Hillary Clinton Marks Painful Date with Twitter Quip

Hillary Clinton got a reminder that exactly one year ago, then FBI director James Comey said he was re-opening a probe into her emails.

“Oh is that today?” the former Democratic presidential candidate quipped on Twitter late Saturday, in response to a post by election forecaster Nate Silver who noted the anniversary of Comey’s move and said it was “probably decisive” in last year’s White House race.

Comey shocked the country when he informed Congress on October 28, 2016 that he was reopening an FBI investigation into Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server as secretary of state, months after declaring the probe found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

The about-turn just days before the election followed the discovery of missing Clinton emails with classified material on the laptop of a former congressman.

Clinton has called Comey’s move a major factor in her loss to Donald Trump, saying: “If the election had been on October 27, I’d be your president.”

But Comey has said it was the right choice and he would do it again if he had to.

Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million over Trump, but lost the indirect by all-important state-by-state electoral college count.

AFP

See Why U.S. Withdrawn From UNESCO

The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) citing the organisation’s “continuing anti-Israel bias”.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

The United States was angered in 2011 when UNESCO members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel.

Washington opposes any move by UN bodies to recognize the Palestinians as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.

But US President Donald Trump’s administration is also reviewing many of its multilateral commitments, pursuing what he calls an “America First” foreign policy.

Nauert said the State Department had notified UNESCO’s outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova of their decision earlier Thursday.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” she said in a statement.

“The United States indicated to the director-general its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms and promoting scientific collaboration and education.

Boko Haram: U.S. Gives $54m to Nigeria, Others

The U.S. has released $54 million in addition to humanitarian assistance to Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and the four countries affected by the Boko Haram violence.

U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Mr Thomas Shannon jr, said at a symposium on tagged ‘Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects for Advancing Durable Peace”, organised by the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C.

Shannon said that the U.S. Government’s humanitarian assistance to the four countries totalled about 700 million dollars since 2015.

He said: “On security issues, Nigeria is an important leader and partner in the Lake Chad Basin, collaborating with its neighbors to defeat the scourge of Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.

“The United States supports this and other efforts to bring security and stability to citizens affected by violence.

“At the United Nations last week, the U.S. government announced $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the Lake Chad region, bringing the total to almost $700 million over the past two years”.

According to the U.S. envoy, while humanitarian support is an immediate necessity, it cannot be a long-term solution.

“When Nigeria’s northern governors came to this institution in late 2016, the clear consensus was that addressing the war and poverty plaguing northeast Nigeria required robust initiatives for education, reconciliation and political inclusion.

“I am pleased the working group here today is bringing together your collective years of experience as spiritual leaders, military commanders, journalists, election officials, human rights advocates and educators to develop strategies to address these enduring challenges.

“The United States is proud to be your partner in these vital efforts,” he said.

“Your work to defuse conflicts over a range of issues, from elections to land use, inspires us all,” Shannon commended.

He recalled his bilateral meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly last week, saying they had robust engagements about the Boko Haram crisis and other pressing issues.

Shannon said: “My meeting with the Nigerian Foreign Minister last week was a great opportunity to learn more about what else the Nigerian government is trying to accomplish on the security front.

“It is clear to me that Nigeria is well aware that the fight against terrorism will be won not only by the military’s conduct on the battlefield, but also by its conduct off the field.

“Nigeria understands that human rights abuses and impunity tarnish its international reputation, undermine the trust of its citizens, impede counterterrorism efforts, and ultimately hinder our ability to fully partner with Nigeria.”

According to him, however, a military response alone will not lead to sustained peace in the Northeast.

“A holistic response is required. One that sets the conditions for the safe return of refugees and displaced persons.

He commended the Institute and the Senior Working Group for their dedication and determination to create a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

NAN

America Celebrates With Nigeria on 57th Independence Anniversary

The U.S. Government through its Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has congratulated Nigeria on the commemoration of the country’s 57th independence on Oct. 1, 2017.

Tillerson said: “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people as you celebrate your national independence on October 1. The United States and Nigeria have a strong and enduring partnership that benefits both our nations.

“The U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on our shared priorities of security, economic prosperity, and good governance; and is strengthened by innovation, trade, and optimism for the future.

“The United States also reaffirms its commitment to support efforts to help rebuild the lives of the millions affected by the violence, and to provide a better future for all Nigerians.

“We offer our best wishes to the people of Nigeria in your commemoration of the 57th anniversary of your independence.”

Mysterious Illnesses Hit American Diplomats In Cuba

The US State Department has ordered more than half its Embassy staff and all diplomatic family members to leave Cuba because of a mysterious “specific attacks” that have caused myriad health problems to 21 diplomats.

Only those who carry out the main U.S. diplomatic and consular duties, including providing emergency assistance to American travelers in Cuba, will stay at the embassy in Havana, officials said.

The State Department issued an advisory for Americans not to visit Cuba, although no tourists or other travelers have been affected by the still-unexplained attacks, which some outside experts suspect came from an acoustic device.

The embassy, an iconic building on Havana’s waterfront, also will suspend processing U.S. visa applications.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had decided to trim staff and warn Americans in response to what he called “attacks of an unknown nature.” He emphasized that the moves were intended to ensure the health and safety of embassy personnel, not to punish Cuba.

“Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm,” Tillerson said.

Still, the dramatic moves were a blow to Washington’s delicate relations with Havana, which were restored in 2015, more than half a century after they were broken in the Cold War.

Over the last two years, U.S. airlines have begun direct flights to Cuba, tourism has surged and numerous travel and commerce restrictions were lifted. President Trump has reversed some changes but has broadly left the rapprochement in place.

Tillerson issued the statement in Beijing, where he is meeting Chinese officials to discuss efforts to restrain North Korea and to help set up Trump’s visit in November.

Aides said he made the decision on the flight from Washington, after considering options that included temporarily closing the embassy.

In all, 21 U.S. diplomats in Cuba have exhibited a wide range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. Several Canadian diplomats also have reported unusual physical ailments.

“Investigators have been unable to determine who is responsible or what is causing these attacks,” Tillerson said. Moreover, he said, the State Department “is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure.”

U.S. officials said the attacks occurred in the diplomats’ residences and in local hotels they frequent. The attacks began in mid-2016, and the most recent was in August.

The government mostly has referred to “incidents” rather than attacks in the past. But officials said Friday the U.S. now believes “specific attacks” targeted the diplomats in Cuba.

Tillerson emphasized that the U.S. is not breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba, noting that Havana “has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort.”

“We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” he said.

Cuba has allowed FBI agents in to help investigate the rash of health problems. And the Trump administration has stopped short of blaming Cuba for the attacks, leaving open the possibility that another country or group is responsible.

Experts have theorized that the attacks have been carried out by a machine that sends high-powered sound waves at a person, vibrating brain tissue and parts of the ear.

Russian intelligence agents have been known to use audio weapons, but the U.S. has not definitively determined who is responsible for the attacks in Cuba.

Investigators have struggled to unravel the mystery. FBI agents and other agencies have found devices in or near the homes and hotels that were affected. The wide range of symptoms, and questions of how and when people were impacted, have yet to yield clear clues.

Some diplomats reported hearing loud noises or feeling vibrations when the incidents occurred, but others heard and felt nothing yet reported symptoms later. In some cases, the effects were narrowly confined, with victims able to walk “in” and “out” of blaring noises audible in only certain rooms or parts of rooms, the AP has reported.

In a telephone briefing, a State Department official said the decision was aimed at reducing “the number of Americans who are vulnerable to exposure” from possible attacks.

“At this moment, we don’t have definitive information about the source or cause of the attacks,” said the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

*Culled from Los Angeles Times

150,000 Nigerians To Join Independence Day Parade In US

The 2017 Nigerian Independence Day parade in the USA would attract no fewer than 150,000 participants, the largest African parade in the U.S.

The annual event holds every October in New York since 1991 and is also the largest gathering of Nigerians outside of their homeland.

The organising committee of the parade, on the platform of The Organisation for the Advancement of Nigeria (OAN) in the U.S, met on Saturday evening at the Nigeria House, New York to deliberate on the final preparations for the event.

Mr Olayinka Dansalami, who chaired the committee, said the parade has the intentions of not only attracting Nigerians but people of all races and nationalities.

Dansalami also said the parade seeks to among other things, broaden the impact of Nigerians within the U.S. and highlight Nigerian culture with people from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

The Acting Consul General of Nigeria, Mr Nicholas Ella, who hosted the organising committee’s meeting, commended the Nigerians in the U.S. for doing Nigeria proud.

“There can’t be any better ambassadors of Nigeria here in the United States that you – Nigerian community.

“You are the domiciled ambassadors of Nigeria in the United States; all other ambassadors posted here officially are just temporary.

“We are very proud of all you have been doing to raise the Nigerian flag high. Nigerians in the United States are contributing their best to their host country and also back home.

“Whatever you are doing to promote the image of Nigeria, we will give you the support; thank God that we are out of recession,” Ella said.

He commended the Nigerian youth for their participation in the activities to advance the causes of Nigeria.

According to the committee, this year’s parade will feature the ‘Mr and Miss Nigeria Independence Pageant’.

There would also be the Cultural Night to showcase the talent, art and refinement of Nigeria.

The Cultural Night panel was established in 2005 by the young adults within the Nigerian community, a group of dynamic youth dedicated to showing the rectitude of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Activities such as beauty pageants, singing and dancing are performed at such events to attract outsiders and promote Nigerian youth network and to foster unity.

The committee, however, expressed regrets what it termed lack of sponsors for the event this year, particularly, as Arik, one of its biggest sponsors, is insolvent.

It also lamented what it termed the outrageous charges by Nigerian artistes, saying their charges have become unrealistic and urged them to be patriotic in their participation at the parade.

The committee, however, pledged to do everything possible to ensure that the event lived up to the standard it had maintained over the years.

NAN

Couple Travel To U.S. To Beat Up Son’s Wife

Police in Florida , United States have arrested three Indians, the Kalsis , after officers found a manhandled woman and child being held at a home in Hillsborough County .
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff ’ s office , the woman’s husband — 33 -year -old Devbir Kalsi — had beaten her and his parents had flown in from India to “ counsel and discipline” the woman — 33 -year- old Silky Gaind — at his request .
Deputies described Gaind as “ badly beaten and bruised over her entire body ,” allegedly from beatings by her husband and his parents .
According to the Tampa Bay Times , police said the alleged beatings had “ been ongoing for an extended period of time . ”
Authorities learned about the case when Gaind called her parents in India on Saturday to tell them . Her parents then informed police in the US.
Police officers arrived at the house at around 6 . 30 a . m. on Saturday morning and heard Gaind “( scream ) for the deputy to save her and her child ,” the Sheriff ’ s Office said, according to the newspaper .
An officer began arresting her husband , Devbir Kalsi , but was confronted by the man ’s father , Jasbir Kalsi , 67 , and mother , Bhupinder Kalsi , 61 .
The newspaper reported that an official investigation found that the parents had flown over from India to “ counsel and discipline” Gaind.
According to the arrest report, which was seen by the newspaper, Devbir Kalsi and his wife argued late Friday night, during which he allegedly hit her “ repeatedly and forcefully . ” According to the arrest report, the man’s parents then allegedly began hitting her , causing bruising to the face , neck and torso . During the fight , the woman was holding her child , who was reportedly inadvertently hit in the face.
The arrest report also states that the woman was locked inside a room after the argument .
Devbir and Jasbir Kalsi face charges of false imprisonment and child abuse while Devbir Kalsi also faces a charge of felony battery and his father faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon , for allegedly threatening the wife with a kitchen knife .
Bhupinder Kalsi faces charges of battery domestic violence and failure to report child abuse , according to the newspaper.
The trio have been booked into Hillsborough County jail.
Source: Punch

Osun High-Level Representation At Ongoing World Bank Seminar In US

By Israel Afolabi

The World Bank supported overseas study tour to the United States is currently taking place. The programme will hold between 20th and 26th August 2017.

Below we have the list of participants at the World Bank Seminar which is ongoing in San Jose Silicon Valley USA. The state of Osun SUBEB chairman is leading a high powered delegation.

About the Program

Technology and innovation are engines of economic growth.  In advanced economies, studies confirm the direct impact of technological innovation on job creation and economic growth.  In education, access to global knowledge and learning has been made possible through latest innovations in education delivery and education technology systems.  Leveraging these resources can benefit developing countries in expanding access to education, improving learning outcomes and in addressing specific challenges that reduce the efficiency of their educational system. Acquiring global knowledge on cutting-edge innovations and emerging trends can promote the creation, absorption and adaptation of advanced and relevant technologies -unlocking path-breaking opportunities that can fuel transformational growth needed to increase economic gains, improve social equity and enhance  global competitiveness.

This program will introduce participants to and interact with the global leaders in education technology based in Silicon Valley, California, USA- Google, Coursera, Udemy, Stanford University Center for Professional Studies, Linked-In and Lynda.com technology companies blazing the trail in cutting-edge innovations that impact the education industry worldwide.

Participants will earn from the strategic initiatives of these technology giants who are transforming the education landscape through their innovations in increasing global access to education, knowledge and learning.

Program Objectives

  • Gain a deeper understanding of existing education technology innovations and how developing countries can benefit to improve access, equity and quality of education.
  • Generate ideas on how education technology innovations can be used given its relevance and applicability to the participant’s country context and education needs.

Full coverage next week.

US Bans Travel To North Korea After Warmbier Death

The United States will bar Americans from traveling to North Korea in the coming weeks, two travel agencies said Friday, a month after a US tourist, student Otto Warmbier, died following his imprisonment by Pyongyang.

China-based Young Pioneer Tours, which had taken Warmbier to North Korea, and Koryo Tours said the ban will come into force on July 27 — the anniversary of the end of the Korean War — with a 30-day grace period.

“We have just been informed that the US government will no longer be allowing US citizens to travel to the DPRK (North Korea),” Young Pioneer Tours said on its website.

“After the 30-day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government,” it said.

The company did not say who had notified it of the ban, which followed its earlier announcement that it would no longer take Americans to North Korea in the wake of Warmbier’s death last month.

Koryo Tours general manager Simon Cockerell told AFP that his company was notified by the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which usually acts on behalf of the United States in North Korea since Washington has no diplomatic ties with the isolated regime.

The official announcement “will basically end American tourism” in North Korea, Cockerell said.

Travellers wanting to visit the North must go with a tour company. Americans are required to fly to Pyongyang from Beijing, while other nationalities are allowed to go by train. But the US State Department has strongly warned Americans against travelling there.

Warmbier, 22, died after being medically evacuated to the United States suffering from severe brain damage. He had spent 18 months in captivity in North Korea.

US President Donald Trump blamed Pyongyang’s “brutal regime” for his plight.

North Korea accused the United States of waging a “smear campaign” and denied that Warmbier was tortured or abused.

The University of Virginia student was arrested at the airport as he was leaving Pyongyang in January last year and sentenced at a show trial to 15 years of hard labour for stealing a political poster from a hotel.

His case added to already high tensions in the region over North Korea’s weapons ambitions, culminating in the country’s successful test launch earlier this month of an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say could reach Alaska.

Young Pioneer Tours, founded in 2008 by a British expat, came under fire after Warmbier was flown home in a coma following a flurry of secret diplomatic negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

N/Korea Destroys U.S. City in Video Simulation

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed to be having an upper-hand in the country’s stained relationship with U.S. when a video simulation of a North Korean nuclear missile attack was featured destroying what appears to be an unidentified American city.

This occurred when Jong Un celebrated his grandfather’s birthday on Sunday with a rousing concert.

According to reports, a full orchestra played alongside the video, which depicted missiles soaring over the Pacific and engulfing a city on the U.S. west coast.

The videos ends with an American flag and a cemetery superimposed with flames. The propaganda video was reportedly received with raucous applause.

‘When the performance was over, all the performers and participants in the military parade broke into enthusiastic cheers of “hurrah!”,’ state run KCNA news agency said, according to the Daily Mail.

North Korea has a long history of portraying mock violence against the United States in propaganda videos. Often they are released to mark national holidays.

Nearly a month ago, the totalitarian nation released a fiery video with scenes including troops blowing up a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and bomber.

The most recent video comes amid growing tensions between the United States and North Korea. Both countries have express outrage over missile tests and massive military exercises.

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military, promising it would make an “overwhelming and effective” response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons.

“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” Pence told 2,500 sailors dressed in blue fatigues and Navy baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard the carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay.

“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” Pence said.

FoxNews

US Intercepts 2 Russian Bombers

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) confirmed Tuesday that two Russian TU-95 bombers were intercepted off the coast of Alaska on Monday evening.

According to a U.S. official, the intercept occurred 100 nautical miles south of Kodiak Island. The Russian aircraft were in international airspace throughout the encounter as American airspace extends 12 nautical miles from the U.S. shoreline.

However, NORTHCOM confirmed to ABC News that the Russian planes were in the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which stretches 200 miles out from shore.

An Air Defense Identification Zone is airspace that is monitored in the interest of national security where aircraft are required to identify themselves.

Two F-22 fighter jets and one E-3 Sentry reconnaissance plane from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska intercepted the Russian bombers for a short time, and then flew alongside the bombers as they turned away from the ADIZ, the official said.

This is the first time that Russian aircraft have approached North America in some time.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has no records of intercepts of Russian aircraft in all of 2016, and the previous intercept dates all the way back to the summer of 2015.