Bashir Abdullahi's Blog

Can Brown escape the axe?

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It was a news alert from the BBC around 12:35 PM that alerted me to the story that “Two former UK cabinet ministers text all Labour MPs seeking secret ballot on Gordon Brown leadership.”

The story then went ahead to dominate the media coverage throughout the day and night, surpassing the snow that blanket the UK these days.

According to the BBC “two ex-Cabinet ministers called for a secret ballot of Labour MPs to decide on Mr Brown’s leadership.

“No ministers and only a handful of Labour MPs publicly supported the move.

“But the BBC has learnt plotters against Mr Brown felt six Cabinet ministers may back them in the “right circumstances”.

The UK PM had come under attack from opposition parties before, accusing him of incompetence as did Vincent Cable of the Liberal Democrat in 2007, and now the fire is burning from his inner chamber after escaping two previous attempt by his allies to topple him in the last two years.

Stalin to Mr Bean

It was November 2007, the then acting Liberal Democrat leader, Vincent Cable turned the PM to a laughing stock, by remarking during a parliament session that he had noted Mr Brown’s “remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean”.

The Telegraph newspaper then remarked that “The day must soon dawn when Gordon Brown starts to wonder whether this country is worthy of him. Our great leader has declined at breathtaking speed from father of the nation, able to defend his grateful people against every peril from al-Qa’eda to bluetongue disease, into a laughing stock.”

I can recall watching the parliamentary session live on television and my first reaction was, this can never happen in my country. And if it does happen, then whoever make that remark, must face the consequences of his action, the least of which is to block him from getting re-election during the next poll.

Now Mr. Brown’s competency is being challenged by his party members, Former cabinet minsters Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, who sent text messages to Labour MPs asking them to ballot on the desirability of the PM to lead Labour party to the next general election.

As this is not enough, The Independent news paper today released what it called the “poll of polls” which shows “the Conservatives on 40 per cent, Labour on 29 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent. These figures would give Mr Cameron an overall majority of 20 at a general election.”

Although some of  Brown’s cabinet ministers have come out publically to announce their support for his continued leadership, the incident has indeed strengthened the conviction that all is not well withing the Labour circle and that truly there are people withing the party who are not happy with Brown’s leadership.

Written by danmakaranta

January 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm

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Which is Best? Breast milk or Baby formula?

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I was surfing through the net when I was attracted to a headline in the online version of The Daily Mail newspaper which reads: “Breast is NOT best: Mother’s milk no better than baby formula, scientist claim”.

Mother breastfeeding baby. Courtesy iCLIPART Images

The first thing that came to my mind was, could this be another ‘Flat earth news’? Thanks to Nick Davies, the author of a book with the same title.

In one of the book’s chapters, we were made to understand that some PR agencies hired by some companies producing certain products sometimes create pseudo groups as independent organisations to produce research to defend their sales.

He cited an example of the food industry in Europe which he said “…has been funding groups to protect its position against public and government alarm over obesity, junk food, misleading food labeling, diabetes and the advertising of fatty foods to children.

“British newspapers routinely carry reports and quotes on diet from the Social Issues Research Centre, the British Nutrition Foundation and the International Life Sciences Foundation and routinely fail to point out that all three have recieved significant funding variously from Cardbury Schweppes, Nestle, Kelloggs, the Diary Council, Kraft and the Sugar Bureau.”

Baby Formula

Back to the Daily Mail’s story. It reads: ” Women should forget what they have been told about the health benefits of breastfeeding, it was claimed today.

“A controversial new study has concluded that, contrary to the view of many experts, breast is not necessarily best for children in the first months of life.

“Professor Sven Carlsen, who led the Norwegian team, declared: ‘Baby formula is as good as breast milk.'”

Incidentally, all the reports about the study didn’t indicate who funded the study.

I quickly ‘googled’ Professor Sven Carlsen’s name and found out that he had participated in a research funded by a pharmaceutical company called Glaxo Wellcome AS.

However, this may not be a direct link, but it made me suspicious of the veracity of the research.

The choice is yours

The issue of superiority between breast-feeding and ‘bottle-feeding’ has been on for some times now and there is no indication that it will die down soon.

But some take the middle stand that using both methods to feed a child is the best as not all mothers can afford to breast feed their babies.

An article on safekids.co.uk discussed the advantages of both methods.

On Breastfeeding it noted that: “Not only is breast milk nutritionally superior to baby formula, breast fed babies typically experience less gassiness and spitting up than bottle fed babies.

“Additionally, mother’s milk provides babies with valuable antibodies not present in commercially prepared formula.

“Breastfed babies are less prone to respiratory and ear infections, asthma, allergies and diabetes than those who are bottle fed, and evidence suggests that breastfed babies are even at a reduced risk of cot death.”

As for the proponents of bottle-feeding, the article stated that “Not all mothers are able to breastfeed.

“Women who are HIV positive or have AIDS, as well as mothers who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments are not good candidates for breastfeeding.

“Also, some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, make breast-feeding inadvisable.

“For these women, as well as those who simply prefer to bottle-feed, formula provides a balanced, nutrient rich diet for their baby’s first year of life.”

However, we shouldn’t forget the Chinese poisoned baby milk scandal, which led to the death of many innocent babies.

Therefore, it is up to you to decide which best suits you, breast milk or baby formula. As for me, I go for the breast milk.

Breast is NOT best: Mother’s milk no better than baby formula, scientists claim

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:34 PM on 06th January 2010

Mother breastfeeding babyTaboo: Women who bottle fed their babies should not worry that they are doing anything wrong

Women should forget what they have been told about the health benefits of breastfeeding, it was claimed today.

A controversial new study has concluded that, contrary to the view of many experts, breast is not necessarily best for children in the first months of life.

Professor Sven Carlsen, who led the Norwegian team, declared: ‘Baby formula is as good as breast milk.’

What really affects the health of a growing infant is the hormone balance in the womb before birth, according to the research.

This in turn influences a woman’s ability to breast feed, resulting in a misleading association between breastfeeding and child health, it is claimed.

The only benefit from breastfeeding supported by genuine evidence is a ‘small IQ advantage’, said the scientists.

And even this was yet to be properly confirmed.

Prof Carlsen’s team reviewed data from more than 50 international studies looking at the relationship between breastfeeding and health.

Most concluded that the more children were breastfed, the healthier they were.

On the surface this was correct, said Prof Carlsen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

But he added: ‘Even if this is statistically true, it is not because of breastfeeding itself. There are very few studies that have examined the underlying controls on breastfeeding ability.’

The largest study on breastfeeding was conducted in Belarus and involved more than 17,000 women and children who were monitored for six years.

It ‘cut the legs out from underneath most of the assertions that breastfeeding has health benefits’ said the scientists.

For example, the study found no evidence that breastfeeding reduced the risk of asthma and allergies in children.

Mental ability was the only area where a small benefit was seen.

‘It appears that children who are breastfed have a small IQ advantage,’ said Prof Carlsen.

‘But this needs to be confirmed in new, carefully planned and conducted studies.’

The Norwegian scientists’ own work pointed to links between levels of androgen male hormones in the wombs of pregnant women, the health of children, and breastfeeding.

‘Pregnant women who have higher levels of androgens breastfeed less,’ said Prof Carlsen.

‘Probably this is a direct effect of hormones that simply limit nursing ability by reducing milk production in the breast.’

A pregnant woman’s health affected hormones in her womb, which had knock-on effects on her unborn child, said the researchers.

Normally a certain amount of the androgen testosterone is converted to the female hormone oestrogen in the placenta, the vital organ that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and links mother and child.

This is an energy-intensive process, said Prof Carlsen. If the placenta is underpowered, some of the testosterone that should be converted remains unchanged and has an impact on both the unborn baby and its mother.

For the mother, this leads to reduced development of glandular tissue in the breasts so her ability to make milk is impaired.

Adverse effects on the child are believed to include an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the hormonal disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in girls.

Breastfeeding is less common in younger women, smokers, women who have had the pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia, women who have low-birth weight or premature babies, women with PCOS, and when the child is a boy.

A number of misguided theories have been put forward to explain why these groups avoid breastfeeding, say the researchers. One claim is that the bond between a mother and her child is not as strong when the baby is a boy.

‘This is purest nonsense,’ said Prof Carlsen.

‘Boys are not less loved by their mothers than girls. We can blame biology here, not mothers. All these relationships can be explained by one and the same cause, namely the level of male hormones during pregnancy.

‘We find it very interesting that almost all of the factors previously shown to be associated with breastfeeding can be explained by changes in testosterone levels in the mother during pregnancy.’

He said it was wrong to pillory women who find it difficult to breastfeed.

Women who bottle fed their babies should not worry that they are doing anything wrong, and should not be intimidated by politically correct messages, he added.

‘Don’t let overzealous health professionals give you a guilty conscience,’ said Prof Carlsen.

‘There are many good reasons to breastfeed. But concern for the child’s health is not one of them. There is no reason why women who are struggling to breastfeed should have to go around feeling guilty, or think that they are giving their child a poor start in life if they can’t nurse. Baby formula is as good as breast milk.’

The strongest argument for encouraging mothers to breastfeed was environmental, said Prof Carlsen.

Breastfeeding avoided the environmental costs of producing bottles and infant formula, and the energy consumed sterilising bottles.

Nursing babies at the breast was also the right approach for developing countries, where economics, hygiene and lack of natural resources made breastfeeding the better option.

The research is published in the January edition of the journal Acta Obstestricia and Gynecologia Scandinavica.

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Here’s what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

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I think the study has a lot of holes in it. Benefits to the child’s health include HEALTHY weight gain and antibodies from Mom to help fight off colds and such. I know first-hand as a daycare worker that breastfed babies do better when they are sick. Formula fed babies tend to be overweight. I am all for formula I know a lot of Moms have to work and can’t nurse and there is nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with not being comfortable with nursing. No one should feel guilty for it at all but you can’t deny that best is breast. Breastmilk has a better taste to it, it’s warm and gives baby and mom a chance to sit down and bond for 20 minutes. You are nurturing your child inside and out. How is that not better?

– Jennifer, Savannah, GA, 06/1/2010 19:39

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Agree completely! My now 15 yr old daughter was bottle-fed……….and despite lots of tut- tutting here in France, my sister-in-law’s 3 breast-fed children have been more sickly and ill then ever my daughter was!

– karen, haute savoie France, 06/1/2010 19:39

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I agree with this article. If you can do it, go for it, but if you can’t than you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty.

Personally I breastfed my first born (a boy) for 6 months enjoyed it, but due to the lack of sleep, which the health professionals do not tell you about as breastfed babies need to be fed frequently, I didn’t see how I would manage doing it again with my second (also a boy), Three years on, I don’t think there are any differences between them.

– S Khan, London, 06/1/2010 19:35

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It is whatever you want to do, whatever makes you happy and whatever nourishes the baby. Simple! I never breast fed any of my 3 and my mum never breast fed any of us. At the risk of sounding a little boastful, we are all smart, articulate, healthy etc. Why do some people always have to impose their beliefs on others. It is a free country after all.

– sophie, belfast, 06/1/2010 19:35

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I have two boys, one 19 months and one 3 months, and I wasn’t able to breatfeed either for longer than 6 weeks as I simply didn’t have enough food for them, despite trying everything (including eglinol on doctor’s prescription).Having spoken to many many mom’s about this, it seems it is not that uncommon for women to not have enough milk. To those who do and are able to breastfeed, well done. It is not easy. But for the many of us who do not produce enough milk (my youngest drinks over a litre a day), it is good to know that we are not hurting our babies (who we love more than life itself) by giving them formula. After all, they have to eat. To those women who have successfully breastfed, you’ve done well but please don’t be harsh on those of us who aren’t able to do so well.

– Just a mommy trying her best, Johannesburg, SA, 06/1/2010 19:32

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Oh, really? Em, a millennium of nursing mothers had it wrong, eh? Women who lived in caves had no access to bottles or formula, yet they were able to successfully nurse their babies. Ditto down the ages, except, of course, the New Age nuts who want to replace the perfect nutrients in breast milk with designer powders and rubber teats. Give me a break. Women’s breasts were designed for the purpose of providing nourishment to their babies. End of story.

– Maeve McFadden, San Diego, USA, 06/1/2010 19:26

Written by danmakaranta

January 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm

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My window ‘vandalised’

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My room’s window came under ‘severe’ attacks today from two of my close friends. It escaped been smashed into pieces, thanks to its strength and distance from the attackers.  Pictures they say tells the story.

I don't know who to credit for taking the pictures. But all the same, thank you both for decorating my window. (Inset: Denisa Morairu)

The story according to  Yong Wang is that Denisa sent a message to Bashir last night but got no feedback, and this is what happens to Bashir’s window today.

The second 'acomplice' (Young Wang)

Denisa Morariu: Well, the truth is I came up with the idea, hoping Bashir is in his room and scare him.

Written by danmakaranta

January 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

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ALERT: Harrow site closed due to snow

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Some pictures of snow I took after beign turned back from school gate by a security official:

The green gress now blanket with snow

A snow man made by some passers by, may be students

Even the sign posts, got their share

Behind my hostel block

Written by danmakaranta

January 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

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A colossal inteligence failure?

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Events of the past weeks have dealt the intelligence community especially the ‘almighty’ CIA a deadly blow that would be difficult to recover from easily.

First, it was an aborted attack on a Detroit bound US airline on Christmas day. We were later told that there was a prior ‘intelligence’ report about a Nigerian being groomed to carry out the attack,  but the ‘so called’ intelligence agencies failed to act on it.

Secondly, a supposedly CIA informant detonated a bomb killing 7 CIA agents in their base in Afghanistan. This too we now know that the person involved have made several postings on jihadist sites campaigning against the western ideologies which CIA stands to protect.

In what could be described as scathing self assessment by a top American security official, The Telegraph newspaper quoted America’s most senior intelligence officer in Afghanistan Maj Gen Michael Flynn describing the US military operation in Afghanistan as “starved” of decent information which could help wage a successful war against insurgents.

He called for radical changes saying that after eight years, it was still unable to answer “fundamental questions about the environment in which we operate and the people we are trying to protect and persuade”.

Intelligent…intelligence

The two incidents; aborted attack on US airliner and the killing of 7 US secret service agents reveal that the intelligence community may not be as ‘intelligent’ as we were made to believe or so it seems.

There are indications that the perceived holes in the operations of the intelligence services is becoming a major source of worry to many people across the globe as was evident in  the BBC’s World Have Your Say programme debating the issue by asking “Who’s more intelligent, the intelligence services or the terrorists?”

The programm’s synopsis reads “Have American Intelligence services been caught slipping? The Jordanian double agent, the attempted underpants bomber and wannabe reality stars breezing their way past White House security, are these examples signs that the intelligence services just aren’t smart enough or are they doing the best they can?”

Then come the ultimate confession from the ‘world’s number one citizen’ Barak Obama who admitted after meeting his top security officials that “US security agencies had enough intelligence to disrupt a plot to blow up a plane last month, but failed to act.”

The BBC quoted him to have said The intelligence community had failed to “connect the dots”, and that “It’s not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it.”

Can we then conclude that the American and indeed most of the so called world intelligence gathering communities are now a colossal failure?

Written by danmakaranta

January 5, 2010 at 11:42 pm

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I’m Cold… Get Me Out of Here

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As I am writing this post, the weather here in London is -3 degrees and will get as low as -4 degrees in the coming five days.

The highest it will get in these days is 2 degrees.

Your's Sincerely with some colleagues

What an Irony! Playing with snow last month

Compare this to Kano in northern Nigeria where I grew up, the weather will in the next five days reach as high as 32 degrees and the lowest it will get is 12.

The heating system in my hostel apartment is equally not helping matters, it turns off on its own whenever the room is warm, but don’t do the same when the room becomes cold.

The cold is getting more and more on my nerves, and I think I need to do something about it fast.

So, to borrow a leaf from ITV’s celebrity show, I’m cold…get me out of here?

Obstacles

However, I can’t get out of here at least for now, because I have about five assignments to work on and submit before 18th of this month.

I spent most of the Xmas and New Year break sleeping, browsing and sleeping again, instead of finishing them.

I realised I was becoming more lazy and sleepy, something I wasn’t used to before.

So I started to search myself to lay the blame where it belongs.

Gosh! I came across an article on the internet on the relationship between the cold weather and sleeping pattern.

The article titled “Weather’s Effects on Adolescent Mood and Sleep Patterns” went ahead to note that “ Both sleep and temperature affect an individual’s mood, therefore our lab group wanted to investigate the correlation between sleep and temperature.

“ From our personal experiences, we noticed that as fall transitioned into winter, the pace of our daily outdoor and physical activities slowed, and we became more lazy and tiresome.

“Our results show that students tend to get more sleep in cold weather than in warm weather.”

Not yet uhuru

Then I came across another article from the BBC which indicates that thousands of people die every year “in England and Wales during an average winter.”

“For each degree the temperature drops lower than average, there are a further excess 8,000 deaths.” I said what?

To add salt to my injury, I checked the weather forecast again, all indication is pointing towards further cold.

So it seems I still have more sleep, sleep and sleep to do while the assignments wait for now till the weather ‘changed for the better.”

How I wish that will be possible!

But for now, I’m cold…Get Me Out of Here!

Written by danmakaranta

January 4, 2010 at 1:38 am

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Marriage a burden?

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“When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.” –Lee Majors

Some readers might be asking why I am writing about marriage today.

Am I getting married soon? Not yet, until I am ‘done with my studies’ is the obvious answer.

Marriage ceremony of a friend

This picture was snapped at the wedding of a friend

But don’t ask me when and how!

Then why write about marriage now?

Another obvious answer is “A colleague forwarded a list of some quotes on marriage to me yesterday.”

I’ve read some of them before, but was surprised how they strike me again.

Amazing

I was puzzled at how different people view the marriage institution, especially those who see marriage as a burden or problem.

Here are some of the quotes:

  • “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” -Socrates
  • “Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.”- Mike Tyson
  • “The great question… which I have not been able to answer… is, “What does a woman want?”- George Clooney
  • “I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me..”- Bill Clinton
  • “I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.” Rudy Giuliani
  • “There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking.. It’s called marriage.”- Michael Jordan
  • “I’ve had bad luck with all my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.” The third gave me more children!”- Donald Trump
  • “You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.”- David Hasselhoff
  • ” Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.” –Tommy Lee

So what do you think about these quotes?

Do they reflect the real meaning and reality of what marriage is or should be?

Do you think marriage is a burden?

Written by danmakaranta

January 3, 2010 at 1:34 am

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