Russian court on Monday found a former policeman guilty of 56 murders, while he is already serving a life sentence for killing 22 women, making him one of Russia’s most prolific serial killers.
The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov “guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007,” Irkutsk regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Popkov “has a pathological attraction to killing people.” He was also found guilty of raping 10 of the victims.
He received a second life sentence on top of the one he is already serving and was also formally deprived of his pension as an ex-policeman.
Popkov in 2015 was found guilty of killing 22 women. He later confessed to 59 further murders but was convicted only of 56 on Monday because the investigators had not managed to prove three of the crimes took place, Interfax news agency reported citing the court’s press service.
He killed his victims after offering them rides late at night, sometimes in a police car, while he was off-duty around his home city of Angarsk near Irkutsk.
The number of killings for which he has been convicted exceeds the total of several notorious murderers in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union.
“Chessboard killer” Alexander Pichushkin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders and Andrei Chikatilo was convicted of 52 Soviet-era murders.
Thousands of vulnerable women and girls from northern Myanmar are being trafficked to China and forced to marry, a study said Friday, offering a rare look at an issue that grips the conflict-hit borderlands.
China has around 33 million fewer women than men due to the decades-long one-child policy.
To plug the gap, tens of thousands of poor women from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are sold as brides each year, some going willingly, while others are tricked or trafficked.
In the first research of its kind, a report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated 7,500 women from war-torn Kachin and northern Shan states have fallen victim to forced marriage in China.
Based on interviews with scores of people who escaped and returned to Myanmar, and others still inside China, the study found that the majority of those trafficked were also forced to carry a child for their husband.
Women leave Myanmar because of “conflict, displacement and poverty” said report author W. Courtland Robinson, while “the male-female sex imbalance in China, especially in rural areas” means demand for a wife is high.
One woman told researchers that she was trafficked into China three times, and each time “pushed into giving birth”, said Moon Nay Li of Kachin Women’s Association Thailand, who led the field research in Kachin and Shan states.
“Because of political instability, conflict and land confiscation… security for women is a big challenge,” she said.
Marriages are often arranged and brokered by the women’s own families and village elders, with brides-to-be unable to refuse as they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
The youngest women command higher prices of up to $10,000-15,000.
Their matches in China are typically to older, sick, or disabled men in rural areas — people considered undesirable to the Han Chinese — while the women’s lack of documentation plunges them into a legal limbo.
The study found that women were often “hired” to bear children for their husbands and then forced out or sold on to new husbands to recoup money.
Some women have successful marriages and the issue of consent is complex and varies case-by-case, Robinson said.
But all unions should be entered into without “threat, menace or penalty”, he added.
Often daughters “can’t say no to their parents”, said Moon Nay Li, and feel compelled to go ahead with the marriage once “traffickers and agents have given money to their parents”.
Researchers called for Myanmar to end the conflict in Kachin and Shan states, which has displaced tens of thousands of women, and to train anti-trafficking officials to enforce the law and recognise the women as victims
Wilder wore a black leather facemask to the weigh-in outside of Staples Center, but that was as menacing as it got as the two fighters were kept several feet apart for the traditional stare-down in the wake of an explosive final press conference on Wednesday.
Britain’s Fury, who finished that event stripped to the waist and offering to engage with Wilder, tipped the scales at 256.5 pounds.
Wilder, meanwhile, said he was looking forward to getting down to business in the ring on Saturday night.
“Talk is cheap,” the American said. “Tomorrow is the time. Actions speak louder than words. It’s definitely the most important fight of my career, but it’s not the most difficult.
“I’ve fought way tougher guys than him. I’m going to knock him out.”
Wilder’s weight is the lightest of his career. He had weighed in at just over 214 pounds for the last defence of his title in March against Luis Ortiz.
The 33-year-old’s heaviest career weight came in a 2015 defence against Eric Molina.
Fury, who returned to the ring this year after a more than two-year absence, weighed 258 pounds for his last fight against Francesco Pianeta in August.
The 30-year-old self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ had reportedly ballooned to around 400 pounds during his spell out of boxing as he battled depression, drink and drug problems
President Donald Trump has invited Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro to visit the United States, his security chief John Bolton said on Thursday after meeting with the recently elected leader of the South American giant.
National Security Adviser Bolton’s visit was the first high-level meeting between the two administrations that have drawn comparisons over similar positions on issues such as the environment, gun control, Chinese trade and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Bolton wrote on Twitter that he and Bolsonaro had “enjoyed a wide-ranging, very productive discussion,” and that the United States would “look forward to a dynamic partnership” with Brasilia’s new administration, due to assume office on January 1.
Bolsonaro also took to social media where he called the talks “productive and welcome.”
The Rio de Janeiro meeting lasted one hour. Bolton didn’t speak to reporters when he left, but he later posted some pictures of the encounter on Twitter.
Far-right Bolsonaro’s new defence, institutional security and foreign affairs ministers were also present.
Bolton had said on Tuesday he was heading to Brazil to “prepare the ground for the two leaders.”
“President Trump was the first foreign leader to call the president-elect,” Bolton had recalled on Tuesday.
“We see this as a historic opportunity for Brazil and the United States to work together, a whole host of areas — economics, security and a range of others.”
Bolsonaro is a fervent Trump admirer and has made no secret of his intention to reorient Brazilian diplomacy towards Washington.
The president-elect followed Trump’s footsteps in announcing his intention to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, breaking with a half-century of diplomacy.
He also alienated China, the world’s second-biggest economy, by accusing it of “buying Brazil,” and then turning his attention to Taiwan, which he visited in February.
Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, appears set to be a key regional ally for Washington in its desire to further isolate left-leaning regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
This week, Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, visited the United States as a special envoy for the new administration.
There he met with political and business leaders and attended the birthday celebrations of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, an ardent supporter of right-wing populist movements around the world.
Eduardo Bolsonaro also sparked controversy when he was pictured wearing a cap supporting Trump’s 2020 bid for re-election.
Google on Wednesday announced the winners of its first Google Impact Challenge in Nigeria with 12 non-profits and social enterprises each awarded a share of $2million in grant funding.
The four winners – The Cece Yara Foundation, HelpMum, Project Enable Africa and Vetsark – will receive $250 000 each, while the eight runners-up will each receive $125 000.
According to the organisers, the funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture.
Google Country Director in Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said the Google Impact Challenge is aimed at shining a light on the great of African innovators.
“Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas.
“We believe technology can help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”
The competition opened in May with more than 5,000 entries received in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Judging to narrow down the 12 finalists was conducted by a team of Googlers and Google partners with expertise in the sector. Voting was then opened to the public from 8 to 26 November. On the night, each entrant pitched their enterprise to a judging panel, which voted on the winners. The results of the public vote determined the people’s choice winner.
Judges on the night included Chairman CEO Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh (OON), Mrs. Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer; Tony Elumelu Foundation; Rapper, CEO of Chocolate City Music Group, MI Abaga; Philanthropist and Executive Director of Nigeria Network of NGOs Oluseyi Oyebisi; Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners Eghosa Omoigui and Google Nigeria’s Country Director Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.
Names and details of the four winners:
Vetsark– It is planning to launch Alpha Prime Disease Surveillance Technology to predict, prevent, and control pests and disease outbreaks in Nigeria to protect crops and livestock.
The Cece Yara Foundation– It established the first toll-free child helpline and child advocacy centre in Nigeria and aims to connect victims with professional services through the web, SMS, and mobile apps.
HelpMum– Using mobile technology, HelpMum provides clean birth kits to ensure that pregnant women are given the best possible care during delivery, irrespective of where they live.
Project Enable Africa– This digital inclusion project promotes the access of people with disabilities and their caregivers to ICT skills and opportunities.
The Eight runners-up:
BudgiT Foundation– Its Tracka Capital Project raises a community of active citizens who monitor the implementation of government projects to ensure service delivery.
Bunmi Adedayo Foundation– This non-profit organisation trains public primary school teachers to bridge competency gaps in their teaching methodology as well as any subject area deficiencies.
Junior Achievement Nigeria– Provides entrepreneurship and digital skills training for secondary school students.
LearnFactory Nigeria– Its EmBED project uses technologies like virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence to make learning fun for children.
Rural Development and Reformation Foundation– Its OLEJU campaign is designed to economically empower women to become skilled artisans using creative recycling technology as a major tool.
Seed Tracker – IITA– This digital app is designed to enhance quality seed production and access to seed markets, addressing the lack of knowledge in the sector.
Solar Sister Nigeria– This non-profit social enterprise recruits, trains, and mentors women to deliver transformational solar and clean cooking solutions directly to the doorsteps of homes across the country.
The Roothub Tech 101– A training programme designed to provide much-needed technology skills to disadvantaged youths in the rural areas of Nigeria
The Federal Government has approved a reduction of examination fees charged by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board and the National Examinations Council (NECO).
The fees will be reduced from 5,000 to 3,500 with effect from January 2019.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, made the disclosure after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday to journalists in Abuja.
The Senior Secondary Certificate exam conducted by NECO has also been slashed from N11,350 to N9,850 and fees for the Basic Education Certificate handled by NECO, has been reduced from N5,500 to N4,000.
The Head of Digital Communications for President Muhammadu Buhari made the confirmation through his twitter handle.
Just in. President @MBuhari has approved the reduction in the cost of Forms for JAMB UTME, NECO SSCE and the Basic Education Certificate Examination.
With effect from January 2019 the cost of JAMB UTME Form will drop from N5,000 to N3,500. NECO will drop from N11,350, to N9,850.
Muhammadu Buhari has sympathised with the Oke family over the death of Nigeria’s renowned poets and winner of the 2017 NLNG-sponsored Nigerian Prize for Literature, Ikeogu Oke.
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, extends his heartfelt condolences to the literary and creative community on the painful demise of the award-winning poet.
He affirmed that as an author, journalist and poet, Oke exuded vibrancy, intelligence and innovation in his works as a social commentator, constantly in search of plausible answers and solutions to contemporary issues bedeviling his society.
“Through his poetry, Oke enriched Nigeria’s literary genre and his legacy will live on in his works, which he was incredibly proud of and committed to, as he wrote in his epic Epitaph: ‘‘Here lies a man who loved virtue and art, And gave to both his fortunes and his heart…’’
The President encouraged all Nigerians, the literary community and lovers of art to honour Ikeogu Oke’s memory by imbibing the didactic message of his works.
He prayed for God to console all who mourn the departed poet and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.
EX President Olusegun Obasanjo says his EX deputy, Atiku Abubakar, and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), deserves to be celebrated.
Obasanjo said this on Sunday at the turbaning of Atiku as the seventh Wazirin Adamawa by the Lamido of Adamawa, Mustapha Barkindo.
Obasanjo also hailed his former deputy for jointly dealing with national and international affairs with him while they were at the helms of affairs.
“Even when we were in Abuja and we were dealing with national and international affairs, you did not take it lightly the cultural affairs at home.
“So, you more than deserve this celebration and I will plead that the way you had carried the office you held in the past, you will carry the one that you have now. No matter what responsibility you may have at the national or the international level, east or west home is the best.
“If the occasion we are having today is an acknowledgment that home has given to you and you must do everything to show the home that you appreciate the honour that has been done to you,” Obasanjo said.
Other dignitaries who were at turbaning of Atiku include former President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President Bukola Saraki; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and some serving PDP governors
This handout photo taken and released on November 26, 2018 from the New Zealand Department of Conservation shows dead pilot whales on a remote beach on Stewart Island in the far south of New Zealand. Up to 145 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding on a remote part of a small New Zealand island, authorities said on November 26. Handout / New Zealand Department of Conservation / AFP
Up to 145 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding in a remote part of New Zealand, with authorities saying Monday they made the “heartbreaking” decision to euthanise dozens that lay stricken on the shore.
The stranding was discovered by a hiker late Saturday on Stewart Island, 30 kilometres (19 miles) off the southern coast of the South Island.
Half of the whales were already dead and due to the condition of the remaining whales and the remote, difficult-to-access location, the decision was made to euthanise the remainder.
“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low,” said Ren Leppens, the Department of Conservation’s operations manager on Stewart Island.
“The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise.
“However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”
It was one of four strandings discovered on New Zealand shores over the weekend which stretched DOC resources.
In the far north of New Zealand, eight pygmy killer whales were transported by truck to the east coast from the west where sea conditions were too rough to refloat them.
Two of the pod had to be euthanised, but Daren Grover of the marine conservation group Project Jonah said the remainder were saved by transporting them by road to the more-sheltered east coast 20 kilometres away.
“It’s highly stressful for the whales, but they’ll be using suitable padding to protect them,” he told Fairfax Media.
They were to be kept in a stream overnight and refloated at high tide on Tuesday morning.
There were two other whale strandings over the weekend in New Zealand, where beachings are relatively common with the conservation department responding to an average 85 incidents a year, mostly of single animals.
A sperm whale which beached in Doubtless Bay died overnight on Saturday, while the body of a dead female pygmy sperm whale was found at Ohiwa on the west coast of the North Island.
Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather.