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Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, Ibrahim Zakzaky, El Zakzaky, Nigeria News

The Center for Global Peace Initiative (CGPI) has noted with dismay the ongoing twist being introduced into the confrontation between Nigerian security establishment and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as a Sunni/Shia confrontation, rather as a case of secular breach of the law and the fallouts generated which are nonetheless unfortunate. This was the same way the Boko Haram issue became laden with spurious narratives till it turned out to the Frankenstein monster that it is today. We urge those pushing the Sunni/Shia narrative to desist from the idea and focus on the fallouts of the confrontation which is the use of maximum force to quell a supposedly civil protest. It is appalling to see some individuals as usual trying to make political and/or religious gains out of the entire situation. To be sure, Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) is not the only Shiite group in Nigeria and there has never been any history of a clamp down on those who profess Shiism on account of their being distinct from the Sunni majority. We are concerned that this growing wrong narrative has the tendency of importing rivalry brewed in other lands to further compound the security challenges of the country. To be precise, Nigeria does not mirror any of the ’theocratic’ states of Saudi Arabia or Iran to which the confrontation is being tied; and neither is the President under any allegiance or obligation to any of the two protagonist countries as Nigeria maintains diplomatic relations with theContinue reading

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Saudi-Led Coalition Bombing In Yemen - War News

The United Arab Emirates, one of the most powerful parties in Yemen’s war, has begun to draw down its forces, pulling out several thousand troops in a move that leaves the Saudi-led coalition there with a weakened ground presence and fewer tactical options. The UAE isn’t quitting Yemen or the coalition, which it and Saudi Arabia formed in 2015 to stem the advance of Iranian-allied Shiite rebels known as Houthis who took over the north. But the drawdown represents a major step away by the Emiratis from their partner Saudi Arabia’s main policy in the war — to batter the rebels into submission — a strategy that has largely been unsuccessful. The UAE says the reduction aims to boost negotiations with the Houthis to end the war. “Now is the time to double down on the political process,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote in The Washington Post this week. The Houthis and internationally recognized government of Yemen, which is backed by the coalition, held talks last week for the first time in months on implementing a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in Hodeida, a rebel-held Red Sea port city that is the entry point for most humanitarian aid. The talks are crucial for opening the way to broader peace negotiations to end the five-year-old war. The war, sparked by the Houthis’ takeover of the capital in 2014, has claimed tens of thousands of lives, thrust millions to the brink of famine and spawned the world’s most devastatingContinue reading

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Donald Trump vs US Democrats Candidates - USA News Headlines

Joe Biden was at a soul food restaurant in Los Angeles on Thursday when he blasted President Donald Trump’s “racist” taunts at a rally the night before. “This is about dividing the country,” the early Democratic front-runner, who has been criticized for his own handling of race , told reporters. “This is about dividing and raising the issue of racism across the country because that’s his base, that’s what he’s pushing.” But Michael Fisher, an African American pastor from Compton who attended the event, warned Democrats to ignore Trump. “They should absolutely not respond to ignorance,” Fischer said. “They should stay focused on the issues.” That tension previews the uncomfortable balancing act Democrats will face in the nearly 16 months before Election Day. Trump’s escalating exploitation of racism puts the rawest divide in American life squarely on the ballot in 2020. Democrats are united in condemning his words and actions, but the question of how to counter them is much more complicated. The party’s passionate left wing is pressing for an all-in battle, arguing that candidates’ plans to combat racism are just as important as their proposals to provide health insurance to every American. But others question whether race should be the centerpiece of the campaign to replace Trump. Several presidential candidates, meanwhile, reject the debate as a false choice, arguing they can criticize Trump for racist tactics while still advancing proposals on health care, education, the minimum wage and more. The emotionally charged developments shook both political parties onContinue reading

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Asylum Seekers in Japan

At the end of June, a Nigerian man in his 40s died at an immigration detention center in Nagasaki. According to a support group, the man had been on a hunger strike to protest his lengthy confinement, which had continued for more than three years. The detention center has yet to reveal the cause of his death. Although some media outlets reported the man’s death, most didn’t go into detail. When the public hears of foreign nationals being detained, they most likely imagine people caught working without permits, since that is the context in which foreign nationals have been discussed lately. According to a Reuters report published in the Asahi Shimbun, of the approximately 1,500 foreign detainees who were being held as of June 2018, 604 were asylum-seekers whose situation is different from that of visa overstayers and so-called illegal workers. Although there was an increase in the number of asylum applicants Japan accepted in 2018, the actual number — 42 — was still miniscule, since there were 10,493 applications. However, the number of applications was down for the first time in eight years. In January 2018, the Justice Ministry introduced a stricter process to screen out people who are applying for refugee status in order to gain employment. The ministry stressed that the 42 whose applications were approved had been admitted to Japan for humanitarian reasons, since it was determined that their lives would have been in danger had they been forced to return to their home countries. TheContinue reading

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Brexit Headline Today

The chance that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal is the highest since October 2017, economists polled by Reuters say, as arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson looks set to take over as prime minister next week. Johnson was the face of the 2016 campaign to quit the EU and has said he would be willing to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal. The median forecast of that happening was 30% in the July 15-18 poll, up from 25% last month and 15% in May. “The likelihood of a Boris Johnson premiership and the rhetoric which has surfaced during the campaign suggests that this outcome is more likely than we previously believed,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank. With Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for the premiership, also keen to display his credentials as a hard Brexiteer, sterling GBP= has plunged this week to lows not seen in over two years as investors price in the growing risk of a disorderly Brexit. Lawmakers voted on Thursday to make it harder for the next prime minister to try to force a no-deal Brexit, giving some support to sterling, and a strong majority of economists polled still think the two sides will eventually settle on a free-trade deal, as they have since late 2016, when Reuters first started asking the question. But in second place this month was the more extreme option of leaving without a deal and trading under World Trade Organization rules. The third most likely outcome was the other compromiseContinue reading

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Donald Trump Campaigning - USA Headlines

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows. The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week. Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm. Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll. Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41% of the U.S. public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55% disapproved. The results showed strong Republican backing for Trump as the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution on Tuesday, largely along party lines, to condemn him for “racist comments” against the four Democratic lawmakers. All four U.S. representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are U.S. citizens. Three were bornContinue reading

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Donald Trump on D-Day in UK

Even before President Donald Trump’s racist tweets toward four Democratic congresswomen of color, Americans considered race relations in the United States to be generally bad — and said that Trump has been making them worse. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the congresswomen should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from, despite the fact that all are American citizens and three were born in the U.S. Since his election, polling has shown Americans wary of Trump when it comes to race. But views of the president, racism in the U.S. and what defines American culture vary significantly based on political alignment. What polls show: RACE RELATIONS IN THE TRUMP ERA In January, a CBS News poll found nearly 6 in 10 Americans saying race relations in the country are generally bad. It wasn’t always that way. Positive views of the state of race relations in the country peaked with President Barack Obama’s inauguration, after which 66% of Americans said race relations were generally good in an April 2009 CBS News/New York Times poll. But views started to sour in 2014 following a number of high-profile shootings of black men by police officers and have continued to be more negative than positive in the Trump era. And Americans think Trump is contributing to the problem. A Pew Research Center poll earlier this year showed 56% of Americans saying Trump has made race relations worse. Americans gave similarly poor assessments of the president’s impact on specific racial, ethnicContinue reading

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US 2020 Elections

Pennsylvania’s message was clear: The state was taking a big step to keep its elections from being hacked in 2020. Last April, its top election official told counties they had to update their systems. So far, nearly 60% have taken action, with $14.15 million of mostly federal funds helping counties buy brand-new electoral systems. But there’s a problem: Many of these new systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers. An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts. That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023. Critics say the situation is an example of what happens when private companies ultimately determine the security level of election systems with a lack of federal requirements or oversight. Vendors say they have been making consistent improvements in election systems. And many state officials say they are wary of federal involvement in state and local elections. According to an analysis by The Associated Press, states are buying ‘new’ election systems that will soon be running outdated and unsupported software that makesContinue reading

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Donald Trump Phone Call - US News

President Donald Trump abandoned his controversial bid to demand citizenship details from all respondents in next year’s census Thursday, instead directing federal agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases. “It is essential that we have a clear breakdown of the number of citizens and non-citizens that make up the United States population,” Donald Trump said at a Rose Garden announcement. He insisted he was “not backing down.” His reversal comes after the Supreme Court blocked his efforts to include the citizenship question and as the government had already begun the lengthy and expensive process of printing the census questionnaire without it. Trump had said last week that he was “very seriously” considering an executive order to try to force the question’s inclusion, even though such a move would surely have drawn an immediate legal challenge. But he said Thursday that he would instead be signing an executive order directing agencies to turn records over to the Department of Commerce. “We’re aiming to count everyone,” he said. The American Community Survey, which polls 3.5 million U.S. households every year, already includes questions about respondents’ citizenship. Critics have warned that including the citizenship question on the census would discourage participation, not only by those living in the country illegally but also by citizens who fear that participating will expose noncitizen family members to repercussions. Keeping the prospect of adding the question alive could in itself scare some away from participating, while showing Trump’s base that he is fighting forContinue reading

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African Migrants - Refugees - Migrant from Africa to Europe

They are trapped in squalid detention centers on Libya’s front lines. They wash up on the banks of the Rio Grande. They sink without a trace — in the Mediterranean, in the Pacific or in waterways they can’t even name. A handful fall out of airplanes’ landing gear. As their choices narrow on land and at sea, migrants are often seen as a political headache in the countries they hope to reach and ignored in the countries they flee. Most live in limbo, but recent tragedies have focused attention on the risks they face and the political constraints at the root of them. A record 71 million people were forcibly displaced around the world in 2018, according to a report last month by the U.N. refugee agency, in places as diverse as Turkey, Uganda, Bangladesh and Peru. Many are still on the move in 2019, or trapped like thousands in detention in Libya, where an airstrike on Tuesday killed at least 44 migrants and refugees locked away in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura. Most of those in Tajoura and other Libyan detention centers have been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard, which has become the go-to border force for the European Union, which can’t get 28 governments to agree about migration. Despite the rhetoric about migration crises in Europe and the U.S., the top three countries taking in refugees are Turkey, Pakistan and Uganda. Germany comes in a distant fifth. A 20-year-old who fled war in his homeland in sub-SaharanContinue reading

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Why Are Hong Kong Protesters Still Going Back to Bygone Colonial Era

They smashed glass windows, sprayed rude graffiti and defaced Hong Kong’s official emblem with black paint. But of all the dramatic photos showing hundreds of young protesters storming the city’s legislative building this week, one image makes for particularly uncomfortable viewing in Beijing: The British colonial flag draped aloft a podium in the assembly’s chamber. That’s not all. On a day supposed to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the “motherland,” other protesters were pictured defiantly flying giant Union flags in the Legislative Council. Why are some protesters — many of them millennials — harking back to a bygone colonial era, two decades after Britain handed the city over to China as a semi-autonomous territory? “Does it really mean that people seriously want colonial rule again? No — but I don’t think there’s any dispute among protesters that British rule was better than what we’ve got after the handover, especially in recent years,” said Lam Yin Pong, a Hong Kong journalist. “There might be some element of a rose-tinted lens. Perhaps some people are fantasizing about the ‘good old days,’” he added. “But what’s clear is that under colonial rule there was never a clear feeling of freedoms being gradually eroded, of a series of government actions completely against our interests.” Hong Kong has been rocked by massive street protests and its most serious political crisis after its government tried to push through legislation that would allow suspects in crimes to be extradited to mainland China forContinue reading

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Russia Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired a new broadside against Western liberalism on Saturday, saying that policies such as welcoming migrants have hurt people’s interests. Speaking after the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Putin charged that Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and a drop of popularity of traditional parties in Europe have been rooted in growing public dismay with mainstream liberal policies. He said Trump’s election victory was driven by growing disenchantment with liberal policies. “The liberal idea has started eating itself,” Vladimir Putin said at a news conference. “Millions of people live their lives, and those who propagate those ideas are separate from them.” Russian President Vladimir Putin fired a new broadside against Western liberalism on Saturday, saying that policies such as welcoming migrants have hurt people’s interests. Speaking after the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Putin charged that Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and a drop of popularity of traditional parties in Europe have been rooted in growing public dismay with mainstream liberal policies. He said Trump’s election victory was driven by growing disenchantment with liberal policies. “The liberal idea has started eating itself,” Putin said at a news conference. “Millions of people live their lives, and those who propagate those ideas are separate from them.” He also charged that the influx of migrants to Europe has infringed on people’s rights. “People live in their own country, according to their own traditions, why should it happen toContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - Headlines Today in UK

Loose cannon or influential statesman — what kind of British prime minister would Boris Johnson make on the world stage? Judging by his time as foreign secretary, possibly both. When Johnson was given the foreign job in 2016, after Britain voted to leave the EU, he was viewed as an unlikely choice by politicians and public alike given his tendency to court controversy with gaffes, oddball jokes and off-the-cuff remarks. The early days seemed to confirm the worst fears of those who saw the Conservative lawmaker as an unsuitable diplomat, at a critical time when Britain needed to forge new political and commercial ties with a slew of countries. What should have been a routine conference in Italy, the “Mediterranean Dialogues Forum” aimed at building relations with leading envoys from the West and Middle East, instead turned into something of a diplomatic incident. Johnson made headlines by going off-script and accusing Saudi Arabia, an important regional ally, of acting as a puppeteer in proxy wars under the guise of religion. The backlash was swift from Prime Minister Theresa May, who said his comments did not reflect “actual policy,” dishing out what a government source described as a shocking and very public “cuffing” for a senior minister. Now May is stepping down over her failure to extract Britain from the European Union. Johnson, a leader of the Brexit campaign, is the overwhelming favorite to become leader of the governing Conservative Party next month, which would also make him prime minister. TheContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - UK Politics News Headline

Boris Johnson, Britain’s former foreign secretary, built his career on a foundation of anti-European Union rhetoric and propaganda, and was one of the leaders of the successful 2016 referendum campaign that persuaded a slim majority of United Kingdom voters to approve the country’s exit from the 28-member political and trade bloc. Now he’s on course to become the next prime minister of the U.K.’s Conservative government (despite a controversy that blew up over the weekend after neighbors called police on Friday night to investigate a loud argument coming from the apartment he shares with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, a Tory party press officer). And as premier, it could soon be Johnson’s job to wrangle with Brussels to find a way to deliver the country’s withdrawal from the EU — the process called Brexit — ahead of the departure deadline of Oct. 31. To say that the leaders of the other 27 EU member states aren’t thrilled with the prospect of his taking over from Theresa May is an understatement. May is stepping down as premier in the wake of her failure to get Parliament to approve the Brexit deal she spent nearly two years negotiating. “I don’t think the credibility of Boris Johnson is very high in the EU,” says Christian Lequesne, a professor of European politics at the French university Sciences Po. “He’s someone who says one thing and says the opposite the next day.” But as much as Johnson is distrusted and disliked in Brussels, there is aContinue reading

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US 2020 Elections Here Are the Democrats Candidates, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julián Castro

Democrats struggling to distinguish themselves in a crowded field for president found their first potentially winnowing issue Wednesday night: Who really represents the progressive trend in their party – not to mention the minority, women and LGBTQ voters so critical to the Democratic base? Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke started by offering part of his first answer in Spanish. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts decried corporate malfeasance and heartily endorsed “Medicare for All.” Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro called for decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, adding cheekily that Americans should be “pissed off” by a heartbreaking photo of a man and his baby daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. And pretty much everyone claimed to be the one candidate who would speak for the aggrieved middle class and poorer Americans given a raw deal by the 1 percent and the corporate inertness the candidates said were in concert with them. In the first of two 10-member Democratic debates this week, the candidates did not attack each other much – and didn’t even mention former Vice President Joe Biden, who is part of the second debate Thursday night. Many heavily criticized President Donald Trump but also did not make the president so despised by the Democratic base a central theme of their pitches. Instead, the candidates eagerly engaged in a policy-heavy debate, discussing guns, climate change, criminal justice reform, equal pay for women, immigration and foreign policy, including the most recent standoff with Iran. And nearly allContinue reading

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Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders

The sprawling Democratic presidential field is incredibly diverse, but a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs finds Democrats give a collective shrug to gender, race and age as factors they’re considering when supporting a candidate. Instead, Democratic registered voters are yearning for experience in elected office. A whopping 73% cited that as a quality that would make them more excited about supporting a presidential candidate. Twenty-five candidates are running for the party’s nomination and include several women, a Latino, multiple candidates of African and Asian descent, and a 37-year-old gay man less than half the age of the 76-year-old early front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden. But most Democratic voters say these characteristics make no difference in their enthusiasm, the poll shows. Benji Grajeda, 50, of Santa Ana, California, was once excited at the idea that Hillary Clinton could become the first female president. Now he just wants stability. “I don’t think it matters, gender,” said Grajeda, who, though he is Latino, also said he wouldn’t be any more motivated to back a Latino for president. Instead, Grajeda cited experience in office as his top priority because “Trump has no experience.” “I never really thought about it until he won — he’s just not qualified,” Grajeda said. Four in 10 Democratic voters said they would be more excited about voting for a woman for president, and 36% said the same of a younger candidate. About a quarter were more excited at the idea of supporting aContinue reading

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USA vs Iran

A year after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, the pact is at severe risk of collapse and the European Union is caught in the middle, struggling to keep supply lines open to the Islamic Republic’s wilting economy under the threat of U.S. sanctions. With few real options left, their trust in the Trump administration running low, and fears rising that conflict could break out, major powers Germany, France and Britain have been reduced to repeating calls for restraint as pressure builds and Iran threatens to walk away from the painstakingly drafted 2015 deal. In an effort to keep Iran’s economy afloat and save an agreement they believe has stopped Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, the Europeans are turning to diplomacy to try to encourage other countries to buy more Iranian oil. They also have set up a barter-type system to evade possible U.S. sanctions. “We have to do everything to solve the conflict situation with Iran in a peaceful manner,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday. “We will do everything to impress on all sides, but especially to make clear to Iran, that this serious situation mustn’t be aggravated.” The pact, which ensures that Tehran’s nuclear program be restricted to civilian uses in exchange for economic assistance, was signed by Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France Germany and Britain. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal in May 2018. “We are relying on Iran continuing to abide by it,” German ChancellorContinue reading

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