Buhari To Probe Service Chiefs

A top military source said at the weekend that the incoming administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, was planning to institute a comprehensive probe during which some service chiefs, past and present, would be summoned to defend their tenure, especially how defence budget was spent under their watch. This emerged as the military have arrested suspected supplier of food and fuel to Boko Haram as well as rescuing 260 women and children in Chalawa, Adamawa State. Also, some group of women and children earlier rescued from Sambisa Forest narrated their ordeal yesterday in the hands of Boko Haram. The source said the incoming administration was considering setting up a truth and reconciliation committee on the six-year old terror war which erupted in 2009. It was also gathered that some former service chiefs and military commanders that held strategic operational and command positions, might appear or be asked to appear before the panel, whenever it is constituted, to give account of what they did and knew about the fight against insurgency. The source said the move might not be in bad faith, but to put the records straight for posterity. He added that Buhari believed that more information on the Boko Haram insurgency should be provided for Nigerians and the international community. According to him, the president-elect’s declaration that Boko Haram is a “fraud” is indicative of his belief that “better and further” explanations on the devastating insurgency have to be provided to the public. Besides, Buhari may be interested in knowing what was responsible for the commendable manner the military turned the tide against Boko Haram after the postponement of the presidential election in February. Compare Prices Of Samsung, LG and Sony Phones, Electronics & Appliances Before You Shop On http://www.PricePadi.com The source said: “I hope you will treat this information well. I want to let you know that the retired no-nonsense General, who has been elected president, may cause to be established a truth or peace and reconciliation committee. “This committee, from what I know very well, is not going to be a vindictive exercise, but a medium for more expose to be made on the phenomenon called Boko Haram and the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency fight prosecuted by our military. “You know more than 40 territories have, within a period of months, been liberated, while between then and now, almost all Boko Haram’s training camps and strongholds, including those in their biggest stronghold of Sambisa Forest, have been destroyed.” It was also learnt that a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau, may have been shortlisted as the next National Security Adviser (NSA). Another source, who also spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, said “Considering how strategic the office of the NSA is, I can tell you that the next president, who will be sworn in on May 29, is likely to pick a former COAS, General Dambazzau, as NSA. “If that happens, I tell you it will pass as a good choice, because he is a very competent General.”

Flabba killing: South African rapper ‘stabbed by girlfriend’

Skwatta Kamp pose for a picture with US rapper Ludacris, fileFlabba (front row, left) was a member of popular 1990s hip-hip group Skwatta Kamp

A woman has been arrested in South Africa for allegedly stabbing and killing a well-known local rapper.

Nkululeko Habedi, known as Flabba, 38 died, in his home in Alexandra, a Johannesburg township.

Police have told the BBC that his girlfriend will be charged with murder and will appear in court “within 48 hours”.

Mr Habedi became popular after he joined award-winning rap group Skwatta Kamp.

South Africans have taken to social media to send their condolences to his family and friends.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says Skwatta Kamp, founded in 1996, were seen as the pioneers of South African hip-hop, featuring local street slang and rhythms.

The group had hits such as uMoya and Clap Song.

Utah baby found alive in river 14 hours after car crash

In this March 7, 2015 photo, officials respond to a report of car in the Spanish Fork River near the Main Street and the Arrowhead Trail Road junction in Spanish Fork, Utah

A baby girl has been found alive in a car more than 14 hours after the vehicle plunged into a river in Utah.

The 18-month-old was discovered hanging upside down above water in her car seat by a fisherman on Saturday afternoon, police said.

She was rushed to a hospital in Salt Lake City, where her condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.

The toddler’s 25-year-old mother, named as Lynn Groesbeck from Springville, was found dead in the driver’s seat.

Investigators believe the vehicle careered into the Spanish Fork River after striking a cement barrier at about 22:30 local time (04:30 GMT) on Friday.

A fisherman raised the alarm at 12:30 local time (18:30 GMT) the next day, after he saw the girl dangling above the water as it flowed through the car.

Officials later removed the car from the river

Three police officers and four firefighters who entered the river to rescue the child were later treated in hospital for hypothermia.

Police said they would not be releasing any further details unless the baby’s condition changed. The girl’s name was not released.

Free schools: David Cameron pledges 500 more by 2020

David Cameron

At least a further 500 free schools would be opened in England in the next five years under a Conservative government, David Cameron has pledged.

He committed his party to creating an extra 270,000 school places in free schools, if re-elected, by 2020.

The prime minister says these state-funded, start-up schools are “raising standards and restoring discipline”.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt says free schools lead to school places where they are not needed.

Speaking in London, Mr Cameron announced approvals for 49 more free schools and promised a “dramatic” expansion if re-elected in May’s general election.

‘Raising performance’

Free schools, both primary and secondary, are set up by academy sponsors, charities, teachers and groups of parents, and operate outside local authority control. Academy sponsors include academy trusts, faith groups, universities and companies.

Mr Cameron described free schools as “independent schools within the state sector” – and with those announced on Monday there will be more than 400 open or approved, with 230,000 places.

If Conservative plans were to be implemented in the next Parliament, there would be 900 free schools, more than one in 30 state schools, with about 500,000 places.

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Analysis

School pupils

By Hannah Richardson, education reporter

Arguably one of the most controversial of the coalition’s education policies, the free school programme is much more than giving parents and teachers the right to set up their own schools.

The complexities of running a school mean many of these new state-funded, but independently-run, schools are actually led by academy chains and education companies.

And the crucial rule that any new school, even in school-place squeeze areas, has to be a free school or academy, has led to an impasse in school-place planning in some districts.

Indeed, some local councils have struggled to find organisations to set up schools where they are needed.

The government cites figures suggesting 70% of inspected free schools are rated good or outstanding.

And supporters argue free schools offer choice and quality, as well as new school places, and drive up standards in other schools as a result.

But with a handful of high-profile cases of free schools failing within months of opening, question marks have been left hanging over these claims.

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Mr Cameron said that the Conservatives are the “only party that’s opening up the education system so we can get more good places for your children”.

He said free schools “are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them, meaning more opportunities for children to learn the skills they need to get on in life”.

Malanda played against Everton twice in the Europa League this season
Wolfsburg’s Junior Malanda has died aged 20 in a car crash in Germany.
The Belgium Under-21 midfielder had made 15 appearances for the German Bundesliga side this season, including against Everton in the Europa League.
He was linked to Fulham and Crystal Palace when he left Zulte Waregem in 2013 but instead joined Wolfsburg, before going back on loan to the Belgian side.
His last game was a 2-1 win over Cologne on 20 December.
Wolfsburg police confirmed the crash happened near the German city of Bielefeld.

Kevin de Bruyne tweeted a picture of himself and Junior Malanda
Wolfsburg team-mate Kevin de Bruyne tweeted: (external)”So strange to hear your friend in the morning and then hear this news. Lost a great friend way too early. RIP my friend. You will always be around.”
Another team-mate, Nicklas Bendtner, said on Instagram: (external)”Not only a great player, but a great person. My thoughts and prayers will always be with you and your family brother. Your kind heart was rare and special. You will always be remembered.”
Chelsea’s Thorgan Hazard, who played with Malanda at Zulte Waregem, said: “Whyyyyy??? I love you brooo.”
Everton and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku said: “I love you my brother.”
Malanda’s fellow Belgian Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper, said: “RIP @JuniorMalanda!! We lose a huge talent and a great person!!”
The Royal Belgian Football Association tweeted: “The world of football has lost a great talent today. URBSFA sends its condolences to his family & friends #ripmalanda.”
Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Mario Gotze said: “RIP Junior #Malanda – sooo sad! My thoughts are with your family and friends…!”
Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel, Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and Paris St-Germain left-back Lucas Digne ‏were also among the other players to tweet their condolences

Messi only at Barcelona because he promised Vilanova, says Ten Cate

Messi only at Barcelona because he promised Vilanova, says Ten Cate

The Dutchman claims a transfer would be in the best interests of all parties despite the Argentine’s commitment to the former coach

Former Barcelona assistant coach Henk Ten Cate believes Lionel Messi would already have left the club were it not for a promise he made to Tito Vilanova.

Speculation has resurfaced that Messi is considering his future at Camp Nou due to a clash with head coach Luis Enrique and a turbulent few days for the club, which has seen Andoni Zubizarreta and Carles Puyol leave and the presidential elections brought forward to this summer.

The Argentina international enjoyed a close relationship with Vilanova – who passed away in April 2014 after a long battle against cancer – and Ten Cate has claims Messi is only still at Camp Nou after he told his old boss he would stay.

Nevertheless, the Dutchman feels it would be in everybody’s best interest if Messi left the club.

“As far as I know, these problems all started about two years ago. Messi is only still at Barcelona because he promised it to Tito Vilanova at his deathbed,” Ten Cate told De Telegraaf.

“But I think a transfer would be in everybody’s best interest. Lionel has been at Barcelona for quite a while and he needs a new challenge. He’s still worth a lot of money now, but his value will only go down from here on.

“I really want to be supportive, because he has been on another level for 10 years. But I’m not sure he will get back to his best.

“It isn’t normal to shine for 10 years like he has done. Most of the big names can only keep it up for seven or eight years. And to be honest, he wasn’t at his best either last season, even if his statistics were still great.”

Ten Cate was Frank Rijkaard’s assistant at the Catalans when Messi made his debut in the 2004-05 season.

Thousands remain without power after storms

SHEPD technical staff at Balmaha near Loch Lomond

Thousands of homes remain without power following the storms that have been battering Scotland.

A total of 32,000 Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) customers in the north and 1,500 supplied by Scottish Power further south of the country are affected.

SSE said engineers worked through the night to try to restore power to homes.

Heavy snowfalls and ice overnight have made some roads impassable and access to the network difficult.

Alan Broadbent, SSE’s director of engineering said: “Our electricity network was battered continuously by hurricane winds for eight hours on Thursday night and during much of Friday.

“This has weakened it in places, which caused more power cuts overnight.

Gavin Steel, Scottish and Southern Energy: ”We would like to apologise to customers who have been without power overnight”

“I know an apology may not be much comfort for our customers who have been without power, but I would like to reassure them that we are doing all we possibly can during extremely treacherous, challenging and severe weather conditions.”

By lunchtime on Saturday, engineers from SSE-owned Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution had restored supplies to 73,000 customers, following hurricane winds of up to 113mph in places.

Orkney and Shetland were warned they could experience gusts of up to 100mph (160km/h). A gust of 101mph was later recorded in Shetland.

A Met Office yellow “be aware” warning for wind is in force for the Highlands and Northern and Western Isles until 18:00 on Saturday.

Another yellow warning for snow and ice is in force for most of the country until midday on Sunday.

The warning comes after hurricane-force gusts left tens of thousands of homes without power across Scotland on Friday.

Robert Pigott reports: ”The ferocious onslaught brought down power lines”

The bad weather has toppled power lines and uprooted trees and on Friday caused the suspension of all ScotRail trains, although some limited services later resumed.

The train operator reported more than a dozen route issues on Saturday, particularly on northern and coastal services.

A number of train services have been suspended.

Waves crash against the sea wall on the Ayrshire coast Waves crash against the sea wall on the Ayrshire coast

Some services from Inverness to the North, and Kyle, as well as those between Dumbarton Central and Helensburgh Central and from Glasgow to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig will not resume until late on Sunday afternoon.

Full updates are available on the ScotRail website.

National Rail said trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Carstairs would divert and not call at Motherwell.

There are also warnings on Scotland’s road bridges and some ferry services have been cancelled.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has listed about two dozen services facing weather-related disruption or cancellation.

Numerous flood alerts and warnings remain in place for much of Scotland.

Warnings are alerts are also in place in England and Wales.

A powerful jet stream is pushing a deep area of low pressure towards the UK. But why is the jet stream so strong? Chris Fawkes explains.

In England, two men were reported lost at sea after getting into trouble in the water off the coast of Brighton in “severe weather” in the early hours.

Strong winds also caused severe problems on roads in Yorkshire and the north-east of England as a number of lorries were blown over, blocking carriageways.

Tree on road at Dalry, Ayrshire
A tree narrowly missed several parked vehicles in Dalry, Ayrshire
network rail engineersEngineers are working to restore rail services and electricity supplies

SSE had mobilised 1,000 technical and support staff ahead of Friday’s storm, with engineers working in “extremely challenging and potentially dangerous conditions” to reconnect electricity.

The company said about 1,200 engineers and support staff would be deployed on Saturday.

Eleven catering stations have been set up where people can get a hot meal.

Rural areas were the worst hit, especially around Dingwall and in Inverness-shire, the Western Isles and Skye.

Other areas affected included parts of Aberdeenshire and rural areas around Wick, Oban and Fort William, as well as Buchan, Dunblane, Dunoon, Elgin and Huntly.

Scottish Power Energy Networks said it had managed to reconnect 20,000 homes, with a further 800 still affected by “pockets of faults mainly across the central belt, from Ayrshire to Lanarkshire and across to the Lothians”.

On Friday, BBC Weather said gusts reached 113mph in Stornoway, 110mph at Loch Glascarnoch, and 97mph at Altnaharra. Speeds of 61mph have been recorded overnight at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.

A gust of 140mph was recorded at the summit of Cairngorm and the BBC Winterwatch studio, in a cabin on the Mar Lodge Estate in the Cairngorms, was destroyed by the winds.