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Job 600 project to be completed this year -President Mills

President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday gave the assurance that the Job 600 project would be completed this year and ready for occupation by Members of Parliament (MP) next year.

He said: “I am assured that the Job 600 project will surely be completed this year and ready for your occupation next year. I am confident that I will be the first President to address you at a time when you will be working from the comfort of your new offices.”

President Mills, who gave the assurance when he was delivering the State of the Nation address to Parliament in Accra on Thursday, said: “This year, I hope to work with Parliamentarians to review three initiatives that I announced will be instituted in the course of my Presidency.”

These are the assignment of national service personnel as research assistants to MPs; construction of constituency duty offices for Parliamentarians; and the establishment of an MPs’ Constituency Development Fund separate and apart from the District Assemblies Common Fund.

President Mills said: “Together, we will work to find solutions to the challenges that have impacted negatively on the agenda of the Executive and the Legislature to work in tandem to broaden the frontiers of our democratic dispensation.”

He announced that the report of Constitution Review Commission was ready and a technical Implementation committee had been set up to assist Cabinet to develop a white paper and begin with the implementation of its recommendations without delay. GNA

Huge whale shark sold for $2,200 in Pakistan


A huge whale shark was caught Tuesday morning just 90 miles offshore from the Pakistani city of Karachi.  

It took four hours and two cranes to lift the 15,430-pound shark out of the water. According to reports, the enormous fish was between 35- and 40-feet long.

The unusual spectacle got the attention of the locals who flocked to Karachi’s harbor to catch a glimpse of the whale shark.

“It was dead when my men found it,” said Muhammad Yousuf, the owner of the boat used to haul the whale shark to the port, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports.

Later in the day, the carcass of the whale was sold for 200,000 Rupees ($2,200) and will be put on public display for three days at the harbor’s auction hall.   The Express Tribune reports that the buyer will charge visitors a fee to see the whale shark.

“I have bought the fish, which usually has no significant commercial value, with the help of my friends just to appreciate the efforts of the fishermen who deserve some reward after spending an entire day in the open sea,” said Haji Qasim, the Pakistani Dawn newspaper reports.

Qasim said that he will  “sell the meat to the people running poultry meal business.”

About 35 whale sharks have been brought dead or captured in the last seven years nearby the Karachi port, said Mohammad Moazzam Khan, a consultant with Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), according to Dawn.

The whale shark, or Rhincodon typus, is found in warm, tropical waters and has an estimated lifespan of 75 years.

The whale shark is the world’s largest fish, and is relatively docile. It has a wide mouth with some 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth that filter plankton, which consists of small creatures and plants, according to the UN Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

Philippines Earthquake 2012: Death Toll Keeps Climbing

The death toll from the earthquake that struck the Philippines on Monday climbed to 48, while dozens of people remain missing.


However, that figure is guaranteed to rise as rescuers reach more remote parts of the devastated country.

The magnitude-6.9 quake also damaged buildings on the central Philippine island and triggered massive landslides.

The tremor also destroyed bridges on Negros Island, making it impossible for rescue officials and soldiers to reach isolated regions.

According to the Associated Press, the bulk of deaths recorded thus far occurred in Planas village, a part of Guihulngan in Negros Oriental, where scores of houses have been buried by debris.

Officials are gravely concerned about the final death toll, considering the unknown number of people missing. Some parts of the island have been cut off for days.

Ernesto Reye, the mayor of Guihulngan, told AP by phone: “We have no water and power because electric posts were toppled. Many of our roads were damaged, including bridges, and stores are closed. We’re isolated.”

Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, who will survey the damaged area by airplane on Wednesday, has ordered air force helicopters and navy and coast guard vessels to help rescuers look for survivors.

“We have dispatched two … choppers from Western Mindanao Command to help in the relief operations,” military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. told Philippines media.

Ver Neil Balaba, operations officer at the regional Office of Civil Defense, told BBC: “The most urgent needs now are water, tents and food.”

The last major earthquake to strike the Philippines killed 78 people on Mindoro Island in 2004. Prior to that, a magnitude-7.7. quake killed 2000 in Northern Luzon region.

The Philippines are prone to both earthquakes and volcanic activity, as it is situated in the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

Can You Imagine? 10 die in a Gun duel!

10 die in Ebonyi gun duel

Battle ready soldiers

ENUGU – TEN persons including a soldier were killed, yesterday, as officers of the 24 Engineer Regiment in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state engaged suspected armed robbers in a gun duel along Akaeze end of the Afikpo – Okigwe Expressway.

No fewer than nine of the suspected robbers died in the shoot-out while several others including two military officers sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries.

The Assistant Director of the Army Public Relations of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Lt Col Sagir Musa who confirmed the incident yesterday,  said the robbers were fleeing after a failed bank robbery at Ikom in Cross River state in which nine persons including a police officer were killed.

They were however intercepted by soldiers on routine patrol in Ebonyi state.

He said: “At about 1830 hours on Tuesday 24 January 2012, there was a failed/foiled bank robbery attack at Ikom in  Cross River state which led to the death of 8 civilians and a policeman.

“The Robbers fled towards Ebonyi state in two vehicles through Ugep-Abomigbe Rd. Soldiers on routine patrol in Ebonyi state were fully informed and subsequently they intercepted the robbers along Afikpo-Amasire axis heading towards Enugu-Port-Harcourt express way through Okigwe, just 10 km to Akaeze.

“At that point, there was heavy exchange of fire which resulted in the death of one soldier and two soldiers were wounded. Seven robbers were killed, two seriously wounded and bled to death before reaching the hospital.”

Musa who disclosed that six of the suspected robbers escaped with bullet wounds into the nearby bush added that among the items recovered were two RPG7 bombs, 28 empty magazine, two Gas Cylinders, 37 empty cases of 7.62 mm special ammunition, 22 rounds of live 7.62mm special ammunition and two vehicles.

/According to the Army Spokesman, immediately they received intelligence report about the robbers escaping from the failed bank robbery, troops of 24 Engineer Regiment, 82 Division Garrison and 103 Battalion were alerted to block all possible escape routes especially the Afikpo-Okigwe road, Enugu-Abakaliki road, Abakaliki-Ogojo road and Abakaliki-Itigidi-Ugep road which made it difficult for them to escape.