NIGERIA ISSUES FRAUD BLACKLIST

Senior politicians and businessmen are among more than 100 people listed by Nigerian anti-fraud police as being unsuitable to run for political office.

The EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) said those on the list were all being prosecuted for corruption.

The commission urged political parties not to endorse them as candidates in next year’s elections.

One of those named, Orji Kalu, is running for president but has been arraigned on 107 counts of fraud.

He is accused of involvement in a fraud worth 5bn naira (£21m; $33m).

Politicians make up at least 40 people on the list, which the EFCC has published on its website.

Thirteen are former state governors, five are former ministers, three are serving MPs, and two are serving senators.

The BBC’s Caroline Duffield, in Abuja, says fraud charges are no barrier to standing in elections, and some of those named are already campaigning.

But EFCC officials say that they believe those facing prosecution should not be endorsed as candidates.

The commission is appealing to political parties to select only “credible candidates” and not those on the list.

The EFCC says many of the defendants are deliberately stalling their cases in court so that they will not be tried before the elections next year.

Source: BBC

WHICH IS THE WORLD’S MOST CORRUPT NATION

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are seen as having the least corruption in the world, according to a just-published global survey.

Somalia is viewed as the most corrupt country.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is published annually by Transparency International, a corruption monitoring organization based in Berlin, Germany.

“The surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts,” said a release accompanying the 2010 CPI.

Countries with the highest scores on the index are viewed as having the least corruption; countries with the lowest scores, the most.

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore each scored 9.3 out of a possible 10.

Rounding out the 10 highest scores: Finland and Sweden, 9.2; Canada, 8.9; Netherlands, 8.8; Australia and Switzerland, 8.7; and Norway, 8.6.

Japan was 17th on the list with a score of 7.8; the United Kingdom 20th (7.6); and the United States 22nd (7.1).

At the bottom of the 178 countries Somalia scored 1.1, just below Afghanistan and Myanmar (1.4) and Iraq (1.5).

Among emerging economic powerhouses, Brazil was 69th on the list with a score of 3.7; China 78th (3.5); and India 87th (3.3).

Overall, Transparency International says of the survey: “These results indicate a serious corruption problem.

“With governments committing huge sums to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress.”

Source: CNN

Being Imperfect Could Save Your Life

Constantly striving to live a faultless life increases your risk of a very imperfect outcome—early death. Experts specializing in perfectionism recently convened at an Association for Psychological Science Convention in Boston to present research looking at perfectionism and its effects on health, ranging from loss of self-esteem and resilience to increased stress and risk of death. It can even interfere with effectively dealing in a crisis situation.

“Even though these impossibly high standards are self-imposed, the true perfectionists find it hard to relinquish the high self-expectations of performance, or to settle for more realistic standards, even during times of severe emergencies requiring them to act fast,” explains Prem Fry, PhD, professor of psychology at Trinity Western University in British Columbia.

The Details: At the convention, researchers specializing in perfectionist behavior shared their research, including Fry, whose recent study of older adults found a 51 percent reduced life-expectancy rate in perfectionists when compared to non-perfectionists. Other health ailments have also been linked to perfectionism. Other researchers have linked perfectionism to binge eating, hoarding, anxiety, substance abuse, and an increased risk of oxidative and nitrosative stress, which cause cell damage and inflammation, leading to a whole host of serious health problems. The good news is that not all perfectionists’ traits mean bad news. Some of Fry’s other work, published earlier this year, has found that perfectionists living with type 2 diabetes tend to more effectively control and monitor their condition. “Compared to non-perfectionists, they followed the treatment regimen more thoroughly and, as a result, lived healthier and longer lives.”

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What It Means: Fry notes that once the drive for perfectionism is acquired, it’s not easily kicked. It’s also important to note that if perfectionism is limited to one or two areas of your daily tasks, it could provide positive effects on self-esteem and self worth, Fry notes. “However, it is deadly to aspire to be perfect in all areas of one’s functioning,” she says. The key is to delegate responsibility to others for less-important tasks that are time consuming.

Here’s how to ID and help a perfectionist:

How striving for perfection can often lead to binging and unhealthy eating habits.

Know the types and the signs.
True perfectionists are generally always unsatisfied with performance. Fry says the following are commonly observed signs of perfectionism in children, men, and women:

1. Shows excessive concern over small, everyday tasks
2. Worries about others’ approval
3. Frequently asks for extensions on deadlines
4. Worries excessively about being a disappointment to others
5. Over time, the trait can be identified by excessive levels of worry, depression, and sense of failure (even if the person is talented and competent).

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Other types of perfectionism include “socially prescribed perfectionists,” people who Fry says carry around the notion that others are expecting them to be perfect and excel. Parents can instill this in children and young adults, and bosses’ expectations can bring on this form of perfectionism in adults.

“Other-oriented perfectionists” have high expectations not just for themselves; they generally expect the same of other people, too. “Individuals who subscribe to all three features of perfectionistic thinking are in a permanent state of stress. In such cases, perfectionism may lead to a lot of stress-induced physical health problems and sometimes to other mental health problems such as depression, loss of appetite, migraines, social anxiety, alcoholism, and the increased overall risk of psychopathology, including suicidal motivation,” Fry explains.

To curb your perfectionist tendencies:

Set limits
While Fry notes that the up side of perfectionism involves positive qualities like being more conscientious, diligent, accountable, and responsible, she also warns that perfectionists need to set limits. “Rigid perfectionistic expectations of others are likely to backfire against the perfectionist’s own productivity and may very likely inhibit productivity of others under their control and supervision,” she says, advising that people with this problem learn to set limits, and choose just one or two areas where they will be perfectionists. For instance, while it’s good for bridge engineers and surgeons to engage in perfectionism on the job to keep people safe, those same people don’t need to seek perfection when folding the laundry or playing in a softball charity tournament.

Seek CBT
While perfectionism is a trait that’s hard to shake, researchers have found hope in a type of counseling known as cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a therapist will focus on how your thoughts, not external forces, affect your condition. Depression or anxiety medicine may be prescribed in more severe cases, but you may want to try natural remedies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, before turning to pills.

Nigerian Ambassador defends Ghana’s recalled Brazil envoy

Joy News has learnt that African envoys in Brazil are shocked at news of the recall of Ghana’s ambassador to that country.

Samuel Kofi Dadey is alleged to have forced his 40-year old Nigerian Secretary, Helen Adewonuola, to have sex with him on four separate occasions.

She however reported the matter to the police in Brazil who took it up with Ambassador Kofi Dadey later agreeing to pay about 22,000 dollars as compensation to have the matter settled out of court.

The Ambassador has denied sleeping with the accuser.

Nonetheless, last week, the government recalled and retired the 61 year old envoy.

Now his African colleagues in the Brazilian town of Brasilia have come to his defence, saying the government was too hasty in its action.

The Acting Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Uche Ayuku-Okeke said the African diplomats in Brazil were shocked because Mr Kofi Dadey was “an exemplary ambassador in the African Diplomatic Corps.”

He said former Ambassador Dadey “has been able to attract to his country from Brazil, [investment] totaling over 700 million dollars. No African country has yet been able to match this achievement – the achievement of Ambassador Dadey is unparalleled.”

Ambassador Ayuku-Okeke said his sacked Ghanaian counterpart in Brazil is a man of integrity and could not have been guilty of the offence.

WALKING-OFF MEMORY LOSS

Memory loss is the single biggest fear for Americans over the age of 55. And it’s understandable: over 4 million currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and those numbers are expected to quadruple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. That may be why products promising to improve your brain function are flooding the market. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are said to improve memory association skills, though critics believe only when put to task by those puzzles. Ginkgo infused soft drinks line the grocery aisle, ever since the root was suggested to combat dementia (it doesn’t). Even celery has been loosely linked to mental acuity. But the truth is there’s not enough hard evidence that any of these things really work.

In fact, there’s only one practice that’s been proven, without question, to preserve your memory: exercise. “Aerobic activities tend to show larger effects than non-aerobic activities,” University of Pittsburgh psychologist Kirk Erickson tells Yahoo.

Working up a sweat helps your mind stay fit better than any crossword puzzle–unless you’re doing that crossword on a treadmill.

The good news is that you don’t need to run a marathon. Just walking six miles a week can ward off memory disorders caused by aging, according to Erickson’s research published this month in the medical journal Neurology. “It appears that if people start exercising their memory may improve and if you continue to exercise, that might delay, or offset, the age-related decline in memory,” he explains.

And you don’t need to lift any heavy barbells either. Erickson and his team monitored 300 senior adults over a period of 13 years, and found that those who walked between 6 and 9 miles a week—whether to work or with the dog–had half the brain deterioration of those who didn’t. “Exercise seems to enhance some of the more fundamental properties of our brain,” Erickson explains. “It increases the growth of new cells and improves cellular processes associated with learning and memory.” To put it simply, walking keeps your gray matter from shrinking. And the more matter, the more mind.

Another study published earlier this year suggests exercise can actually help your brain grow. A moderate workout may generate new brain cells. And not just any brain cells, but cells that specifically help to distinguish between memories, so each recollection stands out. It’s the kind of function you rely on every day, says Tim Bussey, one of the authors of the Cambridge University study. “[These cells help with] remembering which car parking space you have used on two different days in the previous week.” 

But exercise isn’t the only way to keep tabs on your parking spot. There are some supplemental practices that doctors recommend in addition to a regular walk-a-thon. Diets rich in Omega fatty acids are instrumental in keeping your brain from aging. Two servings of salmon a week, provides ingredients that support brain tissue and enhance nerve cell function. Balancing fish with the other elements of a Mediterranean diet, like fruits and vegetables, has been found to lower the chances of cognitive decline. When it comes to memory retrieval, self-testing can be beneficial. In other words, pausing between paragraphs of an article and asking yourself to paraphrase the information, or repeat a fact. It can’t hurt if that article is written in another language. Bilingualism, says one new study, helps ward off Alzheimer’s for up to four years. But it doesn’t prevent the disease altogether. Your best bet: Walk it off.

GREGORY ISAACS PASSES ON…

Gregory Isaacs — one of the most popular and versatile reggae singers of the late-1970s, and the smooth-voiced dancehall crooner behind the genre’s landmark 1982 LP Night Nurse — passed away this morning at his London home following a year-long battle with lung cancer.  Isaacs was 59.

“Gregory was well loved by everyone, his fans and his family, and he worked really hard to make sure he delivered the music they loved and enjoyed,” Isaacs’ wife Linda said. “He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.”

Over the course of his prolific career — in which he released an estimated 500 albums within Jamaica, the UK and the U.S. — Isaacs collaborated with reggae, dub and dancehall icons like Lee “Scratch” Perry, King Tubby, Sugar Minott, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown and Errol Holt. After spending the 1970s building a reputation as both a top-notch roots reggae singer and a soulful “lovers rock”-style crooner, Isaacs recorded his masterpiece Night Nurse at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios in 1982, the year after Marley’s death.

Isaacs was poised to become a worldwide star when Night Nurse climbed to No. 32 on the British charts, but instead found himself sentenced to six months in a Jamaican prison on illegal firearm charges. (Isaacs’ police record is almost as prolific as his discography, with over 50 reported arrests in his lifetime.) Dubbed the “Cool Ruler” by fans, Isaacs wrestled with drug addiction throughout his career, eventually losing his teeth and jeopardizing his legendary voice from persistent drug use, but he continued to make music, releasing his final album, Brand New Me, in 2008.

PAUL THE OCTOPUS DIES

Paul the Octopus, the tentacled tipster who fascinated football fans by correctly predicting results at this year’s World Cup, died Tuesday.

Paul had reached the octopus old age of 2 1/2 years and died in his tank on Tuesday morning in an aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen, spokeswoman Ariane Vieregge said.

Paul seemed to be in good shape when he was checked late Monday, but he did not make it through the night. He died of natural causes, Vieregge added.

After rising to global prominence during the World Cup in South Africa in June and July, Paul retired from the predictions business after the final between Spain and the Netherlands—the result of which he also forecast correctly—and returned to his prime role of making children happy.

The invertebrate was stepping “back from the official oracle business,” Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, told AP Television News at the time.

“He won’t give any more oracle predictions—either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy,” she said. “Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh.”

Paul correctly predicted the outcomes of all seven of Germany’s World Cup games. He made his predictions by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

After his World Cup soothsaying skills were revealed, the English-born Paul was appointed an ambassador to England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. He had English roots, having been hatched at Weymouth Sea Life Center on England’s south coast in 2008.

Imitators sprang up all over the world, including Mani the Parakeet in Singapore and Lorenzo the Parrot in Hannover, Germany.

The latest was a saltwater crocodile named Dirty Harry, who predicted Spain’s World Cup final win and called the result of Australia’s general election by snatching a chicken carcass dangling beneath a caricature of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Paul became so popular in Spain that a northwestern Spanish town tried to borrow him.

In response to hundreds of requests to bring Paul to Spain, the Madrid Zoo asked Sea Life if it would be willing to make a deal to bring him in as a tribute to the Spanish team’s victory, either temporarily or for good. But the German aquarium turned down that offer, too.

Paul also had an agent and his name was used to help endangered turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

Source: AP

POPE HONOURS FORMER PREZ. KUFOUR & WIFE

Kumasi, Oct. 25, GNA – Pope Benedict XVI, has conferred on former President John Agyekum Kufour, the Papal Award of Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great, for his dedicated service to mankind and the Catholic Church in general.

 

Also honoured was his wife, the former First Lady,

Theresah Kufour, on who the Papal Award Dame of St Gregory the Great for her commitment to the plight of poor children and their mothers.

 

The award conferred on the former President is the highest ecclesiastical honour to be conferred on anybody, Catholic or non-Catholic in the annals of the Church in Ghana.

 

The Most Reverend Thomas Mensah, Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi, assisted by Archbishop Emeritus Akwasi Sarpong on behalf of the Pope conferred the honour on the former President at a ceremony held at the St. Gregory the Great Provincial Major Seminary at Parkoso near Kumasi, on Sunday.

 

A cross section of the clergy, traditional rulers, political leaders and civil society organizations attended the programme.

 

To signify his new status in the Church, former President Kufour was decorated with a medal and also given the Scroll of the Decree.

 

A citation accompanying the award and read by Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong said 93You have done your best to give an example of how a Catholic should behave in a role of leadership in matters of the faith. The Church is proud of you for the way you have helped to promote humanity and Catholic principles.

 

“Showing Catholic principles, you refused to allow an International Conference of gay people to be held in Ghana. You have shown great leadership wherever the Lord had committed you as you had exhibited the principles of justice, peace and equity.

 

“It is for these reasons coupled with your Catholic principles that the Archdiocese of Kumasi requested and obtained for you from his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to be awarded.”

 

Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong lauded former President Kufour and said he was of the conviction that the award would help to propel him to greater heights in his endeavours.

 

Most Reverend Mensah appealed to all Catholics to be committed to the tenets of the Church to ensure its growth.

 

He stated that the awards had helped brought honour to the Archdiocese in general and also lauded the former first couple for their dedicated services to mankind.

 

Source: GNA

CELINE DION DELIVERS TWINS

Singer Celine Dion has given birth to twin boys at a hospital in Florida.

Dion, 42, and husband Rene Angelil, 68, are said to be “thrilled” to have the as yet unnamed children, who were born by Caesarean section on Saturday.

The babies were reportedly born healthy but were premature and will spend the next few days in an incubator.

The Canadian-born singer, due to return to Las Vegas in March for a three-year residency, already has a nine-year-old son with Angelil.

A statement released by St Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida said the first twin weighed five pounds and 10 ounces (2.55 kg).

His brother, born one minute afterwards, weighed six ounces less (2.38 kg).

Dion has been trying to have more children for some time and has spoken publicly about her experiences with in-vitro fertilisation.

Last year the Grammy-winning artist confirmed she was pregnant, only to subsequently suffer a miscarriage.

In other baby news, US actor Matt Damon and his wife Luciana have announced the birth of their third daughter together.

The couple are said to be “great” after welcoming Stella Zavala Damon, who was born on Wednesday in New York.

Source: BBC

MICHEAL JACKSON COULDN’T BE SAVED, LISA MARIA PRESLEY

Michael Jackson’s life was destined to end early, according to Lisa Marie Presley — but she wishes she’d tried harder to save him.

“I know it’s naive to think that I could’ve, but I wanted to,” Presley said on The Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday, where she opened up about the death of her ex-husband. “Had I just said, ‘How are you?’ Can I try to make a phone call? I really… regret that I didn’t.”

Jackson died last year at age 50 from an overdose of the powerful sedative Propofol and had a history of prescription drug abuse.

Presley believes Jackson’s “God-like” existence made it difficult for people to stand up to him about his dangerous habits.

“If he didn’t want you around, if you were going to make him confront something he didn’t want to confront, he could make you go away — including his own family,” she said. “I think that was a train heading in a certain direction that no one could have stopped. I’ve had to really get my head around that in order to stop the pain.”

She also recalled her last “coherent” conversation with Jackson, whom she married in 1994 and divorced soon after. “I was very distanced, and he was checking to get a read, you know?” she says of the chat in 2005. “He was trying to throw a line out to see if I would bite emotionally, and I wouldn’t.”

When he asked her if she loved him, “I told him I was indifferent,” she says. “He didn’t like that word. He cried.”

He also said something chilling at the end of that call: “He felt that someone was going to try to kill him to get hold of his catalogue and his estate,” she says, adding that Jackson named names but that she couldn’t reveal them.

Presley, 42, lives in England with her guitarist husband Michael Lockwood. She has four children.

Source: PEPPLE.com