Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Premier League Transfer Speculation 29th June 2011

By Saul Sebag-Montefiore

The transfer window has opened again and it is looking as though soon the barriers of restraint are going to break down and money is going to be flying around the Premier League like yam in stew:

Barcelona have made an improved bid of £34m for Cesc Fabregas. The Catalan club also want Samir Nasri.
Arsène Wenger remains hopeful of signing Bolton defender, Cahill, with at least one player moving the other way. (however, Arsenal are said to favour Blackburn’s Christopher Samba over Cahill).
Arsenal are set to hand 19-year-old midfielder Jack Wilshere a new long-term contract.
Following the signing of Dimitri Payet, reports in L'Equipe claim Gervinho is closing on a move to Arsenal. Gervinho has reportedly agreed a four-year contract with Arsenal as talks continue between the two clubs regarding a fee for the attacker.

Aston Villa
Randy Lerner has given Alex McLeish permission to pursue a £9m move for Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia.
McLeish is set to be reunited with goalkeeper Ben Foster. The club are also interested in signing Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan.
The club's new manager is also keen on signing Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales on loan.
Shay Given has been linked with a move to Villa Park following veteran keeper Brad Freidal’s move to Spurs.
Blackburn Rovers
Tottenham have rejected Blackburn's £2m bid for Robbie Keane.
Nottingham Forest manager Steve McClaren is preparing a £2million move for midfielder Keith Andrews.
Bolton Wanderers
Zat Knight claims Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is ready to take a pay cut to join Bolton.
Bolton look set to miss out on Crystal Palace's Neil Danns as Rangers boss Ally McCoist is hoping to snap him up 'in a matter of days'.
Chelsea will go head-to-head in the battle to sign Neymar with both sides reportedly tabling £40m bids.
Roman Abramovich will do everything he can to stop Jose Mourinho's £18m move for midfielder Michael Essien.
The club is set to open talks with Didier Drogba in a bid to extend his contract though they will have to fight off interest from his former club Marseille and Galatasaray.
Di Matteo has returned to Chelsea as assistant manager under Villa-Boas

Atletico Madrid are sniffing around Mikel Arteta.

Fulham have failed with a £500,000 bid for Wycombe starlet Kadeem Harris.

Leeds United
Allegedly looking into a move for former Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek.

Roberto Mancini is aiming to make Partizan Belgrade defender Stefan Savic his first summer signing having tabled a £6m bid for the Montenegro international.
Wayne Bridge is the latest name to be linked with Liverpool after the club gave up in their bid to sign Jose Enrique from Newcastle.
The club are also said to be finalising a deal that will see Jonjo Shelvey and Stephen Darby to Blackpool as part of a plan to finally land Charlie Adam.  
Manchester City
James Milner is being chased by six Premier Legaue sides - including his old club Aston Villa.
Manchester City have their eyes on three players; Fiorentina midfielder Alessio Cerci (allegedly on the brink of finalizing a 7 million euro deal), Partizan Belgrade defender Stefan Savic and 24-year-old Argentina international keeper Sergio Romero.
The club has also been linked with Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o.
Mancini has declared City’s interest in Sanchez as ‘over’ leaving Chelsea and Barcelona in a two horse race to sign the Chillian
Man City goalkeeper David Gonzalez has confirmed a 6 month loan deal to Aberdeen.
Man City striker, Adebayor, has rejected interest from Blackburn and PSG.
Manchester United
If Barcelona fail in their attempts to sign Alexis Sanchez they will turn their attentions to Nani. 
Valencia are the lastest club to have shown an interst in signing Dimitar Berbatov. The Spanish side are willing to spend up to £14 million.
Spanish U21 Championships player Thiago Alcantara is the latest name to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and the club are understood to have made an initial £15m offer (however, Barcelona have extended his contract)
Newcastle United
Newcastle are preparing to make a bid for Argentine striker Juan Manuel Martinez.  
The club is also attempting to hijack Darron ­Gibson’s proposed £5million move to north-east rivals ­Sunderland.
Newcastle are also said to be joining the race to sign Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge – with  West Brom, Bolton and Stoke also on the hunt.
Norwich City

West Ham look set to beat Norwich to the £3m signing of Peterborough's Craig Mackail-Smith.
Queens Park Rangers

Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, 37, could be on his way to newly promoted QPR after being released by Dubai club Al Ahli
Stoke City 

Stoke will abandon their move to sign Birmingham defender Scott Dann and striker Cameron Jerome after having a £16m bid for the pair rejected.
Stoke will make a joint bid for Birmingham duo Scott Dann and Cameron Jerome.  
Tony Pulis is considering a bid for Daniel Sturridge.
The club has agreed a £13million fee for Ipswich striker Connor Wickham. 
Ipswich, Barnsley and Derby are all keen on taking young Sunderland striker Ryan Noble on loan.
Swansea City
Swansea can expect a hard-ball approach from Middlesbrough if they follow up interest in strikers Leroy Lita and Marvin Emnes.
Allegedly enquiring into striking a deal with experienced midfielder, Senna from Villareal.
Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham have rejected a £2m bid from Blackburn for Robbie Keane.  
Liverpool are believed to be preparing a £20m bid for Aaron Lennon  
Giovani Dos Santos is also being linked with a move away and Seville is his most likely destination.  
Krancjar linked with a move away from Spurs (who can blame him)
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have reportedly added their name to the list of clubs interested in signing Chelsea youngster Daniel Sturridge.
Wigan Athletic 

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has accused Bolton of hiking up their asking price for goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and is threatening to pull out of a deal.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 

Wolverhampton Wanderers are looking to bring in Jonny Evans from Manchester United. 

Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll welcomes Central Press

By Lisa Bogler

To bid farewell to Felix Schmermer and Lisa Bogler, two Central Press volunteers, Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll welcomes the journalists in his palace in Abeadze and invites them to lunch in his house.

At the Palace
Driving into Abeadze, hometown of Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll, we were impressed by the development and potential we could see. This reflects the sense of unity of the people and the good leadership of the community’s chief who is also President of Central Regional House of Chiefs.

Despite his tight schedule, Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll welcomed us, the volunteers, Kwamina Bamfo-Agyei and Victor Savage, also board member of Central Press, in his palace. In his role as board chairman of Central Press he takes the opportunity to bid farewell to us volunteers, who are leaving Central Press soon.

The palace is kept in its traditional way, pictures hang on the wall of former chiefs. In the room where we were received, more men were sitting. They were introduced to us as sub-chiefs of other communities who also came to visit the king. Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll himself was sitting on the middle seat on the highest chair as the tradition tells, but he was dressed in casual clothes.

Tradition is one of the topics we talked about at this occasion. The chief takes culture very seriously. It is what makes Ghana Ghana, he said. “It’s dying, but we don’t have to allow it to die.” Without culture, something is missing and insecurity is created. The children, sadly, do not want to learn about their culture anymore. It is even harder for them to read Fanti than to read English. However, culture is important and the chief works hard to preserve the culture in his area.

According to him and to what we could see on our way, the area is doing well. Most of the people are farmers. The plant citrus and cassava and they have some cocoa farms. The predominant plant, however, is palm. The community is even named because of this, as Abeadze means palm, as Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll explained.

Presentation of certificates
After the meeting in the palace, we were asked to move to the chief’s residence and feel at home. It is a neat, bright building, suitable for the President of Central Regional House of Chiefs. We really felt comfortable and impressed and enjoyed the food that was served, rice and chicken, although the chief himself could not join us for the lunch. He came back when we had finished to present certificates to the volunteer journalists.

The certificates state appreciation “for successfully assisting the paper in its publication of  gathering of news items in the Central Region”. After three, two months respectively with Central Press, it is now time for us to leave Central Press and head back to our home country Germany to start studies at the university. We experienced a lot with Central Press, witnessed interesting events and learned about exciting stories. Whatever we did for the newspaper, Central Press and many more in Central Region also did much for us. We will keep it all as good memories and hopefully come back one day.

As Dasebre Kwebu Ewsie Vll thanked us for our work, we also expressed our appreciation for his friendly welcome. Medaase. 

First National donate 5,000 cedis towards Edina Bakatue

By Saul Sebag-Montefiore  

First National Bank has donated 5,000 cedis to support Edina Bakatue festival that starts on the first Tuesday in July. 

The Paramount Chief Nana Kodwo Conduah Vi received the donation on behalf of the planning committee. He then made a strong statement when he wanted to make it very clear that he only exists to help his people and he violently refutes the accusations of the people who believe him to be partisan or politically minded. Nana Kodwo Conduah VI made it very clear that he wanted his people to know that they are his only preoccupation. 
Paramount Chief in discussion
He appealed to the banking community to be lenient with the fishing community when it comes to repayment of their credit facilities because the season for fishing is not all that lucrative.

 The paramount chief of Elmina expressed his gratitude to first national bank for the support of donating 5,000 cedis for the Edina Bakatue. 

The General Manager of First National Bank Charles Otoo, noted that the bank operates in most of the fishing communities and aims at assisting the livelihood of the fisherfolk.
Presentation of donation and gifts
Although the festival begins on the first Tuesday in July it reaches it’s climax on the following Saturday. It is celebrated to commemorate the founding of the town, Elmina by the Europeans and to evoke the deity, Nana Benya’s continuous protection of the state and its people. During the celebration, the Paramount Chief, his sub-chiefs, elders’ fetish priests and priestesses, and indeed the entire state make offerings of sacred food (eggs and mashed yam mixed with palm oil) to the river God and prey for peace. Fetish priests, priestesses and drummers take turns to perform their rituals. There is a thrilling performance of the spiritually possessed chief fetish priest as he responds to spiritual revelations. Following this there is a royal procession made up of extravagantly dressed chiefs and stool carriers, some riding beautifully decorated palanquins. After performing some rituals at the riverside, the chief priest casts his net three times and announces the lifting on the ban on fishing, drumming, funerals and other social activities in the traditional Elmina area. The lagoon is then officially ‘open’ and to conclude the event there is a spectacular ride on the lagoon by women resplendent in ‘Kente’ cloth and local festive headgears. The royal procession leads to the Chief’s palace amidst traditional music. The 5,000 cedis that were generously donated by First National will make a significant contribution towards the successful execution of this very important festival. 

The Edina Bakatue festival is a splendid spectacle that is rich with culture, pomp and drenched in tradition; it is a sight that everyone in Ghana should travel to see.

Monday, June 27, 2011

MP of Cape Coast supports wheelchair basketball game

By Kwamina Bamfo-Agyei
Pictures by Lisa Bogler

The Member of Parliament for Cape Coast Hon. Ebo Barton Odro has donated ten wheealchairs to the Cape Coast disabled basketball team.

He pledged that part of the MP’s Common Fund would be used to assist the physically challenged and the disabled to achieve their talent in various discipline.

Wheelchair basketball is basketball played by people in wheelchairs and is considered one of the major disabled sports practiced. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair basketball world wide. FIBA has recognized IWBF under Article 53 of its General Statutes.
IWBF has 82 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) actively participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from recreation to club play and as elite national team members. Wheelchair basketball is played by boys and girls, men and women.
Wheelchair basketball sees tremendous competition and interest on the international level. Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games that are held every four years for athletes with physical disabilities immediately following the Olympics in the same city that hosts the Summer Olympics just two weeks after the closing of the Summer Games.
A Gold Cup (the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship), is organized two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.
The 1940s saw the beginning of wheelchair basketball. In 1944, Ludwig Guttmann, through the rehabilitation program at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, adapted existing sports to use wheelchairs. It was known as Wheelchair Netball.
At around the same times, starting from 1946, wheelchair basketball games were played primarily between American World War II disabled veterans. Since then, the sport has spread throughout the world.
The Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, held in 1947, were the first games to be held and included only a handful of participants (26), and few events (shot put, javelin, club throw, and archery).
Growth in both the number of wheelchair events and participants came quickly. Wheelchair netball was introduced in the 1948 Games. In 1952, a team from the Netherlands was invited to compete with the British team. This became the first International Stoke-Mandeville Games (ISMG), an event that has been held annually ever since.
Wheelchair basketball, as we know it now, was first played at the 1956 International Stoke-Mandeville Games. The US "Pan Am Jets" team won the tournament.
In 1973, the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) established the first sub-section for wheelchair basketball. At that time ISMGF was the world governing body for all wheelchair sports.
In 1989 ISMGF accepted for its former wheelchair basketball sub-section to be named International Wheelchair Basketball Federation also known by the acronym IWBF.

Full independence came in 1993 with the IWBF becoming the world body for wheelchair basketball with full responsibility for development of the sport. Over the following years IWBF membership grew in size and based on the number of National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWB’s) with active programs, the international federation configured itself into four geographical zones: Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe.
World championships for the sport have been held since 1973, with Bruges, Belgium being the first host city. The first ever world championship for men was won by Great Britain. In the 11 first men's world championships, 6 times have been won by the United States (1979, 1983, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002), Great Britain once (the first ever championship in 1973), Israel (1975), France (1990), Canada (2006) and Australia (2010). Canada has won four of the women's world championship titles (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006), and the United States two (199Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of basketball, and maintains a 10-foot basketball hoop and standard basketball court. The exceptions are rules which have been modified with consideration for the wheelchair. For example, "travelling" in wheelchair basketball occurs when the athlete touches his wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The individual must pass, bounce or shoot the ball before touching the wheels again.

In some countries such as Canada, Australia and England, nondisabled athletes using wheelchairs are allowed to compete alongside other athletes on mixed teams. Wheelchair basketball, based on the sport of basketball, introduces some adaptations to reflect the use of the wheelchair in the game, and to harmonize the different levels of disabilities players have. All teams which compete above a recreational level use a classification system to evaluate the functional abilities of players on a point scale of 1 to 4.5. Minimally disabled athletes are classified as a 4.5, and an individual with the highest degree of disability (such as full paraplegia below the chest) would have the classification of 1.0. In places where teams are integrated, non disabled athletes compete as either a 4.5 (in Canada) or a 5.0 (in Europe).

Classification is an international regulation for playing wheelchair basketball, where competitions restrict the number of points allowable on the court at one time. However, at this time, athletes are only allowed to compete internationally if they have a disability.

Silt and dirt chokes Fosu Lagoon

By Felix Schmermer
The pollution of the Fosu lagoon threatens the livelihood of the fishermen. The problem is long known, but so far no actions are taken to prevent the massive and on-going pollution of the lagoon a situation that needs to be changed to avoid a human disaster for more than 500 fishermen.
The place where a god lives is imagined as pompous place, which surly has to be a IMG_2940clean and tidy place. The place where the traditional god of Fosu lives is the exactly opposite it is dirty and polluted place the, Fosu lagoon and the cause of that is human made. Whoever visits the Fosu Lagoon Cape Coast will be shocked by the state of Lagoon. The edges of the Lagoon are covered with rubber and pure water bags and the water itself is not in a better state. Pollutants of the surrounding workshops and these of other pollutants producing facilities are washed or piped into the Lagoon causing a very bad pollution of the water. Even some gutters are being piped into the lagoon. Due to the rising sandbank and other circumstances, the lagoon is no longer a body of water with a regular flow and exchanges of water; it became a stagnating body of water, which increases the risk of a constant and irreversible pollution, an eutrophication of the lagoon. The interrupted connection to the sea also causes a further danger to the lagoon the possibility of draining, the water level of lagoon already decreased.
The eutrophication of such an body of water is very likely if the pollution continues. Either a threatening eutrophication or the draining of the lagoon would destroy the livelihood of over 500 fishermen with families dependent on their income so roughly more than 2000 people are directly dependent on the fish livestock of the lagoon. Not one of them could absorb the loss of the fish in lagoon. In addition the amount of caught fish already reduced from before 4-5 buckets to now 2-3 and it is not a seasonable decrease it is a constant IMG_2958decrease. So the water is an important giver of life for a lot of people. An eutrophication or a draining of the lagoon would result in human disaster, the allegations of 2005, that the fish was poisonous, because of the extensive pollution of the lagoon, already caused that a lot of fishermen had to struggle for their existence.
The EPA suggestions to bring a change in the process of continuing and rising pollution, of the lagoon, were generally ignored or not implemented by the government, because of lack of money or conflicts with parties involved in the process. Those suggestions included drenching of the lagoon, occasional opening of the sandbar, or the relocations. Both responsible institutions the traditional council and the CCMA are urged by the fishermen to act now. Visits and measurements of lagoon were conducted very often but resulted, as seen by the fishermen only in lip services and no actions. A change in the policy is needed, because the danger of livelihood for a lot of people increases with every day where no actions are taken. Many fishermen are frustrated and upset about the idleness of the government or the responsible institutions.
Talking to the Metropolitan Chief Executive Anthony Egyir Aikins, he revealed projects are in the pipeline to make the place more appealing and cleaner. Projects like the building of a bridge over the lagoon, the opening of the sandbar to ensure a constant flow of water, the drenching of the lagoon. The development of the outer areas to a more appealing environment are vital to make the place also attractive as tourist side. Those projects are big money consuming projects to initiate, for these projects investors are needed and the assembly is in contact with several potential investors, but so far there were no clear results. The lagoon is vital traditional point and needs to be persevered also for the sake of the fishermen.
This lagoon serves a lot of means it is livelihood for the fishermen, a traditional important point and also once it is clean a tourist side. So it is important to stop the environmental pollution of this place to also preserve such a possible beautiful place for future generation. The projects in the pipeline should be realized as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the lagoon. However the Lagoon is not the only place in Ghana, where the pollution takes over, it seems like pollution became notorious habit, either because of unawareness about the importance of the environment or a lack of interest for the environment.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Elmina Castle – a wonder of the African world

By Kerstin Tschernigg

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elmina Castle convinces with its powerful beauty and meaningful history in the Central Region of Ghana.

Elmina Castle, which was built in 1482 by the Portuguese, carried the name São Jorge da Mina and served as an important stop of the Atlantic slave trade.

Ghana was formerly known as Gold Coast where the Portuguese made Elmina Castle as well as its surrounding to their possession. As the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa, the castle itself became the first trading post on the Gulf of Guinea and served the Portuguese until 1637, when the Dutch began to take over. Not until 1642 though, the Dutch succeeded, continued with the slave trade and named Ghana the Dutch Gold Coast.

Many more Dutch than Portuguese soldiers were sent to the castle as Dutch names can still be found in the region because of marriages outside of the life of a brutal slave trade.

The Dutch continued trading slaves under horrible circumstances until 1814, when the slave trade was finally banned. 57 years later, the Dutch Gold Coast as well as the Dutch fort situated on a hill opposite the castle were taken over by the British.

Elmina Castle consists of a Portuguese church, which now functions as a museum, various male and female dungeons as well as the former leader’s bedroom, two living rooms and one washroom.

Interestingly, when looking at the treatment differences between races, the African American slaves were kept in cells without windows, the door solely including slots for a slight breeze of fresh air to fill the lungs of the starving slaves. No African American slave ever returned from these cells.

Elmina Castle - a must-see for foreign visitors coming to the Central Region of Ghana. The guided tour by Ghanaians inside the castle building is highly recommended and gives an insight about a spectacular heritage site with an unbelievable history.