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Feb 22, 2018
The teenager accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school on Wednesday has confessed to the shooting, police say. Nikolas Cruz, 19, said he arrived on campus and began shooting students before abandoning his weapon and escaping, according to a court document. He has appeared in court charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. The FBI has admitted it received a tip-off about him last year. The attack, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is the deadliest US school shooting since 2012. “Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds,” according to the court document. He said he was carrying extra ammunition in a black duffel bag and backpack, it said. Mr Cruz then discarded his weapon in an attempt to blend in and escape, the documents showed. He was reportedly able to flee the scene undetected before entering a Walmart and then a McDonalds, and was eventually spotted by police and arrested one hour after the attack. What do we know about the suspect? Mr Cruz had been expelled from the school he has confessed to attacking and some students said they had joked “he’s the one to shoot up the school”. One former schoolmate, Chad Reuters, told Reuters Mr Cruz was an “outcast” who was “crazy about guns”. His interest in weapons was apparent on his social media profiles, which Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said were “very, very disturbing”. Two separate Instagram accounts, now deleted, purport to show Mr Cruz posing with guns and knives. What were the warnings? After seeing a comment on a YouTube post last year by Mr Cruz, user Ben Bennight contacted the FBI and spoke to representatives for about 20 minutes. Mr Bennight said the FBI contacted him again following the school shooting in Parkland. The FBI confirmed on Thursday that they were made aware of the comment, adding that they had conducted “checks” but were unable to identify the person behind it. Meanwhile, maths teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald that school authorities had emailed teachers about Mr Cruz’s behavioural problems. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” he said. Source: BBC
Feb 22, 2018
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has sent a congratulatory message to the newly elected President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa. According to President Akufo-Addo, “It is well-deserved, and a vindication of the trust and confidence reposed in you by the Members of the Parliament of South Africa, and by your great party, the African National Congress (ANC).” President Akufo-Addo added that “I look forward to working closely with you to improve the living conditions of our two peoples, and advance their mutual interests, and the wider interests of the African peoples.” Below is the message sent by President Akufo-Addo. CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA The Ghanaian people and I congratulate you warmly on your election, by the South African Parliament, on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, and your subsequent swearing-in as the new President of the Republic of South Africa. It is well-deserved, and a vindication of the trust and confidence reposed in you by the Members of the Parliament of South Africa, and by your great party, the African National Congress (ANC). Your predecessor, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, is also to be commended for his patriotism and statesmanship in resigning his high office, to satisfy the demands of the South African people. I wish him the very best in his future endeavours. Hopefully, South Africa, under your leadership, will succeed in overcoming her recent challenges, and reinforce her position as a champion of progress and prosperity on the African continent. A strong, united, prospering South Africa is a great force for progress in Africa. The relations between Ghana and South Africa are firmly rooted in the common struggle of our two peoples for the liberation of our continent from foreign control, and also in our shared commitment to the building of the new Africa on principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. I look forward to working closely with you to improve the living conditions of our two peoples, and advance their mutual interests, and the wider interests of the African peoples. Warm congratulations, once again, to you Mr. President, and to the good people of South Africa. Best wishes to you, and to the continued success of South Africa. ……signed…… Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President of the Republic of Ghana
Feb 22, 2018
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has given a strong assurance to the Traditional Council in Kumasi that, the incident which claimed the lives of some two residents at Foase over where the capital district should be located, would not repeat itself. It would be recalled that, some two people died and several others sustaining injuries on Wednesday February 7, 2018 following an attempt by some youth to prevent the DCE from enforcing a Supreme Court order which ordered that, the district capital is moved from Foase to Twedie. The police arrived at the scene to maintain law and order and allegedly shot and killed the two including a 20-year-old man. The Minister who was summoned before the Council, described the incident as unfortunate. According to him, investigation has been initiated to establish the truth surrounding the incident. Foase has, since 2008, remained the capital of the new district carved out of the then Bosomtwe Atwima Kwanwoma District in 2007 by the Kufuor government. Authorities settled on it as compromise location following a fierce controversy between Twedie and Trede over which should become the district capital. A Supreme Court ruling on May 22, 2012, however annulled the siting of the capital at Foase. It followed a petition by Twediehene, Nana Kwarteng Panin Akosa the second, and others in 2009.
Feb 22, 2018
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Bongo constituency, Edward Bawa has described as threat to national security the decision by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to reduce the Special Petroleum Tax by 2 percent. Parliament on Thursday passed the Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill to reduce the tax from 15 percent to 13 percent. The amendment comes after recent protests against the rising cost of fuel, as well as calls from the minority for the Special Petroleum Tax to be scrapped. Reacting to the reduction on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Mr. Bawa said the reduction was immoral, deceptive and undemocratic. He slammed the NPP for ‘’’deceiving’’ Ghanaians in voting for them. Ghanaians he noted are seeing the ‘’true character’’ of the NPP. ‘’It is not about squaring, it is not about equalizing. It’s just about getting the facts as they are,’’ he added. In his honest view, the legislator said, ‘’based on the total percentage on our ex-pump prices, a total scrap of the tax would have been the best option especially when it is not justifiable today. They should have scrapped the 15 percent.’’ He went on to describe it as disgraceful, a scam and ‘419’’. '' ''We called for a scrap based on the promise by the NPP. Our hope was for the NPP to scrap the tax entirely.'' The NPP he lamented went into a social contract in 2016 and that contract was to scrap entirely the 15%. And so it would have been fair if the ruling party, scrapped the tax. The Special Petroleum Tax Law was passed in 2014 as part of tax measures adopted by the government at the time to increase revenue generation and improve efficiency on revenue collection from petroleum products. The Tax was initially set at 17.5%, but was reviewed downwards by 2.5 percent in the 2017 budget. The law authorises the Ghana Revenue Authority to collect the tax, which would be paid into the Consolidated Fund. The petroleum products to be affected, according to the Finance Ministry include petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas and kerosene.
Feb 22, 2018
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the news of the continuing and deepening crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is leading to the massive displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, is very depressing. According to President Akufo-Addo, it brings into sharp relief the urgent necessity for the continental body, the African Union, to rise to the occasion, and find immediately a lasting solution to the perennial problems of that tragic country. “That solution has to address the twin issues of the unity and stability of the Congolese state, and the establishment of democracy, that will allow the Congolese people the opportunity, in free and fair elections, to choose their leaders,” President Akufo-Addo said. He stressed that “it is a test of the effectiveness of the AU, which it cannot and must not fail.” President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at an event on transformative governance in Africa, organised by the Kukah Centre, in Abuja, Nigeria. The President added also that the Member States of the AU must demonstrate a commitment to strengthening and protecting the institutions and culture of democratic governance; respecting human rights, religious freedom, the empowerment of women, and the rights of the individual and minorities; building strong market economies and facilitating the free movements of people, knowledge, goods and services across member states. “The time has now come for us in Africa to move on even further to deepen our democracy. It is time to make sure that we have genuine separation of powers between the various arms of government,” he said. The President continued, “Our Parliaments, the legislative arms of government, must grow into their proper roles as effective machineries for accountability and oversight of their Executives. Our Judiciaries must also inspire confidence in the citizens, so we can all see the courts as ultimate, impartial arbiters when disputes arise, as they would.” President Akufo-Addo noted that it is only when Africa’s public institutions are working as they should, that “we would be able to confront and deal effectively with the canker of corruption, which has been the bane of our development.” He applauded the systematic targeting of corruption by the administration of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that it deserves the support of all well-meaning Nigerians and Africans. “It is early days yet, but our institutions are growing, and the self-confidence of our people is become manifest. I dare say that we are even beginning to accept that a political party can lose an election with grace, and serve with honour in opposition,” he said. President Akufo-Addo was confident that “if we stop being beggars, govern ourselves intelligently and honestly in freedom, and spend Africa’s monies inside the continent, Africa would not need to ask for respect from anyone. We would get the respect we deserve.” He was confident that “stable democracies in Africa can help unleash energies to drive the transformation of the continent. There is a lot of talk that this will be the Asian century, the Chinese century – but take it from me: the 21st century holds excellent prospects for Africa. This can be Africa’s century. We can claim it, if we believe in ourselves.”
Feb 22, 2018
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the urgent responsibility facing leaders on the continent is to make Africa attractive so African youths see the continent as a place of opportunities. With the continent having the youngest population, President Akufo-Addo noted that “our youth who bear the brunt of the suffering now resort to desperate measures to get out.” He bemoaned the fact that African youths “brave the Sahara desert on foot, and, those who survive the ravages of the desert, risk being sold in slave markets in Libya, or risk journeys across the Mediterranean sea on rickety boats, all in the forlorn hope of a better life in Europe, in countries and amongst people where they are obviously not welcome.” To this end, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we must provide education, education and education. It means our young people must acquire the skills that run modern economies… When they are skilled, they would not have to risk drowning in the Mediterranean sea, they would be head hunted and treated with dignity.” President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at an event on transformative governance in Africa, organised by the Kukah Centre, in Abuja, Nigeria. Reiterating the point he made in Dakar, Senegal, some two weeks ago, at a special conference called to raise monies to fund education in Africa, he stated that there is enough money in Africa to pay for educating and training young people on the continent, and make them ready to face the world of the 21st century. Referring to the report of the panel chaired by the highly respected former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the illicit flow of funds (IFFs) from Africa, it was revealed that Africa is losing, annually, more than $50 billion through illicit financial outflows. The report added further that, between 2000 and 2008, $252 billion, representing 56.2%, of the illicit flow of funds from the continent was from the extractive industries, including mining. President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the purpose for the launch of the Free SHS policy in Ghana, in September 2017, was to ensure that all Ghanaian children attain a minimum of senior high school education, adding that it is the only way we can create an educated workforce to accelerate the process of development. “I hesitate to prescribe policy initiatives for other countries, but, on the matter of education, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending that all African countries adopt the policy of free compulsory education from kindergarten to senior high school. This is one of the most important things we have to do, if we are to make the transformation from our current state of poverty to prosperity,” President Akufo-Addo noted. He emphasised that no one is going to sort out matters for Africa, except Africans themselves. “We must match those who come to do business with us, in all the skills they possess. We must have our own set of bright and sharp lawyers, our own set of bright and sharp accountants, to keep us abreast with the sharp and bright lawyers and accountants that our trade partners have,” he said. The President continued, “In much the same way, we need to have our own bright and sharp technologists to keep us abreast with our competitors.” Industrialisation, increase in trade In addition to the provision of education, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the time is long overdue for Africa to take a deep look at the structures of her economies, which have, over the years, been dependent on the production and export of raw materials. “The era of Africa’s industrialisation has dawned, so that we can also trade in the world economy, not on the basis of exports of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make,” he said. Additionally, President Akufo-Addo indicated that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest share of intra-regional trade. With trade between African regions remaining low compared to other parts of the world, the President noted that the time for African integration should be now. “Hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area. A working, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent. The decision the AU is about to take in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on 21st March, at its Extraordinary Summit, for Member States to sign and launch the treaty for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions the AU will ever take. It is vital that the treaty works, and that the Continental Free Trade Area becomes an immediate reality,” he said.
Feb 22, 2018
The Vice President of the Republic, H.E. Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has reiterated government’s resolve to deal forcefully and decisively with the issue of illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum products by sea into Ghana. Government, he said, is in the process of formulating policies aimed at nipping the situation in the bud once and for all. H.E. Dr Bawumia gave the assurance when he paid a working visit to the Western Naval Command at Sekondi on Thursday February 15, 2018. According to the Vice President, the visit was to enable him understand at first hand the issues surrounding illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum, as well as discuss the challenges of the Ghana Navy in the fight against illegality. He also took the opportunity to inspect a number of canoes specially modified by the illegal bunkerers to store petroleum products off-loaded at sea. According to the Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, some of the modified canoes can hold as much as 120,000 litres of fuel, enough to fill two and a half Bulk Haulage Vehicles popularly known as tankers. Mr Tampuli disclosed that nine persons had been arrested and handed over to the police while four tankers been seized in recent months. Speaking to the media after the visit, Vice President Bawumia said government was disturbed by the increasing reports of smuggling, and Cabinet was considering various models to fight the canker, which has a direct effect on efforts to move Ghana beyond aid. He stated government’s determination to deal with the matter in a decisive manner, and warned those engaged in it to desist for their own good. “We’ve had closed door discussions, and we’ve got some decisions that we’re going to take, and I believe that the task that President Nana Akufo-Addo has set for us, to try to understand this phenomenon and implement the policies that will stop it, I think it is a task that we are going to be very forcefully dealing with. “I am leaving here quite well informed about the challenges, and have some good ideas about what we’re going to do. We will see the implementation soon.” Vice President Bawumia also underscored government’s ongoing efforts to adequately equip the Navy, especially with patrol boats, to address the challenges outlined by the Commander of the Western Naval Command, Commodore Isaac Osei-Kuffuor. The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Hon Dominic Nitiwul; Minister for Fisheries Hon Elizabeth Afoley Quaye; Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo; Western Regional Minister Dr Kwaku Afriyie; Deputy Energy Minister and MP for Effia Hon Joseph Cudjoe; Deputy Minister for Aviation and MP for Takoradi Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah; MP for Sekondi Hon Andrew Mercer; Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority Hassan Tampuli, and other government officials. The Vice President later paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V.
Feb 22, 2018
Government of Ghana is to lose tax revenue of 47.90 million cedis on petroleum by the passage of the Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill 2018. The Finance Committee in Parliament believes the bill is in tandem with government's aim of shifting the focus of tax policy from the introduction of new taxes to improving tax compliance as a basis for revenue generation. They said it was also part of moves to shift focus from taxation to production in order to stimulate economic growth and development. Furthermore, the committee also stated that officials from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) informed the committee that, effective 16th February 2018, the prices of petrol and diesel are anticipated to go down by 1.39% and 2.6% respectively under the pricing mechanism. They also stressed that with the passage of the Bill, ex-pump price of petrol will go down by 3.39% whilst that of diesel would also go down by 4.14%. The Chairman of the committee, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, noted that, the NPA has estimated that upon the passage of the Bill into Law, petrol price would reduce from the present GHc 4.67% per litre to GHc 4.51 per litre whilst diesel would sell at GHc 4.48 per litre instead of the current price of GHc 4.48 per litre. However, the Minority in Parliament has accused government and the Majority in Parliament for failing to completely scrap the entire tax on petroleum as promised to Ghanaians. John Jinakpor the former Deputy Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor former Minister of Power and Emmanuel Armah-Buah who was the former Energy Minister, were of the view that, per the calculations, the reduction would be insignificant and does not represent a relief to the ordinary Ghanaian and the commercial driver. But the Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwateng, disagree with their position saying, this reduction would rather put smiles on the faces of commercial drivers. He said the taxi driver who purchases 300 gallons of petrol in a month could save over 200 cedis per month. This he said would be significant. The Special Petroleum tax ( Amendment ) Bill 2018 has been taking through all stages and passed by Parliament into law. The committee of Finance told Parliament that the object of the bill is to amend the Special Petroleum Tax Act, 2014 (Act 879) and Armah-Buah to provide for a change from an ad valorem rate to a specific tax rate on selected petroleum product
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