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Aug 21, 2018
Iran has released Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American prisoners as it anticipates the lifting of international sanctions. Rezaian was convicted of espionage in Iran last year. Iranian state TV named the other three as Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and and Nosratollah Khosravi. Iran said they were being swapped for seven Iranians held in US prisons but there was no immediate US confirmation. The Iranian state news agency listed the seven as Nader Modanlo, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghani, Arash Ghahreman, Tooraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Saboun. In addition, Iranian state TV said 14 Iranians sought by the US would be removed from an Interpol wanted list. News of the releases came after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif predicted that international sanctions against his country would be lifted on Saturday. He is in Vienna for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran's nuclear deal. The international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected to confirm that Iran has scaled back its atomic activities in line with the agreement. Billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets are expected to be released and the sale of Iranian oil on the world market will again be permitted. Iran nuclear deal: Key details Lifting sanctions would unfreeze billions of dollars of assets and allow Iranian oil to be sold internationally. The Associated Press news agency said four US prisoners were being held in Iran, including Rezaian, Hekmati and Abedini. However, it named the fourth prisoner as Siamak Namazi, a businessman and the son of a politician from the shah's era. What is the nuclear deal? In July 2015, Iran agreed a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers to limit its sensitive nuclear activities for more than a decade in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions. The US is confident the agreement will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran says it has the right to nuclear energy - and stresses that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only. When is 'implementation day'? Iran will not see the UN, US and EU sanctions lifted until the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), certifies that it has fulfilled its commitments under the deal. The precise date of the so-called "implementation day" has not been determined. But Iran says it has met those commitments earlier than expected. What does Iran stand to gain?   The sanctions have cost Iran more than more than $160bn (£102bn) in oil revenue since 2012 alone. Once they are lifted, the country will be able to resume selling oil on international markets and using the global financial system for trade. Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world and the energy industry is braced for lower prices. Iran will also be able to access more than $100bn in assets frozen overseas. Source: BBC
Aug 21, 2018
At least 23 people of 18 different nationalities are now known to have died after Islamist militants attacked a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso. Al-Qaeda militants attacked the Splendid Hotel in the West African state's capital, Ouagadougou, as well as a cafe and another hotel nearby. Four of the attackers were killed, two of them reportedly women. The siege at the Splendid was declared over after a joint operation by local and French security forces. The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militant group has said it carried out the attack. Bukinabe President Roch Kabore, who arrived at the scene on Saturday morning amid tight security, announced the death toll and the liberation of at least 150 hostages. The French Ambassador, Gilles Thibault, gave a higher death toll of 27 and denied any women were among the militants killed at the hotel. In November, an AQIM attack on a hotel in the Malian capital Bamako left 19 people dead. In another development, two foreign citizens, a doctor and his wife, were kidnapped overnight in northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali, Burkinabe officials said. At the scene: Thomas Fessy, BBC Dakar correspondent The area surrounding the Splendid Hotel has been cordoned off. Soldiers can still be seen walking in and out of the building but the siege is now over. At least three cars parked right outside the front door are completely charred, the remains of another two sit just across the street. Two burnt motorbikes lie in the middle. The light purple colour of the Splendid Hotel's front side now looks black, probably caused by the smoke generated by explosions. The Yibi hotel, opposite the Splendid, also shows signs of the attack, and the authorities say at least one attacker was killed inside the building. Militants attacked the Splendid and the nearby Cappuccino cafe on Friday evening, setting off several explosions. Both places are popular with UN staff and foreigners. Survivors described how the militants went from person to person, touching their bodies to see if they moved. "They started shooting, shooting, and everybody lay down on the ground," said Mariette, who escaped from the hotel with her younger sister. "As soon as you lifted your head they would shoot straightaway, so you had to pretend to be dead. And they even came to touch our feet to check if we were alive. As soon as you were alive, they would shoot at you." Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the cafe terrace alone. He added that at least 33 hostages had been injured. As the end of the siege at the Splendid was being announced, reports came in that militants had taken up position at the Yibi hotel, a short distance away. One attacker was killed at the Yibi, officials said later. Remi Dandjinou, the Burkinabe communications minister, told the BBC earlier that between six and seven militants had attacked the Splendid, adding that they had been staying at the hotel as guests. Interior Minister Compaore said two black Africans and an Arab were among the militants killed. Burkina Faso recently held its first presidential election since a coup earlier last year.   That coup toppled long-time leader Blaise Compaore, who had governed for 27 years.
Aug 21, 2018
Jurgen Klopp has revealed he was approached by Sir Alex Ferguson over succeeding him as Manchester United manager, but turned down the role as the timing was wrong.   The German, who replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager in October, was approached by Ferguson in April 2013 as the Scot moved towards the end of his 27-year reign at Old Trafford.   However, Klopp was unwilling to consider a move to England as he was already planning for the 2013-14 campaign with Borussia Dortmund and United subsequently appointed David Moyes as Ferguson's successor. "We spoke," Klopp said. "We spoke not a lot but, for me, it was a lot.   "It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest. But I could not leave Dortmund.   "You are in April and you are in the middle of the planning for next season. You have this player and this player who are coming but then you are not there anymore? That doesn't work. Not in my life. "I didn't hear about a real offer [from United] but, if there was, I could not have done it. I first had to finish the job with Dortmund and then think about other things.   "Maybe that is not smart but that is my way. It was the same at Mainz." Klopp is a big fan of Ferguson and even compared him to one of Liverpool's favourite sons, John Lennon, at his media conference ahead of facing United at Anfield on Super Sunday - live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 1pm.   "It's a big honour to talk to Sir Alex,' he said.  "For a manager it's nearly the best thing you can do, to sit there and listen.   "Maybe he is the greatest ever - the John Lennon of football. From my side there is a big amount of respect. What he did is not easy for another manager to do."    Source:Skysports
Aug 21, 2018
Ms Tsai, 59, leads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that wants independence from China. In her victory speech, she vowed to preserve the status quo in relations with China, adding Beijing must respect Taiwan's democracy and both sides must ensure there are no provocations. China sees the island as a breakaway province - which it has threatened to take back by force if necessary. In her speech, Ms Tsai hailed a "new era" in Taiwan and pledged to co-operate with other political parties on major issues. The will of the Taiwanese people would be the basis for relations with China, Ms Tsai said. "I also want to emphasise that both sides of the Taiwanese Strait have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity. "We must ensure that no provocations or accidents take place," Ms Tsai said, warning that "any forms of suppression will harm the stability of cross-strait relations". She thanked the US and Japan for their support and vowed Taiwan would contribute to peace and stability in the region. Ms Tsai had a commanding lead in the vote count when Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) admitted defeat. Mr Chu congratulated Tsai Ing-wen and announced he was quitting as KMT head. Taiwan's Premier Mao Chi-kuo also resigned. The election came just months after a historic meeting between the leaders of Taiwan and China. However, the flagging economy as well as Taiwan's relationship with China both played a role in the voters' choice, correspondents say. The KMT has been in power for most of the past 70 years and has overseen improved relations with Beijing - Ms Tsai's is only the second-ever victory for the DPP. The first was by pro-independence advocate Chen Shui-bian; during his time as president between 2000 and 2008 tensions with China escalated. Analysis: Cindy Sui, BBC News, Taipei The election result marks a turning point in Taiwan's democracy and relationship with China. The DPP win means the island is moving towards a political system in which voters prefer to transfer power from one party to another, ending decades of mostly KMT rule. That could make relations with China uncertain, because unlike the KMT, the DPP favours Taiwan's independence and does not recognise the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name) and the People's Republic of China as part of "one China". The KMT was the Communists' bitter enemy during the civil war. It fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war and its charter and leaders still favour eventual unification. It remains China's best hope - and perhaps only hope - of peacefully reunifying with Taiwan Beijing has been closely watching the elections to gauge Taiwanese people's sentiments and what those sentiments will mean for its goal of reunifying with the last inhabited territory - following Hong Kong and Macau - that it feels was unfairly snatched from it by Japan as a colony in 1895, and then ruled separately by the KMT after the civil war. Ms Tsai, a former scholar, has said she wants to "maintain [the] status quo" with China. She became chairwoman of the DPP in 2008, after it saw a string of corruption scandals. She lost a presidential bid in 2012 but has subsequently led the party to regional election victories. She has won increased support from the public partly because of widespread dissatisfaction over the KMT and President Ma Ying-jeou's handling of the economy and widening wealth gap. Saturday's polls come after a historic meeting between President Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore in November for talks that were seen as largely symbolic - the first in more than 60 years. Eric Chu, 54, is the mayor of New Taipei City and stepped up to become chairman of the party in October. The KMT is at risk of losing its majority in the legislature for the first time in history. The former accounting professor was seen as popular with young people in the party, but had been unable to change public opinion that is increasingly unhappy with the party's friendly stance towards China and the island's economic travails. In 2014, hundreds of students occupied the parliament in the largest show of anti-Chinese sentiment on the island for years. Labelled the Sunflower Movement, protesters demanded more transparency in trade pacts negotiated with China.   Taiwan for all practical purposes been independent since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalist government fled to the island as the Communists, under Mao Zedong, swept to power. Source: BBC
Aug 21, 2018
 The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured the membership of the National Association of Beauticians and Hairdressers that his government, God-willing, from 2017, will put in place the requisite conditions for their businesses to flourish.   He made this known on Thursday, January 14, 2015, at a dinner organised to climax a 5-day seminar of the Association, held at Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon. The Association has a membership of 20,000 hairdressers and beauticians from all 10 regions of the country. The purpose of the seminar, which is held annually, is to enhance and improve the skills of beauticians and hairdressers. The Association also invited their Togolese and Beninoises counterparts.   He was warmly welcomed by the gathering, dominated by women, and after which the President of the Association, Mrs. Joyce Lamptey, expressed the collective joy of the Association at his presence at the dinner. She outlined the aims of the Association, which were to defend the interests of beauticians and hairdressers, and enhance their productivity. She added that the Association also undertakes outreach programmes, and that, this year, 50 women with hearing disability will be trained to enable them be effective beauticians and hairdressers. The Association was also now to build its own headquarters.     In response, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was accompanied by the National Women’s Organiser of the NPP, Otiko Afisa Djaba, and was clearly elated at the warmth of his welcome, indicated that the NPP was borne out of a political tradition which strongly believes that private sector development is key to any nation’s quest for sustained development and improvement in the livelihood of its citizens. The party’s 8-year record in office, he said, is a testament to this fact.   “You, gathered here this evening, full of individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people, represent the private sector. I am of the strong belief that Ghana’s economic development should be led by the private sector. We have an abundance of entrepreneurial talents in Ghana which should be given the free rein to develop, and I can assure you that my government will provide a conducive and enabling environment for that to happen,” he said.   Nana Akufo-Addo further assured the hundreds gathered that the crippling tax regime, which has been imposed on Ghanaians under the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government, will be scrapped under his administration.   “Because of the high taxes imposed on every business activity in this country, including yours, businesses are being throttled. It is, therefore, no surprise that things are difficult in Ghana at the moment. Under my government, these taxes, imposed on you as a result of the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy will be no more,” he said, to a rapturous applause from the gathering.   He continued, “Apart from the issue of taxes, our government will also work to bring down the cost of doing business, especially the high interest rates charged by banks to local businesses. The path to prosperity lies in strengthening local production and local businesses. An Akufo-Addo government is going to devote all its energies, wholeheartedly, to ensuring that this takes place.” This was met with a rousing ovation from the packed hall.   Victory for the NPP in this year’s poll, he said, will serve as the catalyst which will restore Ghana back onto the path of progress and prosperity. He pleaded for their active support to help achieve victory in November.   Nana Akufo-Addo also expressed in French his joy at the presence at the seminar of beauticians and hairdressers from Togo and Benin. He applauded the initiative, for it is such initiatives which will help foster solidarity amongst the peoples of West Africa. He hoped that they were enjoying their stay in Ghana.      He saluted their outreach programme, and made a donation of GH¢5,000 towards the construction of their headquarters.
Aug 21, 2018
 The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured the membership of the National Association of Beauticians and Hairdressers that his government, God-willing, from 2017, will put in place the requisite conditions for their businesses to flourish.   He made this known on Thursday, January 14, 2015, at a dinner organised to climax a 5-day seminar of the Association, held at Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon. The Association has a membership of 20,000 hairdressers and beauticians from all 10 regions of the country. The purpose of the seminar, which is held annually, is to enhance and improve the skills of beauticians and hairdressers. The Association also invited their Togolese and Beninoises counterparts.   He was warmly welcomed by the gathering, dominated by women, and after which the President of the Association, Mrs. Joyce Lamptey, expressed the collective joy of the Association at his presence at the dinner. She outlined the aims of the Association, which were to defend the interests of beauticians and hairdressers, and enhance their productivity. She added that the Association also undertakes outreach programmes, and that, this year, 50 women with hearing disability will be trained to enable them be effective beauticians and hairdressers. The Association was also now to build its own headquarters.     In response, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was accompanied by the National Women’s Organiser of the NPP, Otiko Afisa Djaba, and was clearly elated at the warmth of his welcome, indicated that the NPP was borne out of a political tradition which strongly believes that private sector development is key to any nation’s quest for sustained development and improvement in the livelihood of its citizens. The party’s 8-year record in office, he said, is a testament to this fact.   “You, gathered here this evening, full of individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people, represent the private sector. I am of the strong belief that Ghana’s economic development should be led by the private sector. We have an abundance of entrepreneurial talents in Ghana which should be given the free rein to develop, and I can assure you that my government will provide a conducive and enabling environment for that to happen,” he said.   Nana Akufo-Addo further assured the hundreds gathered that the crippling tax regime, which has been imposed on Ghanaians under the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government, will be scrapped under his administration.   “Because of the high taxes imposed on every business activity in this country, including yours, businesses are being throttled. It is, therefore, no surprise that things are difficult in Ghana at the moment. Under my government, these taxes, imposed on you as a result of the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy will be no more,” he said, to a rapturous applause from the gathering.   He continued, “Apart from the issue of taxes, our government will also work to bring down the cost of doing business, especially the high interest rates charged by banks to local businesses. The path to prosperity lies in strengthening local production and local businesses. An Akufo-Addo government is going to devote all its energies, wholeheartedly, to ensuring that this takes place.” This was met with a rousing ovation from the packed hall.   Victory for the NPP in this year’s poll, he said, will serve as the catalyst which will restore Ghana back onto the path of progress and prosperity. He pleaded for their active support to help achieve victory in November.   Nana Akufo-Addo also expressed in French his joy at the presence at the seminar of beauticians and hairdressers from Togo and Benin. He applauded the initiative, for it is such initiatives which will help foster solidarity amongst the peoples of West Africa. He hoped that they were enjoying their stay in Ghana.      He saluted their outreach programme, and made a donation of GH¢5,000 towards the construction of their headquarters.
Aug 21, 2018
The Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) have declared a nationwide strike aqction over the failure of the Fair Wages and Salaries commission to address their concerns relating to the single spine pay structure since it was introduced in 2010.TEWU in September last year embarked on a similar strike action on the same reason but they had to call off the strike based on the appeal and assurance made by Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Vice Chancellors’ Ghana to resolve the concerns raised by the Union, the strike action was suspended.But TEWU is currently embarking on the strike following these reasons1. Since Fair Wages and Salaries Commission have not been fair with us and have failed to carry out its part of the agreement after the submission of the committee’s report since June 2015. 2. The Union held a press conference on the 10th of December 2015 giving Fair Wages and Salaries Commission up to December 2015 ending to implement the said decision. 3. As we speak today,15th January, 2016 these decisions have not been implemented by both Fair Wages and Salaries Commission leaving us with no option than to advise ourselves. 4. On the basis of the above, the National Union (TEWU) calls on its rank and file in the Public Universities to lay down their tools with effect from Monday 18th January 2016 until further notice. Below are details of the statement PRESS RELEASE BY TEACHERS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKERS UNION (TEWU) IN RELATION TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SINGLE SPINE SALARY STRUCTURE CONCERNS The Union has come thus far with concerns on members of the Public Universities in relation to the distortions, disparities and widening salary gap between Junior and Senior staff of the Public Universities as a result of the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure. This press release is an indication of the worries and frustrations the Union has gone through with Fair Wages and Salaries Commission since the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure in 2010. 1. REASONS FOR THE STRIKE ACTION IN 6TH SEPTEMBER, 2013 There has been a general dissatisfaction by members of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) in connection with the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure in the Public Universities. This general dissatisfaction resulted in the formation of a committee to review and make recommendations on the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure. The fallout from the committee’s report revealed that there was a real gap between the Junior and Senior staff that needed to be bridged among other things. Unfortunately Fair Wages and Salaries Commission failed to act upon the committee’s recommendations, after accepting that the Union’s concerns were genuine, hence the strike action in September 2013. 2. REASONS FOR CALLING OFF THE STRIKE ACTION Based on the appeal and assurance made by Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Vice Chancellors’ Ghana to resolve the concerns raised by the Union, the strike action was suspended. Further to the suspension of the strike, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Vice Chancellors’ Ghana on one hand and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) on the other hand agreed to bridge the gap between Junior and Senior staff of the Public Universities.On the May 2013, the committee was formed comprising Human Resource Directors of the Public Universities and Representatives of Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) to submit a final report on the June 2015 to Fair Wages and Salaries Commission for consideration and implementation 3. REASONS FOR THE CURRENT ACTION Since Fair Wages and Salaries Commission have not been fair with us and have failed to carry out its part of the agreement after the submission of the committee’s report since June 2015. The Union held a press conference on the 10th of December 2015 giving Fair Wages and Salaries Commission up to December 2015 ending to implement the said decision. As we speak today,15th January, 2016 these decisions have not been implemented by both Fair Wages and Salaries Commission leaving us with no option than to advise ourselves. On the basis of the above, the National Union (TEWU) calls on its rank and file in the Public Universities to lay down their tools with effect from Monday 18th January 2016 until further notice. CHOOOBOOI!!!    
Aug 21, 2018
The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Kofi Asamoah says government is dragging its feet over their request for the immediate withdrawal of the recent increase in petroleum prices and cuts on utility prices announced last year. Both parties have held series of meetings with government justifying reasons over the hikes. According to Mr. Asamoah, government after their first meeting promised to do some calculation to inform the cut on utility, but that was the same thing they were  told at their second meeting. The Public Regulatory Commission announced a 59.2% and 67.2% in electricity and water but labour described the increment as a ‘’killer’’ tariff considering challenges Ghanaians were going through. They pressed on government to reduce the increment but as if that was not, an 18%-27% in petroleum prices was announced by government following the Energy Sector Levy (ESL) by Parliament in December 2015. But labour maintains it is dangerous and an attempt to burden Ghanaians. Mr. Asamoah said labour will on January 20th hit the streets to demonstrate and petition government over the matter. However, he explained they will continue to negotiate with government as when the opportunity arises. A planned strike action is also pending if their demands are not met. Meanwhile, parliament has hinted of intervening in the ongoing impasse between labour and government. The vice chairman of the labour committee in parliament, Hon. Joseph Bukari said, they will meet the two parties to appeal to them to reach a conclusion.        
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