Mercy Johnson, Uche Jombo, others star in new comedy movie

Kondo Game’, an intriguing comedy movie, featuring Nollywood A-lists, such as Jide Kosoko, Mercy Johnson, Uche Jombo Rodriguez, Francis Odega, Mercy Aigbe, Cossy Ojiakor and Funny Bone, is set to take cinema lovers by the storm.

The comic adventure movie depicts life in the police barracks, with the mischief of two notorious police officers, Austin and Vincent, putting viewers on an unending laughter. Played by Francis Odega and Funnybone, the two police officers would later be faced with controversial tasks.

With a sloppy boss, Jide Kosoko to contend with, Austin and Vincent are locked in between crime busting and bursting a romantic fling with a voluptuous mistress, played by Cossy Ojiakor, who runs a beer parlour in the neighbourhood. Cossy’s exploit heightens the rib-cracking comic adventure.

Maryam Harris, the producer of the movie, said the need to create a film at par with Hollywood necessitated the huge investment and quality cast put into the production. Kondo Game, directed by Charles Uwagbai, offers a suspense-filled storyline. It will hit cinemas soon.

G20 fails to agree on free trade endorsement

Trump's anti-globalisation agenda wins against the bloc's decade-old tradition of rejecting protectionism.
G20 meeting was taking place in the German town of Baden Baden [Ronald Wittek/EPA]G20 meeting was taking place in the German town of Baden Baden [Ronald Wittek/EPA]
Finance ministers from 20 world powers have failed to reach an agreement to endorse free trade and rejection of protectionism in the face of US opposition, according to the communique of the G20 participants.

The ministers and central bank chiefs of the G20 countries ended talks in the German town of Baden Baden on Saturday, making only a token reference for the need to strengthen the contribution of trade to the economy.

"This is not a good outcome of the meeting," a G20 delegate quoted Germany's central bank chief Jens Weidmann as saying. Germany has a $65bn trade surplus with the US.

Breaking with the bloc's decade-old tradition of rejecting protectionism and endorsing open trade marks a win for US President Donald Trump and his anti-globalisation agenda.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday in Berlin that the Trump administration had no desire to get into trade wars but that certain trade relationships need to be re-examined to make them fairer for US workers.

'Fairer trade'

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Trump said that he did not believe in isolationism but that trade policy should be fairer.

The G20 financial leaders on Saturday reaffirmed their commitment to refrain from competitive currency devaluation, a key agreement as the US has repeatedly complained that some of its trade partners are using artificially devalued currencies to gain a trade advantage.

G20 also walked back on a pledge to support climate change finance, an anticipated outcome after Trump called climate change a "hoax".

On Thursday, Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, said climate change funding would be "a waste of money".

Iraqi forces retake two key areas in west Mosul

Iraqi police say the recapture of al-Kur and al-Tawafa will enable civilians to move to safer areas.
Iraqi government forces launched the latest offensive to retake western Mosul on February 19 [Ahamd al-Rubaye/AFP]
Iraqi forces in Mosul have said they have captured two key neighbourhoods in its offensive to retake the western part of the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Adel Ahmed, the captain of the federal police, said control of the al-Kur and al-Tawafa will allow for a safe corridor for civilians to leave the city.

“Liberating both districts will allow opening secured corridors for the exit of civilians to safer areas,” he told the DPA news agency.

Ahmed also said Saturday's advance followed intense clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIL fighters.

The Iraqi military launched the most recent offensive on western Mosul, the largest remaining ISIL stronghold in Iraq, on February 19.

On Wednesday, Iraqi forces took control of a main bridge leading to the city and advanced towards the mosque where ISIL's leader declared a "caliphate" in 2014.

Nearly 100,000 Iraqis have fled western Mosul over the past three weeks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.

The Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration said that as many as 600,000 civilians remained trapped in neighbourhoods of west Mosul.

The operation in the city officially began in October last year. In January, its eastern half was declared "fully liberated".

Osinbajo: Niger Delta Will Get Better Deal

Nigerians in the Niger Delta deserve a fair deal, according to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who outlined the vision of the Buhari administration and why it would depart from past leadership and governance failures in the region.

Prof. Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari is now advocating a New Vision for the people of the Niger Delta.

The vice-president who went on several trouble-shooting missions to the Niger Delta spoke today at the Presidential Villa while chairing an inter-ministerial follow-up meeting with relevant government ministries, departments and agencies involved in the Niger Delta.

“The President believes the people of the Niger Delta deserve justice, and for me also it is a very important point,” the Vice President stated adding that the state of the region and the suffering of the people does not reflect the fact that “it is the resource base of the country.”

“In spite of the past leadership failure, the Niger Delta people deserved a fair deal,” Osinbajo added.

Osinbajo, right, at the inter-ministerial meeting on Niger Delta
The Vice President told the inter-ministerial team that includes ministers and others MDA heads that the meeting is to ensure that “we are faithful to the promises and the spirit of the presidential engagements with the people of the Niger Delta.”

In attendance at the meeting were the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and the Environment Minister of State, Alhaji Ibrahim Jubril. Others include the Presidential Adviser on Amnesty Programme Major-General Paul Boroh, and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Nsima U. Ekere.

All the ministers and officials made presentations about the next steps in the process, especially on how to effectively meet the commitments and deliver the promises made by the Federal Government during the interactive engagement tours led by the Vice President.

In his presentation, the Minister of State for Environment disclosed that the ministry has now fully engaged the Ogoni Clean-Up Project Coordinator, Dr Marvin Dekil, himself an indigene of Ogoni. Besides he also revealed that potential contractors have been visiting the site to demonstrate the available and suitable technology to be used for the Clean-Up.

Later the Vice President received a delegation of western diplomats from countries involved in the oil industry in Nigeria. The delegation was led by the Dutch Envoy in Nigeria, Ambassador John C.M. Groffen, and included Ambassadors, High Commissioners or their deputies from United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, United States and the European Union.

The Vice President told the diplomats that the idea of the interactive engagements with the oil-producing communities resulted from President Muhammadu Buhari after he met with leaders from the region last November.

He added that the Buhari presidency is, therefore, working on how to make a positive and long-lasting impact in the region in a way that transforms the lives of the people from the “treasure trove of Nigeria.” The Vice President then added that the FG will welcome the partnership and support of the western countries in that effort.

Ambassador Groffen said the countries represented at the meeting would like to stay involved in the dialogue while commending the approach of the Buhari administration in the matter.


Have you found that one thing whose absence kills you even when you’re yet alive? The thing you can’t do without? You wake up with the thoughts, you fall asleep with same? Sometimes some think you’re day-dreaming, they think it is far beyond your reach yet it is within you rather live in your dreams than live without one. They’ve tagged it as your dream, I’ve chosen to re-tag it as your OXYGEN.

Ever wondered why doctors tend to place the oxygen mask over patients sometimes? They disregard the fact that the rest of us in the world without the mask are still living and inhaling the same air they’ve got stored in a tank, this sounds pretty weird right? There’s got to be a reason behind every act. I believe we all are blessed with our own unique tank of oxygen without which we often sense something lacking in our being. Whatever it is, I will address it as your OXYGEN.

If you can unravel what your oxygen is, then you can live your life as though gravity is a mirage which leaves you facing the sky.

LEAD – [Locate it! Embrace it! Adore it! Demonstrate it] and others will FOLLOW.

Some have dedicated their lives to be mountain climbers, others teachers, some comedians, others swimmers, some rappers, others grandmasters. Don’t try to blend in, else you will lend to those that will end up dulling your star. The world does not need a crowd, just one soul that has found an OXYGEN MASK and will rather die than take it off.

If it came to you, that’s a sign that you should not rest until you’ve laid it to rest in this world. If it came to mind, it’s a sign that it can come to pass.

FEAR is common, do not let your fears be awarded double stars.

Pinocchio would have died a wooden boy but Geppetto (his dad) believed that someday he will have a soul and he did. Give your dreams the relevant oxygen they require to survive, don’t starve them!

Do not kill your dreams with your own sword, behind you is an army if you fail… then your army will be defeated but wouldn’t you rather run head-on at the obstacles than settle for less or give in so cheaply?

It’s safe to sit in the corner of your mansion and let go of your oxygen than it is to risk getting beat up when you dare the unthinkable, but remember that the only people who leave a mark behind when they leave this world are those who D-A-R-E. In the face of challenges, their only motion is forward. We have numerous names of people who have overcome such, we don’t need to mention them, the next name to be mentioned has got to be YOURS!

It’s better to fail forward than to succeed at doing nothing.

First fluorescent frog found in Argentina

Handout photo relased by CONICET and MACN (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales) researchers Carlos Taboada and Julian Faivovich on March 16, 2017 in Buenos Aires of a fluorescent polka-dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) that lives in South America. Argentine and Brazilian scientists discovered the first case of natural fluorescence in amphibians in the tree-frog.<br />C.TABOADA-J.FAIVOVICH / MACN-CONICET / AFP

The first naturally fluorescent frog was discovered recently in Argentina -- almost by chance, a member of the team of researchers told AFP Thursday.

Argentine and Brazilian scientists at the Bernardino Rivadaiva Natural Sciences Museum made the discovery while studying the metabolic origin of pigments in a tree-frog species common to South America.

Under normal light the frog's translucent skin is a muted yellowish-brown color with red dots, but when the scientists shone an ultraviolet light on it, it turned a celestial green.

According to one of them, Carlos Taboada, the case is "the first scientific record of a fluorescent frog."
"We were very excited," said his fellow researcher Julian Faivovich. "It was quite disconcerting."

He said the discovery "radically modifies what is known about fluorescence in terrestrial environments, allowing the discovery of new fluorescent compounds that may have scientific or technological applications."

It also "generates new questions about visual communication in amphibians," he said.

The team studied some 200 more examples to ensure the phenomenon was not due to the frog's captivity, and detected the fluorescent properties in all the specimens.

Maria Lagorio -- an independent researcher and expert in fluorescence, who the research team contacted after the discovery -- told AFP that the trait is common in aquatic species and seen in some insects, "but has never been scientifically reported in amphibians."

The finding was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Actor-director Alice Lowe on the mother of all movies

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 18, 2015 shows British actress Alice Lowe at the 35th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards in London. Two things stand out immediately about British actress, filmmaker and rising star Alice Lowe that make her an unusual subject in the rarified but often pretentious world of celebrity interviewing. The first is the venue -- a pleasant but utterly run-of-the-mill early 20th century bungalow she has rented to receive journalists in suburban Los Angeles -- and the second is that she is breastfeeding.

Two things stand out immediately about British actress, filmmaker and rising star Alice Lowe that make her an unusual subject in the rarified but often pretentious world of celebrity interviewing.

The first is the venue -- a pleasant but utterly run-of-the-mill early 20th century bungalow she has rented to receive journalists in suburban Los Angeles -- and the second is that she is breastfeeding.

"We could have gone to a restaurant but I didn't want to be somewhere where I'm like 'stay in your pram and don't fall into the waiter,'" she says, cradling infant daughter Della, who was bawling but has suddenly adopted the blissed out expression of a yogi.

Lowe's lack of airs could be explained by the fact that she's hardly A-list yet outside of the British TV comedy circuit. But you get the feeling that she'd be as down-to-earth with an Oscar on the bathroom shelf.
Her profile has been on the rise, in any case, with a starring role and writing credit on Ben Wheatley's exquisite serial killer comedy "Sightseers" (2012) and parts in Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End" as well as Paul King's "Paddington."

Lowe, 39, is doing the Hollywood publicity merry-go-round to promote "Prevenge," a horror comedy she wrote and directed, not to mention appearing in every scene, during an intense 11-day shoot while she was heavily pregnant.

Another deliciously deadpan bloodbath, "Prevenge" follows delusional Ruth as she embarks on a bloody antenatal assassination mission she believes is being commanded by her unborn fetus to avenge the death of its father.

- In the club -
If the premise sounds outlandish, Lowe's directorial debut -- which is released March 24 in limited theaters and the horror streaming service Shudder -- has been lavished with critical acclaim.

She was approached to make it while six months pregnant, and realized her initial hesitation was no more than an unconscious attempt to conform to how society expects pregnant women to behave.

She ended up making a movie that on one level is a natural heir to the revenge genre exemplified by Park Chan-wook's 2003 noir smash-hit "Old Boy," but one that explores the way society patronizes pregnant women while at the same time limiting their life choices.

"One of the main things I wanted to say is that women are individuals and pregnant women are individuals. Everyone is different. That's one of the things you feel you're losing when you become pregnant," she says.

"It's like you're joining a group, some kind of club and there's this one-size-fits-all attitude that you're a mum ... and you're going to feel this way or that way."

Lowe also wanted to challenge the tendency of TV and cinema to reduce pregnant women to nothing more than their baby bump -- and the inclination to worry about whether female characters in general are sympathetic.

"No one watches 'Taxi Driver' and thinks this is a terrible representation of men, or taxi drivers. You do the same with women and everyone goes 'oh, she was so horrible, such a terrible representation of women,'" she says.

- 'Superhuman' -
Far from being worn out, Lowe felt "superhuman" during the shoot, which includes a Halloween night out on the streets of the notorious Welsh party capital Cardiff, where real drunken revellers took the place of paid extras.
"I had guys coming up to me and shouting in my face 'I'm not scared of you!' and I had to say, 'I am actually pregnant, you know. This is a real pregnancy bump," she recalls.

"I saw some crazy things that night. We walked past a group of about 30 people standing around a fight between three men, one of whom was in a wheelchair. It was insane."

Lowe grew up in England's West Midlands and graduated in classics from Cambridge University.

Her TV career took off with "Garth Marenghi's Dark Place," a short-lived but clever send-up of low-budget 1980s soap opera featuring actors talking over scenes from a horror series they'd made years earlier that got cancelled.

Life following art as it often does, "Darkplace" itself was cancelled after six episodes, although it got a second life on America's Sci-Fi Channel -- now SyFy -- and has gone on to become a cult classic thanks to YouTube.

Lowe has since appeared in many of Britain's most successful comedy series -- from "Black Books" to "The IT Crowd" and "The Might Boosh" -- but says her film career has allowed her to realize she's "just not that into sit-coms."

"I think in a way I got subverted into comedy," she says. "I do love comedy but I much more see the world as being a mixture of comedy, tragedy and everything else."

Happy Family

  Aisha Buhari the wife of Nigerian president with her younger brother and her son are looking bright and beautiful.