This month, thousands of Nigerians have been rendered homeless after police stormed Otodo-Gbame, a riverbank community in the country’s commercial capital, Lagos, razing homes and chasing away residents with bullets and teargas. This comes after 4,700 people in the settlement had their homes demolished in March, and 30,000 were evicted last November, so altogether tens of thousands of people have been systematically chased off lands that they have inhabited, in many cases, since the colonial era. Officials initially cited environmental concerns as the reason for the demolitions, but now claim the blanket evictions are a security measure against “militants” purportedly using the communities as a base. The demolitions have gone on despite a January court injunction ordering they be halted. Rights groups now suggest more than 300,000 people face similar eviction from waterfront communities across Lagos. Aside from the flagrant use of state power against defenceless … [Read more...] about Lagos slums are being razed to make way for luxury properties. That’s Nigeria
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A former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has alleged he was tortured while being detained in China, during a 15-day ordeal in which he said he was branded “a British spy and secret agent” and held in solitary confinement. The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has summoned the Chinese ambassador to demand an explanation after Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the British government for two years, went public with his account of repeated physical and mental torture. Cheng, 29, was detained for 15 days in August while trying to return to Hong Kong from a trip in mainland China. In an interview with the Guardian he said he was tortured for days before being forced to falsely confess that he and the British government had played a role in the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which were largely peaceful at the time. During lengthy interrogations in windowless rooms, Cheng said he was called “an enemy of the state” and “a … [Read more...] about Former UK official in Hong Kong ‘tortured in 15-day China ordeal’
I am sitting in a circle in a grey, corporate room with 10 housing association employees – administrators, security guards, cleaners – eyes darting about nervously. We are asked to eat a sandwich in silence. To think about every taste and texture, every chewing motion and bite. Far from being relaxed, I feel excruciatingly uncomfortable and begin to wonder if my jaw is malfunctioning. I’m here to write about a new mindfulness initiative, and since I’ve never to my knowledge had any mental health issues and usually thrive under stress, I anticipate a straightforward, if awkward, experience. Then comes the meditation. We’re told to close our eyes and think about our bodies in relation to the chair, the floor, the room: how each limb touches the arms, the back, the legs of the seat, while breathing slowly. But there’s one small catch: I can’t breathe. No matter how fast, slow, deep or shallow my breaths are, it feels as though my lungs are sealed. … [Read more...] about Is mindfulness making us ill?
The history of the Christian church, the pursuit of personal desire has been frowned upon and at times even fervently discouraged. But a new theory of why people believe in God has claimed that religion is simply an attempt to satisfy 16 basic human desires that afflict all human beings. Professor Steven Reiss, a psychologist at Ohio State University, claims this may also help to explain why many of the world's major religions are so wracked with contradictions. Religious belief is more about meeting a complex mix of 16 basic human desires than an attempt to find a greater meaning, according to psychologist Professor Steven Reiss. He says people will seek out religion to help them feel part of a family, for example, such as during Catholic mass (pictured) He insists it's impossible to boil religion down to a single motivation and that to be successful a religion needs to appeal to the various of human nature. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Enjoy coffee or a gin and … [Read more...] about Why do YOU believe in God? Religion is just a way of satisfying 16 basic human desires, scientist claims
Almost as soon as the fishermen arrive with their haul, it disappears. The fish market in Epe, at the edge of Lagos, now runs like a kind of seafood cabal, with demand so high that many miss out. The major buyers are served as a priority – the big Lagos restaurants, a few cold room owners, then the rest. Sometimes smaller fishermen will sell to favoured market-stall holders. There is simply not enough to go around. “When I couldn’t find red snappers in Victoria Island, a friend suggested I go to the Epe market. But the snappers were not there either,” says Enita Aderemi, a local freelance writer. “The freshwater catfish I found cost three times the price I bought them for three months ago, a price that was already high.” The one-hour drive from her home to Epe is now a regular fixture in Aderemi’s life as she searches for seafood amid the rising prices and demand for fish in Nigeria’s largest city. Nigeria is Africa’s largest … [Read more...] about ‘What will be left for us?’ Lagos fishermen lament the oil refinery