Biafra: Goodluck Jonathan calls on council of States, others to intervene

Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has cautioned Nigerians never turn against each other irrespective of whatever provocation that might spur them and equally call on the Council of State to intervene on IPOB and Operation Python dance (11) in the South East.  Speaking on the need to co-exist amongst each other, Jonathan said that “In as much as there may be a need to enforce order, there is a greater need to reinforce our humanity and treat Nigerian citizens humanely whether they be from the North or South.  Nothing justifies the desecration and destruction of religious places of worship or a police station.” His statement via facebook reads thus: “The reports I have received about recent developments in the country lead me to appeal to all men of good will to use whatever influence they have to push for peaceful coexistence and restraint on all sides. “Perhaps it is time for the Council of State to intervene and offer its wise counsel. Irrespective of whatever provocation, Nigerians must never turn on each other. “Even in the face of difficult circumstances, we must have faith that God in His infinite wisdom will guide us to finding a way out that is fair and just to all concerned. “ In as much as there may be a need to enforce order, there is a greater need to reinforce our humanity and treat Nigerian citizens humanely whether they be from the North or South. Nothing justifies the desecration and destruction of religious places of worship or a police station. “ But even more so, nothing justifies the endangering of human life. Let us exchange ideas instead of exchanging insults and threats. “Nigeria is going through tough times because God wants us to grow through tough times. We must be resolute as a people even as we know that it is impossible to deny the brotherhood of all Nigerians after over a century of a shared commonwealth. GEJ.”

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Ex-Husband of Texas Mother of 2 Charged with Murder

 

Authorities announced late Saturday that the ex-husband of Crystal McDowell has been charged with murder after the Texas mom went missing just before Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in the U.S.

According to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook post, Crystal’s body was discovered by police in a wooded area on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. The department had begun searching for the 37-year-old real estate business owner after they received a welfare concern a week earlier.

Crystal’s ex-husband Steven Wayne McDowell, 44, was arrested and charged with murder, a first degree felony. He was booked in to the Chambers County Jail with bail to be set by a court of competent jurisdiction, police said. It is not known if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

Sheriff Brian C. Hawthorne of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office in Texas previously told PEOPLE exclusively, “I do believe there’s foul play involved and I don’t think that she has just decided to disappear and not contact anybody.”

 According to authorities and news reports, Crystal never arrived on Aug. 25 to pick up her two children, 5 and 8, from her ex-husband’s home in the Houston area after she left her boyfriend’s home earlier that day less than 18 miles away.

She was officially reported as a missing person the next day — as Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas late on Aug. 25, began drowning Houston.

Crystal was last seen at her boyfriend’s home on Aug. 25 getting into her car, according to ABC News. Days later, police found her 2013 black Mercedes Benz submerged in a Motel 6 parking lot roughly 13 miles from her home, CBS News reported at the time.

McDowell and her ex-husband divorced in June and she had recently been staying with her boyfriend, Paul Hargrave, according to CBS News.

Hargrave told the outlet that he had last heard from Crystal on the morning of Aug. 25. “She texted me to say road conditions were good around 8:30 a.m.,” he said.

Hargrave further told ABC News that Crystal had told him she intended to stay with her children at her ex-husband’s house or take them out if weather conditions were good.

“She wouldn’t just get up and leave her kids,” he said. “She wouldn’t do that so I think something is horribly wrong.”

Sheriff Hawthorne echoed that sentiment, saying, “She had too many family members and friends, and she had a successful business and she has two beautiful children that I just don’t think she would walk away from.”

Why I turned down Man U Job – Wenger

 Image result for arsene wenger pictures

In charge of Arsenal for over two decades, the French manager once had the opportunity to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford

Arsene Wenger has revealed why he turned down the chance to manage Manchester United.

The Frenchman has stayed loyal to Arsenal since joining them in 1996, although former United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed that the Red Devils offered him the chance to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.

Edwards claimed in his autobiography: “Our first choice was Arsene. Since joining Arsenal in 1996 Wenger had been greatly successful, especially in his first full season in charge when he won the Double.

“And while it’s true to say he suffered hard times since, at the time we thought he was the best candidate to replace Alex. Certainly he was my number one choice.

“So we made our approach and Wenger did show a little bit of interest, enough to want to meet Peter Kenyon and me at his house in London to listen to what we had to say.”

Wenger has found his position at the Emirates Stadium come under intense scrutiny in recent years but says that, while the United job was “attractive”, he never felt the need to quit the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger Arsenal; Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United 2009

“I was always happy here, people were happy with me and I was always happy,” he said.

“I love the values of this club and, for me, a club is about values first. One day it would be a good chat to have with the press to look at the evolution.

“You speak about Man United, the evolution in the last 20 years would be very interesting. A lot has changed but when I came here this club was about values that I love in sport. That is why I am still in the competition.

“I always question myself. Yes, of course, Man United is attractive but am I happy here? The answer was ‘yes’.

“It is too long to talk about that but I think it is quite an interesting subject that you know certainly as well as I do, but a lot has changed.

“When I arrived here we were 80 people, today we are 700. Sometimes I cross somebody inside our club who I know, that is quite new. Most of them I don’t know anymore. We have changed a lot.”

Wenger, now 67, signed a two-year contract extension with Arsenal in the summer.

North Korea threatens harsh response if new sanctions imposed

 North Korea says it will make the United States pay a heavy price if a proposal Washington is backing to impose the toughest sanctions ever on Pyongyang is approved by the U.N. Security Council this week.

The North’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it is watching the United States’ moves closely and threatened it is “ready and willing” to respond with measures of its own.

The United States has called for a vote Monday, New York time, on new U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. circulated a draft resolution proposing the toughest-ever U.N. sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to the country and a freeze on all foreign financial assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Security Council diplomats, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly because talks have been private, said the U.S. and China were still negotiating the text late Sunday.

Previous U.N. sanctions resolutions have been negotiated between the United States and China, and have taken weeks or months. But the Trump administration is demanding a vote in six days.

“The U.S. is trying to use the DPRK’s legitimate self-defensive measures as an excuse to strangle and completely suffocate it,” the statement said, using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name. “Since the U.S. is revealing its nature as a blood-thirsty beast obsessed with the wild dream of reversing the DPRK’s development of the state nuclear force which has already reached the completion phase, there is no way that the DPRK is going to wait and let the U.S. feast on it.”

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test a week ago and has been launching ballistic missiles at a record pace. Both are violations of U.N. resolutions, but Pyongyang claims it must carry them out to build nuclear deterrent against what it sees as U.S. aggression.

Undaunted by the international criticism of its test, which Pyongyang says was of a hydrogen bomb, Pyongyang celebrated through the weekend, with concerts and banquets for the country’s nuclear scientists and engineers.

Blocking textile exports and cutting off the flow of oil from China would potentially be crippling measures. North Korea gets nearly all of its oil supply from China, with a much smaller amount coming from Russia or the open market.

According to a recent study by the Nautilus Institute think tank, a massive cutback in the flow of oil from China would definitely hurt the North Korean economy, and especially average citizens. But the report said the impact would likely be blunted on the military, which probably has enough fuel stockpiled to continue normal operations for the immediate future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed doubt over whether sanctions are an effective means of getting the North to stop its missile and nuclear testing, and China, harboring similar concerns, has repeatedly hesitated in the past to fully support U.S. sanction plans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday also stressed the importance of diplomacy and offered to act as a facilitator if needed.

“If our participation in talks is wanted, I will say yes immediately,” she said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that was published Sunday.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany conducted long-running talks with Iran that led to a 2015 deal for international sanctions to be lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear activities.

“I could also imagine such a format to settle the North Korea conflict,” she said.

Scores killed, others injured as soldiers allegely invades Kanu’s home

ipob-armyScores of youths were allegedly injured, yesterday as gunmen believed to be soldiers, who came in Hilux Picks up vans, allegedly attacked the Umuahia country home of leader of  Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. One of the persons allegedly wounded by uniformed men at Leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu’s home in Umuahia, yesterday. The IPOB claimed, last night, that five people were killed and about 30 others were injured in the attack. However, videos of the clash showing clubs and stone-wielding youths, who clashed with the troop, indicated that scores were injured. One of the youths, who was shot on his right thigh was seen battling for life as his colleagues administered first aid. IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, told News men that the attackers wore army and police uniforms and drove into the palace of the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu, who is the father of Nnamdi Kanu and started shooting people. He said in a statement: “We did not clash with anybody or group. The attackers wore Nigerian soldiers and Nigeria Police uniforms and came to kill our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in his compound at Afaraukwu, Umuahia and started shooting sporadically and killed five people and up to 30 other people had bullet wounds. After attacking our people, they drove off. They came in five Hilux vans.” Meanwhile one of the allegedly wounded IPOB members was taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, where doctors were battling to save his live. A doctor on duty at the emergency unit of the hospital said the IPOB member sustained gunshot injury at “the thigh region.” We neither attacked nor killed anyone

 

Arsenal agrees Lemar deal

Thomas Lemar Monaco 2017

Arsenal have agreed a deal with Monaco for the signing of Thomas Lemar in the January transfer window, according to the Daily Star.

The France international has finalised terms with the Gunners, with the 21-year-old set to sign a five-year deal worth £250,000 per week.

The apparent agreement does not, however, depend on Alexis Sanchez leaving in the winter window, with his contract due to expire in summer 2018.

Israel strikes military facility in Syria

The reported air raid on a Syrian government facility comes as Israel is conducting its biggest military exercise in 19 years on its northern border. - EPA Israeli warplanes struck a military position near the Mediterranean coast in western Syria Thursday, killing two soldiers, the Syrian army said, in a stronghold of President Bashar Assad that is also heavily protected by the Russians and Iranians.

The airstrike targeted a facility near the town of Masyaf, in Hama province, described by some as a missile producing factory, amid Israeli outrage over Iran’s growing influence in the war-torn country.

Other reports suggested the facility was tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.

In a statement, the Syrian army said the Israeli warplanes fired several missiles from Lebanese air space, and warned of the “dangerous repercussions of such hostile acts on the security and stability of the region.”

“We will do everything to prevent the existence of a Shiite corridor from Iran to Damascus,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who declined commenting directly on the strike in an interview with Israel’s 100FM Radio Thursday. He said Israel isn’t “looking for adventures, and we don’t want to be dragged into this fight or another.”

“We are determined to prevent our enemies from harming or even creating the possibility of harming the security of Israeli citizens.”

Israel has carried out several airstrikes against suspected arms shipments it believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces, over the course of Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year. Israel has also struck several Syrian military facilities since the conflict began, mostly near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Assad, not wanting to draw Israel into his country’s war, has never retaliated.

The airstrike comes amid heightened tensions over Iran’s growing reach in Syria. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed recently that Iran is building sites in Syria and Lebanon for the manufacture of “precision-guided missiles” with the aim of deploying them against Israel.

Thursday’s air raid was seen as a message to both Russia and Iran that Israel can strike anywhere in Syria. It was also a rare instance of Israel striking a Syrian government facility rather than an arms shipment and harked back to an Israeli airstrike that destroyed a suspected, partially constructed nuclear reactor in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour exactly 10 years ago.

This week, Israel is conducting a massive drill along its border with Lebanon simulating war with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

It was not immediately clear if the facility struck Thursday was used for the production or storage of chemical arms. Syria denies having or using such weapons.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said two facilities were hit in Thursday’s airstrike, a scientific research center and a nearby military base where short-range surface-to-surface missiles are stored.

“Many explosions were heard in the area after the air raid,” said Abdurrahman, whose group relies on a network of activists across the country.

He said Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iranian military officials often visit the site, adding that those killed and wounded were Syrians.

A local opposition media activist said the facility that was struck is a factory that produces missiles under the supervision of Iranian experts. He said those killed and wounded were Syrian soldiers guarding the facility. The activist spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns.

Days after the April 4 chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center. Washington said the agency is responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.

The airstrike is the furthest north since Russia joined the war in September 2015 with a major air campaign to aid Assad’s forces.

In October 2016, Russia deployed a battery of S-300 air defense missile systems to protect a Russian navy facility in the Syrian port of Tartus and Russian navy ships in the area. Moscow also has long-range S-400 missile defense systems and an array of other surface-to-air missiles at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Thursday’s strike location.

Israel and Russia maintain open communication lines and a “mechanism” to prevent their air forces from coming into conflict with one another. It was not clear whether Thursday’s strike was coordinated with Moscow, and there was no immediate comment from the Russians.

Yaakov Amidror, Israel’s former national security adviser and a former general, said the strike targeted a weapons development and manufacturing site that was producing arms for Hezbollah.

Former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin wrote on Twitter that the facility produces precision missiles, chemical weapons and barrel bombs.

Thursday’s strike comes a day after a U.N. probe found the Syrian government responsible for a chemical attack in April in northern Syria that killed more than 80 people.

Meanwhile on Thursday, a convoy of 40 trucks carrying 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid arrived in Deir el-Zour after troops secured a corridor to the eastern city. The land convoy is the first since Syrian government forces and allied militiamen breached a nearly three-year-old siege by the Islamic State group on government-held parts of the city on Tuesday.

The Syrian official news agency SANA said the convoy reached a garrison known as Brigade 137 on the southwestern edge of the city, carrying thousands of food baskets, fruits and vegetables, medicine, and school books and stationary.

The aid convoys arrived at the city by way of a military road that links the recently liberated military garrison to the town. They were greeted by jubilant civilians, who gathered around the trucks.

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