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Welcome

Thank you for visiting us online today. We are here to take you on a journey to discover and appreciate the Igbo language and the culture to which it gives expression. Perhaps you are an Igbo adult who did not get a chance to speak Igbo as a child and it bothers you now that your heritage language is steadily falling out of use and may be facing an uncertain future. Or you may be an Igbo youth growing up at home or in the Diaspora but with a limited exposure to your heritage language. Or you are a parent who regrets not speaking Igbo to your children when they were much younger and now would like to make it up to them. You may also be a teacher looking for some effective learning resources for your pupils; a foreigner hoping to visit Igbo land sometime and would like to be able to communicate with the people when you get there; a spouse from a different ethnic background but married to an Igbo man or woman and would like to be able to communicate better with your loved ones at home.

Whatever your interest or level of expertise in this language, we are here to help. We would like to introduce you to our very own robust and comprehensive package of Igbo language learning tools. Our book, Ìgbò – Our Mother Language (now in its second edition) is a book for all ages and all categories of learners. In it, you will discover Igbo language made easy. Our online Interactive Audio trainer demonstrates our belief that the key to learning a language is having a vocal role model. Both of these materials are designed to help you teach yourself (or someone else) the Igbo language. The materials are easy to read and also easy to follow. You will find them a great reference guide to the Basic Concepts and Essentials of Igbo grammar. But even if it is not for yourself, the package would make a useful present for that niece or nephew or friend’s child who is so eager to connect with their heritage language. You will also find on our website some very useful links to varieties of Igbo knowledge base covering the Igbo people, the Igbo language, Igbo culture, Igbo history, and Igbo traditions, including Igbo Masquerade, Igbo music, Igbo wrestling, Igbo traditional wedding, Igbo New Yam festival and a whole lot more. We have every confidence that you will enjoy every moment of your tour. We hope that you like what you see. If you do, please tell your friends. If not, please let us know how we may be able to improve on what we do. Thank you.





           

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THE GOOD AND BAD SIDE OF SUGAR

THE GOOD & BAD SIDE OF SUGAR 

"Those who fail to take the time to be healthy will ultimately have to take the time to be sick." ~ Dr. James Chappell 

BEWARE OF SUGAR 

There's the old saying that sugar is poison. After reading Lick the Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton (PhD), you'll be convinced of that. Most people in the world each consume more than 50 – 80 kilos of sugar and related sweeteners each year. Before you doubt it, consider that there are about 17 teaspoons of sugar in a single can of Coke. Author Nancy Appleton (PhD) delineates how over-consumption of sugar wreaks havoc with the immune and endocrine systems, leading to chronic conditions including arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, asthma, and hypoglycemia, along with the usual suspects such as cavities and periodontal disease. Appleton admits that she herself used to be a sugar addict, preferring to take her sweets in the form of chocolate, and consequently suffered from numerous allergies, plus bronchitis, pneumonia, and even a chest tumor that turned out to be a huge calcium deposit that resulted from her body's inability to process the pounds of sugar she consumed. In addition to throwing off the body's homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences. 

WHAT IS SUGAR? 

The term sugar has been used over time as a loose referral to refined or processed sugars available in different forms – cubes, granules, liquids. Scientifically, however, sugar is a generalized name for sweet soluble carbohydrates consisting of linked carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, the most common of which are glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Sugars are primarily ingested in the form of carbohydrates which as we know are primary sources of energy in diets. But what is it that makes these sugars able to act as a sustaining energy source? The answer is glucose. Glucose on its own is a simple sugar; after we digest various carbohydrates, glucose is the end product which is converted by the body to provide energy. The importance of glucose can neither be overlooked nor overemphasized. As a primary energy source, glucose is required to keep your body active, healthy and energized. The brain most importantly is the largest consumer of glucose as 75% of glucose generated from carbohydrates (and indeed other substances) is used by the brain. Sugar (glucose) is brain food; it is the fundamental fuel needed by the brain. If you have ever experienced a bout of dizziness after skipping a few meals, watch it; most likely your brain has used up its store of glucose. Another goodie about sugar: it aids in the healing of wounds; sugar dries the wound, thus preventing the growth of bacteria.  Other classes of food also act as sources of glucose. For example, proteins and fats can be converted to glucose in cases where carbohydrate consumption is too low to replenish glucose stores. The conversion process is known as “gluconeogenesis” and it accounts for phenomena such as weight loss or muscle wasting in malnourished children who are unable to include carbohydrates in their diets. Muscle begins to break down and fat in the adipose tissues is converted to glucose to provide energy. It is thus difficult to overlook how important glucose is. 

There are various types of sugars which are widely consumed.  Refined sugars (sucrose sugars) are the most common sweetening agents used on a daily basis. They are processed sugars which undergo several stages of processing to give cubes, granules, syrups and so on.  Their metabolic by-product is glucose and thus they provide the same benefits as naturally occurring glucose but have several potential side effects and dangers associated with them. Better then to consume sugar from natural foods than to load your pap, tea, oats, cornflakes, etc with refined sugar or senselessly drink soft drinks laden with sugar. No matter your age, watch what you do with these sugars, but especially if you have crossed forty. Fruit sugars are obtained from fruits as the name implies. Fruits are known to be good and healthy sources of glucose since eating fruits helps to improve one's health and immunity. Therefore, eating fruits is advisable especially to reduce refined sugar intake. Sugar substitutes are chemicals which were developed as alternatives to processed sugars. Sugar substitutes pose less risk for patients with diabetes; some of them occur naturally but are less sweet than sucrose. Examples are xylitol, aspartame and sorbitol.  Xylitol, for instance, is an all-natural sweetener.  It is not only a safe, natural sweetener without the bad side effects of sugar and artificial substitutes, it's also good for your teeth, stabilises insulin and hormone levels and promotes good health. It is wise to check each substitute for negative effects before using.

"GOODS" AND "BADS" OF SUGAR

Now that we know the different and most popularly consumed forms of sugar, let us look a little closer at the health side. Sugar
can have many positive effects on metabolism and life. These effects include: 
  • Sugars have a high calorie content that instantly provide energy when needed. They give us the required boost to carry out daily tasks without wearing out. 
  • Sugars have a by-product called glycolic acid which helps in the maintenance of healthy looking skin. The glycolic acid helps to eliminate blemishes and restore the balance in the skin's oils.  
  • For sugars that are obtained naturally, there are certain minerals which are passed to them from their natural sources. Elements like phosphorus, iron, calcium, and potassium are carried along in the glucose structure when natural sources of glucose are consumed.  
  • Sugars act as a quick source of glucose in patients that are severely hypoglycaemic. Sugar cubes are given to diabetic patients who tend to become hypoglycaemic after taking their medication without subsequently consuming food. The sugar instantly causes a surge in glucose levels and insulin levels increase, causing the glucose to be moved into the cells where it is required to defeat the effects of hypoglycaemia.
  • Sugars also come with negative effects for which reasons many people avoid sugar consumption. Dr Fredric Brandt, popularly known as 'The Baron of Botox' has said, "In a nutshell, sugar hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen, both key skin proteins. In other words, it actively ages you." He believes that by simply reducing your sugar intake, you can turn back the clock by ten years and improve the texture, tone and radiance of your skin. 
Some of sugar's negative effects are:

  • Sugars provide just pure energy and do not contain any other essential nutrients. When people eat up to 10 to 20% of calories as sugar, this generally causes major problems and contributes to deficiency of other nutrients.
  • Processed sugar are bad for the teeth and general oral hygiene. Because sugars are easy to digest, bacteria in the mouth digest the sugars and produce gases which cause tooth decay and bad breath, both of which are undesirable. 
  • Sugars that are not naturally occurring, when consumed in large amounts, cause the liver to be overloaded with fructose. This excess fructose is converted to fat which leads to fatty liver and other serious health related problems. Of course, fruits are high in fructose but the amount of fructose in fruits can never be enough to overload the liver as processed sugars do. 
  • Sugars can cause cells to be insulin-resistant. Insulin is an important hormone in the body. Its job is to permit the entry of glucose into the cells for the provision of energy, as well as instructing the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Consumption of too much sugar causes insulin to fail in its responsibility to move glucose into the cells (insulin resistance) and this phenomenon is responsible for many diseases including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.  
  • Because sugars cause insulin levels to become elevated, many scientists have implicated high sugar consumption in cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterised by growth and multiplication of cells at an uncontrolled rate. Insulin is an important hormone in the regulation of cells growth and as a result it is believed that an increase in insulin can contribute to cancer.
In conclusion, the effects of sugar on our bodies depend on the nature of the sugars we consume, the amount we take in daily and our physical fitness which will enable us to burn the sugar. To maintain a healthy body, we must endeavour to consume sugar in moderation and have daily exercise routines to keep fit and avoid the problems which are associated with sugar. [GB/Nkiru Ibeanu]

REFERENCES: 

  1. AUTHORITY NUTRITION:
  • https://authoritynutrition.com/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-isbad/
  • http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/sugar-and-your-health-thegood-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
      2. SUGAR HISTORY:
  • http://www.sugarhistory.net/sugarfacts/health-benefits-of-sugar/ 
      3. Sweet by Nature: See www.sugar.org/

SOURCE: GLOBAL BULLETIN - Published monthly by Munnad Interfirm Consultants: EAST: 23, University Road, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. NORTH CENTRAL: 8, Low Cost Road, G.R.A, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. GSM: 07032095995; 08111589509. E-mail: munnadglobalbulletin@gmail.com, amunnadi@yahoo.com, amunnadi@gmail.com


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THE CRIME OF MONEY LAUNDERING

THE CRIME OF MONEY LAUNDERING


Money laundering is the practice of disguising the origins of illegally obtained money. That is, it is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes, such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity, originated from a legitimate source. In the past, the term was applied only to financial transactions related to organized crime. Today its
definition is expanded by government and international regulators to mean any financial transaction which generates an asset
or a value as the result of an illegal act, which may involve actions such as tax evasion or false accounting. In the UK, it does not even need to involve money, but any economic good. Money laundering is in itself a tool to catch other crimes – whether it be drug trafficking, human trafficking, or illegal arms sales. It covers money laundering committed by private individuals, drug dealers, businesses, corrupt officials, members of criminal organizations such as the Mafia, and even states. The rationale for criminalizing the offence is that it is wrong for individuals and organisations to assist criminals to benefit from the proceeds of their criminal activity or to facilitate the commission of such crimes by providing financial services to them.

THE CRIME PROCESS

There are three steps involved in the process of laundering money: placement, layering, and integration.  Placement refers to the act of introducing "dirty money" (money obtained through illegitimate, criminal means) into the financial system in some way; "layering" is the act of concealing the source of that money by way of a series of complex transactions and bookkeeping gymnastics (the money is 'washed' and its ownership and source is disguised); and integration refers to the act of acquiring that money in purportedly legitimate means (that is, the 'laundered' money is reintroduced into the legitimate economy). One of the more common ways that laundering takes place is  when a criminal organization funnels their illegally obtained cash through
a normal cash-based business e.g. channeling sales from illicit drugs through a series of car-wash businesses. They may use the money earned from illegal activities to buy things (like gold and silver, shares or casino chips, and then selling those items to get the money back. If a criminal buys and sells things many times it is hard for the police to find out where the criminal got the
money. They hide their actions through a series of steps that make it look like the money was earned legitimately.

Other common forms of money laundering include smurfing, where a person breaks up large chunks of cash and deposits them over an extended period of time in a financial institution, or simply smuggles large amounts of cash across borders to deposit them in offshore accounts where money laundering enforcement is less strict. A smurf is a colloquial term for a money launderer, or one who seeks to evade scrutiny from government agencies by breaking up a transaction involving a large amount of money
into smaller transactions below the reporting threshold. A smurf deposits illegally gained money into bank accounts for transfer in the near future. Therefore, a criminal group with $50,000 in cash for laundering may use several smurfs for depositing anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 in a number of accounts geographically dispersed.

GLOBAL WAR AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING

As financial crime has become more complex, so "Financial Intelligence" has become more recognized in combating international
crime and terrorism. Anti-money laundering (AML) refers to a set of procedures, laws or regulations designed to stop the practice of generating income through illegal actions. Though AML laws cover only a relatively limited number of transactions and criminal behaviours, their implications are extremely far reaching. For example, AML regulations require institutions issuing credit or allowing customers open accounts to complete due-diligence procedures to ensure that these institutions are not aiding in money laundering activities. The onus to perform these procedures is on the institutions, not on the criminals or the government.  AML laws and regulations target activities that include market manipulation, trade of illegal goods, corruption of public funds and evasion of tax, as well as all activities that aim to conceal these deeds. Financial institutions are expected to comply with AML laws, make sure that clients are aware of these laws and guide them.  Although the act of money laundering itself is a victimless white-collar crime, it is often connected to serious and sometimes violent crime. Being able to stop money laundering is, in effect, being able to stop the cash flows of international organized crime. In 1989, the G-7 countries formed an international committee called the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in an attempt to fight money laundering on an international scale. It is headquartered in Paris. 

The FATF is an intergovernmental organization that designs and promotes policies and standards to combat money laundering.
Recommendations created by the FATF target money laundering, terrorist financing, and other threats to the global financial system. In the beginning of the 2000's it was expanded to combating the financing of terrorism. Since 9/11, anti money
laundering and combating terrorism financing have become intertwined. International terrorism is a serious problem which has a strong money laundering component, hence the additional international scrutiny.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, is a network administered by the United States Department of the Treasury whose goal it is to prevent and punish criminals and criminal networks that participate in money laundering. FinCEN operates
domestically and internationally, and it consists of three major players: law enforcement agencies, the regulatory community and the financial-services community. By researching mandatory disclosures imposed on financial institutions, FinCEN tracks suspicious persons, their assets and their activities to make sure that money laundering is not occurring. FinCEN tracks
everything from very complicated electronically based transactions to simple smuggling operations that involve cash. As money laundering is such a complicated crime, FinCEN seeks to fight it by bringing different parties together. The United Nations and
the World Bank also maintain processes against money laundering.


SOURCE: Global Bulletin. Published monthly by Munnad Interfirm Consultants: EAST: 23, University Road, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. NORTH CENTRAL: 8, Low Cost Road, G.R.A, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. GSM: 07032095995; 08111589509. E-mail: munnadglobalbulletin@gmail.com, amunnadi@yahoo.com, amunnadi@gmail.com

Original Sources:  Investopedia, 2016.  Wikipedia, 2016. Horowitz, Richard (2010). The Global Anti-Money Laundering Regime – A Short Overview. Cayman Free Press Ltd.


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THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT

THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT

Throughout history, mankind has never failed to repeat the same mistakes. The rise of each empire or civilization has always been phenomenal but each plummeted just when they reached their peak. The reason is that man is selfish and cannot manage power and moral. He lives in a finite earth which he plunders to his benefit, and everyone wants a sustainable share, or even all the share. Frank Buchman (1878- 1961) said, “there is enough in the world for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.” Since existence depends on a finite earth and its endowments, clash is inevitable and war cannot be ruled out, so long as equity and mutuality cannot be peacefully achieved. Olden civilizations – Chinese, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek, and the Roman – all crumbled at the feet of mismanagement of power and moral. In early Twentieth Century, nineteen hundred years after the Roman Caesars, the imperative of war and unilateral hegemony was reset by President Teddy Roosevelt of America when he said, "We'll speak loudly and carry a big stick." 

Of course, America buoyed by its enormous economic and military power, has been the world's policeman ever since. And, to its credit, it has been the best haven of all nationalities in the world. However, while the Cold War with Soviet Union lasted, several irrepressible fractions developed across the world in different countries, some religious, some ethnic or tribal, some political, and some even anti- America. By the time the Cold War ended in 1989, the world was full of bleeding sores of wars, of warlords and of war machines. With the breakup of the Soviet Union into several republics in 1991, and with the “fall” of communism and the triumph and ascendancy of capitalism, America's international pre-eminence became incontestable. Unfortunately, the years 1990 to 2000 witnessed the rise of many other “powers” and major globalizing developments. There was, and still continues, a fast-paced globalization of culture, trade, travel, and democracy, all powered by the pervasive information and telecommunications technology. The Internet became the global 'village' arena for both the good and the obnoxious. Inter-continental communications and multi-country operations became extremely easy. Both good and evil utilized these enormous technologies. This is the period that witnessed terrors in the moulds of El Salvador's, Somalia's, Rwanda massacre, Afghanistan's Taliban, Northern Ireland, Hamas versus Israel, Albanians versus the Serbians, to say nothing of many other mushrooming local conflicts. It is a wonder the world did not enter a World War III before Year 2000. The Twentieth Century began with war and ended with war. Though it has the highest achievements in science and technology, including several trips to the moon, it is also the bloodiest century in human history – very modern but very bloody! Unfortunately this new century started with war and terrorism and who knows the end! Sleep with two eyes closed is getting harder. 

THE RECENT DISORDERS

World events since 2001 show indeed that the world remains as fractional as ever but now 'disordered' in other ways. A complete century of tremendous human progress since 1900 has been negated with unfathomable regression in character, social order, economic equity and natural environmental peace. The global landscape is being reconfigured in several (strange) ways, besides politically or militarily. Civilization or nationhood is not all about military and economic independence. What carries and sustains any civilization is the moral strength and character of its people. Several civilizations on earth have been perpetuated through the moral ruggedness of their people. Unfortunately, the moral gene of mankind has deteriorated terribly in the last one hundred years. According to Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian patriot who died in 1948, the seven social sins are “politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, education without character, commerce without morality, worship without sacrifice, and science without humanity.” 

Today we glory on these evils. Street prostitutes in the 1930s in Europe had shame – they wore long gowns with elbow-length sleeves like saintly women (Bernard, 1999). Today, supposed decent ladies and girls are all but stripped in their Western-style clothing and have not the slightest shame. Everywhere you look and everywhere you go, you will see a woman or a girl that is half-naked. Every receptionist or female bank teller has to be a painted, breast-showing Hollywood look-alike! Womanhood is the backbone of any nation but with this degradation the world has entered an irreversible plunge to cultural and moral disaster. Then to complete this act of reprobation, same-sex marriage is now law in many countries. Adultery, if done for business purposes, is also legal in some countries. Man-animal marriages are now old news! The most celebrated was the man who wedded a dog in San Francisco, USA, in February 2014. 

What has cultural life to do with global disorder? Everything! If our human value is lost, we will probably wind up with animal value and animal sense. Nature itself is revolting against man's intransigence: witness the unrelenting level of earthquakes, tsunamis, wild fires, climate change, drought, acid rain, nameless diseases, etc. What about unending air and road disasters, frauds, robberies, kidnapping, assassinations, nuclear plant disasters, child abuse, bombing, protests, etc? Bad news come every minute and who can sleep? 

CONCLUSION

Man is plural in worldview, besides being selfish and self-preserving. The new world order of globalization, facilitated by the advances in ICT, has brought mankind into a closer struggle for the resources of a finite earth. Economic and military Darwinism is the name of the game. Unfortunately, man over time has proven that he lacks the virtues needed to manage power and competition. This lack in character is now compounded with moral depravity institutionalized. Right is wrong and wrong is right. That is the latest disorder. Man's power of moral reasoning is diminishing. There is no more audacity in his spine to uphold nobility. So what is next? 

Albert Einstein, the founder of the law of relativity, the greatest scientist in all history, said in 1946, after World War Two, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” Governments and lawmakers all over the world should look again at their plans and decisions. We are not just a permissive society; we are permitting our common and mutual destruction.

SOURCE:  Global Bulletin - Published monthly by Munnad Interfirm Consultants: EAST: 23, University Road, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. NORTH CENTRAL: 8, Low Cost Road, G.R.A, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. GSM: +2347032095995; +2348111589509. E-mail: munnadglobalbulletin@gmail.com, amunnadi@yahoo.com, amunnadi@gmail.com


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News



Internet Scams - Be Aware

Most of us like to think we're too clever to be caught out by internet fraudsters. In fact any of us can be caught out by these scroungers . Their tricks have gone far beyond the infamous fax from a "Nigerian prince" , "the 419" or variants of these - asking you for money. 

Now frauds are increasingly sophisticated and you are much more likely to be contacted (email,sms or telephone) by someone you trust (seemingly). Fraudsters dupe their victims using a type of psychological manipulation known as "social engineering". It is essentially a confidence trick that influences a person to take action that may not be in their best interest. With many technical security defences in place to prevent large and medium size enterprises from being hacked directly, it is us humans that present the best medium and to a certain extent, the sweet spot for criminals to target. To explain how "social engineering" works here is an analogy - Children are little people we all loved. And they get us to do things which under normal circumstances we'd never thought of doing ever. The same psychological principles is what the scammers are applying . They build rapport, get us to like them, trust them, and often inject a sense of urgency into the scenario. This all releases certain chemicals in our brain that allow us to take actions we perhaps shouldn't take.Why is it growing? Social engineering fraud has been identified by the international police agency Interpol as one of the world's emerging fraud trends. In the last two years there has been a spike in this type of fraud, with reported losses in 2015 doubling to nearly $1bn (£675m) 

It's a lucrative crime. You don't need a skilled programmer to do social engineering - just someone who's willing to talk to people or write emails. On top of this, the growth of the internet has played right into the criminal's hands. A key part of social engineering is having information on your target. Criminals can get this from buying hacked company data and studying their victim's social media profile online. 

Vishing: 


In June last year Emma Watson, a British businesswoman who was setting up a children's nursery, got a phone call from her bank's fraud team. They told her that they had stopped some unusual transactions on her account, but because it had been compromised she had to transfer her money into some other accounts they had set up in her name. "They were completely professional, it was a clear line, they knew my name, they called me on my landline, they used all the language," she says. "They were very reassuring, saying 'I know this is a distressing time for you and I'm going to help you'." In fact it wasn't her bank calling at all, but criminals fraudulently posing as her bank's fraud team. Emma ended up transferring £100,000 into the fraudsters' accounts online. Only a fraction of it has so far been traced and returned. This type of fraud is called "Vishing" where criminals persuade victims to hand over personal details or transfer money, over the telephone. They have a number of techniques at their disposal. 
  •  Information: the criminals already have your name, address, phone number, bank details - essentially the kind of information you would expect a genuine caller to have  
  •  Urgency: You are made to believe your money is in danger and have to act quickly - fear often leads people into acting without thinking  
  •  Phone spoofing: The phone number appears as if it's coming from somewhere else, so when you pick up the phone you already believe the caller because the number is convincing  
  • Holding the line: In some cases, the criminals can hold your telephone line, so if you hang up to call back the bank, you can get put straight back to the fraudsters. 
  •  Atmosphere: You hear a lot of background noise so it sounds like a call centre rather than a guy in a basement - they either do have a call centre, or are playing a sound effects CD. 


Here is the advice: Don't ever give personal information like banking or credit cards over the phone to someone who has called you. If you get a call, hang up, and ring the number on the back of your credit card using a different phone from the one they called you on.

Phishing 


Phishing emails have risen in number and have got a lot more sophisticated. How they work? They play on your trust and they use a front, whether it's a bank, a friend's name, or someone you expect communications from, and they put urgency on you to respond immediately. Most of the phishing emails will looked very convincing - for example like one from Amazon if you recently made a purchase from them or from your bank. In case of the former, clicking a link would open up what look like a real Amazon log-in page. A closer look at the address bar in your browser might indicate a site in Russia, Ukraine, Romania etc. etc - it certainly wasn't Amazon.com. If the scammers hit the right emotional triggers at the right time, anyone can be a victim of phishing." Phishing emails can look very convincing - copying branding and 'spoofing' email addresses to make them look genuine. Here is a simple advice once you have opened the mail - "hover the mouse over the link and the URL details will come up and will show if it's valid, or taking you somewhere unrecognizable" If in doubt, never click on the link. If an email looks genuine then contact the sender through their official website. Never use telephone numbers or links provided in the email if you never requested or anticipated them. 


Smishing 


Smishing is SMS phishing where text messages are sent trying to encourage people to pay money out or click on suspicious links. Sometimes attackers try to get victims on the phone by sending a text message asking them to call a number, in order to persuade them further. Unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers should raise alarm bells, but often banks do text their customers for a variety of reasons. In that case, you should call the bank using a number from a bank statement or a verified source, not a text message.



 The Internet  2016  -  don't be a victim surf wisely






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Phishing,Vishing and Smishing - Be Aware Of Social Engineering Fraud

Most of us like to think we're too clever to be caught out by internet fraudsters. In fact any of us can be caught out by these scroungers . Their tricks have gone far beyond the infamous fax from a "Nigerian prince" , "the 419" or variants of these - asking you for money.

Now frauds are increasingly sophisticated and you are much more likely to be contacted (email,sms or telephone) by someone you trust (seemingly). Fraudsters dupe their victims using a type of psychological manipulation known as "social engineering". It is essentially a confidence trick that influences a person to take action that may not be in their best interest. With many technical security defences in place to prevent large and medium size enterprises from being hacked directly, it is us humans that present the best medium and to a certain extent, the sweet spot for criminals to target. To explain how "social engineering" works here is an analogy - Children are little people we all loved. And they get us to do things which under normal circumstances we'd never thought of doing ever. The same psychological principles is what the scammers are applying . They build rapport, get us to like them, trust them, and often inject a sense of urgency into the scenario. This all releases certain chemicals in our brain that allow us to take actions we perhaps shouldn't take.Why is it growing? Social engineering fraud has been identified by the international police agency Interpol as one of the world's emerging fraud trends. In the last two years there has been a spike in this type of fraud, with reported losses in 2015 doubling to nearly $1bn (£675m)

It's a lucrative crime. You don't need a skilled programmer to do social engineering - just someone who's willing to talk to people or write emails. On top of this, the growth of the internet has played right into the criminal's hands. A key part of social engineering is having information on your target. Criminals can get this from buying hacked company data and studying their victim's social media profile online.

Vishing: 


In June last year Emma Watson, a British businesswoman who was setting up a children's nursery, got a phone call from her bank's fraud team. They told her that they had stopped some unusual transactions on her account, but because it had been compromised she had to transfer her money into some other accounts they had set up in her name. "They were completely professional, it was a clear line, they knew my name, they called me on my landline, they used all the language," she says. "They were very reassuring, saying 'I know this is a distressing time for you and I'm going to help you'." In fact it wasn't her bank calling at all, but criminals fraudulently posing as her bank's fraud team. Emma ended up transferring £100,000 into the fraudsters' accounts online. Only a fraction of it has so far been traced and returned. This type of fraud is called "Vishing" where criminals persuade victims to hand over personal details or transfer money, over the telephone. They have a number of techniques at their disposal.
  •  Information: the criminals already have your name, address, phone number, bank details - essentially the kind of information you would expect a genuine caller to have  
  •  Urgency: You are made to believe your money is in danger and have to act quickly - fear often leads people into acting without thinking  
  •  Phone spoofing: The phone number appears as if it's coming from somewhere else, so when you pick up the phone you already believe the caller because the number is convincing  
  • Holding the line: In some cases, the criminals can hold your telephone line, so if you hang up to call back the bank, you can get put straight back to the fraudsters. 
  •  Atmosphere: You hear a lot of background noise so it sounds like a call centre rather than a guy in a basement - they either do have a call centre, or are playing a sound effects CD. 


Here is the advice: Don't ever give personal information like banking or credit cards over the phone to someone who has called you. If you get a call, hang up, and ring the number on the back of your credit card using a different phone from the one they called you on.

Phishing 


Phishing emails have risen in number and have got a lot more sophisticated. How they work? They play on your trust and they use a front, whether it's a bank, a friend's name, or someone you expect communications from, and they put urgency on you to respond immediately. Most of the phishing emails will looked very convincing - for example like one from Amazon if you recently made a purchase from them or from your bank. In case of the former, clicking a link would open up what look like a real Amazon log-in page. A closer look at the address bar in your browser might indicate a site in Russia, Ukraine, Romania etc. etc - it certainly wasn't Amazon.com. If the scammers hit the right emotional triggers at the right time, anyone can be a victim of phishing." Phishing emails can look very convincing - copying branding and 'spoofing' email addresses to make them look genuine. Here is a simple advice once you have opened the mail - "hover the mouse over the link and the URL details will come up and will show if it's valid, or taking you somewhere unrecognizable" If in doubt, never click on the link. If an email looks genuine then contact the sender through their official website. Never use telephone numbers or links provided in the email if you never requested or anticipated them. 


Smishing 


Smishing is SMS phishing where text messages are sent trying to encourage people to pay money out or click on suspicious links. Sometimes attackers try to get victims on the phone by sending a text message asking them to call a number, in order to persuade them further. Unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers should raise alarm bells, but often banks do text their customers for a variety of reasons. In that case, you should call the bank using a number from a bank statement or a verified source, not a text message.



 The Internet  2016  -  don't be a victim surf wisely






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Boko Haram - Political Or A Terrorist Organisation

This was originally written in Dec 2014

In 2014, after the kidnapping of 200 school children in the North East of Nigeria, many people became aware and sympathetic to the nightmare that was slowly and surreptitiously creeping in to Nigeria in the form of extreme religious fundamentalism called "Boko Haram". It is imperative to explicitly make this point absolutely succinct - there are religious fundamentalist in all the major religious denominations or groupings _ Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism et al. But none has shown or exhibited the same callous, depraved and inhumane instinct as demonstrated by the aforementioned group. It beggars the question - Is there an intrinsic attribute within the fundamental set up of Islam that necessitates this outcome? The main two branches or divisions in Islam i.e. Shia and Sunni and their fundamental differences being allied to the successor of the Prophet Mohamed are clearly understood. Thus, one can categorically states that the above mentioned branches(Shia, Sunni) both adhere to the same fundamental principles and beliefs that emphasize that Allah is all knowing, merciful of all, all present and powerful and is the sustainer of life.

Now, going back to the original question and considering all that has been said herein, one can only infer that the basic structure of the religion creates the seed for this type of depraved organ to emerge or easily come in to being. Consider this thought for a moment. Apart from Islam, all the other major religious denominations have a top down layer structure. In these sort of set-up, religious edict pronounced from the top is actively move down the structured layers to the masses who follow to the letter. For example, a subhead, leader, pastor, rabbi, priest, etc; within the organisation falling foul of one of its tenet is easily brought to book as detailed in its procedures. 


From what we know, have read and seen in practical terms within Islam, a so called Head Preacher or Mullah ( whose distinction and qualification is not verifiable or authenticated because there is no such system in place to do this within Islam) can preach in a mosque, on television, internet ( social media - facebook, twitter, You tube etc.) to his heart's content with no social or moral compulsion. There is no one to check, revoke or stop him from preaching (if for instance what he is saying is contradictory to the teachings of Islam) because no such mechanism exists. You will hardly see another Muslim cleric or ordinary Muslim for that matter challenging or disclaiming his pronunciations. It is almost as if doing so is against their religious ethics. However, when public reaction and backlash come to the fore through the media only then will you start seeing a kind of token reaction from so called moderate Muslims - which by and large, is very fickle and merely to safe face. 

Going back to the Head Preacher or Mullah - the fact that he can preach and elucidate on verses in the holy book (Koran) with impunity notwithstanding, if he happens to be a good orator as well, he can have extra ordinary influence on both young social misfit already marginalised within the social fabric through drugs and alcohol and others you would consider literate and educated respectively. In the latter category, the Nigerian Pant Bomber who was studying Mechanical Engineering at London University(University College London) and very recently the medical student of Pakistani descent in Wales currently orchestrating killings in Syria as a Jihadist (apparently disowned now by his own parents) come to mind. The two men of Nigerian descent involved in the depraved killing of soldier Lee Rigby is a case in point for the former category. Both were known to the authorities for dealing and consuming drugs and other misdemeanour. Thus, these so called Hate Preachers will definitely find an audience willing to perform and participate in whatever instructions they deemed necessary for their own self gratification

If further evidence is needed, look at all that has been written and said about those going to Syria to fight the so called Jihad how they got involved. Look at the current leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau does he fit this bill? Look at all the various Islamic sects popping up around various regions in the world claiming to represent the real Islam with conflicting ideologies. The structure of Islam seems to encourage and breed homogeneous sect totally independent and in total disregard of the social structure and fabric that it happens to reside in. There is a word for this type of behaviour or organism in Biochemistry and it is called - Cancer . It destroys from within the very substance keeping it alive. A famous Nigerian author once wrote "Things fall apart if the centre cannot hold" Well may be it has not got to that stage yet but it is certainly bursting out from the seams. The conclusion here is that it cannot be a political organisation because it is destroying the very fabric that holds it intact . - not sustainable Sharia Law Or Not. 


People wake up and smell the coffee (poison) it is definitely neither Arabica nor Robusta . To do nothing is not an option. The government alone cannot solve the carnage that is going on now in Northern Nigeria.  Today the 11 of December 2014 another bomb  has gone off in the city of Kano supposedly carried out by a teenage female suicide bomber - bringing the total wanton killing of innocent people  by a small group of depraved Muslim Fundamentalist to over 2000 this year alone. 

This needs to be stressed - the government is not some entity from outer space representing you. You are the government - you, I and everyone else has a part to play directly or indirectly - the government is you, a family member, an extended family member, a village compatriot, a member from your tribe, a neighbour ,a friend way back from school days,college, university , a colleague from work etc. etc. Thus, the government is made of people like you.  Compare and contrast in advance the election of 1964 that led to the crises that eventually resulted in the civil war and numerous coup d'etat subsequently with the up coming 2015 election - will Nigerians conduct election with (in) blood. Can there be fair  election in the North under the  current   status quo

"We have to act in concert to remove this social malignant cancer eating us up from inside".

Imagined one of the abducted school girls (their whereabouts still in the dark) in northern Nigeria is your junior sister or your daughter, the British Soldier murdered in London was your brother, the British taxi driver delivering aid to Syrian refugees with a bunch of Muslim friends whose throat was slitted and left to bleed to death was your father - how would you be feeling? People Doing Nothing Is Not An Option Any More - Because It  Is  Far  Closer  to Home Than You Think  - Mobilise Mobilise Mobilise.






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