WORLD NEWS JUNE 23 2021

HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS

  • COURT COMMENCES EX FIRS DIRECTORS’ CASE AS GUNMEN ABDUCT VILLAGE HEAD, WIFE IN IBADAN.
  • U.S MOVES TO SCRAP GUN VIOLENCE.
  • CHINA FIRES U.S. OVER SECURITY RISK.
  • ON SPORTS, ORGANISERS BAN SALE OF ALCOHOL IN TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC’ ARENA.

FIRS/COURT

THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT SITTING IN ABUJA HAS COMMENCED HEARING OF A CASE OF FRAUD INVOLVING SOME EX-DIRECTORS AND MEMBERS OF STAFF OF THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE, FIRS.

DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND LIAISON DEPARTMENT, ABDULLAHI ISMAILA AHMAD, MADE THIS KNOWN IN A STATEMENT MADE AVAILABLE TO NEWSMEN.

ISMAILA SAID THE FIRS STAFF ARE ANSWERING CHARGES CONCERNING EMBEZZLEMENT OF THE DUTY TOUR AND WERE ARRAIGNED ON A 42-COUNT CHARGE BORDERING ON CORRUPTION, FRAUD, AND OTHERS.

IN ANOTHER DEVELOPMENT, SOME GUNMEN SUSPECTED TO BE KIDNAPPERS WERE SAID TO HAVE ABDUCTED A VILLAGE HEAD AND HIS WIFE IN IBADAN, THE OYO STATE CAPITAL.

REPORT SAID THE GUNMEN STORMED ARAROMI VILLAGE IN BAKATARI AREA OF IBADAN AND TOOK THE BAALE OF ARAROMI VILLAGE, CHIEF TAFA APANPA AND HIS WIFE AWAY ALONG THE IBADAN-ABEOKUTA ROAD.

MAURITANIA/PRISON

MAURITANIA’S FORMER PRESIDENT, MOHAMED ABDEL AZIZ HAS BEEN JAILED AFTER A JUDGE IN CHARGE OF A CORRUPTION PROBE ORDERED HIS INCARCERATION.

THE EX-LEADER SAID HE IS BEING PERSECUTED IN A BID TO KEEP HIM OUT OF POLITICS BUT VOWED THAT HE WOULD NOT GO INTO EXILE.

A PROSECUTOR SPEAKING ON CONDITION OF ANONYMITY AND SPOKESMAN OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S PARTY, DJIBRIL BILAL, CONFIRMED HIS DETENTION WITHOUT CITING THE REASON.

BIDEN/NEW PLANS

THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, JOE BIDEN HAS PLANNED TO UNVEIL NEW STEPS TO CURTAIL GUN VIOLENCE IN THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING MEASURES AND AIMED AT STEMMING THE FLOW OF FIREARMS USED IN CRIMES.

THE PRESIDENT MADE THIS KNOWN, AFTER PLEDGING TO PUSH FOR SWEEPING CHANGES TO FIREARMS LAWS.

THE WARNING WAS ISSUED AFTER LEADERS OF VARIOUS FACTIONS IN THE GAZA STRIP MET IN A HAMAS OFFICE TO DISCUSS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS SURROUNDING A CEASEFIRE REACHED IN MAY BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS, WHICH ENDED THE 11-DAY ISRAELI ASSAULT ON GAZA.

US/PALESTINIAN AID

A KEY UNITED STATES SENATOR IS BLOCKING 50 MILLION DOLLARS IN ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIANS, UNDERCUTTING PROMISES OF HELP BY SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN AFTER ISRAEL’S BOMBING OF GAZA IN MAY.

REPORT SAYS LAST MONTH, REPUBLICAN SENATOR JAMES RISCH, PLACED A HOLD ON THE FUNDING, ALREADY APPROVED BY THE US CONGRESS, USING PROCEDURES UNDER A 2018 US LAW.

IN A STATEMENT, RISCH SAID HE WOULD ENSURE THE FUNDS DO NOT GO TO THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY OR HAMAS, A MOVE WHICH WAS SAID WOULD DELAY THE MUCH-NEEDED RECONSTRUCTION OF WATER RESOURCES AND ROADS IN THE COUNTRY.

HOWEVER, ADVOCATES FOR US AID TO THE PALESTINIANS STATED THAT RISCH’S HOLD ON THE FUNDS IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED AND WOULD EVENTUALLY HAVE TO BE LIFTED.

ALSO, A LARGE GROUP OF DEMOCRATS IN THE US HOUSE, LED BY REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN, WHO IS JEWISH, HAD DEMANDED THAT SENATOR RISCH RELEASE THE DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC AID TO PALESTINIANS.

AUSTRALIA/COVID CURB

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST CITY OF SYDNEY HAS RE-INTRODUCED SOFT TOUCH COVID-19 CURBS TO CONTAIN A WIDENING OUTBREAK OF THE HIGHLY INFECTIOUS DELTA VARIANT.

STATE’S HEALTH MINISTER, BRAD HAZZARD ANNOUNCED THIS DURING AN INTERVIEW WITH JOURNALISTS IN SYDNEY, NOTING THAT THE STATE TIGHTENED CURBS FOR A WEEK FOLLOWING THE LATEST CLUSTER OF THE HIGHLY INFECTIOUS DELTA VARIANT WHICH COULD DRIVE A MAJOR OUTBREAK.

HAZZARD SAID THE GOVERNMENT MANDATED USE OF MASKS INDOORS, OFFICES AND GYMS WHILE NEIGHBOURING STATES CLOSED THEIR BORDERS, ADDING THAT TRAVEL WAS LIMITED TO ESSENTIAL TASKS FOR RESIDENTS OF SEVEN COUNCIL AREAS IN SYDNEY’S EAST AND INNER WEST, WITH HOME VISITS LIMITED TO FIVE GUESTS AND SOME SCHOOLS MOVED TO ONLINE-ONLY TEACHING.

CHINA/U.S. WARSHIP

CHINA HAS CONDEMNED THE UNITED STATES AS THE REGION’S GREATEST SECURITY RISK CREATOR AFTER A U.S. WARSHIP AGAIN SAILED THROUGH THE SENSITIVE WATERWAY THAT SEPARATES TAIWAN FROM CHINA.

THE U.S. NAVY’S 7TH FLEET SAID THE ARLEIGH BURKE-CLASS GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER, UNIVERSITIES SUPERANNUATION SCHEME CURTIS WILBUR CONDUCTED A ROUTINE TAIWAN STRAIT TRANSIT IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW.

HOWEVER, CHINA SAID THE SHIP’S TRANSIT SHOWS THAT THE UNITED STATES IS THE GREATEST CREATOR OF RISKS FOR REGIONAL SECURITY, HENCE THE NEED TO RESOLUTELY OPPOSE IT.

REACTING, TAIWAN’S DEFENCE MINISTRY NOTED THAT THE SHIP SAILED IN A NORTHERLY DIRECTION THROUGH THE STRAIT AND THE SITUATION WAS AS NORMAL, ADDING THAT THE TRANSIT THROUGH THE TAIWAN STRAIT DEMONSTRATES THE U.S. COMMITMENT TO A FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC.

INDIA/NEW VARIANT

INDIA HAS DECLARED A NEW CORONAVIRUS VARIANT AFTER NEARLY TWO DOZEN CASES HAD BEEN DETECTED ACROSS THE COUNTRY SO FAR.

INDIA’S HEALTH MINISTRY ANNOUNCED THIS IN A STATEMENT, SAYING THE VARIANT AY.1, IDENTIFIED LOCALLY AS DELTA PLUS AND FIRST IDENTIFIED IN EUROPE WAS FOUND IN 22 CASES ACROSS MAHARASHTRA, KERALA AND MADHYA PRADESH STATES.

THE MINISTRY SAID DELTA PLUS SHOWED INCREASED TRANSMISSIBILITY, BINDS MORE TO THE RECEPTORS OF LUNG CELLS AS WELL SHOWING A POTENTIAL REDUCTION IN ANTIBODY RESPONSE BUT ADVISED THE THREE STATES TO INCREASE TESTING.

HOWEVER, INDIA EPIDEMOLOGIST, DOCTOR PATRICK WARNED THAT THE NEW VARIANT MIGHT TRIGGER A THIRD COVID-19 WAVE IN THE COUNTRY AS IT WAS FORMED DUE TO A MUTATION OF THE DELTA STRAIN OR B.1.617.2 VARIANT.

                                                        S.O.T

SO FAR, REPORT SAYS INDIA HEALTH OFFICIALS RECORDED 20 CASES, SUSPECTED TO BE FROM THE VARIANT IN THE SECOND COVID 19 WAVE IN THE COUNTRY.

HONG KONG/TRIAL

THE FIRST PERSON CHARGED UNDER HONG KONG’S YEAR-OLD NATIONAL SECURITY LAW HAS GONE ON TRIAL.

YING-KIT TONG WAS ACCUSED OF SECESSION AND TERRORISM FOR RIDING A MOTORBIKE CARRYING A FLAG THAT CALLED FOR THE CHINESE TERRITORY’S LIBERATION.

THE 24-YEAR-OLD, WHO WAS DETAINED ON JULY 1, 2020 HOURS AFTER THE LEGISLATION WAS IMPOSED, WAS ALSO ACCUSED OF DANGEROUS DRIVING AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY DROVE HIS MOTORBIKE DELIBERATELY INTO A GROUP OF POLICE OFFICERS DURING THE PROTESTS AGAINST THE SECURITY LAW.  

THE TRIAL, BEFORE THREE JUDGES AND WITHOUT A JURY, IS THE FIRST UNDER THE LEGISLATION THAT CHINA IMPOSED LAST YEAR AFTER MONTHS OF PROTESTS IN 2019.

HE HOWEVER PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO THE CHARGES BUT WAS SAID WOULD FACE LIFE IN PRISON IF CONVICTED.

 

SPORTS

ORGANISERS OF TOKYO 2020 HAS BANNED SELLING OF ALCOHOL AT VENUES OF THE GAMES.

THE ORGANISERS MADE THIS KNOWN 30 DAYS TO THE START OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES WHICH WAS DISTRUPTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND OTHER CONTROVERSIES.

PUSHING AHEAD WITH ITS PREPARATIONS FOR THE GAMES, POSTPONED FROM 2020, THE ORGANISERS NOTED THAT THE MOVE WAS TO DEFEND PLANS TO ALLOW THOUSANDS OF SPECTATORS AT THE VENUE.

IT ADDED THAT THE BANNING FOLLOWED EXPERTS ADVICE.

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