President John Dramani Mahama has announced changes in the top hierarchy of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Air Vice Marshal Samson Michael-Oje replaces Vice Admiral Matthew Quarshie as the Chief of Defence Staff.
Vice Admiral Quarshie has been appointed an Ambassador Designate.
The other appointments are as follows:
Chief of Air Staff: Air Commodore Maxwell Mantsebi-Tei Nagai
Chief of Naval Staff: Commodore Peter Kofi Faido
Chief of Staff at the General Headquarters: Brigadier General Sampson Kudjo Adeti
Chief of Army Staff however remains Major General Richard Kwame Opoku Adusei
Source: Flagstaff House Communications Bureau
Wall Street has continued the rout on global share markets, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes all opening more than 2% down.
It followed sharp falls in China, where trading on the main stock markets was halted early after indexes tumbled 7%.
A survey indicating China's manufacturing sector contracted again last month was blamed for the falls.
Other Asian markets also fell, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 closed down 2.6% and Germany's Dax index dropped 4.3%.
Meanwhile, news that Saudi Arabia had broken off diplomatic ties with Iransent oil and gold prices higher.
On Wall Street, all 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 2.4% fall in the technology sector. Bank stocks were also hard hit, with Goldman Sachs down 3.2%.
"Those are violent New Year fireworks," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital. "That's quite a way to start the day off."
Earlier on Monday, trading on China's Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges was halted for the first time under new "circuit breaker" rules, which are designed to curb market volatility.
The share price falls came after more signs of trouble in the world's second-largest economy.
The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers' index slipped to 48.2 in December, marking the 10th consecutive month of shrinking factory activity in the sector. A reading below 50 indicated contraction.
Some analysts also attributed the decline in share prices to the imminent end of a six-month lockup period on share sales by major institutional investors, a policy implemented to shore up indexes. Big shareholders may start dumping shares once the ban is lifted on Friday.
Huang Cengdong, an analyst for Sinolink Securities in Shanghai, said: "The market will not improve because there will be heavy selling in the near future."
Monday's sell-off in China had a knock-on across the region. Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 2.6%.
"Welcome to 2016, though you'd be forgiven for thinking the markets were back in August 2015 with China causing some early New Year issues," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
And Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: "Anyone hitting the trading floor expecting a calm and quiet start to 2016 was given a rude surprise as Asian chaos affected European markets."
Markets were also rattled by growing tensions between Middle East powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran over the execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
The execution in Saudi Arabia led to protests in Tehran. Saudi has cut diplomatic ties with Iran and given diplomats 48 hours to leave.
Iran's supreme leader has warned Saudi Arabia it would face "quick consequences" for the execution.
Fearing further upheaval in the already volatile Middle East, the US has urged regional leaders to try to ease tensions.
The price of Brent crude jumped more than 3% at the start of the day on the back of heightened tensions, but then fell back sharply after US stock markets opened. In late afternoon trading, Brent was down 1% at $36.96 a barrel, while US crudewas down 1.4% at $36.52.
Analysts said the underlying trend of oversupply would continue to weigh on prices over the longer term.
"Unless we see a convincing drop in oil output from these two nations, and the broader oil-producing community, the supply glut issue will persist, which means oil prices would remain under pressure for a longer period," said Bernard Aw at IG Markets in Singapore.
Oil prices are down by two-thirds since mid-2014, with analysts estimating that producers are pumping between 0.5 million and two million barrels of oil every day in excess of demand.
Worries about the impact of Middle East tensions were underlined in the gold price, which rose more than 1% on Monday to $1,070.20 an ounce.
Gold is frequently seen as an alternative investment during times of geopolitical and financial uncertainties. The gold price lost 10% last year.
Another traditional haven is the Swiss franc, which gained about 0.8% against both the dollar and the euro in early trading on Monday.
The United Nations Cordinator to Ghana, Madam Christine Klock has commended the country for promoting peace and unity.
Delivering a solidarity message on behalf of the United Nations at the annual celebration of Prophet Mohammed, birthday (‘Mawulid’), Madam Klock noted Ghana is a shinning example of peace and unity in the Africa because of religious tolerance.
According to her, the nation has enjoyed peace, stability and unity because of the peaceful co-existence among religious groups most especially Muslims and Christians.
Speaking to Islamic Clerics and members of the Islam faith, Madam Christine Klock said: ‘’…Muslims in Ghana continue to exhibit the true meaning of Islam which has peace as one of its foundations…Indeed If Ghana is regarded as a shinning example of peace in Africa, it is in no small part due to the peaceful co-existence between people of different faith particularly Christians and Muslims,’’ she added.
Madam Klock revealed since assuming her office over a year ago in this country, she has remained continuously impressed with the level of mutual respect that exists among the various religious groups in this country.
She stressed the need for mutual understanding among religious groups since it enhances development, the respect for human rights, cultural diversity, dignity and respect.
However, the UN Cordinator said Ghana cannot eradicate poverty and sustainable development without tackling conflict and insecurity.
‘’…We cannot eradicate poverty and sustained development without tackling conflicts and insecurity. Promoting peace with access to justice means addressing the root causes of conflicts between groups…It means empowering institutions for conflicts resolution, promoting interface dialogue and tackling violent extremism conducted in the name of religion,’’ she indicated.
Madam Christine Klock took the opportunity to call for peaceful elections come November 7th November, 2016.
She said the world will be focusing on Ghana this year hence the need to prove that we understand democracy.
‘’…This election year Ghana will again demonstrate to the region [Africa] and the world the importance of tolerance through diversity and the importance strong national and regional institutions to resolving conflicts and organizing elections in a peaceful and effective manner.’’
She added the UN will support Ghana in ensuring a peaceful election this year.
She further commended the security agencies for their enormous roles they have contributed in the peace and stability the country has enjoyed.
Celebrated investigative journalist and Chief Executive Officer of the Tiger Eye P.I Eye Limited, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has emerged as the number most influential young Ghanaian in a poll organized by Aviance Media.
The poll which was conducted in 90 countries saw Ghanaians vote over a 15 day period across 10 different sectors including media, arts, sports, technology among others.
2015 Radio and Television Personality Award winner, Nathaniel Anokye Adisi popularly referred to as Bola Ray came second with GLO CAF Awards finalist, Dede Ayew followed in the third position.
Human rights lawyer Xavier Sosu is also captured on the list with the fourth position.
Ghana most celebrated and national youth achiever, Farida Bedwei, the Co-founder and CTO of Logiciel Ltd who runs a FinTech and serves on the National Communication Authority board despite having cerebral palsy came fifth topping her female counterparts on the list.
The director of the famous Adams Apple Movie, Shirley Frimpong Manso, John Dumelo and Rebecca Acheampong were also on the list from the creative arts industry.
Renowned brand expert and a regualr discussant on Rainbow Radio Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah was also captured on the list
The managing director of Aviance Media in a statement Prince Akpah said: “These great young achievers have toiled for Ghana, representing and influencing their motherland positively across diverse activities and have shown their relevance among millions of young people across Ghana.”
According to him ”even though 2015 was marked as a year coupled with lot of challenges, it also turned out to be a motivating one attested by the massive involvement of young people in various activities bringing at par their works and impacts.”
This initiative is led by Avance Media in partnership with Dream Ambassadors Foundation GH, Synergy For Success Ghana, Synergy Events, Kanea Pictures, Kanea Multimedia, Impactshapers.com, Agape Research Center and Kobby Webs Technology, The initiative is intended to disclose the true and genuine potentials of these young people who are earnest to turn around the fortunes of Ghana’s economy.
A level 300 student of the University of Education Winneba (UEW) has been remanded in prison custody by the Agona Swedru Court for defiling a 12-year old girl.
Mark Ndemohe-Owusu pleaded not guilty and will re-appear on January 20.
Prosecution Police Chief Inspector Ivy Agadia told the court presided over by Justice Hannah-Abigail Animah Asare that on November 21, 2015 a complaint was made at the Winneba Domestic and Violence Department of the Ghana Police Service that the accused has defiled the victim.
According to the prosecution, the victim fell sick and her parents took her to the Winneba Government Hospital and after examination it was detected that she was two months pregnant and when interrogated she mentioned the accused as the one who violated her.
The accused person was arrested and after investigation, he was arraigned.
A number of Saudi Arabia's allies have joined diplomatic action against Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked amid a row over the execution of a Shia Muslim cleric.
Bahrain and Sudan have both severed relations with Iran, and the UAE has downgraded its diplomatic team.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday severed ties and gave Iran's diplomats two days to go.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are the key Sunni and Shia powers in the region and back opposing sides in Syria and Yemen.
Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni monarchy but has a majority Shia population, on Monday gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.
It accused Iran of "increasing, flagrant and dangerous meddling" in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states.
It said the attack on the Saudi embassy was part of a "very dangerous pattern of sectarian policies that should be confronted... to preserve security and stability in the entire region".
Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet, has frequently accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the country since 2011 - a charge Tehran denies.
A Sudan foreign ministry statement read: "In response to the barbaric attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad... Sudan announces the immediate severing of ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The split arises from a dispute soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 over who should lead the Muslim community
Sunnis are estimated to make up between 85% and 90% of Muslims
Though the two branches have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices, differences lie in the fields of doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation
Sunnis and Shia: Islam's ancient schism
The United Arab Emirates is downgrading its diplomatic representation in Tehran, including a recall of its ambassador, but has said it will continue trade links.
There are fears sectarian strife may spread in the region following the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others in Saudi Arabia on Saturday after they were convicted of terror-related offences.
On Monday, two Sunni mosques in Iraq were bombed and an imam killed.
Saudi Arabia announced late on Sunday that it was severing diplomatic relations with Iran after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Protesters set the building on fire before being driven away by police.
Saudi Arabia has recalled its own diplomats.
Iran's foreign ministry on Monday accused the Saudis of "continuing the policy of increasing tension and clashes in the region".
Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said: "Saudi Arabia sees not only its interests but also its existence in pursuing crises and confrontations and attempts to resolve its internal problems by exporting them to the outside."
He defended Iran's response to the embassy attack, saying it had "acted in accordance with its obligations to control the broad wave of popular emotion". Fifty arrests were made.
Iran's First Vice-President, Eshaq Jahangiri, said it would be Saudi Arabia that lost out by severing ties, accusing it of "hasty and illogical actions".
But in announcing the cut in ties, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of having "distributed weapons and planted terrorist cells in the region".
"Iran's history is full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction," he said.
In other developments:
Bomb blasts rock two Sunni mosques in and around Hilla, 80km (50 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. A muezzin of one of the mosques is killed
The Sunni imam of a mosque in Alexandria, north of Babylon in Iraq, is killed by gunmenPolice come under heavy gunfire in Sheikh Nimr's hometown, Awamiya in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, on Sunday night, leaving one civilian dead and a child injured
The convener of Citizens Awake Forum, (a non-political group) Mr. Kojo Smith has chided the Electoral Commission for their bias position on the call for a new voters’ register.
Speaking an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem in an interview, the leader of the group said the failure of EC to compile a new register affirms the assertion that the Electoral Commissioner and her office is in bed with a political party which he [Kojo Smith] failed to name.
According to him the evidence presented to the EC over the credibility of the register was overwhelming to warrant a new one hence the EC saying the call is ‘’unconvincing’’ is dangerous and a threat to our stability and democracy.
Mr. Kojo Smith posited that the auditing proposed by the EC is scandalous and an attempt to slap Ghanaians in the face on their demand for a credible, transparent and accountable election.
He accused the Electoral Commissioner of taking sides with a political party whose interest is to rig the elections with the current bloated register.
In his view, the issue of cost or time should not be substituted for a credible processes come November, 7th.
‘’The decision by the EC is neither here or there. It makes no sense to me. It is serious and I call all stakeholders to dialogue on the issue to prevent any unforeseen events ahead of the elections,’’ he warned.
Mr. Kojo Smith added many violence and instability across the sub-region was due to electoral fraud and failure on institutions to do the right thing hence the need for Ghana to take a cue from it.
The Electoral after the work of the five member committee empanelled to hear stakeholders on the issues surrounding the register concluded that the call for a new register was not ‘’convincing’’ but the commission will take steps to audit the existing register.
The recommendations reached on the work of the committee were as follows as contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director, Public Relations at the EC Christian Owusu-Parry
1. The Panel finds the arguments for a new register unconvincing and therefore does not recommend the replacement of the current voters’ register;
2. The Panel is of the view that the responsibility for having a clean and credible register is the shared responsibility of all citizens of Ghana; 3. The Electoral Commission accepts the recommendations of the Panel and will progressively implement the recommendations made therein;
4. The Electoral Commission will continue to engage stakeholders to ensure that a clean and credible voters’ register is in place for the 2016 general elections through an inclusive and collaborative audit process;
5. The Commission will publish the full report of the Panel on its website- www.ec.gov.gh by 7th January 2016 for the benefit of the public.
6. The Commission further wishes to inform the public that it has examined all the allegations and complaints made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the voters’ register and has responded appropriately to the party. A copy of the findings of the Commission into the claims made by the NPP will also be made available to the Public on the Commission’s website.
7. The Commission takes the opportunity to thank the members of the Panel led by His Lordship VCRAC Crabbe, the Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organizations and all stakeholders for the support and cooperation shown to the Commission during the engagements on the Voters’ Register.
8. The Commission reiterates its commitment to ensuring transparent, inclusive and credible general elections in 2016 and to ensuring democratic growth and stability in Ghana and takes the opportunity to wish all citizens of Ghana a blessed, peaceful and prosperous 2016.
President John Dramani Mahama has said that he will be the cause of violence especially during the elections in November 7th, 2016.
Speaking at the celebration of ‘Mawulid’ to commemorate the birthday of the Holy Prophet Mohammed on the theme ‘’Democracy in a Peaceful Atmosphere’’ said:
‘’I want to pledge to the Ghanaian people that I will not be the cause of any violence in this country...It is not my nature, it is not my belief and there will not be any violence in this country because of me.
‘’…And I hope that it is a pledge all the political parties will adopt so that we [Ghanaians] can vote in peace and see our country develop,’’ he posited.
President Mahama added politicians cannot hold this nation to ransom or destabilize the peace and security of this country because they will forever remain in power.
He also called on political leaders and parties to accept the decision and outcome of the election.
‘’Nobody, non-of us politicians is greater than Ghana…We will come and go but Ghana will survive… And so non-of us has the right to weed violence on this country…We must let the people make their choice and whatever their choice is, we must all respect that choice,’’ he admonished.
President Mahama explained Ghana will come out victorious after the elections are over because we have on six occasions gone to the polls to elect our national leaders.
‘’It is an election year and I have every faith that it would be a peaceful election. We’ve done it six times’’ and because of how peaceful our elections have been organized, ‘’we are called the model of democracy in Africa,’’ President Mahama noted.
He stressed the need for politicians and leaders to pledge their support towards a peaceful election because without peace, Ghana cannot develop.
‘’Without peace there can be no progress and development. With all the development we are doing, providing clean drinking water to people, building hospitals and constructing roads, we cannot do them without peace,’’ he concluded.