Good morning.An appeal to fulfil a terminally ill man's wish to come home for Christmas has raised more than £11,000.
Human beings are intrinsically good.
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United Arab Emirates. The government has issued its first civil marriage licence to a non-Muslim couple. The Gulf state where foreigners make up 90 percent of the approximately 10-million population has been amending its laws to make it more inclusive.
Belarus. Authorities on Monday released a draft document proposing amendments to the country’s constitution that may allow authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power after months of mass protests and remain in office until 2035.
Somalia. President Mohamed Mohamed has suspended the prime minister for suspected corruption, a move the prime minister described as a coup attempt, escalating a power struggle between the two leaders. The raging, months-long dispute has seen both leaders trade allegations over the holding up of parliamentary elections.
India. The government has frozen the bank accounts of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MoC) in West Bengal, dealing a blow to one of the country’s most prominent groups running shelters for the poor. The move on Monday came after several right-wing Hindu groups disrupted Christmas mass in parts of India during the weekend.
1945 International Monetary Fund formally established by 29 member countries based on ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes
1845 Ether is first used in childbirth in US in Jefferson, Georgia. Ether is a colorless, flammable liquid used as a solvent and formerly used as an anesthetic
2012 NASA unveils plans to capture a 500 ton asteroid in 2025
Female Soldier Released
The Story The chief of army staff, Faruk Yahaya, has ordered the release of Sofiyat Akinlabi, the female soldier detained for accepting a corps member’s marriage proposal while on official duty.
How was she supposed to handle the proposal, reject it? Sofiyat was said to have violated military rules and regulations by getting involved in a public display of an amorous relationship with a paramilitary trainee. Onyema Nwachukwu, army spokesman, who said her offences include fraternisation while on official duty and indulging in romance while in uniform, said her conduct was prejudicial to good order and military discipline.
Have the rules now changed? No, they haven't. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the army chief ordered Sofiyat’s release from detention in the spirit of Christmas. NAN quoted a source as saying the soldier had been warned and reprimanded for breaching the extant rule guiding the conduct of military personnel.
Public's gender-based reaction Sofiyat was detained after the video clips of the proposal went viral on social media. Several groups and individuals had advocated for her release, with over 1,000 persons signing a petition asking the Nigerian army to release her. But reacting to the public's demand, Nwachukwu said if the soldier was male, the public would have interpreted the action to mean he was taking advantage of a corps member put in his care. SOURCE
A Generator Country
The Story As some countries intensify their race towards a carbon neutral world, setting deadlines for their efforts, others appear to be doing less than enough to help this cause.
How do you mean? Data from the National Bureau of Statistics has shown that 48.6% of electricity consumption in Nigeria is provided by generators that are powered by petrol, diesel, and gas. This was revealed in a document by the NBS on Power Sector Data Preview, which was presented to the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry this month.
Impact on Nigerians and the Environment The NBS document, which showed that the national grid was providing 51.2% of the country’s power needs, highlights the impact of this on the environment as well as the high cost of power consumption for Nigerians, majority of whom depend on petrol-powered generators that accounted for the bulk (22.6%) of the electricity supplied by these carbon emitting sets.
Diesel-powered generators followed with 16.6%, while gas-powered generators accounted for 9.4% of the self-generated electricity. According to the bureau, out of 51.2% of electricity provided by the country’s power grid, gas-powered plants accounted for 39.5%, while hydroelectric plants were providing 11.7%. Off-grid renewables, the NBS said, accounted for 0.1% of the power consumed nationwide. SOURCE
The Story South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon and retired archbishop, Desmond Tutu, is dead.
How did he die? There was no mention of the cause of death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, who died yesterday at the age of 90. “Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning,” Dr Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and Co-ordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family.
Reactions Hailed as South Africa’s moral conscience and the great reconciler of a nation divided by decades of racist politics, Tutu's death has attracted reactions locally and from outside the country. According to Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, who reported from Johannesburg, the news has been “devastating” for many South Africans. “The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
Tutu led numerous marches and campaigns to end apartheid from St George’s front steps, and as a result it became known as the “People’s Cathedral” and a powerful symbol of democracy. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to segregation. Largely because of the effort of the likes of Tutu, South Africa's apartheid regime fell in 1994. SOURCE
Rocketing into the Galaxies
The Story The world’s most powerful space telescope, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, has rocketed away on a high-stakes quest to behold light from the first stars and galaxies and scour the universe for hints of life.
What's the goal of this mission? It is expected to enable scientists to examine the atmospheres of planets and determine whether or not planets could not only be habitable and suitable for humans to possibly one day colonise, but to determine whether or not those conditions are optimal for life. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, “It’s going to give us a better understanding of our universe and our place in it: who we are, what we are, the search that’s eternal".
Has it found anything yet? The $9bn observatory hurtled towards its destination 1.6 million kilometres (1 million miles) away – or more than four times beyond the moon. It will take a month to get there and another five months before its infrared eyes are ready to start scanning the cosmos. The telescope’s enormous mirror and sunshield need to unfurl; they were folded origami-style to fit into the rocket’s nose cone.
Otherwise, the observatory will not be able to peer back in time 13.7 billion years as anticipated, within a mere 100 million years of the universe-forming Big Bang. Aastronomers had eagerly waited to see Webb finally taking flight after years of setbacks. Last-minute technical snags bumped the launch nearly a week, then gusty wind pushed it to Christmas. SOURCE
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