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Iran seeks help reading downed Ukrainian airliner’s black boxes in new standoff

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Iran said it had asked the U.S. and French authorities for equipment to download information from black boxes on a downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially angering countries which want the recorders analysed abroad.

Canada, 57 of whose citizens were among the 176 people killed in the crash, has said France should handle the flight data and voice recorders as one of the few nations with the capability.

Kiev wants the recorders sent to Ukraine.

The U.S.-built Boeing 737 flown by Ukraine International Airlines was shot down in error on Jan. 8.

Tehran, already embroiled in a long-running standoff with the U.S. over its nuclear programme that briefly erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month, has given mixed signals about whether it would hand over the recorders.

An Iranian aviation official had said on Saturday the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, only to backtrack in comments reported a day later, saying they would be analysed at home.

A further delay in sending them abroad is likely to increase international pressure on Iran, whose military has said it shot the plane down by mistake while on high alert in the tense hours after Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq.

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Iran, which took several days to acknowledge its role in bringing down the plane and faced street protests at home as a result, launched its missiles at U.S. targets in response to a U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander on Jan. 3.

“If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation said in its second preliminary report on the disaster released late on Monday.

Its initial report was released just 24 hours after the incident, before Iran’s military acknowledged its role.

A list of equipment Iran needs has been sent to French accident agency BEA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Iranian aviation body said.

“Until now, these countries have not given a positive response to sending the equipment to (Iran),” it said.

“It said two surface-to-air TOR-M1 missiles had been launched minutes after the Ukrainian plane took off from Tehran.

Iran’s aviation body said in its report it did not have equipment needed to download information from the model of recorders on the three-year-old Boeing 737.

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Iran has for years faced U.S. sanctions that limited its ability to purchase modern planes and buy products with U.S. technology.

Many passenger planes used in Iran are decades old.

Under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, Iran received sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear work.

But Washington reimposed U.S. sanctions after withdrawing from the pact in 2018, a move that led to the steady escalation of tension in recent months between the United States and Iran.

Responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign designed to shut off Iran’s oil exports, Tehran has scaled back its commitments to the nuclear accord.

After Iran’s latest move this month to scrap limits on uranium enrichment, a process that can make material for nuclear warheads although Tehran denies any such aim, Britain, France and Germany triggered the nuclear pact’s dispute mechanism.

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Launching the mechanism starts a diplomatic process that could lead to reimposing UN sanctions on Iran.

European capitals say they want to save the deal but have also suggested it may be time for a broader pact, in line with Trump’s call for a deal that would go beyond Iran’s nuclear work and include its missile program and activities in the region.

Iran says it will not negotiate with sanctions in place.

The Iranian general killed in the U.S. drone strike, Qassem Soleimani, was responsible for building up a network of militias that created an arc of Iranian influence across the Middle East.

Since the plane disaster, Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi has said compensation should be paid to families of the victims, many of whom were Iranians or dual nationals.

Canada, Ukraine, Britain, Afghanistan and Sweden, which all lost citizens, have demanded Iran make the payouts.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said two of its investigators had spent six days in Iran and visited the wreckage.
Iranian investigators had been “cooperative and helpful”, it said.

(Reuters/NAN)

 

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NHRC summons SARS officer over disappearance of 20-year-old boy in 2012

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The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria [NHRC] has summoned a SARS officer, James Nwafor, over the alleged disappearance of 28-year-old Chijioke Iloanya, who was allegedly arrested eight years ago.

Nigerians have testified of the heinous crimes perpetrated by the SARs Boss who claims no one can question him for his constant act of violating human rights.

Chijioke who was 20-year-old at the time was seeking admission to a university when he was carted away during the child dedication of one of his friends on November 29, 2012, in the Ajali area of the state.

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His family members, who visited the Ajali Police Station in search of him, were informed that he had been transferred to the SARS headquarters.

Upon getting to the SARS office, Nwafor, who was the Officer-in-Charge of the Anambra State Special Anti-Robbery Squad then, reportedly denied that his men arrested the victim. He was said to have later claimed Chijioke had been shot dead by the police.

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Reacting to the matter, the NHRC, through its Twitter handle, stated that the officer had been invited to Abuja for questioning, adding that the commission would ensure that justice was served.

It tweeted,

The attention of @NhrcNigeria was brought to a painful report by a Twitter user, of the alleged torture and murder of her brother by CP James Nwafor who led the Awkuzu SARS division in Anambra State.

“Other Twitter users commented under the post, retelling their experiences or that of their family members. The issue was brought to the attention of @NHRCNigeria and we are working with other authorities to ensure this is not swept under the carpet.

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Pastor who reportedly bought Dubai property for Magu, prophesied Buhari will retain him

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The pastor who reportedly bought Dubai property for Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had reportedly prophesied in the past that Buhari will retain him.

The pastor identified as Emmanuel Omale who is the founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Abuja was among religious leaders who prophesied in December 2019 for people to have a clue or spiritual understanding of the incoming year.

The pastor, Omale had reeled out a list of things he said would happen in 2020 and one of the things he highlighted is President Muhammadu Buhari retaining Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the pastor on December 31, 2019, “President Buhari has seen the great success of his war on corruption under Ibrahim Magu and he will submit his name for re-appointment and confirmation in spite of massive gang up,”.

Newsmen reported that the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad, the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) reveals.

Recall that Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and force criminal investigation department (FCID) after failing to honour two invitations from the panel.

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He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Thursday withdrew his security.

In the report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA), which probed assets recovered by the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020, Omale was said to have been used by Magu to launder funds.

He was reportedly uncovered during an investigation on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

According to the report, the clergy bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Below are some of the things Omale said in his end-of-the-year message:

1) The war on corruption will jail two ex-governors who are currently serving as Senators.

2) Let’s pray for the health of a former Nigerian president who may not make it to 2020

3) There are a lot of enemy arrows being shot at the first lady, and her immediate family. She requires special prayers to avert tragedy.

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4) The Nigerian security agencies should activate their intelligence gathering mechanism to avert a terrorist driver ramming into early morning commuters in Abuja.

5) A serving Governor from North-West Nigeria will experience tragedy in his family, but seeking the face of God will prove beneficial.

6 Governor Rotimi Akeredolu must pray against terminal illness.

7) So also, a prominent minister from the South East needs to get closer to God, to avoid calamity.

8 ) A retired general from the North East may be implicated in a coup attempt.

9) Two major markets will be engulfed in flames. Traders should insure their shops and goods.

10) The rains will be unusual in their pattern this year, and we will see severe flooding nationwide.

11) Kidnapping on major highways may increase around Easter period but this can be mitigated by security agencies’ diligence

12) I see a burning petrol tanker around lokoja engulfing several vehicles.

13) President Buhari may effect minor cabinet reshuffle.

14) The Deputy Senate President should pray against enemy’s attack on his health.

15) I see prosperity for a lot of Nigerians despite a severe dip in the econoy that will affect fixed salary earners.

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16) A major old generation bank will face serious challenge and may collapse except for Gods intervention.

17) Christians should be exemplary in their conduct, especially one of the largest churches in south west that may immerse in big scandal.

18) A telecommunication magnet from the South West should pray against stroke and eventual bedridden paralysis.

19) The Chief of Staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari is trusted by the president. He should, therefore, pray against a well-orchestrated set up that may result in his removal.

20) President Trump may still get re-elected unless the Democrats field Mr. Bloomberg.

21) A major airline will face a major crisis that will collapse it if they don’t seek the face of God.

22) Governor Obaseki will find it hard to get re-elected in Edo state, unless he seeks the hand of God.

23) The Naira will depreciate against major international currencies, we need God to intervene.

24) A former President of Ghana will win elections in Ghana.

25) The price of petrol will go up.

26) An ex-militant in Bayelsa will die in assassination and this may throw the region into turmoil.

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Tunde Braimoh: Sudden darkness overtakes our sun

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It has been over 24 hours, yet I am still in search of the right words to portray how I feel currently. It did not come like lightning. No. It hit like thunder. Maybe. Maybe worse than that. Or how best can one describe the blow death brought upon us with the sudden demise of Hon? Tunde Braimoh? How best can I understand that one backbone of the Lagos State House of Assembly has been expunged, not even like something taken away temporarily to be returned someday? How best can I pull myself together knowing that we will not see this scholarly politician whose meritorious service has added to the gains of Lagos?

As I sit quietly, ruminating about our journey on this earth, how we became close pals, the circumstances that brought us together, Briamoh’s unique voice, his brilliant arguments and postulations, his sequence and enviable use of words that sometimes got us bursting with laughter and respect, his gait, his carriage, then the reality that none of these would be heard or seen again, I melt with thick sweats on my forehead. Can our tears cease? Two times I have tried to put something together within the last 24 hours. Yet, same two times I have been at a loss for what to say.

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Tunde Braimoh was not just a lawmaker, he was an ally, he never had ‘no’ for an answer. He knew what to do even before such was brought to his attention. He had a ready answer for all questions. I remember the many times he would walk up to me to tell me about issues. A constant characteristic was that he solved most of them before I got to know.

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Yes, he was not perfect; he was a human being like all of us, but who can judge him when his good deeds, which are unquantifiable, are there before everyone? There is no doubting the fact that he touched lives personally and on behalf of the House of Assembly. He had feelings for the downtrodden – they benefitted immensely. In everything he did, he always placed himself in the shoes of the other person.

Hon. Braimoh had plans, great ones, for Lagos State. He had shared some with me. He also always had his constituents in mind constantly thinking of how best to reach them and give them reasons to be happy.

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This year 2020 has shown its troubling uniqueness. Between June and July, we lost two strong pillars. We were still grappling with the reality of the demise of Senator Sikiru Oshinowo, whose valedictory session Braimoh played a role in as the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy.

We will be consoled by the fact that the late two-term lawmaker served his State and the Federation of Nigeria with his might and intelligence and contributed immensely to their advancements. But, again, our hearts will continue to grieve. Rest on, dear brother and friend.

Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly

 

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