September 8, 2008


Two European Union Commissioners are due in Nigeria this week to hold talks with Federal Government officials on the EU/Nigeria energy relations. Besides, the visitors-EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr. Louis Michel, and his Energy counterpart, Mr. Andris Piebalgs- are expected to hold talks with officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other stakeholders on a number of issues of mutual concern, especially the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. Charge d'Affairs of the Delegation of the European


Fears about a global economic slowdown, heightened by worsening United States job figures, have continued to undermine stock markets around the world. London’s FTSE 100 index lost 2.3 per cent - taking its weekly decline to seven per cent - its biggest since July 2002. Markets in Paris and Frankfurt fell by 2.5 per cent as economy concerns spread, the British Broadcasting Corporation News reported on Friday. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index clawed back early losses to edge higher despite figures showing the US economy shed 84,000 jobs last month. But the benchmark US index still had its worst week since May. Earlier, Japan’s main share index fell nearly three per cent while markets in Hong Kong, China, Australia and India all slid two per cent. The US labour market figures - which showed the unemployment rate rising to 6.1 per cent - were a further jolt to investors who have had to swallow a slew of poor economic data in recent days. Economists had been expecting 75,000 jobs to be lost while the government also revised upwards. “This was an ugly number that pretty much confirms that our economy continues to trend downward,” said the Chief Investment Officer, Harris Private Bank, Mr. Jack Ablin. “This just knocks the legs out of any hope of seeing much economic improvement right now,” he added. The FTSE 100 closed down 2.3 per cent at 5,240.70 points. The last time it lost so much value in a week was more than six years ago in the wake of financial scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. Markets in Paris and Frankfurt continued their recent downward trend, both the Cac-40 index and the Dax-30 dropping about 2.5 per cent. The Dow Jones index, which lost three per cent on Thursday, rose 32.73 points, or 0.3 per cent to 11,220.96, but still ended down 2.8 per cent on the week. “Given the fact we were down so much on Thursday we are seeing a bit of a reflex rally with investors wanting to take advantages of some of the bargains,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at Morgan Asset Management. The Nasdaq index slipped 3.16 points, or 0.1 per cent to 2,255.88, ending the week 4.7 per cent lower. Earlier Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index fell 361.54 points to 12,196.12 amid a widespread sell-off of shares in Asia. The Hang Seng index fell more than three per cent in Hong Kong while markets also fell sharply in China, Australia and India. “Amid the uncertainty, few investors are willing to buy,” said Masayuki, Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan. “Several bad things happened at once,” he added, explaining the fall. Punch (online).


On July 22nd, I was enroute to Washington, DC for a business trip. It was all so very ordinary until we landed in Denver for a plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead bin, an announcement was made for Mr. Lloyd Glenn to see the United Customer Service Representative immediately.

I thought nothing of it until I reached the door to leave the plane, and I heard a gentleman asking every male if he were Mr. Glenn. At this point, I knew something was wrong and my heart sank.

When I got off the plane, a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, 'Mr. Glenn, there is an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to the phone so you can call the hospital.'

My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. Woodenly, I followed this stranger to the distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for the Mission Hospital. My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes, and that when my wife found him he was dead.
CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics had continued the treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital.

By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the medical staff, my wife sounded worried but not hysterical, and I took comfort in her calmness.

The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream.

I was filled in with the details and given a guarded prognosis. Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was OK - two miracles in and of themselves. But only time would tell if his brain received any damage.

Throughout the seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung onto her words and faith like a lifeline. All that night and the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before.

Finally, at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken. He said, 'Daddy hold me', and he reached for me with his little arms.

[TEAR BREAK ... smile]

By the next day, he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the hospital. You cannot imagine, as we took Brian home we felt a unique reverence for the life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely.

In the days that followed, there was a special spirit about our home. Our two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were much closer to each other. And, all of us were very close as a whole family. Life took on a less stressful pace. Perspective seemed to be more focused, and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.

The story is not over! !

Almost a month later - to the day - of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, 'Sit down Mommy, I have something to tell you.' At this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases; so for him to say a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed and he began his sacred and remarkable story.

'Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn't hear me... I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then, the 'birdies' came.'

'The birdies?' my wife asked puzzled.

'Yes,' he replied. 'The birdies made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me.'

'They did?'

'Yes,' he said 'One of the birdies came and got you. She came to tell you 'I got stuck under the door.' A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three-year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to him from beyond as 'birdies' because they were up in the air like birds that fly...

'What did the birdies look like?' she asked.

Brian answered, 'They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had green and white. But some of them had on just white.'

'Did they say anything?'

'Yes,' he answered. 'They told me the baby would be all right.'

'The baby?' my wife asked confused.

Brian answered. 'The baby laying on the garage floor.' He went on, 'You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave.'

My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body and seeing his crushed chest whispered, 'Don't leave us Brian, please stay if you can.' As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on his little lifeless form. 'Then what happened?' she asked.

'We went on a trip,' he said, 'far, far away.' He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn't seem to have the words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was difficult.

'We flew so fast up in the air. They are so pretty Mommy,' he added.

'And there are lots and lots of birdies.' My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. Brian went on to tell her that the 'birdies' had told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the 'birdies.'

He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay.

The story went on for an hour.

He taught us that 'birdies' were always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes, and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But they are always there; you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much. Brian continued, stating, 'I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our promises. The birdies help us to do that cause they love us

so much. '

In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it, again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order.

A few times he added further bits of information and clarified the message he had already delivered.

It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he talked about his birdies.

Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the 'birdies.' Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their faces and smiled. Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray we never will be.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people become friends and stay a while... leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts... and we are never quite the same because we have made a good friend!!


popularly known Former US sprinter Marion Jones has been released from a federal prison in Texas after serving a compulsory six-month term for giving a false answer to prosecutors about using drugs.


Not everyone thinks Kanye West needs to rein in his fact, Estelle (who sings "American Boy" with him) thinks more people should be so cocky.

"People say what they say about his ego, but he's very sure of himself and I think that's a great way to be," she told E! News at Belvedere's dinner party at Dakota, which was held in her honor. "I think more people should follow him, and be more cocky and more proud of their work."

She also wasn't surprised by his decision to close the VMAs tonight, despite him swearing that he'd never perform for MTV again after being shut out last year.

"I'm sure it was all planned," she said. "I think people want to see what he'll bring after all of that and I think they're going to be pleasantly surprised and happy with it."

Also getting a second chance to redeem herself after last year's VMA debacle: Britney Spears. The pop star is opening the show, but not performing per se. courtesy: