Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chanta Fire:Mum Dies

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday,27 September,2006 (Front Page)

Felicia Duodo, the 30-year-old fishmonger, who together with her one-and-a half year old son sustained multiple burns when fire gutted their room at Chantan, a suburb of Accra on September 16, died last Saturday at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) where she had been on admission for a week.

The son, Augustine Tikwa, is however responding to treatment and hospital sources said he was expected to be discharged yesterday.

Felicia is the third member of the family to die after her husband, Kofi Tikwa, an auto sprayer, and their other son, seven-year old Ebenezer Tikwa died on the day of the incident.

The fire was said to have been caused by a lit candle placed close to the wooden structure that the family had used as accommodation for the past 10 years.

Personal belongings including a television set, sound system, two video decks, refrigerator, gas cylinder and cooking ware were among the debris of the completely burnt structure.

The source told Times that Augustine was getting well and would be discharged by the close of day but "he will be required to come for further check-ups and for the dressing of the wounds.

The source said that the discharge of the boy was upon the request of the relatives of the deceased mother who said they could not pay for the hospital bills.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Strange Image At Maamobi

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 (Front Page)

ONE hundred and sixty days after the March 29 solar eclipse and four days after the annular eclipse, there was yet another phenomenon yesterday in Accra.

This time, it was at Maamobi, predominantly muslim suburb of Accra where a mysterious image allegedly appeared in a Mosque and three rooms in various houses.

Significantly, it was three days after the start of this year’s Ramadan by Muslims.

The alleged appearance of the mysterious golden image attracted hundreds of residents in and around Maamobi.

They thronged the area to catch a glimpse of the image believed to be similar to the holy cloth used to cover the ‘kaba’ (the most holy structure in muslim located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia towards which muslims face when praying).

The strange imageThe image which was allegedly sighted in a room in the area around 4.30 am with some Arabic writings could better be seen through louvre blades.

When the Times got to the various scenes around 10:30 am, one of the houses which reported the appearance allegedly lost it People from far and near, young and old, students and traders alike were seen struggling to peep through the windows of the various locations where the phenomenon reportedly appeared, as all the entrants to the rooms, including the mosque, were closed.

Salim Alhassan, an eye-witness, who allegedly witnessed the phenomenon in his father’s room, told the Times that he was in the room at about 4:30 am when his grandmother entered to serve his father a cup of tea, and upon seeing the image which had then started developing, she started screaming.

He said that upon questioning, she pointed to the image with some Arabic writings on it, adding that at first, it was not very visible but gradually became clear and visible.

He said information about the image spread very fast and people started thronging the area to view it.

The Imam of Eakaza Mosque, Dzazaudeen Abubakar, told the Times after watching the image at all the four location that the only difference between the phenomenon and what is in Mecca is that the one in Mecca is black in colour while what appeared at Maamobi was shiny.

Asked of its significance to Islam, he replied: "It makes us believe that Islam is a good religion on the earth".

A young lady, who gave her name only as Saddia, thinks the appearance of the image is a blessing from God, considering the fact that they are in the fasting period.

"It has strengthened my believe that Allah is great and is really there for us," she said.

Sheikh Shaibu Arimiyao, Greater Accra Regional Manager of the Islamic Education Unit, when contacted, said that even though he had not seen the image, the basis of people’s belief in it needed to be established.

He cautioned Muslims to exercise maximum restraint "in order not to be misled into a belief that is alien to Islam".

He said: "We in Islam do not believe that an object that is sacred and situated at a particular place (Mecca) can appear elsewhere" he added.

Sheikh Arimiyao noted that there were satanic forces that could deceive people into some imaginations, hence the need for the Muslim faithful to be cautious about the image.

When the Times contacted the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, he said he had not heard about it and so could not comment on the matter.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Malaika 2006 Launched

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday,23 September 2006 (Times Weekend)

The final 20 young ladies selected nationwide for the Miss Malaika 2006 crown will from next week in Accra undertake rigorous grooming and training to transform them for the contest.

This follows the launch of the event by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relation, Mr. Joe Baidoo Ansah at Alisa Hotel in Accra on Tuesday evening.

The Miss Malaika Event is one of the prestigious pageants in the country which seeks to locate, groom, and present to the world a young, beautiful, intelligent, responsible and dedicated modern African woman.

The 20 young daring women were short listed from 50 ladies selected from the preliminary stage in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Cape Coast at the semi-final stage based on their physical presence, intellect and boldness.

The young ladies, who possess height, shape, intellegince, poise, elegance and style among others, would be in the house for five weeks where they would engage in many activities.

While in the house, the ladies would be filmed live for a Miss Maliaka Reality TV show which will make it possible for the public to first identify them and be part in making the Miss Malaika Queen by voting for their favourite through SMS.

Two out of the 20 ladies whose performance might not be impressive in the house will each week be evicted by viewers for the five consecutive weeks they would be in the Malaika Mansion.

For the first time in the history of pageant in Ghana, the final ten ladies would be taken on a fun-trip outside the country before they keenly compete for the coveted Malaika crown on November 4, 2006 at the posh Accra International Conference Centre, Accra.

“So as you can see, the stage is set for a brilliant and engaging show this year,” said Mrs.Theresah Ayaode, Executive Director of Charter House, organizers of the event, at the launch.

She said that for the past three years, the organizers of the pageant have engaged the nation in the search to locate budding young women who would not only experience a truly life changing event, but also contribute to society by undertaking a social work with the National Malaria Control Programme.

She urged the public to vote for their favourite queen when the series start showing on TV as they would also stand the chance of winning fantastic prizes.

To the 20 delegates, she said: “The Miss Malaika show is the best experience of your youth you can ever have. Seize the opportunity, have fun, learn lessons and use them to improve your life”.
The reigning Miss Malaika 2005 Queen, Patricia Akuamoah, said that the pageant should not only be termed as “a life changing experience” but “it’s an opoortunity, eye opener and a turning point”.

She described the transformation that the crown has brought her as “remarkable” adding that not only is she a dedicated, ambitious and young, she it has made her bold, mature, independent and exhibited a high degree of eloquence, elegance and grace.

She admitted that along the prestige and fame that came with the crown were many challenges and responsibilities which she had to face during her reign, adding “my greatest challenge was combining my school work with the duties that I was expected to fulfill as an ambassador for malaria prevention campaign”.

Miss Akuamoah advised the ladies to show their “extra-factor” which she said is one unique, special and distinctive quality that will make them different from others and guarantee them the Malaika crown.

She indicated that although her campaign is not ended yet, a lot has been achieved as she’s been able to organized malaria prevention competition among JSS students, held malaria prevention educative talks on radio, provided television and radio infomercials and newspaper write ups among other.

She commended the National Malarial Control Programme for its immense support which has made it possible for her campaign to be effective.

The Queen advised the young women to put in their best at all times, be themselves and have fun as well, stressing that “the competition would be tough but rewarding, taxing but enjoyable and most importantly memorable”.

K.K Fosu and Jane Awindor gave the audience at the launch good musical performances.