Venezuela: US Asks World Leaders To ‘Pick A Side’ Europeans To Recognise Guaido

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido

 

The United States on Saturday called on the world to “pick a side” on Venezuela and urged countries to financially disconnect from Nicolas Maduro’s government, while European powers signaled they were set to follow Washington in recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.

In heated back-and-forth exchanges at a United Nations Security Council meeting, the opposing camp led by Venezuela and Russia, which has invested heavily in Venezuela’s oil industry, accused Washington of attempting a coup, and lambasted Europeans’ demand that elections be called within eight days.

Guaido, who took the helm of the National Assembly on Jan. 5, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday. The United States, Canada and a string of Latin American countries recognized the young leader in quick succession. Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013 and has the support of the armed forces, has refused to stand down.

But on Saturday Guaido, 35, gained support from a key military official. Venezuela’s defense attache to Washington, Colonel Jose Luis Silva, told Reuters that he has broken with the Maduro government and recognized Guaido as interim president.

Speaking at the U.N. meeting, called by the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Maduro’s “socialist experiment” had caused the economy to collapse and reduced ordinary Venezuelans to rooting through dumpsters for food.

“Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. … Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem,” Pompeo told the council. “We call on all members of the Security Council to support Venezuela’s democratic transition and interim President Guaido’s role.”

Pompeo also called on the international community to disconnect their financial systems from Maduro’s government. Washington has signaled it was ready to step up economic measures to try to drive Maduro from power, but on Saturday Pompeo declined to elaborate on any such plans.

Iraq Sentences Europeans To Life For IS Membership

Iraqi Flag

 

An Iraqi court on Monday sentenced a French man and a German woman to life in prison in the latest punishments handed down for belonging to the Islamic State jihadist group.

Frenchman Lahcen Gueboudj, 58, and a German woman whose name was given only as Nadia were sentenced separately at the Baghdad central criminal court, according to an AFP journalist.

Nadia’s mother, a German woman of Moroccan origin, was sentenced to death in January for IS membership but the sentence was later commuted to life, which in Iraq is equivalent to 20 years.

The mother and daughter were arrested in July 2017 in Mosul, the jihadists’ former de-facto capital in Iraq where the government declared victory over IS in December last year.

Wearing a black abaya in court, Nadia said she travelled from Syria to Iraq “to run away from the people of IS”.

Speaking in German with a few Arabic words, she said she travelled to Syria from Turkey with her mother, her daughter Yamana and her mentally disabled sister who was killed in a bombardment.

Nadia’s lawyer stressed that she was a minor at the time and that her marriage to an IS jihadist in Syria was “not a decision taken by an adult in full conscience”.

The French defendant, meanwhile, refuted statements made during his interrogations.

“I signed confessions in Arabic without knowing what was written,” said Gueboudj, with short grey hair and stubble, wearing a brown prison uniform.

“I would never have left France, if my eldest son Nabil, 25-years-old, hadn’t gone to Syria,” he said in French.

“I wanted to convince him to return with us to France,” added Gueboudj.

The French citizen had travelled with his wife and children to Turkey before entering Syria, and later being arrested in Iraq.

AFP

EFCC Clamps Down On Former Governors, Politicians In South-South Nigeria

EFCC, NigeriaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria’s south-south zone has begun investigating some individuals in the area, including former governors.

The anti-graft agency says they are being investigated in matters of fraud and money laundering.

The South-south Zonal Head of the EFCC, Ishaq Salihu, made the disclosure to journalists on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He said those found wanting after the investigation would be charged appropriately.

Mr Salihu revealed that at least 50% of the one billion Naira recovered so far in the last 10 months was from politicians.

He added that among those that have been nabbed was an internet fraudster who defrauded Europeans and Americans, posing as the former Chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Larmode.

The EFCC zonal head also informed reporters of the case of a school certificate holder who had practiced for years as a senior lawyer.

Flying Eagles Coach, NFF Boss React To World Cup Exit

Flying EaglesThe elimination of the Flying Eagles from the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand with a 1-0 loss to German opponent has attracted different reactions from disappointed Nigerians.

Levin Oztunali’s first half goal at the Christchurch Stadium took Germany through to the last eight of the competition at the expense of the Nigerians.

Ultimately, the European side were deserved winners against the Group E runners-up, as the Africans were unable to create meaningful chances in the Thursday morning match.

Different Nigerians in some parts of the country expressed displeasure in an interview with Channels Television over the Flying Eagles’ performances.

Flying Eagles Head Coach, Manu Garba, attributed the loss to loss of concentration, which he said gave the Germans a chance to score.

The disappointed Coach further stressed that he believed his players had learnt a lot from the game and a big lesson in general from the tournament.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has applauded the Flying Eagles despite the defeat, noting that the positives should be considered in such cases.

The exit of the Flying Eagles has left Africa’s hope of winning the FIFA U20 World Cup on Mali and Senegal who have both qualified for the quarter finals.