Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Electricity Workers Protest, Picket Power Ministry In Abuja

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Members of the electricity workers union are currently protesting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The workers in protest blocked main entrance gate and locked out some staff to the Ministry of Power. This is even in the presence of armed police officers.

The electricity workers are protesting over the non-payment of severance package for members who were affected by the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN into eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos), six generating companies (GenCos), and a transmission company (TCN).

It will be recalled that the Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Monday called on the Executive to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the power sector to overcome the legion of problems stalling steady power supply in Nigeria.

According to the Senate President, the privatisation of the power sector in 2005 and 2013 was a grand scheme conceived with the intention to defraud Nigeria.

Lawan while faulting the power sector privatization process said it hasn’t yielded significant improvements and the National Assembly is prepared to amend the Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

FIRS, AMCON: Senate To Receive Reports On Nami, Adamu Next Week

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The Senate is to receive the report on President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, and members of the agency on Wednesday next week.

Similarly, it would receive the report on the President’s request for the confirmation of Edward Adamu as Chairman of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

During plenary on Wednesday at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, the lawmakers referred the requests to the Senate Committee on Finance for further legislative action.

The committee chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola was directed to submit its report on December 18 before the National Assembly adjourns for the Christmas break.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers have approved the report of the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on the Finance Bill passed by the National Assembly recently.

They also received the 2020 statutory budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

In a letter dated December 10, 2019, and addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, President Buhari requested the National Assembly to consider the 2020 budget proposal of the FCTA.

He explained that the request to the Senate was in compliance with Sections 121 and 299 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The letter read: “Pursuant to Sections 121 and 299 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith, the 2020 statutory budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate.

“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

Cardi B Returns To Court Over Strip Club Brawl Allegations

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Rap superstar Cardi B appeared in court on Tuesday over her alleged involvement in a New York strip club brawl, as her lawyers called for access to social media evidence currently available to prosecutors.

The 27-year-old Grammy winner known for hits including “I Like it” strode into the Queens courtroom wearing black patent Christian Louboutin stilettos, a black feathered train trailing behind her as she sported an enormous matching hat.

Having previously pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges including two felonies linked to the case, she stood before the judge with her hands complete with talon-esque mint green nail extensions clasped behind her back.

The hearing was a “control date” for both sides to appear and discuss scheduling and legal issues, namely the defense’s bid to obtain evidence they say is currently only available to the prosecution.

The artist’s lawyers said they had submitted a subpoena to Facebook, which owns Instagram, attempting to obtain direct messages from the image-sharing platform involving the complainants — but their request had been denied.

They did not go into detail on the content of the social media exchanges.

Judge Joseph Zayas requested both parties meet and reach an agreement for the defense to access the Instagram messages.

He set a hearing for the two other defendants involved in the case for January 17, but excused Cardi B from attending.

Insisting on his client’s innocence, her lawyer Jeff Kern said “the case is not close to going to trial.”

Asked repeatedly by journalists whether the rapper — just returned from concerts in Nigeria and Ghana — might settle the case out of court, both Kern and her other lawyer Drew Findling skirted the issue.

Born Belcalis Almanzar to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B’s meteoric rise began during her days as a stripper, when she carved out a social media personality on platforms including Instagram.

On August 29, 2018, Cardi B was in the Angels Strip Club in Queens when her entourage reportedly lobbed bottles, chairs and a hookah pipe, which police said bruised a female employee’s legs.

Cardi B allegedly ordered an attack on two sisters working at the club because one of them was rumored to have slept with her husband, the rapper Offset.

Initially facing only misdemeanor charges, the rapper in April rejected a plea deal from the Queens district attorney’s office.

That offer would have given the Grammy winner a conditional discharge if she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor.

The new, more serious charges filed in June include two felony counts of attempted assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the case docket.

At that time the rapper brought Findling — the so-called “#BillionDollarLawyer” who has made a name for himself representing hip-hop stars in Atlanta, Georgia, the de-facto capital of rap — onto her legal team.

“We continue to aggressively defend this case,” Findling told journalists outside the court.

Gombe women take to streets, demand end to gender-based violence

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Hundreds of women on Tuesday took to the streets of Gombe to advocate against all forms of gender-based violence.

The women were led by the wife of the Gombe State governor Asmau Inuwa-Yahaya through the streets of the capital city to the state house of assembly where they made their demands to lawmakers.

The case of a twelve years old boy raped by his instructor is still fresh and the outcry it generated is still fresh.

The wife of Gombe State governor led the women through the streets of Gombe demanding an end to gender-based violence.

They later took their agitation to the state legislature to press home their demands They also seek the domestication of the child rights act.

They consider this piece of legislation as a wall of protection for the vulnerable which will also help to prevent stigmatization.

Gombe State records an average of seven hundred and thirty rape cases every year.

Rights groups say this number may be higher as many victims stay silent.

The women said they are committed to this fight until the law and society adequately protect those that need it the most.“

Fashola, Saraki, defend FG’s $22.718 loan request

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The Ministers of Finance, Transportation, Works and Housing have appeared before the House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management to defend the Federal Government’s proposed $22.718 billion loan request.

Works and Housing minister, Babatunde Fashola said the loan will be used to complete the 2nd Niger Bridge and Kainji Power Project among other laudable projects.

The loan was rejected by the 8th National Assembly and has now been brought back for approval by the 9th parliament.

Fashola said with the loan, the nation will make provisions for the nations development.

Also present at the loan request defence were the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab, and minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.

Buhari sacks Banire as AMCON chairman, names replacement

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The presidency is yet to give a reason for Mr Banire’s removal. President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Edward Lametek Adamu as the new Chairman of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.

In a letter to the Senate on Tuesday, president Buhari sought the confirmation of Adamu to replace the outgoing chairman, Muize Banire.

President Buhari also named other members of the board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service in his letter.

They are: James Yakwen Ayuba, Ado Danjuma, Adam Baba Mohammed, Ikeme Osakwe, Adewale Ogunyomade and Ehile Adetola Aigbangbee.

Mr Banire, 53, was appointed head of AMCON in December 2018.

The development comes a day after the president replaced Tunde Fowler as the head of Federal Inland Revenue Service, despite an appeal from Mr Fowler to be retained for a second term.

Trump Pays $2m In Damages To Charities After Court Ruling

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Donald Trump on Tuesday paid $2 million in damages as part of a settlement over use of his former charity to further his political and business interests — the latest item on the US president’s list of legal woes.

Trump had been accused of using foundation funds to settle lawsuits, promote his Trump-branded hotels, and for personal spending, including the purchase of a portrait of himself to display at one of his golf clubs.

The $2 million was paid equally to eight different charities, including the Children’s Aid Society, the United Negro College Fund and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat.

“Charities are not a means to an end, which is why these damages speak to the president’s abuse of power and represent a victory for not-for-profits that follow the law,” she said in the statement.

The payments were made the same day that Democrats in Congress unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump, a momentous step asserting that he abused his office and deserved to be removed.

James filed the lawsuit against the Trump Foundation in June last year, accusing it of “persistently illegal conduct” that included improper coordination between the charity and his campaign team during his 2016 White House bid.

Trump agreed to shut down his personal charity in 2018, but the suit moved ahead regardless, as prosecutors sought millions of dollars in restitution and penalties.

The suit also said that in early 2016 while Trump was running for president, he organized what was billed as a Trump Foundation fundraiser but was actually a campaign event.

Trump had pushed back against the lawsuit, defending his organization’s work and lauding its financial responsibility.

“It has been 4 years of politically motivated harassment,” he said in a statement after the court ruling. “All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes.”

Trump faces ongoing legal troubles on multiple fronts. Courts have ordered that two banks must hand over to Congress documents related to the president’s finances, and he is fighting an attempt by a New York prosecutor to compel the release of eight years’ worth of tax returns, among other battles.

Amazon Accuses Trump Of Interfering With $10bn JEDI Contract

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The lawsuit filed by Amazon challenging a $10 billion US military cloud computing contract awarded to Microsoft will not delay implementation of the project, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.

Amazon has alleged that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office to deny the company the massive contract in late October.

“We will deal with Amazon’s legal actions. I cannot comment on those right now,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord.

“But I will tell you we are moving right now forward with the JEDI contract.”

The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, better known as JEDI, ultimately will see all military branches sharing information in a system boosted by artificial intelligence.

“We actually have a kick-off event with Microsoft tomorrow [Wednesday] morning,” Lord said.

A heavily redacted court filing by Amazon detailed alleged errors that ended with Microsoft being chosen over its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing division, part of the technology group led by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.

Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, is a frequent target of the US president.

Amazon was considered the lead contender to provide technology for JEDI, with AWS dominating the cloud computing arena and the company already providing classified servers for other government outfits including the CIA.

In court documents released Monday, Amazon alleged “improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy — Jeffrey P. Bezos.”

The Pentagon’s mistakes in the contract were “hard to understand and impossible to assess” when separated from Trump’s “repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the president himself, ‘screw Amazon.’”

The bid protest filed in US Court of Federal Claims urges that the rival JEDI bids be re-evaluated and a new decision reached

US City Hit By Cyberattack Days After Military Base Shooting

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Authorities in Pensacola, Florida said Monday the city had been hit by a cyberattack, just days after a Saudi officer killed three American sailors at the city’s naval base.

Emails, telephone lines and online payment services were affected by the attack, the northwestern municipality announced on Facebook.

Officials did not say whether there was a link between the cyber and naval base attacks.

“We’re… trying to figure out who this was and… where do we go from here in putting our system back together,” mayor Grover Robinson said at a press conference.

City officials also notified the FBI, whose Jacksonville office tweeted it was “providing resources to assist” but that no further information was available at the time.

The cyberattack comes as Pensacola is still reeling from the naval base shooting.

On Friday, Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, opened fire in a classroom at the Pensacola naval base, killing three sailors and wounding eight others before being shot dead by police.

The 21-year-old had been on the base for a Saudi military training program.

The FBI said Sunday they were investigating with the “presumption” it was an act of terrorism but had yet to make a final determination.

Police Officer, Five Others Killed In New Jersey Shooting

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Six people including a police officer and two suspects were killed during an hours-long shootout across a New York suburb not far from the Statue of Liberty, local officials said.

“Our officers were under fire for hours,” Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told reporters after the latest high-profile US shooting.

In addition to the officer and the suspects, three civilians were killed in the incident that began around midday at a cemetery and ended in a store, Kelly said.

Bomb squad officers were examining a stolen U-Haul vehicle “that may contain an incendiary device,” he added.

No clear reason for the shooting has been given.

Five of the dead were found inside a store, said Kelly.

“We believe that two of them are bad guys,” while the other three are civilians, he said, describing the crime scene as “very extensive, three locations at least.”

Two other officers were wounded, Kelly told reporters.

“I heard fighting outside, then ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’” the New York Daily News quoted a food store worker two blocks from the shooting as saying.

“I saw people running outside — men, women, children in the street. These people were scared.”

Kelly said the suspects’ “movement was rapid and continuous for four hours” during the drama which saw the deployment of hundreds of police from New Jersey and New York, including tactical officers armed with rifles and wearing olive-green fatigues and helmets.

NBC television reported that hundreds of rounds were fired.

Media reports said the shooting began when an officer investigating a homicide approached the suspects in the cemetery.

Identified by media as Detective Joseph Seals, he was the first victim.

Asked to confirm whether the officer was indeed probing a murder, Kelly said it is “being looked into.”

The suspects then took refuge in a grocery store where firing continued and the five bodies were later found.

US residents have become accustomed to shootings — everywhere from churches to schools and cinemas — and firearms were linked to nearly 40,000 deaths of various kinds in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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