The Middle East is definitely obese!

According to a recent study that gathered private data and trends among 188 countries, it was found that more than 58% of the men and more than 65% of women across the Middle East and North Africa suffer from either overweight or obesity in 2013. More than three-quarters of the countries in the region have seen their rates of overweight and obesity increasing by more than 50% for both men and women. Altogether, there are 259 million people suffering from obesity or overweight in the Middle East. 180 million people are actually overweight and 79 million people suffer from obesity.

The study was published under the name “Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013”*. It was conducted by the Health Metrics and Evaluation Institute (IHME) at the University of Washington and published in The Lancet on May 28th, 2014.

According to the study, the prevalence of overweight and obesity of adults in North Africa and the Middle East increased from about 53% to 62% during the study period. In 2013, the prevalence of overweight and obesity rate among men was almost 59%, while it was higher among women, approaching 66%. In this region, Kuwait has the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults in general.

During the 33 years of research, many Middle East countries showed a large increase in global obesity rates, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. The top three countries in terms of increasing prevalence of obesity among men in 2013 are Qatar (44%), Kuwait (43%) and Bahrain (31%). The rate of obesity among women exceeded 50% in three countries in the Middle East, which are Kuwait (59%), Libya (57%) and Qatar (55%).

In most countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates, rates of overweight and obesity reached more than 50% in both men and women.

Overweight and obesity are some of the major health issues for children in the Middle East and North Africa. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the region among children dramatically increased from approximately 19% to 25% during the study period, making the region occupy the third place in terms of regional spread of obesity and overweight in 2013.

The top three countries in terms of increasing prevalence of overweight or obesity among girls are Kuwait (46%), Oman (42%) and Libya (42%). The countries with the highest rates among boys are Qatar (34%), Libya (33%) and Lebanon (33%).

In Egypt, approximately one-third of boys and 40% of girls suffer from either overweight or obesity. Approximately 40% of Saudi girls also suffer from overweight or obesity. And it is the same situation for nearly a quarter of boys.

What should we do to fight obesity?

The World Health Organization defines overweight and obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health” stating that “The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended”.

Governments at all levels should act on the problem of obesity as they do to counter an outbreak of infectious disease or to protect the population of a toxic substance in the environment. They had to pass legislation to reduce smoking, as they were also right to mandate the wearing of seatbelts. The current situation of excess weight in the population has developed over several decades, especially because our environment has become absolutely unhealthy. Slowing weight gain and reversing the situation cannot be done in a few years. The impacts of these actions will certainly take place gradually. An annual improvement, however small it may be, will result in health benefits and considerable long-term economic benefits for the entire society.

By taking measures to promote the health of the population, governments play their role, which is not limited to looking after people who already became ill. Diseases caused by tobacco are in decline, deaths caused by drunk driving too. These successes are largely due to government policies and, of course, citizens who supported them. It will be the same for the obesity epidemic.

Source: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60460-8/abstract

Have the Arab Springs dried up?

The fourth anniversary of the Arab Springs was celebrated in Egypt with a climbing death toll that just reached 17. A further 50 people were injured with the greatest degree on unrest being reported in the Matariya district, Cairo.

Far from peaceful, the demonstrations were marred with bombings. There was also causalities in Giza, in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in a village west of Nile Delta where two people were killed.

The political context for the demonstrations must have Egyptians wondering if their country will ever be a truly peaceful place. It has been four years since Hosni Mubarak was ousted and two since the then-army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ousted elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, sits as the sixth president of Egypt after running for elections. He resigned from the military and democratically earned the post he removed from his predecessor. As a leader he is adored by some and hated by many. His strong stance against the Muslim Brotherhood and speeches which can be construed as motivational or dissident, depending on your point of view, appeal to some and appal others.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for an Islamic reinvention, during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“The terrible terrorist attacks and this terrible image of Muslims led us to think that we must stop and think and change the religious discourse and remove from it things that have led to violence and extremism” He said.

In a region where religion and politics are intertwined to the detriment of both Indoctrinations and a political leader is assessed, more so on their piety than policies, one begins to wonder, at what a reinvented Islam could look like.

Thought provoking speeches aside Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been accused of suppressing journalist freedoms. Human rights watch released a damning report that details scores of detainees dying and wasting away in government custody; many of whom are members of the imprisoned Muslim brotherhood. He has also been accused of prosecuting government critics and gay people.

He shows little reluctance to jail people on political grounds and the twenty three people still sit in jail, who were arrested June 21 for protesting, anti-protesting laws.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are the three Al-Jazeera journalist jailed for supposedly aiding a terrorist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood. Their charges include publishing lies that harmed the national interest and supplying money, equipment and information to 16 Egyptians.

A statement from Al-Jazeera said: “Baher, Peter and Mohammed have been unjustly in jail for over a year now.

“The Egyptian authorities have a simple choice – free these men quickly, or continue to string this out, all the while continuing this injustice and harming the image of their own country in the eyes of the world. They should choose the former.”

It’s business as usual in Egypt. The Arab spring’s anniversary a yearly reminded to all Egyptians that in spite of their best efforts these monstrosities still occur in their country. Political stability seems an unachievable goal and whoever finds their way into office be it through uprisings or democratic election is more determined than their predecessor to persecute, control and imprint backwards ideologies on the nation.

The Arab Springs briefly had massive momentum. It saw the ousting of the ruler in Tunisia, with the jasmine revolution/ Sidi Bouzid Revolt, long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. The country now has free and democratic elections. After a troubling three years in which their economy plummeted, jobs were lost and living conditioned worsened the country optimistically took to the polls again in 2014. In the hope that with time and consistency democracy might hold the answers.

Libya is still struggling with local conflict. Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s is dead but the countries problems refused to die with him. The country is at war with its self, split into fractions it is now a constant battle field, with electricity for less than four hours a day, schools have been disband the economies in tatters and two thirds of its people are below the poverty line. The political situation in the country is too complicated to go into but the ousting of a dictator has created a power vacuum in which several struggle for control.

Yemen, began their revolution at the same time as Egypt. The protests, initially protesting poor living condition and unemployment grew to calls for the stepping down of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and after 33 years in power he signed The Gulf Cooperation Council Agreement. The last three years in Yemen have seen some progress with the creation of a transitional unity government, and the completion of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), a complete break with the past is yet to be seen. The country is yet to see any political restructuring and officials are still appointed based on their alliances and status with the parties.

Civil uprisings also occurred in Bahrain and Syria. Major protests broke out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and Palestine.

While some progress has been made the Arab springs failed to bring about any real order and prosperity. The yearly riots and violence to commemorate the anniversary are only taking lives and completely devoid of any kind of structure or political motive.

The problems of the region continue to scroll along the teleprompts of foreign news channels and collectively the world shakes its head and wonders. Paralysed by the extremes of religion and culture. It must be frustrating, the perpetual death, violent protests, corrupt officials and failed democracies. How and when will these problems ramify themselves? If overthrowing governments and civil uprisings can’t fix the region, what will?

 

 

ToDo: Quitting smoking to get rid of back pain

Smokers, here is another reason to quit smoking! The terrible back pain you are suffering from may actually be one of the many negative aspects of smoking. A recent study* conducted by researchers at the British University of Rochester indicated that quitting smoking can reduce back pain for people who suffer from problems in their spine.

The association of back pain and nicotine

The study emphasized the importance of quitting smoking for patients suffering from spinal disorders, since the existence of a link between improved back pain and smoking cessation was proved. It also revealed that pain rates are significantly higher for smokers compared to non-smokers.

The study which lasted 8 months included 5,300 patients with back pain due to a problem in the spine. The researchers stressed the need to develop programs for those patients to quit smoking in order to get rid of their back pain. They found that among people who began receiving treatment, former smokers and non-smokers, the back pain was definitely better eased compared to current smokers who did not quit smoking during the study.

The researchers said that patients who quit smoking during treatment had the best improvement in pain compared to those who continued smoking as usual. Glenn R. Rechtine, M.D., a nationally recognized spinal surgeon and adjunct faculty at URMC, led the study and stressed that “nicotine increases the pain. The study showed that if he quits smoking during treatment, the patient feels better.”

Rechtine also pointed out that “This study emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation for patients suffering from spinal disorders because of the existence of a link between improved back pain and smoking cessation.” A previous study has been conducted on more than eight thousand people in Germany and showed that smokers were more likely to have chronic back pain than non-smokers.

Many people suffer from spinal disorders such as spine curvature disorders (the most common ones being lordosis, kyphosis and scoliosis). There are numerous reasons for the spread of these problems, mainly bad daily habits that most of us have adopted long time ago.

Spine harmful habits

There are several factors that can damage the spine, most notably:

– Sitting on the ground, which causes curvature of the back if it lasts for a long time.

– Back and neck banging which is a common habit among many people, but that can cause some serious damage of the spinal cord and the vertebrae.

– Charging the spine above what it can bear such as pushing a parked car, causing the back muscles to stretch more than what is allowed and possibly evolving to lead to a discal hernia and thus to sciatica.

– Fatigue at work.

– Lack of exercise and inactivity.

– Intense exercising.

– Sitting for long periods and bending in front of the computer, because it causes blood to flow to the legs and keeps the spine twisted for a long time.

Smoking in the Middle East

Trends have been varying since 1980 by country and gender. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait are still among the countries where smoking rates remain high.

Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Oman are among the ten countries that have a population of over one million and in which the daily consumption of cigarettes rate is the highest in 2012. Kuwait was one of the countries – including China and Russia – which suffered from a high health negative impact of the combined effects of the high prevalence of smoking and the consumption of cigarettes. Lebanon was one of the few countries in the world where smoking rates among women were higher than 20%.

Overall, the prevalence of smoking by age dropped by 42% among women and by 25% among men between 1980 and 2012. Despite the decline in the prevalence of smoking, high population growth contributed between 1980 and 2012 to increase by 41% the number of daily male smokers and a 7% increase of the number of daily female smokers. Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East in which the prevalence of smoking exceeded 20%.

Many Middle Eastern countries registered seriously high levels of daily cigarettes consumption. Smokers in Kuwait consumed an average of 22 cigarettes per day in 2012. The average daily consumption of cigarettes in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman was even higher. Saudi Arabia ranked sixth in the world according to cigarettes consumption with 35 cigarettes a day, while Oman ranked seventh with 33 cigarettes a day. Globally, the number of cigarettes smoked exceeded 6 trillion cigarettes in the world. The average consumption of cigarettes is higher than 20 cigarettes per day in 75 countries in 2012.

Read more:

http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3695

Diabetes in the middle east, it is getting serious!

Head of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Medicine at the Medical College of the Arabian Gulf University, Dr. Faisal Al-Nasser said that the incidence of diabetes in the Arab Gulf “is one of the highest in the world”, and attributed this to the lifestyle and dietary habits in the Gulf region.

Dr. Al-Nasser gave a keynote paper at the International Conference of Family Physicians, which was held in Dubai, titled “Diabetes, the plague of our era”. During the conference, he explained that “the Arab Gulf is one of the top 10 countries in the world which are witnessing a steady increase in the proportion of patients with diabetes.”

He pointed out that the prevalence of diabetes in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is ranging currently from 15 percent to 20 percent but is definitely expected to increase in the coming years.

He also pointed out “the beginning of the emergence of a strange phenomenon, a proliferation of type II diabetes of children in the Arab Gulf states,” while the illness used to be confined to the first type.

Diabetes is classified into three main types which are similar in the general characteristics but differ in their causes : Type I diabetes, Type II diabetes and gestational diabetes.

It is known that the second type of diabetes is spreading due to dietary habits and lifestyle, while the first type of diabetes is caused by genetic factors.

Dr. Al-Nasser predicted the increasing of the prevalence of diabetes in the Middle East up to twofold by the year 2030, bringing the total to 60 million ill patients.

About the recommendations that should limit the spread of this disease, Dr. Al-Nasser launched an initiative to establish a coalition of Euro-Arabic family doctors. He believes that this cooperation “will strengthen the role of family medicine in improving the health of the individuals and the society,” pointing out that the coalition will be organizing regular conferences to highlight the health and social problems encountered by the public communities in the Arab Gulf states in particular.

The British newspaper “Financial Times” highlighted on November 14, 2014 the high prevalence of diabetes among the population throughout the Middle East and North Africa and reported expectations of an increase of the burden on health care systems in the region unless governments take further action to change the life pattern there.

According to the newspaper, in a report posted on its website, one out of every 10 adults suffer from diabetes, half of whom are actually undiagnosed. The report invokes the quick increase of type II diabetes cases in the region, and without a true lifestyle change, a quarter of the population of the Middle East would be affected with diabetes by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

The newspaper report explained that overeating and junk food, in addition to the lack of physical exercise, undermines the attempts to control the spread of diabetes, which is associated with obesity, and with the increased incidence of obesity, particularly among children, the increase of diabetes is currently one of the most pressing health issues in the region.

The British newspaper quoted Mr. Adel, Regional President of the International Diabetes Federation, who said: “We have the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world, due to our habits in eating and lack of exercise.”

The federation expects to see the prevalence of diabetes double in the region during the next two decades, with the number of cases rising from 37 million (10% of the population) to 68 million (about 25% of the population forecast in 2035).

The newspaper pointed out that the disease has already caused 363 thousand deaths in 2014, half of whom are under the age of 60. Throughout the region, Egypt is one of the states with the highest population density and also the largest number of cases of diabetes, about 7.6 million, but the implications of diabetes are relatively higher in the wealthy states of the Gulf region.

International Diabetes Federation says that up to 70% of cases of Type II diabetes can be prevented or delayed through the adoption of healthy lifestyles, calling on governments to implement more regulations to encourage citizens to eat different foods and get used to exercising.

For sale by owner on the rise in Denmark

Danish real estate is increasingly sold without the involvement of a real estate agent.

Especially the cooperative housing market sees a large share of the real estate sales being sold as “For sale by owner”.

According to a report in september 2014 6,6% of all new real estate listings were done as “For sale by owner”. The same number from the year before was 4,4%.

The rise is predominately due to a larger number of real estate in the cooperative housing sector is sold by the owners without engaging a real estate agent. In Copenhagen 41,9% if all new real estate listings with cooperative housing was done as “For sale by owner”.

There has been a rise in the number of websites assisting the owners with advertising there real estate online on a “For sale by owner” basis. The most popular are Boliga.dk and Selvsalg. Especially Bolig.com has been increasingly popular due to it being free.

The traditional real estate agents normally take a fee of around between 3.000 to 5.000 USD. Therefore many sellers would try to avoid using the traditional real estate agents.

 

Bassem Youssef; who is he and what is happening in Egypt?

Bassem Youssef is a man who has had a handle on the pulse of the Egyptian people, both in the literal sense during his time as a cardiac surgeon and in a more figurative sense as a host of a popular Egyptian political satire show. Bassem attended Cairo University where he studied to be a surgeon, specializing in cardiovascular.

However, Bassem moved away from surgically cutting heart and stepped into the role of getting into the heart of the matter when he entered the realm of journalism.

His time as a satirical political commentator earned him many accolades and unique praise, including being listed in 2013 as one of Time magazine’s ‘top 100 most influential people in the world’, awarded the ‘international press freedom award’ again in 2013 and being called a friend of the American TV talk show host Jon Stewart.

Bassem: Egypt’s Jon Stewart

His entry into political commentary had quite humble beginnings, starting off with short five minute webisodes called B+, Bassem’s blood type, which were posted on the video sharing platform Youtube. The videos, despite being filmed in a laundry room and far from the glamour of a typical TV show studio as you can get, became immensely popular and in only three months gained over 5 million views. This popularity resulted in Bassem and his fellow creators being offered by ONTV the opportunity of moving their satirical and cutting political talk to Egyptian television, with a TV show titled ‘Al-Bernameg’. This show tackled pressing issues in a daring blunt yet still humorous manner. Jon Stewart, who was an inspiration for Bassem in his own media endeavours, praised the show, describing it as sharp, smart and very well executed.

However, despite being praised and watched by many; the show garnered heavy criticism primarily from Egyptian authorities. In 2012 the show was lampooned for alleged insults towards Islam, former president Mohamed Morsi and for a general cause of disruption to public peace. Criticism reached an all-time high in October 2013 with numerous complaints put forth regarding the show, including accusations that Bassem had insulted the armed forces and the acting president, Adly Mansour. This censure resulted in strife with CBC, Al-Bernameg’s broadcaster, which eventually resulted in the show being pulled from its channels. Following this cancellation, Bassem was suspended from his next channel due to continuing controversy and widespread criticism. This second disruption to the airing of the show, alongside the constant controversy and criticism, seemed to be the straw that broke the long labouring camel’s back, resulting in Bassem terminating the Al-Bernameg show. When asked on his actions, Bassem said he felt that his safety and the safety of his family mattered more than a TV show.

 

Silence in Egypt

This act of succumbing to national pressure and the forsaking of freedom of speech has unfortunately been a regular occurrence in Egypt, especially since its military takeover. This was starkly evident during Mohamed Morsi 2012-2013 leadership, who issued cease and desist notices to private media organizations and threatened to have them shut down if they did not cease their criticism of him.

Even though the current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has declared that his ‘new’ Egypt would have ‘no limitation on freedom of expression’. He went on to say that anyone could be criticized, even himself, without any fear of consequence. This though has been far from the reality of the situation. As it is frequently cited, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of Egyptian officials in relation to the media and freedom of speech have caused these to be nothing more than empty pretty declarations. There are threats and intimidation tactics regularly enacted towards journalists from authority figures, a constant censoring of articles and the removal of issues of newspapers from circulation due to dissatisfaction with content. Just late last year, an issue of the private newspaper, ‘Al Masry Al Youm’ was removed due to it having presented a posthumous interview with the former intelligence agent Refaat Jibril. This article then was ordered to be removed from the paper by security officials without any kind of explanation.

There is a perceived imperative need to conduct this careful control of speech for the stability of their government, a sentiment which even some journalists seem to be adhering to of late. In October 2014, editors from 17 newspapers issued a shared declaration not to criticize the state or the army in their publications. It was felt that a united front is needed and that journalists have a responsibility to aid in the stability of their country.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassem_Youssef

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/23/media-advisory-bassem-youssef/

http://egyptianstreets.com/2014/12/24/egypts-most-popular-satirist-bassem-youssef-fined-egp100-million/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/03/world/middleeast/egyptian-journalists-protest-editors-pledge-not-to-criticize-state.html?_r=0

 

Is Yemen Ruled By Law Of Emergency?

‘’He was shopping one day at the center and gunmen kidnapped him, ‘said Khaled al-Anesi, the popular Yemen layer for human rights, of his young client Mobley Sharif, a US citizen. He claims that he was tortured and beaten in jail. Here’s where it gets suspicious. His own government was aware that he was tortured and missing for a year, according to the young man. ‘’They arrived in civilian clothes and he mistook them for tribal gunmen and tried to save his dear life by running. He was shot and arrested. He was brought to the cells by US investigators that threatened to kill him then rape his dear wife. The young man was beaten and his leg broken.’’

It is not clear whether Mr. Mobley who became a Yemen citizen in 2008 to learn Arabic was in any way involved with the number one terrorist group, Al-Qaeda in the Peninsula. This is the most feared terrorist group in Yemen. In fact, no evidence shows he was involved in Al-Qaeda.

Anwar al-Alwaki had regular contact with Mr. Mobley. He was the group’s spiritual leader. The United States says he was the master propagandist in the terrorist cell and was later killed in a U.S. drone strike. According to official reports, Mr. Mobley met the spiritual leader in 2000 in New York. Awlaki was emailed by Mobley, whose wife was pregnant. He wanted recommendations on where to take her wife.

On March 2020, Mobley tried to escape from the hospital he was in. According to official reports, Mobley shot and fatally injured a guard and all terrorism charges he had were dropped and now he is in jail waiting to be tried for murder. His lawyer has not seen him for months and Mobley says that he has missed more than four trial hearing because those who took him failed to take him to court. ‘’They did not have a right to detain him according to Yemeni law,’’ said his lawyer, Mr. Anesi.

The lawyer claims that Mr. Mobley’s case was delayed indefinitely due to inconsistencies in Yemen judicial system. As Anesi argues, the government has been ready to proceed with his case but for unknown reasons, Mr. Mobley still remains a captive. ‘’The hearing process will move faster soon, said an official who doesn’t with to be named for safety reasons.

An American told Mr. Mobley that Yemen has no constitutional jurisdiction. We are able to do as we please.’’ Well, they did exactly that, said his lawyer.’’ His story has a large audience because Mr. Mobley has his roots in American not a Yemen citizen. He belongs to a group of people who share the same story, said Belkis Wille, a Kuwait and Yemen research for Human rights.
A popular Yemen judge says that Yemen will slowly become disintegrated because the law is never followed even by government officials. For instance,’’ Yemen constitutional law prohibits anyone from killing someone, he said.’’ ‘’It is unfair and unconstitutional to kill anyone without due process, a fair trial so to speak.’’ He further claims that Yemen by law of emergency, not by constitution. America made dozens rules and Yemen abides by those rules.

According to rules enacted by the United States on 2011, a law was passed in the wake of the Twin Towers bombing and offers a legal framework for a ‘’bloody war without end in near’’ This act is widely used and seems to disown United States human rights protocol and has a dire impact that affect Yemen when it comes to legal matters.

‘’It is sad that Americans comes here and do whatever they want’’ said Mawri. It weakens the government’s judicial jurisdiction. ‘’The citizens feel that if the judges cannot protect their reputation, who else will help them, a great state of shame,’’

Five Beheaded By Al-Shabaab Militants: When Will This End?

Al-Shabaab militants beheaded their fifth victim, a Quran school instructor in Mogadishu, Somalia, according to recent reports. The Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group claimed responsibility for the killings. ‘’On Friday, the school instructor was kidnapped from his home in Qandho and they dumped his headless body near his home on early Saturday morning,’’ said a local spokesman who asked not to be named for fear of his life. The teacher, identified as Hussein Mohamed was a resident of Qandho in central Somalia. He was 45 years old. The reason Mr. Hussein was killed was that he refused to follow orders by the militants to leave the village that was seized by AU and Somali troops. According to the militants, all local residents were supposed to leave their homes once they seized their town.

Early last week, Al-shabaab militants kidnapped and killed two policewoman of Somali origin by beheading in the remote city of Teyeglow, in southwest Somalia. A government soldier whose dear wife was among the victims who were beheaded then sought revenge and killed five Al-shabaab wives. In the town of Bur Hakab near south Somalia, the militants also killed two army guys. This is a group that was declared a terrorist organization in early March 2008 by the United States of America. Al-shabaab seeks to Somaliland into an Islamic state. The militants are linked to hundreds of deaths from attacks that target civilians, workers, journalists and AU peacekeepers.

In other news, U.S official intelligence personnel are in the process of confirming the death of Omar Hammami, who was beheaded in Somalia by Al-shabaab militants. According to Somalia media, the no-nonsense jihadist known as ‘the American’ met his death on orders carried out by his rival within their group. Reports claim that Hammami was born in Alabama and was a recruiter based in U.S. on the verge of recruiting western Europeans and Americans to the terrorist group, one of the most dangerous militants in Africa.

A U.S Special Forces officer confirmed that they are yet to make sure the reports of his death are true and if they are, it would be a turning point to the group’s operations overseas. ‘Our people have been following this report keenly. We are yet to confirm the report is true, ‘said the official. According to Somalia medial, Al-shabaab leader known as Ahmed Abdi Godane ordered the execution of Hammami and jihadist forums were quick to post the alleged beheading on Hammami.
Hammami had released a video last month admitting to feeling that Al-shabab were going to kill him due to difference of opinion. In the video which could not be verified, he says he disagreed with the Jihadist’s strategy and Islam’s Sharia Law. This is not the first time the group executed their foreign fighters, according to recent reports. Hammami was believed to have been killed in February after heavy shelling in Mogadishu by anti-insurgent soldiers. He joined the group in 2007 October when he was only in his twenties.

The Al-Jazeera reports describe him as a ‘military instructor’ and a ‘fighter’ and he hid his face when filming videos. Nobody knows what triggered Hammami to change from a talented student who dated a popular girl in college, to an influential figure in today’s world’s inhumane Islamist group. He was born in 1884 and was brought up in a Christian family and went to Bible camp when he was young. His mother had an Alabama Accent and he learned this in elementary school. His father who was strict, and was from Syria and later moved to America as an engineer.

His was raised in the American way of life but he remained a cultural Muslim where shoes were always left outside the door and pork was strictly forbidden, and their household was decorated with Koranic inscriptions. In his youthful years, he loved soccer and Shakespeare and had dreams of studying surgery. His friends say Hammami was a good leader. ‘It felt nice just to be around him, a friend reported to the New York Times. He was a fun person to have around and we knew he had strong leadership skills. In his early thirties, Hammami was a leader in one of the worst terrorist group in the world.

The Boko Haram Menace Continues: Kidnaps 100 Children and Women and Kills 30 People

Boko Haram menace: Kills 32 people, kidnaps over 100 children and women

Recently, Boko Haram terrorists killed 30 people and kidnapped over 180 children and women in Northeastern Nigeria in a planned raid, said local residents and officials. They arrived in many pick up tracks and attacked the remote village in a place called Gumsuri on Sunday and show down men who were working and grouped children and women and killed them. ‘’They then gathered the children and women and carried them in their trucks and burned their homes with bombs’’ said a government official who asked for anonymity for his safety. Due to lack of proper communication, the news of this hostile attack surfaced after four days. Boko Haram had disabled telecommunication towers before they attacked. In fact, local government officials only received news of the attack from locals who had fled for their dear life to Borno state where most officials had migrated to for fear of being attacked.

According to witness reports, the insurgents stormed their homes from two main directions, overwhelming the local vigilantes that worked tirelessly in vain to repel Boko Haram to other areas, said Umar, a Gumisuri agent. He says he walked for four good days to save his dear life. ‘’They burned down our village and kidnapped our women and children, ‘’ said Ari. Another witness claims that the militants used heavy guns to kill the residents and used gasoline canisters to torch down their houses.

 

We lost our loved ones in the horrific attack. I did not manage to escape with my valuables except the clothes I am wearing, said Kalli. Thousands of residents fled to Gumsuri and continue to travel to Maiduguri – a place struggling to accommodate the large number of residents fleeing from the chaos since their homes have been destroyed. In

In other news, the Cameroonian army says that they managed to kill more than 100 Boko Haram insurgents in a boarder in northeastern on Wednesday. This happened when the insurgents tried to invade Amchide, a busy town in Cameroon, said Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck. They managed to gun down one soldier and another is still missing after they managed to evade the attack, according to statements made by Badjeck. The insurgents managed to steal a truck and destroyed two military trucks, said Badjeck. According to Badjeck, the military caused unspecified harm to the insurgents that manned the northeastern Nigeria boarder. ‘’Our men meticulously fought away the insurgents and forced them to retreat, said the Cameroonian state official spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

“The group has only one clear objective; to ensure they spread uncertainty and fear among the population. But you can trust us that we shall do our best to eliminate their stronghold till they are crushed down.” said Bakary. According to official reports, the Cameroonian government officials clashed with Boko Haram in Limani, Cameroon two months ago. Five Cameroonian forces and over 100 Boko Haram insurgents were killed in the deadly clash, the Cameroon State broadcaster reported.

Campaign of fear and uncertainty

The insurgents have been terrorizing northern Nigeria since early 2009, attacking churches, civilians, police, government buildings and even the police. This month along, a female insurgent killed 6 people in Maiduguri and last month, suicide bombers killed more than 200 people. They attacked a mosque and killed many civilians who were worshipping. The insurgents basically targeted mainstream Islam followers, saying that they don’t represent the 80 million Muslim population in Nigeria. They say that mainstream Islam perverts the religion, said an official who asked for anonymity to protect his identity.

In April this year, the insurgents drew international criticism after they kidnapped schoolchildren, mostly girls who where then sold into inhuman slavery. The insurgents have killed at least 4,000 people since they started killing innocent women and children. This is a report according to a U.S. based congressional report, hence makes it the world’s most wanted terrorist organization. Many people wonder why the insurgent attack mosques and yet they claim that they are religious fighters. The insurgents attacked many establishments, accusing them of perverting the religion and not defending their interests. A prominent member of one establishment is a former governor, who often preaches at the mosque on the weekends. The governor was outside the country when the mosque was attacked by the insurgents, but earlier on he had urged the people of Nigeria to fight of the insurgent in any way they can.

 

SINGAPOREANS’ TOP PICKS

Picking a college is something very crucial in preparing one’s future, but picking a company to work in is a whole new level of preparation for the rest of a person’s life. Singapore is one of the most competitive and successful countries in Southeast Asia. When it comes to business, Singaporeans are very well known for their ‘think globally’ attitude. By the same vein, ordinary Singaporean workers are also big fans of observing an international type of approach when dealing with their tasks at work. They are not limited by thinking solely of the money that they could potentially earn from the company of their choice. What they value more is their top pick’s reputation. In so many levels, it makes a lot of sense; for who would ever want to be associated with an incredibly wealthy company with a bad reputation?

According to Job Street’s recent poll, the top five companies Singapore graduates and workers would like to work in are the following: Google, Shell, Singapore Airlines, Exxon Mobil, and Keppel Corp. These companies were not chosen by the poll’s participants just because of the high salaries they offer but mainly because of their excellent reputation.

Google has always been known for being an incredible employer. It is a legend for the extraordinary perks it offers and its high pay. In fact, among all the surveys that have surfaced on the internet over the years, it remains number one. According to one of Google’s employees, Google also has its issues, but the issues are things that are related to the fact that there are too many geniuses and extremely talented workers in Google that it is sometimes hard for an ordinary employee to distinguish himself. In addition, although employees are not required to work all the time, there is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of its employees who would like to contribute something new for the entire company. Ultimately, for several Google employees who have been working in the company for many years, their job at the said company is the job they would like to have as their last occupation for the rest of their lives.

Singapore is widely famous for its 1.9% unemployment rate, and by next year, it is to be expected that Singapore’s workforce development will undergo great transformations in order for several Singaporean companies to reach new heights. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, with the aid of the Skills Future Council members, aims to develop a more integrated system of education and training in order to improve the career progression in Singapore. The officials involved in the said planning firmly believe that the planned manpower development will affect several sectors’ manpower strategy and the country’s overall economic development in the years to come. In addition to this, internships will also be given much attention by 2015. Hence, better coordination is more likely to take place among interns and companies.

Because of the aforementioned developments that will take place in Singapore by next year, those who find it hard to survive in their own country are considering going to Singapore to work since it allows foreign workers to enjoy the same benefits Singapore citizens do without having the need to attend two years of mandatory service in the army. Moreover, Singapore is an expensive city-state known for having a rich culture which is easily to adjust to – a fact which is highly appealing to people seeking for solid ongoing jobs overseas.