• follow us in feedly

Indonesian police kill dozens ahead of Asian Games

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

Indonesian police have shot dead more than 70 people this year in a crackdown on petty criminals ahead of the Asian Games, which are due to start this weekend, a human rights group said on Friday.

At least 77 people have been killed across the country between January and August, a 64-per cent increase on the same period last year, Amnesty International said.

Many of the killings took place during security operations which were “explicitly devised” to prepare the host cities for the sporting event, Amnesty said.

More than 11,000 athletes and officials from 45 countries are participating in the Asian Games, which are scheduled to begin on Saturday in Jakarta and Palembang.

“These shocking figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police, and a constant veil of impunity that taints public security institutions,” Usman Hamid, Amnesty International executive director in Indonesia, said in a statement.

“The hosting of an international sporting event must not come at the price of abandoning human rights,” he said, urging the government to investigate the killings “promptly and effectively.”

Police have defended the use of lethal force, saying officers took “firm and measured action” because the suspects were armed and were endangering the lives of officers.

Human rights groups have also criticized Indonesian police for their increasing use of lethal force in dealing with suspected drug traffickers.

Police shot dead at least 80 drug suspects in 2017, compared to 18 the previous year, according to Amnesty.

Last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered police to shoot drug dealers if they resisted arrest, in remarks that drew comparison to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson visit ailing Aretha Franklin

By News Desk,

Aretha Franklin, the legendary soul singer who has fallen gravely ill, was visited at her Detroit-area home on Tuesday by fellow recording artist Stevie Wonder, U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and ex-husband Glynn Turman, her publicist said.

Franklin, 76, a one-time gospel singer whose reign as the “Queen of Soul” has spanned more than 50 years, is under hospice care at her home, according to publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

Quinn declined to discuss Franklin’s ailment, but said: “She’s seriously ill.”

The singer, whose hit songs include “Chain of Fools” and “Think,” has a long-standing professional relationship with Wonder, with whom she performed 13 years ago at the Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in Pasadena, California.

She and Turman were married from 1978 to 1984.

In her heyday of the 1960 and 1970s, Franklin dominated the music charts with hits including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby, I Love You,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Respect,” a cover of an Otis Redding tune that became a song of empowerment during the U.S. civil rights era.

Franklin’s fans, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, have taken to social media to express their thoughts.

“Like people all around the world, Hillary and I are thinking about Aretha Franklin tonight & listening to her music that has been such an important part of our lives the last 50 years,” Clinton said in a tweet on Monday night.

Why we suspended consular services – US

By News Desk,

The U.S. Embassy Nigeria says it has temporarily suspended its consular services in Abuja due to reasons beyond its control.

The embassy in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja maintained that its Consulate Office in Lagos was not affected by the development.

While expressing regret on the inconvenience the development it might cause to applicants, the embassy expressed the hope to resume its operations soon in Abuja.

The embassy in its website earlier did not give reason for the suspension of its consular services in Abuja which it latter did in a statement.

”Due to reasons beyond our control we are temporarily unable to provide regular services for visa and American Citizen Services (ACS) in Abuja, but other offices within the embassy remain open.

”Please note that consular functions at the U.S. Consulate Lagos are not affected and will continue.

”Until further notice, applicants are encouraged to contact the Consular Office in Lagos for immediate emergency travel,” the embassy stated.

The embassy advised applicants to please monitor the Facebook and Webpage of the U.S. Embassy for updates on consular operations.

It stated that scheduled visa and ACS applicants for Abuja would be contacted for rescheduling.

”American citizens in northern Nigeria with emergency services needs should continue to contact the after-hours emergency number for Abuja at 09461-4000 and press “0” to go to the operator to request assistance.

”We regret the inconvenience this has caused to our applicants and hope to resume operations soon,” it stated.

Nigerian Usmani made to walk again after 10 years by Indian doctors

By News Desk,

A Nigerian, Abdullah Usmani, who had not walked for the last 10 years due to a severe knee problem complicated by an incurable genetic blood disorder, has been given a new lease of life by doctors at Aakash Healthcare in Delhi.

The doctors successfully performed on the 41 year-old Nigerian, a knee replacement surgery — a rare for a patient battling multiple haemolytic and genetic complications, newkerala.com reported today.

After a full-fledged post-recovery rehabilitation programme for a fluidic knee-movement and wound recovery, Usmani finally took the walk of freedom from pain, suffering and mental trauma that often accompany such illnesses.

According to a hospital statement, Usmani had spent a major part of his life bedridden due to sickle cell anaemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes knee arthritis and deformed bone development.

Also suffering from other growth disorder complications, including multiple joint complications, hand-foot syndrome, Usmani’s congenital problem led him to undergo a spleen removal surgery in 2002, which led to worsening of his knee arthritis.

A team of doctors at the hospital then gave him a high-end oxinium implant that helped him walk again after 10 years, the statement said.

“After studying his case in detail, we concluded that Usmani’s knee consisted of a severely inflamed tissue and required an intraoperative culture extraction. Following this, a total-knee replacement was undertaken using the implant.”

Nigerian student wins Chinese language contest

By News Desk,

Nigerian student, Anthony Ekwensi, has been crowned the African champion at the 17th Chinese Bridge Chinese Language Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students.

The grand finale of the competition took place on August 4 in Changsha, Hunan Province.

Russian student Ruslan was the overall winner at the event which paraded 152 students from 118 countries.

The 21-year old Anambra-born Nigerian, who came fourth in the final competition, made it to the last round of the championship with four other contestants who were also crowned champion of their respective continents.

The other winners were Theodore Joseph from Australia who came second, Guan Huimin from Indonesia, who took the third position and John Gardner from the United States, who placed fifth.

According to the organisers, the final competition consisted of three parts and tested the finalists’ language skills and all-around abilities, including their knowledge of Chinese culture, history, traditions and communication, as well as their singing and acting skills.

All five winners have been offered full scholarships by the Confucius Institute.

In a telephone interview from China, Ekwensi, a final year student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State, said he looked forward to returning to China to pursue a post-graduate programme.

‘‘I went into the competition because I knew there was an opportunity to do something great, and also I wanted an opportunity to visit the country I’ve always dreamed of going.

‘‘My next plan now is to graduate successfully from UNIZIK and then come back to China for masters. I dedicate my award to God,’’ the final year student of  Education Management and Policy said.

Ekwensi learnt the Chinese language in Nigeria for two years at the Confucius Institute, UNIZIK, Awka.

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal now Russian goodwill ambassador

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

Russia has appointed Hollywood Actor Steven Seagal as special representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to focus on humanitarian issues with the United States (U.S.).

Russian Foreign Ministry which made the announcement on Facebook late on Saturday said Seagal will be tasked with furthering “Russian-American relations.”

It is unclear how Seagal who was given Russian citizenship in 2016 will go about accomplishing that goal.

It would be recalled that an alleged Russian spy with apparent ties to a Donald Trump campaigner in has been in the news concerning Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. Intelligence Community had repeatedly stated Russia interfered with the election.

The appointment is unpaid and will focus on “culture, arts, public and youth exchanges,” according to the Facebook post.

Seagal has vocally defended the Russian leader’s policies, including Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the U.S. government.

Last year, Ukraine banned Seagal from entering the country for five years, citing national security reasons.

Journalists investigating Russia’s Shadow army dies in Central African Republic

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

Three Russian journalists who were killed in the Central African Republic were investigating the activities of a private Russian army there, a media organisation they were working with said Wednesday.
Journalists, Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal were killed on Monday in the strife-torn country, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed earlier.

“On Friday, July 27 (they) flew to the Central African Republic to shoot material on the activities of PMC Wagner in the country as part of a joint project with the Investigations Management Centre,” the centre wrote on its Facebook page late Tuesday.

The Wagner Group has been described as Russia’s shadow army which has operated in many of the world’s hotspots, including Syria.

Analysts say Moscow uses the private company so it can play down military activity in countries such as Syria and Ukraine and discount casualties.

A journalist who was investigating Wagner’s activities in Syria in April died after falling from the balcony of his fifth-floor flat in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

The Investigations Management Centre is a media project launched by exiled former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in Russian jail after falling foul of the Kremlin and now lives in Britain.

The circumstances of the deaths of the three journalists in the Central African Republic are unclear.

On Wednesday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said neither the journalists themselves nor those who were backing their trip had told Russian authorities they would be in the country.

“They declared tourism as the purpose of their trip,” she told the state channel Russia 24.

“The process of identification has been complicated by the fact that the dead Russians were not carrying their passports on them,” she added.

Historically the major international player in the CAR has been France, but Russia has taken on an official role since December last year, when it was authorised by the UN to provide the armed forces with weapons and training.

East China city now use drones to monitor traffic violations

By News Desk,

Drones are being used to detect traffic violations in the City of Jinan, Capital of East China’s Shandong Province, according to Beijing Youth Daily on Wednesday.

The four drones started on Tuesday and are assisting traffic police.

Equipped with high definition cameras, they discovered a total of five traffic violations within half an hour of starting.

They can monitor the illegal behaviour of drivers, such as using mobile phones and devices when driving, and take clear video footage.

The drones cover areas that fixed monitors cannot reach, helping collect evidence of traffic misconduct.

The drones started a test run in April, with total safe flying time amounting to over 200 hours, Jinan traffic police official Wei Jiliang said.

The drones are affected by weather and not used in the rain.

China, Nigeria boost military ties

By News Desk,

China and Nigeria have agreed to further strengthen their military and security partnership and cooperation under the principle of Mutual Assistance.

Col. Liu Yongxuan, Defence Attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria said this at an occasion to mark the 91st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Liu said both countries shared similarities in contributing to global peace and security.

He further described the military exchange and cooperation between both countries as fruitful.

“China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor of world development and an upholder of international order.

“Nigeria has dispatched military personnel to participate in UN peacekeeping operations since its independence and the total number is up to 100,000, one of the largest among African countries.

“This year, Chinese Naval warship for the first time participated in the joint maritime exercises hosted by Nigerian Navy and has given impetus to the call by the Nigerian Government for a combined maritime force in the Gulf of Guinea.

He also expressed confidence in increased cooperation between both countries in areas of common interest through the promotion of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

The initiative is known as a foreign policy and economic strategy of the Chinese Government to create a network of infrastructure to economically link China to Europe, other parts of Asia, Africa and Oceania.

It aims to develop the largest global platform for economic cooperation and more than 60 countries and international organisations have reportedly signed up for the infrastructure project.

In his remarks, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar commended the efforts of the PLA in promoting world peace and global order.

Abubakar, who was represented by Chief of Aircraft Engineering, Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Olabisi, said that military cooperation between both countries “was growing”.

“One thing I can take away from their development is I see hope for Nigeria and other African countries, looking at the humble beginnings of the People’s Liberation Army.

“There are also examples of your collaboration with other countries across the world and on that note, I want to say that the military bilateral relations between China and Nigeria have been growing especially in the past decade.

“We do appreciate your invaluable contributions to our counterinsurgency operations. We are hopeful that this relationship will be strengthened for the mutual benefit of our countries.”

Trump attacks Mueller in torrent of tweets

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

U.S. President Donald Trump has lashed out at Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel probing Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump, in a barrage of tweets, called on Mueller to disclose such “conflicts of interest” and alleged witch-hunt by the special counsel.

“Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend.

“….Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama…

“And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?’’ Trump tweeted.

Alleged Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, in which Trump won by Electoral College but lost to Clinton by almost three million popular votes, led to the set-up of the special panel headed by Robert Mueller.

Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton garnered 227 but while Trump polled 62,984,825 or 46.4 per cent of the popular votes, Clinton polled 65,853,516 or 48.5 per cent.

However, Trump has repeatedly and angrily claimed witch-hunt by the Democrats and insisted that there was no collusion.

The U.S. president had earlier tweeted about the unfair constitution of the members of the more than one-year-old panel, which he claimed were populated by Democrats.

“There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC.

“Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!’’ Trump tweeted.