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Ghana’s Kwame A.A Opoku Appointed ECOWAS Youth Ambassador.



Award Winning Futurist, Young Entrepreneur and Global Keynote Speaker, Kwame A.A Opoku was on Saturday, the 1st of December appointed and inducted an Ecowas Youth Ambassador by the Ecowas Youth Council. His appointment comes months after he was named one of the Most Influential Young Africans and was listed as one of the TOP 100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow by the St. Gallen Symposium. Earlier this year he also won the highly coveted African Youth of the Year (Male) at the Africa Youth Awards.

The Economic Community of West African States-Youth Council (ECOWAS- YC; EYC) was established in 2014 as a youth arm of the ECOWAS Commission to minimize the demanding challenges of youths in order to discharge efficient service delivery with the sole aim of engaging and promoting regional economic co-operation and integrations between 15 countries with different historic trajectories (colonization, language, and administrative cultures) through cohort of youth hubs and activities to the posterity of the sustainable development process of the West African region. It has over 200 Million members across 15 states.

The Council is governed by renowned patrons such as H.E Abdoulaye Wade, Former President of Senegal amongst others.

His appointed comes with the the Office of an Ambassador (His Excellency), a mandate to lead the Youth Agenda for the Ecowas Youth Council in Ghana and facilitate cross border engagements across all member states. The highly prestigious appointment will also grant him access to government agencies across all member states in the interest of the Council. As an Ambassador, he is one of the youngest to ever earn such honour.

Kwame A.A Opoku is an Award-Winning Futurist, Global Business Keynote Speaker, 2x Tedx Speaker, Brand Architect, Serial Entrepreneur and a Social Media/Digital Marketer. He was awarded the 2017 Africa Youth of the Year at the African Youth Awards and named among the Top 100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow by the St. Gallen Symposuim.

As an entrepreneur, he is CEO of Mary & Mary Global partners, a leading communications marketing and PR firm with a bank of super creative and talented minds connecting, informing and creating inspiring work, he is also the Co-Founder and Lead Curator of WE FESTIVAL AFRICA a unique platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs who are in the trenches of building their business.

He is one of the most recognised voices on the Continent in the Area of Exponential technologies and has since founded Future of Business Africa (FOBA). FOBA GLOBAL is an independent non-profit futuristic business think tank using exponential technologies to tackle Africa’s biggest challenges and creating the future —today.

HE is also the Founding President of Institute of Future Learning, a collaborative learning platform and educational institute focused on raising the next crop of exponential thinkers and innovators. HE is an itinerary speaker on the subject of AI, Robotics, Space Economy, Nano Technology, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Optogenetics etc. and The Founder of the FUTURE GOVERNANCE FORUM.

He is the Co-Founder of Idea Factory Africa, a global African Community and a Social Enterprise, welcoming young people from every discipline and culture who seek to influence the world through NOVEL IDEAS.

Kwame is a dynamic millennial who brings over 10 years of international experience to driving transformation and youth empowerment in Africa.

He is currently the Vice Chair, West Africa for the Young CEOs Business Forum, one of the World’s leading Organizations, he is head of all YCBF related projects within the West African region, making Him Head of Operations in 16 Countries.

Congratulations to this indeginous son of the land.

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4 Reasons People Fall In Love At First Sight.



Do you believe in ‘love at first sight’?

It’s a phrase that splits opinion: hopeless romantics swear it be true while those who are perhaps slightly more cynical believe that you can only have infatuation at first sight, not love.

But what if we told you that we have actual scientific evidence behind it? Yeah, that’s right, SCIENCE.

Here, Pure Optical present the science behind the phenomenon along with 5 reasons that will prove its existence to even the harshest of sceptics.

See, there is still time to find love before Valentine’s Day!

Love is a drug

When a person falls in love, a chemical reaction ignites in the brain and Dopamine and Serotonin is produced. According to Dr Trisha Stratford, at this point the brain ‘looks like the brain of someone high on heroin’.

Dopamine is produced by the hypothalamus (the brains reward pathway) which causes elation and a sense of euphoria when we are around the people that we love. Extreme levels of dopamine are related to the production of the hormone norepinephrine which can cause a loss in appetite and affect the quality of our sleep. Norepinephrine plays an instrumental role in the brains ‘fight or flight’ mode which kicks in when a person is particularly stressed or finds themselves in an extreme situation. Scans of the brain show that the primary centre of the brain sees a great spark when people are shown an image of someone that they are in love with as appose to just an acquaintance that they know.

Serotonin is released soon after meeting someone that we find attractive and in turn, has a huge impact on our feelings throughout the initial stages of a relationship. It is said that serotonin distracts the mind to such an extent that a person can hold thoughts of the person that they are attracted to for up to 65% of the day.

The combination of dopamine and serotonin are so influential throughout the preliminary stages of a relationship that people can attribute their effects to love. This breaths truth in the term ‘love at first sight’.

The Attractiveness Halo.
The attractiveness halo is strongly linked to first impressions and therefore plays an influential role in the concept of love at first sight. The attractiveness halo falls under the umbrella of cognitive bias which is when a person lays such focus on one positive element of an individual, that as a whole they seem more attractive.

The attractiveness halo causes a person to believe that if someone is physically attractive, then they must have other traits within their personality that they will also find desirable. Confirmation bias is almost synonymous with ‘love at first sight’. Confirmation Bias is the tendency to use new information to reinforce your current beliefs. Positive interactions with a person are then taken so personally that any negative encounters or traits are ignored. The attractiveness halo leads a person to believe that they may have experienced love at first sight as they have homed in only on the persons attractive qualities and somewhat built a fictional character.

Recreating the past.
We can all be guilty of rewriting history and our memories of specific encounters or situations can alter over time. A study conducted by the University of Groningen uncovered the belief that love at first sight may be a bi product of the phenomenon ‘Positive Illusion’. Positive illusion is when you and your partner grow to believe that you fell in love at first sight as you are so in love now. Consequently, your current feelings are applied to the memory of your first encounter leading you to believe that you have always been in love.

The Groningen University study showed that people who believe that they fell in love at first sight ended up in long term relationships with each other. This saw the university draw the conclusion that their experience of love at first sight is the result of memory bias.

Creating an impression.
A first impression is made within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone. Consequently, people can determine almost immediately if someone is attractive or not. A strong sense of attraction can be regarded as love at first sight as it can quickly evolve into lust.

As we determine if we are attracted to someone in a matter of seconds, our brains release the hormone oxytocin throughout the stages of initial contact. Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘hormone of love.’ Arguably, if our brains are telling us that we are in love, then it is possible to fall in love at first sight.

The influence of eye contact.
The University of Chicago conducted a study to determine if eye contact contributes to love at first sight. The study focused on eye movements and whether there was a difference between the movements of love and lust. The research involved showcasing images of romantic love as well as images that focused on lust. The study saw that people are more likely to focus on the faces of those they were in love and focus on the body’s in the other images supporting the notion of love at first sight.

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Lifestyle: Should All Couples Sleep Apart?



In the same week that a Kickstarter campaign was set up to fund the production of an interactive button encouraging partners to signal they are in the mood for sex, as opposed to just, you know, telling them, the carmaker Ford has suggested an even less romantic product – stay-in-your-lane mattress technology for couples. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ford’s mattress design would include a mechanism to “nudge” partners to their own side of the bed if they began to dominate the space. According to studies (no doubt funded by bed manufacturers), one in four people report better sleep when they sleep alone, which does make some sense, given there is no risk of duvet larceny by your other half, or disruptive snoring. But the idea of couples actually sleeping in separate beds is rather saddening. It seems just a step away from the set-up of former couple Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, who lived in adjoining houses.

Perhaps it’s the practice of sleeping in separate rooms that Ford is trying to avoid, although it remains perplexing why a car manufacturer actually cares (the mattress is at the prototype stage). Maybe less tired people buy more cars? There is also, surely, a glaring issue with this mattress: there are other things couples do in bed, which involve being quite close together, and during which being “nudged” probably isn’t ideal.

“Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping,” says Neil Stanley, the author of How to Sleep Well, “so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly.” The thing is, though, your significant other sleeping in your bed touching you isn’t unexpected, is it? It’s sort of the point of sleeping together, in both senses of the term.

Don’t get me wrong: none of us enjoy being locked in a vice-like grip by the one-night stand we cannot wait to kick out at first light, but spooning with someone you actually like, nay, love; holding hands; “snuggling” (so sorry) – all of these things are quite nice. So, I won’t be investing in Ford’s mattress – although I am sure it will come in any colour, so long as it’s black.

By: Gerrard-Israel

Data Source: The Guardian

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Venus Williams Splashes Out $10 million On Resort-style Florida Waterfront Home With Private Beach.



Venus Williams has splashed out nearly $10 million on a secluded waterfront ‘retirement home’ with its own beach and private cottage for sister Serena, can reveal.

The sprawling resort-style retreat in exclusive Jupiter Island, Florida includes a main three-bedroom house and two guesthouses, set in lush tropical gardens and boasting breathtaking ocean views.

The ritzy property also has a pool, outdoor kitchen and bar but, unlike the five-time Wimbledon champion’s previous property in nearby Palm Beach Gardens, it doesn’t have a tennis court.

Still ranked number 35 in the world, Venus has dismissed talk of retirement, but friends say it’s inevitable the 38-year-old’s thoughts are beginning to turn to life after tennis.

The proud auntie expects Serena, her husband Alexis Ohanian and their baby daughter Alexis Olympia to be regular guests, with the couple getting to choose between the one-bed guesthouse or roomier two-bedroom private cottage.

They won’t have far to walk to reach the beach either, with the one-acre garden stretching 312 feet before a short path leads directly on to pristine white sands.

The entire property, decked out with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and a nautically themed décor, totals 25 rooms and 10,000 square feet.

Property records show Venus managed to knock more than a million dollars off the original $10.9 million asking price before closing for $9.6 million in January.

Her old house, the seven-bed Palm Beach Gardens mansion she jointly bought for $525,000 with Serena back in 1998 has been on the market for $2.7 million since December.

The entire property, decked out with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and a nautically themed décor, totals 25 rooms and 10,000 square feet

The listing was removed in late January though the Williams siblings are still the registered owners.

They spent years custom building the almost 8,500-square-foot house and kitting it out with a tennis court, gym and home movie theater before living there together for well over a decade.

However the upscale location was also the setting for the devastating June 2017 car accident which left an elderly man dead and threatened to derail a glittering career that has seen Venus claim seven Grand Slam titles and $40 million in prize money.

A police investigation later cleared Venus of doing anything wrong when Jerome Barson’s Hyundai slammed into the side of her Toyota SUV as she was blocked from exiting an intersection outside the property’s gates.

The family of 78-year-old Barson, who died 13 days later, sued Williams for wrongful death but the bitterly contested case was quietly settled late last year.

Former world number one Venus resumed her tennis career just weeks after the accident but broke down in tears when she faced questions from the media.

a pool next to a palm tree: A homeowner’s dream: The lavish mansion is set in lush tropical gardens and boasting breathtaking ocean views

‘There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and yeah I’m completely speechless,’ she said, before tailing off and leaving a press conference at Wimbledon.

Serena, 37, now lives in LA after marrying Reddit co-founder Ohanian but the world’s highest paid female athlete still has a home she bought in Palm Beach Gardens in 2015 for $2.5 million.

She also has an apartment in Paris, a $10 million mansion in the LA neighborhood of Bel Air and a 6.7 million, 6,000-square-foot home close to Beverly Hills that she put on the market after tying the knot in December 2016.

Venus previously owned her own Hollywood Hills home before selling it for $1.7 million to actress Ellen Page in 2014.


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Donald Trump Called for A ‘Late-Term’ Abortion Ban In The State Of The Union. Abortion Rights Advocates Are Pushing Back.



President Donald Trump called for a federal ban on “the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb” during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, doubling down on his criticism of a new law expanding abortion rights in New York.

“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump said Tuesday. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”

His remarks further amplified the national debate over later abortion, an issue that Trump has suggested he plans to focus on in the 2020 election.

New York’s new law, the Reproductive Health Act, expanded abortion rights to allow a woman to get an abortion after 24 weeks if her health, not just her life, is threatened and if the fetus would be unable to survive outside the womb. Advocates have said the law is a necessary protection for women who otherwise have limited options in the face of health risks or serious fetal problems. Proponents have also framed it as a safeguard against a newly conservative Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that effectively legalized abortion nationwide.

But anti-abortion advocates have criticized the law as an “extreme” expansion of abortion access that gives medical professionals too much discretion, and have falsely claimed that such legislation is tantamount to infanticide. Trump echoed that sentiment Tuesday, earning praise from groups such as Americans United for Life, which said Trump “may be the most pro-life president in American history.”

“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” Trump said. “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.”

But the New York law does not expand later abortion access to any woman with a healthy, risk-free pregnancy, and medical experts say that arguments that abortions will take place “moments from birth” are inaccurate.

“They’re using these theoretical extreme examples to try to scare people,” says Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an obstetrician-gynecologist and a board member from Physicians for Reproductive Health. She said concerns about women getting abortions while in labor are unfounded.

“It’s not something that any person would come seeking, and it’s not something that any doctor would provide,” she says.

The vast majority of abortions (90%) take place during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that advocates for reproductive rights. Nine percent of abortions take place after the first trimester, and just 1% take place at 21 weeks or later, according to the Institute.

“No one wanted to meet my ‘living, feeling, beautiful baby’ more than me. No one is sadder that he ‘will never get the chance to share his love and dreams with the world’ than I am,” Missy Kurzweil, one of dozens of women who signed an open letter Tuesday about their later abortions, tells TIME. “My choice to have a later abortion was an act of love to ease my child’s suffering. Shame on Trump for exploiting that love to appeal to his base.”

Kurzweil, who lives in New York City, says she had an abortion in the 23rd week of her pregnancy in 2017 after discovering her baby had a rare brain disorder that could have left him living in severe pain. Kurzweil says she made an “impossible choice” with the little information available to her.

“No one wakes up 20 weeks into a gestation period and says, ‘I made a mistake.’ These are wanted pregnancies,” says Kurzweil, 33. “It really was this choice of quality of life and what is a livable life? And what are the things that would be manageable, and how much pain is sustainable?”

Trump’s call for a federal ban on later abortion because of fetal pain is based on model legislation created by the anti-abortion group National Right to Life, which praised Trump on Tuesday and said he “once again demonstrated the paramount importance of protecting mothers and their unborn children.”

There are 17 states that ban abortion about 20 weeks post-fertilization “on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation,” according to the Guttmacher Institute. But scientific research has found that “fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week.

“The evidence is not very clear that there’s an exact moment when the fetus can feel pain,” says Dr. Daniel Grossman, director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. “There is good evidence that it can’t feel pain before the first trimester. I think that if you’re using the fetal pain argument to justify bans at 20 weeks, there really isn’t medical evidence supporting that.”

During his address, Trump also falsely claimed that Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam “stated he would execute a baby after birth.” While that’s not true, Trump was referring to Northam’s defense of a proposed Virginia bill that would have reduced restrictions to allow for abortions later in pregnancy if a woman’s health was threatened. Controversy erupted over whether the bill, which has been tabled, would allow a woman to get an abortion while going into labor

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, defended the bill and explained in an interview how he would handle a situation in which a woman went into labor during a pregnancy involving “severe deformities” or a “fetus that’s nonviable.”

“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired,” Northam told the radio station WTOP. “And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Republicans immediately accused Northam of supporting infanticide. Northam’s office said his remarks were taken out of context and were only meant to explain what physicians would do in the event of a “nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities.”

Northam’s office did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. (Separately, Northam is now facing calls to step down over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page and findings that he dressed in blackface at least once.)

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Copyright © 2018 George Britton