Benin Bronzes: Nigeria dispute jeopardises return of artefacts

A dispute between Nigerian leaders could
jeopardise plans for the return of some of Africa’s most famous artefacts, the Benin bronzes, which were looted during the colonial era and are now mainly in Western museums, as writer Barnaby Phillips reports.

The Bronzes, thousands of metal sculptures and
ivory carvings, were seized from the West Africen kingdom of Benin – in what is today Edo State in southern Nigeria – by a British military force in 1897. In Europe their beauty and sophistication caused an instant sensation, and they are widely regarded as amongst Africa’s greatest artworks.

In recent years, as European governments have come under pressure to atone for colonial-era erimes, some have spoken of their desire to return looted artefacts. In April the German government said it wanted to give back hundreds of Benin Bronzes, and several museums in the UK have made similar announcements.

The return of the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria would mark an extraordinary moment in Africa’s post-colonial history, and is a prospect that seems more likely now than at any time since 1897.

But when the king, or Oba, of Benin, Ewuare
II, summoned “all well-meaning people to an
emergency meeting in the Edo capital Benin City earlier this month, it was not in celebration.

Hundreds answered the Oba’s call and assembled in his palace, dressed in handsome robes, singing his praises. Ewuare I1, the great-great grandson of the Oba who was toppled by the British in 1897, warned of an attempt by what he called an “artificial group” to “dívert” the return of the Bronzes.
This group, the Legacy Restoration Trust (LRT)
had the support of Edo State Governor Godwin
Obaseki and had planned to put the Bronzes in an Edo Museum of Western African Art (EMOWAA).

The Oba made his opposition clear. The right and only legitimate destination” for the
Bronzes would be a “Benin Royal Museum”, he said, sited within his palace grounds. He insisted that the Bronzes had to come back to where they were taken from, and that he was “the custodian of all the cultural heritage of the Benin Kingdom”.


The Oba’s argument is compelling, but awkwardly, his son and designated heir, crown prince Ezelekhae Ewuare, attends the board meetings of the LRT he professes to know nothing about. So does Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, representing the federal government. Governor Obaseki has convinced a celebrated architect, Sir David Adjaye, to design the new museum, bringing prestige and a wave of positive
international publicity to the project.

Although the Oba now warns anybody dealing with the LRT they do so “at their own risk and against the will of the people of the Benin Kingdom”. he must worry it is already too late. The British Museum has signed a deal with the LRT for an archaeology project in Benin City.

The German government is discussing doing the same, and funding an LRT building to initially house returned Bronzes. These contracts are worth millions of dollars. British and German officials, as well as other Europeans, embraced the Trust in part because they believed it and the Oba were working together.

So how did it come to this? Above all, because of distrust and rivalry between Oba Ewaure lI and Governor Obaseki. “It’s an ego tussle between them, says one person close to the process. The accusations being traded are not pretty of individuals allegedly more interested in financial gain, either from the Bronzes themselves or the contracts around a new museum, than in rectifying an historical injustice.

However, a German government ofticial told me: “Those who think there’s money to be made from this new museum are mistaken. A museum is somewhere you spend money, you don’t make it”. None of this is good news for those who dream of the Bronzes going back to Benin City. An Edo historian involved in discussions with European museums told me the dispute between the Oba and the governor “has sent a chill through all of
Us”

A director of a European museum which has a
large collection of Bronzes. and has previously
spoken in favour of their return, told me: “Our
policy is that if claimants are in dispute amongst themselves, we wait until they resolve it.” The University of Aberdeen in Scotland said earlier this year that its museum would give back a Benin Bronze head “unconditionally”. But in the wake of recent events the museum’s director, Neil Curtis, told me he would be “very uncomfortable” if this return occurred without agreement among all parties in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s federal government has legal
responsibility for the return of any Benin Bronzes, and, it says, will ultimately “take possession” of them, although the Oba’s supporters stress he will never concede on the question of ownership. The Director-General of the government’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abba Isa Tijani, told me the dispute between the Oba and the governor was “a private matter between them – local politics that cannot slow down restitution”.

He suggests a compromise, whereby Benin Bronzes return to various museums within Benin City, including one within the palace grounds as well as the more ambitious EMOWAA outside its walls.

Some European museum curators blame the
Gierman government for pushing ahead with bold announcements on the return of Benin Bronzes before they’d confirmed that everyone in Nigeria was aligned on this sensitive issue. A German official conceded they had moved quickly in part because of domestic political concerns, but more importently. he insisted, out of a sense of what was morally right.

‘Home and Away’ actor Dieter Brummer dies at 45

Australian actor Dieter Brummer, best known for his role as Shane Parrish on TV soap Home And Away between 1992 and 1996, has died aged 45. Brummer was found dead at a house in Sydney on Saturday by New South Wales police responding to a welfare call. The force said his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Brummer joined Home and Away aged 15 and
became a fan favourite crowned most popular
actor at Australia’s Logie TV awards for two
years running in 1995 and I996. He was also twice voted “prince of soap” by Dolly magazine readers, as viewers became enchanted by his storyline with George.

In a statement on Monday, Brummer’s family
said: “We lost our handsome, talented, funny,
complicated and beloved Dieter “He has left a massive hole in our lives and our world will never be the same” it added. “Our thoughts go out to all of you who knew him, loved him, or worked with him over the years.”

Brummer was enormously popular on Home and
Away during the 1990s, playing the love interest of Melissa George’s Angel Brooks. The Seven Network, which airs Home and Away in Australia, said it was “deeply saddened” by the
news. Dieter was a much-loved Home and Away
cast member and celebrated by Australien and
international audiences,” a statement said.

Brummer left the long-running soap when his
character was written out after dying from
septicaemia in 1996, but continued to act in TV
roles, including true-crime drama Underbelly
Winners and Losers and a 26-episode stint at rival soap. Neighbours. as Capt. Troy Miller, in 2011.

In later years, Brummer revealed he took up
a career as a high-rise window cleaner after
departing Home and Away to experience life out of the limelight. He told TV Tonight in 2010: “lt was a pretty intense time coming out of high school to receive all this fame and adulation. As great as it was, I wanted to prove to myself I could get my hands dirty and sweat for a buck as easily as standing around on set, being primped and preened.”

Heartbroken Dad desperately Tried To Save Wife, Son And Best Friend From Drowning In Loch Lomond

A man Identitied as Waris Ali whose wife and nine-year-old son died in Loch Lomond at the weekend has told how he desperately tried to save them, despite being unable to swim.

Waris Ali’s wife, Edina Olahova, 29, their son, Rana Haris Ali, and family friend, 39-year-old Muhammad Asim Riaz all died in the incident at Ardlui on Saturday.

Mr Asim’s seven-year-old son remains in hospital. Mr Waris described how he threw his shirt to his wife to grab hold of.

According to Mr Asim, when he came out from the water, he saw his wife’s hand. So he tried to pull off his shirt and give it to her to catch but she couldn’t.”

None of the group, apart from Mr Asim, could swim. Mr Waris, said they had been on holiday in the Isle of Skye when they decided to go to Loch Lomond.

He said his son and friend were playing on the pier and at the end of the pier, his friend put his foot into the water and fell in.

Mr Waris said the water appeared to be shallow and safe but it was deep.

His son went in after his friend, followed by the rest of the group in a bid to save them. A passer-by also helped and saved his friend’s son.

Paying tribute to his wife, Mr Waris said she was “very caring and very nice”. He said his son was “very happy” and added that Mr Asim was a very good person and “like my brother”.

He called for signs to be put near the water to warn people it was quite deep there.

There were a total of six deaths in lochs and rivers at the weekend.

An 11-year-old boy died in a river near Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday. And on Sunday the body of a 13-year-old boy was recovered from the River Clyde near Lanark on Sunday.

A 16-year-old boy died near the pier at Balloch Country Park on Friday.

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is the worst weekend in relation to incidents of this nature that I can remember.”

Emergency services were alerted to the Ardlui incident at about 18:40 on Saturday following “reports of concern” for people in the water.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the deaths as “heart-breaking human tragedies”.

“These tragedies over the weekend are a really brutal reminder that the beauty of some of our waters often belies the dangers that they hold.”

Greece seeks spear fisher who killed famous seal

Shocking as wildlife lovers are swapping memories of a beloved rare seal and calling for justice after it was killed off the Greek island of Alonissos.

According to the source the Greek authorities are searching for the killer of Kostis, a Mediterranean monk seal, which became the island’s symbol.

Info gathered that Kostis was named after the fisherman who saved it after a storm in 2018. A Greek seal charity which looked after Kostis for several months as a pup thinks it was killed with a spear gun.

The endangered seals are protected under Greek law. Kostis was “executed at close range with a spear gun”, said the charity, MOm.

According to the spokesperson the spear probably came from a boat,
The charity urged anyone with information to contact police, and says it means to sue the killer.

After being rescued, Kostis was released into the National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades.

Many people have been sharing memories on social media of seeing the seal off the coast of the island and calling for the killer to be brought to justice.

There may be fewer than 700 Mediterranean monk seals in the wild, with almost half living in Greece.

Mediterranean monk seals are now regarded as endangered, not critically endangered, but researchers warn their survival is “far from secure”.

‘HE PLAYED WITH ME’ – SAMUEL ETO’O SHUTS DOWN REPORTER WHEN ASKED WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO PLAY WITH LIONEL MESSI

Samuel Eto’o raised eyebrows with his bizarre response when asked what it was like to play with Lionel Messi.

Eto’o enjoyed a glittering spell at Barcelona from 2004 to 2009, winning La Liga three times and the Champions League on two occasions.

Messi made his early steps on the road to superstardom at Barca in 2003, making his first-team debut in a friendly in November, but it was in the 2004/05 campaign that he made the breakthrough in La Liga.

The Argentina great quickly made the attacking role on the right his own, with Ronaldinho deployed on the left and Eto’o through the middle.

Eto’o was asked to give his thoughts on rising star Ansu Fati and what it must be like for the teenager to play with Messi, but the Cameroonian stopped the reporter in his tracks.

The reporter asked: “You talk about Messi, what can he [Ansu Fati] learn from Messi? You obviously played with him.” In response,

Eto’o said: “No. He played with me – it is different. Messi played with me. I did not play with Messi. In my time, Messi played with me. It is totally different. It is totally different.”

It’s not immediately clear whether Eto’o’s response was tongue in cheek or not, as he has repeatedly talked about Messi in glowing terms.

Transfer News – Cristiano Ronaldo Will Stay At Juventus Pavel Nedved Confirms

Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved has claimed that Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo will see out next year contracted to the club.

Pavel Nedved has said that Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at the Italian club for the final year of his contract. The 36-year-old Portugal international has been linked with a return to former clubs Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon. It has also been suggested that he could interest Paris Saint-Germain, especially if they lose Kylian Mbappe to Real.

Ronaldo scored 29 goals to become Serie A’s top scorer last season, but his side failed to win the league as Inter Milan stormed the campaign, the first time in his three seasons with Juventus that they failed to win the title.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Nedved said: “Ronaldo will return to training on Monday and he will stay with us.”Juventus have two contract situations to resolve in the near future, with Paulo Dybala also in the least year of his deal, and Euro 2020 winner Girgio

Chiellini a free agent.“[Director Federico] Cherubini has already been in contact with his [Dybala’s] agent, who will arrive in Turin next week,” Nedved said.“We are in good time to get the situation resolved, it’s not a problem.“When [Chiellini] returns from his vacation, then we can talk.”

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Climate change

There is no evidence of a direct connection between climate change and the emergence or transmission of COVID-19 disease. As the disease is now well established in the human population, efforts should focus on reducing transmission and treating patients.

However, climate change may indirectly affect the COVID-19 response, as it undermines environmental determinants of health, and places additional stress on health systems. More generally, most emerging infectious diseases, and almost all recent pandemics, originate in wildlife, and there is evidence that increasing human pressure on the natural environment may drive disease emergence. Strengthening health systems, improved surveillance of infectious disease in wildlife, livestock and humans, and greater protection of biodiversity and the natural environment, should reduce the risks of future outbreaks of other new diseases.

What can the global responseto COVID-19 teach us about our response to climate change?


The COVID-19 pandemic is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which has claimed lives, and severely disrupted communities. Climate change is a gradually increasing stress that may be the defining public health threat of the 21st century. Nonetheless, common lessons can be drawn:

Ensuring universal health coverage (UHC), through well-resourced, equitable health systems, is essential to protect the public from both short and long-term health threats.
Guaranteeing global health security requires an all-hazards approach to preparedness, from infectious disease outbreaks, to extreme weather events, to climate change.
Ensuring access to the environmental determinants of health, such as clean air, water and sanitation, safe and nutritious food, is an essential protection against all health risks. WHO estimates that avoidable environmental risks cause about a quarter of the global health burden.
Early action saves lives. Delay in responding to clear evidence of threats, whether from pandemics, or from climate change, increases human and socioeconomic costs.
Inequality is a major barrier in ensuring health and wellbeing, especially for the most vulnerable in society. Social and economic inequality manifests in unequal health risks. When faced with public health threats of a global scale, such as COVID-19 or climate change, we are only as strong as our weakest health system.

Two Flooded London Hospitals Ask Patients To Stay Away

It was reported that two London hospitals have asked patients to stay away after their emergency departments were hit by flooding on Sunday. East London’s Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals urged patients to use other A&Es for urgent care, and ambulances are being redirected.

Torrential rain has caused severe flooding in
homes, roads and stations. London Fire Brigade said it had taken about 300 flooding-related cells in the space of a few hours. Vehicles became stranded, and officials warned people not to travel in the hazardous conditions.

Many of the capital’s roads closed due to the
flooding, including the Blackwall Tunnel. the A12
and parts of the North Circular. Stepney Green station remains closed although eight other Tube and London Oversround stations have reopened.

“My son went to buy some food from the local shop – by the time he came back the whole street and the pavement were already flooded and the water was coming into our front door says Ms Peeva, 46,

There are mops left on the floor, security guards are guiding people away the hospital says it will still treat the most urgent admissions but is advising people to use other hospitals until it fixes the rainwater damage.
Other parts of the hospital, such as the maternity unit, remain unaffected.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Sacked After Violent Covid-19 Protests.

Tunisia’s president has sacked the country’s prime minister and halted parliament’s operations following violent mass protests nationwide on Sunday.

President Kais Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced he was taking over.

His Protesters erupted with celebration in the streets of Tunis but his opponents in Parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup.

“We have taken these decisions.. until social
peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the
state” he said in a televised address after an
emergency security meeting following nationwide protests.

Thousands of people defied virus restrictions and scorching heat to demonstrate Sunday in the capital of Tunis and other cities. The largely young crowds shouted “Get out!” and slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections.

The protests were called on the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence bya new group called the July 25 Movement. Security forces deployed in force, especially in Tunis where police blockades blocked all streets leading to the main artery of the capital, Avenue
Bourguiba.

The avenue was a key site for the
Tunisian revolution a decade ago that brought
down a dictatorial regime and unleashed the Arab
Spring uprisings.
Police also deployed around the parliament,
preventing demonstrators from accessing it.

Police used tear gas to disperse some
demonstrators throwing projectiles at officers and
made several arrests. Clashes also took place in
several other towns, notably in Nabeul, Sousse,
Kairouan, Sfax and Tozeur.
Protesters also stormed the offices of the Islamist
movement Ennahdha, the dominant force in
parliament.

Videos circulating online showed
smoke pouring out of the Ennahdha building. The smoke pouring out of the Ennahdha building. The attackers damaged computers and other equipment inside and threw documents onto the streets.

The party denounced the attack, saying that
“criminal gangs” from inside and outside Tunisia
are trying to “seed chaos and destruction in the service of an agenda aimed at harming the
Tunisian democratic process.”

Vladimir Putin says Russia could have sunk UK warship without starting World War Three

The Russian navy can detect any enemy and launch an “unpreventable strike” if needed, President Vladimir Putin said on, Sunday July 25, weeks after a UK warship angered Moscow by passing the Crimea peninsula.

“We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it,” Putin said speaking at a navy day parade in St Petersburg.

Putin’s words follow an incident in the Black Sea in June when Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Crimea waters.

Britain rejected Russia’s account of the incident, saying it believed any shots fired were a pre-announced Russian “gunnery exercise”, and that no bombs had been dropped.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 but Britain and most of the world recognise the Black Sea peninsula as part of Ukraine, not Russia.

Putin said last month Russia could have sunk the British warship HMS Defender, that it accused of illegally entering its territorial waters, without starting World War Three and said the United States played a role in the “provocation” designed to reveal how Russian forces in Crimea reacted to such intrusions.

When asked if the world had stood on the precipice of World War Three during the standoff, Putin said: “Of course not.”

Even if we had sunk the ship it is hard to imagine that the world would have been on the verge of World War Three because those doing it (the provocation) know that they could not emerge as victors from such a war,” he added.

Putin accused the United States and Britain of planning the episode together, saying a U.S. spy plane had taken off from Greece earlier on the same day to watch how Russia would respond to the British warship.

“It was obvious that the destroyer entered (the waters near Crimea) pursuing, first of all, military goals, trying to use the spy plane to see how our forces would stop such provocations, to see what is activated and where, how things work and where everything is located.”

Putin said he saw a political element to the incident, which took place shortly after he had met U.S. President Joe Biden in Geneva.

“The meeting in Geneva had just happened, so why was this provocation needed, what was its goal? To underscore that those people (the Americans and British) do not respect Crimeans’ choice to join the Russian Federation,” he said.

The Russian leader accused London and Washington of a lack of gratitude, saying he had earlier this year given the order for Russian forces to pull back from near Ukraine’s borders after their build-up had generated concern in the West.

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