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Oil Price Rises To $65 Over Fear Of US Attack On Iran

sam, 2019-06-22 08:58


Oil prices rallied towards $65 per barrel on fears of a U.S. military attack on Iran that would disrupt flows from the Middle East, which provides more than 20 percent of the world’s oil output.

Brent crude was up 42 cents, or 0.66 percent, at $64.87 a barrel by 0850 GMT. The global benchmark jumped 4.3 percent on Thursday and was up around five percent for the week, in its first weekly gain in five weeks.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 21 cents, or 0.38 percent, at $57.28 a barrel. The US benchmark surged 5.4 percent on Thursday and was on track for a 9 percent increase this week.

“Crude prices are spiking on increased Middle East tensions after Iran shot down a US drone in what the US claims is international airspace,” said Jason Gammel from Jefferies.

Iran said it had shot the drone over its territory.

Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from US President Donald Trump through Oman overnight warning that a US attack on Iran was imminent.

The officials said they had responded by saying that any attack would have regional and international consequences.

They also said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was against talks but said they would convey the US message to him.

The New York Times reported on Friday, citing sources, that Trump had approved military strikes against Iran but pulled back from launching the attacks.

Tensions have been on the rise because US sanctions on Iran have severely reduced oil exports from OPEC’s third largest producer and Washington has blamed Tehran, which denies any role, for a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

“There is no doubt that a severe disruption to the transit of oil through this vulnerable route would be extremely serious,” said consultancy FGE Energy in a note.

The demand-side outlook has also improved, said Jefferies with an appetite for risk assets rising after the European and the US central banks signalled possible rate cuts this week.

A weaker greenback tends to support oil prices because crude is usually priced in dollars.

Another macroeconomic factor supporting prices is the plan by Beijing and Washington to resume talks to resolve a trade tariff war that has hit economic growth prospects.

“Trade anxiety has died down, pushing energy prices higher as global growth will not be pressured by a prolonged tariff war,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Concern about slowing economic growth and a US-China trade dispute had pulled oil lower in recent weeks. That came after Brent reached a 2019-high above $75 in April.

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Seven Killed In Shi’ite Mosque Blast – Police

sam, 2019-06-22 08:52


Security forces deployed at the scene cordoned off the site

Security forces deployed at the scene cordoned off the site Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters

A bomb blast has killed seven people at a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in eastern Baghdad on Friday and wounded more than 20, police sources said.

The explosion took place in the Baladiyat neighbourhood. A senior police source said that either a suicide belt or improvised explosive device had been used in the attack, for which there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The source said the death toll was expected to rise with many of those wounded in serious condition.

It was a rare attack on a Shi’ite place of worship in the Iraqi capital.

Sunni extremists carried out high-profile bombings of Iraqi Shi’ite sites during the worst of the country’s sectarian violence after the US invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Baghdad’s security improved significantly with the defeat of Islamic State in 2017 and bomb attacks of any kind in the city have been rare since then.

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Buratai Says ‘I Commend Your Courage’ To Soldiers After Blaming Nigerian Troops For Fresh Boko Haram Attacks

sam, 2019-06-22 08:50


Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai

Just a couple of days after blaming Nigerian troops in the frontline of the Boko Haram war, the country’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says the soldiers are committed and courageous.

The army chief on Tuesday had said: “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to the insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines.

“Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or service cause.”

But a few days after, specifically on Friday, Buratai commended Nigerians soldiers.

He gave the commendation during the graduation of 183 intermediate military officers, held at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.

“I would like to commend your courage and commitment to the onerous and noble cause of ensuring the safety and security of Nigeria and Nigerians. I also want to use this opportunity to honour those who have paid the supreme price while in active service of our motherland.

“We owe it to them to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.  We also owe it to ourselves to become better at our craft, in terms of the quality of our equipment, personnel, and training. To this end, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is making concerted efforts to acquire new platforms and equipment,” he stated.

To the 183 intermediate officers of Junior Course 87, Buratai urged them to remain professional, disciplined and hard-working in the discharge of their constitutional duties.

 

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Malabu Oil Deal: Italy Protests Swiss Delay In Releasing Evidence In Nigeria Corruption Case

ven, 2019-06-21 19:42


Italian prosecutors have complained to Switzerland about lengthy delays in obtaining the evidence they have requested in an international corruption case involving oil firms Shell and Eni, Reuters reports.

It will be recalled that Shell and Italian oil major Eni have been embroiled in a protracted corruption case revolving around the purchase of Oil Prospecting Licence 245.

The OPL 245, better known as Malabu oil block, with reserves estimated at nine billion barrels has been at the centre of an ongoing corruption trial in Milan, Italy.

Milan prosecutors wrote in April to the Geneva prosecutors’ office in a previously undisclosed letter, describing their three-year wait for documents to be handed over by Swiss authorities as “unprecedented”, the source said.

Swiss police found the documents in a briefcase they seized in April 2016 in an inquiry unrelated to the corruption case, and the source said Milan prosecutors believed the documents could be vital to their prosecution of Eni and Shell.

But Italy’s request for the documents to be handed over has been blocked by Swiss courts after repeated legal challenges by the owner of the briefcase, Nigerian lawyer Emeka Obi, who was charged alongside Eni and Shell executives in the graft case.

In September 2018, Obi was convicted of corruption and sentenced to four years in jail by a Milan judge in a fast-track trial, though he has appealed, remains outside Italy and his lawyer continues to pursue legal action in Switzerland to block Italy’s request.

Obi’s Italian lawyer, Roberto Pisano, did not reply to an email requesting a comment.

A separate trial continues in Milan against Eni, Shell, and executives of both firms on charges they paid $1.1 billion in bribes to secure the purchase of a Nigerian oil field in 2011. 

All defendants deny wrongdoing.

The Geneva prosecutors’ office said in a statement to Reuters that it had spared no effort to cooperate with Italy over its request, adding the Swiss judicial process was long and involved delays that it admitted could cost precious time.

Milan prosecutors have an understanding of the contents of the documents and believe they would strengthen their case against defendants in the Nigeria graft trial, the source said.

They hope their letter will be passed onto the Swiss Federal Penal Tribunal in Bellinzona which is considering which documents can be passed to Milan prosecutors. The tribunal’s eventual ruling is also subject to appeal.

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Contractor Confesses To Burying Whistle-blower, 16 Years After

ven, 2019-06-21 19:39


A contractor hired to build a sporting facility in a Chinese school has confessed after 16 years to burying the remains of a teacher who reported him for embezzling funds, beneath the institution’s running track.

Police said Thursday that Du Shaoping killed Deng Shiping in January 2003, because he had refused to approve the constructed structure.

Deng had observed that Du had embezzled funds and skimped on building materials. Deng’s body was discovered in Xinhuang Middle School Thursday, according to officials in the city of Huaihua.

"The field and track were being built by the principal's relatives," he told Hongxing News. "He believed there to be serious build quality concerns, and that they were cutting corners.”

"He refused to sign off on the work and reported it to the county government. Then he disappeared."

Du’s remains have been sent for further analysis. 

A task force has also been set up to investigate the crime.

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The Medal, My story...Not All Of It By Mcginger Ibeneme​

ven, 2019-06-21 19:10



Four years later, the African Union has remembered to present me and my colleagues with medals of honor for stopping Ebola in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

I dedicate this to Dr. Stella Adadevor and Justina Ejelonu -you guys are the real heroes. You died for us all.

Adadevor stopped Sawyer. He made calls. She also made calls; pulling the right strings to stop him from plunging into the population and spreading the deadly virus.

She contracted Ebola in the process and died a most painful death. It was like self-sacrifice. She had organ failures, kidney shutdown, multiple seizures and stroke, profuse bleeding, heart failure and later on, death. She died for Nigeria.

Adadevor has not been properly honored by her country whereas every year politicians troop into Abuja to share national honors for doing practically nothing - whereas real heroes are ignored.

Nurse Justina Ejelenu worked with Adadevor and also contracted the disease in the line of duty. She died without doing anything for herself or her family. No one remembers her.

We arrived Abuja after six months of risking our lives in West Africa to stop the menace a few days after (President Goodluck) Jonathan had lost the presidential election in 2015.

No one paid any attention to us any longer. All the initial plans to honor us was thrown out of the window.

The new regime took no interest whatsoever and to date, not even a handshake from a local government chairman, not to talk of some financial gift.

Politicians share billions (of naira) each time they are leaving office after mindless self-help to the national purse. Yet, those who worked for the nation are never rewarded.

This regime has not as much as said a word to us talk less of recognizing our contributions.

The day we arrived at Sierra Leone everyone was happy. They said we were from Nigeria and we had the magic.

They sent us to worst-hit areas and we went to duty patriotically. We did our best and Ebola stopped. The country took the whole accolade without even saying a word to us.

The African Union has casually tossed medals to us without any ceremony. I went to Port Harcourt to pick up my piece from a junior staff of the state's ministry of health who asked me to sign off on a piece of paper and be gone.

There were only two persons in the room. Nobody bothered with me. It was even the staff who told me that some people who picked up the medal earlier had tested it and that it was not even real gold; so it's probably worthless.

I spent my money and time to pick a piece of garbage after risking my life for Africa. I felt like a fool while leaving dejectedly.

This reminds me of my experience in the field. 

An American passed out while we were on duty and I helped to resuscitate him. He was later diagnosed with Ebola and I quarantined myself. A few days later I developed a fever and noticed blood in my stool.

I asked my colleagues to send a letter to the African Union that I might have contracted the deadly disease. To date, I never got any response. I stayed in self-quarantine for 21 days without a word from Africa that I was fighting for.

My contemporary was airlifted to the US in a matter of moments but I survived by the grace of God or sheer luck. Never spoken to. Never tested. Never nothing. Being African is shitty. I don’t know if am a survivor or not. I just know that my life is worth nothing

I dedicate this medal, though probably worthless to healthcare workers from Africa who died for their continent but were never appreciated or even recognized.

I live in hope that one day our land shall experience the kind of leadership that would value those who sacrifice for her and reward those who make genuine efforts.

For now, am just in severe pains.

 

God bless Africa 

God bless Nigeria

N. Mcginger Ibeneme (MBBS)

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Again, Akeredolu Tells Federal Government: Nigeria Will Gain Billions Of Dollars Legalizing Cannabis Cultivation

ven, 2019-06-21 18:38


Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has again called for the legalization of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria to tap from its potential impact on economic growth.

Akeredolu, who spoke while playing host to the Acting Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) Mr. Benson Oluwayiopese, in Akure, said the plant had both its health and economic benefits which could only be harnessed if it was cultivated. 

He also explained that when the oil of cannabis is extracted, it could be used to cure many chronic illnesses stressing that the country stands to gain a lot from the potential of the plant.

According to Akeredolu, there is a need for more research on the medicinal use of cannabis for the benefit of mankind and improvement of the country's economy.

He said, "Nigeria stands to gain billions of dollars like other countries from the proposed legal and controlled cultivation of cannabis."

Video of 48 Hours In The Forest Of Cannabis 48 Hours In The Forest Of Cannabis

In May 2019, Governor Akeredolu travelled to Thailand in other to study the medicinal use of cannabis as parts of the measures to diversify the state's economy.

Responding, Mr. Oluwayiopese said he was in Ondo on a tour of how to grow commercial cannabis.

According to him, Ondo state was chosen for the study tour because of its novel and innovative intention towards legalized and controlled cannabis cultivation for medicinal and economic benefits.

The prison boss noted that Canada, Uruguay, America, and many other countries had already legalized cannabis cultivation for medical purposes and economic benefits.

He stressed that if the cultivation of cannabis was legalized at the national level it would help in improving the economy.

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US President Donald Trump Changed His Mind 10 Minutes Before Planned Attack On Iran

ven, 2019-06-21 17:39


Donald Trump, President of the United States of America has said the US military was ready to retaliate against Iran but he changed his mind 10 minutes before the planned strike.

He made the disclosure while tweeting @realDonaldTrump on Friday. 

The US had planned attacks on three sites in Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American drone.

He noted that he called off the attacks because he was told 150 people would die if he didn't. 

His tweet reads: "10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone".

....On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019

"I am in no hurry. Our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world."

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Africa’s Output Grew By 3.4% in 2018, Africa Trade Report 2019 Shows

ven, 2019-06-21 17:35


Africa’s output grew by 3.4 percent between 2017 and 2018 despite the slowdown in global growth during that period, a new report by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has shown.

The African Trade Report 2019: African Trade in a Digital World, launched today in Moscow during the 26th Afreximbank Annual Meetings, states that Africa’s total merchandise trade in 2018 had a value of over $997.9 billion, noting that the continent remained one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

World Trade Organisation estimates show that the volume of global merchandise trade grew by 3 percent in 2018, down from 4.6 percent in 2017.

According to The African Trade Report 2019, the findings highlight the resilience of Africa’s economies to global volatility at a time of rising uncertainty, escalating trade wars and tariffs between the United States, China, and others. The resilience reflects the diversification of Africa’s trading partners in the context of South-South trade, growing fixed investment and public and private consumption, boosted by expanding urban populations and softening inflation. These factors reduce Africa’s exposure to the business cycles associated with individual countries and regions.

The report noted that while the European Union remained Africa’s main continental trading partner in 2018 - accounting for 29.8 percent of total trade - African trade with the South grew significantly over the last decade to account for more than 35 percent of the continent’s total trade in 2018. China and India further consolidated their positions as Africa’s first and second single largest trading partners, accounting for over 21 percent of total African trade in 2018. Intra-African trade also increased steadily in 2018, growing by 17 percent to reach $159 billion.

The report highlights that Africa has the potential to do more, noting that its contribution to global trade remains marginal at 2.6 percent, up from 2.4 percent in 2017, and that, while intra-African trade rose to 16 percent in 2018 from five percent in 1980, it remains low compared to intra-regional trade in Europe and Asia.

The report states that ongoing digitalization is paving the way for a new African economy, with e-commerce platforms and internet penetration expediting transactions, reducing costs and leading to a new generation of transnational digital consumers.

The report urges African governments to further capitalize on the opportunities associated with digitalization, by bolstering regulatory environments and supporting the development of digital ecosystems.

Digitalization, the reports states, can unlock Africa’s potential in driving economic development and the integration of African countries into the world economy. It can also reduce the region’s dependency on raw commodities and natural resources by helping economies diversify into more value-added products that can enhance extra-and intra-African trade.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “It is vital that Africa grasps the economic growth opportunities flowing from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, growing domestic demand and population, and our ever-closer investment and trading links with emerging partners in the South. We must exert concerted action to ensure that we develop, industrialize and diversify our industries and supporting infrastructure to foster regional integration and participate fully in regional and global value chains.”

Chief Economist and author of the report, Dr Hippolyte Fofack said: “Intra-African trade, which grew by 17 per cent in 2018, more than three times the rate of growth of extra-African trade, was the major driver of Africa’s total merchandise trade in 2018.”

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Gunman Shoots Wedding Guests In Kano

ven, 2019-06-21 17:29


A gunman has shot guests during a wedding in Kano State leaving many of them injured but no death was reported.

Among those shot were some youths riding on horses during the occasion.

The youths, who were said to be celebrating the wedding of one of their associates, were shot and wounded by the gunman on Wednesday.

The victims are currently hospitalized at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

In an interview with PUNCH, the father of one of the victims, Malam Mohammed Abdullahi: “I have never witnessed this kind of madness in my life for someone to just open fire on innocent youths, without any just cause.”

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed the shooting but said he did not have the details.

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Nigerian Girl, 18, Found Dead In Ghana-must-go Bag

ven, 2019-06-21 17:24


An 18-year old girl identified as Favour Ogheneyenrowho kidnapped by suspected ritualist has been found dead in a Ghana-must-go bag with her pubic hair shaved. 

The incident happened at Abraka, Ethiope-East council area of Delta state.

According to the Nation Newspaper, the victim’s remains were found at a dump site behind Ozoro park in the town.

Witnesses said there were violent marks around her neck area, indicating that she was violently strangulated.

Recounting the incident leading to the teenager’s demise, Maureen Sunday, her elder sister, told the police that Favour, had received a call from a male at about 10 a.m, requesting that she met him at the Abraka park.

She, however, replied the caller that she was going to the market with her elder sister.

Miss Sunday added that on their way out of their residence located along Winners Road, a young man, whom she had never seen before (whom she believed was the same person that called her sister earlier), stopped at the junction and approached them.

A short conversation ensued between them and Favour joined him on the bike and they rode off.

When contacted, the Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Adeyinka Adeleke, it was a case of murder.

The police boss also revealed that the suspected killer, who is believed to be Favour’s boyfriend, was on the run.

Explaining the circumstances around the killing of Favour, Adeleke said: “The lady in question was with the sister and she had a call. When she wanted to leave, she told her sister that it was her boyfriend that she wanted to go and see.

“After some time she disappeared. They did not see her. The next day they saw her body tied in a sack in a plantain/banana plantation.

“So it is not a ritual but a murder case. The signs on her neck showed that she was strangulated. Now, the boyfriend has disappeared. He is on the run.

“If he had nothing to do with what happened, why did he disappear? Why is he on the run? That is exactly what happened; not ritual killing, but a case of murder. Her body has been taken to the mortuary."

 

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N6 Billion Fraud: Abubakar Malami Asks Court To Adjourn Senator Goje's Trial

ven, 2019-06-21 17:23


The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has asked a federal high court to adjourn the N6 billion money laundering trial against Danjuma Goje, serving Nigerian Senator, until July 4.

Pius Akutah, an Assistant Chief State Counsel, made the request on Friday when the case came up before Justice Babatunde Quadiri, at the Federal High Court in Jos.

He stated that the adjournment was needed for the attorney-general to study the case file. 

“My Lord, l wish to confirm to this honourable court that the EFCC has formally forwarded the case file to us, having taken over the matter from them on June 7.

“We are aware that on that day, June 7, the case was adjourned for further hearing, but because we are still studying the case file to have a full grasp of the entire matter, we shall be asking for a short adjournment, “ Akutah pleaded.

SaharaReporters had exclusively reported the plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to withdraw the criminal case against the senator in compensation for stepping down his ambition to lead the 9th assembly as Senate President.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after seen years of prosecuting the case of financial misappropriation preferred against the senator was compelled by the Presidency to hand over to the office of the AGF.

Aladele Oyelami, Goje's lawyer, did not object to the application for adjournment.

“My Lord, on our part we are not objecting to the application made the prosecution counsel,” Oyelami said.

Justice Quadiri adjourned the case until July 4 for further hearing.

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Church, Islamic, Political Leaders Want TB Joshua Banned In Israel, Reject His Crusade

ven, 2019-06-21 15:47


TB Joshua

TB Joshua Emmanuel TV UK

Churches, Islamic clerics and political groups in Nazareth, the largest city in the northern district of Israel, have joined forces against a two-day crusade being planned by Nigerian preacher, TB Joshua, at Mount Precipice.

The churches and Islamic leaders want Joshua banned from preaching in Israel and called for the cancellation of the planned crusade, Israeli’s popular newspaper, Haaretz, reports on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, church officials meeting in Nazareth several days ago urged residents to boycott the event and clerics to avoid any mention of it in their sermons.

“We beg you not to play in the hands of those organizing this type of festival which is an affront to the principles of Christianity, and our national identity, and deals a blow to the social fabric of a city like Nazareth,” the churches were quoted as saying.

Haaretz reports that the church officials quoted text from the New Testament about how believers must be cautious about false messiahs who try to convince people they’re performing miracles.

Most of the churches in Nazareth have reportedly signed their support for the statement – all but the Roman Catholic Church, which has avoided taking a clear stand.

Joshua, arguably one of the most popular TV figures in Africa and Latin America, is set to hold two events at a Christian site in the city.

Joshua is the founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations, a Christian organization that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos, which has a YouTube channel with 1.5 million subscribers.  Arguably one of the most popular figures on television across Africa and Latin America, Joshua has 3.5 million followers on Facebook.

T.B. Joshua, a controversial pastor whose sermon has drawn criticisms, is famous for performing miracles in his Lagos church attended by thousands every week. His visit to Israel is supported by Nazareth Mayor Ali Sallam, but many in the city oppose it, some of them alleging that the pastor has ties to far-right Israelis.   

He has visited Israel in the past and written of forging a covenant with God to start his ministry, as well as hinting a couple of years ago of considering relocation to Israel.

Thousands participate in his prayer sessions and exorcism rituals. Many video clips have been released on social media in recent days announcing the "rock-star" pastor’s visit.

In response to a query from Haaretz, Father Emil Shopany of the Catholic Church said there’s no reason not to host such a visit and that he, as opposed to others, will support the mayor’s position. He said Nazareth is an open city and that you cannot stop a religious man from abroad who decides to visit from holding prayers like thousands of pilgrims do.

But even members of Sallam’s coalition have criticized the visit. Haj Samir Sa’adi, a city councilor, has expressed his opposition to Joshua’s visit in a letter and has urged its cancellation.

“The planned visit by the person called T.B. Joshua to the city of the Annunciation is a challenge to the Christian faith in the city of Jesus’s boyhood and the Nazareth of ancient history, which does not need such a stain as this in which a false prophet exploits Mount Precipice to disseminate his lies,” he wrote.

Muslims from Nazareth and elsewhere have joined Sa’adi’s protests, among them the council of muftis, which has urged that the event be cancelled: “This is an event that would offend believers of all ethnic groups and religions and should be seen as a red line for faith in religious values. Therefore we call upon those who are behind the event to see to its immediate cancellation,” their statement said.

Among politicians, the event is also seen as volatile, and calls have been issued on social media to block the main roads to Mount Precipice. The Hadash and Youth for Change parties in the city council have demanded a meeting about the decision to invite the pastor to hold an event at a city installation against the wishes of the majority of residents.

“We have asked to take an in-depth look at this issue, at why a city like Nazareth would receive such a person who is denied entry to many countries on grounds of criminal suspicions and given his links to the extreme right in Israel,” they wrote. “What's more, the man is known to have grown wealthy in a way that has raised many questions and therefore we view such a visit as an illegitimate step which contaminates the city and its historic heritage, and we absolutely reject the mayor’s claims that such an event would bring $1 million to the city and would see such a sum were it to actually materialize as an illegitimate contribution that would contaminate the city.”

The mayor has not responded to appeals by Haaretz for comment.

Police are meanwhile preparing for an expected crowd of 15,000 people at the event.

Joshua visited Israel two years ago, hosted by ZAKA founder Yehuda Meshi Zahav. Meshi Zahav has also visited Joshua in Nigeria. During his visit, Joshua met with Idan Greenbaum, the Jordan Valley regional council head.

Channel 12 reported at the time that Joshua had said he plans to move his operations to Israel and that he said that six out of 10 foreigners visiting Nigeria attend exorcism rites at Joshua’s church. Greenbaum said a number of ideas were raised in their meeting to contribute to tourism in the Jordan Valley and Sea of Galilee area, but these ideas have not yet been carried out. But Greenbaum said that Joshua’s visit had received wide media coverage in his country and attracted tourism to Israel and the Jordan Valley.

 

Haaretz reports that a statement released ahead of Joshua’s visit says this would be his first event in the Middle East, that it would have a positive impact on the local economy, and that he has visited Israel many times and met with leading officials including Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and Chief Rabbi David Lau. 

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Nigerian Government Directs Schools To Teach History From September

ven, 2019-06-21 15:43


Nigerian secondary school students

Nigerian secondary school students ICIR Nigeria

The Federal Government has directed all primary and secondary schools across the country to immediately implement the teaching of history as a standalone subject from the next academic calendar.

Mr. Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education made this known on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The federal government on June 18 promised the return history to school curriculum while ensuring that all primary school teachers are trained to deliver digital literacy.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had declared at the launch of Education for Justice Programme that government had kick-started implementation in 12 primary and secondary schools across the six geo-political zones and instructional classes have also commenced.

According to Echono, the directive had already been given and it is automatic that all the schools should implement simultaneously.

“By the next academic calendar, history will be taught as a standalone subject. It is with immediate implementation. So, definitely for the next academic year everybody will fall in line because we already articulated the curriculum and the examination should be done along those lines,” he said.

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Over 14,000 Nigerians Evacuated From Libya, Niger, Mali –National Emergency Agency

ven, 2019-06-21 15:30


The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has put the total number of Nigerians who voluntarily returned home under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme (AVRP) which began in April 2017 to 14,036.

The Nigerians, who were stranded in Libya, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ireland, France, Gambia, Austria, Poland, Morocco and Liberia returned home by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU).

The Coordinator of NEMA in Lagos, Idris Muhammed, stated this while receiving a new batch of 137 Nigerians who returned from Libya on Thursday.

Muhammad said out of the total 14,036 returnees repatriated so far, 12,457 were brought back from Libya.

He said: “The analysis on the total number that has been brought back indicates that 465 males and 408 females amongst those brought back had psychosocial related needs.

“Also, 454 males and 618 females are having various degrees of medical needs. The analysis further indicates that there were 61 males and 61 females, unaccompanied minors who had been reunited with their relations.

“There are 37 pregnant women brought back so far in the course of the exercise.”

The 137 new returnees were brought back in a chartered Al Buraq airline with registration number MVTBRQ189/20.5A- WAC, landing at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 8:20 pm on Thursday night.

The returnees comprised of 94 male adults, three male children and three male infants as well as 34 female adults, a young girl and two female infants.

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ALERT: Boko Haram To Carry Out More Deadly Attacks In Borno Communities

ven, 2019-06-21 14:16



Lt. Col. Azubuike, killed during one of Boko Haram attacks

There are strong indications that the Boko Haram terrorist group might attack four communities in Borno very soon.

The communities highlighted for major attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS) in West Africa are Damasak, Mallam Fatori, Magumeri, Gubio.

The alert has come a few days after a series of attacks by the terrorist group in Borno, including an attack on a Nigerian military base in Gajiram that led to the death of five soldiers.

One of the attacks by the Boko Haram sect led to the killing of Lt Col Azuibuke among other casualties.

A source confirmed to SaharaReporters that following the attacks by the group at Kareto Village in Mobbar Local Government Area, the terrorist group moved to Fuchimiram Village and are likely to remain in the community.

Lt. Col. Azubuike, killed during one of Boko Haram attacks

“BHTs/ISWAP elements attacked troops of 158Bn location at Kareto Village, Mobbar LGA of Borno State. 

“Attack was not repelled and troops at the location were dislodged. 

“However, BHTs later relocated to Fuchimiram Village which is 6Km West of Kareto and the terrorist elements are likely still in the location.”

SaharaReporters could confirm that the attacks would not stop as the insurgent groups are desperate in their killings.

SaharaReporters gathered that an urgent call had been made to the Nigerian military to immediately move in to engage the terrorist groups.

“There is urgent need to info all units in the axes covering  Damasak, Mallam Fatori, Magumeri, Gubio to be on high alert as the BHTs are emboldened to launch more attacks during the rainy season.

“NAF could conduct ISR scans for possible airstrikes on Fuchimiram and other locations where terrorist elements are hibernating,” the source said.

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Buhari Vs Atiku: We Have Evidence INEC Procured, Installed, Deployed Servers In 36 States, Two Groups Claim

ven, 2019-06-21 14:07


A joint committee of information technology and legal experts has claimed to have incontrovertible evidence about Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) servers, installed in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The groups, Deservation and Pukka Initiative, made the revelation in Yola, Thursday night, showing a document, that detailed how and when INEC server was allegedly installed and put to use.

Dr. Sani Adamu, who spoke for the two groups, said, "Apart from the incontrovertible facts our IT and legal teams have in their possession, and ready to bring to the attention of the tribunal, I wish to present to you another evidence obtainable by FoI."

Quoting the INEC chairman, Prof. Yakub Mahmood, Adamu stated the electoral body's chairman had publicly declared that "we are pioneering and deploying in 2019 general elections, a new platform for the electronic Collation and transmission of results of the 2019 elections".

He, therefore, decried alleged moves by INEC to deny the availability of the server, stressing that the action is grave, just as it is a looming national disaster.

Countering the electoral umpire's claims, Adamu referred to "INEC's 2017-2021 strategic programme of action  document, page 5, serial number 1.4 and key action, titled 'improve ICT operational deployment and utilization, including activities SN 1.4.1 to SN 1.4.57", saying these series of activities "have captured all the essence of the server deployment by INEC".

He insisted that all of the activities underscored the approval for a server and its subsequent implementation between the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2018.

"Specifically, based on activities SN 1.4.57 in the strategic programme of action 2017-2021, the INEC leadership have received the approval for the transmission of electronic results to the collation centres.

"In the same vein, SN 1.4.16 indicates that INEC has received the approval to procure servers for the 36 states and the FCT in the second quarter of 2017 and completed in the second quarter of 2018.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to tender a copy of the 2017-2021 strategic programme of action document, which dealt with issues of ICT including servers, card readers and the electronic transmission of election results," he claimed.

He called on all Nigerians to join the campaign for INEC to own up and do the needful. "Because we are in a situation similar to the June 12 of Moshood Abiola," he added.

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Federal Government, State Governors To Reconcile Excess Crude Account, NNPC Remittance, Reconstitute NEC Committee

ven, 2019-06-21 12:58


The National Economic Council has reconstituted an ad hoc committee to reconcile the Excess Crude Account, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s remittance, and related issues.

Governor Ahmadu Fintri of Adamawa State made the announcement when he briefed journalists covering the State House alongside governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo (State) and Willie Obiano of Anambra (State) at the end of the council meeting which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

He gave the members of the committee to include the governors of Kaduna, Edo, Jigawa and Ebonyi states.

According to him, the committee is expected to meet with relevant federal government officials for the reconciliation.

He further disclosed that the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance updated the council on the balance of the excess crude account as of June 19, 2019, which he said was $144 million.

“Also update on the Stabilization Fund Account was presented to the council and as of today, the balance at the stabilization account stood at N17.67 billion.

“Update on the Natural Resources Development Fund stood as of today June 19, 2019, is N77.73 billion,” he added. In his contribution, Akeredolu stated that President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the council and charged the members to promote projects that would ensure speedy economic growth and development across the country.

“Mr. President in his inaugural speech charged the council among others to pay particular attention to the issue of security, agriculture, education, and health.

“Mr. President charged the council to bring forward key resolutions that would move the country forward and enhance better security in the nation. He told the governors that the federal government would assist the states to access foreign assistance for basic education.

“Buhari implored the states to find ways to improve economic conditions of the poor, take agriculture and health seriously in order to better the lots of the citizens,” he said.
 

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Jesus Supports Abortion –Madonna Says As She Pushes For Change In Catholic Church's Position

ven, 2019-06-21 12:58


Pop superstar Madonna says Jesus supports women having abortions and wants to change the Catholic Church’s position on the issue.

During an interview with Australian talk show host Andrew Denton on "Interview" Tuesday, Madonna, who has a Catholic background, revealed what she would like to discuss with Pope Francis if she had the opportunity to talk to the pontiff.

"Let's talk about Jesus' point of view about women. Let's talk about it," Madonna said on the TV show, hoping to change the church's stance on abortion.

"And don't you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?" she asked.

The Christian Post reports that Madonna was raised Catholic and although she was later excommunicated from the church, she told Rolling Stone magazine in 2015 that she regularly uses Christian imagery because of her strong connection to Catholicism.

The music icon has had a long history of ruffling feathers in the Christian community. Her 1989 video for "Like a Prayer" was openly condemned by the Vatican for its disrespectful scenes in the church.

Later on in her career, another of Madonna's songs, titled "Holy Water," was condemned for comparing her bodily fluids to holy water used by Catholics to bless themselves. Her "Rebel Heart Tour" also got the singer into some trouble as some of her songs were banned from being performed for being "religiously insensitive."

Madonna presumes that Jesus supports women “choosing” to abort their unborn babies, and suggests in her new single "God Control" that the Creator opposes people having the right to own guns.

In a sneak peek of her upcoming “God Control” music video released on Tuesday, Madonna declared: “Guns need to be made illegal.”

The clip starts off with the artist admitting that writing songs about “the downfall of humanity” gets her down. “Where does a girl go? She goes to the disco,” Madonna continued.

“Every day they have a kind of victory/Blood of innocence, spread everywhere/They say that we need love/But we need more than this/We lost God control,” the 60-year-old sings on her new album Madame X.

“I tried to bring the world of disco and freedom, and having that joy silenced by a small thing made of metal that can end someone’s life,” Madonna says over a clip of a man with a gun firing rounds into the club.

“Guns need to be made illegal.” The teaser video shows clips of the singer lying on the ground after being shot dead in a nightclub along with others. Some have speculated that Madonna is referencing the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016, where an ISIS sympathizer shot 49 people dead.

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18 Islamic State Terrorists Killed In Joint Operation With American Troops In Niger

ven, 2019-06-21 12:53


Eighteen members of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara were killed in a joint operation by US, French and Niger troops near Niger's border with Mali, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo "targeting a gang of ISGS terrorists implicated in an ambush on May 14," in which 28 Nigerien soldiers were killed, it said.

"The toll on the enemy side is: 18 terrorists neutralised, five terrorists, of whom three are Nigerien, taken prisoner."

There were "no human or material losses" during the operation, which was codenamed ACONIT, it said.

"Important material was recovered including equipment belonging to the Niger armed forces which were taken by the attackers after the ambush," the statement said.

In October 2017, the ISGS claimed responsibility for a raid which killed four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops in the same region, a mere 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Malian border.

That ambush claimed the largest number of American lives in combat anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa since the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Somalia in 1993.

On June 8, a US army vehicle hit a landmine near the town of Ouallam, about 100 kilometres north of the capital Niamey, but there were no casualties, AFP reports.

The area is near a major training camp where Nigerien soldiers are trained to serve in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Late Tuesday, gunmen attacked a police station on the northern edge of the Niger capital Niamey, killing two policemen.

Niger is one of a number of poor, fragile countries in the Sahel region that have been hit by a jihadist revolt.

The United States has a big base for drones in the northern city of Agadez and Niger recently gave the Americans permission to arm their drones.

The French also have a military base near Niamey airport and another at Madama in the north. Various insurgent groups operate in the country's west and north, and Nigeria's Boko Haram is present in its southeast.

The country is part of the so-called G5 Sahel group set up to manage a coordinated response to the jihadist insurgency.
 

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