French Ex-President Sarkozy To Face Campaign Finance Trial In March

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 21, 2019 Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech as he attends the conference marking the fiftieth anniversary of the election of Georges Pompidou to the Presidency of the French Republic: “With Georges Pompidou, think France: inheritances and perspectives” in Paris. Thomas SAMSON / AFP.


Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial in March on charges of campaign finance violations during his failed 2012 re-election bid, prosecutors said Thursday.

Sarkozy, who already faces a separate trial for corruption involving a judge, is accused of spending nearly double the legal campaign spending limit of 22.5 million euros ($26.6 million).

The trial was ordered last year after his lawyers failed with legal manoeuvres to avoid prosecution. If convicted he risks a one-year prison sentence.

Investigators claim that Sarkozy’s campaign used fake invoices to get around the campaign spending limits.

But Sarkozy, 65, has claimed he was unaware of a fraud he says was orchestrated by executives at the public relations firm Bygmalion.

Thirteen other people, including a number of Bygmalion executives, have also been charged in the case, scheduled to run from March 17 to April 15.

In October, Sarkozy will become the country’s first former head of state to stand trial on corruption charges, in a case where he is accused of trying to secure classified information from a judge.

Prosecutors say he offered to help the judge obtain a cushy post in Monaco in exchange for the information, leading to charges of corruption and influence peddling.

Sarkozy has been charged over accusations by former members of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime that he accepted millions from the slain Libyan dictator, some of it delivered in cash-stuffed suitcases, for his first presidential campaign in 2007.

He is appealing the charge, and a hearing is expected this month.

Despite his legal woes, Sarkozy is currently enjoying a surge in sales for his latest memoirs, “The Time of Storms,” which recounts the first two years of his presidency.


Egypt To Hold Presidential Election In March

Egyptians will head to the polls on March 26-28 in the first round of a presidential election, National Elections Authority Chief Lasheen Ibrahim said on Monday.

A second round would be held on April 24-26 if required, he told a news conference in Cairo.

Ibrahim said the commission would accept applications from presidential hopefuls between January 20 and 29.

“The provisional list of candidates and the numbers of their supporters will be published” in state-run newspapers Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar on January 31, he said.

Egyptians living abroad are scheduled to cast their votes on March 16-18, and if a second round is held, they would vote again on April 19-21, he added.

The incumbent, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is widely expected to run for re-election and win in the first round.

Sisi, a former army chief, was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military’s ouster of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi amid mass protests against his year-long rule.


Brazil Zika Cases Raise Concern Of Virus Transmission Beyond Mosquitoes

ZikaTwo cases of Zika being transmitted through blood transfusions were reported in Brazil on Thursday, adding to concerns over the virus that has been linked to severe birth defects and is typically spread through mosquito bites.

The disclosure of the blood transfusion cases in the industrial city of Campinas near Sao Paulo came two days after Texas authorities said a person became infected through sex. Concern over the virus is mounting as Brazil prepares to host the Olympic Games in August, with tens of thousands of athletes and tourists anticipated.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which has caused outbreaks in at least 26 countries in the Americas. Brazil researchers hope to develop a treatment that could be tested in humans in a year.

Dr. Marcelo Addas Carvalho, director of the blood center at the University of Campinas, said genetic testing confirmed that a man who received a blood transfusion from a Zika-infected man in March 2015 became infected with the virus, although he did not develop symptoms.

Another man, who had suffered gunshot wounds, became infected with Zika after receiving multiple blood transfusions that included blood donated by an infected person in April 2015, Carvalho said.

Carvalho said that infection probably was caused by the transfusion but genetic tests have not yet been conducted to confirm it. He said it was very unlikely the infection was caused by a mosquito bite because the patient was in a hospital intensive care unit for three months.

The patient later died from his gunshot wounds and not the Zika infection, health officials and Carvalho said.

Tunisia Launches Security Clampdown After Attack

tunisiaA day after a deadly attack at a beach resort in Tunisia, the government has deployed extra security to tourist sites and vowed to close down mosques accused of inciting violence.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister, Habib Essid, said army reservists would be deployed to archaeological sites and resorts.

He also said that about 80 mosques accused of “spreading venom” will close within a week.

Yesterday, a gunman went on rampage at a holiday resort, killing 38 people.

Authorities said most of the victims in the attack near Sousse were Britons.

It was also recorded that the suspected gunman was later shot dead.

According to Media reports, the health ministry said, eight Britons, one Belgian and one German had so far been identified among the dead.

One citizen of the Irish Republic has also been confirmed dead.

It was the second major attack on tourists in Tunisia since March, when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreigners, at Bardo museum in Tunis.

Court Suspends Proceedings Of Suit Challenging Use OF Card Reader

card readerA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an order of stay of proceedings in a suit challenging the plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the electronic card reader machine in Nigeria’s forthcoming general elections.

The trail judge, Justice A‎deniyi Ademola, said the order of stay of proceedings is to subsist pending the determination of an appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some other defendants challenging a March 13 ruling of the court.

The APC had appealed against the decision of Justice Ademola abridging the time within which parties are to respond to the suit.

‎Apart from the APC, other respondents in the suit are the Civil Empowerment and Rule of Law Support Initiative and the Fiscal and Civil Rights Enlightenment Foundation.

Justice Ademola held that it was appropriate to grant the order of stay of proceedings since the APC, through its counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, had shown proof that it had filed its appeal and application for stay of proceedings before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on March 2 refused an application brought by four registered political parties, seeking to restrain the electoral commission from using the Smart Card Reader in the conduct of the general elections.

The United Democratic Party, Action Alliance, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria and Alliance for Democracy filed the suit.

The parties, through their counsel Alex Iziyon, told the court that the proposed use of the card reader was contrary to the provisions of the constitution, as well as the amended 2010 Electoral Act.

In the suit, the political parties challenged the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to introduce a process not specifically provided for in the constitution, as it prepares for the rescheduled polls.

APC Marching For Corruption In Lagos – Adeyeye

adeyeyeThe Minister of State for Works, Dayo Adeyeye, has described the one-million-man march held in Lagos on Saturday by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as shameful.

In a statement issued on Saturday and made available to pressmen in Ado Ekiti, the Minister said that the march was in support of corruption and the massive looting of Lagos State by the APC leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.

According to Adeyeye, “What the APC demonstrated was that they don’t care about the feelings of the people.

“The APC should defend the allegations of converting almost all the landed properties in Lagos to his personal use and monumental looting of the state by Tinubu rather than embarking on a show of support for corruption in the name of one-million-man march.

“The APC and its leaders needed to seek forgiveness from God for stealing Lagos State blind,” he said.

Adeyeye, who noted that Tinubu became stupendously rich at the expense of Lagos State tax payers, added that it was an insult for anyone to be matching in support of a “corruption personified individual” like Tinubu.

“This is shameful and Nigerians should note that handing over the country to Tinubu and his cabal will be tantamount to auctioning the country at the World Trade Centre,” the Minister said.

U.S. Jobless Claims Hover Near Pre-recession Levels

Corporate recruiters gesture and shake hands as they talk with job seekers at a Hire Our Heroes job fair targeting unemployed military veterans and sponsored by the Cable Show, a cable television industry trade show in WashingtonNew applications for unemployment benefits held near their pre-recession levels last week, offering further evidence of the economy’s underlying strength.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week ended April 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. They stayed close to a 6-1/2 year low touched the prior week.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 315,000.

U.S. Treasury yields hit session highs on the data, while stock index futures and the dollar were little changed.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,750 to 312,000, the lowest level since October 2007.

A Labor Department analyst said no states were estimated and there were no special factors influencing the state level data.

The claims data covered the survey week for April nonfarm payrolls. Despite last week’s increase, claims were down 19,000 between the March and April survey periods, which suggests an acceleration in job growth.

Job growth averaged about 195,000 per month in February and March, with the unemployment rate holding at near a five-year low of 6.7 percent over that period.

Labor market indicators such as job openings, the duration of unemployment and short-term unemployment, suggest some tightening in conditions.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen said it was “quite plausible” the economy would be back to near full employment by the end of 2016.

The economy is gaining traction after being held down by an unusually cold and snowy winter. Retail sales and industrial production have been robust. Employment has picked up and there is a bit of inflation in the economy.

The health of the labor market will most likely determine when the U.S. central bank will start raising benchmark interest rates, which it has kept near zero since December 2008.

The Fed is expected to conclude its monthly bond buying program later this year and most economists expect the first rate hike will be in the second half of 2015.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 11,000 to 2.74 million in the week ended April 5. That was the lowest level since December 2007.

Weekend Continental Battles For Four NPFL Clubs

Kano Pillars, Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Heartland FC will aiming to do Nigeria their fatherland proud this weekend and they march unto continental terrains to do battle on the field of play with fellow African clubs and hopefully sing victory songs at the end of 90 minutes.

Looking to book a place in the next round of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, Kano Pillars whose preparation to host and clamp down Ac Leopards on Saturday is in top gea as a call back has been extended to their main players who were in the Super Eagles camp ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers and they have reported back to the club side to aid the rest of the team against the AC Leopards.

The case is different for Ranger international, The Coach Emordi-led side will be leaving the shores of Nigeria for Burrundi where they will be locking horns with Vital’O for the first leg of the first round in the CAF Champions League on Sunday and the coach is full of so much believe and assurance that Rangers will come home with a wonderful score line in their favour even though Emordi will be making the Burundi trip without some of his key players presently in the Super Eagles camp.

Also Heartland FC will be hosting US Bitam from Gabon in Owerri at Dan Anyiam Stadium on Sunday and particular reference had to be placed on this team US Bitam of Gabon, because it was the Gabon club that actually walloped Sao Tome and Principe club Desportivo de Guadalupe in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup by 17 goals. Heartland FC will definitely be on their guards as they would not want to be carting home so many goals after the Sunday clash.

Lobi Stars will also be taking on Liga Muculmana de Maputo and it has reached out to the players who were in the Super Eagles camp to come join up with their teammates so they can cheer each other to victory come Sunday in Bauchi.