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American businesswoman convicted of spying by China is back in the US, after a Chinese court ordered her deportation

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According to BBC, Sandy Phan-Gillis was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Tuesday, but will not serve the time.

She had already spent more than two years in detention before her trial.

Phan-Gillis, who has Chinese origins but was born in Vietnam, was arrested in March 2015 while travelling in China with a business delegation from Texas.

Her husband Jeff Gillis said China had accused his wife of visiting the country twice on spy missions in 1996, and working with the FBI to capture two Chinese spies in the US and make them into double agents.

Speaking last year, he called the allegations "beyond ridiculous", and said her passport showed she did not travel to China in 1996.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention previously denounced China's handling of the case, saying it had not observed "international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, and to liberty and security".

Phan-Gillis was reportedly held in a secret location for six months, and later placed in solitary confinement.

Mr Gillis said his wife had left China on Friday from the southern city of Guangzhou, and arrived in Los Angeles the same day.

Elvis Ramosebudi suspected for planning the assassinations of 19 South African politicians, prominent business people and employees of state-owned entities stands trial at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court

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According to GUARDIAN, an unemployed South African man, name, Elvis Ramosebudi, appeared in court Friday charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a mysterious alleged plot to assassinate 19 politicians and other prominent figures.

Local media said President Jacob Zuma was on the list of targets, along with several ministers and the Gupta business family who are alleged to have influenced government appointments and contracts.

Elvis Ramosebudi, 33, wearing a dark jacket, appeared in Johannesburg Magistrates Court after being arrested on Wednesday.

He was remanded in custody and the case was postponed until May 2.

The elite Hawks police investigation unit said the defendant had sent letters to companies asking for 140 million rand ($10.5 million) to fund assassinations of "various members from the cabinet, state owned entities and prominent South Africans".

It said the killings were to be carried out by snipers, and added that Ramosebudi was a founder of the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA), a previously unknown group.

"State capture" refers to the alleged corruption by associates of President Zuma who have been accused of using government contracts for personal gain.

State prosecutors asked that Ramosebudi undergo a psychological evaluation.They said mining giant Anglo American was among the companies he had approached for funds.

Sacked South Africa finance minister warns of ANC overheating

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The South Africa's former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who was dramatically fired by President Jacob Zuma, has warned that the ruling ANC party could lose power in the next election.

Gordhan -- widely seen as a bulwark against government corruption in South Africa -- also appeared to back deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma.

"I think there are many of us who are extremely worried that if we continue as we are in the African National Congress (ANC), we are likely to lose the 2019 elections," Gordhan told CNN late Thursday.

"If we, like any business organisation or political organisation, fail to muster the right leadership, stick by the right kind of values and do the right thing... then of course we will, as an organisation, fail."

The party slipped to 55 percent of the vote in last year's local elections -- its worst-ever result.

The ANC will hold a conference in December to pick a new party leader who will be its candidate for the 2019 elections -- and Gordhan gave his clearest indication yet that he will back Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma.

"Mr Ramaphosa has been extremely brave. He has spoken truth to power at difficult times," said Gordhan.

"He has demonstrated that he is a leader of great mettle that would serve South Africa well into the future."

Zuma, 75, is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, and as president ahead of the 2019 general election.

Among many corruption scandals, he has been accused of being in the sway of the wealthy Gupta business family, allegedly granting them influence over government appointments and contracts.

His midnight cabinet reshuffle last month unleashed a rebellion within the ANC with senior party figures, including Ramaphosa, speaking out against Gordhan's sacking.

The cabinet overhaul cleared out many of Zuma's critics and placed loyalists in key positions.

"We have had a report... last year which mapped out some of the kind of corruption between certain families and certain state institutions it would appear is taking place," said Gordhan.


US economy slowed dramatically in the first three months of the year 2017

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US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter, which was a sharp slowdown from the 2.1% growth rate in the final three months of 2016.

It was also the lowest rate of growth since the first quarter of 2014, when the economy contracted by 1.2%.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis blamed lower levels of government spending and private investment.

In recent years GDP growth has often been sluggish in the first quarter, but has picked up later in the year.

US GDP figures are typically weaker in the first quarter, so this reading is in line with the seasonal trend," said Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management.

"We haven't yet had the expected fiscal stimulus from Trump, the effects of which may not be seen until the end of this year or the start of 2018."

She also pointed out that other data suggested strength in the US economy.

NLC calls for new National Minimum Wage

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Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday in Abuja, called on the Federal Government to urgently review the National Minimum Wage.

Mr Peters Adeyemi, Chairman, Joint May Committee of NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), made the call at a news conference where he outlined activities for the commemoration of the 2017 Workers Day.

Adeyemi also said the celebration was an opportunity to call for the continuous search and eventual release of the remaining Chibok school girls abducted over three years ago.

He said that the event would be used to commemorate victims of the Nyanya bomb blast that occurred on May 
Day three years ago and other victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Adeyemi, who is also the NLC Deputy President, announced that workers would hold rally at the Eagle Square Abuja and in all the capitals cities of the 36 states of the federation.

He disclosed that the theme of the 2017 May Day celebration is `Labour Relations in Economic Recession: An Appraisal’, with a lecture on the topic to be delivered by Prof. Toye Olorode.

Calling on the State Councils of the NLC and TUC to mobilise workers and groups to actively participate in the May Day rally, he noted that it is a day set aside to honour the heroes who fought for justice across the globe.

Federal government of Nigeria working hard to decongest prisons

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Nigeria Government is working on co-locating courts and prisons to fast track the process of administering justice in the country. 

This is with a view to enhancing quick dispensation of Justice and decongestion of the prisons.

The Minister of Interior, Retired Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau, announced this in Abuja while commissioning operational vehicles and farm machineries procured for the Nigerian Prisons Service.
General Dambazau said his Ministry and that of Justice are currently working together towards achieving this goal.

He regretted the neglect the Nigerian Prisons Service has suffered over the years, which he observed led to infrastructural decay and logistics constraints as well as prolonged pre-trial detention of suspects and overcrowding of prisons.    

The situation, according to the Minister, is compounded by the limited capacity of prisons to convey detainees to court which often leads to prisoner restiveness and agitation.

Earlier, the Controller General of Prisons, Alhaji Ja'afaru Ahmed, said the provision of the vehicles and farm machineries to the Service would address the challenges in a practical way and make the prisons self-reliant and self-sustaining.

Alhaji Ja'afaru called on states and local governments to support efforts by the Nigerian Prisons Service to make the lives of Prison inmates meaningful.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Mr Jagaba Adams, said it was in the interest of political leaders to make the prisons habitable, since every one of them was now a potential prisoner.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent reports that the vehicles Commissioned for the Prisons Service are made up of two hundred and seventeen operational vehicles and twenty two tractors.

Mr Gabriel Kolawale warns Police on disobeying court orders

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Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has asked the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice to warn the Inspector General of Police on the consequences of treating courts with levity.

Justice Kolawole said that the Police as an institution, must subject itself to obedience of law in the interest of the rule of law.

The reaction of the judge followed the failure of Police to appear before him in a case of enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights instituted against the police and four others by the Incorporated Trustees of Peace Corps of Nigeria.

Council to the Peace Corps and its National Commandant, Mr Kanu Agabi, urged the judge for an order restraining the police from taking further steps against the plaintiffs in the pending court action.

Mr Agabi pleaded with Justice Kolawole to order the Police to vacate the Corporate Headquarters of the Peace Corps in Abuja, which was sealed up since 28th February and to order the release of the vehicles as well as other property carted away by the Police when the office was invaded.

In his ruling, Justice Kolawole expressed displeasure over the absence of the Police in court without justifiable reason.

He therefore, ordered the AGF and three other defendants to file processes within five days to regularise the existing one in response to the originating summons of the Peace Corps.

The case has been adjourned until the 15th of May 2017.

Abuja Administration to constitute taskforce to decongest traffic on the Nyanya-Karshi route

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Federal Capital Territory Administration has constituted a taskforce to decongest traffic on the Nyanya-Karshi axis within the next six months.

At the inauguration in Abuja, the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Bello, directed the taskforce to immediately commence the sensitization of residents on the need to cooperate with the government to ensure a healthy environment.

Addressing the Taskforce, the Minister declared that it is unacceptable that a dual carriageway well-constructed to the highest engineering standards to cater for the residents of that axis has become a long stretch of refuse dump.

According to him, the goal of the initiative is to work out a sustainable action that will improve both the aesthetics and traffic situation along that axis and one that would be owned by the people after the Task Force might have completed its work.

He however charged the Taskforce to reach out to traditional, religious and political leaders along that corridor as well trade groups, to communicate with them and have them buy into the project, which he said is for their collective benefit.

The Minister expressed confidence that given the caliber of the Chairman of the Taskforce, and its membership, he was sure that by the time the team was done with its assignment in the next six months, the city would be the better for it.

In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Ministerial Taskforce on Traffic Decongestion on Abuja-Nyanya-Jikwoyi-Karshi Road, Maj. Gen Emmanuel Nienge (rtd), said the taskforce will complete its assignment within the allotted timeframe as it has already hit the ground running and holding series of preliminary meetings with members and other stakeholders.

While soliciting for the cooperation of the stakeholders and the general public, the Chairman said the Taskforce will carry out adequate sensitization to inform members of the public on their activities.
Major General Nienge also sued for the support and partnership of the mass media in carrying out its task.

Dr Ken Nnamani advice South East States for restructuring

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The former Senate President, Dr Ken Nnamani, wants the South East to stop agitating for a sovereign state but instead call for restructuring in the region.

Dr Nnamani stated this in Abuja during a book launch entitled "The Audacity of Power and The Nigerian Presidency."

Dr Nnamani called on those drumming for war to sheath their swords, saying that there are more gains to be derived in restructuring the region.

The Senator representing Anambra Central District, Senator Ben Obi, urged Ohaneze Ndigbo to meet with South East leaders in the All Progressives Congress to discuss the necessary interventions in the region.

The Authors of the book, Dr Godwin Udibe and Mr Law Mefor spoke on the need for restructuring in the South East and ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of resources.

The book is divided into twenty-seven chapters and has four hundred and sixty-five pages.

Nigeria Prison Service to introduce use of Bio-gas

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Nigeria Prison Service is to introduce the use of Bio-gas as an alternative to firewood in cooking for the over 70,000 inmates in Nigeria Prisons.

The Comptroller General of the Service, Mr Ja'afaru Ahmed, made this known when the Management of the Agency for the Great Green Wall visited his office in Abuja.

He said the move was in line with various efforts to combat land degradation in the country.

The Director General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, Alhaji Gori Ahmed, expressed the Agency's readiness to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to reduce the use of firewood, especially for large scale cooking.

Alhaji Gori said over 40 million people across the country could be at risk, if deforestation and land degradation were not checked.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent reports that the Great Green Wall Programme is a Pan-African Initiative to mitigate environmental degradation across eleven countries in the region.

Niger Delta states drag Nigeria Government to court over N500tr oil revenue loss

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Citing negligent execution of petroleum production contracts by multinationals operating in Nigeria, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states have filed a suit at the Supreme Court against the Federal Government to challenge the loss of N500 trillion in oil revenue.

The plaintiffs are praying the apex court to compel the Federal Government to implement Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as it relates to oil revenue generation and sharing among the component parts of the federation.

In the originating summons by Luscious Nwosu, SAN on behalf of the three states, the Supreme Court is being urged to determine whether there was a statutory obligation imposed on the defendant pursuant to Section 16 of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act Cap D3 of the Laws of the Federation 2004.

They equally sought a consequential order of the court to compel the defendant to adjust the share of the government of the federation in the additional revenue under all the production sharing contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry within the inland basin and deep offshore areas as approved by the defendant from the respective terms the price of crude oil exceeded $20 per barrel.

The plaintiffs also want the Federal Government to be compelled to calculate in arrears with effect from August 2003 as well as recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to them from the said adjustment.

In a 33-paragraph affidavit in support of their originating summons, the plaintiffs said that they sought to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret various constitutional provisions in Sections 80(1), 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contacts Act Cap D3 Laws of the Federation 2004 as it relates to the fiscal responsibility of the defendant to them.

Justice Bode Rhodes, who led six others, fixed November 14 for hearing of the suit.

Meanwhile, the 36 states’ chief executives, under the aegis of ‎Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), have ordered a holistic audit of the ecological fund.
Consequently, an ad hoc committee, which is to come up with clear-cut recommendations on how the funds would be subsequently managed, has been constituted.


Members of the lower house of parliament in Germany have approved a law that partially bans the full-face Islamic veil

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Germany veil bill will now go to the upper house for approval. Civil servants, judges and soldiers will be prevented from wearing burkas at work.

Right-wing parties had been pushing for a total burka ban in public places.

More than a million migrants. including many Middle Eastern Muslims, have gone to Germany over the last 18 months.

The move follows several jihadist attacks, including a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the move to ban the burka showed how far tolerance towards other cultures would go in Germany.

Right-wing parties want Germany to emulate France where a total ban on wearing burkas in public places as has been in force since 2011.

Last December Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on full-face veils wherever legally possible, saying they were not appropriate in her country.

In February the state of Bavaria announced plans to ban the full-face veil in government workplaces, schools, universities and while driving.

Critics argued the ban will have little practical impact in a state with only a small number of Muslims.

Donald Trump has praised China's President Xi Jinping for his handling of North Korea

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US president told Reuters he would like to solve the crisis diplomatically but that it was "difficult" and a "major, major conflict" was possible.

He also said it had been "very hard" for Kim Jong-un to take over North Korea at such a young age.

The UN Security Council is meeting to discuss North Korea on Friday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said China has told the US it will impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

Shortly after being elected, Mr Trump had accused China of not doing enough to rein in North Korea, and suggested the US could take unilateral action.

But in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters from the Oval Office, Mr Trump - who met Mr Xi earlier this month - said the Chinese president "certainly doesn't want to see turmoil and death".

"He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.

"He loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it's possible that he can't," he said.

Two Americans were killed and a third was wounded in a raid in Afghanistan against Islamic State group militants

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Military personnel died in combat in Nangarhar province, said Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis.

Earlier this month American Army Staff Sgt Mark De Alencar, 37, was killed in the same province.

It comes only days after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the country.

The American soldiers were conducting an operation against IS Khorasan, an affiliate of the core Middle Eastern group.

The operation was conducted in partnership with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the Pentagon said.

"The fight against ISIS-K is important for the world, but sadly, it is not without sacrifice," said General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

"On behalf of all US forces and our coalition partners, I offer our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen comrades," he continued.

Next of kin have been notified, but their names are being temporarily withheld from the media, the Defence Department said.

The operation took place near the district of Achin, near to where the US recently dropped "the mother of all bombs", the largest non-nuclear weapon in the US arsena.

Israeli missile strike has caused a large explosion and fire at a military site near Damascus international airport

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Fuel tank and warehouses were damaged, the Sana news agency said.

But Syrian rebel sources said an arms depot run by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, which is fighting in Syria as an ally of the government, was hit.

Israel said the explosion was "consistent" with its policy to prevent Iran smuggling weapons to Hezbollah.

But it stopped short of confirming it was responsible.

Israel regards Hezbollah, and its key backer Iran, as its biggest threat. It went to war with Hezbollah in 2006 and the group has grown considerably more powerful since then.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the powerful blast was heard across the capital at dawn on Thursday and that it was believed to have happened near the main road that leads to the airport.

Sana said several missiles had been fired at a military site south-west of the airport, causing explosions that resulted in some material losses.

Pro-government Al-Mayadeen TV cited sources as saying that missiles had been fired by Israeli jets flying inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Two senior rebel sources based in Damascus told Reuters news agency that the missiles had hit an ammunition depot in a closed military area that was used by Iran-backed militias operating alongside the Syrian army, led by Hezbollah.

Appearing to confirm Israeli involvement, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Israeli Army Radio: "I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don't want to elaborate on this."

"The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act."


US says it plans to activate a missile defence system in South Korea "within days"

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President Donald Trump administration come amid rising fears about the North's military advances.

The Thaad system was originally not expected to be in use until late 2017. Many South Koreans oppose it, fearing they will become a target.

North Korea has vowed to conduct more missile and nuclear tests.

Speaking to members of the US Congress on Wednesday, Adm Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, said Thaad would be "operational in the coming days to be able to better defend South Korea against the growing North Korea threat".

He has said the system is designed to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "to his senses, not to his knees".

Russian Navy warship has collided with a freighter in the Black Sea

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They say between 45 and 78 soldiers have been rescued so far, but some 15 may be missing.

The vessel hit a boat carrying animals near Kumkoy close to Istanbul, they said.

Muhammed Soba denies Kaduna APC crisis

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Member Representing Soba Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Hon. Mohammad Soba, has denied speculations that the APC in the State is facing a serious crisis.

In an interview with Radio Nigeria Correspondent in Abuja, Hon. Soba said though there were disagreements between individuals and interest groups within the party, it did not mean that the party was in crisis.

He also dismissed insinuations that the APC has failed to keep its campaign promises to Nigerians, noting that the Party has only spent two years in office.

Hon. Soba explained that apart from changing the leadership, Nigerians also need to change their attitude towards many issues and put the interest of the country first.

On the Southern Kaduna crisis, Mohammad Soba called for the punishment of perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to others.
He expressed optimism that the state government has put measures in place to avert the crisis.

SON warns Nigerian on substandard goods

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Plateau State office of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has warned manufacturers against dumping substandard goods in the markets.

The State Coordinator, Mr Musa George, gave the warning on Tuesday in Jos, when he presented Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme certification to Fekaf Nigeria Limited, makers of Royal Bread and Chocolate.

He also warned members of the public against purchasing goods not certified by the organisation because such goods had not met the safety requirements and were in the market illegally.

George said that SON would continue to enforce stringent measures to force manufacturers to comply with approved standards, and promised severe sanctions for defaulters.

He advised manufacturers to strive for quality so as to promote consumer confidence and boost global competitiveness of Nigerian goods and services.

He further called on the bakers to adhere to approved standard, saying that SON would continue its regular surveillance to ensure conformity, warning that the certificate could be withdrawn if the products failed to conform to the required standard.

It will be recalled that the Director General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Osita Aboloma, had expressed the determination of the organisation to rid Nigerian markets of substandard goods.

He also said that lack of synergy and cooperation from members of the public are the major issues posing a threat to the fight against the influx of substandard product into the markets and has the capacity of weaken the nation’s already recessed economy.

Abia State Government demolishes kidnappers' hideouts

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At least, five buildings in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, allegedly being used as hideout of suspected kidnappers have been demolished by the state government.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent reports that the exercise was supervised by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State accompanied by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade and the Commanding Officer, 144 Battalion, Asa, Lt. Col. Kassim Umar Sidi.

The Governor stated that Abia is not safe for kidnappers as his administration will do all within its powers to protect lives and property.

Ikpeazu, who saluted the gallantry of the security agencies in killing and arresting some kidnappers, vowed that the full weight of the law would be visited on anybody involved in kidnapping in the state and warned landlords to ensure that they protect their buildings and premises from being used as hideouts by kidnappers.

Nigeria Police Command raid on Danjuma Goje’s home stalls submission of 2017 Budget

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Alhaji Danjuma Goje, says his Committee’s inability to submit the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the Senate was caused by an alleged police invasion on his house and the confiscation of his computer and documents relating to the bill.

Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, Senator Danjuma Goje said his Committee would have submitted the Appropriation Bill for passage, and communicated to the Executive Arm for assent.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, consequently set up an adhoc Committee to work with a similar one at the House of Representatives to investigate the reason for raiding Senator Danjuma Goje’s house.

The Senate urged the police to unconditionally and publicly return all items taken from the Senator’s house.

Senator Saraki also set up another adhoc Committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attempted attack on Senator Dino Melaye.

The Senate resolved to send a delegation to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to get a promise that the government would be neutral by allowing an Independent Legal Practitioner to prosecute the matter.

The Senate, after paying tribute to Senator Ishaka Adeleke, constituted a delegation to Osun State to condole with his family, the government, and the people of state.

Nigeria government pledges to revive Nkalagu Cement Company

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Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged to assist in reviving the Nigeria Cement Factory, NIGERCEM, Nkalagu in Ebonyi State, to contribute in current efforts to boost the nation’s economy.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this during a visit to the company at Ishielu Local Government Area, Ebonyi.

Fayemi said that the company, which has been moribund over the years, had given the Ministry so much concern on how it can come in and asist to revive it.

He said that the Ministry would assist the company with import duty waiver of mining equipment and Forex, among others, when it commences operations.

He said that NIGERCEM, that was acquired by Ibeto Group in 2015, had promised to produce 2.2 million tonnes of cement annually when it commenced operation, adding that this would create massive job for the youth.

He urged the company to commence operation within its 24 months deadline set to for the purpose.

 David Umahi, Governor of the Ebonyi State, who was on the entourage, commended the Minister for his effort to assist in revitalising the company, adding that the state would also assist it .

IBETO Group of companies had signed MoU with the state government in 2015 to revitalise the NIGERCEM which had been moribund since 2003.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent reports that the Minister was accompanied on the inspection by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Abubakar Bawa Bwari.

Illinois couple married for 69 years have died with an hour of each other

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A 69 years old couple, Mr Isaac Vatkin, 91, was holding the hand of his wife Mrs Teresa, 89, as she succumbed to Alzheimer's disease on Saturday, the Daily Herald reported.

Isaac died 40 minutes later. Family members said they took comfort in knowing they were together at the end.

"You didn't want to see them go," said grandson William Vatkin, "but you couldn't ask for anything more."

Their love for each other was so strong, they simply could not live without each other," said daughter Clara Gesklin at the couple's joint funeral.

"They were always in love, literally to the end. To the last second," said Rabbi Barry Schechter, who led the service at the Shalom Memorial Funeral Home in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.

Staff at the local Highland Park Hospital found Mr and Mrs Vatkin unresponsive and breathing shallowly on Saturday and chose to place their beds side by side.

Family members positioned their hands so they touched.

The couple raised three children in Skokie, Illinois, and had a close relationship with their grandchildren, family members said.

Mr Vatkin had been a kosher meat distributor and Mrs Vatkin a homemaker and manicurist.


Trump administration has proposed slashing the rate of corporation tax with the aim of spurring economic growth

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Steven Mnuchin unveiled President Trump's blueprint, which aims to cut the business tax rate from 35% to 15%.

Economists say the policy would add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.

But Mr Mnuchin said the tax plan would pay for itself "through growth, through deductions and closing loopholes".

Secretary Mnuchin, joined White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn on Wednesday to announce the tax proposal, which he billed as "the biggest tax cut" in history, but it is unclear whether that will really prove to be the case.

Toronto police have arrested a woman for mischief after she climbed a construction crane and became stranded

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Toronto Police authorities say they received a call alerting them to a person climbing the crane in downtown Toronto shortly after 03:00 local time (08:00 GMT).

It took hours for the city's police and fire services to rescue the woman in a high-wire operation authorities called "technical and complex".

Why she climbed the nearly 12-storey high structure remains a mystery.

After what Toronto Fire Services District Chief Stephan Powell called "heavy deliberations" by various emergency service teams over how to rescue the woman, a high-angle specialist climber was brought in to rappel up the crane around 6am.

Toronto firefighter Rob Wonfor had to slowly climb up the inside the crane and reach the woman, who had lowered herself on a block hanging from the structure.

Emergency Task Force officer, specialised in high-risk situations, was also sent up the crane to speak to the woman and keep her calm.

Once Mr Wonfor reached her, he placed her in a harness and secured her to a safety line. Both were then lowered to the ground by about 8:30am.

Spectators who had gathered to watch the morning rescue applauded.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg called it a highly technical operation.

The woman was brought to hospital following the rescue and will be questioned by police later on Wednesday.

White House has labelled "bananas" a ruling that blocks President Donald Trump's order barring funding for cities that shelter illegal immigrants

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A San Francisco judge has placed January's executive order in limbo, but the White House is vowing to appeal.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County sued in February.

The Trump administration has warned so-called sanctuary cities they could lose federal funds if they do not co-operate with federal immigration officials.

On Tuesday, Judge William Orrick issued a temporary injunction against the presidential order as the case continues in the courts.

"It's the 9th Circuit going bananas," White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said, in reference to the San Francisco-based appeals court, which conservatives often accuse of liberalism.

Mr Trump's measure cast doubt on the transfer of some $1.2bn (£940m) for San Francisco and $1.7bn to Santa Clara County, home to many Silicon Valley communities.

It is another legal defeat for President Trump in his efforts to curb immigration - his plan to curtail travel from seven Muslim-majority nations was twice blocked in federal courts.

Lawyers for the federal government had argued in the sanctuary cities case that only funding related to law enforcement would be withheld.

But Judge Orrick said any doubt about the scope of the "vague" order was erased by public comments made by President Trump, such as those calling the measure a "weapon" to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his immigration policies.

He accused the Trump administration of a "schizophrenic approach" to the order.

The 49-page court ruling added that the plaintiffs challenging President Trump's order are likely to succeed in proving the order unconstitutional.

"Federal funding... cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves," the judge wrote.

However, Judge Orrick's ruling allowed the justice department to follow through with threats made to nine cities last week to cut specific programme grants if they do not adequately co-operate with federal immigration officers.

In a press release last week, the department accused sanctuary cities of "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".

There are several sanctuary cities across the US, including Mr Trump's home of New York.

New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Tuesday's ruling, saying the president went beyond his authority to cut funding to cities that "don't share his illogical and unconstitutional desire to scapegoat immigrants".

Copywrite from BBC

Nigeria would get out of economic recession latest by the end of June, 2017 - CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has assured Nigerians that the country would get out of economic recession latest by the end of June this year based on emerging positive economic indicators to that effect.

Emefiele who gave the assurance at the National Assembly while fielding questions from journalists after a closed door meeting with the leadership of the Senate said one of the indicators he said is the downward trend in the parallel market as regards the value of Naira against the dollar which has appreciated from as higher as N525 per dollar to between N370 to N380 now.

Other indicators according to him, are the already confirmed reduction in the rate of inflation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) aside the country’s foreign reserves that has also risen from over $27billion it was at the beginning of the recession in June last year to over $31billion now.

US military has started installing a controversial missile defence system at a site in South Korea, amid high tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions

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Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is designed to protect against threats from North Korea.

Hundreds of local residents protested against the deployment, as vehicles carrying equipment arrived at the site in the south of the country.

China argues Thaad will destabilise security in the region.

The US has in recent days deployed warships and a submarine to the Korean peninsula, amid fears North Korea could be planning further missile or nuclear tests.

President Donald Trump administration, which has been urging China to rein in its ally, North Korea, is due to hold a classified briefing for senators on the situation at the White House later on Wednesday.

Thaad system is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

"South Korea and the United States have been working to secure an early operational capability of the Thaad system in response to North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threat," South Korea's defence ministry said in a statement.

The system - agreed last year under the Obama administration - is not expected to be operational until the end of 2017, it added.

The development coincides with China launching a new aircraft carrier - the first to be made domestically - in a bid to boost its own military presence in the region.

Donald Trump has indicated he will scrap plans to find cash for his border wall

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Kellyanne Conway, a close adviser to president Trump, said funding for the wall would be left out of a budget measure that must pass by Friday.

Building the wall, paid for by Mexico, was a key campaign promise.

Democrats had threatened to block the bill if money was earmarked for the wall, so its omission may now avert a government shutdown.

But the president insisted on Twitter that he still supported the wall and that it would be built.

He reportedly told a private meeting with members of the conservative media on Monday night that he might be open to funding the wall later in the year.

According to Fox Press Correspondence, Ms Kellyanne confirm that, the wall does not need to be funded this week, but remains a "very important priority".

Airline tickets has been increased by the operators

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Domestic airlines has increased ticket fares to take maximum advantage of high passenger demand on some domestic routes. The increase, which is as high as 100 and 200 per cent on some airlines, was influenced by the shortage of flights available, especially on the Lagos and Abuja routes.

The development left several passengers stranded at the Lagos airport, forcing some of them to travel by road. The Guardian yesterday observed an unusual heavy presence of air travellers at both General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal, in Lagos, quite typical of the period of fuel scarcity. Passengers and travel agents alike were noticed shuttling from one airline to another to see which had seats available and at affordable prices.

At about 2p.m. when The Guardian visited, officials of airlines like Air Peace, Med-View and Dana Air said all Abuja flights were fully booked. Scores of travel agencies were, however, returning with flight tickets for passengers that could pay high fees.

An economy class ticket, Abuja one-way, was sold for between N60, 000–N70, 000, as against N23, 000 and N30, 000 at maximum. Business class ticket went for an average of N90, 000. Arik was, however, selling the minimum of about N45, 000 for economy class and N65, 000 for business on Lagos-Abuja route yesterday.

A travel agent, Yinusa, said the airlines have in the last three days raised fares because of the high passenger demand. He confirmed that passengers have been buying despite the hike. He added: “It is not our fault. Official rate from the airlines for Abuja is N51, 800 (economy) and we too must make small profit. That explains why I am selling for N60, 000. You cannot get ticket on the counter; no seat available. Seats are scarce these days. Even all first and second flights (Lagos-Abuja) are already fully booked,” he said.

It will be recalled that domestic travel operations had since last weekend turned chaotic with the grounding of three Air Peace aircraft out of the 10 in its fleet.

Air Peace currently has the largest market share of domestic passenger traffic in the country. With multiple rescheduling and cancellations on Air Peace schedule nationwide, there has been a chain-reaction across the industry with traffic pull to other operators that struggling with low capacity.

Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said each of the grounded aircraft executes about eight flights per day and in total, the development means 24 flights disrupted every day.

Culled from (The GUARDIAN)

New contract for road projects is delaying the passage of 2017 budget - Senate

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The contracts for new road projects recently awarded by the Federal Government is delaying the National Assembly from passing the 2017 budget proposal submitted to it on December 14, 2016.

Confirming this at the National Assembly, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Senator Kabiru Gaya, who however hinted that the 2017 Appropriation Act would be ready by the end of April, declared that the delay in passing the 2017 Appropriation Act was because of some projects recently approved by the Federal Executive Council and included in the budget proposal.

He said: “From the works committee where I am the chairman, the Federal Government is still awarding contracts of 2016, and those projects of 2016 were not reflected in the 2017 budget. So, we had to wait to get as many projects as possible being approved or awarded by the Executive Council and then we can find funds or deductions from some areas to fund those new projects that are about 34 in number.

Lagos State Government has suspended approval for construction of filling stations in all parts of the state till further notice

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Lagos State Government has suspended approval for construction of filling stations in all parts of the state till further notice. The government said it had already resolved not to grant construction permit for filling stations pending the inventory of existing ones.

Lagos state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Wasiu Anifowoshe, who disclosed this at the ongoing ministerial press briefing to commemorate the second year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, also said that the government had not relented in the proposed relocation of Computer Village in Ikeja to ICT Park, Katangowa in Agbado/OkeOdo LCDA to tackle environmental degradation and meet the growing demand for housing stock deficit in the state.

Mr Wasiu Anifowoshe said: “What happened in Alimosho was because of pipeline vandalism. If people have not been greedy to vandalise pipeline, we will not be seeing what is happening.”

The commissioner, who noted that the state government was also working with the Federal Government to relocate tank farms in residential areas in Apapa, also warned owners of structures under high tension cables to relocate in their best interest as government would spare no effort in removing such illegal structures, adding that event centres illegally located would also be demolished.

Official of NRC says, corporation render excellent transport services to Nigerian

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said on Tuesday that it was rendering excellent transport services to the people.

Malam Zakari Audu, District Manager, North-Western District of the corporation, made this known in Minna during an interview.

“Our passenger and goods trains have been serving the people well. The corporation is rendering excellent transport services to Nigerians,’’ he said. Audu urged the people to use the corporation`s services for travelling and goods haulage.

He said that it was the safest and cheapest means of transport in the country, saying that the number of passengers and goods haulage handled by the corporation had increased but could not give the data.

The District Manager said that the corporation had a Mass Transit Train which plies the North-Western District route from Minna to Kaduna and back to Minna thrice weekly. He said that the train plies the route on Monday, Thursday and Sunday.

Audu said that the corporation had a goods train that carried cement from Lagos to Minna and terminates at Kaduna.

He said that another goods train (container) conveyed goods from Lagos to Kano then loads grains and animal feed back to Lagos.

The District Manager said that an Express Train, known as the Lagos-Kano train, passes through Minna to drop and pick passengers before proceeding to Kano.


NFF says Super Eagles will be ready for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa next month

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria will have stern tests in the next two months as the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 Fifa World Cup kick into gear.

Bafana Bafana of South Africa will provide the first test as Nigeria attempt to make it back into the Africa Cup of Nations after missing the last two editions while Cameroon will be up next for the Eagles as the qualifiers for the World Cup resume in August.

The NFF insists all is well and on track to ensure that Nigeria qualify for both the Nations Cup and the World Cup.

“We are on course, everything has been put in place for the two games against South Africa and Cameroon. The Federation is doing everything possible to make sure we qualify for the Nations Cup and the World Cup, “NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said.

“As you are already aware, we took a tour of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium and it has been approved for the game. We have also written to the Akwa Ibom State Government as regards what needs to be done to get the stadium ready.

“The Technical and Development Committee is also working hand in hand with Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to get the team ready.

The committee is constantly in touch with Rohr and they are expecting him to give a list of players he wants to use to prosecute the matches. He has a free hand to pick whoever he wants.

“Once this is done, the committee, alongside the coach will sit down and fine tune the squad so that everything is in place. We are leaving nothing at ensuring the best legs prosecute these games.

“It is the NFF’s utmost desire to see that Nigeria is back at the Nations Cup as well as qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. We are well on course and we implore Nigerians to support us and the team.” he added.

When asked about the possible return of the retired Vincent Enyeama to the Super Eagles, Olajire said everything lies with Rohr as he is at liberty to choose who he feels can help the team.

“When we hired Rohr we gave him a free hand to pick or select whoever he wants. That has not changed,” he stated.

“As far as a player is eligible to play for Nigeria then there is no issue. If Rohr feels he needs Enyeama then he can go ahead and invite him.

“The onus is on Enyeama and Rohr as we have no problems with his return. The NFF will always respect Rohr’s choices. There is a perfect understanding between Rohr and the NFF as we all want the same thing which is success for Nigeria.”Olajire added.

Nigeria are top of Group B of the Africa zone of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with maximum points from two games and will face African champions Cameroon in the next Match Day in August at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

But before that, South Africa will be the Eagles first test for spot at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations at the same venue in Uyo.

Match preview on Chelsea vs Southampton

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On Tuesday, Chelsea FC hosts the first of three consecutive home games with evening kick-offs.

Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton shine a spotlight on the visit by the Saints.

Heady days are here again at Stamford Bridge. The prospect of Antonio Conte emulating his friend and countryman Carlo Ancelotti in completing a league and FA Cup double in his debut season is one step closer to reality after last weekend at Wembley.

The fact the semi-final victory came against closest challengers and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur added a delicious aftertaste, but it is back to the main course this evening. With Spurs playing tomorrow, victory against Southampton would extend the lead back to seven points with five games remaining, and it matters not how the match is won.

Antonio Conte’s side need a maximum 15 points from a possible 18 to become Premier League champions once more, and eight points at most to secure Champions League qualification for 2017/18.

YIAVHA demands speedy passage of ‘Not too young to run’ bill

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Youth Initiative Against Violence and Human Rights Abuse (YIAVHA), an NGO, has urged the National Assembly (NASS) to speedily pass into law the “Not too young to run” bill.

nisation, Mr Pwakim Jacob, made the call in an interview on Tuesday in Jos. “Not too young to run” bill, which seeks to give room for younger people to run for any elective position in the country, had passed second reading at the NASS.

“We are pushing for this bill not because those in the helm of affairs today are not doing well, but we feel if the youths are giving the opportunity, they can do better.

“The youth of this country are doing well; they are making this country proud in all ramifications, internally and externally.

“We feel if given the opportunity to lead, they will not disappoint Nigerians; they have all it takes to drive the economy of this country to a greater height. “So, we urge the NASS to give this bill an accelerated passage, at least before the 2019 general elections,” he said.

Court grants Nnamdi Kanu bail

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Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has been granted bail on health grounds.

According to the order, Mr. Kanu is to produce three sureties with N100 million each.

He is also expected not to be in crowd or address any gathering.

The judge said Mr. Kanu must never be seen in a crowd of more than 10 people.

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, was among those who attended the Tuesday sitting.

Nigeria NDLEA launches manhunt for Lagos suspected drug baron

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has launched a manhunt for a Lagos socialite and suspected drug baroness wanted for cocaine trafficking. 

The suspect, Mrs. Fumilola Arike Ogbuaya, a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe, was implicated in a case of unlawful exportation of 1.595kg of cocaine to Saudi Arabia in February 2017 through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. 

Assets worth billions of naira traced to Mrs Fumilola in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States are also currently under investigation by the Agency. 

The NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport said that preliminary investigation into the arrest of one Odeyemi Omolara Morayo, a.k.a. Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi, implicated the Lagos socialite who has ignored invitation by the NDLEA.

 Effort by a team of investigators to pick from her residence in Lagos has proved abortive as she has not been to that house since the investigation started.

Nigeria NDLEA launches manhunt for Lagos suspected drug baron

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has launched a manhunt for a Lagos socialite and suspected drug baroness wanted for cocaine trafficking. 

The suspect, Mrs. Fumilola Arike Ogbuaya, a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe, was implicated in a case of unlawful exportation of 1.595kg of cocaine to Saudi Arabia in February 2017 through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. 

Assets worth billions of naira traced to Mrs Fumilola in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States are also currently under investigation by the Agency. 

The NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport said that preliminary investigation into the arrest of one Odeyemi Omolara Morayo, a.k.a. Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi, implicated the Lagos socialite who has ignored invitation by the NDLEA.

 Effort by a team of investigators to pick from her residence in Lagos has proved abortive as she has not been to that house since the investigation started.

NMEP coordinator urges Nigerians to fight malaria

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National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr Audu Muhammad, has called for collaborative effort among Nigerians on malaria control, care and prevention in Nigeria.

Muhammad, who made the call at a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, said no one should die from malaria as the disease was treatable and preventable.

He also said that the country had made modest efforts so far in the fight against the disease, but was yet to achieve the desired success.

He added that achieving the desired goal would require consistent national focus on malaria control.

Muhammad said the theme for 2017 which is “End malaria for good” implies that everyone was expected to protect himself and his family from malaria.

While commending the Federal Government’s efforts in the fight against malaria, he noted that malaria prevalence has declined from 42 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2015.

As part of the strategy in the fight against malaria, 13million long lasting insecticidal mosquito nets have been distributed to six states of the country.

Mrs Itohowo Uko, the Head of Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation, NMEP, said eliminating malaria required prompt approach and everybody must play a part even at the household level.

Uko said that the World Malaria Day, which is marked on April 25th,  gives the programme a platform to showcase and educate the public on the dangers associated with the disease.

She therefore urged Nigerians to maintain proper hygiene, clear stagnant water and keep their environment clean at all times.

Also speaking, Dr Godwin Ntadom, Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme, noted that not all fevers were symptoms of malaria

He stressed that drugs such as Chloroquine, Halfan and Fansider were no longer recommended for the treatment of malaria due to their ineffectiveness.

FCT PHC to introduce 3 new vaccines

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FCT Primary Health Care Board is to introduce three new vaccines to safeguard the lives of residents against life threatening diseases.

The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, stated this at a news conference to commemorate the 2017 African Vaccination week expected to hold from April 24-30 in Abuja.

He said immunization was recognized as one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions ever introduced, preventing two to three million deaths every year, and protects against life threatening diseases like meningitis and influenza.

Dr. Rilwanu added that the 2017 event would roll into the Immunization Plus Day vaccination week, which would take place from 29th April to 2nd May 2017.

He said the vaccination would be carried out in all the Area Councils of the FCT but with emphasis on Kwali Area Council and areas with low coverage.

US submarine has arrived in South Korea, amid worries of another North Korean missile or nuclear test

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America missile-armed USS Michigan is set to join an incoming group of warships led by aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

North Korea is celebrating its army's 85th founding anniversary on Tuesday. It marked the event with a large-scale firing drill, South Korea said.

Tensions have risen in the area in recent weeks, with the US and North Korea exchanging heated rhetoric.

Experts fear Pyongyang could be planning more tests - it has marked some key anniversaries in the past with nuclear tests or missile launches.

North Korea conducted a large live-fire drill around the city of Wonsan, South Korea said.

"Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military's movement," the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

North Korea conducted a failed ballistic missile test on 16 April, prompting US Vice-President Mike Pence to warn it not to "test" President Donald Trump.

$2 billion revenue under threat as 51 oil licences expire

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At least, 51 Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) and Oil Mining Lease (OML) of different oil blocks have expired between 2010 and March 2017 and this is therefore threatening about $2 billion (N720 billion) in signature bonuses. Another 85 OPL and OML will expire between April 2017 and 2029, according to upstream concession status obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Experts believe that the failure to renew the licences is robbing the country of several billions of unpaid signature bonuses.

The House of Representatives has begun its investigation into leakages within the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in respect of ownership, distribution and authenticity of OML, OPL, relinquishment, signature bonuses and bidding process.

US Senate is being called to the White House for a briefing on North Korea

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The White House has become increasingly concerned at North Korean missile and nuclear tests and threats to its neighbours and the US.

The meeting, involved 100 senators as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis, is being held on Wednesday.

China, North Korea's main ally, has called for restraint from all sides.

China's call came in a phone conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Mr Xi urged all parties to "maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions", according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

President Trump should stop playing his game of dangerous policy

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U.S. Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Now, with Congress having to renew federal spending authority by week’s end, he believes he’s entitled to a down payment on that wall. What’s wrong with that logic?

A number of things, but this above all: No responsible leader would use the possible shutdown of the federal government as a political cudgel. The last time a budget impasse produced a partial shutdown, a 16-day version in 2013, some 850,000 federal employees were put through a wrenching furlough and access to national parks and the Smithsonian was curtailed, with serious consequences for tourism across the country. All told, the economy lost $24 billion, according to an analysis by Standard & Poor’s. Mr. Trump’s first priority must be to avoid repeating or doubling down on that debacle.

In a discursive interview with Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Mr. Trump suggested that the responsibility of his job indeed may be sinking in. “It’s massive,” he said of his new position. “And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.”

For a man who campaigned on the notion that he possessed special capabilities that could reduce the challenges facing American government to a series of “wins,” which would occur “quickly,” as he put it, this epiphany represents progress — but only up to a point. Even as he spoke to Ms. Pace, Mr. Trump was making it more difficult for Congress to reach a deal on extending federal spending authority past its April 28 expiration date.

Specifically, he had injected a demand for an appropriation for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, implying that, if he did not get the money, the government might have to shut. A leader truly concerned for “the human life that’s involved in some of these decisions” would not risk a repeat of the 2013 mess, especially at a time when top negotiators for his own Republican Party in Congress seemed on their way to an agreement with Democrats that would avoid it.


Senate assured the people of Niger Delta on the speedy passage of PIB

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According to VANGUARD, Sen. Clifford Odia (PDP-Edo Central) on Monday said that the Senate would soon pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Odia gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Auchi, headquarters of the Etsako-West Local Government Area of Edo.

The lawmaker assured the people of the Niger Delta that the senate was working assiduously to ensure that the people of the South-South geo-political Zone heave some sigh of relief, with the passage of the bill.

“There are so many of them, but talking about the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), that would be passed very soon. That has to do with the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and their subsidiaries.

“And of course, as a Senator from the Niger Delta, who believes that the bill is indeed very important to our people, for the oil industry to become very well structured, so that our people can benefit maximally, that is the very one that is so dear to my heart,’’ he said.

Odia said that the passage of the bill is to give way for proper restructuring of the industry, adding that the people of Niger Delta would benefit maximally from it.

“The bill seeks to address all governance-related issues in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. “We need an NNPC that will be smooth and commercially oriented, that can run efficiently and make money,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the country cannot afford any further delay in its efforts at reforming the oil and gas industry, saying that it was therefore expedient to pass the bill.

“I am very much sure that the bill will be passed in record time so that the people of the Niger Delta can get a sign of relief so that all those problems with oil production would be reduced.


Akinyami Ashade says Lagos State generated N436.3 billion internal revenue in 2016

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Lagos State Government generated N436.3 billion internal revenue in 2016 from the N399.4 billion realised in 2015.

Mr Akinyemi Ashade, the state Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, made the disclosure at the ministry’s 2017 Ministerial Press Briefing to mark Gov.

Akinwunmi Ambode’s two years in office. Ashade said that the increase was due to the introduction of innovative ideas and continued public sensitisation. He said one of the innovations was the opening of more payment channels to cater for the large numbers of people that needed to pay the LUC.

Ashade reminded property owners that the LUC was an annual obligation to enable the state government carry out its obligations. He also urged those aggrieved by the charges to use the Land Use Charge Assessment Appeal Tribunal to resolve issues rather than go to regular courts.

He said that the tribunal handled 500 cases and amicably resolved 195 with payments made immediately by the property owners. Ashade said: ”Governor Akinwunmi Ambode provided a conducive, safe and secured enabling environment for businesses to thrive. ”We equally embarked on massive infrastructure development with strong patronage of indigenous contractors which helped to boost the state’s Gross Domestic Product, ” he said.

Ashade said that the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) alone generated N247.022 billion, representing 80 per cent of the estimate. He said that LIRS was able to achieve this feat due to some strategic revenue reforms.

Ashade said that 420, 000 residents were included in the state’s tax net in 2016 to raise those in the tax net to over five million from 4.6 million in 2015.


Nigeria police command arraign 7 persons for allegedly selling day-old baby

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At least, seven persons including six women were on Monday brought before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court,Lagos for allegedly conspiring to sale a day-old baby.

The accused are, Onyinyecgi Oseneye, 22; Prisca Okocha, 45; Glory Ehinmi, 35; Regina Anyanwu, 59; Chizoba Nwate, 35; Elizabeth Michael, 68; and Nike Nwatemole, 40.

The seven were arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, selling and buying a day-old baby. The Prosecutor, Insp. Julius Babatope told the court that the accused committed the offence on March 1, at Ikota along Epe-Ajah Expressway, Lagos Babatope told the court that the accused had conspired to steal Precious, a day old baby, for the sum of N500,000. The offence contravened Sections 275(a)(f) (j) of the Criminal law of Lagos State, 2015. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty, and the Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Olajuwon admitted them to a bail of N500,000 each with two sureties in like sum. The case was adjourned till May 8, for mention.


Vacancy: Technical Officer (monitoring and evaluation) for FHI 360

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FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Our staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research and technology creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today's interrelated development challenges. FHI 360 serves more than 70 countries and all U.S. states and territories.

We are currently seeking qualified candidates for the position of: 

Job Title: Technical Officer, Monitoring & Evaluation

Job ID: 18467
Location: Yola

Job Description
The Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project is a five-year PEPFAR program to provide high quality HIV/AIDS services, and to build the capacity of the public and private sectors in Nigeria in order to provide these services in a sustainable manner.The SIDHAS project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Job Summary
The Technical Officer (M&E), under the supervision of the Senior Technical Officer (M&E) and State Program Manager, and with technical oversight from the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, is responsible for the implementation of monitoring and evaluation activities for the state office.The Technical Officer (M&E) will work with others in the state office and local implementing partners to ensure that state monitoring and evaluation activities are appropriate and meet the donor and project’s M&E needs.

Duties and Responsibilities
Work with the state-level staff and government counterparts to provide support and guidance on program/project monitoring and evaluation activities and on US Government and Government of Nigeria reporting requirements.Provide support to sites in the state, including interacting with site Program Managers, M&E focal points, M&E officers of SACA/SASCP, other Implementing Agencies and local research groups on needs and ensuring that these parties understand and can support these requirements.Work with local partners to support the correct implementation and use of monitoring and evaluation tools, and adherence to complete, correct and timely reporting.Conduct routine monitoring visits to project sites, including the conduct of data quality assessments (DQAs) using official tools, assist in the preparation of monthly reports, and provide supportive supervision.Ensure that the quality of program/project activities adheres to SOPs by supporting the development and implementation of appropriate mechanisms to ensure quality.Provide direct technical assistance and capacity building in the design and implementation of the program/project Monitoring and Enhanced Evaluation components of the activities in the communities served.Assist in the development and maintenance of computerized data capture of the program and provide technical assistance and training to the staff at the sites responsible for data entry.Provide technical assistance to M&E officers of SACA/SASCP in integrating FHI 360 data into the national HMIS.On a monthly basis, analyze state-level data and provide approved reports to State Office, National Office and local partners or other relevant parties.Build capacity of local partners in project monitoring and with program staff and local partners, use program/project monitoring data to modify existing programs and design new programs.Document lessons learned and best practices in monitoring and evaluation, according to USAID and PEPFAR guidelines.Represent FHI 360 and makes presentations at professional meetings and conferences related to Monitoring and Evaluation.Remain informed of current issues regarding Monitoring and Evaluation of programs in the HIV/AIDS/STI fields by review of current literature; be alert to any implication of such research for project and program activities.Perform other duties as assigned.

MB.BS/MD/PHD or similar degree with 1 to 3 years relevant experience in monitoring and evaluation with a sound understanding of HIV/AIDS with provision of PMTCT and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in resource constrained settings.Or MPH or MS/MA in relevant degree with 3 to 5 years relevant experience in monitoring and evaluation with a sound understanding of HIV/AIDS with provision of PMTCT and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in resource constrained settings.Or BS/BA in Statistics, Pharmacy, Microbiology, Monitoring and Evaluation or in relevant degree with 5 to 7 years relevant experience in monitoring and evaluation with a sound understanding of HIV/AIDS with provision of PMTCT and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in resource constrained settings.Familiarity with Nigerian public sector health systems and NGOs and CBOs is highly desirable.

Application Closing Date
30th April, 2017.

Method of Application 
Interested and qualified candidates should: 
Click here to apply online

Vacancy: Project Manager needed for ZOA

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ZOA is an international NGO with its Head Quarters in The Netherlands. ZOA offers RELIEF to people who are affected by conflict or natural disasters. ZOA wants to contribute to a new perspective of HOPE in which people work together for a promising future in dignity and mutual trust. Together with the affected communities we work on the RECOVERY until they can provide to take care of their livelihoods. ZOA works in fifteen countries in Africa, Middle East Region and Asia and has approximately 1000 employees worldwide.

We are currently seeking applications from a motivated candidate to fill the vacant position below:

Job Position: Project Manager (Food Assistance)

Location: Maiduguri

ZOA’s Programme in Nigeria
ZOA started setting up operations in Nigeria recently and is supporting IDPs and vulnerable people in Borno state with WaSH and Food Assistance. ZOA operates from its office in Maiduguri. In the selection of the beneficiaries, we pay careful attention to include the most vulnerable households. Continuously promoting community governance, inclusion, peace and stability in these fragmented and traumatized communities is a challenging but essential part of ZOA's programme.

Purpose of the position
The Project Manager is responsible for the implementation of the e-voucher based Food Assistance project in Maiduguri.He/She will lead, coordinate and supervise the execution and progress of the Food Assistance project.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities
Manage implementation of the Food assistance project activities relating to technical specialty, in accordance with ZOA standards and guidelines;Project Cycle Management, including technical design, formulation, budgeting, integration with programme planning, writing, monitoring and reporting within the programme area;Management of 2 - 4 project staff;Monitor and report on progress of activities in accordance with ZOA reporting and monitoring system;Liase with and report to the  Consortium Manager. (The project is implemented in a consortium of 3 NGOs)Ensure that the quality of the interventions meet national and/or international (technical) standards (CHS / HAP);Pro-actively detect and resolve potential obstacles in project implementation;Liaising with key community stakeholders, as required (in close communication with the programme manager),Provide technical input into the development and implementation of ZOA’s programme plan;Conduct field research, needs assessments, evaluations etc, from time to time, as directed;Any other duty that is reasonably consistent with the key tasks of the function.External Contacts:Government on a provincial/district and local level;Community members, community leaders and community-based organizations (including Bulama’s and Lawan);International organisations operating in the programme area including UN;Any other stakeholders in project implementation at community level.Internal Contacts:Project staff,ZOA country office staff.Provides Leadership to:Project team of about 2 - 4 persons.

Identity:The Project Manager is expected to support the identity, vision, and mission of ZOA.

University degree in relevant field and/or experience in cash based programming;Proven working experience of 3 - 5 years in project management of which at least 1 year in staff management and coordination;Ability to write clear and concise reports;Project cycle management (PCM);Project budgeting;Excellent in English in reading, writing and speaking;Good knowledge of Hausa and Kanuri (Shuwa-Arab preferable);Good computer skills (Excel, Word).Skills/Attitude:Good verbal and written communication skills;Good planning and organizational skills;Accuracy;Flexibility and adaptability;Able to work under pressures and meet deadlines;Result-oriented in a team approach;Participative leadership;Ability to work individual as well as in a team;Ability to work in a multi-cultural setting.

Application Closing Date
1st May, 2017.

Method of Application 
Interested and qualified candidates should send their CV's and motivation with ‘Project Manager - Food Assistance, Maiduguri’ in the subject to:

Vacancy: Project Coordinator for Vodafone Global Enterprise

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Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) is our Global organisation, committed to providing innovative products and services to enable multi-national organisations to stay agile and competitive - wherever in the world they do business.  We are on a journey to pioneer a world of total communications solutions, where fixed, mobile, voice and data will all become one mobility solution and are able to help our clients do 'more with less' by empowering employees to work more flexibly and efficiently. We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Position: Project Co-ordinator Job

Code: 2104/PMG/PROC/NIG Location: Lagos Job Type: Full-time Employment Type: Permanent -

Purpose statement

Assist Project managers in project management deliveries, efficiently within an agreed Scope, Time and Budget while managing all stakeholders’ expectations.Coordinate the installation of network equipment at customer premises or at core network nodes.

Principal Accountabilities

Prepares and manages project plans and implementation schedules using MS Project and other suitable software.Manage operations teams and external contractors during project execution.Hold regular meetings with all stakeholders on project status.Produce Project reports for customer and internal consumption.Control the project implementation process.Assist in invoicing according to milestone.Assist with project equipment ordering.Escalate project issues timely


Strong background in Project management with focus on Telecommunications and Satcom.Organisational managementProblem solvingLeadershipPrioritising workload of self and othersPersonnel & performance managementWritten and verbal communicationsContract negotiation skills.


Preferred candidate must have an Engineering Background preferably Elect Elect or any related discipline. Possession of PMI or PrinceII will be an added advantage.Experience as a project manager in a Telecom environment essential.Must have worked in a project management frame workSatellite and/or wireless network experience advantageous.Management of a team of resources throughout the organisation in country and abroad.Minimum of 0-2 years related industry work experience

Project Management:

Creates and executes project work plans and revises as appropriate to meet changing needs and requirements.Identifies resources needed and assigns individual responsibilities.Manages day-to-day operational aspects of the project team.Effectively applies project methodology and enforces project standards.Prepares for engagement reviews and quality assurance procedures.Minimizes company exposure and risk on project.Ensures project documents are complete, current, and stored appropriately.Financial ManagementUnderstands basic revenue models.Understands our pricing model and billing procedures.Assures project legal documents are completed and signed.

Business Development:

Identifies business development and "add-on" sales opportunities as they relate to a specific project.Leads proposal efforts including completing project scoping.


Facilitates team and client meetings effectively.Holds regular status meetings with project team.Keeps project team well informed of changes within the organization.Resolves and/or escalates issues in a timely fashion.Understands how to communicate difficult/sensitive information tactfully.Technical UnderstandingPossesses general understanding in the areas of Telecommunication, Satellite networks and IP technologyPossesses a thorough understanding of our capabilities.Maintains awareness of new and emerging technologies and the potential application on client engagements

8th May, 2017.

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