Day: October 16, 2017

MALTA: BLOGGER WHO CRITICISED GOVERNMENT DIES IN CAR BOMB ATTACK

A prominent blogger in Malta, who had accused the island’s government of corruption, has died in a car bomb attack, according to police.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was reportedly killed when the car she was driving exploded shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta.

Local media say one of her sons heard the blast and rushed outside.

PM Joseph Muscat, whom Caruana Galizia accused of wrongdoing earlier this year, denounced the killing.

“I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country,” he said in a televised statement.

“Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, as she was for others too.”

But he stressed there could be “no justification… in any way” for such action.

“I will not rest before justice is done.”

On Monday evening, thousands of people attended a candlelit vigil in the resort town of Sliema.

Malta Television reported that Caruana Galizia had filed a complaint to the police two weeks ago to say she had received threats but gave no further information.

Police have opened a murder inquiry.

Newspaper reports said the explosion had left debris from the rental car she was driving strewn across the road and in a nearby field.

Police and forensics experts stand behind a road block after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, 16 October 2017DAPHNE

Caruana Galizia’s death comes four months after Mr Muscat’s Labour Party wonan election he called early because of the blogger’s allegations linking him and his wife to the Panama Papers scandal.

The couple denied claims that they had used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family.

Caruana Galizia’s popular blog had also targeted opposition politicians, calling the country’s political situation “desperate” in her final post.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office told the BBC that although there were rumours the attack could be politically motivated, this would be jumping to conclusions. But no lines of inquiry would be ruled out.

Malta has asked for international help – including the FBI in the US – to find the perpetrator, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Caruana Galizia’s family has requested that the magistrate in charge of the investigation be replaced, the Malta Independent reports.

It said the current magistrate had on a number of occasions been the subject of criticism by Caruana Galizia.


Her scathing pen spared no punches

By Herman Grech, Times of Malta online editor

Daphne Caruana Galizia was loved and resented in equal measure in politically divided Malta – but she will go down in the Mediterranean island’s history as one of the most influential writers.

Her uncompromising blog and scathing pen spared no punches, hitting out mainly at exponents of the ruling Labour Party and their supporters, but also sometimes criticising officials of the centre-right Nationalist Party, including its newly-elected leader.

Starting off as a columnist for The Sunday Times of Malta, her colourful reportage saw her embroiled in several legal battles along the years, including Malta’s prime minister.

But beyond all, even her fiercest critics acknowledge she was an impeccable writer and investigative journalist. Her digital cross-investigation into the Panama Papers, which saw the Maltese government’s top officials embroiled, effectively triggered off a premature general election last June.

 

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LONDON: MEET THE UNLIKELY PAIR OF IRE HASSAN AND JEREMY CHAN – FOUNDERS OF IKOYI RESTAURANT IN TRENDY REGENT STREET

Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan are an unlikely pair seeking to take Nigerian and West African food to gastronomical levels to attract international patrons and a new followership of African cuisine.

Ikoyi has been in the works ever since Chan, 30, and Hassan-Odukale, 31, first met at a mutual friend’s birthday party when they were 15 in Chiswick.

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“They say you should never work with your friends,” says Hassan-Odukale. “If we were more similar, it probably wouldn’t work but where one ends the other one picks up.”

The two were flatmates for two years,  and share a mutual passion for food. “We were so obsessed with food that we used to save up for tasting menus at The Ledbury by not eating for four days,” says Hassan-Odukale. “But we’ll eat anything that’s edible. Our meetings are often over a breakfast in McDonald’s.”.

Their work is a composite of the food Hassan-Odukale grew up on in Ikoyi, a wealthy borough in Lagos, Nigeria, transformed into fine cuisine. Chan, the chef, has worked with Heston Blumenthal at Dinner, Noma and Claude Bosi at Hibiscus, and is keen to stress that it’s their own translation of West African cuisine.

IRE HASSAN

Many Nigerians will be forgiven for being nervous around the new contemporary  twist that the guys intend to put on traditional African food in order to make it more appealing to international palate. Who can forget the woeful take on Jollof Rice by chef jamie Oliver. But it would seem that the guys have made a real go of it and the restaurant has been buzzing for four months now.

The project represents a crossroads for both of them.

‘West African food is woven into London’s fabric but no one’s used it in a gastronomic context before’

“West African food is woven into London’s fabric, with plantain, peppercorns, spices, fermented chillis, beans, yams and raw produce readily available from any grocery store or food market in Peckham or Dalston,” he says. “But no one’s really used it in a gastronomic context. There’s this whole world of possibility for creativity with West African produce, and we’ve only scratched surface of what think can achieve with this project.”

The menu features ingredients unfamiliar to many Londoners (but they won’t be for long). Selim, for example, is a peppercorn used in traditional Nigerian broth which smells like smoked wood and eucalyptus and has a gingery taste. Chan is introducing it to London in the form of a sweet cookie. For mains, rare-breed lamb ribs use cuts from a four-horned Manx Loaghtan, served with a relish of fermented chillis, burnt onions, sweet and sour condiments; while cocktails include a plantain-based Old Fashioned served in a ceramic cup, and a Guinness cocktail — the stout is a hugely popular drink across Africa — with cacao nib- infused rum.

“It’s like you’re going to your gran’s house for dinner,” says Hassan-Odukale, who looks after front-of-house. “She’s made sure everyone’s taken care of, everyone’s had an amazing meal, and everyone leaves smiling, with that warm fuzzy feeling — sorry for sounding cheesy — but full and taken care of.”

 

Bowled over: Ikoyi’s smoked jollof rice: Rare-breed lamb is served with a relish of fermented chilli and burnt onions — it’s both sweet and sour’

 

Ikoyi is just beginning. They’re working on a cookbook and have concocted “hundreds of dishes that aren’t on the menu”. “Lots are wintery so we have to wait to serve them. We must be the only people looking forward to winter in London.”

“We want there to be an element of mystery,” adds Hassan-Odukale. “We don’t want you to go on Instagram and feel like you’ve been to the restaurant.”

The most important ingredient, after all, is making everyone feel at home. “We had such different backgrounds, we’re not trying to target one type of person.”

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London Regent Street

The West African restaurant, which opened in July 2017, is the last jigsaw piece in the £450 million St James’s Market development on Regent Street

LONDON: RANDY COUPLE CAUGHT HAVING SEX IN CEMETRY

THIS is the shocking moment a mourner catches two people having sex in a cemetery.

The randy pair are filmed romping in broad daylight — just yards from headstones at Greenford Park graveyard in West London.

A shocked witness, who was visiting his relative’s resting place, can be heard telling the couple off for their brazen half-naked display yesterday afternoon.

He shouts: “This is a cemetery. This is a place of respect”.

But he is met with a sweary rant from both bonkers — who insist they are nowhere near the graves.

Speaking to The Sun Online, the shocked spectator said: “I just stopped by and went to visit my uncle’s grave at about 4:30pm yesterday.

“I was in the car as I was driving through the graveyard and I looked out the window and got an eyeful.”

He said he saw the x-rated tryst being played out on the wet grass in view of dozens of resting places.

The onlooker added: “I thought I’d tell them it’s a bit disrespectful.

“I noticed they had drink and drugs around them and I thought they probably didn’t realise where they were.

“They were very abusive; they were swearing, they called me a nonce – which didn’t make any sense.

“I was filming to embarrass them, but they thought I was interested in them.

“I was disgusted by them — they aren’t much to look at, I wouldn’t want to look at them doing that!”

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But while he scolded them for their public romp, the mourner was able to see a funny side.

“To be honest it was really amusing, and I’m not really surprised because you see a lot of odd characters around here.

“I feel like there are more important things that the police could be doing  so I didn’t bother ringing them.

“I showed some friends the footage and they had the same reaction — a mix of laughter and shock.

“I guess if I see them again then there might be a part two to this video”.

OSINBAJO URGES THE CHURCH TO SPEAK OUT MORE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has blamed the Church for not speaking out against corruption.

The Vice President was speaking at the Kingdom Summit 2017 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), which took place at Kings Court Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday.

He remarked that corruption in the country still exists because the church has failed to speak against the practice and that is usually because those involved in graft have relationships with the church.

Osinbajo also urged Christians against putting tribal issues above other things.

He said that at creation, there was no difference in the nature of man and everyone related in an atmosphere devoid of tribe or other differences.

“The canal nature of man is that he places his tribe above others but the only basis for the power and unity of the church is that there is no Jew or Gentile.’’

He also advised the faithful to avoid divisive issues as much as they did to foolish disputes.

Osinbajo added that it was wrong to seek vengeance as the gospel did not give Christians the power to habour hatred.

According to him, when the disciple, Stephen, was killed, if the Apostles had retaliated, there would not have been the gospel.

“The gospel of the Lord says you must overcome evil with good.’’

He said God had a purpose for the Nigeria with the kind of persons in authority.

But he warned that the strategic position God had placed the leaders would be meaningless if they failed to live by the gospel.

“There is no wisdom of man that can change men or change nations; it is the power and wisdom of God that can,’’ he stated.

The vice president, who titled his remark “Neither Jew, nor Gentile’’ noted that the gospel of the Lord was transformational, meant to turn the market place around by uniting God’s people.

According to him, the only way to transform the nation is to obey the gospel and to do so that citizens must free themselves from the canal and simply return to the gospel in their practices.

Osinbajo noted that sometimes people thought that God did not achieve His purpose in man because God’s gospel contradicted the purpose of man.

He said that many times, Christians interpreted the gospel to suit their purposes, which explained why it was easier for them to pray against their enemies than pray for them.

“This canal nature cannot save us; we are completely different from God because the gospel is not a canal word,’’ he stated.

The vice president pointed out that the Bible was not just a book but the wisdom of God, which could not be trampled upon.

He noted that the power of the church lay in its unity.

He traced the history of creation where God made man in His own image, and that man fell apart because of sin, but salvation still came when Christ was born.

Osinbajo prayed for the country and the people and asked God to grant Nigerians faithfulness to Him and give everyone the grace to avoid every form of disunity.

The Vice President will be in London, UK on Monday for the Africa Summit

 

IRISH COMEDIAN SEAN HUGHES DIES AGED 51 AFTER SUFFERING CARDIAC ARREST

The Evening standard is reporting that Comedian Sean Hughes has died at the age of 51.

His management confirmed the writer and stand-up died on Sunday night at the Whittington Hospital in north London after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Tributes began pouring in for Mr Hughes after his death was announced lunchtime on Monday.

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Fellow comedian Jason Manford paid tribute to him on social media, writing: “Very sad to hear about Sean Hughes. A brilliant comic and a lovely bloke. RIP.”

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Hughes, who was team leader in the panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, had tweeted on October 8 saying he was in hospital but it is not yet known what he was admitted for.