Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan dead

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan is reported dead. He is said to have died in Switzerland, Saturday morning after a short illness.

Biography

Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi, in central Ghana, Africa, on April 8, 1938. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth, a group of nations dependent on Great Britain. Named for an African empire along the Niger River, Ghana was ruled by Great Britain for 113 years as the Gold Coast. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. His father was an educated man, and Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life. He has described himself as being “atribal in a tribal world.”

After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the College of Science and Technology in the capital of Kumasi. At the age of twenty, he won a Ford Foundation scholarship for undergraduate studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics. Even then he was showing signs of becoming a diplomat, or someone skilled in international relations. Annan received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961. Shortly after completing his studies at Macalester College, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland, where he attended graduate classes in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

Early career

Following his graduate studies in Geneva, Annan joined the staff of the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations. He served as an administrative officer and as budget officer in Geneva. Later UN posts took him to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and New York City, New York. Annan always assumed that he would return to his native land after college, although he was disturbed by the unrest and numerous changes of government that occurred there during the 1970s.

Annan became the Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the end of his fellowship in 1972, he was awarded a master of science degree in management. Rather than return to Ghana upon graduation, he accepted a position at the UN headquarters in New York City.

Work with the UN

In 1974 he moved to Cairo, Egypt, as chief civilian personnel officer in the UN Emergency Force. Annan briefly changed careers in 1974 when he left the United Nations to serve as managing director of the Ghana Tourist Development Company.

Annan returned to international diplomacy and the United Nations in 1976. For the next seven years, he was associated with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He returned to the UN headquarters in New York City in 1983 as director of the budget in the financial services office. Later in the 1980s, he filled the post of assistant secretary-general in the Office of Human Resources Management and served as security coordinator for the United Nations. In 1990, he became assistant secretary-general for another department at the United Nations, the Office of Program Planning, Budget, and Finance. In fulfilling his duties to the United Nations, Annan has spent most of his adult life in the United States, specifically at the UN headquarters in New York City.

Annan had by this time filled a number of roles at the United Nations, ranging from peacekeeping to managerial, and the 1990s were no different. In 1990 he negotiated the release of hostages in Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Five years later, he oversaw the transition of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), a UN peacekeeping organization. In this transfer of responsibility, operations in the former Yugoslavia were turned over to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In recognition of his abilities, Annan was appointed secretary-general, the top post of the UN, by the UN General Assembly in December 1996. He began serving his four-year term of office on January 1, 1997. Joining him was his second wife, former lawyer Nane Lagergren of Sweden. She is the niece of the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (1912–c.1947), who saved thousands of European Jews from the German Nazis during World War II (1939–45), when American-led forces fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Annan and Lagergren were married in 1985. The couple has one child.

Annan in a new world

Annan’s code of soft-spoken diplomacy was given a boost by the outcome of his talks with Saddam Hussein in 1998. UN observers wait to see how additional crises will be handled by the gentle but determined man from Ghana.

In the summer of 2001, the United Nations unanimously appointed Kofi Annan to his second five-year term as secretary-general. On October 12, 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the United Nations and Kofi Annan. The Nobel citation pointed out that Annan had brought new life to the peacekeeping organization, highlighted the United Nations’s fight for civil rights, and boldly taken on the new challenges of terrorism and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS; a disease of the immune system).

Government to build 21 hospitals to tackle ‘health crisis’ – Health Minister

Government is undertaking ten projects that will see the construction of some 21 hospitals across the country.

This forms part of measures to address concerns captured in Citi FM and Occupy Ghana’s petition demanding the operationalization of newly built health facilities in the country.

According to the statement, signed by the Acting Chief Director for the Ministry of Health, Nana Kwabena Adjei Mensah, out of the ten projects, the Ministry of Health will have oversight over five, while the other five will be implemented by the Bank of Ghana, Ministries of Roads, Interior, and Defence. The five projects expected to be supervised by the government are:

1.Design, construction and equipping of 2 Regional Hospitals and 6 District Hospitals by Euroget DeInvest

2.Maternity and Children’s Block at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Design, Construction, and Equipping of seven District Hospitals with Integrated IT systems by NMS Infrastructure Limited.

3. Construction and Equipping of Bekwai District hospital project

4.Construction Male and Female wards, CSSD, Laundry Theatre, Mortuary and Blocks of Flats at Akatsi District Hospital.

5.The two petitioners were also pushing for a comprehensive Emergency Response System (ERS) in Ghana, contending that the matters at hand have “reached a crisis point.”

“The matters now require drastic measures, one of which is our request herein that the President takes urgent steps to operationalize the facilities and institute the ERS throughout Ghana,” they said in their petition.

They urged the President to “put in place and publish a clear road-map with timelines for addressing the matters.”

It is the conviction of the petitioners that the facilities when operationalized, the facilities will “reduce pressure on the existing tertiary and regional referral facilities and add about a 4000-bed capacity to the existing nationwide figure of about 20,000 beds.”

The petition was forwarded to the presidency on July 25th, 2018.

Free SHS, Double Track system are the boldest educational initiatives – UEW VC

Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni has commended government for taking what he calls the boldest decision in the country’s educational sector with the introduction of the free SHS policy and its accompanying Double Track system.

According to the Acting Vice Chancellor, the policy has great potential in providing a strong cornerstone for development and called on all to support the policy to minimize implementation hitches.

Speaking at an interaction with traditional leaders and the people of Effutu in the Central Region, the UEW VC, indicated, the University has commissioned a research to track the SHS preparation and admission intake for Effutuman kids over the next five years.

“I have charged the Dean of the faculty of Education studies to initiate and lead a research that will track SHS preparation and admission intake for Effutuman kids over the next five years. Through the study, we hope to help both the Effutuman and the government to monitor and evaluate the Free SHS policy and its connected double-track system within the municipality.”

“We must emphasize that free SHS is the boldest and best educational policy initiatives that our nation has seen. This is because this policy has great potential in providing a strong cornerstone for development, we must all lend our unflinching support and commitment to the government to ensure its huge success,” he averred.

Rev. Prof. Afful-Broni says the University of Education is committed to the cause of the Free SHS policy and announced plans by the University to absorb the first batch of the free SHS system. He posits the university prepared the grounds to expand their intake in 2020 to help absorb many of the free SHS graduates.

“To show our strong commitment to the government’s vision of providing expanded access to high tertiary education through the Free SHS policy, this University has taken practical steps to absorb the huge number of applicants that will seek admission to our various programmes during the 2020 academic year when the first batch of the free SHS will be due to enter University.”

“Designs have been completed and contracts are about to be awarded for the construction of 8 pavilions, each with 550 seat capacity, all in anticipation of the arrival of the first batch of the free SHS students. We are increasing and expanding Wi-Fi access to ease research, teaching and learning, we are bringing on board more resources and more lecturers are being employed to meet the numbers,” he stated.

The Acting VC commended government for introducing the double track system. According to him, the double track system is an internationally acclaimed system that breeds quality and ensures equity.

“We at UEW are happy that government has again come up with another initiative, the SHS double-track system to salvage the situation. The double track system is acknowledged, internationally, as useful educational policy that ensures an equitable distribution of access to high school and tertiary education to everyone,” he explained.

He expressed the desire of the university to collaborate with the people of Effutu to provide them with opportunities for their children and also creating employment opportunities for well qualified applicants who are indigenes of Effutu to work in the University.

“UEW shares collective responsibility with Effutuman to make sure that her sons and daughters take advantage of the current government’s free SHS policy to ensure that as many children as possible get access to high school education.”

The Paramount Chief of the Effutu Traditional Area, Nenyi Ghartey VII thanked the University for their thoughts and programs arranged to serve the people of Effutu. He described the University’s move to help the people as a remarkable one and one of the best things that has ever happened to the People of Effutu in recent times. He called for a healthy partnership and peaceful co-existence between the University and the people of Effutu to bring peace and development at the university and the Effutu Traditional area.

MP for Efutu, Alex Kwamena Afenyo Markin expressed his delight at the healthy collaboration evolving between the University and the people of Effutu amidst chanting Asafo songs.

“It is a dream come true. We have been looking forward to seeing a thing like this. We pray for Strength and peace for the leadership of the University and the traditional authorities,” he ended.

LIFESTYLE: Low-carb diets ‘could shorten life’

A low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by up to four years, a study suggests.

Low-carb diets, such as Atkins, have become increasingly popular for weight loss and have shown promise for lowering the risk of some illnesses.

But a US study over 25 years indicates that moderate carb consumption – or switching meat for plant-based protein and fats – is healthier.

The study relied on people remembering the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

‘Gaining widespread popularity’

In the study, published in The Lancet Public Health, 15,400 people from the US filled out questionnaires on the food and drink they consumed, along with portion sizes.

From this, scientists estimated the proportion of calories they got from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

After following the group for an average of 25 years, researchers found that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates (the moderate carb group and in line with UK dietary guidelines) had a slightly lower risk of death compared with the low and high-carb groups.

Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit and sugar but the main source of them is starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.

The NHS Eatwell Guide provides details on how to achieve this kind of healthy, balanced diet and reduce the risk of serious illnesses in the long term.

Researchers estimated that, from the age of 50, people in the moderate carb group were on average expected to live for another 33 years.

This was:

four years more than people who got 30% or less of their energy from carbs (extra-low-carb group)

2.3 years more than the 30%-40% (low-carb) group

1.1 years more than the 65% or more (high-carb) group

The findings were similar to previous studies the authors compared their work with, which included more than 400,000 people from more than 20 countries.

Exchanging carbohydrates for plant-based fats and proteins might promote healthy aging, experts said

The scientists then compared low-carb diets rich in animal proteins and fats with those that contained lots of plant-based protein and fat.

They found that eating more beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese in place of carbs was linked with a slightly increased risk of death.

But replacing carbohydrates with more plant-based proteins and fats, such as legumes and nuts, was actually found to slightly reduce the risk of mortality.

Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the research, said: “Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy.

“However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.

“Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term.”

‘Not enough to focus on nutrients’

The authors speculate that Western-type diets that restrict carbohydrates often result in lower intake of vegetables, fruit, and grains and lead to greater consumption of animal proteins and fats, which have been linked to inflammation and ageing in the body.

Prof Nita Forouhi, from the MRC epidemiology unit at University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the study, said: “A really important message from this study is that it is not enough to focus on the nutrients, but whether they are derived from animal or plant sources.

“When carbohydrate intake is reduced in the diet, there are benefits when this is replaced with plant-origin fat and protein food sources, but not when replaced with animal-origin sources such as meats.”

However, there are limitations to the study.

The findings show observational associations rather than cause-and-effect and what people ate was based on self-reported data, which might not be accurate.

And the authors acknowledge that since diets were measured only at the start of the trial and six years later, dietary patterns could have changed over the subsequent 19 years.

‘High fibre intake’

Prof Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, also pointed out that the use of a food questionnaire in the study led to people underestimating the calories and fat they had eaten.

“One explanation for the finding in this and the other US studies is that it may reflect the higher risk of death in the overweight/obese, who may fall into two popular diet camps – those favouring a high-meat/low-carbohydrate diet and those favouring a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet,” he added.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “This provides further evidence that low-carb diets could be incredibly damaging to our long-term health.

“High-fibre starchy carbohydrates should provide about half of our energy, including fruit and vegetables, while reducing intake of higher fat meat and dairy.”

Chiefs cautioned against settlement of defilement and rape cases

Dasebre Kwabu Ewusi VII, the Vice President of the National House of Chiefs has cautioned traditional rulers to avoid the attempt of settling defilement and rape cases that will be presented to them.

“The National House of Chiefs, will not hesitate to apply severe sanctions against any chief who shall attempt to settle defilement and rape cases without referring the case to the Police or any of the security agencies to deal with the matter”.

He said the settlement of such cases at the palaces of some chiefs, had become detrimental to victims, where suspects of the acts go unpunished and that the National House of Chiefs had taken a serious view of the situation.

Dasebre Kwabu Ewusi, who is the Omanhene of Abiadze Dominase gave the warning when he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of Agona Nyakrom to climax their annual Akwambo festival celebration at Agona Nyakrom in the Agona West of the Central Region.

He said it was unlawful for chiefs to meddle in defilement and rape cases and urged them to always refer such matters to the security agencies to handle.

The President said it was about time state institutions such as Domestic violence and Victims and Support Unit (DOVVSU) and other security agencies were allowed to work.

Dasebre Ewusi said chiefs were not permitted to arbitrate in cases which were inimical to society, where innocent girl-child is violently abused and that, it was the responsibility of chiefs to help redeem the girls from such calamity.

Speaking on the festival, the Omanhene said the Akwambo was not meant for gods as was perceived by some religious bodies, but for togetherness to plan for the development of communities, which all the citizenry must get involved.

According to him, the festival also provide the opportunity for family reunion and facilitate interaction among community members for peaceful co-existence.

Dasebre Kwabu Ewusi urged Ghanaians to avoid the smear of the Akwabo or other festivals in the country, which help to promote the culture and the tradition of the people.

He urged parents to take advantage of the Free Senior High School to enrol their children when schools reopened in September for the 2018/2019 academic year.

The President called on Ghanaians to rally behind the government for the sustainable implementation of the educational policy for the benefit of future generations.

He commended the chiefs and people of Agona Nyakorm for organising a fundraising to construct a mortuary at the Nyakrom Health Centre.

‘Etwe Nim Nyansa’, others want to install me as Nkosuohene – Abirem MP

The Member of Parliament for Abirem Constituency in the Eastern Region, John Osei Frimpong has revealed chiefs and residents of now popular ‘3tw3 Nim Nyansa’, ‘Kote Ye aboah’ and ‘Hwewa Y3 Mmobo’ communities are seriously lobbying to install him as Nkosuohene to wit development Chief in the area.

According to Mr. John Osei Frimpong, the Chiefs of the various communities are delighted about his boldness to mention their names in parliament for development for which reason they are ready to install him as Nkosuohene.

It would be recalled that the Abirem Constituency lawmaker, John Osei Frimpong went to parliament and questioned the dismissed Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko about a supposed electrification project to 3tw3 Nim Nyansa community and other genital related community names in parliament which triggered social media debate.

Names in the Twi language like “Vagina is Wise” and “Penis is a Fool” left lawmakers in fits of giggles.

The MP was asking when these areas would get access to electricity.

The dismissed Sector Minister submitted that a survey would be conducted into how the villages in Abirem constituency in Eastern Region could be connected to the national grid.

Speaking on Ene Nso Biom on Nkawkaw-based Agoo fm, the Abirem legislator, John Osei Frimpong said the chiefs are well pleased with his audacious step and even want to reward him for a good job done on their behalf.

According to him, the spotlight on the communities has within the past days attracted a host of investors to the enclave who are willing to lend massive support to the development of the area.

Adolescent children need your friendship – Experts advise

The cordiality of the relationship parents have with children goes a long way to affect their development as adolescents.

Such relationship determine if the children would confide in the parents on the decisions they make or whether they would rely on their friends for such advice or decisions.

According to some experts, the gap between parents and children in Ghana is so wide that the parents are not aware of what their children are going through, such children they say end up succumbing to peer pressure.

Speaking on this topic on the AM Show on the Joy News channel on Multi TV Friday, the founder of Smiling Hearts Foundation, an adolescent grooming organisation noted that some girls she has dealt with have even attempted ending their lives.

Natalie Takyi Appiah explained that such situations are due to a break of communication between the parents and the child which led to built-up emotional challenges.

This, in many circumstances leads these young girls to the web of male peers or in other situations some unscrupulous men.

The adolescent counsellor noted that young girls who do not receive the appropriate care and guidance in their younger years turn out to be very promiscuous in their adolescents stages and influence others badly.

“I have met a girl in a boarding school that has had sex with 10 boys, she’s had a threesome and she is the one that orchestrate for the boys to be locked in a cupboard and after lights out when the school is quiet they go and have sex with them,” she said.

She advised that the way out of these situations is not for the parents to go Rambo style on the children but to understand them and “talk with them instead of talking at them”.

The girls do not grow up on auto pilot and they do not come with a manual so you have to make yourself available to them, she noted.

She noted that her outfit is set to organise an adolescent convention to address such issues where the girls would get the chance to discuss what they would otherwise not tell their parents.

We cannot allow Free SHS to fail – Steve Manteaw

The chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr. Emmanuel Steve Manteaw has said that Ghana cannot afford to fail the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy.

This he said is because, Ghana’s economic indicators at the time of the implementation of the policy in September 2017 are far better than Uganda, the first African country to implement the plan and sustain it.

He says, while the Ugandan government had little sources of finance for its policy, Ghana has had multiple sources to enable it to sustain the policy.

Speaking at a national dialogue on education in Takoradi in the Western Region, Dr. Manteaw said, Ghana has no basis to fail the policy because everything economic is just on our side.

“The population of Uganda was 29.9 million people when they introduced free high school education. in the year Ghana introduced free SHS the population of Ghana was 27.14 million. We are at a place to implement the free SHS than Uganda was when it did. Uganda’s GDP in 2015 was 27.5 billion, in the same year Ghana’s GDP was 37.5 billion. So how have they handled their free secondary education, from taxes and a bit from donors,”

“What do we have as a country, we have taxes, we have gold, we have diamond, magnesium, bauxite, so if we cannot do it, it is a serious indictment on Ghana,” he said.

The government rolled out the Free SHS policy in September 2017 in fulfillment of its campaign promise in the build to the 2016 general election.

The policy has so far increased enrollment in SHSs by about 90,000 students.

But, less than a year after its implementation, a number of challenges such as the non-availability of space in SHSs have forced the government to adopt a new mode of operation for second-cycle institutions – the double track system to take effect in September 2018.

President Akufo-Addo said nothing would stop the government from going ahead of the policy.


Ghanaian Imam dies in Mecca

Information reaching Citizenghana.com indicates that the Imam of Kumbungu a town in the Northern region collapsed and died while attending the holy pilgrimage in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The Imam identified as Ibrahim Hashim Yussif has been buried in accordance to the Islamic tradition and customs.

According to the officials of the Ghana Hajj board the Imam passed away while performing the Tawaf which requires pilgrims to go round the edifice seven times.

His death brings to a total of two Ghanaians who passed away since they were airlifted from the shores of Ghana to the Arabian country.

News of his death has been conveyed back to the bereaved family in Ghana and they have expressed shock but wished him a peaceful repose in heaven as there is a widely held belief among a section of the Muslim community that whoever does in Mecca is heaven bound.

Twenty communities in the Western Region to connect to the national grid – Prestea MP

Twenty communities in the Prestea Huni-Valley Constituency of the Western Region are to be connected to the national electricity grid this year, Prestea MP, Lawyer Barbara Oteng-Gyasi has said.

Lawyer Barbara Gyasi made the above utterance during her familiarisation tour to some communities to identify problems confronting the people as well as initiate strategies to solve them by bringing local governance to the doorstep of the people in various communities she visited.

The tour, she said was to enable a smooth relationship with her and the constituents, whiles she listened to issues bothering them.

“I made a list of all the communities that do not have light to the Ministry of Energy and Electricity Company of Ghana where twenty of them have been selected to be connected to electricity under the rural electrification project this year”, she said.

Some of the communities she visited over the weekend include; Nkran Dadieso, Bayeragya, Krofofrom, Dedebreso, Tarkwa Bremeng Kokoase, Agyeikrom, Ayensukrom and Entowada and these communities had the opportunity to express their concerns to the MP.

The MP, in an interview with wwww.ghanaweb.com, said work will soon start in the twenty communities in the Constituency and that everything would be done to ensure the success of the project.

According to her, government’s goal is to provide every community with their fair share of development.

The Lawmaker was very optimistic that, jobs would be created and economic activities will boom when there is power.

She opined that, “when electricity is available, people can engage in so many businesses. Like, hairdressing, sell iced water or operate a cold store so we are seriously hoping all will be fixed before the end of 2018”.

Lawyer Oteng-Gyasi popularly known as Hajia Kande thanked the NPP government for helping her Constituency and urged her constituents to rally behind President Akufo-Addo to develop her area and Ghana as a whole.

The communities after they are connected to electricity are expected to see high economic activities in those areas.