Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nigerian [Amobi Obianika] Arrested With 8 kg Cocaine In South Delhi

Indian Express
Sunday, September 29, 2013

In its largest drug seizure this year, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) recovered 8 Kg of cocaine, worth nearly Rs 40 crore, from a high-end lodge in South Delhi on Saturday. A Nigerian national, identified as Amobi Chijioke Obianika, was arrested when he was taking delivery of a suitcase containing the drug at the lodge.

"Cocaine is used as a stimulant in rave parties and the drug we seized is of very high quality. This is the largest seizure of cocaine this year. The haul is estimated to be worth around Rs 40 crore," an NCB official said.

According to the official, Obianika used a clever modus operandi of smuggle the drug into the country. "He did not carry the consignment himself when he arrived from Nigeria on September 26. Instead, he booked it on a separate flight and the consignment was to be delivered by an airline courier a day later at his room in the lodge.

The Nigerian has been arrested under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The agency is now on the lookout for the recipients of the consignment.

The NCB had been on extra vigil after recent reports of illegal drugs being supplied to students and youngsters came to light, the officer said.

Two weeks ago, 20-year-old NRI Anmol Sarna had died after a suspected case of LSD overdose. Police had told the court that drug peddlers in Noida had supplied the LSD to Sarna and friends.

NCB said it was watching Obianika for over 24 hours after receiving a tip-off that he might be dealing in drugs. Obianika did not receive the baggage as soon as it arrived at the hotel. He kept the delivery man waiting in the lobby, an NCB official said.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dominican Ruling Strips Many Of Citizenship

A youth of Haitian descent holds a sign that reads in Spanish "I'm Dominican" during a protest demanding that President Danilo Medina stop the process to invalidate their birth certificates after authorities retained their ID cards, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic's top court on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 stripped citizenship from thousands of people born to migrants who came illegally, a category that overwhelmingly includes Haitians brought in to work on farms. The decision cannot be appealed, and it affects all those born since 1929.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) September 26, 2013 — The Dominican Republic's top court on Thursday stripped citizenship from thousands of people born to migrants who came illegally, a category that overwhelmingly includes Haitians brought in to work on farms.

The decision cannot be appealed, and it affects all those born since 1929. The Constitutional Court's ruling says officials are studying birth certificates of more than 16,000 people and notes that electoral authorities have refused to issue identity documents to 40,000 people of Haitian descent.

The decision, which gives the electoral commission a year to produce a list of those to be excluded, is a blow to activists who have tried to block what they call "denationalization" of many residents.
"This is outrageous," said Ana Maria Belique, spokeswoman for a nonprofit group that has fought for the rights of migrants' children. "It's an injustice based on prejudice and xenophobia." Until 2010, the Dominican Republic followed the principle of automatically bestowing citizenship to anyone born on its soil. But the court ruled that all Haitian migrants who came to work in Dominican sugarcane fields after 1929 were in transit, and thus their children were not automatically entitled to citizenship just because they were born here.

The Economy Ministry recently calculated that some 500,000 migrants born in Haiti now live in the Dominican Republic, but it gave no estimate for the number of people of Haitian descent living in the country. The Dominican Republic's total population is a little over 10 million.

The office of Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe declined to comment. Edwin Paraison, a former Haitian Cabinet minister who has been working to improve relations between the two nations, criticized the court and warned that the ruling could hurt Dominicans. "The sentence expresses a rejection of the Haitian diaspora while setting a dangerous precedent that can be reproduced, if appropriate action isn't taken, against other immigrant communities, including Dominicans, in several countries worldwide," he said in an email.

David Abraham, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the decision was part of a larger effort to keep Haitians from entering the Dominican Republic and to encourage self-deportation. He cited the racial differences between predominantly black Haitians and mixed-race Dominicans as well as Haiti's plight as one of the world's poorest countries.

"The fear of the Dominican Republic, of being pulled down to the level of Haiti economically and the 'blackening' of the country, has been an obsession of Dominican politicians for well over a century," he said.

The Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic and Creole-speaking Haiti share the island of Hispaniola and have a long, troubled history. Haiti invaded and took over the Dominican Republic for more than 20 years in the 19th century. Then in 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the massacre of an estimated 20,000 Haitians as he sought to expel them from the country.

After Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, the Dominican Republic temporarily halted deportations and helped with relief efforts. It was a rare break in tensions that have since resumed.

Dominican lawyer Cristobal Rodriguez, who opposes the ruling, said the court disregarded the principle of law retroactivity by applying the criteria of a new constitution approved in 2010 to people born decades earlier.

Those affected by the court's ruling are basically left in limbo because a 2004 law that would have addressed the status of those born to migrants living illegally in the Dominican Republic was never applied.

"This ruling cuts against the rights of thousands of people born in the Dominican Republic, and could immediately undermine their access to education and health services," Reed Brody, counsel and spokesman for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "It's also likely to discourage an entire community from seeking help when they suffer abuses, for fear of authorities learning their status."
In Port-au-Prince, construction worker Jean Ronald said he was disheartened by the ruling but wouldn't be discouraged from crossing the border when he needs a job. "This isn't going to stop me, because I need to find work on the other side of the island," Ronald, a single, 32-year-old father of two boys, said at a construction site in Port-au-Prince. "Life is a risk, and I'm going to take that risk."
Activists said they would likely seek help from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which in turn might submit the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Jorge Duany, an anthropology professor at Florida International University who has studied the migration of Dominicans in the Caribbean, said the decision comes after countless years of friction between the two countries.

"The impact could be truly catastrophic," he said. "They are stigmatizing an entire Haitian population."

Associated Press writer Ezequiel Abiu Lopez reported this story in Santo Domingo and Danica Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. AP writers Trenton Daniel and Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report.




Sudanese Protesters Demand The Regime's Ouster

Sudanese anti-government protesters chant slogans after the Friday noon prayer in the Omdurman district of northern Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Security forces opened fire on Sudanese protesters Friday, witnesses said, as thousands marched through the streets of the capital in an opposition push to turn a wave of popular anger over fuel price hikes into an outright uprising against the 24-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir.


KHARTOUM, SUDAN (AP) — Security forces fired at Sudanese protesters with bullets and tear gas Friday as thousands took to the streets despite a fierce crackdown that rights groups say has killed dozens of people this week. The regime of President Omar al-Bashir is trying to stifle public anger over fuel price hikes from turning into an Arab Spring-style uprising against his 24-year rule.

The marches in one of the world's poorest countries — where nearly 50 percent of population lives below the poverty line — have turned into the heaviest domestic challenge yet faced by al-Bashir, who has so far been spared the sort of anti-authoritarian popular revolts seen around the Arab world in the past two years.

Though he maintains a strong grip on the regime, al-Bashir has been increasingly beleaguered. The economy has been worsening, especially after South Sudan broke off and became an independent state in 2011, taking Sudan's main oil-producing territory. Armed secessionist groups operate in several parts of the country. And al-Bashir himself, who came to power as head of a military-Islamist regime after a 1989 coup, is wanted by the International Criminal Court over alleged crimes in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

The unrest began Sunday in the town of Wad Madani when the government cut subsidies on fuel and gas, causing prices to leap — a decision activist Sara Kamal called "the straw that broke the camel's back."

Protests quickly spread to the capital, Khartoum, and several other cities as opponents of al-Bashir's authoritarian rule worked to harness the anger over the economic woes into a wider movement. Angry protesters torched police and dozens of gas stations and government buildings, and students marched chanting for al-Bashir's ouster.

Al-Bashir so far has shown remarkable staying power, backed by a vast security machine and a network of interests built on Islamist ideology, economic ties and tribal politics that have enabled him to quash previous efforts at rallying mass opposition.

Activists acknowledge they have no unified leadership or support from political parties but express hope the spontaneous nature of the current round of protests means they're gaining momentum. "Yes people got out on the streets because of price hikes, but every family has been affected by the past 24 years, with a member killed in wars because of this government," local blogger and journalist Reem Shawkat said. "It's an accumulation of so much anger."

Protesters poured out of mosques and marched in several parts of Khartoum and in Wad Madani after weekly Muslim prayers. Security forces opened fire on marches on two streets in the capital, witnesses said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. At least one protester was shot to death, a doctor said, also declining to be identified because of the tense security situation.
One of Sudan's most prominent opposition leaders, Sadiq al-Mahdi of the National Umma Party, told worshippers at a mosque in the district of Omdurman that al-Bashir has been spending the state's budget on "consolidating power" and failed "to lift the agony off the citizens' shoulders."

After the sermon, protesters marched through the district, a longtime opposition stronghold, chanting "the people want the downfall of the regime," the slogan heard in Arab Spring uprisings that began in late 2010 and have led to the ouster of the leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Security forces were deployed nearby in pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns, while residents barricaded their streets with rocks and t. Still, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as protesters tried to cross the Nile River into central Khartoum, witnesses said.

Lawyer and member of the opposition Umma Party, Nafeesa Hagar, said she was injured in the back by rubber bullets during the march. "There is no way people will retreat. We entered a new phase where the street is facing the regime that left us no option but confrontation," she said.

Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud said Friday that 600 people have been arrested this week for "sabotage" and will stand trial, according to SUNA. He warned that "the safety of citizens is a red line." The state-run al-Sahafa daily proclaimed in a front-page headline that the government will "will paralyze the hands of vandals."

A number of newspapers were barred from publishing. The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite television station said Friday its Khartoum office was ordered shut by the government. Sudanese news outlets online have reported that photographers and cameraman have been barred from covering the protests.

The Internet was for almost 24 hours cut in Sudan this week and activists said Facebook was blocked Friday. Youth groups were using Facebook to post video of the protests recorded by residents on their cellphones.

Amnesty International and the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies accused the government of using a "shoot to kill" policy against this week's protests, saying they had documented 50 deaths in rioting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Youth activists and doctors at a Khartoum hospital told The Associated Press that at least 100 people died since Monday. Sudanese police, in a statement carried by the official SUNA news agency late Thursday, put the death toll at 29, including policemen. A precise toll was almost impossible to obtain.

The subsidy cuts come amid International Monetary Fund pressure on Sudan to curb spending and repay debts. Similar IMF-backed austerity measures announced last year also sparked protests that were quickly put down. Al-Bashir justified the new measures, saying they would rescue the country from "collapse."

A gallon (3.8 liters) of diesel sprang from eight Sudanese pounds ($1.81) to 14 pounds ($3.18). A gallon of gasoline, once 12 pounds ($2.7), jumped to 21 ($4.7), while a canister of cooking gas that was 14 pounds ($3.2) is now 25 ($5.6).

Faisal Saleh, a political commentator in the daily newspaper Khartoum, said the new protests were significant because of their geographical extent, the variety of protesters and the bloody response by the security forces.

What remains to be seen is whether the opposition can formulate a united leadership. "The coming hours are very critical because they are a big test on whether the revolt will continue or fade away," he said.

Associated Press writers Geir Moulson and Aya Batrawy contributed to this story from Berlin and Cairo.

Rouhani Calls US A 'Great' Nation In Sharp Change

ASSOCIATED PRESS
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles at the end of a news conference at the Millennium Hotel in midtown Manhattan, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in New York. Image: AP

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the United States a "great" nation Friday in a sharp reversal from his predecessors and expressed hope that at the very least the two governments can stop the escalation of tensions.

Wrapping up his first trip to the United States as Iran's new leader, Rouhani said President Barack Obama struck a new tone in his U.N. speech this week, which he welcomed. He said he believes the first step to a meeting between the two leaders was taken Thursday at a meeting on Iran's nuclear program, where the foreign ministers of both nations talked for the first time in six years. The White House announced Friday afternoon that Rouhani and Obama spoke on the phone.

"I want it to be the case that this trip will be a first step, and a beginning for better and constructive relations with countries of the world as well as a first step for a better relationship between the two great nations of Iran and the United States of America," Rouhani told a press conference at a hotel near U.N. headquarters.

Iran and the United States have traded harsh rhetoric for years. During the 1979 Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile, seized power and declared the U.S., which was a strong supporter of the ousted Shah of Iran, the "Great Satan." He set the tone for Iranian officials who came after him. The U.S. was equally critical, with then-President George W. Bush, in his 2002 State of the Union address, declaring Iran part of his "axis of evil" along with North Korea and Iraq.

Rouhani, looking to the future of U.S.-Iranian relations, expressed hope that "the views of our people, the understanding of each other, will grow, and at the level of the two governments that at the very least we can, as a first step, stop further escalation of tensions and then reduce tension as a next step and then pave the way for achieving of mutual interests."

The Iranian president was upbeat about his four-day visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly's ministerial session, reeling off a long list of leaders he met and saying "I believe that our success was greater than our expectation, especially with the European countries ... and I think that the path really has been paved to expand relations in various centers, key world economies."

Iran's economy has been hit hard by four rounds of U.N. sanctions for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make fuel for both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The U.S. and its allies have taken even more devastating measures targeting Iran's ability to conduct international bank transfers and to export oil.

Rouhani has come across as a more moderate face of the hard-line clerical regime in Tehran. He said he has a mandate from the Iranian people, who opposed "extremism" and voted for "moderation." He said this has created a "new environment" that could pave the way for better relations with the West.

He said Iran would put forth a proposal at talks in Geneva on Oct. 15-16 aimed at resolving the standoff over his country's nuclear program and easing international sanctions. "We hope that an even more effective step will be taken in Geneva in order to settle the nuclear issue," Rouhani said, without elaborating.

He expressed hope that with "sufficient will on both sides — and I assure you that on the Iranian side this will is there fully, 100 percent — that within a very short time there will be a settlement on the nuclear file and ... I believe that in the not too distant future, we'll be able to resolve and settle the nuclear issue."

Resolving the nuclear issue will "pave the way for Iran's better relations with the West," including the expansion of economic and cultural ties, he said. Rouhani said he was encouraged by what he has heard recently from Western officials.

"In speaking with senior European officials and also hearing Mr. Obama ... it seemed that they sounded different compared to the past, and I view that as a positive step to the resettlement of the differences between the Islamic Republic between the Republic of Iran and the West," he said.

He said he did not meet with Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly this week because "both sides were convinced that the timetable was too short to plan a meeting of two presidents" and "ensure that its conclusion would be solid."

"What matters to us is the result of such a meeting," Rouhani said. Iran watchers say Rouhani may have limited time — possibly a year or less — to reach a settlement on the nuclear issue before Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decides negotiations are fruitless.

In an apparent reference to resistance among hard-liners back home, Rouhani noted that "after 35 years of great tensions between Iran and the United States and a very number of issues that persist ... a meeting of the presidents for the first time will naturally come with complications of its own."

He said the first step was the ministerial meeting Thursday, and the next steps have to be taken in stages in "a well-thought-out manner." The upbeat, if guarded, tone by both sides after Thursday's meeting of Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany was seen as a significant step forward after months of stalled talks. It was capped by an unexpected one-on-one meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who shook hands and at one point sat side-by-side in the group talks.

On other issues, Rouhani condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, welcomed President Bashar Assad's decision to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, and said Iran will actively participate in a new Syrian peace conference if invited.

He said the international community must show "deep sensitivity" to the presence of al-Qaida and other terrorists in Syria, saying "terrorists are like bacteria that travel constantly from one setting to another."

He also said that there's no room in the world today for the extreme practices of the Taliban, who curtailed human rights and barred girls from going to school when they were in power. "Women are like men and equal with me and must be fully active in the social sphere," Rouhani said.

He expressed hope that the Taliban would re-emerge with new thinking and beliefs to participate in a future framework for peace for Afghanistan. In Vienna, meanwhile, Iranian and U.N. officials held a "constructive" meeting on resuming a probe of allegations that Tehran has worked on atomic arms, officials said Friday, in talks seen as a test of pledges by Rouhani to reduce nuclear tensions.

The upbeat assessment and an agreement to meet again Oct. 28 was a departure from the deadlock left by previous meetings over nearly two years. At issue are suspicions outlined in reports from the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran worked secretly on trying to develop nuclear weapons — something Tehran denies.

Rouhani has steadfastly maintained that any nuclear agreement must recognize Iran's right under international treaties to continue enriching uranium.

AP writers Lara Jakes and Matthew Lee at the United Nations and George Jahn in Vienna contributed to this report. Follow Lara Jakes on Twitter: https://twitter.com/larajakesAP

Survivor Tells Of Guatemalan Massacre At US Trial

Provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows Jorge Sosa, a former Guatemalan soldier, as he is extradited to Los Angeles from Canada. Sosa is being charged with lying on his American citizenship application about his alleged role in the Guatemalan military and involvement in a 1982 massacre during Guatemala’s civil war. His trial is scheduled to start Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in federal court in Riverside, Calif. Sosa claims he was not in the village during the killings.

RIVERSIDE, California (AP) — Peering out of a church where he was taken during a horrifying attack three decades ago, Ramiro Osorio watched armed men take small children from his Guatemalan village and bash them into a tree before tossing their bodies into a well.

He was 5 years old. Osorio and his siblings grabbed onto their mother's legs, but she was seized from them and taken to the well pleading for her life. "I heard my mom screaming for help and 'Please, don't kill my kids. They don't know nothing. We don't know nothing,'" Osorio told an American jury Friday in the trial of a former Guatemalan soldier charged with lying about the massacre on his U.S. citizenship application. Osorio's parents and six siblings all died in the attack, which virtually wiped out the village.

His chilling testimony came as Jorge Sosa, a former second lieutenant with a special forces unit of the Guatemalan army, is battling to remain an American citizen. If convicted of making false statements and obtaining citizenship unlawfully, Sosa also could face 15 years in prison.

Though Sosa is not on trial for war crimes, the case has brought horrific accounts of Guatemala's 36-year-long civil war to the court in Southern California, where he previously lived. About 200,000 people were killed during the war that ended in 1996, many by state forces and paramilitary groups. The U.S. government lent support to Guatemalan authorities during the conflict.

More than 160 people were slain in the village of Dos Erres in December 1982. A special forces patrol was sent to the village to recover weapons believed to have been stolen by Guatemalan guerrillas. No weapons were found in the village, and residents did not resist. But the patrol was ordered to kill everyone there to cover up the rape of women by soldiers, prosecutors said.

Years later, authorities say Sosa failed to disclose his military service or role in the massacre on his application to become an American citizen. Sosa's attorney, Shashi Kewalramani, has argued that his client's time in the army was no secret to U.S. officials since he told them about it when he applied for asylum after leaving Guatemala in 1985 — information that was held in his immigration file.

Kewalramani has cautioned jurors that Sosa is on trial only for the way he answered questions on his immigration paperwork — not for the atrocities of war. After his asylum claim was denied, Sosa moved to Canada, where he became a citizen. He got a green card after marrying an American and naturalized in 2008.

Two years later, homeland security officials searched his Moreno Valley home. Sosa, a karate instructor, then headed to Mexico and boarded a flight to Canada. He was arrested and extradited last year to the United States.

In recent years, Guatemala has begun trying the cases of former soldiers accused in the killings at Dos Erres. Five of them have been sentenced to more than 6,000 years in prison, including one who was arrested by U.S. homeland security officials and deported back to Guatemala.

Earlier this week, two former soldiers testified that they saw Sosa standing near the well in Dos Erres where they were ordered to bring all the villagers to be killed. When half-dead men screamed from within, Sosa fired a rifle at them and threw in a grenade, one of the soldiers said.

Osorio, who was raised by a soldier and eventually left Guatemala and obtained asylum abroad, recalled for jurors how armed men came one night to the home where he lived in Dos Erres with his parents and six siblings. His father and older brother were sent to the village school; his mother and the rest of the family were sent to the church.

He could hear the men screaming outside. The women started crying. Armed men grabbed women and young girls by the hair and pulled them outside, Osorio recalled. He could see what they did with young children through the slats of church's wooden walls. One man came inside the church with a message.

"If you know how to pray, pray, because nobody will save you from this," Osorio recalled being told. After Osorio's mother was taken, he ran to the back of the church where screaming women and children had been held under guard. He fell asleep, crying, under a bench.
When he awoke, only a handful of children were left.

Nigeria Islamists release video of French hostage

Lagos (AFP) - September 28, 2013 - Nigerian Islamist group Ansaru on Friday released a video of a French national kidnapped in December, the SITE jihadi tracking website said.

In the video, posted online, the hostage identifies himself as 63-year-old Francis Collomp, an engineer with the French firm Vergnet, who was "kidnapped in Rimi in Katsina state on 19 December 2012 till today, 25 September 2013."

The hostage appears wearing a white t-shirt, with an unidentified person holding a weapon in the background.

If authentic, it would be the first video of Collomp to emerge since his abduction.
Parts of the short statement are not clear, but he can be heard calling for "negotiations" for his "safe release."

In the latter half of the three-minute video, the camera focuses on an Arabic statement that addresses "the government(s) of France and Nigeria," according to the translation provided by SITE.

While there is no direct threat of further attacks, or on Collomp's life, the statement vows to treat "treachery and treason" by the French or Nigerian governments with "reciprocity."

France's foreign ministry told AFP it was trying to authenticate the video and was in contact with Collomp's family.

Ansaru is considered by some to be a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, Nigeria's more prominent Islamist group which has waged a deadly insurgency since 2009.

The links between the two organisations remain in question, but some analysts have said that Ansaru might have emerged from a faction within Boko Haram that sought to specifically target foreign interests.

Ansaru has been blamed for the 2011 kidnapping of a Briton and an Italian national in northern Nigeria. Both hostages were killed in March of last year.

Britain, which has formally labelled Ansaru a terrorist organisation, said the group likely has ties to Al-Qaeda's north Africa franchise, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb Collomp, who had been working on a wind power project in Katsina, was taken after a group of some 30 gunmen stormed the compound where he was staying.

The gate outside his home was said to have been riddled with bullet holes after the attack.

Ansaru claimed the abduction days later, citing as a justification France's push for military intervention against the Islamist rebels who had seized northern Mali.

Ansaru also claimed the kidnapping of seven foreign nationals working on a construction project in northern Bauchi state in February.

A video later posted online appeared to show some of those hostages being killed.

After raising its international profile, Ansaru's prominence faded and it has not been linked to an attack for several months.

The Islamist violence in northern Nigeria has however continued unchecked, with hundreds of people killed this year in attacks blamed on Boko Haram.

Northeast Nigeria has been under a state of emergency since mid-May, when the military launched an offensive aimed at crushing the insurgency.

But the slaughter of dozens of people in recent weeks, mainly civilians, has cast doubt on the success of the military campaign.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and top oil producer, where most in the north are Muslim and the south is predominately Christian.

Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in the north and is thought to primarily have a domestic agenda.

Ansaru is seen by some as having a more international outlook, perhaps more closely aligned with Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups

Clinton Meeting Showcases A Political Family

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former Secretary of State of the United States and Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation address CGI members during The 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting Wildlife Conservation Society 96 Elephants campaign announcement at the Sheraton New York Hotel in New York City. The 96 Elephants announcement is an $80 Million dollar campaign supporting the Clinton Global Initiative to save Africa's elephants, calling for a US moratorium on ivory sales, increasing elephant protection and educating the public about the ivory trade. The 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting will convene more than 1,000 global leaders in business, government, and civil society September 23-26 in New York City to address the world’s most pressing challenges. The 2013 CGI theme Mobilizing for Impact explores ways the CGI members and organization. Image: LAN


NEW YORK (AP) — September 27, 2013 -- On its face, the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting provides a platform for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to announce a series of financial commitments from corporations, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to address intractable problems around the globe.

Perhaps more than any other year, the latest New York gathering of Clinton loyalists and luminaries also has offered a vivid look at the past, present and future of one of America's most dominant political families.

Created in 2001, the foundation has allowed the ex-president to tackle problems across continents and burnish his legacy. It now serves as a home base for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016. And it also could become a launching pad for the couple's only child, 33-year-old Chelsea Clinton, should she eventually become a political player in her own right.
"It's a good thing to make big bets in philanthropy," the former president declared at the annual meeting, introducing a short video on the foundation's work narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. "What began with one man's drive to help people everywhere," Freeman said, "moved quickly into a foundation full people of great passion and great gifts."

The four-day meetings, an initiative of the foundation held every year since 2005, offered a study in how the Clintons have transitioned from the White House to create a global clearinghouse to address big problems like AIDS prevention, nutrition, women's equality and poverty.

In a testament to the Clintons' ability to convene big names, the ballroom was awash with former Clinton administration officials, CEOs and corporate executives and celebrities.

As the ex-president searched for his notes backstage, U2 frontman Bono kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu Clinton impression, complete with a Southern drawl. In smaller sessions, actor Sean Penn talked about his development work in Haiti, and actress Kate Hudson promoted leadership roles by women.

The former first lady and New York senator said she would lead an effort through the foundation to evaluate the progress made by women around the globe in advance of the 20th anniversary of her remarks at a U.N. women's conference in Beijing. As first lady, Clinton famously declared at the 1995 conference that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."

During a session on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton announced three new commitments to help women around the globe, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women. Financial partners include Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.

"This is such a perfect example of CGI networking," she said. "Leveraging social capital and real capital — it's a great combination."

It's that very combination of money and philanthropy that could serve as a line of attack against the former secretary of state if she seeks the White House. The family has been raising money to build the foundation's endowment, holding recent fundraisers in New York's Hamptons and Washington. A benefit concert in London is planned for this fall, along with events in Washington, Miami and San Francisco.

Bill Clinton was forced to defend his foundation in August after media reports surfaced about infighting among staff and questions over the organization's financial management. The foundation disclosed that an outside firm conducted an audit in 2011 that recommended a stronger management staff and a more independent board.

Earlier this week, the former president said he was grateful for the work of his former aide, Douglas Band, after a lengthy report in the New Republic described an overlap between Band's business clients and donors to the foundation.

Republicans have signaled that the foundation's work would be fair game if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in three years. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cited "mismanagement and conflicts of interest" within the foundation and said it showed "how the Clintons operate and is part of the baggage tied to Hillary."

Democrats call it just another attack du jour against the Clintons and say the charitable work speaks for itself. The foundation said this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, its agriculture work in Africa had helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and its work led to the planting of 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi.

"Everything and anything will be used against them, but if that's the biggest complaint, that her family has helped save lives around the world, to quote a past president, 'Bring it on,'" said Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House adviser.

The foundation's future could rest in the hands of Chelsea Clinton, who has traveled extensively on its behalf and serves as vice chair. The former first daughter presided over a panel on noncommunicable diseases and announced several philanthropic commitments this week, including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America.

The youngest Clinton has hinted that politics could be in her future. In an interview with CNN from Rwanda last month, she said she was "attempting to lead a purposely public life" and that she might consider politics if she thought she could make a difference.

Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas
EW YORK (AP) — On its face, the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting provides a platform for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to announce a series of financial commitments from corporations, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to address intractable problems around the globe.
Perhaps more than any other year, the latest New York gathering of Clinton loyalists and luminaries also has offered a vivid look at the past, present and future of one of America's most dominant political families.
Created in 2001, the foundation has allowed the ex-president to tackle problems across continents and burnish his legacy. It now serves as a home base for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016. And it also could become a launching pad for the couple's only child, 33-year-old Chelsea Clinton, should she eventually become a political player in her own right.
"It's a good thing to make big bets in philanthropy," the former president declared at the annual meeting, introducing a short video on the foundation's work narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. "What began with one man's drive to help people everywhere," Freeman said, "moved quickly into a foundation full people of great passion and great gifts."
The four-day meetings, an initiative of the foundation held every year since 2005, offered a study in how the Clintons have transitioned from the White House to create a global clearinghouse to address big problems like AIDS prevention, nutrition, women's equality and poverty.
In a testament to the Clintons' ability to convene big names, the ballroom was awash with former Clinton administration officials, CEOs and corporate executives and celebrities.
As the ex-president searched for his notes backstage, U2 frontman Bono kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu Clinton impression, complete with a Southern drawl. In smaller sessions, actor Sean Penn talked about his development work in Haiti, and actress Kate Hudson promoted leadership roles by women.
The former first lady and New York senator said she would lead an effort through the foundation to evaluate the progress made by women around the globe in advance of the 20th anniversary of her remarks at a U.N. women's conference in Beijing. As first lady, Clinton famously declared at the 1995 conference that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
During a session on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton announced three new commitments to help women around the globe, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women. Financial partners include Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.
"This is such a perfect example of CGI networking," she said. "Leveraging social capital and real capital — it's a great combination."
It's that very combination of money and philanthropy that could serve as a line of attack against the former secretary of state if she seeks the White House. The family has been raising money to build the foundation's endowment, holding recent fundraisers in New York's Hamptons and Washington. A benefit concert in London is planned for this fall, along with events in Washington, Miami and San Francisco.
Bill Clinton was forced to defend his foundation in August after media reports surfaced about infighting among staff and questions over the organization's financial management. The foundation disclosed that an outside firm conducted an audit in 2011 that recommended a stronger management staff and a more independent board.
Earlier this week, the former president said he was grateful for the work of his former aide, Douglas Band, after a lengthy report in the New Republic described an overlap between Band's business clients and donors to the foundation.
Republicans have signaled that the foundation's work would be fair game if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in three years. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cited "mismanagement and conflicts of interest" within the foundation and said it showed "how the Clintons operate and is part of the baggage tied to Hillary."
Democrats call it just another attack du jour against the Clintons and say the charitable work speaks for itself. The foundation said this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, its agriculture work in Africa had helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and its work led to the planting of 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi.
"Everything and anything will be used against them, but if that's the biggest complaint, that her family has helped save lives around the world, to quote a past president, 'Bring it on,'" said Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House adviser.
The foundation's future could rest in the hands of Chelsea Clinton, who has traveled extensively on its behalf and serves as vice chair. The former first daughter presided over a panel on noncommunicable diseases and announced several philanthropic commitments this week, including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America.
The youngest Clinton has hinted that politics could be in her future. In an interview with CNN from Rwanda last month, she said she was "attempting to lead a purposely public life" and that she might consider politics if she thought she could make a difference.
- See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/382332/Clinton-meeting-showcases-a-political-family.html?isap=1&nav=5021#sthash.mb82fNRI.dpuf
NEW YORK (AP) — On its face, the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting provides a platform for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to announce a series of financial commitments from corporations, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to address intractable problems around the globe.
Perhaps more than any other year, the latest New York gathering of Clinton loyalists and luminaries also has offered a vivid look at the past, present and future of one of America's most dominant political families.
Created in 2001, the foundation has allowed the ex-president to tackle problems across continents and burnish his legacy. It now serves as a home base for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016. And it also could become a launching pad for the couple's only child, 33-year-old Chelsea Clinton, should she eventually become a political player in her own right.
"It's a good thing to make big bets in philanthropy," the former president declared at the annual meeting, introducing a short video on the foundation's work narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. "What began with one man's drive to help people everywhere," Freeman said, "moved quickly into a foundation full people of great passion and great gifts."
The four-day meetings, an initiative of the foundation held every year since 2005, offered a study in how the Clintons have transitioned from the White House to create a global clearinghouse to address big problems like AIDS prevention, nutrition, women's equality and poverty.
In a testament to the Clintons' ability to convene big names, the ballroom was awash with former Clinton administration officials, CEOs and corporate executives and celebrities.
As the ex-president searched for his notes backstage, U2 frontman Bono kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu Clinton impression, complete with a Southern drawl. In smaller sessions, actor Sean Penn talked about his development work in Haiti, and actress Kate Hudson promoted leadership roles by women.
The former first lady and New York senator said she would lead an effort through the foundation to evaluate the progress made by women around the globe in advance of the 20th anniversary of her remarks at a U.N. women's conference in Beijing. As first lady, Clinton famously declared at the 1995 conference that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
During a session on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton announced three new commitments to help women around the globe, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women. Financial partners include Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.
"This is such a perfect example of CGI networking," she said. "Leveraging social capital and real capital — it's a great combination."
It's that very combination of money and philanthropy that could serve as a line of attack against the former secretary of state if she seeks the White House. The family has been raising money to build the foundation's endowment, holding recent fundraisers in New York's Hamptons and Washington. A benefit concert in London is planned for this fall, along with events in Washington, Miami and San Francisco.
Bill Clinton was forced to defend his foundation in August after media reports surfaced about infighting among staff and questions over the organization's financial management. The foundation disclosed that an outside firm conducted an audit in 2011 that recommended a stronger management staff and a more independent board.
Earlier this week, the former president said he was grateful for the work of his former aide, Douglas Band, after a lengthy report in the New Republic described an overlap between Band's business clients and donors to the foundation.
Republicans have signaled that the foundation's work would be fair game if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in three years. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cited "mismanagement and conflicts of interest" within the foundation and said it showed "how the Clintons operate and is part of the baggage tied to Hillary."
Democrats call it just another attack du jour against the Clintons and say the charitable work speaks for itself. The foundation said this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, its agriculture work in Africa had helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and its work led to the planting of 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi.
"Everything and anything will be used against them, but if that's the biggest complaint, that her family has helped save lives around the world, to quote a past president, 'Bring it on,'" said Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House adviser.
The foundation's future could rest in the hands of Chelsea Clinton, who has traveled extensively on its behalf and serves as vice chair. The former first daughter presided over a panel on noncommunicable diseases and announced several philanthropic commitments this week, including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America.
The youngest Clinton has hinted that politics could be in her future. In an interview with CNN from Rwanda last month, she said she was "attempting to lead a purposely public life" and that she might consider politics if she thought she could make a difference.
- See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/382332/Clinton-meeting-showcases-a-political-family.html?isap=1&nav=5021#sthash.mb82fNRI.dpuf
NEW YORK (AP) — On its face, the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting provides a platform for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to announce a series of financial commitments from corporations, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to address intractable problems around the globe.
Perhaps more than any other year, the latest New York gathering of Clinton loyalists and luminaries also has offered a vivid look at the past, present and future of one of America's most dominant political families.
Created in 2001, the foundation has allowed the ex-president to tackle problems across continents and burnish his legacy. It now serves as a home base for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016. And it also could become a launching pad for the couple's only child, 33-year-old Chelsea Clinton, should she eventually become a political player in her own right.
"It's a good thing to make big bets in philanthropy," the former president declared at the annual meeting, introducing a short video on the foundation's work narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. "What began with one man's drive to help people everywhere," Freeman said, "moved quickly into a foundation full people of great passion and great gifts."
The four-day meetings, an initiative of the foundation held every year since 2005, offered a study in how the Clintons have transitioned from the White House to create a global clearinghouse to address big problems like AIDS prevention, nutrition, women's equality and poverty.
In a testament to the Clintons' ability to convene big names, the ballroom was awash with former Clinton administration officials, CEOs and corporate executives and celebrities.
As the ex-president searched for his notes backstage, U2 frontman Bono kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu Clinton impression, complete with a Southern drawl. In smaller sessions, actor Sean Penn talked about his development work in Haiti, and actress Kate Hudson promoted leadership roles by women.
The former first lady and New York senator said she would lead an effort through the foundation to evaluate the progress made by women around the globe in advance of the 20th anniversary of her remarks at a U.N. women's conference in Beijing. As first lady, Clinton famously declared at the 1995 conference that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
During a session on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton announced three new commitments to help women around the globe, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women. Financial partners include Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.
"This is such a perfect example of CGI networking," she said. "Leveraging social capital and real capital — it's a great combination."
It's that very combination of money and philanthropy that could serve as a line of attack against the former secretary of state if she seeks the White House. The family has been raising money to build the foundation's endowment, holding recent fundraisers in New York's Hamptons and Washington. A benefit concert in London is planned for this fall, along with events in Washington, Miami and San Francisco.
Bill Clinton was forced to defend his foundation in August after media reports surfaced about infighting among staff and questions over the organization's financial management. The foundation disclosed that an outside firm conducted an audit in 2011 that recommended a stronger management staff and a more independent board.
Earlier this week, the former president said he was grateful for the work of his former aide, Douglas Band, after a lengthy report in the New Republic described an overlap between Band's business clients and donors to the foundation.
Republicans have signaled that the foundation's work would be fair game if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in three years. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cited "mismanagement and conflicts of interest" within the foundation and said it showed "how the Clintons operate and is part of the baggage tied to Hillary."
Democrats call it just another attack du jour against the Clintons and say the charitable work speaks for itself. The foundation said this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, its agriculture work in Africa had helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and its work led to the planting of 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi.
"Everything and anything will be used against them, but if that's the biggest complaint, that her family has helped save lives around the world, to quote a past president, 'Bring it on,'" said Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House adviser.
The foundation's future could rest in the hands of Chelsea Clinton, who has traveled extensively on its behalf and serves as vice chair. The former first daughter presided over a panel on noncommunicable diseases and announced several philanthropic commitments this week, including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America.
The youngest Clinton has hinted that politics could be in her future. In an interview with CNN from Rwanda last month, she said she was "attempting to lead a purposely public life" and that she might consider politics if she thought she could make a difference.
- See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/382332/Clinton-meeting-showcases-a-political-family.html?isap=1&nav=5021#sthash.mb82fNRI.dpuf
NEW YORK (AP) — On its face, the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting provides a platform for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to announce a series of financial commitments from corporations, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to address intractable problems around the globe.
Perhaps more than any other year, the latest New York gathering of Clinton loyalists and luminaries also has offered a vivid look at the past, present and future of one of America's most dominant political families.
Created in 2001, the foundation has allowed the ex-president to tackle problems across continents and burnish his legacy. It now serves as a home base for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016. And it also could become a launching pad for the couple's only child, 33-year-old Chelsea Clinton, should she eventually become a political player in her own right.
"It's a good thing to make big bets in philanthropy," the former president declared at the annual meeting, introducing a short video on the foundation's work narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. "What began with one man's drive to help people everywhere," Freeman said, "moved quickly into a foundation full people of great passion and great gifts."
The four-day meetings, an initiative of the foundation held every year since 2005, offered a study in how the Clintons have transitioned from the White House to create a global clearinghouse to address big problems like AIDS prevention, nutrition, women's equality and poverty.
In a testament to the Clintons' ability to convene big names, the ballroom was awash with former Clinton administration officials, CEOs and corporate executives and celebrities.
As the ex-president searched for his notes backstage, U2 frontman Bono kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu Clinton impression, complete with a Southern drawl. In smaller sessions, actor Sean Penn talked about his development work in Haiti, and actress Kate Hudson promoted leadership roles by women.
The former first lady and New York senator said she would lead an effort through the foundation to evaluate the progress made by women around the globe in advance of the 20th anniversary of her remarks at a U.N. women's conference in Beijing. As first lady, Clinton famously declared at the 1995 conference that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
During a session on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton announced three new commitments to help women around the globe, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women. Financial partners include Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.
"This is such a perfect example of CGI networking," she said. "Leveraging social capital and real capital — it's a great combination."
It's that very combination of money and philanthropy that could serve as a line of attack against the former secretary of state if she seeks the White House. The family has been raising money to build the foundation's endowment, holding recent fundraisers in New York's Hamptons and Washington. A benefit concert in London is planned for this fall, along with events in Washington, Miami and San Francisco.
Bill Clinton was forced to defend his foundation in August after media reports surfaced about infighting among staff and questions over the organization's financial management. The foundation disclosed that an outside firm conducted an audit in 2011 that recommended a stronger management staff and a more independent board.
Earlier this week, the former president said he was grateful for the work of his former aide, Douglas Band, after a lengthy report in the New Republic described an overlap between Band's business clients and donors to the foundation.
Republicans have signaled that the foundation's work would be fair game if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in three years. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cited "mismanagement and conflicts of interest" within the foundation and said it showed "how the Clintons operate and is part of the baggage tied to Hillary."
Democrats call it just another attack du jour against the Clintons and say the charitable work speaks for itself. The foundation said this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, its agriculture work in Africa had helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and its work led to the planting of 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi.
"Everything and anything will be used against them, but if that's the biggest complaint, that her family has helped save lives around the world, to quote a past president, 'Bring it on,'" said Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House adviser.
The foundation's future could rest in the hands of Chelsea Clinton, who has traveled extensively on its behalf and serves as vice chair. The former first daughter presided over a panel on noncommunicable diseases and announced several philanthropic commitments this week, including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America.
The youngest Clinton has hinted that politics could be in her future. In an interview with CNN from Rwanda last month, she said she was "attempting to lead a purposely public life" and that she might consider politics if she thought she could make a difference.
- See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/382332/Clinton-meeting-showcases-a-political-family.html?isap=1&nav=5021#sthash.mb82fNRI.dpuf

Clinton Global Initiative

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, is joined by Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, at the Clinton Global Initiative, after announcing the Partnership to Save Africa's Elephants, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 in New York. The Wildlife Conservation Society, African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the World Wildlife Fund are collaborating in an $80 million pledge for the partnership. Image: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Nigeria Central Bank Cracks Down On Money Laundering




Nigeria's Babafemi Charged with Aiding Yemen-Based al Qaeda Network


Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi. EFCC Photo

A five page indictment in federal court in Brooklyn Friday, September 27, 2013, has charged Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi with aiding Yemen-based al Qaeda network. According to the indictment, Babafemi assisted in AQAP’s English-language media operations, which include the publication of the propaganda magazine “Inspire." Babafemi was also given an equivalent in cash, the sum of $9,000 by Anwar al-Awlaki to recruit other English speakers from Nigeria to join that group and also received weapons training, the FBI said. Al-Awalki is the American cleric turned AQAP commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Africa's Top Model Lucy Lomuro

"Africa you are the colour of my skin, the language that I speak, the first breath I took was African air the first word I spoke Africa heard, the first step I took was on African soil, every time my heart beats it beats for you Mama Africa."

------------------Lucy Lomuro

Court Upholds 50 years For Liberia's Taylor

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, centre, waits for the start of his appeal judgement at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday Sept. 26, 2013. Judges at a U.N.-backed tribunual are delivering their judgment in Taylor’s appeal against his convictions and 50-year sentence for planning and aiding atrocities by rebels in Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war. Taylor, 65, became the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II when the SCSL found him guilty on April 26, 2012, of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers.


LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (AP) — More than a decade after he helped rebels go on a murderous rampage in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor was definitively convicted and imprisoned Thursday for 50 years, in a ruling that provided redemption for victims and underscored how hard it is for international courts to prosecute world leaders.

The appeals chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone kept the 65-year-old former Liberian president's conviction on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers.

Taylor is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II and Thursday's confirmation was welcomed as underscoring a new era of accountability for heads of state.

"Taylor's conviction sends a powerful message that those at the top can be held to account on the gravest crimes," said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch. Stephen Rapp, the ambassador for war crimes issues at the U.S. Department of State and former prosecutor at the Sierra Leone court, said the ruling "sends a clear message to all the world, that when you commit crimes like this, it may not happen overnight, but there will be a day of reckoning."

However, it also appeared to establish dueling sets of jurisprudence at two international courts on opposite sides of The Hague on the question of when senior officials can support one side in another country's civil war — an issue world leaders must consider if they mull over arming rebels in Syria.
The Sierra Leone appeals panel rejected a controversial February ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which said that to prove a leader has aided and abetted a crime, the assistance has to be specifically directed at committing a crime. In that case, the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav national army was acquitted of aiding and abetting atrocities by Bosnian Serb forces even though he had sent them arms and other supplies.

Taylor's case appeared to swing the pendulum back toward a lower burden of proof for prosecutors. His lawyer complained that the two rulings have created "entirely chaotic jurisprudence" at international tribunals.

If Taylor had been prosecuted by the Yugoslav tribunal, "I dare say the outcome would have been different, and that courthouse is less than 10 kilometers (six miles) away from this courthouse," Morris Anyah said.

But international law expert Michael Scharf of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, said the ruling Thursday "righted the ship" after the Yugoslav court had made prosecuting leaders who support rebels much more difficult.

Anyah also complained that Taylor had been prosecuted because of a lack of friends in high places, again referring to Syria. "But for two powerful nations, two members of the Security Council — Russia and China — Bashar Assad would have been charged and indicted by the International Criminal Court. That is not happening simply because of political reasons," he said. "Had Charles Taylor had as friends any of the five permanent members of the Security Council ... this case I dare say would probably not have had the sort of traction it had."

Because Syria is not a member of the International Criminal Court, only the Security Council asking the court to investigate could trigger jurisdiction there. Wearing a black suit and a gold-colored tie, Taylor showed little emotion while Presiding Judge George Gelaga King read the unanimous verdict of the six-judge panel.

Anyah said Taylor was bitterly disappointed by the ruling that will likely see him spend the rest of his life behind bars, but "he has remained stoic and calm." It remains unclear where he will serve his sentence. Great Britain has offered cell space, but the court also has agreements with Finland, Sweden and Rwanda to house prisoners.

The court found Taylor provided crucial aid to rebels in Sierra Leone during that country's 11-year civil war, which left an estimated 50,000 people dead before its conclusion in 2002. Thousands more were left mutilated in a conflict that became known for its extreme cruelty, as rival rebel groups hacked off the limbs of their victims and carved their groups' initials into opponents. The rebels developed gruesome terms for the mutilations, offering victims the choice of "long sleeves" or "short sleeves" — having their hands hacked off or their arms sliced off above the elbow.

Back in Sierra Leone, Edward Conteh, who lost his lower left arm when rebels chopped it off with an ax, said he was elated with Taylor's conviction. "Impunity must stop in Africa, so I'm very happy over the decision," he told The Associated Press. "At 65, I don't know whether he will ever breathe the free air that I do breathe."

Conteh, who today leads an organization that aids war amputees, said Taylor's sentence closed a chapter but that some 2,000 people still live with amputations and other serious injuries from the war. Many live in abject poverty with little means to support their families.

But Taylor supporters in Liberia remained loyal to the former warlord who was later democratically elected the country's president. "We are here. We will always be here; and we will always be loyal to Mr. Taylor no matter what the international community thinks," said Henry Brown, the caretaker of Taylor's palace in the Congotown township of the capital, Monrovia.

Taylor's brother-in-law Arthur Saye said he wasn't surprised by the verdict. "From Day One my position has been that the trial of Mr. Taylor was orchestrated by the powers that be — the Western powers," he told The Associated Press. "This was an international conspiracy."

Associated Press writers Toby Sterling in Leidschendam, Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal and Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia contributed to this report.

Interpol Issues Alert For British Terror Widow

Undated image provided by Interpol shows Samantha Lewthwaite. Interpol has issued an arrest notice for Samantha Lewthwaite, the fugitive Briton whom news media have dubbed the "white widow." The international police agency says the notice was issued at the request of Kenya, where she is wanted on charges of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony in December 2011.


LONDON (AP) — Interpol, acting on a Kenyan request, issued an arrest notice Thursday for Samantha Lewthwaite, the fugitive Briton whom news media have dubbed the "white widow."

Lewthwaite, 29, is a Muslim convert whose first husband participated in the 2005 London suicide bombings that killed 52 commuters on subways and a bus. Kenyan authorities want her in connection to a 2011 plot to bomb holiday resorts there.

There is no evidence linking her to the terrorist attack on an upscale Nairobi shopping mall, and the Interpol notice did not mention it. But comments from Kenya's foreign minister that a British woman was involved led some U.K. news media to speculate that Lewthwaite participated in the attack, which killed scores of people.

The Interpol notice said Lewthwaite is wanted on charges of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony in December 2011. If she indeed embraced the jihadi cause, it would mark a dramatic turnaround for the grieving widow who originally criticized her late husband, Jermaine Lindsay, for taking part in the London transit attacks.

She told The Sun newspaper two months after the attacks that her husband had fallen under the influence of imams at radical mosques. "How these people could have turned him and poisoned his mind is dreadful," she was quoted as saying. "He was an innocent, naive and simple man. I suppose he must have been an ideal candidate. He was so angry when he saw Muslim civilians being killed on the streets of Iraq, Bosnia, Palestine and Israel — and always said it was the innocent who suffered."

Lewthwaite, the daughter of a former British soldier, was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in Aylesbury, a commuter hub northwest of London. She converted to Islam — reportedly while in her teens — and went on to study religion and politics at the School Of Oriental and African Studies in London. It was around that time she met Lindsay, first in an Internet chat room and later at a London demonstration against the war in Iraq.

The coupled married in an Islamic ceremony on Oct. 30, 2002, and moved back to Aylesbury a year later. Local city councilor Raj Khan, who knew Lewthwaite's relatives in Aylesbury, recalls her as "an average, British, young, ordinary girl."

"She was not strong-headed. And that's why I find it absolutely amazing that she is supposed to be the head of an international criminal terrorist organization," he told Britain's Press Association.

Fifteen days after the London attacks, Lewthwaite gave birth to the couple's second child, a daughter. In the immediate aftermath of the bombings, she insisted that her husband — a carpet fitter — "wasn't the sort of person who'd do this."

After it became clear the Jamaica-born Briton had been involved, Lewthwaite condemned the attacks — and then stayed largely out of view until March 2012, when her name surfaced in a Kenyan investigation into terror funding.

Officials at first said they were looking for someone using her identity — then later said they were looking for her. They alleged that Lewthwaite and other foreigners traveled to Kenya in late 2011 to plan a bomb attack on the Kenyan coast over the Christmas holidays.

Authorities said Lewthwaite — who was pregnant by her new Kenyan husband — was in charge of finances for the planned attack, and suspected she had rented several houses in upmarket areas in Mombasa to assemble a bomb.

The group was allegedly collaborating with Kenyans sympathetic to al-Shabab, the Somalia-based al-Qaida affiliate that has claimed responsibility for the Kenyan mall attack. Kenyan anti-terrorism police suspected Lewthwaite was working with Musa Hussein Abdi, who was shot dead with an al-Qaida boss in Somalia in June 2011. In December 2011, they found a woman they believed to be Lewthwaite in his house but let her go after she showed them a South African passport.

Police later realized the passport was fraudulent and returned to the house, but she was gone. Officials believe she fled to Somalia that same month.

Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant contributed to this report from Paris.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Keyamo Quits APC Senatorial Primaries, Alleges Fraud

 
 
A lawyer and aspiring senator, Festus Keyamo, in a letter on Wednesday has declared that he was no longer interested in participating in the All Progressive Congress primary elections for primaries for the Delta Central Senatorial District.

In the letter to Senator Osita Izunaso, who is overseeing the conduct of the primaries, Keyamo alleged that the processes of conducting the election were ‘fraudulent”.

A copy of Keyamo’s letter reads: “My name is Olorogun Festus Keyamo. I am an aspirant cleared by the All Progressives Congress to contest the primaries for the 2013 Senatorial bye-election in Delta State.

“I have taken a painful but necessary decision not to participate in the primaries to be organized later today at Ughelli because the whole exercise is nothing but a sham that is packaged, rigged and concocted to favour my opponent, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor. The following are my reasons:

“(1) That the exercise was preceded on the 24th of September, 2013 by registration of limited number of members of APC in Delta State since there were no registered members before now, being a newly registered party.

“(2) That in the said exercise, it was agreed with members of your committee that the slots for the registration cards for the new members would be distributed evenly between former members of the merging parties in each local government area. The said defunct parties are ACN, ANPP, CPC and a faction of DPP.

“(3) That, however, when the materials arrived the venues, thugs loyal to my opponent, hijacked the materials, beat up the officials and took the materials to unknown places (outside the approved venues) to fill up the registers and cards. The L.G.As where no formal registration took place at all are Sapele, Ethiope West, Ughelli North (which is the local government area of my opponent) and Ughelli South. Partial registration occurred in Ethiope East before the thugs of my opponent disrupted the scene and carted away materials.
                
“(4) That I have met formally with some members of the committee and asked for the outright cancellation of those L.G.As where no registration took place at all and for us to proceed with the primaries with the L.G.As where registration took place.

“(5) That I was however just told this morning by the Committee that full registers of registered members have surfaced in L.G.As like Sapele, Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Ethiope East with strange names.

“(6) That I and my supporters do not know how and when these registers were filed up and membership cards issued. This is because my supporters stayed at the registration venues in these L.G.As till late in the night before they went home.

“(7) That in the circumstance it becomes a worry to me and my supporters to go into a contest where they were not given an equal chance to register to vote for someone of their choice.

“(8) That it is disappointing that the Committee members of the APC connived openly with my opponent to allow such a brazen rape of free choice and democracy to take place.

“(9) Other open acts of bias on the part of the APC Committee are:

“(i) The venues for registration were not known to me and my supporters, despite repeated demands, up till about 11:00am on the day of the registration whereas, my opponents supporters had filled the venues as early as 6:00am.

“(ii) The venue for the sham primaries was not made known to me, despite repeated demands until about 12:00noon today, whereas my opponent’s supporters had thronged the venue as early as 6:00am today.

“(10) In the circumstances, I boldly say that any result that comes out of today’s exercise will be a colossal fraud and waste of time. Please, count me out.

“This is a notice that no vote should be cast or counted in my favour in the today staged-managed process.

“A copy of this letter is being sent to the Interim National Committee of the APC.”

Anti-Shutdown Bill Advances; Big Fight Still Looms

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speaks to the media after leaving a marathon speech on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Cruz ended the marathon Senate speech opposing President Barack Obama's health care law after talking for 21 hours, 19 minutes. Image: Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) — Unanimous but far from united, the Senate advanced legislation to prevent a partial government shutdown on Wednesday, the 100-0 vote certain to mark merely a brief pause in a fierce partisan struggle over the future of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
The vote came shortly after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held the Senate in session overnight — and the Twitterverse in his thrall — with a near-22-hour speech that charmed the tea party wing of the GOP, irritated the leadership and was meant to propel fellow Republican lawmakers into an all-out struggle to extinguish the law.

Defying one's own party leaders is survivable, he declared in pre-dawn remarks on the Senate floor. "Ultimately, it is liberating." Legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House last week would cancel all funds for the three-year-old law, preventing its full implementation. But Senate Democrats have enough votes to restore the funds, and Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled Cruz's turn in the spotlight "a big waste of time."

Any differences between the two houses' legislation must be reconciled and the bill signed into law by next Tuesday to avert a partial shutdown. The issue is coming to the forefront in Congress as the Obama administration works to assure a smooth launch for the health care overhaul's final major piece, a season of enrollment beginning Oct. 1 for millions who will seek coverage on so-called insurance exchanges.

Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters this week that consumers will have an average of 53 plans to choose from, and her department estimated the average individual premium for a benchmark policy known as the "second-lowest cost silver plan" would range from a low of $192 in Minnesota to a high of $516 in Wyoming. Tax credits will bring down the cost for many.

Republicans counter that the legislation is causing employers to defer hiring new workers, lay off existing ones and reduce the hours of still others to hold down costs as they try to ease the impact of the bill's taxes and other requirements.

"Obamacare is destroying jobs. It is driving up health care costs. It is killing health benefits. It is shattering the economy," said Cruz. Topsy, a search engine that's a preferred partner of Twitter, calculated on its website during the day that there had been about 200,000 tweets containing the words "Ted Cruz" in the previous day.

Eight months in office, he drew handshakes from several conservative lawmakers as he finished speaking and accolades from tea party and other groups. Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, said Americans owe "Cruz a debt of gratitude for standing on principle in the fight to stop Obamacare."

In addition to the praise, Cruz he drew a withering rebuttal from one fellow Republican, Arizona Sen. John McCain. McCain read aloud Cruz's comments from Tuesday comparing those who doubt the possibility of eradicating the health care law to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin and others who had suggested Adolf Hitler and the Nazis could not be stopped in the 1940s.

"I resoundingly reject that allegation," said McCain, whose grandfather led U.S. carrier forces in the Pacific during World War II, and whose father commanded two submarines. "It does a great disservice to those Americans who stood up and said 'what's happening in Europe cannot stand.'"
Even with the 100-0 vote, the legislation faces several hurdles that must be overcome as both houses and lawmakers in both parties work to avoid a partial shutdown next Tuesday. The struggle over restoring funds for the health care law is by far the most contentious unresolved issue.

Senate Democrats also want to increase funding for federal firefighting efforts without making offsetting cuts to other programs. The House-passed bill provides $636 million for the program, but includes reductions elsewhere to avoid raising the deficit.

To avoid a partial government shutdown, a single, agreed-upon version must be approved by Congress and signed by Obama by Tuesday. The shutdown issue is a particularly haunting one for Republicans, some of whom were in Congress two decades ago when the GOP suffered politically as the result of a pair of government closures in the winter of 1995-1996.

In a further complication, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress that the Treasury's ability to borrow funds will be exhausted on Oct. 17, and legislation is needed to renew its authority if the government is to avoid a first-ever default.

The House is expected to approve a measure later this week allowing Treasury to borrow freely for another year, although that legislation, too, will include a provision to carry out the Republican campaign against "Obamacare." While no final decisions have been made, party officials say a one-year delay is likely to be added, rather than the full-fledged defunding that is part of the spending bill awaiting action in the Senate.

If the events themselves were complicated, the political maneuvering was no less so. At least temporarily, they pitted Cruz and his tea party allies inside Congress and out against the party establishment, including House Speaker John Boehner and the Senate GOP leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Little more than a week ago, conservatives in the House rank and file forced Boehner and other leaders to include the defunding provision on legislation required to avoid a shutdown, despite their concerns that it would set the party up for failure.

Within hours after the measure cleared the House, Cruz infuriated his allies by virtually conceding he wouldn't have the votes to prevail in the Senate, and stating that "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground and continue to listen to the American people."

Cruz appeared at a news conference the next day to proclaim he would do "everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including a possible filibuster of legislation to prevent a shutdown. Senate Republicans were less than enthusiastic about that, and several said so and made it clear they would not follow the path that Cruz laid out of seizing every opportunity to slow or stop the bill. By Tuesday, the Texan was under pressure from fellow Senate Republicans to let the legislation pass relatively quickly, to make sure the government stayed open.\

When he began his remarks, he vowed to speak in opposition until "I am no longer able to stand." Nearly 24 hours later, he offered to shorten the time it would take to debate the measure and voted along with Republicans and Democrats alike to send it over its first hurdle.

Associated Press writers Donna Cassata, Andrew Taylor and Stephen Ohlemacher and Social Media Editor Eric Carvin contributed to this story.

Ghana Mourns Kofi Awoonor

Traditional chiefs from Dzelukope, hometown of celebrated Ghanaian poet, professor, and ambassador Kofi Awoonor, await the arrival of Awoonor's coffin from Kenya, at the airport in Accra, Ghana, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Mourners sang funeral dirges and traditional leaders poured libations Wednesday for the beloved literary icon, as hundreds gathered at the airport where his body was brought home days after he was slain in the Kenya mall terror attack. Awoonor had been in Kenya with his son to take part in a literary festival, when he was among the more than 60 civilians killed at the Nairobi mall. Image: Associated Press

ACCRA, GHANA (AP) — Mourners sang funeral dirges and traditional leaders poured libations Wednesday for beloved poet Kofi Awoonor as hundreds gathered at the airport where his body was brought home days after he was slain in the Kenya mall terror attack.

Awoonor, 78, was a literary icon in his native Ghana, and was known worldwide for his innovative style that translated the rhythms of his Ewe language into English. He also was a veteran diplomat, and top government officials and members of parliament came to the airport.

Awoonor had been in Kenya with his son to take part in the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day literary event, when he was among the more than 60 civilians killed at the Nairobi mall. His son Afetsi, who was wounded in terror attack, returned to Ghana on Wednesday with his father's body.
The casket then was taken from the airport in a hearse that was followed by two soldiers playing the bugle, and traditional leaders dressed in red and black. "It is a big tree that has fallen," said his brother, Robert, who was among those gathered at the airport.

Kofi Awoonor was the eldest of 10 children in his family, and relatives said he had paid school fees for hundreds of people. Awoonor, who studied at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, later taught at universities in Ghana and the United States. He also had served as Ghana's ambassador to Brazil, Cuba and the United Nations.

His works are taught in high school English literature classes across the continent, and his latest book "Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems," is due out next year. Awoonor was one of the pioneers of African literature "who used literature as a tool of emancipation, of independence and of African unity," said Malian writer Manthia Diawara.

Awoonor sought to create a new form of African poetry that mirrored the style of the African griots, or traditional storytellers, Diawara said. "He used both the rhythmic form, and sometimes used the same words as in the local language. ... He took sayings, funeral dirges or wedding celebrations, and put them into English, in a well-worked manner," said Diawara, a professor at New York University, where he heads the Institute of Afro-American Affairs.

Awonoor's death prompted an outpouring of grief from his peers, with some fellow poets issuing their reaction and words of condolence in verse. "The new night is livid with silences, wet ones. In this time without light, no sound, no word oozes out of empty hearts here," Wanjohi Wa Makokha wrote in an online tribute. "The artists of Evil write verse thus?"

The family plans a funeral for Oct. 3, followed by a state memorial service on Oct. 11 and a final burial in his hometown in southeastern Ghana on Nov. 11. His longtime friend and fellow academic Kofi Anyidoho said he would be remembered "for his strict adherence to the truth no matter what."
"He was a teacher in many ways to a whole lot of us and we would remember him," he said. Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, president of the Ghana Association of Writers, said in a statement that Africa has lost "a literary giant" and quoted Awoonor's own words in describing the legacy of his work.
"I have gone through the trauma of growth, anger, love, and the innocence and nostalgia of my personal dreams. These are beyond me now," Awoonor once wrote. "Not anger, or love, but the sensibility that shaped and saw them as communal acts of which I am only the articulator.

"Now I write out my renewed anguish about the crippling distresses of my country and my people, of death by guns, of death by disease and malnutrition, of the death of friends whose lives held so much promise, of the chicanery of politics and the men who indulge in them, of the misery of the poor in the midst of plenty."

Associated Press writers Francis Kokutse in Accra, Ghana; and Rukmini Callimachi in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.