Egypt Corruption Sentence: Mubarak sentenced to three years in jail.

The former president of Egypt and two sons are also handed fines over embezzlement during his rule.

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A court had previously overturned a verdict on the same charges Mubarak was sentenced for on Saturday.
An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to three years in prison for embezzlement.
Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal were present in the caged dock on Saturday, wearing suits and sunglasses.
They had already been sentenced to three years on the same charges but an appeal court overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial.
The trio were also fined $16m.
Mubarak’s lawyers may try to appeal the verdict, the AFP news agency reported.
Supporters shouted in anger as Judge Hassan Hassanin announced his verdict and it was not immediately clear whether it will include time he has already served since his country’s 2011 revolt.
Some of those backing Mubarak wore T-shirts emblazoned with the former leader’s face. They waved and blew kisses as the 87-year-old entered the courtroom, according to the Associated Press.
Omar Ashour, a lecturer in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, told Al Jazeera the sentencing would be seen as “nothing” by Egyptians who protested to end Mubarak’s rule.
“When we see the series of brutal abuses that happened under Mubarak in his 30-year reign, it will be seen as nothing, especially when we look at the trial happening now of former-President Mohamed Morsi,” he said.
“It tells you that there is very high politicisation of the judiciary.”
The corruption case, dubbed by the Egyptian media as the “presidential palaces” affair, concerns charges that Mubarak and his two sons embezzled millions of dollars worth of state funds over the course of a decade.
The funds were meant to pay for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were instead allegedly spent on upgrading the family’s private residences.
Mubarak was sentenced to three years, his sons to four in the case, prior to having the verdicts overturned.
The heaing, at a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo, took place in the same courtroom where Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies.

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Eight prisoners killed in jail break North of Baghdad asTen Iraqi policemen are also involved.

Ten Iraqi policemen and eight prisoners were killed on Friday as dozens of inmates escaped from a prison holding 300 people charged with acts of terrorism, a security official and a police source said on Saturday.
It was not clear if any high-profile prisoners were held in the prison in Al-Khalis, about 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Diyala Province’s security committee leader, Seyyid Sadiq al-Husseini, said.
“The inmates started fighting among themselves which drew the attention of the police guards who went to break up the fight,” the police source, who asked not to be named, said.
“Then the prisoners attacked them, stripped them of their weapons and started a riot while also managing to capture the armory of the prison.”
Iraq’s government faces multiple security challenges, including from Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of the north and west, and widespread sectarian violence.
Authorities declared a curfew in Al-Khalis and raided houses in search of escaped convicts, said a police source.
A car bomb in the capital, meanwhile, killed seven civilians and wounded 14 others, police and medical sources said, reminding the government of lingering security threats since the last U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq in 2011, ending nearly nine years of war that cost tens of thousands of Iraqi and almost 4,500 American lives.
Source:  (Reuters).

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OPINION: SITUATION AWARENESS OF CURRENT KIDNAPPING TACTICS IN NIGERIA

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By ORSHI Terhemba Ephraim
     An increase in the abduction of foreigners and highly influential persons has been observed with public concern. Several foreigners, especially expatriates, and highly influential persons have been abducted in the recent past while on transit and in most cases their abductors demanded for and received huge ransoms before they are released.
     The tactics used by these abductors are numerous but the latest is the squashing of fresh eggs on the windscreens of fast moving cars which forces the driver of the vehicle to stop. Other methods employed by the kidnappers include throwing sharp objects on the road to deflate vehicle tyres or by pouring grease on the road to make the road slippery thereby bringing the vehicle to a stop before carrying out their nefarious act. It is observed that most of the incidents occur at night.
     Therefore, the need to sensitize travelers on the danger of travelling at night by either the Federal Ministry of Transport or the various States Ministries of Transport cannot be overemphasize. 
    Travelers are to take consideration of the recent tactics of kidnappers and make a situational analysis in their activities. Travelers are to also be wary of the kind of persons they associates with.

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Strategies to Fight Corruption in Nigeria

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Having looked at some of the ways in which corruption damages the social and institutional fabric of Nigeria, we now turn to reform options open to Nigerian government to reduce corruption and mitigate its effects.
     Rose-Ackerman (1998) recommends a two-pronged strategy aimed at increasing the benefits of being honest and the costs of being corrupt, a sensible combination of reward and punishment as the driving force of reforms. This is a vast subject. We discuss below six complementary approaches.
1. Paying civil servants well
Whether civil servants are appropriately compensated or grossly underpaid will clearly affect motivation and incentives. If public sector wages are too low, employees may find themselves under pressure to supplement their incomes in “unofficial” ways. Van Rijckeghem and Weder (2001) did some empirical work showing that in a sample of less developed countries, there is an inverse relationship between the level of public sector wages and the incidence of corruption. Nigeria is a practical example.
2. Creating transparency and openness in government spending. Subsidies, tax exemptions, public procurement of goods and services, soft credits, extra-budgetary funds under the control of politicians—all are elements of the various ways in which governments manage public resources. Nigeria for a long period now witness mismanagement of public fund almost in all sectors in the present PDP administration. Governments collect taxes, tap the capital markets to raise money, receive foreign aid and develop mechanisms to allocate these resources to satisfy a multiplicity of needs. Some countries do this in ways that are relatively transparent and make efforts to ensure that resources will be used in the public interest.
     The more open and transparent the process, the less opportunity it will provide for malfeasance and abuse. Collier (2007) provides persuasive evidence on the negative impact of ineffective systems of budget control. Countries where citizens are able to scrutinize government activities and debate the merits of various public policies also makes a difference. In this respect, press freedoms and levels of literacy will, likewise, shape in important ways the context for reforms. Whether the country has an active civil society, with a culture of participation could be an important ingredient supporting various strategies aimed at reducing corruption. New Zealand, which is consistently one of the top performers in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index , is a pioneer in creating transparent budget processes, having approved in 1994 the Fiscal Responsibility Act, providing a legal framework for transparent management of public resources. Nigeria Leaders are advice to copy the New Zealand approach.
3. Cutting red tape.
The high correlation between the incidence of corruption and the extent of bureaucratic red tape as captured, for instance, by the Doing Business indicators suggests the desirability of eliminating as many needless regulations while safeguarding the essential regulatory functions of the state. The sorts of regulations that are on the books of many countries—to open up a new business, to register property, to engage in international trade, and a plethora of other certifications and licenses—are sometimes not only extremely burdensome but governments have often not paused to examine whether the purpose for which they were introduced is at all relevant to the needs of the present. Rose-Ackerman (1998) suggests that “the most obvious approach is simply to eliminate laws and programs that breed corruption.”
4. Replacing regressive and distorting subsidies with targeted cash transfers.
Subsidies are another example of how government policy can distort incentives and create opportunities for corruption. Practical example is the Nigeria situation. According to an IMF study (2013), consumer subsidies for energy products amount to some $1.9 trillion per year, equivalent to about 2.5 percent of global GDP or 8 percent of government revenues. These subsidies are very regressively distributed, with over 60 percent of total benefits accruing to the richest 20 percent of households, in the case of gasoline. Removing them could result in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and generate other positive spillover effects. Subsidies often lead to smuggling, to shortages, and to the emergence of black markets. Putting aside the issue of the opportunity costs (how many schools could be built with the cost of one year’s energy subsidy?), and the environmental implications associated with artificially low prices, subsidies can often put the government at the center of corruption-generating schemes with this presently happening in Nigeria. Much better to replace expensive, regressive subsidies with targeted cash transfers.
5. Establishing international conventions.
Because in a globalized economy corruption increasingly has a cross-border dimension, the international legal framework for corruption control is a key element among the options open to governments. This framework has improved significantly over the past decade. In addition to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, in 2005 the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) entered into force, and by late 2013 had been ratified by the vast majority of its 140 signatories. The UNCAC is a promising instrument because it creates a global framework involving developed and developing nations and covers a broad range of subjects, including domestic and foreign corruption, extortion, preventive measures, anti-money laundering provisions, conflict of interest laws, means to recover illicit funds deposited by officials in offshore banks, among others. Since the UN has no enforcement powers, the effectiveness of the Convention as a tool to deter corruption will very much depend on the establishment of adequate national monitoring mechanisms to assess government compliance.
Others (Heinemann and Heimann (2006)) have argued that a more workable approach in the fight against corruption may consist of more robust implementation of the anticorruption laws in the 40 states that have signed the OECD’s AntiBribery Convention. Governments will need to be more pro-active in cracking down on OECD companies that continue to bribe foreign officials. In their efforts to protect the commercial interests of national companies, governments have at times been tempted to shield companies from the need to comply with anticorruption laws, in a misguided attempt not to undermine their position vis-à-vis competitors in other countries. Trade promotion should not be seen to trump corruption control. Governments continue to be afflicted by double standards, criminalizing bribery at home but often looking the other way when bribery involves foreign officials in non-OECD countries.
6. Deploying smart technology.
Just as government-induced distortions provide many opportunities for corruption, it is also the case that frequent, direct contact between government officials and citizens can open the way for illicit transactions. One way to address this problem is to use readily available technologies to encourage more of an arms-length relationship between officials and civil society; in this respect the Internet has been proved to be an effective tool to reduce corruption (Andersen et al ., 2011). In some countries the use of online platforms to facilitate the government’s interactions with civil society and the business community has been particularly successful in the areas of tax collection, public procurement, and red tape. Perhaps one of the most fertile sources of corruption in the world is associated with the purchasing activities of the state. Purchases of goods and services by the state can be sizable, in most countries somewhere between 5-10 percent of GDP. Because the awarding of contracts can involve a measure of bureaucratic discretion, and because most countries have long histories of graft, kickbacks, and collusion in public procurement, more and more countries have opted for procedures that guarantee adequate levels of openness, competition, a level playing field for suppliers, fairly clear bidding procedures, and so on.
Chile is one country that has used the latest technologies to create one of the world’s most transparent public procurement systems in the world. ChileCompra was launched in 2003, and is a public electronic system for purchasing and hiring, based on an Internet platform. It has earned a worldwide reputation for excellence, transparency and efficiency. It serves companies, public organizations as well as individual citizens, and is by far the largest business-to-business site in the country, involving 850 purchasing organizations. In 2012 users completed 2.1 million purchases issuing invoices totaling US$9.1 billion. It has also been a catalyst for the use of the Internet throughout the country.
In many of the measures discussed above aimed at combating corruption, the underlying philosophy is one of eliminating the opportunity for corruption by changing incentives, by closing off loopholes and eliminating misconceived rules that encourage corrupt behavior in Nigeria. But an approach that focuses solely on changing the rules and the incentives, accompanied by appropriately harsh punishment for violation of the rules, is likely to be far more effective if it is also supported by efforts to buttress the moral and ethical foundation of human behavior. Corruption does not encourage development, so Nigerian Leaders are advice to take good measures that will reduce the damages it has cost.
Source:  http://www.worldbank.org/

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Why is Sexuality Education Important?

Sexuality is broader than sexual activity. It encompasses all the things that make us who we are. Shaped by culture, history, values, education and experience, our sexuality influences our views of individuality, family, parenthood, and community.
     From a young age, children are exposed to sexual imagery and language in their environment, and their bodies are experiencing and developing sexual responsiveness. Their curiosity is inevitable, and the answers they get should clarify—not confuse—the issues for them.
     Adolescence is a particularly stressful and confusing time as both physical and cognitive aspects of sexual expression begin to align, and the opportunities for personal decision making expand. 
    Sexuality begins to be a significant part of relationship experiences. We want those relationships to be healthy and safe, as they are the training ground for life as an adult.

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