US wont go back on opening embassy in Jerusalem

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The  State Department has disclosed that United States of America was not going back on it plan to open its embassy in jerusalem as declared months ago, saying its announced May was still intact.

It was stated that if the US goes by the date, the move would coincide with 70th anniversary of  Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and creation of state of Israel in Palestine.

 

The State Department Spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said that the embassy would be gradually expanded in existing consular facilities in the Arnona neighbourhood, and that search for a permanent site has already begun for a longer-term undertaking.

Nauert added that the interim embassy will have office space for the ambassador and a small staff. An annex on the Arnona compound will be opened by the end of next year.

“We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening,”

Officials from the US President, Donald Trump, office said that Congress had been notified of the impending move, while Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US decision. “It will turn Israel’s 70th Independence [sic] Day into a much greater celebration,” he crowed.

According to Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, though, the US move shows a “determination to violate international law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe.”

Izzat Al-Reshiq of the Hamas Political Bureau said that this move “needs an urgent and strong Palestinian, Arab and Islamic response.”

He called upon the PLO and Arab and Islamic states which recognise Israel “to withdraw their recognition immediately.”

Swiss couple travel 17,000 kilometers to watch son’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

By NewsDesk,

After a year 17,000 kilometers journey to South Africa, a Swiss couple would be watching their son as he would be competing at Pyeongchang Games Winter Olympics during the week.

The father and step-mother of Swiss freestyle skier, Mischa Gasser, left their home in Olten, 70 kms west of Zurich, in February 2017 to cycle across the world.

As learnt, the couple arrived in Pyeongchang on Tuesday after journey that took them through 20 countries, covering Lagos to Abuja 22 times, with the distance between the two Nigerian states was put at 755km.

The father, 55 years old Guido Huwiler, narrated that to arrive at the venue and watch his son son cost hims and the mother a year journey, covering 17,000 kilometers.

“We were really touched. I had no words”.

Huwiler, and his wife, Rita Ruttimann, 57, said cycling every day was difficult and their toughest challenge was travelling Pamir Highway which could reach more that 4,000 metres in height as it crosses several countries in Central Asia.

“We were really tired afterward. We were finished and had to recover for two to three weeks,” he said.

When they reached the Chinese border, Huwiler said he was refused a visa because of his beard. He refused to cut it but they are hoping to travel through China later in the journey.

In South Korea, the couple camped outdoors in sub-zero temperatures en route to Pyeongchang’s Phoenix Park, the venue for Gasser’s freestyle skiing event.

Huwiler said his 26-year-old son had dreamed of competing in the Olympics since he was four or five years old.

“I think it’s most important that he lives his dream and I just wish to be close to him when he gets this moment,” Huwiler said.

After cheering on Gasser, the cyclists will continue through South Korea before flying to Japan. From there they plan to return to Switzerland to get visas for China, Russia and Mongolia before resuming their adventure.

“We are crazy!,” Huwiler said with a laugh.

Additional reporting by Hyun Oh, editing by Darren Schuettler and Ed Osmond

Pakistan returns to terrorism financiers’ list 3yrs after exit

By NewsDesk,

A global money-laundering watchdog has placed Pakistan back on terrorist financing nation list of which the country was exited from among top nations supporting terrorism  three years after

As claimed, the move was part of a broader U.S. strategy to pressure Pakistan to cut alleged links to Islamist militants waging chaos in neighboring Afghanistan.

However, the decision came days after reports that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve before being placed on the list, which could hamper banking and hurt foreign investment.

Sources said that Washington has spent the past week lobbying member countries of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan on the so-called “grey list” of nations that are not doing enough to combat terrorism financing.

Pakistan’s last-minute efforts to avoid being placed on the list, which included taking over bodies linked to a powerful Islamist figure, proved insufficient, India’s Republic news service and Times Now television channel said.

An official statement was expected later on Friday on the Asian country which was previously on the list for three years until 2015.

A non-Indian diplomatic source from one of the FATF countries confirmed that the group had decided Pakistan would be put back on the watchlist.

On Tuesday, China, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were opposing the U.S.-led move against Pakistan but by Thursday night both China and the GCC dropped their opposition, the diplomatic source said.

“The decision was taken yesterday,” the diplomat said.

He added that the financial consequences would not kick in until June, which, in theory, could allow Pakistan the wriggle room to fix the terrorist financing issues.

“The odds of that, particularly in an election year, seem slim,” he added.

Pakistani officials and analysts fear being on the FATF watchlist could endanger its handful of remaining banking links to the outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy just as a general election looms in the summer.

Under FATF rules one country’s opposition is not enough to prevent a motion from being successful.

Britain, France and Germany backed the U.S. move.

Islamabad has sought to head off the move by amending its anti-terrorism laws and by taking over organisations controlled by Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistan-based Islamist whom Washington blames for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that Pakistan had received a three-month reprieve, adding that it was “grateful to friends who helped”.

US court charges Missouri Gov. after exposing lover’s nude pictures

By NewsDesk,

The US Missouri State Governor, Eric Greitens, has been indicted and taken into custody for circulating photographs of his bound and partially nude lover,  with threat to expose the picture he took after having affair with the undisclosed woman.

As gathered, the governor was arrested yesterday afternoon at Carnahan Courthouse in St Louis, and  was charged with invasion of privacy which was apparently linked to media reports last month that he had allegedly threatened to transmit photographs of the woman with whom he was having an affair.

According to information gathered, the governor was charged after it was alleged that he had followed through on the threat and transmitted the photographs, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Missouri law stated that the action was a felony to take a nonconsensual photo and distribute to another person.

A statement, office of St Louis Circuit Attorney, Kimberley M Gardner, said that it was essencialt that people within the city and the state at large have confidence in their leaders and such crime carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.

“As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the city of St Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders,”.

Greiten has admitted the affair which happened around the time he began his 2015 campaign for office, when he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican.

He has, however, denied he threatened to circulate the photos.

US begins boarder wall construction in California

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

With U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced construction of a border wall replacement near downtown Calexico, about 190 km east of San Diego in the state of California, it mean the United States President, Donald Trump, campaign promise that he would build fence to seize Mexicans from trooping into the country, against all odds, was becoming reality

The wall would be first border construction project contract awarded by Trump administration, aside from eight different prototypes of border wall that were built near Otay Mesa border crossing San Diego.

The Trump administration told U.S. Congress last month that it wants 18 billion U.S. dollars over the next decade for the initial phase of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The California project covers an area from approximately the Calexico West Port of Entry extending westward beyond the Gran Plaza Outlets, which includes around 2.25 miles of all-weather roads, according to a statement released by the federal agency.

A wall in this area was built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat, and the El Centro Sector wall replacement is one of Border Patrol’s highest priority projects, said the CBP statement.

The construction of a more substantial replacement wall will better ensure the safety of agents and the public and create a better atmosphere for business and commerce, while enhancing overall border security, the statement added.

Half of the around 3,300-km border between the two nations would have a border wall or other fences by 2027 if the work was completed.

US church getting ready to bless couples, members guns

By NewsDesk, with Agency report

The US World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, has asked members of the church  to attend service with AR-15 semi-automatic rifle or equivalents such as an AK semi-automatic rifle, inviting couples to bring their assault rifles in for blessing.

An AR-15 was the weapon used by Nikolas Cruz when he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland north of Miami on Valentine’s Day, killing 17 people.

Tim Elder, the church’s director of world missions, told Newswatch 16 that AR-15 rifles symbolise the “rod of iron” mentioned in the book of Revelation.

“Now more than ever, good people need to stand up and claim for themselves the tools that can be used to stop that kind of evil,” he said.

The ceremony in Wayne County was planned before the mass shooting.

Elder said the church was not planning to reschedule or cancel the event and about 600 people were expected to attend the ceremony next Wednesday.

“This will be a big thing for us. It’s a new stage for us because it incorporates the rod of iron, as it is in Revelations,” Elder added.

“Revelations talks about the returning Christ ruling with the rod of iron.”

Wallenpaupack South Elementary School, which is located near to the church, was yet to decide on what it would do in response to the ceremony.

Meanwhile, leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) were accusing supporters of gun control of exploiting mass school shooting in Florida to promote an anti-gun agenda.

The Leader, NRA, Wayne LaPierre, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He said Democrats like House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Connecticut senator Chris Murphy are eager to blame theNRA and are calling “for even more government control”.

He said opponents of gun rights want to “sweep under the carpet” the failure of school safety, families “and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI” to prevent the shootings.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his backing of the NRA.

India students ban from wearing shoes before entering examination centers

By NewsDesk,

The Indian eastern state, Bihar, has banned students who were to write Class “X” board examinations, from wearing shoes and socks, so asto curb cheating.

Head of Bihar School Examination Board, Anand Kishor, said that the board decided that candidates wearing only slippers would be allowed to enter the examination halls, and that others, wearing shoes and socks, would have to remove before going in to write exam.

Speaking on the development on Thursday in the country, Kishor added that board has taken the decision to prevent cheating.

A senior official disclosed that 1.7 million students who appeared for 2018 Class X board exams in Bihar that began on Wednesday and would continue till Monday.

Bihar hogged limelight for mass cheating in 2015 when photos of parents and friends of students climbing school building walls to pass on answers were published by local media.

Photos showed policemen posted outside the exam centers accepting bribes to look the other way, after which 750 students were expelled and 300 arrested by Bihar government after the incident prompted ridicule on social media.

Cheating in school exams has been going on in Bihar for a long time, and amafia, comprising teachers and school authorities, connives with parents who bribe them to rig entire answer sheets.

Sometimes teachers even appear at exams on behalf of students. I found this interesting I didin’t find this interesting

S’korea leader’s sister, aides 3day visit costs $240M

By NewsDesk, with Agency report

The officials from South Korean Government have put amount of money the country leader, Kim Jong Un, spent on his younger sister and her entourage during their three-day visit for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at $223,237 within the period of her stay in Korea.

They disclosed that money was mostly spent on accommodation, transport and food for the four members of the delegation and their 18 staff members, an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on condition of anonymity.

The officials reported that Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong and the other North Korean officials stayed at the Walkerhill Hotel, a five-star riverside hotel in eastern Seoul.

She and her delegation traveled between Seoul and the Winter Olympics venue on the eastern coast of South Korea and South Korean officials also hosted meals for them at top hotels, as well as the Blue House, where they met President Moon Jae-in.

The official said the Ministry of Unification spent around 130 million won on accommodation and 50 million won each for transport and food.

In comparison, the International Olympic Committee paid roughly 50,000 dollars to for the training and preparation of North Korea’s 22 Olympic athletes, or about 2,300 dollars each.

That amount is a fraction of the spending on the rest of the poor, heavily sanctioned North’s main delegation to the Winter Olympics, which included 229 cheerleaders and a 137-strong orchestra.

This month, the Unification Ministry said it approved a record budget of about 2.6 million dollars to host the 418 North Korean delegates who did not appear in competition – almost 6,200 dollars each.

Months before the South hosted the North’s delegation, its military contributed to Moon’s efforts for detente, dropping the name of the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, from propaganda broadcasts blasted at the border between North and South.

“The decision was made by the South’s joint chiefs of staff late last year out of concerns verbal attacks on Kim Jong Un could bring about negative sentiment among North Korean citizens,” said an aide at the office of Kim Hack-yong, the head of parliament’s national defense committee.

Kim had been briefed by the joint chiefs on the removal of the name, the aide said, seeking anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Instead of naming Kim Jong Un, the broadcasts have criticized the North’s leadership in a more roundabout way, the aide added, with comments such as “Too much money being spent on missile launches is leading to difficulties for the people.”

North and South Korea have used large speakers to barrage each other with music, news and propaganda since early 2016, when the South restarted its broadcasts to retaliate for North Korea’s fourth nuclear test that January.

North Korea has cut the volume of its loudspeaker broadcasts since the Olympics’ opening ceremony on Feb. 9, a South Korean military official stationed at the border said this month.

Trump, Obama, others on late Rev, Graham funeral attendees list

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

US present US President, Donald Trump, and other past leaders including Barack Obama, were on list of prominent people who were expected to attend funeral of late Evangelist, Bill Graham.

The late evangelist’ family spokesman, Mark DeMoss, yesterday announced that the great preacher’s funeral service would be held tomorrow in a canvas tent set up near the Bill Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As learnt, Graham will finish in the same way that he started,  under a large white tent in front of thousands of people.

However, tributes have continued to flood in from all around the world as people were mourning his passing away.

Sources from the family disclosed that Graham’s coffin would be moved from the funeral home in Asheville in the state to Charlotte on Saturday.

They hinted that by Monday and Tuesday, Graham would be lie in repose at the Graham Family Homeplace, where the public would be allowed to pay their respects.

The funeral service will be private and will include family members, friends, and community leaders who were touched by Graham’s ministry with around 2,300 people in total attending the 90-minute service.

Graham was known for regularly speaking about death and approved the planning and details of his funeral arrangements years before his death and made sure the focus will not be on him, but on the gospel,

One of the sources said that late evangelist’s son, Franklin Graham, would give eulogy, and his other children would also speak briefly to honour their father.

In 1949, Graham’s preaching first gained national prominence when he held a ‘crusade’ in downtown Los Angeles under a large white tent, also known as a ‘canvas cathedral’.

He then went to impact the lives of millions through his powerful speaking and altar calls with thousands saying their lives were transformed by his preaching.

DeMoss said: ‘His family and team members thought it would be fitting to also conduct his funeral service under a tent as a reminder of how his public ministry was launched.’

President Donald Trump, Barack Obama and other past leader in the United States of America are expected to attend the funeral of late Evangelist Bill Graham.

The family spokesman Mark DeMoss on Wednesday announced that the great preacher’s funeral service will be held on Friday, March 2, at 12 noon in a canvas tent set up near The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As CBN put it, Graham will finish in the same way that he started – under a large white tent in front of thousands of people.

Yesterday evening, Last night tributes continued to flood in from all around the world as everyone from presidents to preaches mourned his passing.

Graham’s coffin will be moved from the funeral home in Asheville in the state to Charlotte this Saturday, February 24.

On Monday and Tuesday, Graham will lie in repose at the Graham Family Homeplace from 8am to 10pm, when the public will be allowed to pay their respects.

The funeral service will be private and will include family members, friends, and community leaders who were touched by Graham’s ministry with around 2,300 people in total attending the 90-minute service.

Graham himself spoke regularly about death and approved the planning and details of his funeral arrangements years before his death and made sure the focus will not be on him, but on the gospel, CBN reported.

His son, Franklin Graham, will give the eulogy, and his other children will speak briefly to honour their father.

In 1949, Graham’s preaching first gained national prominence when he held a ‘crusade’ in downtown Los Angeles under a large white tent, also known as a ‘canvas cathedral’.

He then went to impact the lives of millions through his powerful speaking and altar calls with thousands saying their lives were transformed by his preaching.

DeMoss said: ‘His family and team members thought it would be fitting to also conduct his funeral service under a tent as a reminder of how his public ministry was launched.’

Australia shows appreciation months after Israeli abort terrorist attack

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

Australian government has extended appreciation to Israel for aborting plans by terrorists to blow up an Etihad flight in July, 2017  the effort which also had four men linked to the plot, arrested in Sydney.

It would recalled Israeli military intelligence helped thwarted the Sydney-based terror plot to use a home-made bomb to attack the airline.

Sources said that the plot involved smuggling a bomb hidden inside a meat grinder onto the Abu Dhabi-bound flight.

The Minister, Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said his government was grateful for the information it had been provided by Israel and that an Etihad plan would have been blown were the planned attack was succeeded

“This Etihad flight was almost blown out of the sky and it would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives, so we are very grateful for the assistance Israel provided in that matter,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

He explained that the information provided by the Isreal led directly  to prevention of the attack, and that such enormous capacity within the Israeli intelligence-gathering space must be recognized.

Dutton said 14 imminent terror attacks had been stopped in Australia in recent years with 85 people charged with terror-related offences.

A military officer was state that the Israeli Intelligence Corps provided exclusive intelligence’ that led to the prevention of the attack.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, later confirmed the report in a speech in Jerusalem, local media reported.

“I can tell you that this is one of many, many such actions that we did [in] preventing terrorism around the world,’’ Netanyahu said.

An Islamic State operative sent components from Turkey through air cargo to the men in Sydney and instructed them on how to assemble a “high-end military-grade explosive.’’

But the device never made it onto the plane, apparently because it was too heavy to pass check-in.

Among the four arrested men, two from Sydney’s western suburbs were charged with terrorism offences.

In August, Lebanon’s interior minister claimed the country’s Internal Security Forces were responsible for aiding Australian authorities in foiling the plot.

Nohad Machnouk also alleged one of the Lebanese man linked to the failed plot had joined the ranks of Islamic State in al-Raqqa in Syria, the de-facto capital of the Jihadist group.