Outrage Over Parade Of Children For Adoption In Shopping Centre

Map of Brazil Credit: Google Maps

 

A parade of adoptable children held in a Brazilian shopping center drew condemnation Thursday, with some comparing the event to the sale of animals or slaves.

“Adoption on the Catwalk” in the central-west state of Mato Grosso was designed to “give visibility to children and adolescents who are eligible for adoption,” according to an official statement promoting Tuesday’s show.

The parade — organised by the local chapters of the Brazil Bar Association’s Childhood and Youth Commission (CYC) and the Adoption Research and Support Association (AMPARA) — was held in the Pantanal shopping mall in the capital Cuiaba.

“As we always say, what the eyes see, the heart feels,” Tatiane de Barros Ramalho, president of the CYC and a lawyer, was quoted as saying.

“It’s a night for potential adopters to get to know the kids and teens. The population can have more information about adoption and the children themselves will have a special day in which they will get done up for the parade.”

An undated photo published on G1 news site purportedly showed a girl wearing a white t-shirt and a short pink skirt walking down a catwalk in front of onlookers, who were recording images with their smartphones.

But the bar association said the photo was taken during a previous “Adoption on the Catwalk” event in 2016.

News of the parade sparked outrage on social media, prompting organisers to defend the event, saying none of the children had been forced to participate.

“It was never the goal… to introduce children and adolescents to families in order to achieve adoption,” the Brazil Bar Association of Mato Grosso (OAB-MT) said on its Facebook page.

It admitted, however, that two teenagers were adopted after the 2016 edition.

“The OAB-MT and AMPARA reject any kind of distortion of the event by associating it with dark periods of our history,” it added, referring to Brazil’s traumatic past as a slave trader.

The former Portuguese colony only abolished slavery in 1888, two decades after the United States.

Echoes of that period continue to reverberate today in a country where racism is deeply embedded.

The bar association’s statement drew hundreds of comments on Facebook, mostly critical of the parade.

“Selling animals or slaves?” Juarez Ternus wrote on Facebook.

Another user said: “Shameful… it’s like a children’s exhibition fair in the form of a cattle market.”

“Like the slaves of ‘old’ — did they show their teeth?” wrote Silvia Morgan.

The National Secretary for the Rights of Children and Adolescents expressed its “regret” over the parade, which also sparked an online petition protesting the event. So far it has garnered more than 1,100 signatures.

More than 9,500 children and adolescents are waiting to be adopted in Brazil, a state news agency reported Tuesday, citing figures from the National Adoption Registry.

AFP

Yahya Jammeh Ordered Illegal Execution Of Nine Nigerians In Gambia – Falana

Yayah Jammeh: Handover Deadline May Be Extended
File photo of ousted Gambia President, Yahya Jammeh.

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana says that in 2005 former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, ordered the illegal execution over fifty persons, including nine Nigerians.

According to a statement on Thursday, Falana said that on July 21, 2005, the Gambian Navy seized a boat conveying 58 immigrants, including 9 Nigerians, 40 Ghanaians, 3 Senegaleze, 3 Sierra Leoneans and 2 Togolese sailing towards a fishing vessel anchored on the high sea to stowaway to Europe.

Falana further revealed that apart from two Ghanaian nationals who were released to a Ghanaian Government Delegation another Ghanaian escaped from the custody of the Navy.

He however noted that the remaining 55 immigrants were illegally executed on the orders of the “brutal regime of Mr. Yayah Jameh, former President of Gambia”.

READ ALSO: ‘Illegal Custody’: Falana Writes Buhari, Demands Release Of 40 Nigerians

The human rights activist said his firm was able to establish the identity of one of the Nigerians said to have been executed.

”In the investigation conducted by our law firm into the killings it has been established that the 9 Nigerians involved were travelling with their passports. However, the Nigerian Community in Senegal confirmed the identity of one of the massacred Nigerian immigrants. The details are:-

“Name:    Omozemoje Paul Enagameh

Passport No:           A1548206

Place of Birth:         Lagos

Date of Birth:           9th December 1976”

While thanking the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama for providing vital information in the investigation, Mr Falana on behalf of his firm, stressed that the family members of the 9 Nigerians that were “illegally executed” have an opportunity to seek redress in the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission currently sitting in Banjil, the Gambia.

Atiku Alleges Grand Plot To Stir Chaos, Murder His Character

 

Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised an alert that there are ongoing plans by unscrupulous elements to contrive skirmishes in the coming weeks aimed at tarnishing his image.

This is according to a statement by Paul Ibe the Media Adviser to the former Vice President.

Mr Ibe’s communique on Thursday stated that Atiku’s camp had gathered intelligence of a grand plot being orchestrated by some agents of evil to stage-manage pockets of upset targeted at attacking the reputation of Atiku.

The statement partly read, “We wish to blow the whistle as an early warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardizing the reputation of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.

READ ALSO: Defamatory Comments: Atiku Demands Apology, N500m From Lauretta Onochie

“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upset across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom names dropping of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP.

“It therefore becomes preponderant that we alert the public of this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the federal government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.

“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.

“With the conclusion reached by Premium Times’ investigative reporting that there is no evidentiary prove to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for raising false alarm and an apology rendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”

Breaking Up Facebook Isn’t The Answer, Says Zuckerberg

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg believes the argument that Facebook is in a dominant position “might be a little stretched”. Photo: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday rejected the idea of breaking up the social media giant as off-target, saying it could hamper the fight against deceit and harmful online content.

The Facebook co-founder’s defense of the leading social network came as it reported it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that five percent of active accounts are likely fakes.

Facebook and its family of apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp face competition around the world from rivals such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and others in a “competitive and dynamic environment,” Zuckerberg said.

The company does not rule the digital advertising market, which is topped by Google, he noted.

“I think arguments that we are in some sort of dominant position there might be a little stretched,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call about its latest content policy enforcement report.

“The question is, what problems are you trying to solve?”

He argued that breaking up the company might mean fewer resources to curb harmful online content and election interference and improve privacy and the portability of personal data.

“Those are the most important social issues right now, and I don’t think breaking up the company is going to address those,” Zuckerberg said.

“As a matter of fact, I think it is going to make it harder.”

Facebook’s success has enabled it to invest heavily in artificial intelligence and workers to watch for rule-breaking content and activity at the social network, according to Zuckerberg.

“The degree to which the success of this company has allowed us to fund these efforts for safety is massive,” Zuckerberg said.

“We are able to do things that are not possible for other folks to do.”

Facebook announced separately it is creating an independent board to act as a final court of appeals or sorts for disputes about content taken down at the social network.

Decisions of the board will be binding, with Facebook promising to abide by outcomes.

Zuckerberg referred to the independent advisory board and said he cared deeply about people’s freedom of expression when asked about the White House setting up a website to collect input from people who feel they have been unfairly censored on social media.

Spammer onslaught

Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

“The amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen said.

Facebook disabled most of the accounts as automated imposters were trying to establish them or shortly after they were made, according to Rosen.

The bulk of the fake accounts were the work spammers using automated systems, and with an apparent end-goal of making money, Facebook executives said.

The leading social network, meanwhile, estimated that five percent of its 2.4 billion monthly active users were fake accounts yet to be uncovered.

The California-based company also said it has made progress in battling hate speech, automatically detecting 65 percent of the content removed instead of needing to wait for users to report it.

Facebook took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen.

The social network also said that it has booted more than 200 white supremacist organisations.

Facebook reported progress in efforts to prevent the social network from being used for illegal sales of drugs or guns.

It “took action” in the quarter against 900,000 pieces of content related to drug sales, of which some 83 percent was detected by software.

AFP

Modi Set For Landslide Victory In Indian Election

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Amit Shah gesture as they celebrate the victory in India’s general elections, in New Delhi on May 23, 2019.  Money SHARMA / AFP

 

Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed an “inclusive” future for all Indians on Thursday after a landslide election victory that crushed the Gandhi dynasty’s comeback hopes once again.

“Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!,” Modi tweeted as delirious supporters of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated nationwide.

“The faith placed in our alliance is humbling and gives us the strength to work even harder to fulfil people’s aspirations,” he said before arriving at BJP headquarters flashing victory signs with both hands and being showered in petals.

READ ALSO: Trump Walks Out On Democrats As Impeachment Talk Heats Up

Although final results were yet to be published, a rolling vote count by the election commission showed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) increased its majority with 302 out of 543 elected lower house seats.

The BJP’s main rivals Congress were on just 51 seats, with Rahul Gandhi — the great-grandson, grandson and son of three premiers — conceding defeat and congratulating Modi.

In an added personal humiliation Gandhi, 48, also admitted he had lost Amethi, a seat long held by his famous family, to a former television star running for the BJP.

The BJP’s headquarters in Delhi erupted in celebration with drummers, firecrackers, dancing and singing as hundreds of party faithful thronged the yard and nearby streets waiting for Modi.

“Modi will make India great again. Modi is the strongest prime minister India has ever had and will get. We need to support his policies to prosper,” said one supporter, Santosh Joshi.

At Congress headquarters, a handful of dejected supporters sat in groups under the shade of trees.

“We are sad but we will rise again. Modi won because of his lies and false promises. The country is in danger now,” Rajesh Tiwari, a Congress supporter, told AFP.

India’s main Sensex index breached the 40,000-point level for the first time as the count pointed to a Modi win, following strong gains since Monday.

 Fake news 

The vast size of India — stretching from the Himalayas to the tropics, taking in polluted megacities, deserts and jungles — made the world’s biggest election a marathon six-week endeavour.

The campaign, estimated to have cost more than $7 billion, was awash with insults — Modi was likened to Hitler and a “gutter insect” — as well as fake news in Facebook and WhatsApp’s biggest markets.

Gandhi tried several lines of attack against Modi, in particular over a French defence deal and high unemployment and saying Modi was dividing the officially secular country.

Lynchings of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle have risen, with critics saying extremists have been emboldened by the BJP coming to power.

Several cities with names rooted in India’s Islamic Mughal past have been renamed, while some school textbooks have been changed to include references to Hindu right-wing ideology, culture and history.

The watchman 

But Modi, 68, managed to deftly turn the election into a referendum on his rule while depicting himself, often in the third person, as the only one able to defend India.

In this he was given a major boost when a suicide bombing, claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group, killed 40 Indian paratroopers in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14.

Doubts abound about the efficacy of India’s subsequent air strikes on Pakistan, but the action enabled Modi to style himself the “chowkidar” (“watchman”).

“We have shown the world that India is a great country. We have shown Pakistan that they cannot mess with us,” said Vishal Sharma, a BJP supporter in Delhi.

“Congress sold the country for all these decades. Now is the time to rebuild the nation.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi and said he looked forward to working for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia”.

His message came just hours after Pakistan’s military said it tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads — a day after an Indian missile test.

But while Pakistanis consider Modi a hardliner, analysts say his victory could improve relations between the arch foes.

“The expectation in Pakistan is that there will be an incremental improvement in Pakistan-India relations as Modi’s attitude would be more relaxed,” retired Pakistani general Talat Masood told AFP.

AFP

Channels Kids Cup: Schools From Ghana, Benin Rep, Six States Progress

Channels Int'l Kids Cup: Ghanaian, Beninese, Other Schools Progress To Quarter-Finals

 

The Channels International Kids Cup Season 11 entered the third day as players fought hard to get their schools into the next round of the competition.

Matches played on Thursday featured more goals and fascinating actions than the previous days at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

Eight teams crashed out of the tournament while eight others progressed to the quarter-finals, including both schools from Ghana and Benin Republic.

The boys from Afuaman Municipal, Ghana and Banhan Model Primary School, Rivers rounded off their Group C games on six points.

The Ghanaians came from a goal down to beat Sheikh Abubakar Gumi from Kaduna 2-1.

Nura Abubakar opened the scoring for Kaduna while two goals from Desmond Naryo and Dominic Effah handed the Ghanaians a spot in the last eight.

The boys from Rivers beat Ansar-ud-Deen of Ogun 3-0 with Innocent Wakama scoring a brace while Egbe Kevin grabbed a spot on the score sheet.

Ghana finished top of the group thanks to their superior goals difference.

In Group A, Adetunji Primary School, Kwara finished top with seven points while Holy Saviour Primary School, Osun came second with six points.

The Kwara boys played zero all with African Church Primary School, Lagos but the Osun team beat their Oyo opponents 1-0.

Samfra School, Lagos and Eghaguere Primary School, Edo advanced to the next round after gaining five points each in Group B.

The Lagos boys play 1-1 with Model Primary School, Bayelsa and the Edo team also drew their rivals from Kogi State 2-2.

In Group D, Ecole Eveil De Port-Novo, Benin Republic and Nosiere Primary School, Delta progressed with six points each.

The Benin boys advanced to the next round despite 2-0 loss to the boys from Holy Trinity, Ekiti, but the Delta team beat their counterparts from Umunaga Primary School, Ebonyi, 4-0.

See the list of teams that advanced to the next round and their points below:

Group A – Kwara (7), Osun (6)

Group B – Samfra (5), Edo (5)

Group C – Ghana (6), River (7)

Group D – Benin Republic (6), Delta (6)

See photos from Day 3 below:

Malawi President Takes Lead In Election Count – Vote Commission

Sealed Ballot boxes are pictured at the close of voting at the Ndirande Community ground polling centre on May 21, 2019 in Blantyre, southern Malawi,/ AFP

 

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has taken a five-percentage-point lead over his main rival in this week’s elections, according to figures Thursday based on results from three-quarters of polling stations.

Mutharika had 40.49 per cent of the vote while opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera had 35.44 per cent, according to the ongoing count by the Malawi Electoral Commission.

Mutharika, 78, who leads the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), campaigned for a second five-year term on his record of improving Malawi’s scant road and power infrastructure.

Chakwera on Wednesday warned of alleged attempts to rig the election, saying his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was conducting its own count that showed he was ahead.

READ ALSO: British Government Postpones Brexit Vote

The southeastern African country has around 6.8 million potential voters. Turnout data has not been published.

The third main candidate was Deputy President Saulos Chilima, with 18 per cent according to the partial results.

Malawi has a “winner-takes-all” system and in 2014 Mutharika won with just 36 per cent of the vote.

He first came to power in the aid-dependent country vowing to tackle corruption after the “Cashgate” scandal erupted a year earlier, revealing massive looting from state coffers.

But his government has been dogged by several high-profile cases of corruption and nepotism.

Osinbajo Chairs NEC Valedictory Session

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday chaired the valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The session has in attendance most governors including the newly-elected Chairman of governors forum, Kayode Fayemi.

READ ALSO: Fayemi Elected As Chairman Of Nigeria Governors Forum

The Vice President during the session urged the governors to guide their utterances which is capable of stoking fires of ethnicity and religious conflicts.

He also advised the governors to rise above the temptation of taking advantage of the country’s fault lines in order to maintain peace and welfare of citizens in the states.

See photos of the meeting below…




British Government Postpones Brexit Vote

Government whip Mark Spencer as he stands at the dispatch box and speaks to announce the business of the House of Commons for the following week, in the House of Commons in London on May 23, 2019, / AFP

 

The British government on Thursday postponed a crucial Brexit vote scheduled for the first week of June, following an outcry from hardline Brexiteers over concessions made by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The beleaguered premier is in the last throes of a tumultuous period in power focused all-but exclusively on guiding her fractured country out of the European Union.

“We will update the house on the publication and introduction of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on our return from the Whitsun recess” on June 4, government official Mark Spencer told MPs.

Spencer said the government had planned to hold the vote on a landmark piece of legislation to implement Brexit on June 7 but had not been able to fix this date.

May is under intense pressure to resign after holding out the prospect of a parliamentary vote on a second referendum to try and persuade MPs to support the divorce deal she has struck with EU leaders.

The deal has already been rejected three times in parliament, forcing a delay to the planned date of Brexit on March 29, and still faces strong cross-party opposition.

— ‘Brexit fiasco’ –
Meanwhile there are already several leading Conservatives, including members of her own cabinet, who are campaigning to take over from May when she quits.

The prime minister’s woes were made worse on Wednesday when Andrea Leadsom — one of cabinet’s strongest Brexit backers — resigned from her post as the government’s representative in parliament over her handling of the slowly-unfolding crisis.

“I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the (2016) referendum results,” Leadsom said in her resignation letter.

In her response May thanked Leadsom for her “passion, drive and sincerity”, but took issue with her assessment of the government’s Brexit strategy.

“I do not agree with you that the deal which we have negotiated with the European Union means that the United Kingdom will not become a sovereign country,” May said.

Many of Thursday’s newspaper front pages pictured May leaving Downing Street late on Wednesday apparently with tears in her eyes. “May set to go after Brexit fiasco,” said The Sun tabloid.

Thursday’s European elections are being interpreted in Britain as a referendum on Brexit and on May’s ability to get the job done. They make grim reading for the government team, with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party well ahead in the polls.

The current deadline for Brexit set by EU leaders is October 31.

The Brexit Party and leading Conservatives are calling for Britain to leave the EU on that date without an overall deal but businesses fear this could cause severe disruption.

FIFA Drops Plans For Expansion Of Qatar 2022 World Cup To 48 Teams

FIFA Drops Plans For 48-Team 2022 World Cup/ AFP

 

FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino.

The 2022 tournament in the Gulf state will now be played with 32 nations taking part.

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.

“(The tournament) will, therefore, remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA said in a statement.

READ ALSO: PSG’s Al-Khelaifi Charged In Qatar Athletics Graft Probe

The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar’s neighbours to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host an expanded tournament.

“The involvement of these countries in the organisation of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular, the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” said a feasibility study submitted to March’s FIFA Congress in Miami.

The study, seen by AFP, also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate “between $300-$400 million (265-354 million euros) of additional income”.

Specifically, FIFA was counting on an additional $120 million in TV rights, $150 million in marketing rights and $90 million from ticket sales.

The news comes after Europe’s top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup — also backed by Infantino — which is planned to take place in June and July 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup tournament.

– Complicated proposition –
An announcement of the final decision had not been expected until next month’s FIFA Congress to be held in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup that takes place in France between June 7 and July 7.

FIFA said it had examined the possibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament on its own, but a study “concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June”.

FIFA has dropped the plan to expand the 2022 tournament despite recommending in March that the number of teams should be raised to 48 for that tournament, ahead of the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee, charged with the organisation of the tournament, said in reaction to FIFA’s decision that “Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022 had a viable operating model been found and had all parties concluded that an expanded 48-team edition was in the best interest of football and Qatar as the host nation.”

But it said there was insufficient time to make a deeper assessment before the June deadline and “it was, therefore, decided not to further pursue this option.”

“With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud,” the Supreme Committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the charges and says Saudi Arabia and its allies are aiming to incite government change in the emirate, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Gulf states Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis. However, Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.