Fishermen Rescue 24 Migrants in Brazil

Brazilian fishermen rescued two dozen migrants from Africa and Guyana found drifting near the north-east coast of Brazil after 35 days at sea, officials and local media said on Sunday.
The migrants came from the small South American country of Guyana and from Nigeria and Senegal on the other side of the Atlantic, the human rights department for Brazil’s state of Maranhao said in a statement.

There were 25 migrants — all men — on the boat and two Brazilians who were suspected of being people traffickers, O Imparcial and G1 news sites reported.

After spending 35 days at sea, their boat was found by fishermen off the coast of Sao Jose de Ribamar, south of the Amazon river, G1 said.

On being rescued late Saturday, they were “given medical attention and food,” before being taken for processing by the Brazilian federal police, the Maranhao human rights department said.

“The group will be put into temporary housing provided by the state,” it said. “The federal police will investigate the possible committing of crimes against the foreigners in relation to their arrival in Brazil and evaluate their legal situation in Brazil.”

SDP Welcomes Omisore

Sen. Iyiola Omisore, a former Deputy Governor of Osun , has announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Omisore, who announced his defection in a statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo on Sunday, said he intended to contest the Sept. 22 governorship election on the platform of SDP.

He said his mission was to rescue the state from what he described as years of misrule.

According to him, the PDP in Osun is in disarray and likely to remain in prolonged political captivity over the next four years.

The statement reads partly, ” engaging and working with like-minded leadership, we have sought for an alternative platform that will assures both credible and legitimacy that will rescue Osun state from its current reckless misrule.

” Our quest for an alternative political platform is basically in pursuit of a credible political structure that would guarantee that our people enjoy the benefits of accountable leadership at the state level from now.

” Notwithstanding my enormous contributions over the past years or so to building the PDP, after very deep thought and the widest consultations with my God, my family, my supporters in and outside Osun state,

” It is with great concern that I have made a very expedient decision today, to withdraw my membership from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join the Social Democratic Party (SDP); a party that believed in a balanced, equitable and truly functional Nigeria.

“On the platform of the SDP, I shall with the support of my supporters, followers, and the electorate of the state, seek the nomination to contest for, and by His grace, be elected as the Executive Governor of Osun state on September 22, 2018”.

Omisore was Osun Deputy Governor on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) between 1999 and 2003.

He was also elected to the Senate on the platform of PDP in 2003 to represent Osun East Senatorial District.

South Korea’S LG Chairman Dies @ 73

The chairman of LG Group, Koo Bon-moo, who helped transform South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate into a global brand, passed away on Sunday after a battle with a brain disease.

Koo, 73, had been ill for a year, LG Group said in a statement.

Koo had been fighting a brain disease and had undergone surgery, said a group official who declined to be identified.

“Becoming the third chairman of LG at the age of 50 in 1995, Koo established three key businesses – electronics, chemicals and telecommunications – led a global company LG, and contributed to driving (South Korea’s) industrial competitiveness and national economic development,” LG said.

LG Group also established a holding company in order to streamline ownership structure and to begin the process of succession.

The country’s powerful family-run conglomerates are implementing generational succession amid growing calls from the government and public to improve transparency and corporate governance.

LG Corp, a holding company of the conglomerate, had said on Thursday its longtime chairman was unwell and it planned to nominate his son to its board of directors in preparation for a leadership succession.

Heir apparent Koo Kwang-mo is from the fourth generation of LG Group’s controlling family. He owns 6 percent of LG Corp and currently heads LG Electronics’ information display unit.

He joined the finance division of LG Electronics in 2006 and has been involved in several businesses such as appliances, home entertainment and group strategy, LG said.

The late chairman adopted Koo in 2004 from his younger brother Koo Bon-neung after his only son died in a car accident.

The change at the helm is not expected to be disruptive to the group’s business, one analyst told Reuters.

“Although Koo passed away at a relatively early age, his son has already been in a senior position and I don’t think there will be a big change in governance structure or strategic decisions,” said Park Ju-gun, head of corporate analysis firm CEO Score.

Under Koo’s leadership, the conglomerate changed its corporate brand to LG from Lucky Goldstar and sold LG’s semiconductor business to Hyundai, now SK Hynix Inc, under government-led restructuring in the wake of the Asia financial crisis in the late 1990s.

Major affiliates are LG Electronics Inc, display maker LG Display and electric car battery maker LG Chem.

South Korean prosecutors said this month they raided LG Group’s head office as part of a probe into alleged tax evasion by family members controlling the conglomerate.

The company said Koo’s funeral would be held privately with family members. Visitors including Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee have paid their condolences at his altar.

Mob Beat Muslim Man to Death for Killing Cow in India

A Muslim man accused of killing a cow was beaten to death by a mob in central India, police said Sunday, the latest vigilante murder over the animal considered sacred by Hindus.

Siraj Khan, a 45-year-old tailor, was attacked in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh state early Friday and died at the scene, local police official Arvind Tiwari told AFP.

Kahn’s friend Shakeel Maqbool, who was also attacked, was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

As details of the violent assault emerged at the weekend 400 additional police were deployed to the district late Saturday as inquiries widened, the Press Trust of India reported.

“We have arrested four people, and they have been sent to judicial custody. We are investigating what prompted the attack,” Tiwari said.

He added that meat and a bull carcass was found at the scene, but did not elaborate as investigations were ongoing.

Hindus consider cows sacred and slaughtering the animals, or possessing or consuming beef, is banned in most Indian states.

Cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh carries a maximum seven-year jail term but many other parts of India impose life sentences for infringements.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter in India.

The right-wing Hindu BJP has been accused of turning a blind eye to a rising number of vigilante attacks in the name of cow protection.

Rights groups say Hindu mobs have been emboldened under the party, who stormed to power in 2014. Many of the victims are Muslims.

In two prominent cases last year, a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cows and a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.

AFP.

President Trump To Donate His 2018 First Quarter Salary

President Donald Trump irrespective of all the scandals he has been wrapped in alongside members of his family has refused to give up on helping his country.

He shocked citizens of the country when he said he’s donating his first quarter salary to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as his search continues for a nominee to lead the agency.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders presented a check from the president to acting VA secretary Robert Wilkie during the White House briefing on Thursday. Trump has pledged to return his entire salary to the federal government, and has used the symbolic check handover quarterly to highlight his administration’s policy efforts.

The VA has been rocked by turmoil in recent months, including by the March firing of former secretary David Shulkin amid ethics concerns and internal discord. Trump’s nominee to fill the post, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew from consideration last month. Wilkie is among those being considered to fill the post permanently.

Former Russian Spy, Sergei Skripal Discharged From UK Hospital

England’s health service said on Friday that Sergei Skripal, has been discharged from the hospital.

The 66-year-old former Russian spy, who was a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence was poisoned by a nerve agent in Britain more than two months ago.

Skripal daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the nerve agent attack and Western governments including the U.S. have expelled over 100 Russian diplomats.

Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning and has retaliated in kind.

The Skripals were in a critical condition for weeks and doctors at one point feared that, even if they survived, they might have suffered brain damage.

But their health began to improve rapidly, and Yulia was discharged in April.

“It is fantastic news that Sergei Skripal is well enough to leave Salisbury District Hospital,” the hospital’s Chief Executive, Cara Charles-Barks, said in a statement.

Britain and international chemicals weapons inspectors have said the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

Russia has denied Britain’s charges of involvement in the first known offensive use of such a nerve agent on European soil since World War Two.

It has suggested Britain carried out the attack itself to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

France Passes Law Against Sexual Offences

Since sexual offences have been a hot topic in France after an outpouring of tales of sexual harassment and violence in the MeToo movement, France has approved tougher law measures against sexual offences.

However, leftist lawmakers and feminist groups were unhappy that the law did not set a minimum age below which sexual intercourse would be assumed to be rape.

There has also been anger over a case where media reported that prosecutors had initially declined to charge a man with the rape of an 11-year-old girl on the grounds that she had consented.

“He was at first charged with sexual abuse of a minor, but later placed under investigation for rape,’’ public broadcaster FranceInfo reported.

The new law, which now goes to the Senate for approval, widens the circumstances in which intercourse with a child under 15 could be considered to be rape.

It also doubles the penalty for any sexual intercourse with a child under 15 from five to ten years.

The government said a legal opinion from a state body that assesses new laws meant the law could not declare that any intercourse with a child under 15 should be considered rape.

However, left-wing lawmakers said the government could still have gone further with its text.

The new law, which was passed by 115 votes to 29 in the National Assembly and now goes to the Senate for approval, also provides for the possibility of on-the-spot fines for street harassment.

Afghanistan Flash Floods Kills 60

The National Disaster Management Authority said on Wednesday that at least 60 people have been killed in flash floods across 13 provinces in Afghanistan in the past seven days.

According to a statement by the agency, five people were injured, the agency said in a statement. It did not specify the casualties by province.
Some 343 homes were destroyed, while 663 more were partially damaged, by the floods in the provinces of Samangar, Takhar, Kapisa, Baghlan, Badakhshan,

Badghis, Ghor, Panjshir, Sar-e Pul, Ghazi, Parwan, Bakh and Herat.

The floods also killed 600 livestock and destroyed some 392,000 square meters of agricultural land, the statement said.

Agency spokesman, Omar Mohammadi, said that a survey of the situation was under way and assistance was being provided with the help of international and national organisations.

In April 2015, at least 52 people were killed in a landslide triggered by rain in the north-eastern province of Badakhshan.

U.S. Hopeful North Korea Summit Will Still Take Place

The U.S. is still very hopeful about a planned summit with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un.

White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said on Wednesday however that President Donald Trump is prepared for a tough negotiation process.  North Korea threw the June 12 summit between Kim and Trump into doubt on Wednesday, threatening weeks of diplomatic progress by saying it may reconsider if Washington insists it unilaterally gives up its nuclear weapons.

“We’re still hopeful that the meeting will take place and we’ll continue down that path but at the same time we’ve been prepared that these could be tough negotiations,” Sanders said.

“The president is ready if the meeting takes place. If it doesn’t, we’ll continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing.”

Sanders said the comments from North Korea were “not something that is out of the ordinary in these types of operations.”

“The president’s fully prepared and fully ready to carry on in these conversations both leading up to and if the meeting takes place,” she said.

“He’ll be there and he’ll be ready.”

According to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, Pyongyang’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Kim Gwan, specifically criticised U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton, who has called for the North to quickly give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that mirrors Libya’s abandonment of its weapons of mass destruction.

Sanders played down those concerns. “I haven’t seen that as part of any discussions so I’m not aware that that’s a model that we’re using,” she told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

The Trump- Jong-Un meeting is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

Russia Supports EU Proposal To Meet In Vienna

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has announced on Wednesday that Russia supported a European Union proposal to hold a meeting on the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna next week.

According to the country’s media, the deal between Iran and six world powers lifted most international sanctions in 2016 in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme, under strict surveillance by the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

European powers this week vowed to shore up the deal after United States President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal.

South Korea To Play ‘Mediator’ At North Korea- US Summit

South Korea is said to be the mediator between the U.S and North Korea after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of an unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump on June 12 in Singapore.

North Korea on Wednesday said it might not attend the summit if Washington continues to demand it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal.

Japan’s Asahi newspaper on Thursday reported the United States has demanded North Korea ship some nuclear warheads, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and other nuclear material overseas within six months.

The newspaper, citing several sources familiar with North Korean issues, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to have told the North Korean leader when they met this month that Pyongyang might be removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism if it ships out those nuclear items.

The Asahi also reported that if Pyongyang agrees to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation at the planned Singapore summit, Washington was considering giving guarantees for Kim’s regime.

Doubts over the U.S.-North Korea summit arose on Wednesday when Pyongyang denounced U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a provocation and called off high-level talks with Seoul.

Trump has said it is unclear whether the summit will go ahead but he would continue to insist on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it would seek to bridge the gap between the Washington and Pyongyang.

A Blue House official said the South Korean government or President Moon Jae-in intends to more actively perform “the role of a mediator” between South Korea, the U. S. and North Korea.

Trump will host South Korean President Moon at a summit at the White House on May 22, and the two are expected to discuss the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit.

The official said the Blue House intends to “sufficiently convey (to the U. S.) what we’ve discerned about North Korea’s position and attitude… and sufficiently convey the United States’ position to North Korea,” thereby helping to bridge the gap between their positions.

“Seeing the announced statements and responses from North Korea and the U. S., we see the two parties as having a sincere and serious attitude (to stand in each other’s shoes),” the official said.

South Korea intends to continue discussions with North Korea to hold high-level talks North Korea canceled on Wednesday, Blue House said in a separate statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said on Thursday the measures North Korea has taken to ease tension on the Korean peninsula should be acknowledged, and all other parties, especially the U. S., should cherish the opportunity for peace.

Cancellation of the summit, the first between U.S. and North Korean leaders, would deal a major blow to what would be the biggest diplomatic achievement of Trump’s presidency.

This comes at a time when his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has drawn criticism internationally and his move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has fueled deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border.