Friday, 11 July 2014

Emirates Airlines rolls out children summer special

EMIRATES has rolled out special programming for children and is offering more than ever before for families travelling with youngsters this summer and throughout the year. With the busy summer holidays in full swing, Skytrax’s World Best Airline, is pulling out all the stops to keep the young ones entertained both in the air and on the ground. In the 2013/14 financial year, Emirates carried 2.3 million youngsters, demonstrating its strong family following.
Even before departure, complimentary baby strollers and changing tables are available within Emirates’ dedicated Terminal 3 and there are play areas equipped toys within Emirates’ exclusive lounges. Priority boarding is provided to families with young children. But it’s on board when the real fun starts. The dedicated children’s channels on the popular ice entertainment system brings an array of cartoons, interactive games, podcasts and CDs.
There are currently more than 60 children’s movies on ice, including the entire Harry Potter series, a whole section dedicated to Disney Classics, plus over 20 dedicated children’s television channels including CBeebies, Disney Junior, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. The young ones can also immerse themselves in hours of the very best music, such as One Direction, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. On board, young flyers can meet AirBoe and Oggie, amongst the new cuddly monsters and explore activity-filled backpacks, all provided on a complimentary basis. Aircraft also carry kids’ favourite meals, as well as vegetarian options.

“We go to great lengths to entertain and occupy children with products and services that are constantly being updated and enhanced,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Centre. “ We know keeping the young ones happy is a key part of ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travelling experience for the whole family so investment in this area is very important.”
Emirates recognizes that loyalty is essential amongst its younger customers too so children even have their own frequent flyer programme called Skysurfers. Miles can be exchanged for free flights, toys, books and entry to attractions in Dubai. For those more interested in the operational side of the adventure, children can watch the Airshow channel to see a pilot’s view of take-off and landing, while following the aircraft’s progress across the globe.
Emirates Holiday’s, meanwhile, is well equipped to deal with families with specially-tailored packages. Many of the hotels available through Emirates Holidays offer kids’ and teens’ clubs
Culled from The Guardian

SAA implements strict travel regulations for children

With effect from October I, 2014, South African Airways (SAA) will comply with new regulations relating to children who travel to and from South Africa. These new regulations were promulgated in terms of the South African Immigration Amendment Act of 2010 which define children as persons under the age of 18.
“These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of children and should thus be welcomed,” says SAA’s spokesperson, Mr Tlali Tlali. “As fromOctober 1, we will not be able to check in all travellers who cannot produce the necessary documentation in terms of this Act.”
In terms of the new regulations, when parents are travelling with a child they need to produce an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents. In cases where the certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.
When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than three months old, from the date of travel.

In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the unabridged birth certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.
Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the unabridged birth certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents, or legal guardian and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in the Republic. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address and contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her identity document, passport or residence permit.
All documents must either be original or certified as true copies of the original, by a competent authority. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a sworn translation.
Culled from The Guardian

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

What women must know when travelling

For women, solo travel – business or pleasure – can bring about adventurous and daring experiences. We use it as an opportunity to explore on our terms and meet new people. However, we often get caught up in the Eat, Pray, Love moment, and let down our guard to potential danger or mishaps.
Any business or leisure trip can be an unforgettable, positive one if we maintain a balance of caution and risk-taking. To get the most out of your next solo getaway, we turned to some of Amadeus’ brave road warriors for their safety tips that any traveller (male or female) can use.
Tip 1: “When I’m entering my hotel room, as I open the door, I yell, ‘Hi, honey, I’m back!’ to ward off any potential stalkers.” –Jessica Labaire, OTA Marketing Manager
Tip 2: “When the front desk clerk asks ‘how many room keys would you like?’ I always say “two” – even though I only plan to use one. This way, a potential lurker/stalker nearby isn’t tipped off to the fact that I’m traveling alone.” – Kristen Goldman, Internal Communications
Tip 3: “When traveling alone, I avoid wearing my ostentatious jewels to prevent kidnapping and theft.” – Andrea Vasquez, Event Planner
Tip 4: “I use a remote park and ride service with transportation to/from the airport that offers pick up and drop off at your car. This eliminates wandering through the airport parking lot to find my car.” – Teresa Lang, Small Business Specialist
Tip 5: “When I’m checking in luggage, I always take a change of clothes and essential toiletries with me. This way, if my luggage gets lost, I’ll still be able to look fabulous on my first night out in the town.” – Adriana Formoso, Senior Event Planner
Tip 6: “I let at least one trusted person know where I’m going/ staying, for how long, and if possible a contact number based there, send a quick text to alert I’ve arrived, and another upon return.” – Arlene De la Torre, Sr. Communications Specialist
Tip 7: “When I travel overseas, I always wear a cross body bag – not a shoulder bag – to keep my purse valuables safe. Also, I’ve learned to never initiate a conversation with Customs, Immigration or Border control agents – they don’t get sarcasm or humor.” – Beena Samuel, Regional Sales Manager.
Tip 8: “Never reveal the hotel where you will be staying in your destination to your seat mate. I had a situation where my flight mate was making a connection and all the flights were cancelled due to weather. As this was my final destination, it wasn’t a problem for me, but the passenger I sat with on the plane actually came to my hotel, called me on my cell, which he had from my business card, to say the hotel was sold out and he wanted to know if he could stay in my room. He continued to harass me and I had to turn off my cell phone and couldn’t leave my room.” – Paula Turk, Director of Key Accounts Canada
Tip 9: “I always request a non-connecting room when I check in at a hotel. I had a bad experience at a 5-star hotel where the connecting door was forced open!” – Guadalupe Robles, Business Development Manager
Tip 10: “When exiting or entering my car, hotel or restaurant, I do not text or talk on the phone so that I’m aware of my immediate surroundings. Walk tall and strut your stuff while being alert in unfamiliar territory.” – LaNoma Martin, Business Development Manager
Tip 11: “I have a small little mace spray on my keychain that I move to the rental car key chain and have it in my hand anytime I am to/from my parked vehicle.” – Elisa Gonzalez, Senior Business Development Manager
Tip 12: “Be aware of your important belongings when using airplane restrooms. Many of us forget to bring our purse with passport or wallet when we go to the lavatory, which leaves us vulnerable to potential thieves. If possible, use hidden fannypacks for your essential items (ID, money, credit cards).” – Lore Sebelle, Marketing Manager
Tip 13: “When I travel to NYC, I always stand away from the train or subway platform.” – Nancy Gale, Senior Business Development Manager
Tip 14: “Before leaving the hotel, I pre-plan my walking route. That way, I have a clear understanding of how to get to my destination.
Also, I’m not on my phone’s GPS trying to navigate directions or inquiring to random people on the street, which can distract you and put you at risk for street crimes.” – Casey Munck, Marketing Communications Manager
Tip 15: “When I’m at a restaurant, I always ask for an extra seat and place my purse on it.
It gives the impression that you are waiting for someone, most important, you have your purse at your sight.” – Beatriz Vasquez, Strategy and Planning Analysis Solo travel should be fun, empowering, and more importantly, safe!
So, for travel professionals booking travel for a busy executive or free-spirited adventurer, arm them with these helpful tips. After all, you want them to fall into the arms of a Javier Bardem, not a criminal.
Culled from New Telegraph

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Expert warns Arik Air on Dubai route

One of the most respected voices in the Nigerian aviation industry and the President of Aviation Round Table, ART; Capt. Dele Ore has warned the management of Arik Air to beware of the antics of operators on the United Arab Emirate, UAE, route Dubai.
Ore in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos described airlines flying the route as ‘predators’ that would do everything possible to frustrate the airline out of the route. At the moment, Emirates and Etihad Airways fly directly from their bases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.
Emirates enjoys about 21 frequencies into multiple entry points into Nigeria, while Etihad flies twice daily into the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos. In all, the two airlines enjoy about 34 frequencies weekly into Nigeria. Apart from the duo, several other international airlines fly into the route from Nigeria after a stop over in the home countries.
Airlines like Qatar, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Asky among others fly into the UAE route. Ore warned that the operation was capable of knocking the airline off completely from the market, stressing that it doesn’t have the chance to compete with other carriers that have already established themselves on the route.
He added, “Equipment to equipment, our Arik doesn’t have a chance to compete effectively.
Let’s face it, when we talk about capacity and frequencies, how many times can they operate in and out from Nigeria to Dubai when compared with over 21 frequencies from Emirates alone. They would try, but I still say they don’t have a chance to compete with the airlines on the route. This may likely be a very big disadvantage to its own survival.”
It would be recalled that Arik Air had recently announcd its preparedness to expand its reach to the Middle East by becoming the first airline in the country to offer a commercial service between Abuja, Nigeria and Dubai.
The Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO, Arik Air, Mr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide had announced that the airline would commence the flight on Monday July 28, 2014.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Arik Air commences operations into Dubai

Indigenous carrier, Arik Air, is to commence flight operations into Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of its international route expansion programme.
The announcement, which was made by Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Arumemi Ikhide, was indeed welcome news to numerous Nigerian travellers who ply the lucrative Lagos-Dubai route dominated over the years by Arab airlines.
Aviation industry analysts had faulted the monopoly of that route by Mid-Easst airlines while welcome the entry of an indigenous carrier to ply the route to increase the options available to Nigerian travelers.
Ikhide had told journalists that services would commence July this year from the Murtala International Airport in Lagos with a stopover at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport where other passengers would be picked up for the final journey to Dubai, UAE.
He said the launch of flights by Arik Air into Dubai would make it the first Nigerian carrier to offer services between Abuja and the UAE.
“Dubai is the fastest growing market from West Africa with Lagos-Dubai route alone acounting for over 200,000 passengers in 2013,” said Ikhide.
“Other West African States have also shown significant growth in the traffic to Dubai with Nigeria leading the way. It is therefore only appropriate that a Nigerian carrier should serve this route for the benefit of our travelling populace. We envisage that the great potential on this route will drive Arik Air to increase the capacity in the future. The cargo potential on this route is also significant,” he said.
He explained that Arik Air would offer competitive fares on the route to attract Nigerian passengers, adding that there is enough capacity for all carriers that operate in the Middle East routes.
Ikhide said Arik is not worried over the seeming competition on the routes, as its team had understudied why other Nigerian airlines that ventured into the route failed.
He disclosed that the airline would collaborate with Emirates Airlines for code sharing agreement on how to consolidate operations on the route, which had enough capacity to accommodate all airlines.
In his words: “Why should we allow foreign carriers have access to our market and engage in capital flight when Nigerian airlines could deliver? There is no harm in patriotism.”
He explained further that the plans by the Federal Government to float a national carrier would not in any way affect the fortunes of Arik Air.
“We are aware of discussions by government to facilitate a national carrier. Arik Air is not worried over it. The aviation industry is a huge market and the market penetration is inadequate. We are in support of a national carrier, even as Arik Air is already offering national service,” Ikhide concluded.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

'Flight Cancellations, Delays are Inevitable in Aviation'

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NCAA logo

The Director of Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, has said that bad weather, technical problems and logistics issues have made it inevitable for airlines to delay and cancel flights.
He however pointed out that the airlines must crave passengers understanding by carrying them along.
Adamu stated this at the weekend in Lagos when Arik Air offered four of its passengers, selected through a raffle draw, an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil.
The four lucky winners were picked from the tickets of many loyal customers at a draw that was overseen by the music icon, Ice Prince.
The names of the lucky winners are Onuegbu Chima Godwin, Fashawe Oluwayemisi, Aluko Bade and Samuel Bayode.
The airline said the gesture was to say thank you to its customers and to give back to them, adding that there is plan to sustain the programme and expand it in future.
The head of flight operations and deputy managing director of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi said that the idea to appreciate the airline’s customers came about a year ago when Arik Air planned to start operation from Lagos to Brazil.
“The idea of this draw came about a year ago when Nigeria qualified to go to Brazil and the aim was actually to fly to Brazil and we have been working on that for over two years, trying to make sure that we fly Lagos to Brazil.
"Unfortunately there were so many challenges that we could not overcome and that has stopped the dream to fly to Brazil before the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean we cannot continue to pursue that dream. We will definitely link the two countries; that is, Nigeria and Brazil."
Sanusi promised that it would operate commercial flight to the destination of the next World Cup, no matter the country that would host it.
“We will love to make sure that the Arik flies commercially to the venue of the next World Cup, no matter where it will be hosted.”
Also expressing appreciation to Arik Air’s good gesture, Abdullahi commended the airline and said that by offering customers all expensive paid trips is a way of cementing the good relationship between the airline and its customers.
“Delays and cancellations in aviation are inevitable. What we keep arguing about is how you handle those delays. When there is delays carry your passengers along.
"The contract is that they bought your tickets to take them to their destination safely, securely and in comfort. So if there is any chance that there is going to be a delay, inform them, carry them along and explain things to them.”
He also urged passengers to have understanding when there is delay or when there is cancellation of flight.
“Nobody wants to go up there for maintenance; because up there, there is no mechanic workshop, you rather do all the repairs here before you leave. Nobody wants to go up there when the weather is bad, when the enroute destination weather is bad, just get the passengers understanding.”
The Director expressed optimism that the airline would do more in the coming years.
“It is a very good development that Arik is feting loyal customers. I am sure that it is just the beginning. If you had a direct flight to Brazil I am sure the number that will benefit will be more than these, since the currency in aviation are tickets and air miles and that is what you can give out freely.
“I commend you for this effort and I promise we will give you our backing and we are here to hold the industry together. There is no policing of the industry so to speak, we are partners in progress. If the airlines don’t survive we don’t have anything to regulate. So we take it upon ourselves to come to you, jaw, jaw with you and understand your problems,” Abdullahi also said.
Culled from Thisday

Friday, 16 May 2014

British Airways boosts domestic network

British Airways prepares to increase the number of flights it operates to Newcastle.
With two additional frequencies between London Heathrow and Newcastle, the airline now offers 41 flights each week.

Operated by an A320, the extra services are due to come into effect on June 2.

British Airway’s head of UK&I sales and marketing, Richard Tams, commented: “Our route between London and Newcastle is at the very heart of our domestic network.

“The number of flights on offer means customers can connect through London to our entire network of destinations, offering great opportunities for both leisure and business travellers.”

Aviation development director at Newcastle International Airport, Chris Sanders, noted: “Heathrow connectivity is very important to this region.”

“These extra flights will help make it easier to reach southeast England, as well as shortening journey times for some connections through Heathrow.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

JAMB fixes May 17-31 for 2014 UTME through CBT

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Wednesday fixed May 17 to 31 for the conduct of 2014 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) through Computer Based Test (CBT).
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Fabian Gabriel, the Head of Public Relations of the board, and issued to newsmen in Abuja.
According to the statement, the CBT will take place in over 163 centres in Nigeria and abroad, saying the date was sacrosanct. The statement also described CBT as the best mode of examination. It, however, urged the candidates to reprint their e-slip in the event they missed or misplaced their schedules.“Over 616,000 candidates are expected to sit for the examination with over 250 prisoners in Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons,” it added.
“The CBT remains the best mode as it provides better platform for the candidates to articulate their educational pursuit.“It eliminates result black-out or incomplete results and eliminates examination malpractice and enhances prompt release of scores two hours after the examination, among other benefits too numerous to mention,” the statement said.
It added that the board was determined to go full-blown with CBT in 2015 UTME, owing to success recorded in 2013 and the quests to sanitise the education sector. The statement said that CBT was introduced in 2012 while the maiden edition was conducted in the 2013 UTME alongside the conventional Paper Pencil Test and Dual Based Test.
 The statement reported Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Registrar of JAMB, as saying that the desire to go full swing with CBT in 2015 was non-negotiable. It urged Nigerians to see it as a revolution in the examination industry .

AZMAN Air to begin flight operations tomorrow

…Receives AOC from NCAA

President of AZMAN Air Services Limited, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa has disclosed that the airline would start its flight operations tomorrow (Thursday). Alhaji Yunusa said the airline would begin its flight on Kano to Lagos by 7:30am, then Lagos to Abuja and Abuja to Kaduna. He stated that the airline would commence flight operations with two Boeing 737 classic. Speaking with journalists while receiving the Air Operators Certificate, AOC, at the NCAA annex, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Yunusa stated that the airline’s inflight services would be very good as passengers will be treated with care. Alhaji Yunusa expressed appreciation to the management of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the granting them the AOC. Similarly, the acting director general of NCAA, Engr. Benedict Adeyileka has tasked the management of AZMAN Air to ensure safety at all times as well as to protect and make their passengers more comfortable during the course of any flight. Engr. Adeyileka said safety is one of the major factors which every airline must adhere to. Adeyileka noted that getting the AOC is not the major challenge, adding that the challenges will come during the course of flight operations. He called on the airline to always treat their passengers with care. Engr. Adeyileka said the regulatory authority would work with the airline as a partner in order to ensure safe skies. He cautioned AZMAN Air to manage the issue of flight delays and cancellation with maturity by making sure that passengers are well catered for and the reason for the delay or cancellation adequately explained to them.“Having a delay or cancellation is not the problem, it is how you mange it. If it happens ensure that your passengers are well treated and if you can manage that, you are good. If there is a technical fault, delay the flight and at the same time treat the passengers well because it affects safety. Each time you fight with your passengers, you put safety at risk,” he said. Adeyileka stated that if an airline is safe and reliable, passengers can fly the airline with confidence. He warned AZMAN Air to comply with all the regulations of NCAA as falling to do so would attract serious sanction.

Arik Air Increases Lagos-Monrovia, Luanda Flights Frequency

The Lagos-Monrovia service has been increased from three to four weekly flights using a Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The new flight will operate on Saturdays, adding to the existing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays services.
All four weekly flights are operated via Accra with a fifth freedom traffic rights approval facilitating traffic between these two cities as well.
Similarly, the twice weekly Lagos-Luanda service has been increased to three weekly flights. The service will now operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The outbound flight will depart Lagos at 9:30pm (local time) and arrive in Luanda at 12:35am (local time) while the inbound flight will depart Luanda at 02:00am (local time) and arrive in Lagos at 05:05am (local time).
Commenting on the additional flights, Arik Air’s managing director, Mr. Chris Ndulue said: “There is an increasing demand from our passengerss on the Lagos-Monrovia and Lagos-Luanda routes. Arik Air is committed to providing all of its customers with a range of services, all at suitable times. We have identified and delivered on the demands and are continuously reviewing our route network to offer increased and seamless connections.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Astral Aviation joins Africa’s airline body, AFRAA

A start up airline, Astral Aviation, has become a member of African Airlines Association (AFRAA). AFRAA has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Astral Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sanjeev Gadhia, said: “We are truly excited in being the first cargo airline to become a member of AFRAA which is a prestigious association of African airlines. Astral has benefited immensely from AFRAA’s initiatives such as the Joint Fuel Purchase Programme in addition to the training programs which has provided considerable cost savings.
The airline is poised to work closely with AFRAA on matters relating to cargo with the objective of lobbying for the liberalisation and promotion of air cargo in Africa and to advocate against the high cost of cargo related fees and taxes in the continent.”
Secretary General, AFRAA, Dr Elijah Chingosho, said: “We are excited to welcome Astral Aviation into the AFRAA fraternity as this will enable us to tap into the huge experience and expertise of this carrier in the cargo field, which we will share with the rest of AFRAA member airlines so that they can benefit from this often neglected sector of airline operations.” AFRAA is an association of airlines from the nations of the African union. It was founded in Accra, Ghana, in 1968 and is today headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
The primary purposes of AFRAA are to foster commercial and technical co-operation among African Airlines and to represent their common interests. AFRAA membership is spread across the entire continent and includes all the major intercontinental African operators.
Its members represent over 80 per cent of total international traffic carried by all African airlines. Astral Aviation is a regional cargo airline that has been operating in the African skies for the past 14 years, and has been rated as the leading African All Cargo Airline. Astral Aviation is located at the freighter-friendly, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, Kenya, and operates a combination of schedule and ad-hoc charter flights to over 60 destinations within the intra- African network and Europe on its dedicated fleet of regional freighter aircrafts.


Nigeria abduction video: Schoolgirls 'recognised'

Relatives and friends of the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls have identified some of them from a video released by Boko Haram Islamist militants.
The footage showed about 130 of more than 200 girls who were kidnapped a month ago from their boarding school in Borno state reciting Koranic verses.
Boko Haram's leader says the captured girls who have not converted to Islam can be swapped for jailed fighters.
Nigeria's government says it is considering all options.
A community leader in Chibok told the BBC that school friends had identified three of the girls in the video.
A mother had also recognised her daughter from the girls who appear in a group wearing hijabs, the chairman of the parents-teachers association at the school told the Reuters news agency
"The video got parents apprehensive again after watching it but the various steps taken by the governments and the coming of the foreign troops is boosting our spirit, even though I have not seen the any one soldier in Chibok yet," Dumoma Mpur said.
The girls' families have said that most of those seized are Christians, although there are a number of Muslims among them.
Two girls on the video singled out for questioning said they were Christians but had converted to Islam. Another said she was Muslim.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls could be exchanged for "our brethren in your prison".
"I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured," he said.
Last week, he had threatened to sell the girls into slavery.
Meanwhile, the US has revealed it is flying manned surveillance missions over Nigeria to an effort to find the missing schoolgirls.
A team of about 30 US experts - members of the FBI and defence and state departments - is in Nigeria to help with the search. The UK, France and China also have teams on the ground in Nigeria and an Israeli counter-terrorism team is on its way.
The 27-minute footage was shown to some people in Chibok, the town from where the girls were kidnapped, on Monday evening.
Not all girls are from Chibok itself as pupils from surrounding areas had come to do their final year exams in April as the school in the town was considered relatively safe.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Boko Haram releases new video, shows missing Chibok girls -

Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing schoolgirls, alleging the

teenagers had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.The

group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks on the video obtained by AFP for 17 minutes before

showing what he said were the girls, in Muslim dress and praying in an undisclosed rural location.

A total of 276 girls were abducted on April 14 from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state,

which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing.The footage shows about 130

girls in black and grey full-length hijabs sitting on scrubland near trees, reciting the first chapter of

the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and holding their palms upwards in prayer.Three of the girls are

interviewed. Two say they were Christian and had converted while one said she was Muslim. Most of

the group were seated. The girls appeared calm and one said that they had not been harmed.There

was no indication of when the video was taken, although the quality is better than on previous

occasions and at one point an armed man is seen in shot with a hand-held video camera.Boko Haram

has been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north since 2009,

attacking schools teaching a “Western” curriculum, churches and government targets.Civilians,

though, have borne the brunt of recent violence, with more than 1,500 killed this year alone while

tens of thousands have been displaced after their homes and businesses were razed.Nigeria’s

government has been criticised for its lack of immediate response to the kidnapping but has been

forced to act after Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves.President Goodluck Jonathan has now

accepted help from the United States, Britain, France, China and Israel, which have sent specialist

teams to help in the search effort.In the video, Shekau appears in front of a lime green canvas

backdrop wearing combat fatigues and carrying an automatic weapon. Shekau does not appear in the

same shot as the girls at any point during the 27-minute video.Speaking in Hausa and Arabic, he

restates his claim of responsibility made in a video released last Monday and said the girls had

converted to Islam.“These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated

them. We have indeed liberated them. Do you know we have liberated them? These girls have

become Muslims,” he said.The militant leader said that Boko Haram’s brothers in arms had been held

in prison for up to five years and suggested that the girls would be released if the fighters were

freed.“We will never release them (the girls) until after you release our brethren. Here I mean those

girls who have not submitted (converted to Islam),” he added.Boko Haram has used kidnapping of

women and young girls in the past and Shekau indicated that more were being held.Eleven girls were

abducted from the Gwoza area of Borno state on May 4.
Culled from Vanguard

Friday, 9 May 2014

Arik Alerts Passengers on New Security Measures at Airports


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Arik Air

Major Nigerian carrier, Arik Air, has alerted air travellers on the new security measures put in place at Nigerian airports by the federal government and therefore advised all intending air passengers to set out early for their flights to avoid loss of travel time. The new security measures, which took effect from May 1 are meant to improve security at the nation’s airports, especially the international ones.
The new security measures extends the profiling of passengers by operatives and this would take longer time as every passenger is subjected to detailed checks.
Arik Air warned passengers that the government had put extra security measures in place at all airports and this could cause traffic snarl at the airport roads leading to unforeseen delays or missed flights for travellers.
The new security measures being implemented by the government had led to visible presence of more security personnel across the nation’s airports.
Passengers are also advised to familiarise themselves with check-in procedures at the airport.
“Arik Air check-in counters open two hours before departure for domestic flights, three hours for regional and four hours for international flights,” the airline said.
It also said all passengers must have completed check-in for their flights prior to check-in closure which is 30 minutes (for domestic flights), 45 minutes (for regional flights) and 90 minutes (for international flights) before the scheduled departure time.
“Arik Air also provides an online check-in service aimed at customers who want a streamlined travel experience. It is designed to provide passengers with the ability to check-in and choose seat from 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the flight to five hours before international flights and three hours before domestic and regional fights.”

The airline therefore advised passengers to avail themselves of this service in order not to miss their flights.

Culled from Thisdaylive

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

FG issues red alert on Ebola outbreak

ON the heels of the outbreak of the Ebola Haemorrhagic fever in Guinea, the Federal Ministry of Health has issued an alert urging persons with high fever, headache, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding and especially with a history of travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, to report to the health authorities at once.
Already, an alert has been issued to all 36 State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease, while the Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with the West African Health Organization, WAHO, and the World Health Organization, WHO, to deploy experts to Guinea on request to strengthen its response capacity.
Disclosing this in Abuja in a statement, Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister of Health, Mr. Dan Nwome, said theapex Ministry admonished the general public to take measures to avert the outbreak or spread of the disease.
Noting that Nigeria has capacity to diagnose the disease if it appears here, Nwome said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently studying the outbreak trends and has mobilised its rapid response teams and developed a detailed response plan that includes a comprehensive health education/health promotion to sensitise Nigerians, enhanced surveillance to detect and treat the disease, while mobilising its treatment/isolation centres. An alert has been issued to all State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease.
The Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is ready to deploy experts to Guinea on request by the affected country to strengthen its response capacity.
Ebola is a deadly haemorrhagic fever which first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo.
In February 2014 the Republic of Guinea reported an outbreak of Ebola, which had hitherto not occurred in the West African sub-region. Between that period and the 26th of March, 2014 a total of 86 cases were reported out of which 62 deaths occurred with a mortality rate of 72 percent.
The most affected areas in Guinea are the south-eastern forest areas that currently have 7 persons undergoing treatment in isolated centres. The outbreak was confirmed as Ebola by the Institute Pasteur, Lyon, France, Institute Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal and in Hamburg,
Germany. It is now confirmed that the outbreak has further spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone where suspected cases are being investigated.
Ebola causes Ebola virus disease, EVD, in humans, with a case fatality rate ranging between 60 – 90 percent. The virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Hunting for “bush meat” in forest and pre-forest areas and eating of bats have been associated with this outbreak.
However, prevention efforts focus on avoiding contact with the viruses. According to medical experts says avoid traveling to areas of known outbreaks is key.
Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures for Ebola virus is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
Avoid bush meat. In developing countries like Nigeria, wild animals, including nonhuman primates, are sold in local markets. Avoid buying or eating any of these animals.
Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
Follow infection-control procedures. If you are a health care worker, wear protective clothing — such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Carefully disinfect and dispose of needles and other instruments. Injection needles and syringes should not be reused.
Don’t handle remains people that died of the disease. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease are still contagious. Specially organised and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
 culled from Vanguard

Friday, 28 March 2014

'Breastmilk Remains the best for babies'

Following the increase in child mortality in the country, health professionals have said that breast milk remains the best way to ensure child’s healthy life and reduce child mortalities.
According to them, exclusive breast milk during the first six months of a child’s life and for as long as possible in combination with nourishing complementary foods. When breast mike is not possible, infant formula is a healthier alternative to choices such as cows’ milk or rice water.
They also said that infantile colic is a self-limited condition that deserves treatment because it could represent an early traumatic insult for the intestine and could be the early expression of atopic disease, gastrointestinal disorder and psychological problems later in child’s life. They informed infantile colic is characterised by inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant, accompanied by painful expression, flushing, distended abdomen and flatulence. Colic usually starts in the first few weeks of life and generally affects babies until four months.
They said these during Nestle Nutrition Nigeria Plc Symposium held in Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.
In her remark, National keynote speaker and Pediatrician from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Adeniyi Oluwafunmilayo said rule out common causes of child’s crying is the first step in treating an infant with persistent crying.
“Behavioral management, supportive counseling and parental reassurance are the mainstays of treatment. Formulate an effective individualised management plan.
Consistent follow up and a sympathetic physician are the cornerstones of management. Resolving family conflicts and improving family functioning may help to relieve the colic in some babies.
Knowledge of the clinical features of colic correlated with the level of education.
Herbal medicines are the most frequently used medicines of seeds, which are used as a local food seasoning amongst the Yoruba tribe. When dissolved in water and taken, it relieves indigestion by causing excessive flatulence. Its use in the treatment of infantile colic was based on the hypothesis that it removes the excess intraluminal gas in the infant by causing flatulence.”
She continued, “with colic, period of crying most commonly happens in the evenings. Colics can begin as early as two weeks of age and it often disappears when the baby is three to four months old, but it can last up to one year, if not properly managed. Less than five percent of infants with excess crying have an underlying organic disease,” she said.

Oluwafunmilayo noted that Nigerian mothers still have some gap in their knowledge of cause infantile colic.
“Self-medication is the most frequently used home-based interventions for infantile colic and was predominated by traditional herbal medicines.
Nigerian mothers would need to be educated about colic through health education, at pediatric and vaccination clinics, public health campaign and interdisciplinary team approach.
Efficacy and toxicity of the traditional herbal medicines need to be established scientifically for their safe use for Children”.
“Government, should strengthen the policy on sales and use of prescribed medicines in children without prescription so as to promote rational use of medicine in infants with colic,” she said.
The Category Business Manager, Nutrition Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Dr. Mazhar Qureshi Said children, who start life with unbalanced diets face an increased risk of chronic diseases and stunted growth and development.
“Our stay healthy stage-based nutrition system begins with clear support for six months exclusive breastfeeding, whenever possible, and then offers solutions designed to foster healthy growth and development along with good eating habits in children aged six months or older.
We support parents in making the right food choices for their children by providing research-based nutrition products, including maternal and infant health supplements, and by offering appropriate, consistent advice to help them understand that even small changes to a child’s diet can have a big impact on its health today and throughout its life,” he said.
He continued, “we are committed to marketing infant food products in the country in accordance with the WHO Code. We have implemented extensive management systems across all our operations to assure compliance with the WHO Code. These systems give detailed operational guidelines to all our employees involved in the sale and marketing of breast-milk substitutes with the objective of ensuring compliance with our policies and local regulations at all levels. To monitor our compliance, we carry out numerous internal audits and three annual external audits,” he said.
culled from The Guardian

Mushroom kills cervical cancer virus, slows tumour growth

EVERYONE knows that mushrooms are a nutritious and low-calorie addition to a meal but now new research suggests they could also combat cancer.
An extract from a Japanese mushroom kills the sexually transmitted virus HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common, and highly contagious, infection that affects skin and the moist membrane linings of the body, for example, in the cervix, mouth and throat.
More than three quarters of all women acquire the virus during their lives and some strains can cause cervical cancer.
But American research found the extract active hexose correlated compound (AHCC)- which is found in shiitake mushrooms- may play a role in preventing HPV-related cancers.
In a study using mice, AHCC led to the eradication of HPV within 90 days. It also decreased the rate of cervical tumour growth.
Associate professor, Dr. Judith Smith, of the University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School, said, “the results of this study were very encouraging. This study, initiated in 2008, shows that by itself AHCC has the potential to treat the HPV infection.”

AHCC works as an immunotherapy, which is a treatment that uses a body’s own immune system to help fight disease.
Human and lab studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and cytokines, which enable the body to effectively respond to infections and block the proliferation of tumours.
HPV DNA has been detected in 99.7 per cent of cervical cancer biopsies, yielding the largest causative relationship of any cancer.
Several other types of cancer are also HPV related, including 95 per cent of anal cancers, 60 per cent of throat cancers, 65 per cent of vaginal cancers, 50 per cent of vulvar cancers and 35 per cent of penile cancers.
Smith said, “AHCC is a common, well tolerated nutritional supplement that has been used for decades in Japan. I am very excited to be pursuing a nutritional approach to trying to find a treatment for HPV infections.
“We had previously demonstrated an antiretroviral regimen that successfully eradicated the HPV infection but wanted to develop a more benign protocol, since these medications have a number of side effects.”
The findings were presented at the Society of Gynecological Oncology 45th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa, Florida.
culled from The Guardian

Monday, 24 March 2014

UNICEF Says Ebola Virus is Spreading Fast in Guinea And To Other West African Countries

UNICEF has announced that an Ebola Outbreak has killed at least 59 People in Guinea.
The epidemic has hit the capital city Conakry. “At least 59 out of 80 who contracted Ebola across the West African country have died so far” said UNICEF in a statement to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Ebola is spreading FAST to other West African countries.

There are currently no known treatments or vaccines for Ebola, a viral hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 90 percent of those who become infected.

The virus spread through direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, sexual contact and unprotected handing of contaminated corpses.
“This outbreak is particularly devastating because medical staff are among the first victims … hindering the response and threatening normal care in a country already lacking in medical personnel,” revealed UNICEF.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe and often deadly illness that can occur in humans and primates (e.g. monkeys, gorillas).
Ebola hemorrhagic fever has made worldwide news because of its destructive potential.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola fever) is caused by a virus belonging to the family called Filoviridae. Scientists have identified five types of Ebola virus. Four have been reported to cause disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire virus, Ebola-Sudan virus, Ebola-Ivory Coast virus, and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The human disease has so far been limited to parts of Africa.
The Reston type of Ebola virus has recently been found in the Philippines.
The disease can be passed to humans from infected animals and animal materials. Ebola can also be spread between humans by close contact with infected body fluids or through infected needles in the hospital.

During the incubation period, which can last about 1 week (rarely up to 2 weeks) after infection, symptoms include:
  • Arthritis
  • Backache (low-back pain)
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Malaise
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting

Late symptoms include:
  • Bleeding from eyes, ears, and nose
  • Bleeding from the mouth and rectum (gastrointestinal bleeding)
  • Eye swelling (conjunctivitis)
  • Genital swelling (labia and scrotum)
  • Increased feeling of pain in the skin
  • Rash over the entire body that often contains blood (hemorrhagic)
  • Roof of mouth looks red
  • Treatment
There is no known cure. Existing medicines that fight viruses (antivirals) do not work well against Ebola virus.
The patient is usually hospitalized and will most likely need intensive care. Supportive measures for shock include medications and fluids given through a vein.
Bleeding problems may require transfusions of platelets or fresh blood...NYTIMES