, from Amsterdam, have been attached by the backs of their heads for their 18 years of life, but have their own brains and bodies.  

Their mother, who does not want to be identified, was told during labour that her babies would be joined at the head.

Medics were convinced the girls would die shortly after birth, and if they survived, it was expected their life would be a struggle before dying around the age of 10.

They are unable to be separated because they share a main artery in the head which keeps them alive, the family said.

But the twins are thriving and admit they would never want to be separated anyway - despite cruel torments throughout their lives.

They've never known any different than what they are used to - such as using a mirror to see each other and watch TV at the same time. 

Despite only ever seeing each other through a reflection in a mirror (pictured), Neev and Nelly have formed an unbreakable bond and don't know any different  

The twins have started their own YouTube channel and Instagram page to raise awareness of their condition and show people how they are much more than just 'the girls with a disability'. 

Despite only ever seeing each other through a reflection in a mirror, Neev and Nelly have formed an unbreakable bond.

Nelly said: 'When we were newborns, everyone thought we were going to die.

'But we're here now. We're 18 years old and we're standing firm on our four feet.'

Neev added: 'Our bodies are separate, but we're conjoined by the head.

'Everyone thinks we can reach other's minds. But we can't.

'We have our own thoughts. It means we can both do our own thing, with you know, walking and talking.' 

Due to the lack of medical resources where they were born in Suriname, South America, the girls had to move to the Netherlands for more urgent and specialised care.

But despite their parents' wishes, they could not be separated. 

The blood supply to their brains is so entangled that attempting to separate them would be deadly. 

The twins' sister, Rosianne Kolestein, 24, who works as a care provider and entrepreneur said: 'We moved my sisters to the Netherlands as there was a slight chance to separate them at first.

'That's what our parents wanted, they wanted a better life for them, obviously.

'It wasn't a great time when living in Suriname. People started distancing themselves from our family, they thought it could have been some kind of voodoo.

'But the doctors did more examining and realised it wasn't possible for separation. Their brains are conjoined and they share important blood vessels and veins.

'They have an artery that keeps them alive. If you wanted to separate them, you'd have to cut that. If you do that, you might as well bury them.'

Craniopagus twins can be separated in a series of complicated operations, and there have been a number of cases reported in the media.

However, the risks of separation are so high, and unfortunately it could cause death during or shortly after surgery, as well as brain damage. 

Lori and George Schappell, born in 1961, are believed to be the longest-surviving craniopagus twins. They are still joined at the age of 57. 

Rosianne said: 'They weren't expected to make it till 10 – now they're 18 and you have to just think "wow".' 

When growing up, the girls had to lead a sheltered life due to the public's reaction and having to be careful with their coordination when in uncontrolled environments. 

Nelly said: 'We had to be very careful growing up. It was annoying. You want to get out and do your own thing. 

'And with our condition, you don't have time to live for tomorrow.'

Rosianne continued: 'We didn't really want to take them outside, because people can be really mean.

'In one instance, we were walking outside and people were asking us questions like "Why didn't your parents terminate the pregnancy?"

'It was really bad. My mother would have people saying "you're just keeping them alive for the money". It's really disrespectful.'

But since the girls turned 16, the family, including other siblings Timothy and Marione, have tried to push them to become more confident.  

Rosianne said: 'How I see them, they're just my little sisters and that's how it's always been.

They have their own personalities for sure. They're very stubborn and you can tell they really want to make their own mark on the world.'

They have started vlogging online to connect with more people around the world and spread awareness about their condition.

Nelly said: 'We have our own YouTube channel so people can get to know us.

'People can hopefully stop staring and find out we are sweet girls. Not just "the girls with a disability".

'It's fun and you can get to meet new people on there. It's nice to know that people don't just respond negatively.'

With their future and life expectancy still uncertain, the conjoined sisters are continuing to study at school, taking one day of their life at a time. 

'I'm really proud of them. Really proud,' Rosianne said. 'They've accomplished so much and have grown as people. I think the future can be positive.

'At the moment, they're still in a phase where they have to discover who they are. We'll all let them do that at their own pace.' 

Nelly said: 'This is what we're used to now. We wouldn't want to get separated. Even if it was possible, we wouldn't do it. 

'As long as we're healthy, that's the most important thing.'

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Aman who punched 18-year-old woman unconscious after she rejected his advances and told him 'sorry, I'm not interested'

Gabrielle Walsh was out with a friend in Manchester when men approached

She told one she wasn't interested, sparking horrific attack which cut her eye


CCTV has captured the shocking moment a teenager was punched unconscious on a night out after she told a man who was following her: 'I'm sorry, I'm not interested'.

Gabrielle Walsh, 18, was approached by the attacker and two other men when she was out in central Manchester with a friend on Saturday night.

Footage shows the man throwing a punch before Gabrielle falls to the ground as panicked bystanders rush to help.

The college student and her friend, Kyle McKeown, 18, who was also attacked and is seen collapsing onto the road, had tried to walk away from the men, but they kept following and trying to talk to the pair, Gabrielle said.

In an attempt to get the men to go away, Gabrielle told them 'I'm sorry, I'm not interested'.

But her comments sparked a row which led to one of the men turning violent.

Police have now launched an investigation into the incident and are looking to speak to three men who are 'highlighted running from the area' in the CCTV footage.


Footage shows the man throwing a punch before Gabrielle falls to the ground as panicked bystanders rush to help

Senior Investigating Officer, Constable Ben Lomax, from GMP's City Centre Division said: ‘We have released this shocking footage in the hope it helps us identify those responsible for this appealing and cowardly attack.

‘Clearly, there were numerous people who not only witnessed this attack but will have seen the three men hastily departing the scene shortly afterwards.

He continued: 'Imagine if you or a member of your family was subjected to this kind of violence? You would quite rightly hope the perpetrators are caught.  

'Do you recognise the three men or the clothes they are wearing? One in particular has a distinctive way of running. Their clothes, too, are quite distinctive.

'Perhaps you saw three people like this earlier on during that evening, or later in the night. If you know something, please get in touch as soon as possible.' 


Speaking about the incident, Gabrielle said: 'They kept harassing us. I was saying to [my friend] Kyle: "Let's go". Then he hit me - he fully knocked me out. When I woke up I was on the floor and the three of them had jumped on Kyle as well.

The pair were helped by volunteers from the Village Angels community safety group, who provided first aid.

Gabrielle said: 'They tried to get me an ambulance but they said it was a two-hour wait so I just got a taxi to hospital.

'They didn't do much, they basically just gave me some eye drops and told me to go home.

'I went back to the eye hospital today and they said I've got a blood clot on my eye. It still can't really see out of it, when I open my eye all I see is yellow.'

A friend posted images of her injuries and an account of what happened on social media which has since been shared hundreds of times.

The attack unfolded near Manchester's Canal Street on Saturday night

Gabrielle, who said the attack had left her fearful of going out in public on her own, added: 'I'm not a rude person, I just said: "Sorry I'm not interested".

'I think it was a jealousy, ego thing because I rejected him in front of his friends.'

She added: 'Girls feel like they can't say "no". They feel like if they say no then they might hurt you and in this case it was true. It's scared me, I'm scared to go out, I've always got to be with somebody.'

The attacker is described as white, around 5ft 8in tall, and was wearing a pink t-shirt.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council's city centre spokesperson, condemned the attack and said he would see if officials can help identify the attacker through CCTV.

Cllr Karney said: 'I am horrified to hear about this horrific attack. 'We will check our CCTV system to see if we can identify the attacker.'

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28 Years old woman whose right leg is twice the size of her left leg

A woman who was born with a massive leg is the first person in the US to undergo a ground-breaking treatment to shrink the limb.

Arianna Faro, 28, has Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS), which has caused her right leg to double in size. She also has a swollen foot and buttock, as well as abnormal growths on her vagina.  

The disorder has triggered the skin infection cellulitis throughout Miss Faro's life, which caused her to battle septic shock at just two months old.

After spending most of her teenage years bed-ridden and enduring more than 50 surgeries, Miss Faro developed severe depression

But things finally seem to be looking up after she has been on a cancer drug, which could shrink her leg, for the past three months. Details of her treatment are unknown.

Miss Faro, of Wilmington, Massachusett, claims she is pain free for the first time in 14 years and hopes the therapy means she never has to go under the knife again.

Arianna Faro was born with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS), which caused her right leg to double in size (pictured). She is the first person in the US to undergo a ground-breaking treatment at Boston's Children's Hospital, which could finally shrink her limb

Miss Faro's KTS was visible as a child, with the condition also causing her to develop a port-wine stain on her affected leg. It was not until she turned 14 that her limb really began to swel

After years of agony, Miss Faro claims the treatment has made her pain-free for the first time since she was 14. She is pictured with her sister Alyssa, mother Cheryl and father Matthew

Speaking of the ordeal, Miss Faro said: 'I have been extremely impacted by this condition, I was spending most of my time in bed unable to walk. 

'I went through a major period of depression and anxiety.

'It seemed at the time like things were hopeless.' 

Miss Faro is undergoing treatment at Boston's Children's Hospital in the hope it will shrink her leg and prevent recurring infections.   

The therapy seems to be working with Miss Faro reportedly being pain-free for the first time since her KTS spread to her groin at 14 years old. Her two sisters are unaffected.

Miss Faro, who used to rely on a wheelchair, said: 'Today is my first-day morphine free. I was on it for about a year.

'My doctor slowly weaned me off and today is my first day so I'm excited.

'It feels really good to not have to be dependent on a pill.

'Probably in the past 14 years I've had excruciating pain. So now I don't have it feels incredible, it's everything I could have dreamed of.'

Miss Faro is now able to stand and sit comfortably, with sitting previously being particularly difficult. 

Although early days, the treatment seems to already be making a big difference.    

Miss Faro's mother Cheryl added: 'I'm trying not to be overly hopeful. 

'But I can't help and just walk around with this huge smile on my face. It's amazing, it really is.' 


Miss Faro (pictured left recently) has called KTS 'one of the most rewarding experiences of her life' after it gave her 'compassion' for other people. As a child (right), Miss Faro struggled to fit in at school and always felt 'different'. She also endured 'infection after infection'

Miss Faro was born with KTS, however, the condition did not become severe until she turned 14.  

'I would be in hospital 15-to-20 times a year with cellulitis or sepsis,' she said.  

'I was just in a repeating pattern of get hospitalised for a month, come home maybe a week or two, get hospitalised again for like a month. 

'It was very difficult.'

As she grew up, Miss Faro struggled to fit in at school. 

'As I grow my already swollen limbs grow,' she previously said.

'They get bigger with me. 

'I definitely felt different, especially in high school, for not being able to do a lot of the things that the other kids were doing. 

'And I was also extremely shy around boys.' 

Cheryl added: 'Arianna had some rough teenage years when her disease progressed.

'[It] made life extremely turbulent for her.

'It was infection after infection.

'Medication after medication.

'She tried to keep that vivacious bubbly, happy [persona] on the outside.

'But we knew inside she was struggling.'

Now older, Miss Faro has learnt to accept her disorder.  

'Living with Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome has been extremely hard and extremely excruciating, but also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,' she said.

'It taught me to have empathy and compassion for others who are going through struggles I don't even know about.

'It's not always easy. You are going to have hard days but it's about making the good moments count for more than the bad ones.  

'It's just knowing you can either let a condition define you, destroy you or strengthen you.

'And I choose to let it strengthen me.'

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A baby girl born with three heads.

baby girl has been born with what appears to be three heads in Uttar Pradesh in India, apparently due to an unknown medical condition.

Family members are said to be 'in shock' following the birth of the child last week.

Having been born with two large protrusions formed from the back of her skull, medics in the country are also stumped.

The baby's mother delivered her at a health centre after suffering extreme pain before going into labour.

According to medics, the infant's mum had not experienced any complications during her pregnancy.


She was later referred to the District Hospital in Etah, as the primary health centre lacked proper medical facilities.

Bijji Thakur, who witnessed the child's birth, said: "The girl child had three heads. She looked like an alien."

Doctors have said they will conduct a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan to determine the exact medical condition of the new-born baby.

"This is a very rare medical condition," explained Rajesh Thakur, Chief Medical Superintendent, District Hospital, Etah.

"The child's body has not fully developed. We will perform an MRI scan and then perform a surgery to separate the 'heads'."

While rare, there have been many cases reported of babies being born with extra heads worldwide - a medical condition often referred to as encephalocele.

On its  Great Ormond Street Hospital refers to an encephalocele as 'a rare congenital (present at birth) type of neural tube defect where part of the skull has not formed properly so a portion of brain tissue and associated structures are outside the skull'.

"The protruding sac may be covered with skin or it may be covered with a thin membrane," the website explains.

Earlier this year, another baby in Colombia was born with her own twin growing inside her belly.

The girl, born in February, is an incredibly rare example of a 'foetus in foetu' birth - a phenomenon that was first observed way back in 1808, but has not been seen on many occasions since then.

Itzamara - as the young child has been named - was born on 22 February but, according to local media, medical staff then had to remove a tiny 45 millimetre twin from within her via keyhole surgery.

The twin did not have a beating heart, nor a brain. In fact, it weighed only 14 grams.

Monica Vega, the baby's mum, said that doctors actually realised that something was inside her unborn daughter's abdomen after seven months of her pregnancy.

Doctors believe that this could be the very first case of foetus in foetu being diagnosed during the pregnancy.

Dr Miguel Parra said: "I have never heard of anything like this in my entire life. I really did not expect this to happen."

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Tornado causes damage in Greater Manchester and Cheshire

Buildings and cars were damaged when a tornado swept through Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Winds and rain caused havoc near Manchester Airport and the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park for about an hour from 16:30 BST on Friday.

Rebecca Jeffery, who was with her two children at at Stamford Park, said debris "swirled through the air".

"My son says I just shouted: 'Stay beside me' over and over again as I was panicking he'd get blown away."

She added: "I turned the pram away from the wind and grabbed my six-year-old and then we stood as the wind went crazy and metal and wood swirled through the air above the houses.

"I've never seen trees move like that.

"I saw the tree branches fall down behind us and then suddenly it was all gone again. It was surreal."

Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said the ingredients for a tornado were unstable air through stormy conditions and "wind shear", where air travels in different directions at different heights in the atmosphere.

"Those ingredients were there at the right time across the Manchester area," he added.

It is known as a funnel cloud until it touches the ground and causes damage. The UK normally sees between 30 and 50 a year.

BBC weather presenter Simon King tweeted footage of flooding in Hale village, adding it followed "that type of rain that even an umbrella won't help you".

Martin Kevill, who was in a pub in Mobberley, Cheshire, said customers "heard some pretty abnormal gusts".

"The pub rumbled and we ran outside to see what it was. The road was pitch black and it was really dark.

"When the gusts passed, a tree ripped up and fell over into a field of llamas.

"Then after a moment or two, the clouds moved along and it was actually quite clear again, apart from the rain."

In 2005, one of the strongest tornadoes recorded in the UK hit Birmingham, uprooting about 1,000 trees, raising roofs from buildings and overturning cars.

No-one was killed although 19 people were injured.

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Ghanaian Actress Vicky Zugah apologizes to woman who cursed her for snatching her hubby

Vicky Zugah has revealed that after weeks of searching, she has now finally found the married woman who cursed her for dating her husband.

She has apologized together with her pastor and family and the woman has accepted her apology so she is now free of the curse.

Vicky took to her Instagram page to thank Prophet Prince Elisha and her wife as well as her friends who have been therefore her since the prophecy came.

A couple of months ago, Ghanaian actress Vicky Zugah visited Prophet Prince Elisha’s church where it was revealed that she has been cursed.

According to the man of God, over a decade ago, Vicky Zugah was dating a married man and the man was spending a lot of cash on her.

The married man's wife found out all about the affair and warned Vicky Zugah to stay away from her husband.

Immediately after the woman left, Vicky Zugah called the sugar daddy who came to pick her up in his car and took her to his house.

There, the man mercilessly beat the wife in front of Vicky Zugah and warned her to stay away from his girlfriend, Vicky Zugah.

Pained by what has occurred, the woman cursed Vicky Zugah in her absence never to be happy in any relationship she finds herself.

She also cursed her never to be taken seriously by any man who comes into her life. Marriage should also be a big problem for her all her life until she dies.

Prophet Prince Elisha explained that it was the cause of the many relationship problems Vicky finds herself and the relationship abuses she is constantly facing in her relationships.

To break that curse, the prophet revealed Vicky has to find the woman and pray she is not dead. If she is alive, she has to get the woman to accept her apology and wholeheartedly forgive her.

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Couple buys old truck and converts it into a beautiful apartment

They’ve transformed an old truck into a beautiful place to live!

For people who love to travel it would be a dream come true: converting a van or truck to be able to live in it and travel the world. A simple campervan isn’t good enough for these travellers. No, they’d love to be able to design their own home on wheels. This was the case for Iona Stewart and Martin Hall as well. This young couple from the UK transformed an old truck into a beautiful home.


Canary yellow

Iona and Martin bought a canary yellow truck for 3,600 pounds, which is about 4,000 euros. Both of them love to travel. Martin Hill had been living in a van for a couple of years already, but the couple wanted to find something where they could live together. That’s why they decided to buy the truck and convert it themselves. They were both unemployed at the time, so they could spend all of their time on the project and it shows. The result is amazing!

Fixing it up

The travelling couple converted the truck all on their own. According to Iona’s Facebook page, the outside was the most difficult part. They wanted to make it look like a true campervan and not like a truck with windows. They definitely managed to do that because the truck looks modern and fancy both inside and out. The entire transformation is said to have cost 20,000 pounds (22,500 euro). Because Iona and Martin did everything themselves, they could economise on everything as well. They did have to buy isolation material, a floor, furniture, a kitchen and a bathroom.


It was important that the truck would be more than just a glorified tent on wheels. Iona and Martin wanted to make something really beautiful. They isolated the truck and installed a real kitchen and bathroom. They don’t just sleep on a mattress on the floor but have an actual bed, a wardrobe and a small living room with a sofa. Their home is more luxurious than most apartments! They’ve gone all out and it shows.

Want to see the end result of Iona and Martin’s hard work? Go to the next page!

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Determined College Student Walked 20 Miles to New Job, So His Boss Gave Him a Car

There are people (slowly raises hand) who gripe about having to get up before the sun is up to jumpstart their workday. Then there are people like Walter Carr, who start walking at midnight in order to arrive at their job — located 20 miles away — on time.

I kid you not. Walter Carr is a superhero in disguise.

According to, Carr’s feat of defiance started when his car broke down the night before he was to start his new job with Bellhops moving company.

Unfazed, Carr decided to walk from Homewood, Ala., to Pelham throughout the night, across highways, for some 20 miles or more.

He got to Pelham at 4 a.m., where four concerned officers stopped him to ask if he was okay. Carr explained his situation, prompting Pelham police officer Mark Knighten to step in.

Knighten, along with fellow officers Klint Rhodes and Carl Perkinson, took Carr to Whataburger where they treated him to breakfast and told him to grab lunch to go as well. Then they drove Carr to a church — which they deemed the safest place to leave him until it was time for him to be at work.

Officer Scott Duffey, who was just coming back on the clock then heard the story from his co-workers and went looking for Carr — who had already left the church, dedicated as ever — and dropped him off at his job assignment.

Jenny Lamey, the person that Carr was meant to help move that day, posted about the incident on Facebook after she was greeted by Duffey and Carr.

“[Carr] WALKED ALL NIGHT to get from Homewood to Pelham. Because he needed to get to work. For those reading this that are not local, that’s over 20 miles. You could tell how the officer told us this story that he had complete admiration for Walter and by my reaction he could tell I did too,’’ she wrote. “The police officer said they picked him up earlier that morning, took him to get some breakfast and once they checked his story out, brought Walter to our house.”

Lamey told Carr he was welcome to stay, and even offered to let him go upstairs and take a nap until the rest of the crew arrived, but the hardworking student declined and instead got straight to work.

“We chatted while we were working together early yesterday morning. He loved my kitchen and said that it was exactly the kind of kitchen he would want. He was from New Orleans. He and his mother lost their home in Hurricane Katrina and they came and made their home in Birmingham,’’ Lamey wrote. “I asked him if he was tired from all that walking, and he said replied that he wasn’t and that he had a 4-hour nap before he left at midnight.”

Lamey took actions into her own hands, setting up a GoFundMe to help Carr. In just two days, the campaign has smashed its $2,000 goal, raising almost $39,000 as of 9:17 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Walter is overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people who have wanted to support him.…

Eventually, Carr’s boss, Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin got wind of the story and decided to help out as well. Marklin drove from Tennessee to allegedly meet Carr for some coffee to thank him for his dedication, but then decided to give Carr his own barely-driven 2014 Ford Escape.

“I am honestly blown away by him,’’ Marklin said of Carr. “Everything he did that day is exactly who we are — heart and grit. So far, he’s batting 1,000.”

As Marklin handed Carr his keys, Carr couldn’t believe it.

“Seriously?” the college student is heard asking.

Carr, who wants to be a U.S. Marine (and will probably pass training and all tests with flying colors with that kind of determination), said that he was just grateful for the opportunity to work.

“This was the first job in a long time to give me an opportunity to get hired,’’ he told “I wanted to show them I got the dedication. I said I’m going to get to this job one way or another.’’

I want people to know this — no matter what the challenge is, you can break through the challenge. Nothing is impossible unless you make it impossible,’’ he added. “You can do anything you set your mind to. I’ve got God by my side. I’m really emotional right now trying to hold back the tears.”

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Stevenage 'car cruise' crash leaves 17 injured

Seventeen people have been injured after two cars crashed at a "car cruise" gathering and ploughed into spectators.

The vehicles collided on Monkswood Way, Stevenage, at about 21:45 BST on Thursday leaving two seriously injured and 15 more hurt.

One of the charity event's organisers described the "horrific" crash as a "nightmare".

Police have asked witnesses to send footage of the crash to detectives.

Video footage shows one car passing another before the two collide and one strikes people standing at the roadside while the other hits spectators in the central reservation.

The East of England Ambulance Service said some of the people had been seriously hurt.

One witness said on Twitter: "I've just witnessed that horrendous crash in Stevenage, no more than 50ft away from me. I'm still trying to process it all."

Hertfordshire Police said it was investigating and no-one had been arrested.

Ch Insp Alicia Shaw said the force had not been aware of the event or the size of the gathering.

She said: "We weren't aware of this event taking place and we weren't aware of such large numbers attending the Stevenage area."

Ch Insp Shaw said officers had attended events in the past and handed out warnings or seized cars when they were being driven in a dangerous of manner.

A group called Cruise-Herts had said it was holding a cruise event on Thursday where people would gather to look at modified cars.

Organiser Rix Sidhu said he had been organising similar meets for 17 years and the gathering was held to raise money for charity.

He estimated one of the cars that crashed was travelling at 60 or 70mph and then went into the crowd "at speed".

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: "There were a number of people in the area at the time and 17 people are presently being treated for injuries, some of which are serious."

Mr Sidhu said: "We held the meet in a car park with a speed bump at the entrance. But unfortunately some people went a bit rogue.

"We try and stop that, we urge people...not to go out on the roads, not to risk injury or anything.

"But unfortunately, in this age of social media and Snapchat, people want to get footage and post things to their friends, which seems to drive some people to the main road."


In a statement on Facebook he said they would not be organising any more such events.

Fellow organiser Dean Summerbee, 34, said people attending had been warned not to race or do wheel spins and burnouts.

He said: "It was horrific seeing it last night. It still plays over in my head in slow motion. I literally had to pull my mate out of the way.

"My thoughts go out to everyone who has been hurt. It's not something I'd like to relive again.

"I was extremely close to the crash, less than 15ft away. I feel sorry for anyone who witnessed it. It was a nightmare last night."

The single carriageway section of A-road passes a retail park near Stevenage Football Club.

Tom Adams, who lives in Welwyn Garden City and arrived shortly after the crash, said he knew the organisers "dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts" and it was "not just a gathering of hooligans" but the event had been let down by a "bunch of boy racers".

He said: "I can't disagree with that stigma of boy racers. There is a select group of people that have no consideration for other people and unfortunately that has come back to bite us."

Ciaran O'Connor, 33, was travelling home when he witnessed the crash.

He said: "We saw the fast car coming towards them and there was just a scene of kids lying in the road, some of them motionless and people around them trying to help them. It was horrific."

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews had cut free one person trapped in a vehicle and provided "trauma care" to a number of injured people.

The air ambulance was also sent to the scene.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said such events were unauthorised and hard to regulate.

She said: "We will do whatever we can to make sure we don't get dreadful incidents like this.

"It's not an easy thing to regulate. Nobody says to us "we want to have an event" if they had done that we would have put all the safety measures in place that we can.

"These are unauthorised events, they happen all over the country, we will do whatever we can to stop them happening in Stevenage but it's not the easiest thing to tackle."

Last night there were hundreds of people here, but this morning the only sign anything happened is an abundance of skidmarks in the adjacent car park - and police markings on the road at the scene of the accident.

There are yellow spray-painted markings that seem to indicate where the two cars involved were travelling, the point at which they met - and where they came to rest.

Some of those markings are on the pavement.

I can also see that first aid was given here.

There are are a few bits of medical paraphernalia left among the rubbish, which is now the only other evidence of how many people were gathered here last night.

Throughout the morning young people have been turning up to collect their vehicles but they have been too upset to talk about what happened.

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Fire at hotel near Cribbs Causewayel near Cribbs Causeway

Parts of a hotel ravaged by fire are continuing to collapse on to a major A-road, near to the M5.

The Premier Inn partially fell on the A4018 Cribbs Causeway, near Bristol, overnight and fire chiefs said "further elements" of the building had fallen on to the dual carriageway since.

Firefighters are still dealing with the blaze, which began on Wednesday afternoon.

Fire chiefs said conditions inside the hotel remained "extremely dangerous".

Smoke from the blaze led to warnings from the fire service during the night about visibility problems on the M5.

Local residents have been told to keep doors and windows shut because of smoke.

Six crews and three turntable ladders remain at the scene of the blaze, which started at about 13:15 BST on Wednesday.

Justin Hobbs, from Avon Fire and Rescue, said it was possible they might need to increase the number of crews there again if small fires still burning in the building took hold.

He said the fire was not fully extinguished and there were pockets of flames still in the building.

"As the building collapses in, it becomes slightly more difficult for us to get water on to those areas," he said.

"It's extremely dangerous for our staff. Because the building has started to collapse we've had to go to what we call defensive firefighting.

"For the safety of staff and everybody else we can't go internally to try to put the fire out so we're applying water from turntables and monitors externally."

Fire officials have confirmed that all the guests staying at the hotel when the blaze broke out have now been accounted for.

Footage released by Avon Fire and Rescue showed the moment two sides of the hotel collapsed.

Laura Evans Hughes, who lives nearby, said she returned home on Wednesday evening to find she could not get to her house.

"I literally had to abandon my car, and I had to be police escorted to my house," she said.

"All last night I've been hearing bangs and crashes - I've just had to walk to my car now and the roof's still on fire."

She added the smoke was "thick and foggy" near her home in Catbrain Hill.

During the night the fire service said the blaze had spread, causing more smoke

The A4018 Cribbs Causeway remains shut in both directions between Clifton Rugby Club and Lysander Road.

Road closures have led to traffic problems and long delays in the Filton and Southmead areas, and have been exacerbated by a protest being carried out by the Extinction Rebellion group at the nearby MoD site.

North Bristol NHS Trust tweeted that the ring road around Filton was gridlocked and advised patients and staff at Southmead Hospital to allow extra time for their journeys.

Buses heading towards Cribbs Causeway are stopping at Henbury, with First West of England providing shuttle buses to get people to their destinations via Avonmouth and the M5.

The Mall shopping centre, which is two miles from the scene of the fire, is still open. Motorists can access it from junction 17 of the M5.

But other local businesses are closed. The Dick Lovett BMW showroom is diverting all telephone enquiries to other offices and said it was awaiting instructions about reopening from the emergency services.

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Suspect charged in Crown Heights shooting: police

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — A Brooklyn man has been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting of two people, including an 11-year-old boy, in Crown Heights Thursday night, police said.

Angel Eaddy, a 27-year-old, is charged with two counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault, two counts of criminal use of a weapon and two counts of reckless endangerment, according to authorities.

The 11-year-old boy was on the sidewalk of Schenectady Avenue near near Lincoln Place when he was hit somewhere around his right shoulder and critically injured around 7 p.m., officials said. A 31-year-old man was also shot in the knee.

Neither of them were the intended target of the shooter, police said. A person of interest was taken into custody hours after the shooting.

The boy was rushed to Kings County Hospital, an NYPD spokesman said. His condition improved after surgery and he's expected to survive. The adult victim went to the same hospital on his own for medical assistance.

According to a school official, the boy was a fifth grader at New Bridges Elementary School and was supposed to graduate Friday morning.

Parents expressed their sadness over the fact the boy was going to miss his graduation.

"I feel very sorry because he's a sweet little boy, and we all love him. He's very smart," said Irene Ortiz, a grandparent dropping her 7-year-old off at school.

Surveillance video shows the moment the alleged shooter opened fire on the street, missing his intended target, hitting the victims.

Kyle and Anna Shermer, a couple who live on the street, heard the shots fired.

"It was rapid fire, four continuous shots," Kyle Shermer said. "So boom, boom, boom, boom."

Anna Shermer saw the boy on the street after he was hit.

"He was in shock - his eyes were open, mouth was open, people around him were screaming," she said.

Her husband saw a man in a green shirt and blue jeans run from the scene, she said.

"It was just really shocking because who would shoot a kid and run away from that? It never happens on this street," she said.

Brooklyn North Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey implored members of the community to work together to keep the neighborhood safe in the wake of the shooting.

"This is something that happened pretty much in broad daylight," he said. "This is the time more than ever for our communities to partner with our police department and we know that we already do that, but we have to do that even more because we can't let incidents like this go unchecked and we can't let shooters believe that they can do this with impunity."

So far this month, there have been a rash of shootings involving innocent bystanders.

June 4 – A 15-year-old girl was shot on a basketball court in Bushwick
June 5 – A 7-year-old Bronx boy shot in leg
June 5 – Two women were shot in a Queens home
June 7 – East Harlem woman was shot in arm at 102nd Street and Madison Ave.
June 10 - Hamilton Heights victim Winston McKay killed while walking his dog
June 12 - Woman shot in the Bronx on Williamsbridge Road.
June 20 -11-year-old boy and 31-year-old man shot in Crown Heights
As police continue to tout historically low crime numbers and New York being "the safest big city," shooting incidents are bucking that trend. As of June 16, they are up 24% year-to-date, according to the latest statistics.

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Grieving mom shares story of son with schizophrenia who threw little brother from Brooklyn roof

QUEENS — Odessa Frith moved to Queens after a devastating family tragedy last September that left her 4-year-old son, Shimron, dead in a Brooklyn courtyard — and her oldest son, Shawn, charged with throwing the little boy from a roof.

“My daughter take the phone,” the mother remembered through sobs, “ and when she take the phone, she said, ‘Mommy, Shawn throw Shimron off the building!’”

Frith, who lived with her six children on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn — after emigrating to New York from Guyana in 2017 — is sharing her intensely painful story for the first time with PIX11 News.

She said she wants the public to know about the help she didn’t get after her 20-year-old son, Shawn Smith, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the spring of 2018 at Kings County Hospital.

Shawn had threatened to jump from the roof but was talked down by police, after a call was made to 911.

Frith said Shawn spent three weeks in the psychiatric ward at Kings County, where he was given medication to manage his mental illness.

She had noticed he started acting strangely around his 19th birthday, hearing voices, but the diagnosis came when he was closer to age 20.

Shawn’s older sister picked him up to go home from the hospital and said medical personnel promised to keep track of Shawn.

She quoted the staff who released Shawn as saying, “They’re going to send somebody weekly” to the family’s apartment to make sure Shawn was taking the medicine.

“He took it for the first week,” the sister said about Shawn, “and then he didn’t want it.”

Psychiatrists are well aware of the side effects of specific medicines used to treat schizophrenia.

Dr. Lewis Nelson, who once ran the emergency room at NYU Hospital, told PIX11 in 2018 that people who refuse to take the medication put themselves and others at risk.

“Once they miss a few doses, their psychiatric illness starts to recur and, of course, it’s a spiral downward from there.”

Odessa Frith’s household was dealing with lots of stress in the weeks leading up to Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

Aside from Shawn’s illness, the electricity was turned off in most of the apartment, because another family member had stopped paying the bills.

Frith had gone to court on Friday, Sept. 28, to stave off an eviction proceeding.

She said she fried sausages for her family, including Shawn, before putting the youngest child, Shimron, to bed that Friday night.

At 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, Frith said she woke up suddenly and realized little Shimron wasn’t sleeping in the bed near her.

She got up and went to the bathroom and noticed Shawn wasn’t in the apartment either.

Frith said she ran from the family’s 6th floor apartment down to the front of the building and saw police lights flashing.

“The officer said, ‘Mom, where are you going?’ I said I can’t find my baby and my big son.”

The mother learned the terrible news at the local precinct.

She waited eight months to go to Rikers to visit Shawn, who had flagged down police himself and admitted throwing his little brother from the roof.

When Shawn Smith saw his mother behind a plexiglass window at the jail, “He said, ‘Mommy, you came to find out what happened to Shimron?’ I said, Yes. He said, ‘Mom, I didn’t know it was Shimron. I thought it was a bag.’”

The oldest son sobbed and “he said, ‘Mommy, I’m so sorry. Mommy, I’m so sorry,’” Odessa Frith recalled.

“I said, Shawn, I forgive you, even though I know it hurt me. I forgive you. I want you to give your life to Christ. Ask God to forgive you.”

Odessa Frith seemed unaware that schizophrenia is one of the cruelest mental illnesses and one of the hardest to treat.

She remains anguished about things that happened before Shimron was killed and what happened afterwards.

“I know if that alarm was there, my baby would be alive today,” Frith said about the alarm connected to the roof door, “because my son would have turned back if that alarm went off.”

The mother said a police officer warned the building super to maintain the alarm, after Shawn Smith threatened to jump from the roof in the spring last year.

The realty company that manages the building said all of its roof alarms are in working order.

In our second report, we will detail our visit to the building on Nostrand Avenue and our conversation with the realty company.

Odessa Frith claims, “The owner of the building didn’t even call to say ‘sorry.’ They didn’t even say you have my sympathy. Nothing.”

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Another scandal in the offing? How Kenya walked into a maize crisis

When President Uhuru Kenyatta visited Tanzania recently, part of the discussion with President Pombe Magufuli centred on importation of 1.2 million bags of maize into Kenya. After all, Tanzania is the only neighbour where the country could fetch maize for milling, and at a cheaper price.


After a series of goofs, poor planning and politics, the country is once again staring at a maize crisis. But technocrats and politicians do not seem to agree on what to do. Some fear that another maize scandal seems to be cooking.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri says the country is running low on maize stocks and must import as per the Cabinet’s directive. He has told off those saying there is enough maize. The national Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) chairman, Dr Noah Wekesa, says they are holding 760,000 bags of maize which remained after selling 1.2 million bags from the 1.7 million bags they put on sale in May.

This particular stock of 3.4 million bags was procured by former Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe. Although he was later charged in court with irregular purchase of maize at a cost of Sh5.6 billion, it is the same stock Kenya has turned to, to meet the shortfall.

Kenya consumes 60,000 bags of maize per day and requires between, 1.5 and 1.8 million bags per month. Although it requires 52 million bags of maize per year, the highest it has ever produced was 42 million bags in 2015/2016.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta visited Tanzania recently, part of the discussion with President Pombe Magufuli centred on importation of 1.2 million bags of maize into Kenya. After all, Tanzania is the only neighbour where the country could fetch maize for milling, and at a cheaper price.


After a series of goofs, poor planning and politics, the country is once again staring at a maize crisis. But technocrats and politicians do not seem to agree on what to do. Some fear that another maize scandal seems to be cooking.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri says the country is running low on maize stocks and must import as per the Cabinet’s directive. He has told off those saying there is enough maize. The national Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) chairman, Dr Noah Wekesa, says they are holding 760,000 bags of maize which remained after selling 1.2 million bags from the 1.7 million bags they put on sale in May.

This particular stock of 3.4 million bags was procured by former Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe. Although he was later charged in court with irregular purchase of maize at a cost of Sh5.6 billion, it is the same stock Kenya has turned to, to meet the shortfall.

Kenya consumes 60,000 bags of maize per day and requires between, 1.5 and 1.8 million bags per month. Although it requires 52 million bags of maize per year, the highest it has ever produced was 42 million bags in 2015/2016.

As a result, the country has always had a 10 million bag deficit, which was easier to fill with the Tanzania and Uganda imports. Already, the government has opened a three-month window for the duty-free importation of maize.

Dr Wekesa says the country only needs an extra two million bags – enough to cushion Kenyans before the next harvest in October. But the problem is much deeper than politicians are revealing.


The collapse of maize farming and dwindling of produce has seen places such as Trans Nzoia harvest about 20 bags of maize per acre, down from 40 for small-scale farmers while large-scale farmers manage 30 bags per acre. The problem is associated with soils and the fertiliser used.

Insiders say Kenya will continue to face a staple food crisis as long as yesteryear problems are not addressed.

For years, it has been known that the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) silos are archaic and can only hold 21 million bags — and not for more than six months. Given that the country still relies on rain-fed agriculture, maize production has continued to drop as the population grows.

The Galana-Kulalu white elephant maize project also stalled – and with it billions of shillings went under.

Inside the government, and within the Cabinet, it was known that the stocks procured in the last harvest would last up to June. But within the Ministry of Agriculture, there was fear any procurement might lead to another scandal.

“Nobody wanted to buy from farmers and nobody wanted to sell to millers. Actually, within the ministry, nobody wanted to make a decision touching on maize,” says an insider.

While this fear was partly traced to the prosecution of Mr Lesiyampe and six others, there is also the politicisation and cartel behaviour in the maize procurement.


Over the weekend, Mr Kiunjuri took on politicians – including ODM leader Raila Odinga – who have insisted that there is enough maize in the country.

The problem with maize farming is that apart from Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia, all the other counties sell their produce as green maize –  for either boiling or roasting.

At the moment, a stock-out is likely. Pundits say it all boils down to lack of preparedness and unreliable data.

A report released last year under the Maize Subsidy Programme noted the data used by the country to manage the maize balance sheet “including data on production estimates, stocks, consumption and post-harvest losses were not reliable, timely and adequate”.

The report also projected that unless Kenya maintained SFR stocks at four million bags and allowed importation of yellow maize to ease pressure on white maize, the flour prices would range between Sh120 and Sh150, against the government’s desire to price the 2kg packet at Sh115.

Unless a miracle happens, insiders say, the government will be forced to intervene by either urgently buying maize from local farmers – and subsidising it – or importing from Tanzania.

In 2016, after facing a similar crisis, the government was forced to take over the milling plants of all private companies, after which it allocated them white maize proportionate to their milling capacity. It also took over all maize supply contracts from the millers and compensated them for the losses in a multibillion-shilling exercise that was both political and strategic for the Jubilee government to win the election.


In order to help stop Raila Odinga’s “Unga Revolution”, the 21 millers were asked to dedicate their milling plants to the subsidy programme and “flood the CBD” with flour, which was done in 22 branches of major supermarkets, according to official government documents.

Insiders say by May 2017, Kenya had zero bags of maize at NCPB stores and all eyes had turned to the principal secretary in charge of agriculture. In 2019, Kenya is facing a similar crisis.

The tragedy is that the SFRTF sits only two times: When buying or selling.

But unlike in 2017 when there was an election pending, the procurement this time is slow-motioned. In that year, Mr Odinga had taken advantage of the maize shortage and was using the crisis to win votes.

“The only way left to us then was to buy maize that was non-GMO”, says an insider involved in the eight-member subsidy task force.

There were three places Kenya could buy such maize from: Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia. While Kenya would have opted to buy from Uganda, its maize is never used for milling since it is usually discoloured due to poor handling during drying. Again, Uganda does not use fertiliser during planting and their grains are tiny and not suitable for milling.

In 2017, Tanzania had a good harvest but President Magufuli had closed the border and traders were not able to import maize. “We bought some maize from Zambia, but it was detained in Tanzania,” says a source.


As a result, Kenya’s only option was to ferry the maize to the Beira port and load it into a ship.

The other option was to transport it through Tazara, but the cargo trains were operating once in a week – and there were no wagons.

Ministry officials were worried about the cost and agreed that by the time a bag of maize reached Nairobi, it would have cost the government Sh4,000, which did not make business sense.

Importing from Ethiopia also turned to be problematic because Kenyan lorries could not go past Moyale due to axle and insurance problems. As a result, Ethiopian lorries would take maize up to the Moyale border and offload it onto Kenyan lorries.

Quietly, Kenya nationalised milling of maize – and that is how the Sh90 flour was introduced into the market.

After a Gazette notice gave green light to anyone to trade in maize, the ministry was shocked that nobody was buying and nobody was selling.

“President Kenyatta was angry that the Unga Revolution was going to deny him a second term,” says a senior government official.

In the high seas was a ship belonging to commodity traders and a few days after the Gazette notice, it sailed to Mombasa with maize cargo.

The Agriculture PS was advised to go and receive the cargo – although it belonged to a private miller. While the intention, according to insiders, was to play politics and show Kenyans the maize was finally here, it backfired badly on the government.


“When we were asked how the ship managed to sail from South America to Mombasa in such a short period, we had no answers,” says a senior official involved in the saga. “We then took all the maize that was entering the country and directed it to the millers through their (millers’) association. It was first put at the NCPB.”

From the third floor of Kilimo House, a small team would meet every day to monitor the flow of maize from a computerised system.

When President Kenyatta asked traders to bring maize and sell it to NCPB in 2017, traders took advantage of the high prices set at NCPB and bought maize from the region at a cost of Sh2,200.

The only problem was that the Sh3,200 figure was not determined by any market forces but by politicians. Treasury officials questioned why the government was buying maize at a premium price while it had subsidised the fertiliser.

In the confusion, agri-traders took advantage of the directive and mopped maize from farmers to sell to NCPB, creating a scandal that saw some government officials taken to court.

An audit team found maize had actually been delivered, but the small-scale farmers had been left out during the payment.

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185,000 of Ghanaians living with HIV know they have the virus

Based on current estimates, of the 335,000 Ghanaians currently living with HIV, only 185,000 knew their status, with the remaining 150,000 having no knowledge, and so could easily be infecting other people.

The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has therefore called for intensified efforts through stakeholder collaborations, to address issues around stigmatisation, non-adherence to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), and Behaviour Change Communication, to curb new HIV infection rates and sustain treatment levels.

Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, the Acting Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), made the call at the release and media briefing on the 2018 National HIV estimates and projections in Accra on Wednesday.

He said although Ghana was doing well in its efforts to achieve the World Health Organisation’s 90-90-90 targets of ensuring that all persons infected with HIV were tested to know their status, put on treatment, and that all those receiving ARTs attained viral suppression, there was more to be done in order to achieve the set objective by 2020.

Mr Atuahene said multiple sources were used to generate data for the spectrum, which brought the total national adult prevalence of HIV to approximately 1.7 per cent, compared to the 2.0 per cent recorded in 2014 in the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS).

The 2018 data, he said, showed that an estimated 335,000 Ghanaians are currently living with HIV, of which only 185,000 knew their status, with the remaining 150,000 having no knowledge, and so could easily be infecting other people.

He said out of the total number of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), 305,200 were adults aged between 15 years and above, while 29, 514 were children age zero to 15 years, representing 91 per cent and nine per cent respectively, with 117,199 being males and 217,515 females signifying 35 per cent, and 65 per cent respectively.

There is an estimated 19,931 new infections, of which 16,614 (83 per cent) were adults aged 15 and above, while 3,317 (17 per cent) were children age zero to 14 years, he said.

The Acting Director-General said of the total number of new infections 5,532 was among the youth aged between 15 and 24 years, representing 28 per cent.

He said in 2018, an estimated 12,181 AIDS-related deaths were recorded, of which 11,412 (80 per cent) were adults aged 15 years and above, with the remaining 20 per cent 2,769, being children below 15 years.

Mr Atuahene said considering the time frame and the enormous work left to be done, the GAC acknowledges that although Ghana may not be able to achieve all the three ‘90’ targets by the stipulated date, stringent measures and strategies have been put in place to intensify public education especially at the community level, encourage HIV testing, address stigma and encourage adherence to ARTs by PLHIV.

The GAC, he said, would also pay keen attention to the youth due to their current sub-cultural behaviours, and intensify advocacy for the care and support of HIV and AIDS-related orphans, adding that Ghana has the right policies, programmes and human resources to render the required services towards the elimination of the disease.

Mr Isaiah Doe Kwao, the Data Quality Assurance Manager, GAC, presenting the national data on the 2018 HIV fact sheet, said out of the 185,000 persons who tested and had knowledge of their HIV status, only 113,000 were put on ARTs.

He also gave the estimated number of pregnant women needing Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) as 16,421, but approximately 12,950 of them received ARTs for protecting their babies from getting infected, while new child infections due to MTCT were 3,317.

Mr Kwao said the data imputed into a special software to generate the spectrum, were from all available certified national statistics, including fertility, population, and mortality (life expectancy), and for the first time Ghana also generated sub-national estimates with estimated regional and district HIV prevalence rates.

The Greater Accra Region, he said, topped with as high as approximately 77,132, followed by Ashanti with 75,675 and the Eastern 41,089 respectively with PLHIV.

Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, the Programme Manager for the National AIDS and STI Control Programme, Ghana Health Service, said HIV was urbanised with the ability to buy sex very high, citing the role of Key Populations such as Men having Sex with Men, and Female Sex Workers.

He thanked all health partners for their financial and technical support over the years and called for sustained collaborations to address the existing gaps in achieving the three ‘90s’.

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Current Wave Of Kidnapping In Nigeria

former United States of America's Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, says the current wave of kidnapping in the country cannot be compared to what used to happen in the past.

He said, "Nigeria is experiencing a wave of kidnappings. In the past, kidnapping has often had a political dimension. In the oil patch, for example, militants have long kidnapped oil company employees to advance a political agenda. Boko Haram in the northeast is notorious for kidnapping young girls, the most famous episode being the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls. 

"The current wave is different. It is nation-wide, rather than confined to a specific region. It appears to be purely mercenary; the goal is to extract the maximum ransom possible rather than advancing a political agenda. Kidnapping victims now include the entire social spectrum, rather than being confined to those with some money or property. Nobody is exempt."

After several weeks of being held by his captors, an in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari was rescued by the police in a shoot-out recently.

But Campbell pointed out that the Buhari administration like previous regimes might be promoting the crime.

"In theory, but not in practice, the payment of ransom is illegal in Nigeria," he explained. However, the government itself pays ransoms in high-profile cases. So, too, do ordinary citizens. Because both kidnapping and ransom paying are illegal activities, there is little hard evidence about how many kidnappings are actually taking place. Indeed, the lack of transparency may lead to a popular exaggeration of the numbers.

"Nevertheless, Nigerians believe they are in the midst of a kidnapping wave and that the government is largely powerless to stop it. 

"Fear of kidnapping appears to be a factor in middle-class emigration from Nigeria and the wealthy sending their families abroad."

Recently, the BBC released a video on kidnapping providing a human face to the victims of kidnapping. 

The video showed Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, and the Intelligence Response Team, set up to fight kidnapping. 

Speaking about the video, Campbell noted: "Kyari, known to many as “Nigeria’s supercop,” is the youngest high-ranking official in the Nigerian police force. 

"Policing in Nigeria is underfunded, and policemen by and large are undertrained. They are notorious for human rights abuses and have been widely accused of extra-judicial killing. The BBC interviewer raises these human rights considerations with The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria."

Continuing, he said: "Kyari, predictably, denies that they take place, or asserts that when there are credible accusations, they are thoroughly investigated. He also realistically talks about the difficulty of law enforcement in Nigeria—the lack of investigative capacity and the violence of criminals against policemen. He does not let the viewer forget the horror that accompanies kidnapping. 

"Kidnapping along with the Boko Haram insurrection in the northeast; Delta militant activity in the oil patch; and conflict over land use, ethnicity, and religion in the middle belt are immediate stressors of Nigerian society. They are related to deeper challenges, notably the huge increase in population, rapid urbanization, and degradation of the environment related to climate change."

However, with specific reference to kidnapping, reform of the police and the security services appears to be a pressing need, the former envoy. 

"And here the foreign friends of Nigeria could help," Campbell suggested, "perhaps through forensics assistance, provision of training, and facilitating exchanges."

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My son was scarred for life by dangerous dog

A mother has told how her six-year-old son's ear was torn off by two dogs that were kept off the leash.

Claire Booth was out walking with son Ryan near their home in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, when she says two English bull terriers came "from nowhere" and "dragged him around the ground".

Four years on, the mother says her family are still wary of open spaces.

It comes as a Scottish Parliament committee claimed that dog control legislation is "not fit for purpose".

'His whole body was battered'

Recalling the attack, Ms Booth told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "From a distance the owner of the two dogs were shouting 'don't worry they won't hurt you'.

"But as I managed to get Ryan up, his left ear had been bitten off - his earlobe had been detached from his head. There was blood everywhere, his whole face was distorted.

"He had a bite to his elbow, a bite to his hip and teeth marks embedded on his forehead. His whole face was bruised and battered, his whole body was bruised and battered.

"As a result of that Ryan has now got another three surgeries to face to rebuild his ear and he's now terrified of dogs. We are getting over that now but it has taken nearly four years for that to happen."

Although they did not witness the attack, Ryan's siblings are also scared of dogs having heard about the trauma he went through.

Ms Booth said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident in 2015.

The dogs' owner was prosecuted and received the maximum community service sentence. One dog was destroyed, but the other was given a control order which was never followed up.

Ms Booth said: "I felt it was farcical because the owner of the dog moved away to another area which means the dog control order was never followed up - the dog wardens didn't know where they were.

"The owner was supposed to take it to behavioural classes, have it on the lead at all times and be muzzled at all times - but nobody knows if that happened or not.

New laws were introduced in Scotland in 2010 but MSPs recently heard evidence there was still an "unacceptably high prevalence of dog attacks".

Holyrood's post-legislative scrutiny committee said they considered it to be "nothing less than a national crisis".

MSPs said the impact on victims, particularly on children, could be life-changing.

Dog control notices

The Control of Dogs Act 2010 was introduced to promote responsible dog ownership but the committee said it was not working.

Its report called on the Scottish government to undertake a comprehensive review of all dog control laws immediately.

Committee convener Jenny Marra said: "There are still far too many dog attacks on children and little enforcement or understanding of the current laws that might prevent these attacks."

She called for urgent reform so that dangerous dogs can be dealt with properly.

The 2010 legislation brought in a new regime of "dog control notices" to impose measures on the people who do not keep their dog under control.

It gave Scottish ministers the power to establish a national database of dog control notices so information could be shared across the country.

The MSPs said the failure of ministers to use its powers was a "missed opportunity".

They also said there were too few dog control wardens to enforce the current law and a lack of awareness of how it worked.

The committee said that police, hospitals and local authorities were not keeping consistent data on dog attacks.

Earlier this year, the Holyrood Committee heard that thousands of people are treated each year by hospital emergency departments for dog-related injuries.

Ms Booth was among parents who told the committee about the horrific attacks endured when owners acted irresponsibly.

The committee also heard from Radio Clyde journalist Natalie Crawford who initiated a campaign to keep dogs on leads in public places.

She discovered that Glasgow City Council - Scotland's largest local authority - until recently had just one part-time dog warden and that there had been no dog control notices issued in a three-year period.

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