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The President of the Republic of Ghana. H.E John Dramani marked his third year in office with rice farmers at Asutsuare in the Eastern region. He interacted with the farmers and discussed among other things that confronts the farmers in their work. He also ate and danced with the farmers as part of his three year anniversary. President John Dramani Mahama was sworn into office exactly three years today after he beat the opposition New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to emerge as winner of the keenly contested race in a one touch victory. The president polled 5,574,761 representing 50.7% while his close contender Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo polled a total of 5,248,898 representing 47.74% of the total valid votes cast. President Mahama was given the nod by the ruling NDC to represent the party in the upcoming November, 7 presidential race.   He will be facing off with the three times candidate of the NPP who he defeated in 2012. 
The Ministry of Heath has assured Ghanaians of measures to combat the outbreak of mengitis and yellow fever in some parts of the country. This was contained in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Tony Goodman. According to the statement they [Ministry of Health] have identified the causative agent of the outbreak to be pneumococcus which can be treated with the effective antibiotics they have identified (Ampicillin, Ceftriaxone and Erythromycin).  The Ministry denied claims of 12 deaths recorded as a result of the outbreak rather only “30 suspected cases with 7 deaths had so far been recorded.” the statement added further a “total of twelve (12) cases of yellow fever have been reported and three (3) have died as a result since the end of 2015.”    Below is the full statement from the Health Ministry OUTBREAK OF MENINGITIS AND YELLOW FEVER IN SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY Ministry of Health wishes to bring to the notice of the public that there is an outbreak of meningitis and yellow fever in the Tain District in Brong Ahafo and West Gonja in the Northern Regions respectively. As at January 6th 2016, 30 suspected cases with 7 deaths have been recorded of the meningitis in the district whilst a total of twelve (12) cases of yellow fever have been reported and three (3) have died as a result since the end of 2015. Typically with this kind of meningitis, fatality is high but potential for massive spread is low. This is not Epidemic Meningococcal Disease or CSM, which is caused by Neisseria meningitides, which has potential for massive and widespread outbreaks. It is worthy of note that the responses of the regions and districts so far are appropriate and adequate and we expect these response actions to contain and halt the outbreak. The districts teams have been supported by the Regional and National teams in order to contain the spread. There has not been any case for the past two days. If you see any symptoms, report early to a health facility because this can significantly improve treatment outcome and chances for survival. We wish to indicate that the Ministry of Health is doing everything possible to contain the situation and we count on the support and cooperation of all. What is Yellow Fever Yellow fever is an acute febrile illness that presents with fever, and jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the eyes), muscle pain with prominent backache, and headache. There may be bleeding tendencies. The disease spreads by the bite of infected mosquitoes (Aedes mosquitoes). Symptoms appear after an incubation period of 3 to 6 days following the bite of the mosquitoe. Most patients improve and their symptoms resolve after 3 to 4 days. However about 15% of patients enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of the initial remission. High fever returns and is accompanied by severe multisystem illness. What is Meningitis Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meninges). Causes include bacterial, viral, parasites and even chemical. Bacterial meningitis is caused by various bacterial pathogens. Neisseria meningitides, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemphilus influenza type b represents the triad responsible for over 80% of all cases of bacterial meningitis. Mode of transmission Transmission or spread is by direct contact, including respiratory droplets from nose and throat of infected persons or carriers. Carrier rates may be as high as 25% during endemic periods and as high as 50% during epidemics. Incubation period varies from 2 to 10 days, an average of 3-4 days Signs and symptoms of meningitis include sudden onset of severe headache, fever, vomiting, neck stiffness and photophobia (dislike for light). Other symptoms include lethargy, coma and convulsions. In babies, there may be bulging of the anterior fontanelle (soft part of the bead). Actions taken so far in response to outbreak Conducted investigation into the outbreak and exact causative agent identified to be pneumococcus. This can be treated with antibiotics and effective antibiotics identified. Provided adequate stock of antibiotics (Ampicillin, Ceftriaxone and Erythromycin being organized to beef up what is in the District. Other logistics such as laboratory test kits, gloves etc. have been dispatched to the affected area. Communities have been visited and intensive public health education is ongoing Other outlets such as the radio station, Gong-Gong beating and community mobilization is also being used Surveillance on meningitis has been enhanced and Health workers sensitized on the outbreak. Municipal and Regional Epidemic management committees have been activated and are functional. Teams of health workers conduct contact tracing and primary and secondary contacts are managed as appropriate. OPD records from all health facilities have been reviewed from 20th December 2015 till date from all facilities to help determine missed cases. All districts in the region and neighbouring regions have been alerted to look for cases as well What we require from the general public People with symptoms and signs suggestive of meningitis (fever, headache, neck stiffness) should report immediately go to the nearest health facility. Avoid overcrowding, prevent dryness of the throat by drinking, prevent cough and sneezing etiquettes, Other preventive measures include avoiding mosquito bite, sleeping in insecticide treated bed nets, environmental cleanliness and preventing stagnation of water in tins and tyres. TONY GOODMAN   HEAD, PUBLIC RELATIONS
Organised labour has hinted of a two day nationwide wide strike action over the killer tariff hikes in utility and petroleum prices as well as recently introduced taxes by government. The decision follows a meeting with government today over the issue. Labour has reiterated their position for government to reduce the 59.2% and 67.2% hikes in electricity and water respectively. A meeting between the two on Tuesday did not yield any positive results after both parties took an entrenched position with labour demanding cuts and government justifying reasons for the hikes. However the various labour unions has rainbowradioonline broke the news last Tuesday have finally decided to embark on a two day nationwide strike to press home their demand for government to consider their position. The Public Regulatory Commission (PURC) in December 2015, increased electricity and water tariffs by 59.2% and 67.2% respectively. Then on January 1st, 2016 government announced an 18% to 27% increase in petroleum products which was occasioned by the passage of the Energy Sector Levy (ESL) by Parliament in December 2015. Government has being advised by labour to with immediate effect withdraw the recently announced increment in petroleum prices and “If these demands are not met by the said date, Organized Labour would unleash series of nationwide actions”, the group said in a statement released after their meeting with government on Thursday. “Organized Labour is of the view that the increases in tariffs, taxes and levies are reckless and a display of insensitivity on the part of the managers of the economy to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian and accordingly, condemns it in the strongest terms”, the statement added. The intended strike action is scheduled for 19 and 20 of January, 2016 in all regional capitals. Meanwhile “red bands to be worn and displayed at workplaces from Thursday, 14th January, 2016”, the statement concluded. The meeting was attended by the Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kofi Asamoah, Kotei Solomon from the Industrial & Commercial Workers Union-Ghana, Albert Yamoah from the Ghana Federation of Labour, Vida Sapabi from the Coalition of Concerned Teachers and Kojo W. Krakani from CLOGSAG.   The rest are Derrick Annan from the Judicial Services Association of Ghana (JUSAG), Justice Yankson from the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), M.V.V.K. Demanya from the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Kwaku Asante-Krobea from the Ghana Registered Nurses & Midwives Association (GRNMA) and Christiano O. Odue from the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT
The annual CAF Awards enters its 24th edition this year and the Awards Gala will take place for the first time in many years in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. On Thursday, 7 January 2016; the King of African football will be crowned at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, amongst the trio of Yaya Toure, winner of the last four editions; Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ghana’s Andre Ayew. From 1992 to 2014, from Ghana’s Abedi Pele to Ivorian Toure, 14 players have laid claim to the most prestigious individual honour in African football. Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o was the first to be crowned on four occasions – 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010; a record since equalled by Toure, who made it four on the trot (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Former Senegal forward, El Hadji Diouf won the award twice in a row; 2001 and 2002. However, the first player to have been named CAF African Player of the Year on two occasions was ex-Nigeria captain, Nwankwo Kanu, in 1996 and 1999 before Ivorian Didier Drogba duplicated the feat in 2006 and 2009. Winners of the prestigious honour have come from either the midfield or attack; and that tradition will be respected yet again this time. In addition, the 14 players to have been decorated since 1992, have and continue to remain amongst the foremost African ambassadors of the world’s most popular sport. There are also several others who were so near and yet so far, including Ivorian goalkeeper Alain Gouamene in 1992; Moroccan defender Noureddine Naybet (sixth in 1993); Nigerian Daniel Amokachi, who regularly featured among the top ten (10) whilst Chadian Japhet N’Doram was virtually handicapped by the non-presence of his national team at the final phase of a major continental championship. South African defender, Mark Fish also settled for sixth position in 1996. Ghanaian defender Samuel Kuffour narrowly missed out on two occasions, 1999 and 2001. Others are Michael Essien of Ghana, who made the final three an unprecedented five times in a row – 2005 (third), 2006 (third), 2007 (second), 2008 (third) and 2009 (third); Asamoah Gyan, also from Ghana, 2010 (second); Andre Ayew (Ghana), 2011 (third) and Malian Seydou Keita, 2011 (second). So are Nigerian duo, John Obi Mikel and Vincent Enyeama, who finished second and third in 2013 and 2014 respectively. When the roll call for the laureates is launched, there is one noticeable observation. Cote d’Ivoire is the country which has the biggest number of triumphs, six in total, Toure (four) and Drogba (two); followed by Nigeria on five titles, two for Kanu, one each for Emmanuel Amunike, Rashidi Yekini and Victor Ikpeba. Patrick Mboma won it once coupled with Eto’o’s four-time feat also gives Cameroon five titles. Diouf is responsible for the only two titles in the name of Senegal. One-time winners include Ghana – Abedi Pele, Liberia – George Weah (the only African player to have been crowned FIFA World Footballer of the Year), Morocco – Mustapha Hadji, Mali – Frederic Kanoute and Togo – Emmanuel Adebayor. Another common feature is that all winners plied their trade in Europe at the time of their coronation. For the last nine years, the Awards Gala has been sponsored by Cellular Telecommunications outfit, Globacom, who have raised the bar of excellence with splendid ceremonies in cities such as Abuja, Accra, Lome, Lagos and Cairo. This year, the Gala will take place for the second time in Abuja and the first time since the 2004 edition.   Awards winners 1992 Abedi AYEW PELE (Ghana) 1993 Rashidi YEKINI (Nigeria)  1994 Emmanuel AMUNIKE (Nigeria) 1995 George WEAH (Liberia) 1996 Nwankwo KANU (Nigeria) 1997 Victor IKPEBA (Nigeria) 1998 Mustapha HADJI (Morocco) 1999 Nwankwo KANU (Nigeria) 2000 Patrick MBOMA (Cameroon) 2001 El-Hadji DIOUF (Senegal)  2002 El Hadji DIOUF (Senegal) 2003 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon) 2004 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)  2005 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)  2006 Didier DROGBA (Côte d’Ivoire)  2007 Frederic KANOUTE (Mali) 2008 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR (Togo) 2009 Didier DROGBA (Côte d’Ivoire) 2010 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon) 2011 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire) 2012 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire) 2013 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire) 2014 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire) 2015   ?????       Source: CAF 
Suspended Uefa president Michel Platini says he will not stand in the Fifa presidential election next month. Platini, along with Fifa president Sepp Blatter, has been banned from football-related activities for eight years by world football's governing body. Both men were found guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3m ($2m) "disloyal payment" made to Platini in 2011. They are appealing against their bans, but Platini says the timing of the 26 February election means he cannot run. "I'm withdrawing from the race for the Fifa presidency," the 60-year-old Frenchman told the Associated Press. "The timing is not good for me. I don't have the means to fight on equal terms with the other candidates. "I have not been given the chance to play the game. Bye bye Fifa, bye bye Fifa presidency." 'Injustice is revolting me' Platini, president of European football's governing body since 2007, had submitted his candidacy for the Fifa presidential election but could not stand while suspended. He and Blatter, 79, plan to take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. "I've spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news," added Platini.   "I'm taking this philosophically. Let's wait and see what happens. But injustice is revolting me and I'm trying to fight it." Source: BBC
A ranking member on the Select Committee of Foreign Affairs in Parliament Hon. Isaac Osei has denied knowledge of Parliament over the decision of government to assist two Guantanamo prisoners into this country. According to him, there was no interaction whatsoever from government and Parliament before these agreement was made. Hon. The Foreign Affairs Minister in a statement yesterday said that Ghana agreed to accept two detainees of Yemeni origin who were detained in Guantanamo but who have been cleared of any involvement in any terrorist activities and are being released. However the former Ambassador to the United Kingdom in the erstwhile Kufour administration said the agreement possess very serious security threats to Ghana considering the persons involved since they are known to be hard core insurgents.  A 2007, December 28th, report by the U.S Department of Defense indicates that the 36-year-old Mahmmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef, Yemen citizen, is a one-time fighter for Osama Bin Laden. This the legislator posited is very alarming and dangerous. He noted the Select on Foreign Affairs will summon the Minister, Hannah Tetteh to answer question over the matter. Government has agreed to give the two former prisoners of Guantanamo a two year stay but Hon. Isaac Osei explains that is an abuse of power since government has only a year to round up his rule. He maintained government should have done a broad stakeholder consultation, consider the security threats before approving the assistance to the refuges.    
Two ex-prime ministers in the Central African Republic will contest a run-off after no candidate gained 50% in the first round of presidential elections, officials have said. Anicet Georges Dologuele, who came first with 24%, will face Faustin Touadera, who got 19%, on 31 January. Last week, more than a million people took part in the first presidential election since a coup in March 2013. The country has since been wracked by conflict along religious lines. Twenty of the 30 candidates vying to replace interim leader Catherine Samba-Panza had earlier this week complained of irregularities and called for the count to be halted. But many of them were persuaded by the transitional government to withdraw their complaints, and the constitutional court will have to look into the remaining grievances. Anicet Georges Dologuele 23.8% - 281,420 votes Faustin Touadera 19.4% - 229,564 votes Desire Kolingba 12.6% - 149,134 votes Martin Ziguele - 10.8% - 121,009 votes 1,181,115 votes were cast and there was a 79% turnout Source: CAR electoral commission Mr Dologuele was prime minister between 1999 and 2001, and has also served as the country's finance minister. Mr Touadera was prime minister in the government of ex-President Francois Bozize, who was overthrown in 2013. CAR has been torn by sectarian violence since the Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013. A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, then took up arms against the Seleka. More about the Central African Republic The interim government and international donors pushed for the poll, believing that an elected president and parliament would help CAR recover from years of unrest. CAR is one of the world's poorest countries - yet it is rich in natural resources. Elections also took place for the 149-seat National Assembly. After seizing power, the Seleka rebels installed Michel Djotodia as the first Muslim leader of the majority Christian country. But under pressure from regional leaders and former colonial power France, Mr Djotodia stood down and was succeeded by Ms Samba-Panza. About 1.8 million people were registered to vote, out of a population of roughly five million.   More than one million people fled their homes during the communal fighting. Source: BBC
French police have shot dead a man who was apparently trying to attack a police station on the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The suspect was carrying a meat cleaver and wearing a dummy suicide vest. Minutes earlier, President Francois Hollande had praised police in a speech commemorating the January 2015 Paris killings. Gunmen murdered 17 people in a series of attacks, including at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket. In his address, Mr Hollande said 5,000 extra police and gendarmes would be added to existing forces by 2017 in an "unprecedented" strengthening of French security. The Paris prosecutor's office says it is opening a terrorism investigation into the incident on Thursday, which took place in the 18th district in northern Paris. French officials say the suspect, who was wielding the butcher's knife, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) outside a police station in Goutte d'Or, near Montmartre, before police shot and killed him. A piece of paper with an Islamic State (IS) flag and claim for the attack written in Arabic was found on his body. Bomb disposal experts were brought in after wires were seen extending from his body, but officials later said a belt he was wearing did not contain any explosives. Anti-terror police and French intelligence services are treating the incident as a case of attempted murder. Following the attack, a cordon was been set up around the area, and security was boosted at schools and on public transport networks in the city. Three days of attacks brought bloodshed to Paris and its surrounding areas last January. The three attackers were shot dead by police, but questions remain about their jihadist contacts and possible accomplices in the Middle East. A Paris court sentenced an alleged French IS recruiter in absentia on Thursday to 15 years in prison. Salim Benghalem, 35, was freed from a French jail in 2010 and is believed to be in Syria. He was said to have been part of a jihadist network in Paris that included Cherif and Said Kouachi, the two Charlie Hebdo gunmen. Three police officers were among the 17 victims of the gunmen on 7-9 January, 2015. On Thursday, the French president said the officers had "died so that we could live in freedom". But with France also still mourning the deaths of 130 people in jihadist attacks in Paris in November, he also used his speech to call for greater co-operation between the security services. In addition to the 5,000 extra police officers, 2,000 extra jobs are being created in the intelligence services. "Terrorism still weighs heavily on our country," Mr Hollande said. Since a state of emergency was imposed on the night of 13 November, police have brought to light 25 offences related to terrorism, he added. "Faced with these adversaries, it is essential that every service - police, gendarmerie, intelligence, military - work in perfect harmony." French police check a pedestrian as they secure the area after a man was shot dead at a police station in the 18th district in Paris, France 7 January 2016. President Hollande said the rules for police use of firearms were also being revised, so that gunmen could be tackled more effectively. Earlier, Parisians laid flowers and lit candles at the former office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, where a plaque was unveiled on Tuesday. A second plaque was installed where a police officer was shot, and a third at the Jewish supermarket. On Saturday, a fourth plaque will be unveiled in the southern suburb of Montrouge, where one of the gunmen shot dead a policewoman. The commemorations will culminate in a public event on Sunday in the Place de la Republique, where Parisians gathered in the wake of the attacks.   A 35ft (10m) oak "remembrance tree" will be planted in the square and veteran French musician Johnny Hallyday will perform Un Dimanche de Janvier (One January Sunday), a song recalling the vast march in Paris that followed the attacks. Source: BBC
USA Paralympic silver medallist Richard Browne has sustained broken ribs and concussion in a car accident.   The 24-year-old spent two nights in hospital after his car was in collision with a lorry in Florida.   Browne's manager Ian Byers said: "Richard is badly shaken up, but he will be ready to challenge for gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games."   Browne is a rival of Britain's Jonny Peacock, who beat him to T44 100m gold in London.     The Paralympic Games run from 7-18 September. Source:BBC
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