The US military has dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an Islamic State group tunnel complex in Afghanistan, the Pentagon says.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as "the mother of all bombs", was first tested in 2003, but had not been used before in combat.
The Pentagon said it was dropped from a US aircraft in Nangarhar province.
The news came hours after the Pentagon admitted an air strike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 rebels.
It said a partnered force had mistakenly identified the target location as an IS position, but the strike on 11 April had killed rebels from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is backed by Washington.
The strike in Afghanistan follows last week's death of a US special forces soldier fighting IS in Nangarhar.
The 21,600lb (9,800kg) bomb was dropped in Achin district on Thursday evening local time, the Pentagon said. It is more than 9m (30 feet) in length.
"We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters use to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces in the area," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, using another name for IS.
He said necessary precautions were taken to prevent civilian casualties and "collateral damage".
US special forces soldier is killed in Afghanistan
Gen John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the jihadist group's "losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence.
"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive."
IS announced the establishment of its Khorasan branch - an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas - in January 2015. It was the first time that IS had officially spread outside the Arab world.
It was the first major militant group to directly challenge the Afghan Taliban's dominance over the local insurgency.
However, experts say it has struggled to build a wide political base and the indigenous support it expected in Afghanistan.
Estimates about IS's numerical strength inside Afghanistan vary, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000.
The Chief Fire Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Dr. Albert Brown Gaisie at a press conference at the service headquarters in Accra urged Ghanaians to do all they could to celebrate this year’s Easter without unwanted emergencies.
He has also empowered service personnel to be on guard in case of uninformed occurrences pleading with the citizenry aid them the support as always.
Dr. Gaisie emphatically advised fuel tanker operators and the transport industry as a whole to acquire fire extinguishers.
Those who might be in possession of one already should ensure they are in good form so as to tackle any possible that may occur as they travel.
Still on the ensuring safety during the Easter, the C.F.O. has instructed the various units to form highway rescue squad to intensify rescue operations. He warns event organizers and party makers against road blockage without any official permission.
The GNFS boss did not leave churches out as they would be holding Easter Conventions across the length and breadth of the country as major events of this occasion. He has asked them to create assembly points near their convention grounds and make members aware of the use of them.
His biggest fear was house owners who at times switch on generator sets at the indoors. Such attitudes, he revealed are a dangerous one as they easily do bring about fire outbreaks.
A special attention by the service has been given to the Kwahu state since it is the centre of attraction at this time.
By: Daniel Asuku
Syria's President Bashar-al Assad says reports of a chemical attack by his forces were "100% fabrication".
In an exclusive video interview with AFP news agency, he said "there was no order to make any attack".
More than 80 people were killed in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April, and hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with a nerve agent.
Witnesses said they saw warplanes attack the town but Russia says a rebel depot of chemical munitions was hit.
Shocking footage showed victims - many of them children - convulsing and foaming at the mouth. Sufferers were taken to hospitals across the border in Turkey.
Syria 'chemical attack': What we know
Mr Assad told AFP that the Syrian government had given up its chemical arsenal in 2013, adding "even if we have them, we wouldn't use them".
Since 2013, there have been continued allegations that chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia have been used against civilians, by both the Syrian government and rebel groups.
Turkey and the UK say tests show Sarin or a Sarin-like substance was used in Khan Sheikhoun, which would be the first time since 2013 that a prohibited chemical had been used on such a scale.
Mr Assad accused the West of making up events in Khan Sheikhoun so it had an excuse to carry out missile strikes on the government's Shayrat airbase, which took place a few days after the alleged attack.
"It's stage one, the play [they staged] that we saw on social network and TVs, then propaganda and then stage two, the military attack," he said, questioning the authenticity of the video footage.
He also said Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria's north-western Idlib province, had no strategic value and was not currently a battle front. "This story is not convincing by any means," he told AFP.
Western allies have said there is compelling evidence that the Syrian government was behind what happened in Khan Sheikhoun.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday it was "highly likely" the Assad regime was behind the attack. "Apart from anything else, we believe it's the only regime that has the capability to make such an attack," she added.
Turkey, which treated many of the wounded, says it has "concrete evidence" Sarin was used.
The US, UK and France reacted angrily on Wednesday after Russia, Syria's key ally, vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council - the eighth time it has done so over the Syrian conflict.
Mr Assad told AFP that he would only allow an "impartial" investigation, involving "unbiased countries... to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes.
The US strikes and a reversal of what had been a growing diplomatic acceptance that Mr Assad's removal was no longer a priority may have taken its toll, our correspondent adds.
The US had, until its Shayrat attack, limited its involvement in Syria to removing the so-called Islamic State (IS) from its stronghold in the city of Raqqa.
The Pentagon admitted on Thursday that it accidentally killed 18 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, its ally in the fight against IS, in an airstrike on Monday, just south of the town of Tabqa, some 40km (25 miles) from Raqqa.
More than 300,000 people have lost their lives and millions of people have been displaced since a peaceful uprising against Mr Assad six years ago turned into a full-scale civil war.
Airtel Ghana, the Smartphone Network has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting quality education in Ghana through a ‘Back to School’ donation of educational supplies to pupils of Tanoso SDA Cluster of Schools and the Sokoban Methodist School in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions respectively.
The donations are in line with the company’s bold ambition to empower young people to fully realise their potential through the provision of educational materials and infrastructure.
A team from Airtel Ghana, led by the Zonal Business Manager for Ashanti and Brong Ahafo, Kwaku Asiedu, made a donation of books, school bags, pencil cases, mathematical sets, and lap desks to over 1,000 pupils in both schools.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at the Tanaso SDA Cluster of Schools, Kwaku Asiedu reiterated the company’s commitment to support the education of thousands of young people in the country through the provision of educational materials.
He said “Airtel Ghana believes in empowering the next generation of leaders to fully realize their potential through the power of education. This is evidenced through our School Adoption and Evolve with STEM initiatives which seeks to invest in infrastructure developments and encourage the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Through the School Adoption programme, we have invested in infrastructure such as classroom blocks, libraries and ICT centers to facilitate effective teaching and learning in several schools across the country.
This donation is aligned to our commitment to invest in communities we operate in – especially in the area of education. This donation is also a way for us to invest in the lives of our brothers and sisters as part of the Easter festivities”.
The Heads of the Sokoban Methodist School and Tanoso SDA Cluster of Schools, Mr. Charles Berko and Mr. Daniel Kwasi Okrah were optimistic that the pupils would put the materials to good use and expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Airtel Ghana for investing in the lives of young people across the country. The beneficiary pupils expressed their gratitude to Airtel Ghana for the kind gesture.
Airtel Ghana continues to play a significant role in promoting education in Ghana through its CSR initiatives. The company has won several local and international awards such as “Best CSR Initiative at the Africa and Global Carrier Awards.
Source: Airtel Ghana
Actress Bibi Bright was all over the place during the 2016 elections campaigning for change and now enjoying the fruit of her labor, she has been named the secretary to the Creative Arts Council.
The Creative Arts Council, according to her, has been in existence during the previous government but its vibrancy was questionable therefore as the new government attained office, it decided to activate the council by reason of the size of the Creative Arts industry.
She said the Creative Arts council’s significance is to “tackle the problems that affect all the sectors of the industry. It is here to deal with issues not necessarily music and movies but the artistic, culture and all. These problems she says when are beyond the council will be forwarded to the ministry and it goes on from there. It is more like a mediator between the Arts and the ministry.”
Her role she indicated serves as the main mediator where she does all the basics of the secretarial business as well as being the first to be hit by all issues about the Arts before passing on to her bosses Gyankoroma Akufo Addo and Mark Okraku Mantey.
Credit: Flex Newspaper
A rainstorm is expected to hit the entire country on Thursday evening.
Mr Michael Padi, Senior Meteorologist at the Ghana Meteorological Agency told the Ghana News Agency in an interview, that by weather indicators, the storm was expected at about 1900 hours.
He urged the public to take all necessary precautions to ensure, that no unpleasant incidents occurred during the storm.
Mr Padi reminded the public on the need to avoid seeking shelter from underneath trees during such periods.
“Thundery activities easily get attracted to structures such as trees, and the risk of lightening is very high within tree shades,” he said.
Mr Padi said weak structures should be avoided when one was seeking shelter, since they were easily blown down by strong winds.
The senior meteorologist urged motorist to be extra cautious during the period.
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has in a statement accessed the performance of President Akufo-Addo ahead of his first 100 days in office which is expected to be marked on Monday April 17, 2017.
CDD-Ghana in their statement expressed their displeasure at some actions by the current administration.
According to them the 110 ministers assembled by the president will have pressure on the public purse.
The statement also touched on activities of vigilante groups in their country calling the president to crack the whip on the issue.
“CDD-Ghana feels badly disappointed by president Akufo-Addo’s decision to appoint 110 ministers. It flies in the face of the president’s own declared commitment to protect the public purse as well as its longstanding good governance advocates’ campaign for meaningful reduction in the size of government and resultant government spending. We believe that the appointments of so many politicians to manage the state bureaucracy will further deepen its politicisation and undermine its authority.’’
“First, the many instances of NPP-affiliated vigilante groups’ forceful takeover of state assets and public facilities (including toilets, toll booths, school feeding programs, etc.) and the unlawful seizure of vehicles of members of the previous administration put a dent on the hitherto smooth transition process. Worse still, the failure of government, and law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with the NPP-affiliated vigilante groups, mainly the Delta and Invincible Forces, that invaded sensitive government installations such as the passport office and Tema Ports and Harbor, appears to have encouraged the recent brazen attacks on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator and a Circuit Court in Kumasi, by the so-called Delta Force.”
On the dismissal of Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDAs) CDD said the practice is inconsistent with corporate governance practice.
“We are also disturbed by the continuity in practice after electoral turn-overs whereby the chief executive officers and senior managers of public agencies and parastatals are summarily removed or asked to ‘proceed on leave,’ and to handover to a caretaker officer/acting CEO. Such actions are inconsistent with good corporate governance practices, it fosters politicization of the public service as well as political exclusion, and undermines the fight against winner takes all politics. The Center deems the interpretation of who is a political appointee under Section 14 (6) in the Presidential Transition Act 2012 too broad and badly in need of review informed by best practice,” the statement said.
Meet Calista Meusique Ama Adoma Amoateng daughter of one of Ghana’s finest music guru and former member of defunct Akyeame, Quophi Okyeame whose exceptional talent is making her soaring high with her latest hit track, ‘I Can Make It’The talented young girl is set to release her album later this year titled, ‘Time Is Now’.Calista’s rap talent came to bear at the age of six when she started saying her nursery rhymes in perfect timing to a beat in her daddy’s Emklan music studio.This pushed her father, Quophi Okyeame, a former member of the now-defunct Akyeame, to start producing a beat for her to make a song he wrote.She delivered her rap verses easy and in just a day, ‘Who is on the Mic’, her first ever song, was recorded.Even though the song never got released commercially, her father, producer, trainer and mentor, continued to support her on a journey which has seen her release her new single ‘I Can Make It’ which features Esi of Talented Kidz fame.‘I Can Make It’ was written to motivate kids around the world to aim high because they can achieve whatever they set their sights on.A video which was shot partly in Guangzhou and Ghana has also been released and making a lot of waves.Cali, as she is affectionately called by her friends, intends to be a book worm and pursue academics as far as she can and also explore her God given music talent to its zenith.Calista Meusique Ama Adoma Amoateng was born to Mr Daniel Quophi Amoateng (Quophi Okyeame of Akyeame fame) and Mrs Anastasia Akua Amoateng (Stacy of Music Music/Restoration fame) on 24th of September 2005. She is a Class 5 pupil.
The eight Delta Force members who allegedly raided the Kumasi Circuit Court and freed some 13 other members standing trial have been granted bail by a Kumasi High Court.
The bail conditions are GHc 10,000 each with two sureties, and they are also to report to the police CID on Tuesday, April 18, before 3:00 pm.
Lawyers for the suspects went to the High Court after a plea for bail was denied.
Their lawyers had argued that, the case was bailable, but the bail plea was turned down by the presiding judge.
The eight have been charged with disturbing a court session, for resisting arrest, and freeing the 13 persons who were in lawful custody.
Maverick Youth Organizer for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Brong Ahafo Region, Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC is claiming that, former president John Dramani Mahama is now the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for armed robbers in Ghana.
According to him, the former president went for his appointment to speak for and on behalf of thieves, in the country yesterday [Wednesday] after meeting the party.
He was responding to comments by the former president on the seizures of cars allegedly stolen by former appointees under his administration.
The former president said: “If you cannot look for vehicles in a more civilized manner than having troops going into people’s houses, breaking down their gates and say you are looking for vehicles, you cannot go to DVLA and look through the database and find out what government vehicles are available then what kind of efficiency do we have in government? Just this morning I heard Agyekum’s House was raided… And they[NPP] will always come back and apologize because those are not vehicles that belong to the state.
“…Government is saying they cannot look for an efficient manner of looking for vehicles than forming storm troops to raid people’s house, and I think that it is wrong. I am going to have the opportunity to tell Nana Addo that they should stop this… This cannot continue, this thuggery is not good for our country, and the point is we thought we had a good transition …This [incident] serves as examples that make it difficult in future when there is another transition for another government to restrain party supporters. All the thuggery removing people from office, beating people is unfortunate. We must say it in the strongest terms and if the heed it fine, if they don’t, it is a learning process for our whole country.”
But responding to the former president, Abronye DC slammed him and questioned why Mr. Mahama will support ‘’thieves.’’
When asked to retract his comments, the outspoken politician refused and said, ‘’the former president has gone for an appointment as PRO for thieves. The former president after retiring, decided to speak for armed robbers. That is what he has decided to do. Why should he describe the retrieval of state vehicles as uncivilized?
He also descended heavily on the National Chairman of the NDC, Kofi Portuphy describing him as a bastard over the press conference he addressed and calling on President Nana Akufo-Addo to bring an end to vigilantism.
According to him, Mr. Portuphy has no moral right to slam Nana Addo when he has supported thuggery in the past.
‘’Only bastards will blame Nana Addo for the activities of the Delta Force,’’ he stressed.