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Anti-graft war is for soul of Africa – Buhari

By news desk

President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the training for Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union where he told participants that the fight against corruption is a battle for the souls of the countries and it is one that must be won.

He made the remarks in Abuja yesterday when he welcomed delegates to the Corruption Risk Assessment training for heads and senior officials of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union.

The training, he said, was at the instance of Nigeria as part of the support for the war against corruption on the continent and it is being facilitated by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) the research and training arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He said that the continent has suffered from the severe consequences of corruption since independence and said it was imperative that steps be taken to reverse the trend.

“When we assumed office in May 2015, the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption on the Nigerian nation had become dysfunctional. The momentum for our electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption.

“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of government and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.

“However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back. With enormous stolen resources elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice,’’ he said.

Therefore, he emphasised the necessity of building a system that would focus on preventing corruption that Nigeria would continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that could withstand assault by corrupt officials.

“Our steps in this direction include the full implementation of both the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) the Open Government Partnership, various Executive Orders, strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agencies and permitting their full autonomy.

“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.

“Corruption Risk Assessment seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps. The methodology places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption.’’

In 2016, through support from the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the said that the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria acquired the capacity to conduct training on Corruption Risk Assessment and had since been conducting trainings.

“The training starting today is an opportunity to extend the benefits of this methodology to other African countries and by which it is clear that we have not taken our appointment as Anti-Corruption Champion for the continent for the year 2018 lightly.

“It is heart-warming that most of our countries have subscribed to not only the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC, but also the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).

“This event offers a good opportunity to encourage the few countries which are yet to ratify the African Union Convention to expedite processes to do so. No efforts can be too much as we seek to rid our societies of the evil of corruption.’’

Great news IGers: Select who can view your stories

 

Yes! Now you can get really personal on your Instagram social media, with the Close friend feature introduced by the application.

You can handpick people from your followers who will view your stories by using this feature, and it will be hidden room your other followers and the public. Awesome right!

Instagram is helping you achieve your privacy need as the social media world keeps expanding every second. For someone that has the mom or dad, or that nosy aunt or a stalker on your list, you can successfully keep your activities awa from him/her.

Here’s all you have to do;

Make sure your app is the most recent version,

  • Go to your Profile page by tapping the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Tap the three lines icon in the top right corner of your screen.
  • Tap Close Friends and then tap Add next to the names of people who you want to add to your Close Friends list. You can also tap Search to search for a friend.
  • Once you’ve finished adding people to your list, tap Done.

You can easily add more or remove from this list using similar process.

 

And just like regular Instagram Stories posts, your story will be available to view for only 24 hours for your Close Friends list.

 

 

Here’s how to share a story to your close friends:

  • Tap the camera icon on the top left corner.
  • Choose an image or video you intend to share.
  • Once you do that, you will see two icons at the down left side of your screen with “your story” and “close friends” text underneath.
  • Tap close friends and voila done

Once you’ve posted an Instagram story to your Close Friends list, your profile image will appear with a green circle around it, both on your Profile page (which only you can see) and in your Close Friends’ feed.

The green circle helps it stand out from the other pink circles that usually highlight an account has live Instagram Stories posts you haven’t seen yet. Others that are not on your list can’t see it.

 

 

By Mariam Haruna

haroonmaream3@gmail.com

Two Somali generals, seven officers die in bomb blast

By Newsmen

Nine Somalian soldiers including two generals have been confirmed dead in a bomb blast in Mogadishu.

The slain generals were identified as Omar Aden and Abdi Ali.

Islamist group, al Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying it had destroyed a military pick-up truck carrying the generals and their seven bodyguards near Dhanaane village just outside Mogadishu.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, who confirmed the blast,  said: “We destroyed their pick-up with a roadside bomb near Dhanaane village.”

A military official, who identified himself as Captain Mohamed, confirmed to newsmen that the two generals and their guards had been killed while others were injured.

It would be recalled that Al Shabaab has for years been fighting to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and install its own rule based on a strict interpretation of sharia law.

The country has been gripped by insecurity and lawlessness since the early 1990s.

Six crush to death, scores injure during Italy nightclub stampede

By newsdesk

At least six persons, mostly teenagers, were crushed to death on Saturday in a stampede at a nightclub where a concert was being held in Ancoma.

About 50 other people were injured including a dozen who sustained serious fractures.

It was gathered that one of the dead was a mother of a teenager.

The cause of the stampede was not immediately clear but sources said the teenagers were trying to escape from the nightclub after someone had set off a can of pepper spray.

The Fire brigades explained that the stampede took place in the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub in Corinaldo, near Ancona, on the Adriatic coast.

Prosecutors name Trump in hush payments, detail Russian contacts

By Newsdesk

Crisis trailing activities of United State President, Donald Trump, before 2016 election took a new twist after prosecutors disclosed that he directed his personal lawyer to make illegal hush payments to two women before the poll.

The prosecutors further detailed attempts made by the President to seek assistance of Russians during the presidential campaign.
In court filings yesterday, federal prosecutors in New York and those working for Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, made the case for why Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, deserved prison time.

The documents turned up the heat on Trump by confirming prosecutors’ belief of his involvement in a campaign finance violation, while adding to a growing list of contacts between campaign aides and Russians in 2015 and 2016, legal experts said.

“In total, the prosecutors seem to be saying the president was more aware than he has claimed to be,” former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said.

Prosecutors in both of the Cohen cases were required to submit separate memos on his cooperation to U.S. District Judge, William Pauley, in Manhattan, who will decide on the former lawyer’s sentence on Dec. 12.

While Cohen implicated the president in the hush payments to two women which includes adult film actress, Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, in his guilty plea in August in New York, the filing on Friday marked the first time federal prosecutors officially concurred.

It said Cohen made the payments in “coordination with and the direction of” Trump.

Democrats jumped on that assertion and called for steps to protect Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.

“These legal documents outline serious and criminal wrongdoing, including felony violations of campaign finance laws at the direction of President Trump,” a member of the Senate, Diane Feinstein, reacted in a statement.

The president has denied any collusion with Russia, and accuses Mueller’s prosecutors of pressuring his former aides to lie about him, his campaign and his business dealings. Russia has denied interfering in the election to help Trump.

In new tweets on Friday, Trump accused federal investigators and senior officials of having conflicts of interest, without offering evidence. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called Cohen a liar and dismissed the filings as insignificant.

“The government’s filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known,” Sanders said.

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller’s office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate New York charges.

On Friday, Mueller said Cohen’s false statements to Congress had “obscured the fact” that the skyscraper project held the potential to reap “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources” for the Trump Organization.

Mueller said that discussions about the potential Moscow development were relevant to the investigation because they occurred “at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.”

In addition to coming clean on the Moscow project, Cohen provided information to Mueller about several attempts by Russians to contact the Trump’s campaign, according to Friday’s filing.

In November 2015, Cohen spoke with a Russian national who said he could offer the campaign “political synergy” with Russia and repeatedly proposed a meeting with Putin. Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says.

Mueller also said in the filing that Cohen had provided “relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House” in 2017 and 2018.

Mueller also detailed alleged lies told by Manafort during interviews with prosecutors and the FBI. Last month Mueller voided Manafort’s plea agreement because, they said, he was not telling the truth.

They said Manafort told “multiple discernible lies,” including about his communications with a political consultant will alleged ties to Russian intelligence, and about interactions with Trump administration officials even after Manafort was first indicted in late 2017.

German bank link to Panama Papers raided

By Newsdesk

Police raided six Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt on Thursday over money laundering allegations linked to the “Panama Papers”, the public prosecutor’s office in Germany’s financial capital said.

Investigators are looking into the activities of two unnamed Deutsche Bank employees alleged to have helped clients set up offshore firms to launder money, the prosecutor’s office said.

Around 170 police officers, prosecutors and tax inspectors searched the offices where written and electronic business documents were seized.

“Of course, we will cooperate closely with the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt, as it is in our interest as well to clarify the facts,” Deutsche Bank said, adding it believed it had already provided all the relevant information related to the “Panama Papers”.

The news comes as Deutsche Bank tries to repair its tattered reputation after three years of losses and a drumbeat of financial and regulatory scandals.

Christian Sewing was appointed as chief executive in April to help the bank to rebuild. He trimmed U.S. operations and reshuffled the management board but revenue has continued to slip.

Deutsche Bank shares were down more than 2 percent by 1409 GMT and have lost almost half their value this year.

OFFSHORE LINKS

The investigation was triggered after investigators reviewed so-called “Offshore-Leaks” and “Panama Papers”, the prosecutor said.

The “Panama Papers”, which consist of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, were leaked to the media in April 2016.

The prosecutors said they are looking at whether Deutsche Bank may have assisted clients to set up offshore companies in tax havens so that funds transferred to accounts at Deutsche Bank could skirt anti-money laundering safeguards.

In 2016 alone, over 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311 million euros, the prosecutors said.

They also said Deutsche Bank employees are alleged to have breached their duties by neglecting to report money laundering suspicions about clients and offshore companies involved in tax evasion schemes.

The investigation is separate from another money laundering scandal surrounding Danish lender Danske Bank, where Deutsche Bank is involved.

Police arrests Governor over bribery allegation

By Newsdesk

The governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezao, was arrested on Thursday over allegations he received bribes as part of the sprawling “Car Wash” graft probe, according to Brazilian media.

The Globo News television channel showed live footage of federal police at the residence of the governor, who remains in his home in custody.

Pezao is accused of taking bribes when he was vice governor under Sergio Cabral, who is currently in prison.

The police also raided the Guanabara Palace, headquarters of Rio de Janeiro’s government, searching for documents.

The Superior Court of Justice issued the arrest warrant based on the confession of Carlos Miranda, a former Cabral associate, who cooperated in exchange for a sentence reduction.

According to Miranda’s testimony Pezao would have received a monthly payment of 150,000 reais ($40,000) as well as end-of-the-year bonuses of up to one million reais.

The money would have been paid by companies and intermediaries bound by contracts with the Rio de Janeiro government during a period from 2007 to 2014.

The state of Rio de Janeiro is on the verge of bankruptcy and plagued by insecurity.

Wilson Witzel was elected in October to govern the state and is set to take office January 1.

 

NAN

Macron insists on new diesel tax regime

By Newsdesk

As protest against France new diesel regime intensified, the country’s President, Emmanuel Macron, has vowed not to not change his policy.

Macron, who described the protesters as thugs, stressed that their action to occupy major cities on Tuesday would not affect the policy.

For over a week, “yellow vest” protesters have blocked roads across France and impeded access to some fuel depots, shopping centres and factories in protest against fuel tax hikes they say have eroded their spending power.

The unrest, including violent skirmishes stirred by fringe groups in Paris over the weekend, has stung Macron as he tries to fight back against a sharp fall in popularity and exposed him to charges of being out of touch with voters.

A little over 18 months into his presidency, it has raised questions about whether the 40-year-old former investment banker has misjudged his ability to overhaul France and its economy.

“We must not change course, because the policy direction is right and necessary,” Macron said in an hour-long address outlining his blueprint for a transition towards cleaner energy.

Striving to show both humility and empathy with anger among provincial voters, he said his administration needed to be smarter in its policymaking to avoid the emergence of a “two-speed France” where workers living outside cities were left behind and grew more frustrated with a perceived urban elite.

The crisis, though, illustrated a “paradox” in a country that cherishes its generous welfare state and was becoming less inclined to pay for it through taxes, he said.

U.S forces death toll in Afghanistan hits 11

By Newsdesk

No fewer than 11 United State (US) forces have been confirmed dead and scores injured in 11 months, trying to recapture central Afghan city of Ghazni from Taliban insurgents.

The death toll increased to 11 after a roadside bomb blast killed three U.S. service members and wounded three others during a routine conduct within the city.

A Taliban commander in Ghazni said U.S. and Afghan security forces were conducting raids in different areas of Ghazni on Tuesday and insurgents managed to plant a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) in the Shahbaz area targeting one of their armoured vehicles.

“The U.S. and Afghan forces are desperately trying to recapture some of the important places in Ghazni and have conducted several raids but they couldn’t succeed and have suffered losses,” the commander added.

The NATO statement gave no details but Mohammad Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said an armoured vehicle carrying U.S. troops hit a large roadside bomb in the Shahbaz area, just outside the city, on Tuesday morning.

He said U.S. Special Forces had been conducting operations with Afghan forces around Ghazni city since yesterday.

Taliban insurgents, who control large parts of Ghazni province, claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded an American civilian contractor.

The casualties were the latest in a growing toll on U.S. forces in Afghanistan and followed the death of an army Ranger during an operation against al Qaeda militants in Nimruz province on Saturday. Resolute Support said the soldier had been accidentally shot by a member of Afghan partner forces.

At least 11 U.S. service members have now died in Afghanistan this year, in combat or in so-called “insider attacks” by Afghan soldiers or police. Four Czech soldiers, serving with Resolute Support, have also been killed.

There was no official confirmation from U.S. or NATO forces of the circumstances of Tuesday’s blast but Ghazni has been one of the most embattled regions of Afghanistan this year and many areas close to the city are in the hands of the Taliban.

The city, which sits on the main highway linking the capital Kabul with Kandahar in the south, was overrun this year by a large Taliban force before it was driven off by Afghan and U.S. troops after days of heavy fighting.

About 14,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support and a separate counter-terrorism mission aimed against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Police, Militants disagree over cleric, followers killing

By Newsdesk

The Somalian Police and Militants, Al Shabaab, were currently engaged in disagreement over number of causalities recorded during an attack on a religious centre.

Following the attack, the town of Galkayo has been thrown into mourning after Al Shabaab gunmen and a suicide car bomber struck a religious centre, killing a cleric and at least 26 of his followers.

The Islamist militant group, it was learned, had accused the cleric of insulting Prophet Mohamed recently, an allegation which the cleric denied severally.

A regional official, who spoke on anonymity, said the cleric, Abdiweli, may have also been targeted because his centre hosts mostly youths who play music and dance.

The governor of Mudug region, Abdirashid Hashi, told newsmen that al Shabaab had threatened Abdiweli on numerous occasions.
An elder in Galkayo, Ismail Abdirahman, said Abdiweli had provided free boarding to former pirates, street boys and jobless men and they became his followers.

Abdirahman said: “He used to tell teenagers: “If you were a pirate, or a bandit, stop it and come and dance, eat food and sleep here. God will forgive your sins. Some other ignorant teenagers thought he was as saint … and so joined him.

“We understood there was something wrong with him but we could not take him to court because the man was well armed.”

The group took responsibility for the attack and put the number of dead at 26. It said some soldiers who responded to the first attack also died as they tried to remove a second car bomb.

Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: “We killed 26 people including the owner of the centre, his followers, his bodyguards and soldiers.

“The owner of the centre was the man who abused the prophet. The soldiers that died tried to drive a second car bomb that was left by the armed Mujahideen.”

Disregarding number of causalities, a police officer, Nur Mohamed, in a telephone conversation with newsmen in Galkayo, narrated that the gunmen stormed the community and perpetrated their act.

“The (security) operation is now over. Al Shabaab killed 15 people including the cleric, his wife, his followers and his guards. Three militants who stormed the centre were also shot dead.”