Nazir Nortei AlemaThe family of a young man from Ghana is in shock after their son joined the Syrian militants Islamic State.The man Nazir Nortei Alema, a University graduate, told them he had travelled to an Islamic State training camp.Nazir’s becomes the first known recruit from the West African nation to join the militant group.With a degree in Geography and Rural Development, he is one of the 10 suspected Muslim youth from Ghana who have finally taken the decision to join the terrorist grouping, whose stock-in-trade is public beheading of their opponents or those they regard as infidels, attracting a worldwide anger.Their decision has activated the alarm bells over a subtle recruitment drive for vulnerable Muslim youth in especially public tertiary institutions in the country.His brother, Kabiru Alema, said he and his parents were caught completely unawares.“I noticed some changes in his posts on Facebook his teachings like, but I was ignorant about the ISIS flag because he used ISIS flag on his WhatsApp, he used some pictures of some Arab guy on a horse with a sword but it never occurred to us he will do such a thing because I was ignorant about ISIS,” Kabiru Alema said.“We are devastated. Since the news came his mother has been crying,” Alema’s father Abdul Latif Alema told Reuters, adding that he believed Islamic State should be crushed.Islamic state militants About a third of Ghana’s population of 27 million is Muslim. They co-exist peacefully with the Christian majority and have so far apparently avoided the influence of the kinds of radical Islam that have taken root in neighbouring Nigeria and Mali.Alema, a university student, spent much of his spare time online and it is almost certain he was radicalised through his interactions on Facebook rather than through anything taught in mosques in the Osu neighbourhood of Ghana’s capital, his family and friends said.He finished a government internship in July and had initially told his parents he was travelling from his home in Accra to Prestea, a mining town in the west of the country.“Two weeks later on Aug. 16, we got a Whatsapp message from him saying he was at a training ground to join the Islamic State group in an unknown country,” his brother Kabiru Alema told Reuters.Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq.Nigeria’s Boko Haram, West Africa’s deadliest Islamist militant group, swore allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in March.Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, adviser to Ghana’s chief Imam, condemned Nazir Alema’s claims that he was joining the militant group to fulfil God’s work.
Published on February 15, 2016 at 10:24 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Having not taken an official faceoff in nearly 10 months, it took Ben Williams five seconds to do what he did 256 times as a sophomore last year.He pried the ball away at the faceoff X from Hunter Sanna, and popped it in the air to Tom Grimm five yards behind. While Grimm took off down the field, Williams ran forward about 20 yards before retreating to the bench.If only for a moment, Syracuse’s electric faceoff specialist teased a run toward the goal. A run he made successfully only three times last year, and one SU has toyed with him making more frequently going into this season.“We’ve been incorporating some things where I’ll stay out on the field,” Williams said. “… We’re still kind of messing around with it. It’s been fun, I’m excited to see how it gets put to work here in the early season.”Williams broke out last season with the second-best faceoff percentage in the country, and didn’t have to play anything more than a “faceoff-get off” role. But with 63 percent of SU’s points from last year gone, head coach John Desko will look at new places on his roster to fill the offensive void.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter a shoulder procedure sidelined Williams from taking faceoffs in the fall, it left him with ample time to practice free shooting in anticipation of his expanded role. He didn’t unfurl any shots toward the net against Siena on Saturday, but maintained dominance on the draw with 12-of-16 takeaways.Syracuse didn’t need to leaf too deep into the playbook in its 18-5 win, but is soon expected to roll out scenarios with Williams leading the charge toward the goal.“Face-off guys are a different kind of breed,” Saints head coach John Svec said. “Those guys, they’re (lacrosse) junkies, and I would imagine (Williams) is the same.“He’s athletic. He’s got more than one move.”Thirteen times last year Williams managed to get a shot off after the faceoff, each one usually coming off a breakaway from the X.He last broke free toward the net and scored on March 22 against Duke. Williams swatted the ball away from the Blue Devils’ Jack Rowe and sprinted forward while holding the stick in his left hand.He ran about 35 yards and through four defenders to score in the span of seven seconds. Williams’ quickness, perhaps more than any other quality, makes him an ideal candidate to break the barriers of a cookie-cutter faceoff specialist.“I think he shoots the ball pretty well on the run, which not a lot of face-off guys do,” Desko said. “I think that’s an added threat.”The 6-foot junior said there were discussions last season about getting him more involved in the offense. Usually after faceoffs though, Williams gave way to an SU midfield line that accounted for three of the team’s top six scorers.The Orange features a reshaped first line of middies this year with former second-line players Tim Barber and Sergio Salcido and transfer Nick Mariano to round out the trio. It’s a more balanced line than it’s predecessor, one that likely won’t account for nearly one-fourth of the team’s points like last year’s.That leaves Williams with slightly more freedom to take advantage of open lanes he sees instead of immediately dishing away the ball. And freedom is exactly what Williams has been looking for.“I’ll do whatever I can to get more balls in the net,” Williams said. “Having the opportunity, potentially, to score some more would be great.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
QUAD CITIES — Quad Cities-based Deere and Company is reporting favorable second quarter earnings, despite Iowa farmers facing significant challenges from foul weather, poor commodity prices and international trade troubles.During a conference call this morning, Brent Norwood, Deere’s manager of investor communications, detailed the outlook for Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer. “John Deere completed the second quarter with solid results despite uncertain conditions in the agricultural sector,” Norwood says. “While near-term ag markets remain challenging in the U.S., foreign markets, such as Brazil, show signs of strength. Additionally, the ag division continues to make solid progress, advancing our technology investments and innovative new product programs.”While the persistent uncertainty in agricultural markets weighs on the outlook, Norwood says other sectors of Deere’s diverse portfolio are performing very well. “In construction and forestry, in-market demand remained strong, resulting from broad-based industry drivers such as GDP growth, oil and gas activity and infrastructure investment,” Norwood says. “With orders booked extending into the fourth quarter, the division is on a track for a solid finish to the year.”A Deere news release says the ag sector is weighed down by ongoing concerns about export market access, near-term demand for commodities like soybeans, and a delayed planting season in much of North America. That’s causing farmers to become much more cautious about making major purchases. Still, Norwood says the company’s second quarter shaped up well.“Net sales and revenues were up 6% to $11.3-billion. Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $1.135-billion or $3.52 per diluted share,” Norwood says. “Total worldwide equipment operations net sales were up 5% to 10.273-billion.” Deere officials have revised the full-year earnings forecast to $3.3 billion on a sales increase of about five-percent.The release says: “Although the long-term fundamentals for our businesses remain favorable, softening conditions in the agricultural sector have led Deere to adopt a more cautious financial outlook for the year.”