2,000 Websites Hit By Cyberattacks In Georgia

 

Some 2,000 websites in Georgia, including those of the president, courts, and media came under a massive cyber attack on Monday, officials and media said.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili’s website was “attacked by hackers this afternoon,” her spokeswoman told AFP.

“Law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident,” Sopho Jajanashvili said.

Georgia’s Interpress news agency said that the website for Georgia’s general jurisdiction courts as well as websites of a number of government agencies, NGOs and media outlets were also hit by cyber attacks on Monday.

Up to 2,000 sites are believed to have been affected.

They displayed a photo of Georgia’s exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili with an inscription “I’ll be back!” Interpress said.

Saakashvili lives in a self-imposed exile in Ukraine after his second term as president ended in 2013.

The fervently pro-Western reformist former leader is wanted in Tbilisi on charges of abuse of power that he denies.

A number of former top officials from Saakashvili’s administration have been jailed after his party lost in 2012 parliamentary elections to the current ruling party, Georgian Dream, headed by oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Opposition parties and Georgia’s Western allies have denounced the prosecutions as a political witch hunt.

AFP

Georgia Passes Bill Ending First-Heartbeat Abortion

 

The governor of the southern US state of Georgia was expected to sign a bill banning abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected after legislators on Friday approved the text which Hollywood celebrities vowed to fight. 

Abortion is one of the most politically divisive issues in the United States and numerous states have tried to limit access to abortions.

Georgia’s lower house approved the “heartbeat bill” which prohibits abortions as soon as the first beats of the fetus are heard from six weeks something that happens when most mothers still don’t know they are pregnant.

“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, wrote in a statement congratulating legislators.

READ ALSO: Scientists Discover How Mosquitoes Detect Human Sweat

The country’s major human rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed a legal challenge.

“If Gov. Kemp signs this abortion ban bill into law, the ACLU has one message: we will see you in court,” said Andrea Young, ACLU’s executive director for Georgia.

Thirteen US states have studied or approved versions of the “heartbeat bill” this year.

Although judges in Kentucky and Iowa blocked such laws, the aim of those who promote the legislation is to reach the Supreme Court and reverse the right to abortion at the national level, according to Planned Parenthood, the largest organization supporting abortion rights.

The US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 with its decision in Roe v. Wade.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has named two justices to the Supreme Court who opposes abortion, leading activists who support abortion rights to fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Georgia is an important destination for film and television production, but dozens of Hollywood celebrities threatened to take their business elsewhere if the law takes effect.

“We will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women” if the bill is approved, said a letter to lawmakers signed by Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Mia Farrow and others.

AFP

 

Georgia’s First Female President Sworn In

Georgia’s new President Salome Zurabishvili attends her inauguration ceremony in Telavi on December 16, 2018. IRAKLI GEDENIDZE / POOL / AFP

 

Georgia on Sunday swore in its first female president, Salome Zurabishvili as opposition parties continue to denounce her election as fraudulent and demand snap parliamentary polls.

The inauguration paved the way for a new constitution to come into force, transforming the country into a parliamentary republic with a largely ceremonial president.

The event was held in the medieval town of Telavi in Georgia’s eastern winemaking region of Kakheti.

French-born Zurabishvili, 66, took the oath of office in the courtyard of an 18th-century manor that belonged to Georgia’s penultimate king Heraclius II.

“The goal of my presidency is to make Georgia’s democratic development and its path towards Europe irreversible,” she said in an inaugural speech.

“I will facilitate this process with the support of our strategic partner, the United States of America, and our European friends,” she said.

Opposition parties have refused to recognise Zurabishvili’s election and tried to hold a protest rally outside the royal residence.

But the plan was thwarted by police, who on Sunday morning blocked a kilometres-long opposition motorcade on a road leading from the capital Tbilisi to Telavi.

Pro-opposition Rustavi-2 TV channel reported that clashes briefly erupted between police officers and protesters as they tried to break through police ranks.

Election irregularities

Zurabishvili was elected as the ex-Soviet nation’s president last month.

She defeated Grigol Vashadze, the candidate of an 11-party opposition alliance led by exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

She was backed in the election by the ruling Georgian Dream party of Georgia’s ex-premier and billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest man, stepped down as prime minister in 2013 after just a year in office but is still widely believed to be Georgia’s de facto ruler. His critics accuse him of “state capture.”

Former French diplomat Zurabishvili has said her election was a step forward for women and a move closer to Europe.

But opposition parties have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, multiple voting, voter intimidation, and ballot-stuffing in the November 28 election.

On December 2, thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets in Tbilisi against the election result, demanding snap parliamentary polls.

Georgia’s leading rights groups denounced the electoral irregularities, which the US State Department said were “not consistent with the country’s commitment to fully fair and transparent elections.”

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that while the election was “competitive” and candidates campaigned freely, it was concerned over “the misuse of state resources” by the ruling party.

In what critics derided as “vote-buying” ahead of the election, Ivanishvili promised the government would drastically increase social spending and pledged to spend his own money to write off the bank loans of more than 600,000 people.

Daughter of refugees

Zurabishvili was born in France to a Georgian family who fled the Bolshevik regime to Paris in 1921.

She studied international relations at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Sciences before a 30-year career as a French diplomat, with postings to the United Nations, Washington and Chad.

Her career in French diplomacy culminated in a posting to Tbilisi, where then-president Saakashvili appointed her as foreign minister.

But Zurabishvili quickly made enemies in the ranks of the parliamentary majority, with MPs and a number of senior diplomats publicly accusing her of arrogance.

She was sacked in 2005 after a year on the job, though thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.

She then joined the opposition as a member of parliament and became one of Saakashvili’s fiercest critics.

In her book “A Woman for Two Countries”, published in France after her firing, she wrote: “Now, I have to engage in a political battle, which has never attracted me, which I never practised, which is being imposed on me.”

Zurabishvili will be Georgia’s last directly elected president as the country transitions to a parliamentary form of governance following a controversial constitutional reform.

The Caucasus country’s next president will be elected in 2024 by a 300-member electoral college.

Adopted in September 2017, the constitutional change was protested by all opposition parties which denounced it as favouring the ruling party.

AFP

Georgia Elects Salome Zurabishvili As First Woman President

Presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili addresses the media in Tbilisi on November 28, 2018. Georgia’s ruling party candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, was leading after voting closed Wednesday in a hotly contested presidential election, an exit poll showed, with the opposition already calling for protests over fraud. Vano SHLAMOV / AFP

 

Ex-diplomat Salome Zurabishvili hailed her election as Georgia’s first woman president on Thursday but opposition leaders denounced the result as fraud and called for protests.

With all votes counted, the country’s election commission said the French-born Zurabishvili, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had taken 59.52 per cent of the second-round vote.

Her rival Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), took 40.48 per cent.

Zurabishvili said her election was a step forward for women and a move closer to Europe for the ex-Soviet republic.

“It is now important to show that this country has chosen Europe,” she told journalists after her win. “For that purpose, Georgians have elected a European woman president.”

“It feels great,” she said, pointing out that she was one of a small number of women presidents in the world.

But opposition leaders — who have accused authorities of vote-buying and ballot stuffing — refused to accept the result.

“We do not recognise the election results, we demand the holding of snap parliamentary polls,” Vashadze said in televised remarks, calling for “a mass peaceful demonstration” in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday.

The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as it seeks European Union and NATO membership.

It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020 when Georgian Dream is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.

The party is the creation of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, who many see as the small country’s de facto ruler.

Flamboyant ex-president Saakashvili, who lives in exile in the Netherlands, claimed “mass electoral fraud” even before official results were released.

“The oligarch has stamped out Georgian democracy and the institutions of elections,” he said on the pro-opposition Rustavi-2 television channel, referring to Ivanishvili.

“I urge Georgians to defend our freedom, democracy and the law. I call on you to start mass peaceful rallies and demand snap parliamentary polls.”

International observers said there were problems with the election but that overall it had been “competitive”.

 Increasing Tensions 

“The election was competitive and candidates were able to campaign freely, however one side enjoyed an undue advantage,” monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a report after the vote.

The elections were “well administered”, they said, but raised concerns about misuse of administrative resources that “blurred the line between party and state”.

Tensions increased ahead of the second round, as the opposition accused the government of voter intimidation and claimed that ruling party activists had attacked Vashadze campaign staff.

Zurabishvili, in turn, said she and her children had received death threats through text and voice messages from people affiliated with the UNM.

Vashadze, a 60-year-old career diplomat, had criticised Ivanishvili’s “informal oligarch rule” amid growing discontent over the government’s failure to tackle poverty.

The vote was Georgia’s last direct leadership poll as it transitions to a parliamentary form of governance. The first round of the presidential election on October 28 saw Zurabishvili take 39 per cent of the vote, against 38 per cent for Vashadze.

Street protests against the results could spark concern for the country, which has seen civil wars, mass demonstrations and unrest since gaining its independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union.

A smooth presidential transition, however, would be welcomed by many as a sign of stability in Georgia, which is emerging as a tourism hotspot and hopes for more foreign investment.

 Daughter of refugees 

Zurabishvili, a 66-year-old independent lawmaker, is the daughter of refugees who fled Georgia in 1921 for Paris after the country’s annexation by the Red Army.

Her career in France’s foreign service culminated in a posting to Tbilisi, where then-president Saakashvili appointed her foreign minister.

But Zurabishvili quickly made enemies among the parliamentary majority, with MPs and some senior diplomats accusing her of arrogance and impulsiveness.

When she was sacked after a year in the job, thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.

On Thursday morning she received blessings from the influential head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, and was later seen by passersby sipping coffee with her children on a sunny terrace in central Tbilisi.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement that Paris was looking forward to working with Zurabishvili “to further strengthen” relations.

AFP

Salome Zurabishvili Elected As Georgia’s First Woman President

Presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili addresses the media in Tbilisi on November 28, 2018. Georgia’s ruling party candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, was leading after voting closed Wednesday in a hotly contested presidential election, an exit poll showed, with the opposition already calling for protests over fraud. Vano SHLAMOV / AFP

Georgia has elected ruling party candidate Salome Zurabishvili as its first woman president, final results showed on Thursday, but the opposition claimed fraud.

With all votes counted, the French-born ex-diplomat had taken 59.52 percent of the vote in on Wednesday’s second round run-off, the election commission said.

Her rival Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), won 40.48 percent.

The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as the Caucasus nation seeks European Union and NATO membership.

It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020 when the ruling Georgian Dream party is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.

Georgian Dream — the creation of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili who many see as the country’s de facto ruler — backed Zurabishvili in the presidential vote.

Ivanishvili’s great rival, the flamboyant ex-president Saakashvili, claimed “mass electoral fraud” even before official results were released.

“The oligarch has stamped out Georgian democracy and the institutions of elections,” he said on the pro-opposition Rustavi-2 television channel, referring to Ivanishvili.

“I urge Georgians to defend our freedom, democracy, and the law. I call on you to start mass peaceful rallies and demand snap parliamentary polls.”

Saakashvili swept to power in 2004 in a mass protest movement known as the Rose Revolution but, after a disastrous 2008 war with Russia, fled the country in 2013 and has since been stripped of his citizenship.

He was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison for abuse of office, charges he rejects as politically motivated. He now lives in the Netherlands.

Tensions increased ahead of the second round as the opposition accused the government of voter intimidation and claimed that ruling party activists had attacked Vashadze campaign staff.

Zurabishvili, in turn, said she and her children had received death threats through text and voice messages from people affiliated with the UNM.

Rights groups have accused government officials of vote-buying on a “widespread” and “unprecedented” scale and of election fraud, including through the alleged printing of fake ID cards.

Opposition supporters will be watching for reports from foreign election monitors, including from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to see if their claims of voter fraud are supported.

OSCE observers were to hold a press conference in Tbilisi later Thursday.

Street protests against the results could shake the small ex-Soviet republic, which has seen civil wars, mass demonstrations, and unrest since gaining its independence in 1991 on the break-up of the Soviet Union.

A smooth presidential transition, however, would be welcomed by many as a sign of stability in Georgia, which is emerging as a tourism hotspot and hopes for more foreign investment.

Daughter of refugees 

Zurabishvili, a 66-year-old independent lawmaker, is the daughter of refugees who fled Georgia in 1921 for Paris after the country’s annexation by the Red Army.

Her career in France’s foreign service culminated in a posting to Tbilisi, where then-president Saakashvili appointed her foreign minister.

But Zurabishvili quickly made enemies among the parliamentary majority, with MPs and some senior diplomats accusing her of arrogance and impulsiveness.

When she was sacked after a year in the job, thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.

Vashadze, a 60-year-old career diplomat, had criticized Ivanishvili’s “informal oligarch rule” amid growing discontent over the government’s failure to tackle poverty.

The vote was Georgia’s last direct leadership poll as it transitions to a parliamentary form of governance.

The first round on October 28 saw Zurabishvili take 39 percent of the vote, against 38 percent for Vashadze.

More than 3.5 million people were eligible to vote in the election and turnout was 56.23 percent.

AFP

Hurricane Florence: Georgia Declares State Of Emergency

 

Georgia declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as forecasters warned of torrential rain in the southern state after Hurricane Florence slams into the Carolinas with what an emergency management official called the force of a “Mike Tyson punch.”

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said meanwhile that Florence’s maximum sustained winds had eased slightly and it had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm from a Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

The NHC stressed, however, that while a slow weakening is expected over the next 24 hours “Florence is still forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the US coast late Thursday and Friday.”

As Florence churned across the Atlantic packing winds of 125 miles per hour (205 kph), President Donald Trump and state officials stepped up appeals to residents in the path of the monster storm to evacuate before it is too late.

“Get out of its way, don’t play games with it, it’s a big one, maybe as big as they’ve seen,” Trump said. “We’ll handle it. We’re ready, we’re able.

“But despite that, bad things can happen when you are talking about a storm this size,” he added.

Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.

Florence is forecast to dump up to three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina.

“This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding,” the NHC said.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) were also forecast in some areas of North Carolina along with the possibility of tornadoes.

“This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast,” said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“This is not going to be a glancing blow,” Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

Riding out the storm

At 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), the eye of the storm was 435 miles (700 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

The storm was heading for the coast of North and South Carolina but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency “in light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall.”

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety,” Deal said. “I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas.”

A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

People fleeing coastal North and South Carolina clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted to the south.

“If I need to evacuate I can go to my son’s house” in North Carolina, Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his car.

“He was thinking of coming here until this morning, and now he asked me if I wanted to come up there,” he said.

Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston.

“I rode out Hugo,” Miller said of a 1989 hurricane that caused widespread damage. “The water level will get a little high but we’ll be fine.

“Hugo was a direct hit,” he said. “I was in the same house and it stood fine.”

‘Disaster is at the doorstep’

In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.

“Everything is packed,” Espinoza said. “I want to get them as far away as possible.

“I’ve been through hurricanes before but never with kids,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have minded staying here.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a “once in a lifetime” storm.

“Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in,” Cooper said. “If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely.”

South Carolina ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

Florence is being trailed in the Atlantic by two other storms — Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.

Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

AFP

Ex-Georgia Leader, Saakashvili Jailed For Abusing Power

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (L) and his wife Sandra Roelofs Saakashvili attend his appeal hearing at a courthouse in Kiev on January 3, 2018. PHOTO: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

A court in Georgia sentenced on Friday the country’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili to three years in prison in absentia for abusing his power. 

Saakashvili, who was president from 2004 to 2013, was found guilty of illegally pardoning four men who were convicted of the high profile murder of Georgian banker Sandro Girgvliani in 2006.

Girgvliani was found dead outside of the capital Tbilisi with multiple injuries after arguing in a bar with high-ranking interior ministry officials.

According to the judge, Saakashvili promised the then chief of Georgia’s Constitutional Security Department to give the men pardons.

Saakashvili, who is now a politician in Ukraine, has called the case politically motivated and questioned the independence of the court.

AFP

Istanbul Bombing Organiser Possibly Killed In Georgia

istanbul

A Chechen warlord suspected of organising the 2016 suicide bombing at Istanbul’s airport may be among those killed last week during a counter-terror operation in Tbilisi, Georgia said Monday.

“We suspect that maybe it’s (Akhmed) Chatayev,” the spokeswoman for Georgia’s security service, Nino Giorgobiani, told AFP.

Media reports had already suggested that the one-armed leader of an Islamic State group cell in Istanbul was killed during Wednesday’s operation on the outskirts of the Georgian capital.

“We can only give a definitive answer after experts conclude their work,” Giorgobiani said, adding that “the relevant United States agencies joined in with the investigation.”

Authorities said one suspected member of a “terrorist group” was arrested and three more were killed on Wednesday during the operation in Tbilisi’s suburban Isani district.

Georgia’s security service has said it was working to identify the group, with the help of international counter-terrorism organisations.

In an earlier statement, Giorgobiani said that the three men “refused to surrender, opened fire with automatic rifles and threw hand grenades at counter-terrorist units,” killing one serviceman and wounding four others.

Turkish media have identified Chatayev as the organiser of the June 2016 triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s main airport in which forty-seven people were killed and 200 wounded.

Forty-six suspects went on trial in connection with the case earlier this month. The three bombers are believed to be from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and entered Turkey from Syria’s Raqa, IS’s de-facto capital at the time.

Chatayev, who reportedly found accommodation for the bombers, was in 2015 put on a terror blacklist by the US Treasury and the UN Security Council for his allegiance to IS and Al-Qaeda.

Georgia has no recent history of major terror attacks.

Some 50 Georgians are believed to be fighting alongside IS extremists in Syria and Iraq, officials have said.

Most are ethnic Chechen Muslim minority residents of the Pankisi valley in the country’s northeast, which has developed a reputation as a jihadist hotbed.

Trump Offers Support As Storm Hits U.S State, Georgia

Trump Offers Support As Storm Hits U.S State, GeorgiaSevere weather has killed 11 people and injured 23 in the US state of Georgia, emergency officials say.

Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in seven counties in south-central Georgia.

“I urge all Georgians to exercise caution and vigilance in order to remain safe and prevent further loss of life or injuries,” Deal said in a news release.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency said the 11 victims were in the southern Cook, Brooks and Berrien counties.

More storms and a “tornado outbreak” are expected in northern Florida and southern Georgia, the National Weather Service says.

Four people were killed by tornadoes in Mississippi on Saturday.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has pledged federal assistance for Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Trump said during a White House ceremony that he had spoken to Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal and planned to speak with Florida Governor, Rick Scott about the storms.

Trump said he expressed his condolences.

“The tornadoes were vicious and powerful and strong and they suffered greatly,” he said. “So we’ll be helping out.”

Nigeria’s Trade Minister Explains Government’s Move To Diversify Economy

Okechukwu_Enelama_Minister_of_tradeThe Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelama, on Tuesday said the federal government is following the guidelines of the policies around sectors with “comparative or relative advantage” to diversify the economy.

“These sectors range from agro-processing, where we are making sure that all the input materials, be they capital equipment or raw materials, have concessions.

“The only thing is that the concessions were abused in the past. So the work right now is to make sure that the genuine ones get it and that’s an important difference,” he said while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme.

He further said that as these policies were implemented with more rigour, discipline and clarity, “you will create a better economy going forward”.

The Minister also stated that the President had directed that a Presidential Business Environment Enabling Council, Chaired by the Vice President, should be set up. The Council will focus majorly on Ease of Doing Business and making Nigeria more attractive.

He noted that “Nigeria has been sliding in terms of the Ease of Doing Business Index of the World Bank to the point where we are rated 169 out of a little over 180 countries”, promising that this administration will reverse the trend.

“But there are specific things to do, which we are doing, and those things will lead to a difference. There is a Presidential Council, which is inter-ministerial and we are meeting on it and we are going to use the National Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) as a secretariat and I am confident you will see the results.

“We are going to work with the private sector. We have identified a private sector lead that will be announced soon that is going to be the head of this whole Ease of Business Enabling Environment Forum.

“We have identified someone who led it in another country; Georgia, who is the former Prime Minister, who has come to help us,” he explained, insisting that “there are several things that we have done, which when we roll out, I am confident we will get the results”.

He noted that the government would improve by 20 points after a year and move to within the top 100 at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s term in 2019.

He expressed strong belief that if the country should focus on bettering the Ease of Doing Business, things will change for the better. He, however, noted that it was a process and urged Nigerians to be patient, as there were so many challenges to be addressed.

Fixing The Airports

The Minister further noted that the government was giving priority to giving the country’s airports a better look.

“Our commitment to you is that you are going to see it all rolled out over the next few weeks. The entry process is one plank of what we are doing, in terms of visas, arrival and departure experience. All that will change for the better,” he said.

The Minister, however, pointed out that the time frame should not be of importance.

“The important thing is that it should be done. What is worth doing is worth doing well and that is what we are doing,” he added.

US Election: Clinton, Trump Win More States

ClintonIt seems democrat Hillary Clinton, and republican Donald Trump may both emerge as their party’s candidates soon, as both have won the most states in Super Tuesday vote.

Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia were among the states where both triumphed.

Mr Trump was defeated by his closest opponent, Ted Cruz in Texas and Oklahoma.

Democrat Bernie Sanders won four, including his home state of Vermont.

Super Tuesday sees 11 states voting on the biggest single day ahead of the November 8 presidential election.Donald Trump

In her victory speech, Mrs Clinton seemed to already be looking towards a potential presidential race against Donald Trump, saying: “the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we are hearing on the other side has never been lower.”

Donald trump, on his part, insisted that he was a “unifier” who can put internal fighting in the Republican Party behind him to focus on a general election race against Mrs Clinton.

ICC To Probe Possible War Crimes In Russia-Georgia Conflict

icc on war crimesThe International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to investigate Russian and Georgian forces over possible war crimes.

The investigation relates to a five-day conflict in 2008 centred on South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia.

ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said she has evidence suggesting South Ossetian forces killed up to 113 ethnic Georgian civilians, and both sides killed peacekeepers.

She also said Russian forces may have participated in the killing of civilians.

The war began with an operation by Georgia, which hoped to seize back South Ossetia. But Russian troops quickly retook the area and pushed deeper into Georgian territory, stopping short of the capital, Tbilisi.