Kerry Says Only America Is Helping Nigeria To Find Kidnapped Girls

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a news conference at the APEC ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali islandThe U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, says that despite help on the ground from Britain, France and Israel, the United States is alone in helping Nigeria locate more than 200 school girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram Islamists.

Mr. Kerry was speaking during a dinner at the State Department on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the US Diplomats Corps.

With 80 military personnel sent to neighboring Chad for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the United States is the biggest foreign participant in the effort against the militant group, Boko Haram.

Washington has also deployed surveillance drones, spy planes and about 30 civilian and military specialists to support Nigeria’s security forces.

Terrorism In Nigeria Is An Internal, External Problem – Uduaghan

The Gvlcsnap-2014-05-08-07h56m59s81overnor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said the security challenges in the country has become an internal and external problem.

Governor Uduaghan said before the abduction of the Chibok girls, there had been various ethnic and religious crisis affecting the nation but “the Chibok abduction became the high point of concern”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily live from Abuja, Governor Uduaghan urged Nigerians to stand solidly behind President Goodluck Jonathan to give him all the supports that he needs in dealing with the issues of terrorism.

He also expressed his delight on the supports from international countries such as US, France, UK amongst others in the fight against terrorism and finding the abducted Chibok girls.

Speaking on curtailing fights between cattle herdsmen and farmers in Delta state, Gov. Uduaghan said he has been able to mobilize the traditional rulers to meet with their communities in order to stop these attacks on farmers; he stressed the need for communities and village heads to hold regular meetings and look into issues affecting the communities.

He also stressed the need for state police, adding that the involvement of state police and the “locals” will reduce certain attacks; he said that a committee has been set up headed by the Commissioner of Police of the state and other security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

Gov. Uduaghan also spoke on the recent committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in search of the Chibok girls, “a lot is being done by the President Goodluck Jonathan and the committee that was set up two days ago is working on it” he added that terrorism is an issue affecting the country and has made Nigerians lose confidence in the government.

He advised the government especially the Borno State government  to win the trust of the “locals” to gain adequate information from them.

Malaysian Plane Search In 44th Day, Sea Bed Scans Could End In days

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 entered its 44th day on Sunday as Australian search officials said a crucial series of sonar scans of the Indian Ocean floor could be completed within a week.Handout of the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Artemis participating in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

The air, surface and underwater search is now focused on footage taken by a U.S. Navy deep sea drone, which has narrowed its target range to a tight 10-km (6.2-mile) circle of sea floor.

The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has spent the past week scouring the remote and largely unmapped stretch of ocean floor some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) northwest of the Australian city of Perth for signs of the plane, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The remote controlled submarine is now in its eighth deep sea mission with no sign of wreckage so far. The drone has searched about half its targeted area, the authorities said on Sunday.

The Malaysian government has said the search is at a “very critical juncture” and asked for prayers for its success. Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has also said the government may consider using more AUVs in the search.

After almost two months without a sign of wreckage, the current underwater search is centered on an area where one of four acoustic signals believed to be from the plane’s black box recorders was detected on April 8.

Weeks of daily sorties have failed to turn up any trace of the plane, even after narrowing the search to an arc in the southern Indian Ocean, making this the most expensive such operation in aviation history.

Hopes for further black box signals are fast diminishing, since the black box batteries are now two weeks past their 30-day expected life span, search officials have said.

But while the Bluefin-21’s target range has narrowed, the air and surface search continues unabated, with daily sorties a week after Australian search coordinator retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the air and surface component of the search would end within three days.

On Sunday, up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will help with the search, covering a total of roughly 48,507 square km (18,729 sq miles) across two areas, the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.

U.S. In Nod To Tokyo, To Send More Ships To Japan, Prods China

The United States moved on Sunday to reassure Tokyo over its mounting security concerns, saying it would send more missile defense ships to Japan following North Korean launches and use a high level trip to warn China against abusing its “great power.”U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera attend their joint news conference in Tokyo

Japan has watched with alarm in recent weeks as North Korea carried out a series of missile launches, including firing two medium-range missiles capable of hitting the U.S. ally.

Tokyo has also voiced growing anxiety over China’s military buildup and increasingly assertive behavior in a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017. It was a response, he said, to provocations from the North, which has also threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test.

The announcement followed other steps taken by the Pentagon to bolster its military posture in Japan, including an October decision to position a second X-band missile defense radar there. That radar is expected to be operational this year.

“These steps will greatly enhance our ability to defend both Japan and the U.S. homeland from North Korean ballistic missile threats,” Hagel told reporters at Japan’s defense ministry.

Narushige Michishita, associate professor and security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, said the moves were “part of the U.S. attempt to bolster reassurances vis-à-vis Japan.”

It also fits within the context of broader American efforts to bolster its military presence in the region, part of a strategic “rebalance” or “pivot” toward Asia that President Barack Obama will emphasize during his trip this month to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“GREAT POWER”

As Washington pivots, China has been ramping up military spending, building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles and testing emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air — technologies the Pentagon says appear designed to counter U.S. military capabilities.

China is also becoming more assertive in territorial disputes, including last year declaring an air defense identification zone covering disputed, Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea.

Hagel, who leaves for Beijing on Monday, called China a great power, but used unusually strong language about how nations should wield such power, saying they must not resort to coercion or intimidation. That, he warned, could trigger conflict.

“Great powers have great responsibilities. And China is a great power,” Hagel said, adding he wanted to talk with China about its use of military power and encourage transparency.

In remarks almost certainly meant to reassure Japan, a treaty ally that the United States has pledged to defend, Hagel pointed to the example of Russia’s annexation of Crimea as the kind of action that would not be tolerated.

“You cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and the sovereignty of nations by force, coercion or intimidation, whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific, or in large nations in Europe,” he said.
Japan has drawn parallels between Russia’s actions in Crimea and what it sees as China’s challenge to the status quo in the East China Sea.

Hagel hosted talks last week with Southeast Asian defense ministers in Hawaii, where he also warned of growing U.S. concern about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The U.S. State Department has accused China’s coastguard of harassing Philippine vessels and called its attempt a week ago to block a Philippine resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed atoll, provocative and destabilizing.

“Something else … that I will be talking with the Chinese about is respect for their neighbors. Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict,” he said.

“All nations, all people deserve respect.”

U.S. Sending 175 Marines To Romania As Part of Africa Crisis Team

us-sending-175-marines-to-romania-amid-ukraine-crisisThe Pentagon said on Wednesday that it was bolstering the size of its Europe-based African crisis response force to 675 Marines, sending 175 new troops to a Romanian base near the Black Sea at a time of tensions over Russia’s annexation of part of Ukraine.

The Marines will be part of a team headquartered in Moron, Spain, and primarily meant for operations in Africa, although they can be sent anywhere, a Pentagon spokesman said. The decision to base the additional Marines in Romania was made last year before the current crisis, he said.

But it came on the heels of news on Tuesday that General Philip Breedlove, the top U.S. officer in Europe, is considering moving a U.S. warship into the Black Sea in the coming days to reassure NATO allies and exercise with partners.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the department was looking at sending a ship to the Black Sea. He did not rule out exercises with the Ukrainian navy, but added the ship’s schedule of activities was still being decided.

“This is to reassure our allies of our commitment to the region. … It is a direct result of the current situation in Ukraine,” Warren told reporters.

Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant defense secretary for nuclear and missile defense policy, told a Senate subcommittee hearing that U.S. officials were in close touch with European allies in NATO about possible “military options for strengthening the collective defense.” She declined to give details.

Warren said the decision to send 175 Marines to Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in Romania, near the Black Sea port of Constanta, was made before Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula last month.

Some 265 Marines are already stationed at the Romanian base as part of a Black Sea Rotational Force that conducts training and other efforts to help build the military capacity of partners in the region.

Other U.S. forces also are stationed at the Romanian base, which is taking over as a transit hub for equipment being flown in and out of Afghanistan following the decision to close the transit center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan this summer.

To accommodate the additional Marines, U.S. officials in Romania sought and received permission from the government to have up to 600 Marines in the country at any given time, Warren said.

He said the intent was to maintain the Black Sea Rotational Force of about 300 Marines, and 175 Marines for the crisis response force, plus some “head room” for additional personnel when troops who are rotating into the country overlap with those departing. The Black Sea Force is due to rotate soon, he said.

The 175 additional Marines being sent to Romania will be coming from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and will be attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response, which was created following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“This … is frankly not linked to the current situation in Ukraine,” Warren said. “They belong to Africom (U.S. Africa Command) and the purpose of them is to be able to respond to crises, really throughout the region.”

The new Marines will expand the size of the crisis response force to 675 from 500.

Analyst Sees Looming Cold War In Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Bola Akinterinwa ProfessorThe disagreement between Russia and Ukraine over the ownership of Crimea region raises the fundamental question of the place of self-determination in international relation and that it points to the renewal of another cold war, an international relations analyst has said.

The Director General Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Professor Bola Akinterinwa, said that the crisis brought to mind the fact that crisis, conflict and war could not be ruled out in inter personal relationships.

Soldiers believed to have come from Russia have made their way into the Crimea region and are surrounding military bases there even preventing Ukrainians from entering.

Despite threats of sanction and violation of the country sovereignty, Russia insists its aim is to protect Russian interests in the region.

Russia has defiled calls from western powers to pull back his troops from Ukraine, including from leaders of the G7 nations (the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada) who issued a joint statement condemning the Russian Federation’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” on Sunday.

Professor Akinterinwa traced the problem to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, saying that several millions of Russians were displaced and they found themselves outside of Russia.

“The foreign policy focus of Russia is to find a way of bringing these Russians together. Bring them back home.

“The main inhabitants of eastern Ukraine are Russians. They speak Russia and their live style is that of Russia and they want to be re-joined with Russia,” he said.

The international relation analyst explained that in western Ukraine, since the opening and restructuring of the Soviet Union, they had been entertaining relationship with the European nations. They want to be with the west.

Causal Factor

According to him, Russia had insisted that since the problem in Ukraine was internally driven by divisions’ quarrel and had proposed to the US that the solution cannot be confrontation but consultation.

“They are not in any way interested in having westernisation at its immediate border.

“There is an emerging cold war. We are likely to have a situation where Russia will give active support to eastern Ukrainians who are basically Russians,” he said.

He also pointed out that a critical look at the immediate causal factor, showed that the Americans, the British and the EU had been sponsoring civil protest because they wanted the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, out of the scene “for the simple fact that they see in him providing strong leadership and they do not want that. They want a president that will be friendlier to them. Putin is not in that type of category”.

Tension has escalated after supporters of the pro-unity and pro-Russia clashed. Russia intends to continue to stand its ground and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has told the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, that any sanction introduced by the US against Russia would have a boomerang effect and advised the US to avoid any action that would affect relations between both countries.

Unwilling To Give Pp Crimea

The rally for pro-unity spoke against the upcoming referendum on March 16, which will decide whether the Black Sea peninsula currently part of Ukraine but historically Russia should re-join Russia.

At a rally held on Sunday March 2, Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, insisted that Ukraine would be unwilling to give up Crimea.

“This is our land, our parents and grandparents spilt their blood for this land and we will not give up any centimetre of Ukrainian land. Let Russia and the Russian president know this.,” he said.

The crisis has been described as the worst face-off with Moscow since the cold war.

The west believes Russia’s occupation is a miscalculation in the long term, insisting that the consequences will unite Ukraine more against Russian influence in the future.

Professor Akinterinwa said that the referendum could settle the crisis if leaders of both countries would be ready to accept the result.

“If the referendum goes to Russia, the Ukrainian president is expected to accept and if he refuses, there could be use of force which could result into a war situation.

If the government accepts, it means that Ukraine is disintegrated, with a reduction in its population and material resources.

Concerning the lives of Nigerians in Ukraine, Professor Akinterinwa said that there was no cause for Nigerians to be worried, as the crisis had not degenerated to a war situation.

He said: “Nigerians leaving there can still remain as their lives are not being threatened yet. When it gets to the time when there is exchange of gun fire then people should begin to leave the region”.

APC Engages International Political Consultants To Boost Electoral Chances

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced the engagement of international political consultants, AKPD Message and Media to boost its electoral chances in the upcoming elections.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the Chicago, U.S.-based firm is best known for its lead role in President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

The party explained that the firm has also worked with key Democratic Party candidates throughout the U.S. and has a strong reputation for supporting leading populist movements across the globe.

“We have been working closely with AKPD Message and Media over the past few months and we shall leverage on the firm’s skill, experience and expertise throughout the upcoming campaign cycle,” APC said.

“As a party destined to bring change and succour to the long suffering people of Nigeria, the APC is proud and excited to work with one of the foremost exponents of change in the world, especially with their track record of success in political climates akin to ours, notably in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana. With this strategic partnership, the process of change in Nigeria has already begun and it can’t be stopped,” the party concluded.

Network Africa: From Bloody Rebel Attacks To Exciting Cock Fight

On Network Africa this week, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, says out of the 67 billion dollars crude oil sales supposed to be remitted to the Federation Account, by the Nigerian national petroleum Corporation , NNPC, only 47 billion dollars has been reconciled between the NNPC and the CBN.

This leaves the NNPC with a figure different from the 10.8 billion dollars earlier quoted by the CBN, which it was reconciling. 

Crisis In Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (C.A.R.) crisis also continues, as the C.A.R soldiers have lynched a man they accused of being a rebel. He was stabbed and beaten to death, with his body burnt in the capital, Bangui. The gory incident occurred not too long after the interim President, Catherine Samba-Panza, finished speaking at an Army ceremony.

Chemical Weapons Destruction

While Syria might not have met the deadline to surrender its chemical weapons, Libya certainly has, as the Libyan Foreign Minister, Mohammed Abdulazeez, told reporters that US, Canadian and German experts have helped destroy the chemical weapons.

We bring you the Libyan report, with words from the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu, who visited the weapon site.

The programme also looks at what life has been like in South Sudan since the ceasefire.

We also stop by in South-Africa to bring you updates on the Harmony Gold accident in which rescue workers have recovered 8 bodies of the miners.

We looked at the beautiful side of Africa, despite the political tension and unrest in Egypt; the people have found an unusual way of relaxing and having fun. Cock fighting it is, and it has been extremely popular in Cairo in the 1940s and 50s.

Enjoy some action from the unusual sport.

Iran Nuclear Deal: A Decision Requiring Cautious Diplomacy

Dr. Femi AdegbuluIran may have been able to secure an interim nuclear negotiation deal necessary to ease economic tensions caused by sanctions imposed on the country by world powers, but scepticism expressed by Israel has been supported with a call on world powers to handle Iran’s agreement to halt nuclear programmes with cautious diplomacy.

In the deal, Iran agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7 billion in sanctions relief, after days of intense talks in Geneva.

The interim deal will last for six months, while a permanent agreement is sought.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it would “help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon”.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said the agreement was a “historic mistake” that had made the world a much more dangerous place.

Iran had called for the annihilation of Israel and the world is apprehensive about the possibility that if Iran is allowed to enrich uranium, it could make a nuclear weapon for such purpose.

However, Obama said the US would remain firm and as well, uphold its commitments to friends and allies, particularly Israel and its gulf partners who have got reasons to be sceptical about Iran’s intentions.

“Ultimately only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.

“As president and commander in chief I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from maintaining a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Despite this assurance by Obama, an Associate Professor of International Relations with the Redeemers University in Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Femi Adegbulu, told Channels Television on Monday that the world powers need to be mindful of the fact that Iran could be looking for ways to get itself out of its economic issues.

“They need to be cautious of that fact and be diplomatic in handling the deal.

“They should not be in a hurry to embrace Iran. The world should be cautious in trusting the new president,” he said.

According to the agreement, Iran has been committed to halting enrichment above five per cent and neutralising its stock power of near 20 per cent uranium by means of dilution or conversion.

Iran is also expected to allow inspectors form the International Atomic Energy Agency daily access to its enrichment facilities.

John Kerry meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmy

United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has met with Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, on Sunday, November 3 to express the American government’s readiness to support Egypt in restoration of democracy.

This is the highest level visit from the US since President Muhamad Mursi’s removal.

He said Cairo was a vital partner, apparently trying to repair ties, which are strained by the partial freeze in US following the coup that ousted Mursi.

Earlier this year, Washington froze part of the $1.5bn it gives in annual aid to Egypt because of a lack of democratic progress and violence against supporters of the Islamist President Mursi.

He said “We want to help. We’re prepared to do so. And the way it will unfold as democracy is rekindled in its strength and as the people of Egypt make their choices in the future, I am confident the United States of America will be able to stand with you, and do even more.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, also indicated intent to restore democracy.

“I’d like to see the roadmap completed within the 9 to 12 months’ time period that it’s set to deliver. And that creates the institutions of a democratic government. I think if we succeed in doing that, 3 to 5 years you’d have a mature democracy.

Kerry also called on Egypt to make its trials more transparent. The Secretary’s visit comes just a day before Mursi is due to appear in court on charges of inciting violence.

Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco are among the countries listed on the itinerary of Kerry’s tour of countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Snowden Seeks Germany’s Support To Stop Prosecution

Fugitive US intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, has told Germany he is counting on international support to stop Washington’s ‘persecution’ of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance.

In an open letter to a country at the centre of the row over US spying on allies, Snowden said his revelations had helped to “address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust”.

Complaining that Washington continued to “treat dissent as defection” and speaking of a “sustained campaign of persecution” that he said had forced him into exile in Russia, Snowden wrote that “speaking the truth is not a crime.”

“I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behaviour,” read his letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German parliament and German federal prosecutors.

Snowden gave the letter to German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele, who presented it to the media in Berlin on Friday.

Stroebele, a maverick 74-year-old member of parliament for the opposition Greens, gave the letter to reporters shortly after getting off a plane from Moscow, where he met Snowden on Thursday at a secret location. The letter did not carry any specific address, beginning simply: “To whom it may concern.”

Snowden’s leaks about the targets and methods of the National Security Agency (NSA), from alleged mass scanning of emails to the tapping of world leaders’ phones – including Merkel’s – have infuriated US allies and placed Washington on the defensive.

US authorities want him handed over to face espionage charges for illegally disclosing government secrets. The head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service has said the material he divulged to journalists was a gift to terrorists.

Grave Diplomatic Problems

The 30-year-old ex-CIA employee and NSA contractor, who fled to Moscow via Hong Kong earlier this year and was given political asylum by President Vladimir Putin, said he had been forced into exile for acting according to his “moral duty”.

Snowden said he was ready to travel to Germany to help its parliamentary inquiry into NSA bugging of Merkel’s mobile phone – but added: “I would rather go before the US Congress, or a committee of the US Congress and lay the facts on the table.”

Neither option is likely in the immediate future.

Germany’s parliament wants to talk to him about the NSA’s secret monitoring of Merkel’s phone and the communications of a host of politicians and business people, according to reports, but visiting Germany would pose grave diplomatic problems for Merkel and endanger Snowden’s asylum status back in Moscow.

“The asylum he has in Russia gives him security in Russia but not in Germany,” Stroebele, who sits on parliament’s control committee which oversees the work of the German intelligence agencies, told a news conference.

“If he left he would not be able to return to Russia. He would come to Germany if he would be safe here or in another country,” said the white-haired MP who is the first foreign politician known to have met with Snowden in Russia.

Some politicians want Snowden put on a witness protection scheme, others suggest sending a parliamentary committee to Moscow. German officials say there is no discussion of granting him asylum, which he would have to request on German soil, and there is a pending US request to arrest him if he comes.

“Edward Snowden is in Russia under a temporary refugee status and, if he leaves Russian territory, he may lose it,” the Russian lawyer representing Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, was quoted as saying by Russian Interfax news agency.

 

U.S. Takes Apple To Trial Over E-books Price-Fixing

Apple Inc goes to trial Monday over allegations by federal and state authorities that it conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books.

The trial pits the maker of the popular iPad and iPhone against the U.S. Justice Department in a case that tests how Internet retailers interact with content providers.

“This case will effectively set the rules for Internet commerce,” said David Balto, a former policy director for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The Justice Department filed its case against Apple and five of the six largest U.S. book publishers in April 2012. The lawsuit accused them of conspiring to increase e-book prices and break Amazon.com Inc’s hold on pricing.

Apple is going to trial alone after the five publishers agreed to eliminate prohibitions on wholesale discounts and to pay a collective $164 million to benefit consumers.

The five publishers were Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Hachette Book Group Inc and MacMillan.

The U.S. government is not seeking damages but instead an order blocking Apple from engaging in similar conduct. However, if Apple is found liable, it could still face damages in a separate trial by the state attorneys general and consumers pursuing class actions.