Tag Archives: foreign

Just in: Fire explosion rocked Houston

An explosion at a northwest Houston manufacturing business shook part of the city early Friday, sending at least one person to a hospital, damaging nearby homes and sending firefighters scrambling to put out a resulting fire.

At least one person is unaccounted for after the blast at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The blast happened around 4:15 a.m. local time (5:15 a.m. ET) at 4525 Gessner Road, about an 18-mile drive northwest of downtown, officials said.

A fireball apparently rose from the scene after the blast, video posted to Twitter shows. The distant footage was taken by a camera mounted to a home window.

Debris flew a half-mile from the explosion site, Acevedo tweeted.

Details about what caused the explosion weren’t immediately available. At least one person was injured by shattered glass and was taken to a hospital, Houston fire Capt. Oscar Garcia said.

Many homes in the area were damaged, including broken windows and doors, and in at least one case, a collapsed ceiling, CNN affiliates reported.

“The whole ceiling fell in,” a resident told KTRK about her home.

“I thought maybe the house had gotten hit by lightning. And then I realized there was no storm,” the resident told KTRK. “No one can figure out what happened.”

Mark Brady, who lives about a half-mile from the manufacturing business, told CNN affiliate KPRC the blast “knocked us all out of our bed.”

“It busted out every window in our house. It busted everybody’s garage door in around here … and closer toward the explosion over here, it busted people’s roofs in and walls in.”

More than an hour after the explosion, aerial video from KTRK showed smoke and flames rising from the blast site.

Small explosions followed the first blast
Small explosions happened at the site in the first few hours after the massive blast, Acevedo said.

No evacuations were immediately ordered, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter around 6 a.m. CT.

“First responders are checking on residents immediately adjacent to the facility. Firefighters continue to try to put out the flames,” Gonzalez wrote.

A school district in the area, Spring Branch ISD, said it plans for a full school day, though buses may be delayed.

“We will keep all students inside today as air quality in the area continues to be monitored,” the district said on Twitter.


Trump’s Impeachment trial: Democrats argue

Democratic House prosecutors made an expansive case Thursday at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that he abused power like no other president in history, swept up by a “completely bogus” Ukraine theory pushed by attorney Rudy Giuliani.

On Friday, the Democrats will press their final day of arguments before skeptical Republican senators, focusing on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress’ investigation.

As the audience of Senate jurors sat through another long day, and night, the prosecutors outlined the charge. They argued that Trump abused power for his own personal political benefit ahead of the 2020 election, even as the nation’s top FBI and national security officials were publicly warning off the theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.

“That’s what Donald Trump wanted investigated or announced — this completely bogus Kremlin-pushed conspiracy theory,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who is leading the prosecution, during Thursday’s session.

At the close of the evening, Schiff made an emotional plea to senators to consider what was at stake as Trump is accused of seeking Ukrainian probes of political foe Joe Biden and Biden’s son while holding back congressionally approved military aid as leverage.

“Right matters,” he said, quoting Army officer Lt. Col. Alex Vindman who had testified in the House. “Otherwise we are lost.”

The president is facing trial in the Senate after the House impeached him last month, accusing Trump of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for the investigations while withholding the aid from a U.S. ally at war with bordering Russia. The second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House probe.

Republicans, growing tired of the long hours of proceedings, have defended Trump’s actions as appropriate and cast the process as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in the midst of his reelection campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and acquittal is considered likely.

The Democrats’ challenge is clear as they try to convince not just fidgety senators but an American public divided over the Republican president in an election year.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, Democrats argued on Thursday that Trump’s motives were apparent.

“No president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the senators. He said the nation’s founders would be shocked. “The president’s conduct is wrong. It is illegal. It is dangerous.”

Democrats scoffed at Trump’s claim he had good reasons for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden or other political foes.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, herself a former judge, aid there is “no evidence, nothing, nada” to suggest that Biden did anything improper in dealings with Ukraine.

Trump, with Giuliani, pursued investigations of Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on a Ukrainian gas company’s board, and sought the probe of debunked theories of what nation was guilty of interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

On dual tracks, Democrats prosecuted their case while answering in advance the arguments expected from the president’s attorneys in the days ahead.

At one point, they showed video of a younger Lindsey Graham, then a South Carolina congressman and now a GOP senator allied with Trump, arguing during Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment that no crime was needed for impeaching a president. Trump’s defense team is now arguing that the impeachment articles against him are invalid because they do not allege he committed a specific crime.

The president’s defenders’ turn will come Saturday.

“We will be putting on a vigorous defense of both facts, rebutting what they said,” and the Constitution, said attorney Jay Sekulow.

Ahead of the day’s proceedings, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said the Democrats were putting forward “admirable presentations.” But he said, “There’s just not much new here.”

During the dinner break, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said it seemed like “Groundhog Day in the Senate.”

The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, acknowledged that many senators “really don’t want to be here.”

But Schumer said Schiff has been outlining a compelling case that many Republicans are hearing it for only the first time. He contended they can’t help but be “glued” to his testimony.

Once reluctant to take on impeachment during an election year, Democrats are now marching toward a decision by the Senate that the American public also will judge.

Trump blasted the proceedings in a Thursday tweet, declaring them the “Most unfair & corrupt hearing in Congressional history!”

After the House prosecutors finish, the president’s lawyers will have as long as 24 hours. It’s unclear how much time they will actually take, but Trump’s team is not expected to finish Saturday, according to a person unauthorized to discuss the planning and granted anonymity. The Senate is expected to take only Sunday off and push into next week.

After that senators will face the question of whether they do, or do not, want to call witnesses to testify.

Senators were permitted Thursday to review supplemental testimony submitted by an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams, who was among those who had concerns about Trump’s actions. Democrats said the testimony, which is classified, bolsters their impeachment case. A lawyer for Williams declined to comment.

Holding the room’s attention has been difficult for the Democrats, but senators seemed to pay closer mind to Schiff’s testimony that grew dramatic.

Most senators, even Republicans, sat at their desks throughout the afternoon session, as the rules stipulate, and not as many of them were yawning or standing to stretch as during the previous long nights.

To help senators pass the time, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, passed out lunch favors of fidget spinners, stress balls and other toys.

Democrats thanked the senators for their time and patience, acknowledging the repetition of some of their presentations.

The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election. Four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the public slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. But a sizable percentage, 14%, said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.

One issue with wide agreement: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.

The strategy of more witnesses, though, seemed all but settled. Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to get Trump aides including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify in back-to-back votes earlier this week.

Senators were likely to repeat that rejection next week.


Coronavirus: 10 people tested positive in Alameda

Fewer than 10 people are being tested for the deadly coronavirus in Alameda County, according to health officials.

The Alameda County Health Department told FOX40 sister station KRON4 there are no confirmed cases at this time.

Health officials are not releasing an exact number of how many patients are being tested but said the number is less than 10.

Officials say the patients have either traveled to Wuhan, China within the past 14 days or have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus.

The patients have also had a high fever and a cough, officials said.

The health department stressed that this does not mean they have the virus or will get the virus.

The patients’ lab work is being sent to the CDC in Atlanta for further testing.

Hundreds of people infected with the new virus have fallen ill in China and 25 have died as of Thursday,

The first cases appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China.

The first case of the coronavirus in the United States was reported in Washington state. The U.S. citizen had returned to the Seattle area in the middle of last week after traveling to Wuhan, according to the CDC.

Earlier this week, several major U.S. airports, including San Francisco International Airport, had begun screening airline passengers arriving from central China for the virus.

Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus.


Coronavirus: China researchers discovered the cause (Read…)

Airports and public transportation in Wuhan and three other cities are shut down, and the Post reports large gatherings are being banned across the country.

Even the iconic Forbidden City, which attracts millions of visitors every year, will close indefinitely on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

But the virus has already spread.

Several countries across Asia have reported cases, and a person in Washington State is being treated, after contracting coronavirus on a trip to Wuhan.

International Business Times reported researchers at Peking University may have identified the culprit – venomous snakes sold alongside other exotic animals at a market in Wuhan that’s believed to be the outbreak’s epicenter.

However, an article in the Journal of Medical Virology, written by scientists from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh’s Microbiology and Molecular Genetics department, suggests marmots and bats sold at the market could just as easily be to blame.

According to NPR, infected bats were behind the 2002 SARS outbreak that killed 774 people.

Regardless of Wuhan coronavirus’ precise origin, the Chinese government confirmed this week it is actively spreading from person to person.

CBS News reports at least 17 people in China have died


Coronavirus: More cities shut as Infection increases

China has widened a lockdown in Hubei province – the centre of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll climbed to 26.

The travel restrictions will affect at least 20 million people across 10 cities, including the capital Wuhan, where the virus emerged.

On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in nearby Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei.

Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province.

The north-eastern area borders Russia and is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.

‘We’ve been advised not to leave our rooms’
Has China learned lessons since deadly Sars epidemic‎?
Nationally, there are currently 830 confirmed cases of patients infected with the virus.

The lockdown comes on the eve of Lunar New Year – one of the most important dates in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home.

In Shanghai, the Disney Resort said it was “temporarily closing in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak”.

Millions of people across China are making their way home for Lunar New Year
Travel restrictions vary from city to city – though many places have suspended transport services.

In Wuhan, all bus, subway and ferry services have been suspended and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.

China’s travel industry counts cost of coronavirus
Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported.

Ezhou, a smaller city in Hubei, shut its railway station. The city of Enshi has suspended all bus services.

Have you been affected? Get in touch: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk
But the impact of the coronavirus is not limited to Hubei province. Authorities have also cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including:

Shut down of the Forbidden City, Beijing’s palace complex
Cancellation of traditional temple fairs in Beijing
Cancellation of an international carnival in Hong Kong
Cancellation of annual football tournament in Hong Kong
Cancellation of all public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau
The virus has spread across China and to countries as far as Japan, Thailand and the US.

Earlier information from China’s National Health Commission, when the death toll was 17, said the youngest person who died from the virus was 48 and the oldest was 89.

Most victims were elderly and suffered from other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes.

Wuhan woman who ‘cheated’ checks found in France
How do you quarantine a city – and does it work?
Coronavirus: How worried should we be?
Wuhan – home to around 11 million people – is now rapidly building a new 1,000 bed hospital to deal with the increasing number of victims.

State owned news outlet Changjiang Daily said the hospital could be ready by 3 February. A total of 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers are currently working on the site.

The project will “solve the shortage of existing medical resources” and would be “built fast [and] not cost much… because it will be prefabricated buildings”.

Videos have been circulating on social media, reportedly taken by Wuhan residents, showing long queues at local hospitals

In one video on Twitter taken from Chinese social media, a man can be heard complaining, saying patients could be queuing for as long as 10 hours. The video could not be independently verified by the BBC.

Xinyan Yu
I’m not on the #WuhanCoronavirus story as a journalist this time. I’m a very concerned 武汉人 posting videos I see in chat groups. Here is a another one – the man in the video speaks with a Wuhan accent: “I’m at the Hankou Hospital… (1/2)

End of Twitter post by @xinyanyu

The World Health Organization has not classed the virus as an “international emergency”, partly because of the low number of overseas cases.

“It may yet become one,” said the WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began
Fourteen people in UK tested for new strain
The US said on Thursday it was investigating its second suspected case, this time a student at Texas A&M University who had been to Wuhan.

What’s the global situation?
Vietnam and Singapore were on Thursday added to the nations recording confirmed cases, joining Thailand, the US, Taiwan and South Korea.

Japan confirmed its second case on Thursday and South Korea its second case on Friday.

On Friday, Singapore confirmed its third case – who is known to be the son of the patient in the first confirmed case.

Thailand’s four cases is the most of any nation other than China. Other nations are investigating suspected cases, including the UK and Canada.

Many authorities have announced screening measures for passengers from China, including on Thursday the major airport hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Taiwan has banned people arriving from Wuhan and the US state department warned American travellers to exercise increased caution in China.


Coronavirus: 14 tested in UK

…5 negative, 9 await result

About fourteen people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus with five confirmed negative and nine still awaiting the results.

The executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, Public Health England said that the number includes five people who had undergone tests for the virus in Scotland.

A statement from the Scottish government today said: ‘Following travel to Wuhan, China, two people confirmed as diagnosed with influenza are now being tested for Wuhan novel coronavirus as a precautionary measure only.

‘Three further people are also undergoing testing on a similar precautionary basis.

‘There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and the risk to the Scottish public remains low.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the tests were ‘purely precautionary’.

The outbreak of the deadly virus has killed 25 people so far and infected more than 600 worldwide( UK, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and the United States).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said earlier it is ‘too early’ to declare an international public health emergency over the outbreak ‘given its restrictive and binary nature’.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said: ‘Make no mistake, this is though an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.’

According to researchers, the virus, which can cause pneumonia, fever, difficulty breathing, and a cough may have been transmitted to humans from snakes.


Thomas Markle speaks on plan Meghan cooked to ruin Royal family

Meghan Markle’s estranged father Thomas Markle has accused her and Prince Harry of turning the royal family into “a Walmart with a crown on it” as they prepare to venture outside of the monarchy and take on new job opportunities.

Thomas Markle made the comments in a new documentary, Thomas Markle: My Story, that aired Wednesday night on the U.K.’s Channel 5.

He said: “This is one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They’re destroying it. They’re keeping it… they’re making it shabby. They’re turning it into a Walmart with a crown on it now. It’s something that’s ridiculous. They shouldn’t be doing this.”

Meghan and Harry and have agreed to step down as senior members of the royal family in a bid to live a more private life. The couple say they will become financially independent, with experts linking them to multi-million dollar deals similar to the Obamas’ deal with Netflix.

Thomas Markle was interviewed at his home in Mexico for the Channel 5 documentary following the news earlier this month that Harry and Meghan were planning to leave their senior royal roles and split their time between North America and the U.K.

The Duchess of Sussex’s father said: “Every young girl wants to become a princess and she got that and now she’s tossing that away … it looks like she’s tossing that away for money.

“Apparently three million dollars and a 26-bedroom home isn’t enough for them. It’s kind of embarrassing to me.”

Thomas Markle added: “I miss Meghan. I miss who she was, I don’t know who she is now. That’s the problem.”

Meghan’s father made headlines in 2018 ahead of her wedding to Harry when he admitted staging paparazzi photographs for money.

Thomas Markle was expected to attend to attend the wedding and give Meghan away but ultimately missed the nuptials, claiming he was recovering from heart surgery.

In February 2019, the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday newspaper published excerpts of a letter Meghan wrote to her father in the months after her wedding, prompting the Sussexes to sue the tabloid and its publisher Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information, copyright infringement and a breach of the U.K.’s Data Protection Act.

In a legal filing with the high court in London earlier this month, the Mail on Sunday defended publishing parts of the letter, saying there is “huge and legitimate public interest” in the personal lives of the royal family.

According to the BBC, Sky News and The Guardian, the newspaper’s defense appears to rely heavily on evidence from Thomas Markle, prompting speculation he could testify against Meghan and Harry if the lawsuit reaches trial.



I want to shock Donald Trump – Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh, the former Illinois Congressman and radio talk show host, didn’t want to put a number on what his percentage could be in the Iowa Republican Caucuses. But he has a hope: A surprise.

“I want Republicans in Iowa and around the country to wake up the morning after the caucus and go…woah! Joe Walsh!” Walsh said during an interview on Channel 13 News. “I don’t know what that number is but I want to surprise people. I want to surprise Donald Trump.”

Walsh is aware the odds are against him in his bid against President Trump, who national polls show remains unpopular with Americans overall but still popular with Republicans.

“You’ve got to be brave to do something like I’m doing and then you show up,” said Walsh, who doesn’t have the state party support, financial resources, familiarity with Iowans or campaign infrastructure that President Trump has in the state.

Trump as a candidate in 2016, nearly won Iowa by double digits over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and ended up winning 93 of the state’s 99 counties.

“We’re going to be here every day for the next two weeks up until the caucus, “Walsh said of his closing strategy.


Rapper, Juice WRLD died from drug overdose

Rapper and singer Juice WRLD, whose real name is Jarad Anthony Higgins, died as a result of oxycodone and codeine toxicity, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday.

The medical examiner determined the rapper’s manner of death to be an accident.

Juice WRLD, 21, died at a hospital he was rushed to after he suffered a medical emergency shortly after arriving at Chicago’s Midway International Airport on December 8, 2019.

On the day of his death, Chicago police were called to the airport to assist federal authorities “in regards to a private jet arriving at the airport which contained a large amount of narcotics.”

When police checked the plane, they found 41 bags of what was suspected to be marijuana, six prescription bottles of suspected liquid codeine and three firearms, a police statement said.

Jarad Anthony Higgins, Juice WRLD

However, the plane’s occupants all denied ownership of the package.

Juice WRLD suffered a seizure during the search, and a Homeland Security officer administered Narcan to him. Narcan is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, the rapper didn’t recover.


See how John Legend spent his one day in Nigeria

10 times Grammy Awards Winner and People’s Magazine Sexiest Man Alive for 2019, John Legend landed unannounced in Nigeria on Sunday, 19th January 2020. Nigerians were unaware of Legend’s visit to Nigeria till his famously funny wife, Chrissy Teigen went on Twitter, to casually announce that her husband was in Nigeria. Chrissy, never to let a funny moment pass, shared some of her stomach troubles as well.

Chrissy Teigen’s “announcement” that her husband was in Nigeria did not provide information as to his whereabouts in the country or his reasons for visiting. This left several Nigerians on Twitter no choice but to surrender to their wild imaginations on what purpose John was in Nigeria for.

John Legend’s location was finally revealed to be Eko Hotel Convention Centre, VI, Lagos – most likely where he was also lodged, at the THISDAY Awards 2020. The big reveal came through guests at the event sharing pictures and videos of the famous musician on social media. The annual award ceremony was held in commemoration of THISDAY’s 25th anniversary and the premiere preview of its streaming service – Arise Play.

The THISDAY awards have always been known for class, glitz and glamour. John Legend’s presence was never meant to stir up mass hysteria, and the award event, not being a concert did not need that kind of publicity. Legend was flown into Nigeria for a private event and flown out, probably through Ethiopian Airlines. Notwithstanding, Nigerians still felt they were deprived from seeing the international music star.

John Legend, dapperly dressed in a white tuxedo paired nicely with a black bow tie and accompanied by a band, performed a number of his sonorous hits – Tonight, Love Me Now, Used To Love You, Save Room, A Good Night, and Ordinary People. He promised the guests the best night of their lives and delivered on that promise, with one lucky guest joining him on stage during his performance of “Used to Love You”.

For his performance of All Of Me, Legend got behind the piano and rendered a soulful performance of the song, receiving a loud applause from the audience.

This is the Grammy winner’s first recorded visit to Nigeria, and he is the first international act to perform in Nigeria in 2020.


Hair length requirement in dress code, sexist – Mont Belvieu student

A Mont Belvieu-area high school student said he will not cutting his hair after the school board passed an amendment to its dress code last month requiring boys to have short hair.

Barber’s Hill High School senior De’Andre Arnold said the rule is sexist and a violation of his civil rights.

“Whenever you go through something in life that you feel like you’re being mistreated or anything like that, you have to stand against it,” Arnold said. “You can’t just let people walk all over you like that. You have to be willing to take a stand and that’s what I’m willing to do.”

Arnold’s hair is not within the new guidelines and is not acceptable hair length for male students, according to the new guidelines.

His mother said he will have to cut his hair if he wants to go back to normal classes.

“It’s sexist,” Sandy Arnold said. “They say they want it removed completely. How do you allow girls to have buzz haircuts if they want to cut their hair really short, on the sides and that sort of thing?”

“Every school district in the nation has a dress code,” said Barber’s Hill ISD superintendent Gregory Poole. “I don’t think you can go to school in your underwear.”

Poole said the new hair guidelines for the dress code were approved by the school board based on the desires of the community.

“The hair for males is to not be below the collar, not be below the bottom of the ears, and not to be in the eyes,” Poole said.

The stakes are especially high for Arnold, who may not be going to prom or graduation based on his decision to retain the length of his hair.

“It’s a sexist rule,” Arnold said. “My hair has nothing to do with my ‘excellence,’ as we say in Barber’s Hill, how smart I am, what kind of job I’m going to get or my character.”

The superintendent was asked if he believes the new hair-length guidelines are sexist.

“Instead of arguing that case, I would say that we are legally permitted, by the constitution to have a dress code based on local expectations,” Poole said. “And it is entirely based on what we are legally permitted to do.”

The Americans for Civil Liberties Union has gotten involved in cases like these in the past.

Other school districts ultimately reversed the gender-based hair provisions in their dress codes.


Meet CEO and DEAN, Islamic Online University I.O.U, Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilah Philips


Founder and Dean Islamic Online University

Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips is a Jamaican Canadian Islamic Scholar who converted to Islam in the early seventies after journeying politically and intellectually from Christianity to Communism. Shortly after his reversion to Islam, he embarked on a spiritual academic journey to the other side of the world seeking Islamic knowledge. This journey took him to Saudi Arabia where he completed a BA in Islamic studies in Madeenah, and an MA in Islamic Theology in Riyadh, then to the University of Wales, UK, where he completed a PhD in Islamic Theology in the early nineties.

After graduation from Madeenah, Dr Bilal became a teacher of Islamic studies for 10 years in an Islamic High School, Manaret Riyadh, and a lecturer of Arabic and Islamic studies in the American University in Dubai, UAE, for another 10 years. During his 10 years in the UAE, he founded and taught at the Islamic Information Center in Dubai, and during his subsequent 7 years in Qatar he has been an Islamic consultant and lecturer for the Islamic Information wing of Sh. Eed Charity.

Dr Bilal Philips has written, translated and commented on over 50 published books on various Islamic topics. He has also edited and published the 56 book Eemaan Reading Series for children and presented Islamic programs for a number of years on Riyadh Channel 2TV, Sharjah TV for ten years, as well as Peace TV, Huda TV, Islam Channel, UK, and the Deen Show, Chicago, USA.

In 2002 Dr Philips founded and headed the Islamic studies department of Preston University, Ajman, UAE, and in 2007 he founded and headed the Islamic Studies Academy, Doha, Qatar, while simultaneously launching the Islamic Online University (www.islamiconlineuniversity.com) which is currently offering free Islamic courses to over 100,000 registered students from over 207 different countries world wide, and for which he was included in the Jordanian publication, The 500 Most Influential Muslims (latest edition).

Dr Bilal subsequently founded and headed, in 2008, the English medium Islamic studies department of Knowledge International University, who’s Chancellor is Shaikh Dr. ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Abdil-Azeez Al Sudais and who’s President of the board of trustees is Shaikh ‘Abdul-Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah Al Shaikh, Mufti of Saudi Arabia. More recently, in 2009, Dr Bilal Philips founded and headed the College of Da’wah and Islamic Culture (English Section), Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan, and established and directed Preston International College (www.prestonchennai.ac.in) in Chennai, India.

In March 2010, Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips launched, for the first time in history, an accredited tuition-free BA in Islamic Studies degree course at the Islamic Online University (www.islamiconlineuniversity.com/bais/).


Coronavirus: China warn travelers as death rate increases

Chinese authorities have urged people to stop travelling in and out of Wuhan, the city at the centre of a new virus outbreak that has killed 17 people.

Those living in the city of 8.9 million people have also been told to avoid crowds and minimise public gatherings.

The new virus has spread from Wuhan to several Chinese provinces, as well as the US, Thailand and South Korea.

There are 440 confirmed cases, with the origin a seafood market that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals”.

Late on Wednesday the Chinese authorities confirmed the number of dead had almost doubled – from nine – in the space of a day. All fatalities so far have been in Hubei, the province around Wuhan.

Officials in Hong Kong also reported the territory’s first two cases.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, the World Health Organization’s emergency committee is meeting to assess the global risks posed by the virus and decide if it should be declared an international public health emergency – as happened with swine flu and Ebola.

Such a declaration, if made, could see advice issued on travel or trade restrictions.

China drug makers soar on virus contagion fears
Chinese virus: How worried should we be?
Chinese social media users worry over virus
Chinese authorities admitted the country was now at the “most critical stage” of prevention and control.

“Basically, do not go to Wuhan. And those in Wuhan please do not leave the city,” said National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin in one of the first public briefings since the beginning of the outbreak.

Earlier this week, China confirmed that human-to-human transmission of the virus had taken place.

The virus, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. The Sars virus that killed nearly 800 people globally in the early 2000s was also a coronavirus.

Signs of infection with the new virus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

The first US case was confirmed on Tuesday. President Donald Trump said the situation was “totally under control” and that he trusted the information being provided by Chinese authorities.

What is the latest on the outbreak?

Media captionChina health officials: “Don’t go to Wuhan, don’t leave Wuhan”
Mr Li said there was evidence that the disease was “mainly transmitted through the respiratory tract”. In general, coughs and sneezes are a highly effective way for viruses to spread.

But China has still not been able to confirm the exact source of the virus.

“Though the transmission route of the virus is yet to be fully understood, there is a possibility of virus mutation and a risk of further spread of the epidemic,” said Mr Li.

He added that there were 2,197 people who were known to have come into contact with infected patients.

No “super spreader” – a patient who has transmitted the virus to more than 10 people – has been discovered so far.

At least 15 medical workers in Wuhan, who presumably came into contact with patients, are known to be infected.

It’s not a Chinese mega-city as well known as Beijing or Shanghai, but Wuhan has connections with every part of the globe. Only slightly smaller than London, the city is home to an international airport that handles tens of millions of passengers each year.

These global links explain why the cases of the virus abroad have all involved people either from Wuhan or who had recently visited it.

The city has economic clout too – nearly half of the world’s 500 biggest companies have invested there.

How fast is the virus spreading?
There’s no way to know but it’s likely to be exacerbated by the millions of people across China who are travelling within the country for the Lunar New Year week-long holiday. Thousands are also travelling abroad.

Authorities confirmed that human-to-human transmission of the virus had taken place
Mr Li added that the festival would “increase the risk of the disease spreading and the difficulty of prevention and control”.

He said strict measures to control the disease would be put in place, calling for those in Wuhan to “avoid crowds and minimise public gatherings”.

These measures include temperature screening for all those leaving Wuhan, and improved sterilisation and ventilation at major transport hubs.

New China virus: Your questions answered
A ban on the trade of live poultry and wild animals has also been implemented in the city. State media reports said police were conducting spot checks to make sure this was enforced.

The disease may have originally been passed from an animal to a human, said Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak is believed to have come from a market trading illegal wildlife in Wuhan
Where else have cases been reported?
There have been a handful of global cases: three cases in Thailand, one in Korea, one in Japan, one in Taiwan and one in the US.

On Wednesday, the city of Macau also reported its first confirmed case of the virus. The patient is said to be a businesswoman who arrived from Wuhan over the weekend.

Authorities in many places, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Russia and Japan have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan.

The UK is expected to begin screening passengers arriving at London’s Heathrow airport from Wuhan.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers
In Australia, a man who had travelled to Wuhan has been placed in isolation and is undergoing tests.

Are the numbers accurate?
Experts say there could be many cases going undetected and they expect the official numbers to rapidly increase.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London now estimate that there have probably been about 4,000 cases in Wuhan.

The centre’s director, Prof Neil Ferguson, however said that the Chinese authorities had been “remarkably open” amid an “enormously demanding situation”.

How the virus has spread

31 December: China alerts the WHO about a spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan

1 January: The seafood/animal market believed to be at the centre of the outbreak is closed

9 January: WHO says the infection is caused by a new type of coronavirus

11 January: First death confirmed

13 January: Virus spreads abroad, with a suspected case in Thailand

16 January: A case in Japan is confirmed

17 January: Second death – a 69-year-old in Wuhan

20 January: Number of cases triples to more than 200, and outbreak spreads to Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai; third death confirmed; Chinese officials confirm human-to-human transmission

21 January: US authorities announce the first case in North America – a man who had visited Wuhan

22 January: Death toll climbs to 17, with more than 400 cases confirmed

Trump’s Impeachment trial: US Senate adopt ground rules

The US Senate has adopted ground rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, after nearly 13 hours of rancorous debate on day one.

Democratic prosecutors clashed with Mr Trump’s lawyers over the process, while Republicans rejected Democratic demands for more witnesses to be called.

The trial will resume on Wednesday with arguments by the prosecution, to be followed by the defence and questions.

Mr Trump is the third US president to face an impeachment trial.

He is charged with abuse of power and obstructing the congressional impeachment inquiry. He has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of trying to unseat him for political reasons.

“I’d love to go and sit in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces,” he told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday. But he said his lawyers might have a problem with that.

‘No crime, no impeachment’ – is that true?
Trump impeachment trial: All you need to know
Mr Trump is on trial after he was impeached last month by the Democratic-led House of Representatives. But the Senate, which is controlled by his fellow Republicans, is not expected to convict and remove him from office.

The president is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he again dismissed the accusations against him as “a total hoax”.

On the question of whether new witnesses would be called to the trial, he said he would leave that to senators to decide, but the White House has actively worked to block the appearance of certain officials.

Democrats have made it clear they wish to hear testimony from the former National Security Adviser, John Bolton. The Trump administration has said evidence from Mr Bolton would pose a national security threat – a claim dismissed by Democrats as a smokescreen.

What happens now?
Senators have taken oaths to act as impartial jurors in a trial presided over by US Chief Justice John Roberts. House Democrats known as “impeachment managers” act as the prosecution, while Mr Trump’s legal team acts as the defence.

Media captionTrump impeachment trial: Five possible twists ahead
Under the rules approved by the Republican majority after a first day of proceedings that finished close to 02:00 local time (07:00 GMT), each side will be given up to 24 hours to lay out their case in opening arguments, over three days.

Senators are barred from live tweeting and from speaking to those sitting near them while the case is being heard. No outside reading materials are allowed to be brought in.

Opening arguments will begin on Wednesday afternoon. After this finishes, probably early next week, senators will have a chance to ask questions. They have been given 16 hours. Then attention will return again to the key issue of new witnesses and evidence.

Democrats want to hear from key White House aides who worked closely with Mr Trump, including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Mr Bolton. Republicans have so far blocked their attempts.

How were Democrats blocked on Tuesday?
By party-line votes of 53-47, the Senate rejected a series of Democratic bids to obtain documents and evidence in the impeachment trial. Senators blocked a motion from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena White House files related to Mr Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

They also rejected follow-up motions demanding a subpoena of records and documents from the state department and White House budget office. Republican Senators turned back an effort by Democrats to subpoena Mr Bolton, who has said he would comply with any such order.

Media captionA beginner’s guide to impeachment and Trump
In his opening statement, Adam Schiff, the House Democrat leading the impeachment case, said most Americans “do not believe there will be a fair trial”.

“They don’t believe the Senate will be impartial,” he said. “They believe the result is pre-cooked.”

The president’s legal team had earlier demanded he be immediately acquitted, calling the trial “a dangerous perversion of the constitution”.

At one point during bitter arguments, Justice Roberts admonished both the House prosecutors and the Trump legal team, asking them to remember that they were “addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body”.

How did Mitch McConnell come under pressure?
Backed by the president’s lawyers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had initially planned to condense the opening arguments from three days to two. Democrats said this would have been no less than a cover-up.

But after a meeting with senators, including some Republicans, Mr McConnell agreed on Tuesday to three days for opening arguments.

The Trump impeachment story explained
Trump impeachment – your questions answered
The senators had expressed concern about how middle-of-the-night sessions would look to US voters. But White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, the president’s lead lawyer, had called the plan “a fair process”. Several more days of procedural tangles are expected.

What are the charges?
First, the president is accused of seeking help from Ukraine’s government to help himself get re-elected in November.

U.S President, Donald Trump

It is claimed that, during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he held back military aid as he sought an anti-corruption investigation into Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter, held a board position with a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma.

Media captionWhat’s Ukraine got to do with the Trump impeachment?
The second allegation is that, by refusing to allow White House staff to testify at the impeachment hearings last year, Mr Trump obstructed Congress. The Senate is hearing the case as the Democratic-led House voted to impeach Mr Trump on 18 December.


Y’all really MVPS either I fuck with you or not – Hushpuppi

Dubai based Nigerian big boy, Ray Hushpuppi who is known for flaunting designer outfits on social media, has taken a swipe at Nigerian rappers.

Hushpuppi took to his social media page praise guys residing in Dubai, appreciating them for their lifestyle while shading Nigerian rappers.

In his post, Hushpuppi gave kudos to the guys in Dubai, saying they are living better than many Nigerian rappers.

In his words;

“For real, shout out to the boyss in Dubai doing it big, Niggas out here living better than your favorite rappers. Trust me big UPS to everyone of y’all either I fuck with you or not. Y’all really MVPS.


‘Eyimofe’ selected for 70th international film festival

‘Eyimofe,’ a Nigerian movie meaning (this is my desire), has been selected for world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, billed for next month.

The movie, directed by twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri, will be shown at the forum section of the event holding in Germany.

‘Eyimofe’ addresses migrants’ endless pursuit for greener pastures in Europe and the reality they often meet at the end. It tells the story of two people’s quest for what they believe will be a better life in Europe.

The movie, presented by GDN Studios, was written by Chuko Esiri and produced by Melissa Adeyemo. It featured several characters including Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams, Cynthia Ebijie and Jacob Alexander.

The movie’s latest feat continues what has been a amazing ride for the project which emerged 2018 ‘Purple List Award’ winner and one of ten projects chosen for last year’s IFP Narrative Lab in New York.

It also further showed Nigeria’s impressive record at the Berlin International Film Festival, considered one of the “Big Three” festivals alongside Cannes and Venice.

In 2018, Esiri and Adamu Halilu were the first Nigerian filmmakers to screen at the festival.

While Esiri’s ‘Besida’ played in the short film section, Halilu’s 1976 feature ‘Shaihu Umar‘, an adaptation of Sir Tafawa Balewa’s 1955, was viewed in the forum.


Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begin today

...as he visit davos

.. presidency confident

An apparently confident US President Donald Trump left Washington Monday for the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland as his historic impeachment trial begins in earnest today in the Senate.

The Democrats are calling for his removal from office, while Republican senators are determined to acquit him — and quickly, if possible.

Four months after the Ukraine scandal exploded and went on to overshadow the end of Trump’s term, and 10 months before Americans go to the polls to decide whether to re-elect him, the 100 members of the Senate will gather at 1 PM (1800 GMT) with chief justice John Roberts presiding over the trial.

The job of these lawmakers, sworn in last week as jurors, is to decide if Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as charged in two articles of impeachment approved last month by the House of Representatives.

They state that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win, and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behavior.

It will be only the third time a president has endured an impeachment trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.

Part of the scandal centres on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the November vote.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists and a White House meeting for Zelensky until the latter announced a Biden probe.

“The president did nothing wrong,” Trump’s lawyers responded in a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday.

This echoes the repeated assertions of the 73-year-old real estate magnate that the saga is a political witch hunt and a hoax, and that his phone call with the Ukrainian leader was “perfect.”

In the president’s brief, his 12-man legal team contested the very idea of his impeachment.

They called the two articles of impeachment — approved largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House — the product of “a rigged process” and “constitutionally deficient on their face” because they involved no violation of established law.

That team, which has recruited high profile lawyers such as Kenneth Starr, who tried to bring down Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, said in the brief, “The Senate should reject the Articles of Impeachment and acquit the president immediately.”

“President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardising our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” the House managers said Saturday in a memorandum.

They said the president’s behaviour “is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” referring to the authors of the US Constitution, and that Trump deserves to be removed from office.

But Trump looks almost certain to be acquitted because of the 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate.

US President Donald Trump

The first order of business Tuesday will be to set the rules, such as how long they will hear the arguments of the House managers, or prosecutors; how long they will hear the defense; the time allotted for questions, submitted by the senators but read by Roberts; and whether they will call witnesses or seek other evidence.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Monday proposed rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over two days to present their arguments. That makes for long trial days stretching late into the night but is a significantly quicker pace than in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.


Actress Christina, Boyfriend welcome a baby boy together (Video)

...says and so we begin

Christina Milian is a proud mother again.

The American actress and her French boyfriend, singer Matt Pokora welcomed their first child together, on Monday, January 20, 2020.

The 38-year-old took to Instagram to announce the exciting news alongside sharing a glimpse of her newborn baby boy named Isaiah.

‘And so we begin. Isaiah 1/20/2020. ‘Simply perfect. The world is yours son. Love, Mom and Dad,’ the Love Don’t Cost A Thing actress wrote.

The birth of Isaac marks the couple’s first child. Christina is also mom to daughter Violet Madison, 9, whom she shares with her ex, The-Dream.



Hilarious: Turkey Goalkeeper sent off by referee after saving 2 penalties, his replacer saves the third (Video)

In Turkey, Goalkeeper Ersin Aydin surely had a day he’ll never forget as he helped his club Usakspor beat Turkish third-tier rivals Ergene Velimese.

Ersin, had a day most goalkeepers can only wish for, as he saved two penalties but was yellow carded twice for coming out of his line, so after he was sent off against Ergene Velimese, his replacement, defender Levent Aktug stopped another spot-kick in a thrilling game on Sunday evening.

The match which was still 2-0 as at stoppage time, would have had a more damaging scoreline had Ersin let the penalties be scored- but not only did Ersin keep him team in the game, his teammate came up and saved a penalty as he had no back up keeper .

Watch the thrilling video below.


New ISIS leader after al-Baghdadi’s death

The new leader of the Islamic State has been confirmed as Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi.

He reportedly took over from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the terrorist leader killed himself in October. The extremist cleric blew himself up by detonating a suicide belt after running into a dead-end and dragging two of his children with him to their deaths.

Al-Salbi, was made leader just hours after al-Baghdadi died, according to officials from two intelligence services.

 New ISIS leader unmasked months after Baghdadi died in a US military raid in Syria

The Mosul-born leader is one of the group’s founding members who brought in brutal Sharia Law in Iraq and Syria. He is considered to be one of the most influential ideologues among the now depleted ranks of ISIS.

Al-Salbi, who is also known by the nom de guerre Haji Abdullah, and in some circles as Abdullah Qardash, was born into an Iraqi Turkmen family in the town of Tal Afar.

As a chief legislator, al-Salbi, who is one of the few non-Arabs among the leadership thay ordered homosexuals be thrown off roofs and women accused of adultery be stoned.

Before Baghdadi’s death, the US state department put a $5m bounty on Salbi’s head and on two other senior members of the group.


Kim Kardashian flaunt in new gold leotard outfit

…to promote her new makeup line

Reallity star, Kim Kardashian has shared new images to promote her new makeup line.

In the new photos posted to her KKW Beauty Instagram page, the mother of four was pictured posing in a stunning gold leotard and thigh high sandals.

See full photos below.

Reality star Kim Kardashian flaunts her curvy body in a stunning gold leotard (Photos)

Reality star Kim Kardashian flaunts her curvy body in a stunning gold leotard (Photos)
Reality star Kim Kardashian flaunts her curvy body in a stunning gold leotard (Photos)


DJ Khaled, wife welcomes baby boy

DJ Khaled and his wife, Nicole Tuck have welcomed their second child, a baby boy.

The hip-hop veteran took to Instagram few minutes ago to announce the birth of his second child with a celebratory photo of himself and the doctor who helped deliver the baby.


DJ Khaled and his wife Nicole Tuck also have a 3-year-old son named Asahd Tuck Khaled.