Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another explosion at Arepo!

The moment I saw this heavy smoke in the direction of Arepo swamp this evening, I suspected something was cooking again.

It's been officially confirmed. There has been yet another pipeline explosion.

It might sound callous, but I have no sympathy for any number of vandals incinerated again. Enough said.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gambia to switch to 4 day work week

Gambian President,  Yayha Jammeh
Gambia is the place to be, men!
A statement broadcast on state radio from the Gambian presidency announced that from February 1, official government working hours will be from Monday to Thursday, from 8am to 6pm.

"Fridays will henceforth become rest and prayer days alongside Saturdays and Sundays," the statement said.

"Schools, banks and all affected institutions are free to work on Saturdays to compensate for the Fridays," it added.

The presidency also said that this new arrangement "will allow Gambians to devote more time to prayers, social activities and agriculture - Going back to the land and grow what we eat and eat what we grow for a healthy and wealthy nation."

The sliver of a country wedged into Senegal which surrounds it on all sides except for a palm-fringed coastline on the Atlantic coast has a population of about 1.8 million and is the smallest country on the African mainland.

Though essentially a secular state, Gambia is 90 percent Sunni Muslim.


Five hot phones to have this year

Samsung Galaxy S 4

Possibly the most anticipated handset of 2013, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is coming this year. Most proud owners of Galaxy S3, including yours truly, have not fully explored the resources on the device, and now, its successor beckons.

But seeing how well Samsung Galaxy S 3 has caught on with Nigerians, Galaxy S 4 is bound to make waves here as well.
I mean, it's such a hot cake that I swear I see some boys hawking it in traffic. I'm not making it up. I actually witnessed this at Berger on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway a couple of times, and I wondered who would buy a N90k+ phone in traffic.
I digress. 
Galaxy S 4 will come with a flexible screen, five-inch display, snappier processor and Android Jelly Bean. Get ready!

iPhone 5S/iPhone 6

Leaked picture of the back panel of iPhone 5S, expected soon. A full-on upgrade iPhone 6 is expected much later. I don't expect these phones to make much waves in Nigeria, though. Not with the restrictive marketing strategy of Apple.

                                              BlackBerry 10 touchscreen

Much expected BlackBerry 10 has already been widely trialed, with the next-gen OS and is expected on the shelves soon. A touchscreen phone, touting new multimedia access, improved apps and better typing is expected later.  They should make some impact here. Naija big boys and girls cannot have enough of BlackBerry.
HTC’s own ‘phablet’ is expected soon. HTC has already released the HTC Butterfly in Japan and the US, but a different five-inch effort, the HTC M7, is expected to be a mind blower.
Features include: full HD display, 4G, quad-core Qualcomm tech and a unibody aluminium design.

                                                        Nokia Lumia 940

The Lumia 940 is for now only a concept, but one with a stunning carbon fibre frame and beefed up screen. I must confess those Nokia Lumia ads on CNN make me wanna have one.
It's an exciting year for lovers of smartphones.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Commotion at Berger

People gathered around the bus into which the
bloodied body was loaded.

A bit of commotion at Berger Bus Stop on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway inward toll gate when I passed now.

Crowds gathered on either side of the road, looking as police men loaded a bloodied body wrapped in white cloth into the back of a danfo bus (in the picture above). Armed policemen were everywhere. Couldn't wait to find out what's happening, lest I added to the long traffic already building.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Road trap: Police, LASTMA replace muggers at Mile 2

On the eve of Xmas, I wrote about muggers' exploits at Mile Two oke.

Today about 10 am, I passed the same spot and I have both good and bad news. First, the good news: the bad boys are gone from the spot, probably because of what I wrote, or because a powerful person experienced the same thing and organised a police raid.

Now to the bad news: LASTMA officials and police officers are now at the spot, and they are not there to help motorists, sadly. It's their brand new meal ticket.

I was coming from Osodi and wanted to link the bridge that leads to Mile Two Bus Stop below at the emergency ramp created just after where FESTAC buses load. Surprisingly, a LASTMA official and a policeman were rushing at me, but could not quickly cross the road to where I was.

They waved at me to stop. I tried to see the name tag on the LASTMA official, there was none; first red flag. Second red flag: the expressions on their faces were of someone who had just witnessed murder, and could scarcely wait for vehicles to pass to lay his hands on the 'suspect'.

I tried to figure out what I could have done wrong, I couldn’t. But with the red flags, waiting to find out would be a grave mistake. Besides, even genuine LASTMA guys these days are adept at pulling a rabbit out of the hat with uncommon ease. With the newly passed Lagos Traffic Law, you can never be too sure what they have up their sleeves. I waved to them in return and zoomed off. The policeman rushed at me and tried to open my door, but it was locked.

My suspicion is that the guys were after me for taking the emergency ramp, which motorists have taken for ages. It was actually created over a year ago by the authorities as an alternative exit for motorists coming from Osodi and going to Mile 2, Orile, or back to Osodi.

There is usually chaotic traffic at the FESTAC exit, especially with the FESTAC and Okokomaiko-bound buses staying on the road to pick passengers. The ramp has succeeded mainly in improving the driving experience of motorists at that location as people who are not going in the direction of FESTAC or the Mile 2- Badagry Expressway no longer need to contest the main exit with those who are. 

But apparently, those who thought up the smart alternative among the traffic officials have since moved on, leaving behind those who see an opportunity to cash in.

So my advice to you is that when next you are on that route, it’s better you take the FESTAC exit, or you go to Berger to make a u-turn.

Wish you safe motoring

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lawyers refuse to represent Indian gang rape suspects

 Indian women and men participate in peace march
Thousands of Indian women and men participate in peace march with placards carrying pro-women slogans to Mahatma Gandhi memorial, Rajghat, in New Delhi, India Images: Daily Mail
NDTV has shown footage understood to be the suspects charged in the Delhi gang-rape case.
Accused rapists in a footage by NDTV
Well, even lawyers  can be repulsed by certain crimes!
Lawyers in India are refusing to represent the suspects arrested in connection with the cruel gang-rape and murder of a medical student in India last December.
The group of Indian men accused of gang raping the 23-year-old woman were arraigned today without representation. The lawyers said they are abstaining to give the case a speedy trial. (Finally some forthright learned friends admit lawyers complicate cases).
Five people have been formally charged over the rape and murder of the physiotherapy student, with one named as Ram Singh.
Today it emerged a sixth suspect, who is believed to be a juvenile and is expected to be tried separately, was the cruellest of all.
According to The Hindustan Times, a police charge sheet reveals in horrendous detail exactly what he is alleged to have done to the unconscious victim - after she had been raped.
The newspaper reported that he pulled her intestines out with his bare hands and was also responsible for suggesting that she be thrown naked from the bus.
Today her father called for the hanging of those responsible for the attack saying 'the death penalty is compulsory for a crime so great.'
The trial will be held in a fast track court and will start on Saturday.
'Of all the persons in the bus, two had engaged in the most barbarism - Ram Singh, the main accused in the case, and the juvenile ' said an officer, according to the paper.
'Both of them had subjected her to sexual abuse twice. Singh was the first to rape her followed by the juvenile and then Akshay. Later, when she lost consciousness, Singh and the juvenile raped her a second time.'
Authorities are waiting for the outcome of a bone marrow test before deciding whether the sixth suspect in the attack will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
The results of the test, intended to determine the suspect's exact age, are expected to arrive soon.
Police plan to ask for the death penalty in the case. The men - the bus driver, his brother and four of their friends - are residents of a south Delhi slum near the site of the attack.

'We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend the rape accused as it would be immoral to defend the case.'

Criminal lawyer Ajay Digpaul told India Today: 'In my view, it should not take more than 10-15 effective hearings to decide the case as there is plenty of evidence.'
Sanjay Kumar, a lawyer and a member of the Saket District Bar Council said that 2,500 advocates registered at the court had decided to stay away to ensure 'speedy justice'.
'We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend the rape accused as it would be immoral to defend the case,' he said to AFP.
 Her father moved the family to Delhi from a rural part of India in order to improve her chances of realising her ambition of a career in medicine.
The dream was cut short on December 16 when she was attacked by six men after as she caught the bus home after going to the cinema to watch The Life of Pi. She died from her injuries on Friday.
Fresh details of the case have emerged in the Indian press where it is reported that her attackers tried to throw her under the bus after raping her inside it.
India's people have been outraged by the sickening gang rape attack and have taken to the streets all over the country
The rape victim died at the weekend after 13-day struggle to survive injuries so severe that the majority of her intestines had to be removed.

Confessions of a US traffic cop, lessons for LASTMA

Nigerian police officers, LASTMA officials, FRSC men and others involved in road safety and traffic law enforcement have a lot to learn from this American police officer, especially in the area of use of discretion and responsible traffic law enforcement.
Mike Brucks retired from the El Paso Police Department as a traffic cop last May after 22 years and almost 40,000 tickets, by his estimation. He was featured by Yahoo!
 Here are some of his stories from the road and tips for motorists looking to avoid a ticket.
Besides speeding, which is the reason for most tickets, what's most likely to get a traffic cop's attention?
Seatbelts, cell phones, red lights, and stop signs. I concentrate on all the things that can cause an accident. There are some cops who write tickets for expired plates, for having no insurance or registration, but you're not going to crash because of any of that. I focused on safety issues—that's what I like to do.
Do traffic cops think it's cheating to hide behind billboards?
No. You've got a radar detector; you know where we hide. If you are thinking we are hiding somewhere, it's because you're speeding.
Do you have favourite hiding places?
I stay on the freeway mostly. That's where there are more speeders. I'll park under overpasses, on bridges. I need to be able to start the bike and accelerate to go after someone. If there are a lot of exits, I can miss [a speeder] who can maybe get off at an exit, and then it's too late to catch him.
How much leeway do you give someone before writing them a speeding ticket?
The speed limit in Texas used to be 60 mph, [and] well, out on the clear road where there's a lot of visibility I give people leeway. I wouldn't write tickets until they got to 80 mph. I've never worked an area where the speed limit drops a lot without warning, what I call a trap. If there's a new speed limit that's lower, it [takes] time for people to get used to it and I don't write tickets there.
What can a driver say to get out of a ticket?
When someone tells me that a family member has just been sent to the hospital and they're on their way, how can I ticket them for that? I tell them that they're not being safe, that they need to slow down and stay safe. That's about it.
I think now it's much more of a rat-race world than it was 30 years ago. The workforce has generated that. People have to be at work on time or risk getting fired, kids have to be picked up and taken places—it's just citizens in a hurry. Ninety-eight percent of the people I stop are law-abiding good citizens, and they say they have no reason to speed. That's an easy ticket. They're not happy, but I could go months without any problems, without anyone cussing me out. I wrote a lot of warnings, too, but it all depends on the situation, if they were being safe.
Are speed limits too low?
No, the traffic engineers, at least in Texas, are pretty good. It's not that some parts of the highway are safer for speeding, it's that drivers aren't always paying attention. People die on lonely deserted stretches of road too. There are a lot of times drivers aren't concentrating. They need to understand you're going 100 feet per second on the highway. Above 75 mph things just happen so fast, [whether it's] a flat tire, a coyote, wind, dirt, or rocks. It's not that much better now that cars are safer; reaction times are still the same.
What's the toughest ticket you've had to write?
I clocked a woman coming down from New Mexico on Highway 54 at 111 mph. She had just been stopped for going 90 mph 15 minutes [earlier] in New Mexico. Everybody has a reason, and I want to know it. I always ask why someone was speeding, and that's just to open things up. I want to know what they're thinking, if they need my help for something. She had been crying, and the tears didn't just start—they'd been going on a long time, you can tell. She was on her way to a motel in El Paso to catch her husband who was shacked up with another woman there, cheating. How do you write a ticket for that?
Who's the craziest speeder you've seen?
I stopped a guy going 136 mph. I caught him mostly because he thought he lost me. I came up beside him and blocked his front wheel on the curb. The hardest part after that was now I have to be courteous and respectful, although he could have killed someone, and that makes me angry. It's really too bad, he was a good kid, never been in trouble, but now he had to go to jail for felonious evading, and that's really going to wreck his life.
When do you not chase a speeder?
I clocked a guy on a crotch-rocket bike doing 189 mph. Just let him go. Since police departments began to get sued for chasing speeders, around 1995, there's a fine line. You have to determine if you can catch him, if chasing him will cause an accident for him, for you, for the public. There's no way to catch anyone like that. ..

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Playboy founder Hefner marries for third time at 86

Hugh Hefner, with his brand new wife
Apparently, this man will be a playboy till he dies.

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has reportedly tied the knot for the third time, marrying a former Playmate 60 years his junior in an intimate New Year's Eve ceremony at the Playboy Mansion.

Hefner, 86, and Crystal Harris, 26, announced the nuptials on their Twitter feeds -- @hughhefner and @crystalhefner -- and posted pictures of the wedding.

"Happy New Year from Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hefner!" Hefner said in a message accompanied by a picture of the octogenarian sporting purple pyjamas and a captain's hat and the blonde Harris in her wedding dress.

Harris posted a picture on her own Twitter feed of the ceremony conducted under an archway of red, pink, purple and white flowers.

"Today is the day I become Mrs Hugh Hefner. Feeling very happy, lucky, and blessed," she tweeted shortly before the wedding.

Hefner and Harris had planned to marry in 2011 but she called off the ceremony at the last minute.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve found in a hamper?

A Christmas hamper and its contents

Happy New Year to you all! May 2013 bring us abundant blessings and unending happiness.

How many hampers have you received so far? And how interesting are the contents?

As a journalist working for a national newspaper many years ago, I recall receiving some odd hampers, like one containing no more than four packets of 'gari ijebu' (cassava flakes) and two-piece 'adire' (tie and die) pyjamas!

I’m not exaggerating. Those were just the two items in the hampers; in addition to a Christmas card, of course. And I loved it, for its novelty.

The 'gari' was factory-processed for export, and was really enjoyable.

The ‘hamper’ was given to me by a professional ‘uncle’, an ijebu man, who was, and still is very passionate about products made by his people. I still have the pyjamas till today.

Beyond unique concepts and themes in hamper-giving, as far as mainstream hampers go, I have come across some real unusual items such as a bottle of Izal, bottles of bleach and, wait for this, toilet cleaners; ewwww!

No strict rules about what can go into a hamper, I guess, but certain items simply don’t blend with the Christmas spirit. It’s better to stick with the concept of food and treats and forget, for the moment, about how people deal with the aftermath of gorging themselves!

Let’s share. What’s the oddest thing you have come across in a hamper?