Al Jazeera Journalist’s Family Condemns US Probe

The United States said on July 4, 2022, that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions but that there was no reason to believe her death was intentional.

 

 

The family of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh said Monday they were “incredulous” after the US reported it was not possible to determine whose gun fired the bullet which killed her.

The condemnation from the family of the prominent Palestinian-American reporter came after Israel said that its experts rather than American ones examined the bullet that killed Abu Akleh on May 11.

“With respect to today’s announcement by the State Department — on July 4, no less — that a test of the spent round that killed Shireen Abu Akleh, an American citizen, was inconclusive as to the origin of the gun that fired it, we are incredulous,” the Abu Akleh family said in a statement.

The journalist, who held US citizenship, was killed while covering an Israeli army operation in the Jenin camp in the north of the occupied West Bank.

“We will continue to advocate for justice for Shireen, and to hold the Israeli military and government accountable, no matter the attempts to obfuscate the reality of what happened on May 11,” the statement added.

The Palestinian Authority had given the bullet extracted from Abu Akleh to US representatives on Saturday.

They said the Americans, but not the Israelis, could study it.

But following the release of the US probe, Israel’s army said: “A ballistic examination was conducted in a forensic laboratory in Israel.

“Israeli experts examined the bullet in order to determine the connection between the bullet and the weapon from which it was fired.”

US “representatives were present throughout the entire process,” the army statement said.

The United States said the veteran reporter was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions, but that there was no reason to believe her death was intentional.

Abu Akleh was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head.

The State Department said that the US could not make a “definitive conclusion” on the origin of the bullet that killed her.

A senior PA official condemned attempts to “conceal the truth” over Abu Akleh’s killing.

“We will continue our procedures at the international courts. We will not allow attempts to conceal the truth or to have shy references in pointing the finger of accusation (at) Israel,” Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter.

Reacting to the US findings, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said “it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting –- and as such, the investigation will continue.”

Barcelona Complete Move For Milan Midfielder Kessie

Franck Kessie, of AC Milan, celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between US Sassuolo and AC Milan at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on May 22, 2022. Isabella Bonotto / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Isabella Bonotto / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

 

 

Barcelona on Monday announced the signing of Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer from Italian champions AC Milan.

“The player will sign a contract until 30 June 2026 and his buy-out clause will be set at 500 million euros ($523 million),” Barcelona said in a statement.

Kessie, 25, spent the past five years in Milan after first arriving in Italy when he joined Atalanta in 2015.

He scored seven times in 39 appearances for Milan last season as the club won the Serie A title for the first time since 2011.

The Ivorian will be presented by the club on Wednesday, while Denmark defender Andreas Christensen is expected to be unveiled as a Barca player this week as well after leaving Chelsea.

Putin Orders Russians To Fight On After Key Ukraine City Falls

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a BRICS Plus session involving the leaders of several invited states during the 14th BRICS summit - in virtual format via a video call at the Novo-Ogarevo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2022. Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik / AFP
File Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin
Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik / AFP

 

 

President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after Moscow’s forces seized the strategic city of Lysychansk.

With the war now well into its fifth month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, governments and organisations gathered for a conference in Switzerland to launch a plan to rebuild the country even as the conflict shows no sign of abating.

The loss of Lysychansk over the weekend prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to step up calls for an increased supply of weapons from the West so Kyiv can keep up the resistance and regain lost territories.

After giving up on its initial war aim of capturing Kyiv following tough Ukrainian resistance, Russia has focused its efforts on securing control of the Donetsk and Lugansk areas which make up the Donbas region.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting that Moscow’s forces were now in full control of the Lugansk region.

In a sign there would be no let-up in the fighting and that Russia now had its eyes on the entire Donetsk region, Putin told Shoigu that troops stationed there must continue their operations.

“Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans,” Putin said.

“I hope that everything will continue in their direction as has happened in Lugansk so far.”

The Ukrainian army said on Sunday it was retreating from Lysychansk to preserve the lives of its troops after finding itself outnumbered and outgunned by Russian forces there.

– ‘Most modern weapons’ –
But in a symbolic boost for Ukraine, the Ukrainian flag was raised on Snake Island, an rocky outcrop in the Black Sea, after Russia withdrew from the strategically important Ukrainian territory last week.

Moscow’s capture of Lysychansk — one week after the Ukrainian army also retreated from the neighbouring city of Severodonetsk — frees up Russian forces to advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in Donetsk.

Lugansk region governor Sergiy Gayday said on Telegram that there was still fighting in the town of Bilogorivka outside Lysychansk.

“We keep defending a small part of the Lugansk region so that our army could build protective redoubts,” he added.

In an address late Sunday, Zelensky vowed Kyiv would fight on and ensure the military had “the most modern weapons”.

“Ukraine will reach the level when the fire superiority of the occupiers will be levelled.”

In Sloviansk, about 75 kilometres (45 miles) west of Lysychansk, there were few people on the streets on Monday, the day after Russian strikes that left at least six dead, among them a nine-year-old girl, and 19 injured.

In the large downtown market largely ravaged by a fire caused by a Russian strike, a few vendors offered basic goods while others cleared charred debris.

Vendors and residents who spoke to AFP, some still in shock, expressed concern for the days and weeks to come, as sounds of shelling were heard again.

– ‘Task of democratic world’ –
The city of Siversk, 30 kilometres west of Lysychansk, also saw overnight shelling, residents and an official told AFP.

But Zelensky’s address Sunday evening was defiant, pointing to Ukrainian troops would “win back” territory in the Donbas just has they had in other regions earlier in the war.

On Monday, leaders from dozens of countries and international organisations were meeting in the Swiss city of Lugano, where they aim to hash out a roadmap for Ukraine’s reconstruction — expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Lugano is not a pledging conference but will instead attempt to lay out the principles and priorities for a rebuilding process aimed to begin even as the war rages.

The meeting is seen giving birth to a scheme along the lines of the “The Marshall Plan”, the US-devised giant economic rescue scheme to rebuild Europe after World War II.

In a video address to the conference that was attended in person by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Zelensky described rebuilding Ukraine as the “common task of the whole democratic world” and the “biggest contribution to the support of global peace.”

But for residents in Bucha — a Ukrainian town synonymous with war crimes blamed on Moscow’s forces after their retreat in April — fear remains even as talk begins of reconstruction.

“We’re going to bed without knowing if we’ll wake up tomorrow,” said Vera Semeniouk, 65.

“Everyone has come back, is starting to repair houses, many are putting in new windows. It would be terrible if it started again, and we had to leave everything again.”

DR Congo Declares End To Latest Ebola Outbreak

File Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP)

 

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo declared its latest Ebola outbreak over on Monday, the World Health Organization said, more than two months after the virus re-emerged in the country’s northwest.

Health authorities in the vast central African nation declared an epidemic on April 23 in Mbandaka, in the northwestern Equateur province.

There were four confirmed cases and one probable case — all of whom died, the WHO said on Monday.

The previous outbreak in the forested province, from June to November 2020, claimed 55 lives.

WHO’s regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement that the authorities reacted rapidly, limiting the spread of Ebola with a vaccination campaign four days after the start of the outbreak.

“Crucial lessons have been learned from past outbreaks and they have been applied to devise and deploy an ever more effective Ebola response”.

Ebola is an often-fatal viral haemorrhagic fever that was first identified in central Africa in 1976. The disease was named after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire.

Human transmission is through body fluids, with the main symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea.

The DRC’s latest outbreak marks the 14th since 1976, according to the WHO. Six of those outbreaks have occurred since 2018.

Gunmen Attack Police Checkpoint In Enugu, Kill Two Officers

Suspected terrorists abducted an unspecified number of traders travelling along the Kaduna- Birnin Gwari Road
A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Gunmen have reportedly attacked a police checkpoint, in Enugu state killing two officers in the process.

The attack is said to have happened on Thursday morning at Gariki, MTD area in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state capital.

The Enugu State Police PRO, Daniel Ndukwe, who confirmed the attack said he cannot specifically state if there were police casualties.

Eyewitnesses’ accounts said there was a gun duel between the policemen and the gunmen during the attack.

 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr Sworn In As Philippine President

New Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (L) takes the oath as president of the Philippines as his wife Louise (R) looks on, during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila on June 30, 2022.
Ted ALJIBE / AFP

 

 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr was sworn in as Philippine president on Thursday, completing a decades-long effort to restore the clan to the country’s highest office.

Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the country’s late dictator, took his oath in front of hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries as well as journalists and supporters at the National Museum in Manila.

Senate Delegation To Visit Ekweremadu, FG Hires Lawyers For His Defence

The Nigerian High Commission has engaged the services of lawyers in the UK to defend former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu when he appears in court next month.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan disclosed this after a closed-door session of the chamber on Wednesday.

“I had a personal engagement with our Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain, Alhaji Isola Sarafa, who has done so well to establish contact with our colleague, who has been able to get his team to be in the court at Uxbridge where Ekweremadu was taken to,” Lawan said in a statement issued after the closed-door session.

“The high Commission has also been able to provide some consular services that include the engagement of some lawyers who will defend our colleague.

“We commend them for giving attention to the issue at stake. Equally, the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister has been engaged here, so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes steps to provide diplomatic support for our colleague.

“Because this issue is already in court, we have limited opportunity to discuss beyond what we have done so far.

“But I want to ensure the family of our colleague, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and Nigerians, that the Senate will continue to engage with our ministry of foreign affairs as well as our high commission in London.

“The High Commission has done so much but we still expect that it will continue to provide any other further consular services.”

READ ALSO: Again, Lawyer Malcolm Omirhobo Appears In Lagos Court

He also noted that the Senate will send a delegation to the UK to visit the embattled Ekweremadu who, alongside his wife, has been remanded in custody by the UK Government on allegations of organ harvesting.

According to him, members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will be traveling to the UK in the next two days to meet with Senator Ekweremadu.

“There will be a delegation to London to see Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate will leave in the next two days for London for that purpose,” the statement added.

“I want to urge all federal government institutions that can do anything to ensure that justice prevails in this case, that they do so.”

Buhari Arrives In Portugal For United Nations Ocean Conference

President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed as he arrives in Portugal

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Portugal at the invitation of President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The President during his visit will attend the United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal.

The conference which began in Lisbon on Monday, June 27, and runs till July 1 is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal and supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The event aims to accelerate the adoption of science-based innovative solutions to challenges facing oceans and the global marine ecosystem.

Buhari To Attend United Nations Ocean Conference In Portugal

President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday be leaving Abuja for Portugal at the invitation of President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

President Buhari during his visit will attend the United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal.

The conference which began in Lisbon on Monday, June 27, and runs till July 1 is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal and supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The event aims to accelerate the adoption of science-based innovative solutions to challenges facing oceans and the global marine ecosystem.

President Buhari will also hold official talks with his Portuguese counterpart and be conferred with the country’s National Honour and decorated with the ‘Great Collar of the Order of Prince Henry.’

The two Presidents are expected to chair an enlarged bilateral meeting and witness the signing of some agreements bordering on issues of mutual concern.

President Buhari will also visit the Portuguese Parliament and hold discussions with its president, Dr Augusto Santo Silva, as well as the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa.

In the course of the visit, the President is scheduled to address a Forum of Nigerian and Portuguese businessmen and hold separate meetings with select Portuguese Chief Executive Officers and prospective investors in Nigeria.

The Nigerian leader is also expected to engage members of the Nigerian community in Portugal on matters affecting them and developments at home.

The President will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

Others are National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (Rtd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The President is expected back in Abuja on Saturday, July 2.

Zamfara Governor Cannot Instruct CP To Issue Gun Licences – General Irabor

 

The Chief of Defence Staff,  General Lucky Irabor, has stated that the Zamfara  governor, Bello Matawalle, lacks the powers to instruct the Commissioner of Police of the state to issue gun licences to the public

This comes off a directive contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Ibrahim Dosara, on Saturday, mandating individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against bandits.

But speaking in an interview at the Joint Exercise for the National Defence College and War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, code-named “Exercise Grand Nationale,” in Abuja on Monday, General Irabor expressed his disapproval at the measures taken by Governor Matawalle to secure his state against insurgency.

“I do not think that is the right way to go,” he said firmly. “The basis for asking citizens to bear arms; I am yet to know I believe that the Attorney General of the Federation will look at the constitution, what the laws say and what the powers of the Executive governor are to be able to do with this.”

READ ALSO: [Banditry] Individuals Now Allowed To Obtain Guns For Self-Defense – Zamfara Govt

The 56-year-old also faulted the directive asserting that the first citizen of Zanfara state failed to use the available resources at his disposal to mitigate the insecurity issues within his domain.

“If what I read is true, I do not think that the governor has the power to instruct the Commissioner of Police to issue licenses because the commissioner of police does not have the right to issue licenses,” Irabor said.

“There are other legal issues other issues of governance that the governor could have addressed using the instrumentalities of the law available to bring greater peace and security.”

Irabor also clarified the position of the Armed Forces in the current administration, adding that it was not subject to directives from the state governments.

“The armed forces are only an instrument of policy implementation,” the CDC added. “We do not take instructions from State Government, we have a Commander-In-Chief, and the constitution gives the right and the powers to the commander-in-chief.”

“So, we are there because we are there to give support to the civil authority, in this case, the police.

“We do not need to restate what the issues are that have led to the deployment of the military across the country but then like I said, we are doing the very best to ensure that peace returns to every part of the country,” he said.

Zelensky Asks G7 To Limit Price Of Russian Oil

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark's and Spain's Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022. Genya SAVILOV / AFP
File Photo of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky 
Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday asked the Group of Seven rich nations to further squeeze Russia over its invasion of Ukraine by capping the prices of oil exported by Moscow.

“For us, a consistent position of the G7 countries on sanctions is important. They must be further strengthened, by limiting the prices of oil exported by the aggressor,” Zelensky wrote on his Telegram account after addressing G7 leaders meeting in Germany via video link.

He added that “Ukraine feels the support of the G7 countries”.

“Thank you for the defence and financial aid given to our country in its fight against the Russian invasion,” he said.

A senior US official told reporters Monday that negotiations on how to cap the amount of money the Russians can get for their key oil exports were advancing.

The United States and Canada, which are far less reliant on Russia as an energy supplier than Europe, have banned all Russian oil imports.

Justice Tanko Muhammad Resigns As CJN

A file photo of Justice Tanko Muhammad.

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned, Channels Television learned on Monday.

Sources told Channels Television that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Information also has it that arrangements are ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

According to reports, a formal announcement will be made shortly.

Until his resignation, reports had it that Justice Muhammad was seriously ill.

Last week, 14 justices of the Supreme Court had written him a letter to lament the decrepit state of affairs in the apex court.

In the leaked letter, the Justices accused the CJN of refusing to address the issues despite drawing his attention to them.

They complained of a lack of residential accommodation and vehicles at the court.

The justices further accused the CJN of gallivanting with his “spouse, children and personal staff,” while not allowing them to travel with an assistant on foreign trips.

The justices decried the lack of legal research assistants, despite the magnitude of cases being adjudicated.

On erratic electricity supply, the justices said they have been confined to work between the “hours of 8 a.m and 4 p.m daily, for lack of diesel,” after they were notified of the development by the Supreme Court’s Chief Registrar, Hajo Bello.

Meanwhile, Justice Tanko Muhammed did not attend the opening of the training for Judges on Alternative Dispute Resolution organized by the National Judicial Institute, amidst reports of resignation.

Although no Supreme Court Justice is present at the event.

Training of Judges by the Institute is usually declared open by the CJN or any of his representatives. however, the Administrator of the Institute, Justice Garba has opened the session.