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Politics of Benin

The Politics of Benin take place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, wherein the President of Benin is both head of state and head of government, of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the legislature; the Judiciary is independent of the legislature. The current political system is derived from the 1990 Constitution of Benin and the subsequent transition to democracy in 1991; the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Benin a "hybrid regime" in 2019. From the 17th century until the colonial period, the Kingdom of Dahomey was ruled by an "Oba"; the French were the colonial power from 1892 to 1960, when independence was achieved. Between 1960 and 1972, a series of military coups in Benin brought about many changes of government; the last of these brought Major Mathieu Kérékou to power as the head of a regime professing strict Marxist-Leninist principles. The Revolutionary Party of the People of Benin remained in complete power until the beginning of the 1990s.

Kérékou, encouraged by France and other democratic powers, convened a National Conference that introduced a new democratic constitution and held presidential and legislative elections. Kérékou's principal opponent at the presidential poll, the ultimate victor, was Prime Minister Nicéphore Soglo. Supporters of Soglo secured a majority in the National Assembly. Thus, Benin was the first African country to complete the transition from dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. In the second round of National Assembly elections held in March 1995, Soglo's political vehicle, the Parti de la Renaissance du Benin, was the largest single party, but it lacked an overall majority; the success of a party formed by supporters of ex-president Kérékou, who had retired from active politics, encouraged him to stand at both the 1996 and 2001 presidential elections. Spurred in part by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resultant lack of donor support from the superpower, as well as an economic crisis within the country, Benin adopted a new constitution in 1990 in order to open up and liberalise the political system and economy.

Its chief aims are to enshrine in law accountability, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, separation of governmental powers, the right to strike, universal suffrage and independence of the judiciary. These developments have created economic growth in Benin, but some of the bold ideals of the constitution have yet to be realised. Lack of accountability and transparency, failure to separate the judiciary from the political system, high levels of illiteracy are the main stumbling blocks. Additionally, state employees are poorly paid, which makes them susceptible to bribery and corruption. There are unresolved issues with many pre-constitution laws. Many of the older laws derive from French legal norms. Critics have complained that the constitution makes no mention of the right to an adequate standard of living. Since being written, the constitution has been translated into eight of the national languages of Benin. Broadcasts on local radio stations, in both in urban and rural areas, have publicised the constitution across the country.

The President of Benin is elected for a five-year term. An individual can serve only two terms, whether separated. Election is after a second round if necessary. Candidates must be: Beninese by birth, or have had Beninese nationality for 10 years Between the ages of 40 and 70 on the date of his or her candidacy Resident in Benin during elections Declared mentally and physically fit by three doctorsIn 2006, Mathieu Kérékou was not constitutionally permitted to run for re-election since he had served two terms and was over 70 years old. Despite speculation, this was not changed and he stood down after the election of his successor, Yayi Boni; the Cabinet is under the authority of the President, serves to advise and help formulate strategies. It liaises with ministries and other government institutions; the Beninese government's website has a selection of photos of senior ministers. The National Assembly is the Parliament of Benin - the primary legislative body. Deputies are elected every four years, in contrast to the five-year term of the president.

There are 83 available seats. It exercises the legislative oversight authority over Government action. Members of the army are not allowed to stand. During the 2001 presidential elections, alleged irregularities led to a boycott of the run-off poll by the main opposition candidates; the four top-ranking contenders following the first round of presidential elections were Mathieu Kérékou 45.4%, Nicephore Soglo 27.1%, Adrien Houngbédji 12.6%, Bruno Amoussou 8.6%. The second round balloting scheduled for March 18, 2001, was postponed for days because both Soglo and Houngbédji withdrew, alleging electoral fraud; this left Kérékou to run against his own Minister of State, Amoussou, in what was termed a "friendly match". The next presidential elections were held in March 2006. Yayi Boni and his parliamentary allies won the elections of 2011. Talon ran as an independent candidate in the March 2016 presidential election. Although he finished second to Prime Mini

Postmodern picture book

Postmodern picture books are a specific genre of picture books. Characteristics of this unique type of book include non-linear narrative forms in storybooks, books that are "aware" of themselves as books and include self-referential elements, what is known as metafiction. A classic example of this genre is David Macaulay's award-winning White; this book consists of four "separate" sub-plots which are related, but the reader must decide in what way the story becomes meaningful. The inside front cover of this book, awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1990, states: "WARNING: This book appears to contain a number of stories that do not occur at the same time, but it may contain only one story. Again, there may be four stories. Or four parts of a story. Careful inspection of both words and pictures is recommended." Examples of postmodern picture books include David Wiesner's The Three Pigs, Anthony Browne's Voices in the Park, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's The Stinky Cheese Man. Some books have unusual pictures that don't always mesh with the linear text.

An example would be Bamboozled by David Legge. Frank Serafini has created lesson plans that lead students to discuss how text interacts with illustrations. Three sets of texts could be discussed: books that have corresponding text and pictures, books where the illustrations enhance the texts, books where the illustrations contradict the text. Another lesson that Serafini describes that incorporates PM picture books could be having students read books that are ambiguous and allow for multiple interpretations. Student are encouraged to record their thinking in a journal called a "walking notebook". Books that are open to interpretation include: Browne's Voices in the Park, Wiesner's The Three Pigs, David Macauley's Black and White; these books could be thought of as multi-modal texts that defy the usual, linear organization of storybooks. In postmodern, meta-fictive books, the reader is intentionally made aware of the way that the book calls attention to itself. For example, in Wiesner's The Three Pigs, the main characters decide to climb outside the text.

In The Stinky Cheese Man and Lane purposely use intertextual references, or references to many other well-known fables, to create tongue-in-cheek, satirical stories and spin-offs of classic fairy tales. Varying size fonts and pictures combine to create a post-modern picture book. According to Anstey, characteristics of postmodern picture books include: Non-traditional plot structure Using the pictures or text to position the reader to read the text in a particular way, for example, through a character's eyes or point of view; the reader's involvement with constructing the meaning of the text. Intertextual references, which requires the reader to make connections to other books or knowledge, in order to better understand the text. Varied design layout and a variety of styles of illustration. Ryan & Anstey suggest that post-modern picture books may allow students to increase their "self-knowledge about reading" and that students might be able to use this knowledge in strategic ways as they read.

In their study and Anstey looked at how sixth graders responded to a PM picture book, selected because it was open to many interpretations, titled The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan. They discovered that the reading of such texts allow students to draw upon their resources as readers; the reading of such books supports a multiliteracies perspective. Accordingly, such books may be useful in allowing teachers to use texts that encourage students to draw upon their own identity and use this knowledge to read strategically. Anstey, M.. "It's not all black and white": new literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45, 444-458. Browne, A.. Voices in the Park. New York: DK Publishing. Goldstone, B. P.. The postmodern picture book: A new subgenre. Language Arts, 81, 196-204. Legge, D.. Bamboozled. Scholastic: New York. Macauley, D.. Black and White. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Serafini, F. Voices in the Park, Voices in the Classroom: Readers Responding to Postmodern Picture Books. Retrieved online: Voices article Serafini, F..

Lessons in comprehension: Explicit instruction in the reading workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Wiesner, D.. The Three Pigs. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Ryan, M. & Anstey, M. Identity and Text: Developing Self-conscious Readers. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 26, 9-22. Reading is Fundamental article Webquest by Julie Bain, on approaching ways of analysing postmodern picture books for senior secondary students.

Freedom Day (Malta)

Freedom Day is a Maltese national holiday celebrated annually on 31 March. This is the anniversary of the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979. On taking power in 1971, the Labour Government indicated it wanted to re-negotiate the lease agreement with the United Kingdom. Following protracted and sometimes tense talks, a new agreement was signed whereby the lease was extended till the end of March 1979 at a vastly increased rent. On 31 March 1979 the last British Forces left Malta. For the first time in a millennium, Malta was no longer a military base of a foreign power and it became independent de facto as well as de jure; the main events of the activities commemorating this date take place at the Freedom Day Monument at Birgu and at the War Memorial in Floriana. In the afternoon the Grand Harbour hosts a competitive regatta; the regatta attracts thousands of spectators and participants from the three big cities, as well as coastal towns. The regatta forms part of the second being on Victory Day.

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Qara Yusuf

Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf ibn Mohammad Barani was the ruler of the Kara Koyunlu dynasty from c.1388 to 1420, although his reign was interrupted by Tamerlane's invasion. He was the son of a brother-in-law to Ahmad Jalayir. After his father's death in rebellion by Pir Hasan, Kara Koyunlu elders gathered to choose his brother Khwaja Misr, however more energetic Qara Yusuf prevailed in succession, he crushed his forces. At the beginning of Qara Yusuf's reign, the Kara Koyunlu established an alliance with the Jalayirid dynasty in Baghdad and Tabriz against Aq Qoyunlu. However, he was soon jailed in Suşehri. Not long after, he was released after his aunt Tatar Hatun paid ransom to Qara Yuluq. Soon Jalayirids and Kara Koyunlu both were threatened by the Timurids from the east. In 1393 Timur conquered Baghdad and 3 years appointed his son Miran Shah as viceroy of Azerbaijan. In 1394, Timur sent him to Samarkand. By collaborating on equal terms with the Sultan Ahmed Jalayir against the Timurids, Qara Yusuf secured the independence of the Kara Koyunlu.

The Timurids defeated both the Kara Koyunlu and the Jalayirids. Qara Yusuf and Sultan Ahmed Jalayir both fled and took refuge with the Mamelukes first Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. In 1402 they returned together with an army. However, once they had retaken control of Baghdad they quarreled, Qara Yusuf expelled Sultan Ahmed Jalayir from the city. Sultan Ahmed Jalayir took refuge with the Nasir-ad-Din Faraj the Sultan of Mamluk Egypt, but he imprisoned him out of fear of Timur. In 1403 the Timurids defeated Qara Yusuf at the Battle of Algami Canal and drove him out of Baghdad again killing his brother Yar Ali which made him to seek asylum in Damascus, ruled by Mamelukes. Soon they were both imprisoned on the order of Nasir-ad-Din Faraj. Together in prison, the two leaders renewed their friendship, making an agreement that Sultan Ahmed Jalayir should keep Baghdad while Qara Yusuf would have Azerbaijan. Ahmad adopted his son Pirbudag; when Timur died in 1405 Nasir-ad-Din Faraj released them both. However, according to Faruk Sümer, they were released on the orders of rebellious wali of Damascus - Sheykh Mahmud.

Qara Yusuf, having went back to Anatolia. He forced Timur's governor in Van Izzaddin Shir to submit, while capturing Altamış, another viceroy set up by Timur and sending him to Barquq, he moved on to Azerbaijan. He defeated the Timurid Abu Bakr at the Battle of Nakhchivan on 14 October 1406 and reoccupied Tabriz. Abu Bakr and his father Miran Shah tried to recapture Azerbaijan, but on 20 April 1408, Qara Yusuf inflicted a decisive defeat on them at the Battle of Sardrud in which Miran Shah was killed; this battle, one of the most important in the history of the Orient, nullified the results of Timur's conquests in the West. In 1409 fall, he entered Tabriz and sent a raiding party to Shirvan Shaki, fruitless. Another invasion force was sent to capture Qazvin under command of Bistam Beg. Same year, he marched to Anatolia and deposed Salih Şihabeddin Ahmed, thus ending Mardin branch of Artuqids. Instead he was sent to govern Mosul. Having established as a ruler of Azerbaijan with Tabriz as his capital, Qara Yusuf fell foul of his former ally Sultan Ahmed Jalayir.

Sultan Ahmed Jalayir tried to seize Azerbaijan, but was defeated near Tabriz on 30 August 1410. He was captured and forced to abdicate in favor of Pirbudag and to appoint Shah Muhammad to be governor of Baghdad, he was executed the next day passing Iraq into the hands of Qara Yusuf. Qara Yusuf declared his son as "sultan" and crowned him in 1411, however he was still in charge as regent. Further consolidating his rule, he marched on Shirvan, where Shirvanshah Ibrahim, a loyal Timurid vassal was still reigning. Combined forces of Constantine I, Ibrahim and Syed Ahmed Orlat were defeated on Battle of Chalagan, 1412, he revoked governorship of Soltaniyeh from Bistam Beg and bestowed it on Jahan shah in 1415. He defeated Qara Osman in 1417 and on 20 September 1418. Made raids to Aintab, under Mameluke rule in response of them granting asylum to Qara Osman. In October 1418, his son and nominal sultan Pirbudag died, he tried to forge an anti-Timurid alliance with Mehmed I in 1420 unsuccessfully. He died on his way to battle Shahrukh on 17 November 1420.

According to Ahmad Faridun Bey's "Munshat-us-Salatin" Shahrukh's Fathnama sent to Mehmed I, right after Qara Yusuf's death his treasury was stolen by his nephews Qazan beg and Zeynal beg and taken to Avnik. Shah Muhammad and Qara Iskander retreated to Barda. While Jahan Shah took his father's body to be buried in his ancestral town Erciş. After the death of Qara Yusuf in December 1420, Shahrukh Mirza tried to take Azerbaijan from Qara Yusuf's son Qara Iskander, using the fact that none of his sons was accompanying his father. Despite defeating Iskander, twice in 1420–21 and 1429, only in the third expedition of Shahrukh Mirza in 1434–35 did the Timurids succeed, when he entrusted the government to Iskander's own brother, Jahan Shah as his vassal, he was married to a daughter of Manuel III of Trebizond. He married to daughter of Abu Bakr ibn Miran Shah. Who was adopted by Sha


Taleveras is an African business conglomerate owned with business interests in energy and infrastructure and gas exploration, production and supply, power and construction. Taleveras’ offices are located in London, Abuja, Abidjan, Cape Town and Dubai. Taleveras was incorporated in 2004 by a Nigerian businessman, Igho Sanomi. Taleveras is a integrated company offering solutions in energy, power generation and construction services, its activities in the energy industry are centred on the physical sourcing and marketing of oil. It pursues upstream activities with a major focus on acquiring oil assets with viable proven reserves on a structured basis, it provides engineering and power services. "Taleveras is a diversified energy and infrastructure conglomerate concentrating on oil & gas exploration, production and supply, with further activities in power and construction." According to Forbes, Taleveras "trades over 100 million barrels of crude oil as well as several million tons of gasoline, LPG and jet fuel.

In April 2012, Taleveras acquired production sharing contracts for three offshore oil blocks in Ivory Coast. In June 2013, Taleveras sold a 65% stake in one of its Ivorian offshore upstream projects to Lukoil of Russia for an undisclosed price. Taleveras owns a stake in a power distribution firm in Nigeria."Venture-Africa, a bi-monthly Pan-African business magazine that champions African capitalism, describes Taleveras thus: "trading close to a billion barrels of crude oil and millions of tons of condensates, jet fuel, condensates and LPG every year. Taleveras owns substantial stakes in two oil blocks in Nigeria as well as lucrative production sharing contracts in three offshore oil blocks in Ivory Coast; the group's power subsidiary constructs electrical substations in Nigeria and acquired a majority stake in the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company. Taleveras has an annual turnover of several billions of dollars. Igho Sanomi is the controlling shareholder of the group."On 30 July 2013, Taleveras emerged the bidders for Afam Power Plc.

In October, 2013, Taleveras signed a technical agreement with Alstom Group for the rehabilitation and capacity expansion of the 776 megawatts Afam power plant located in Rivers State. Patrick Kron, the chairman and chief executive of the French engineering conglomerate signed the deal with Taleveras on his visit to the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, which had in attendance Nigerian business leaders and members of the international business community in Lagos, Nigeria; the president and Chairman of Taleveras, Igho Sanomi, led a delegation to Ivory Coast in November, where an upstream deal with the government of the francophone West African State for offshore Block CI-523 were signed and sealed with officials of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, PETROCI, the national oil company of Ivory Coast, Afren, the London Stock Exchange-listed independent oil and gas company. Taleveras had earlier acquired an interest in Afren’s CI-525, located near the Ghanaian border in Ivory Coast.

In December 2013, an oil industry services group,Petrofac, in conjunction with Taleveras Energy Resources, signed a memorandum of understanding detailing a five-year co-operation agreement with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, which seeks to support "NPDC's aims to further build indigenous capacity and technical capabilities of NPDC & its affiliates." In the MOU, Petrofac and Taleveras agrees to "provide financial and capacity and capability building support for the further development of NPDC's offshore block OML119 in a risk-based support agreement, by which reserves and license ownership are retained by NPDC." Taleveras is a member of an indigenous consortium, Aiteo Consortium, which won the Oil Mining Lease 29, "the largest oil block among the four blocks offered to prospective reputable investors" by Shell Petroleum Development Company. The consortium made the highest bid of $2.85 billion to defeat competitors. In January 2015, Taleveras signed a deal with the government of Equatorial Guinea "to build a giant oil storage hub in the central African country.

The Bioko Island facility will have a total capacity of 1.34 million tonnes of storage for crude oil and products such as gasoline, jet fuel and fuel oil, the firm said. It will be the largest crude and products storage facility in Africa." Taleveras Petroleum Trading BV, an arm of Taleveras was one of Nigerian companies, whose services were enlisted by Duke Oil, an international oil trading company wholly owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The arrangement is "crude for product exchange process barter arrangement, which means you load the crude and you deliver refined petroleum products gasoline based on crude lifted." In February 2011, Taleveras Petroleum Trading BV entered into a Management and Operation Agreement with Duke Oil "to operate and manage its Crude and Product Exchange Agreement" with NNPC and Pipelines and Product Marketing Company from February 2011 until December 2014. At the height of the fuel subsidy crises in Nigeria, which culminated in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative probing the downstream sector of Nigerian petroleum industry in 2012 and its subsequent verification exercise, Taleveras was considered to have implemented its side of the deal to the letter.

Taleveras is involved in Global Initiative for Peace and Care, a Non-Governmental Organisation with a mission "to promote sustainable programs and activities that will ensure a better life for the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children." Taleveras sponsored the 2011 Kaduna International Polo Tourneys respectively. It s

Caliban by the Yellow Sands

Caliban by the Yellow Sands is a play by Percy MacKaye, published in 1916. MacKaye devised this piece in celebration for the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. MacKaye's first technical opportunity to experiment in devising a dramatic structure of Caliban's requirements was in St. Louis in 1914. Seven thousand citizens took part in MacKaye's civic masque, a historical pageant celebrating the 150th anniversary of the city's founding. After the civic masque in St Louis, MacKaye began to look to Central Park for an appropriate site to produce the community festival; the idea was to now have his Masque as the central popular piece in the festival, along with the hundreds of other Shakespearean celebrations. However, there were far too many people who opposed this idea of using Central Park and did not think that it was an appropriate setting for the production; this debate ended in the disapproval of the use of Central Park, which MacKaye was disappointed about. He believed that the ones who were against the idea were unaware of the impact and significance the initial production had on the citizens of St. Louis, the potential affect it could have on the citizens of New York City.

He received approval to produce the play in New York two years at the Lewisohn Stadium. The New York production had an audience of 20,000 a night, with 2,000-3,000 people performing. Although still high in number, MacKaye desired more of what had been produced in St. Louis and longed to grow the piece in New York just as rapidly; the total audience of 135,000 covered the costs of around $100,000. However attempts to turn the enthusiasm for the production by having an annual event came to nothing with the US entry into the First World War; the passion MacKaye had for expanding and growing the Masque rooted from his passion for mankind, the basis for the play as a whole as it resulted in the piece being titled a "Community Masque". The play is loosely based on Shakespeare's play The Tempest, centers on the character Caliban, the monster son of Sycorax, his desire for knowledge; the passage taken from The Tempest, the inspiration for the masque, is when Prospero says, The character of Caliban is meant to represent the "passionate child-curious part of us all": Caliban is depicted as a much more primitive character than Prospero or Ariel, in his pursuit of the art of Prospero.

These are not meant to be direct characters from Shakespeare's play but rather symbolic representations of what these characters mean in the context of his play. MacKaye was less worried about telling the journey of these characters in a story rather than present to the audience a piece of poetry meant to resonate with them on a deeper level; the play is constructed in a way which includes scenes concerning Caliban's story as well as anachronistic vignette-like scenes which take place in a separate performance area. A scene could occur between Caliban and Miranda and immediately switch to a scene between Brutus and Lucius; the language used by MacKaye is only one of many elements in the work meant to cultivate the idea he is trying to present. "If no word of the Masque be heard by the audience, the plot and symbolism will still remain understandable". The symbolic structure to include pageantry and dance in one play is MacKaye's attempt at forming a new genre of theatre meant to affect the masses of people who saw his performances.

In his first production of Caliban by the Yellow Sands in St. Louis, his emphasis was on making all the elements of the theatre work synchronously. No single aspect of the Masque was meant to overpower another; the technical would work with the artistic and the different artistic styles, which included elements of opera, song and various other performance styles, worked in one cohesive unit. While spectacle was a large part of the production, the poetry and literature were as important. Mackaye worked with a number of activists from New York's various linguistic communities. Caliban was meant to bring together a community not just civically but intellectually. Mackaye's theoretiucal views could be seen in hisconcept of "Civic Theatre" which outlined before Caliban by the Yellow Sands was a thought. MacKaye's Civic Theater was one which, "resembles the harmonious mind of a man whose splendid passions and imaginations are controlled and directed by his enlightened reason to the service of his race".

His theatre was not that of the money hungry producer but that of the artist wanting to enlighten his fellow man. Caliban achieves, he presents its quest for art. It is a simple enough idea with many implications and interpretations making the audience a necessity. With an audience numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the conversations stirring around Caliban by the Yellow Sands would lead to debate and mass intelligent thought accomplishing his goal of unifying a community. Thomas Cartelli has characterised MacKaye's depiction of the struggle between Prospero and Caliban as being reductively displayed as a manichean struggle between dark and light, he suggests that the scenes interposed from other works of Shakespeare are those least linked to social and political issues, rather focusing on unproblematic scenes from the romantic tragedies and festive comedies. The "Community Masque" places MacKaye in the position which he dramatises as that of Prospero/Shakespeare, who uses the theatre to uplift Caliban from the material world of Setebos.

Cartelli discusses the implications this has in the context of Jewish immigration to New York and suggests that Mackaye is asserting the values of White Anglo-Saxon