New evidence has been submitted against popular alleged internet fraudster, Ramoni Abbass, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi was arrested weeks ago for allegedly defrauding over 1.9 million people to the tune of over 168 billion naira.
The new evidence shows how he used his personal email to register on a website “whizzlog” which is a market place for buying US bank logs and money laundering.
Recall with Noble Reporters Media that Hushpuppi pleaded not guilty to the four-count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
In June, the Hushpuppi was flaunting an opulent lifestyle on social media and was shortly arrested in Dubai by special operatives of the Emirati police and American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Opposition group says Junta’s plan does not reflect people’s views
• The Junta’s plan not relevant to views of the people •
As Mali’s junta tried to hash out a political roadmap with West African leaders in Ghana on Tuesday, the 18-month transition plan agreed by the military just days ago is being contested in Bamako by the popular opposition protest group.
“A delegation from the junta went to Accra to negotiate and discuss the fate of Mali without involving the M5-RFP ( the 5 June Movement – Rally of Patriotic Forces opposition coalition),” said Dr Choguel Kokala Maiga, President of the M5-RFP strategic committee.
Mali’s popular opposition movement led the demonstrations against the ousted president Keita.
The military junta over the weekend adopted a “transition charter”.
It has yet to be published. But according to reports, it would provide an 18-month transition government, led by a president named by a committee set up by the military junta.
“The M5-RFP has distanced itself from the document produced, which does not reflect the views and decisions of the Malian people,” said Maiga.
The opposition group said in a statement it condemned the “intimidation, anti-democratic and unfair practices worthy of another era” and “distances itself from the resulting document which does not reflect the views and decisions of the Malian people.”
But said it did not intend to start a conflict with the junta and would work together to modify the charter.
• African Leaders Urge Swift Return of Political Reforms in Mali •
West African leaders urged a swift political solution in Mali on Tuesday, fearing an Islamist insurgency that has been nestled in the country since 2012 could take advantage of the fragile situation.
The 15-nation regional bloc known as ECOWAS met with Mali’s junta in Ghana. It had set the military chiefs a Tuesday deadline for naming a new civilian interim leader.
“The terrorists are taking advantage of the situation in Mali to flex their muscles even more,” said Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaian President and current rotating chair of ECOWAS.
“Today is supposed to be the day when the military junta in Mali is to put in place a government… That has not been done,” he said.
“The circumstances of life in Mali today require that closure be brought to the matter now. “
ECOWAS has also urged a return to democracy within a year.
But the junta, which grabbed power after a coup in August, said it would step down in 18 months.
After a similar coup in 2012, Islamic extremists took advantage of a power vacuum and grabbed control of major towns in northern Mali.
Only a 2013 military intervention led by former colonial power France pushed extremists from those cities and the international community has invested more than seven years into the fight against extremism there.
United States President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month — an acceleration of even his own optimistic predictions — but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC News.
“We’re within weeks of getting it you know — could be three weeks, four weeks,” he said.
Only hours earlier, speaking to Fox News, Trump had said a vaccine could come in “four weeks, it could be eight weeks.”
Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is putting political pressure on government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help turn around his uphill bid for reelection against challenger Joe Biden on November 3.
Experts including top US government infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci say vaccine approval is more likely toward the end of the year.
At the ABC town hall Trump was asked why he’d downplayed the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now killed close to 200,000 people in the US.
Trump replied by saying: “I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”
But Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews for the new book “Rage” — published Tuesday — that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.
‘Herd mentality’ Returning to one of his most controversial views on the virus, that has ravaged the economy and which government scientists say will remain a danger for some time, Trump insisted “it is going to disappear.”
“It would go away without the vaccine but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,” he said.
Challenged about how the virus would go away by itself, he said “you’ll develop like a herd mentality,” apparently meaning the concept of herd immunity, when enough people have developed resistance to the disease to effectively stop transmission.
“It’s going to be herd developed and that’s going to happen. That will all happen but with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly. But I really believe we’re rounding the corner,” he said.
The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, said “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think masks are good.”
Asked what people he meant, Trump answered: “Waiters.”
“They come over and they serve you and they have a mask,” he said. “I saw it the other day when they were serving me and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what happens: They’re playing with the mask. So the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate, and that can’t be good.”
Polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the health crisis.
The latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking poll Tuesday found that 52 percent of adults do not trust Trump’s statements about an upcoming coronavirus vaccine, compared to 26 percent who do.
The Nigeria Labour Congress meets today to take final decision on fuel price hike and electricity tariff increase.
This comes as TUC insists its seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government stands. The ultimatum was handed down to the Federal Government to reverse the increases.
Also the organised labour has told the Federal Government it will not go into any negotiation with it until the increased price of petrol and electricity tariff are reversed.
The President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, stated the position of workers yesterday at a dialogue on the economy between the organised labour and the Federal Government.
This is as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, insisted that the Federal Government could not have held discussion with labour before taking a policy decision.
Olaleye got the support of the General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero, who is also a deputy president of the NLC. He lamented that the involvement of workers came after the Federal Government had taken the decision to increase prices.
“We think the Federal Government is speaking to us now and not speaking with us. If the government wants to engage us, it ought to have called for a meeting where issues would be looked at dispassionately and positions arrived at. Why would government think increment would automatically lead to improvement in electricity to Nigerians? This latest increment is the fifth since the power sector was privatised. Did that lead to the improved power supply? In fact, each increase shows the power sector might have been hijacked.
What we have seen emerging is the emergence of private sector monopoly, which is more terrible than public sector monopoly. Therefore, for us, there is no basis for this latest increment,” he stated.
The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, observed that with the huge burden already placed on citizens by COVID-19, fuel price hike would drive a final nail into the coffin of dying masses.
He said, “Government cannot continue to push the people to the wall with increases in utility bills. We should ensure we refine products locally to push the price of petrol down and create jobs. Government cannot hand over our commonwealth to the private sector. We must look at other policy options to address the issue of subsidy. We are here without anything concrete for the people. We are asking government what it has for the people?”
In his contribution, the TUC President urged the Federal Government to cut down on emoluments of public officers and lawmakers.
Explaining the need for deregulation and the resultant price hike, Sylva stated that between 2016 and 2019, Nigeria lost N1 billion every day.
MEANWHILE, the independent petroleum products marketers have accused the Federal Government of deliberately hampering the country’s refineries to impoverish the masses.
The marketers, comprising members of the independent marketers branch of NUPENG, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and tanker drivers, staged a protest yesterday at the Port Harcourt refinery, demanding the sack of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, over alleged inability to fix the refineries.
A leader of the protesters and Chairman independent marketers branch of NUPENG, Uche Uduwo, described as an aberration the failure of refineries to function.
“We cannot understand why the four refineries in Nigeria cannot be put to active work, when we have crude oil in the country. They go outside the country to bring petroleum products and when they do that, they send the products to private tanks. We cannot accept it any longer. We are dying; members of the public are dying.
Why should government facility be left to rot and private tank farm owners are living large? We will no longer accept it,” he said.
Udowo lamented that Port Harcourt depots had been without petroleum products for inexplicable reasons.
While the IPMAN national spokesperson, Chinedu Ukadike, also lamented that the Port Harcourt refinery and its depots have been abandoned, the Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union, Johnbosco Bosco, said it was unacceptable that people diverted products meant for the NNPC to private tank farms.
Reacting to the outcry, the ruling All progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, enjoined Nigerians to support government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy.
APC, in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, argued that government was not oblivious of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has departed Nigeria for Ghana to attend the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Osinbajo, who is representing President Muhammadu Buhari, at the summit will join other leaders in the sub-region to discuss the political crisis in Mali and the security situation in the sub-region at large.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
According to the statement, the Vice President will also meet with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana to discuss issues bothering on their wellbeing in the West African country.
Accompanying the Vice President is the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb Zubairu Dada.
He is expected back in Abuja today at the end of his engagements in Ghana.
Following the coup that broke out in Mali on August 18, ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and the United States have condemned the action.
The regional bloc suspended the country pledged a range of retaliatory actions, including financial sanctions.
Similarly, ECOWAS delegation headed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, arrived in the Malian capital, Bamako on August 20 to push for a speedy return to civilian rule after a military coup in the troubled nation.
The delegation met with the members of the new junta as well as ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Rebel soldiers seized Keita and other leaders after a mutiny dealing another deep blow to a country already struggling with a brutal Islamist insurgency and widespread public discontent over its government.
Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.
“ECOWAS appreciates what is happening in Mali and ECOWAS wants the best for the country,” Jonathan said after his arrival.
Russian leader agrees to $1.5bn loan with Minsk and says Belarus crisis should be resolved without foreign interference.
Russia has agreed to a $1.5bn loan with Minsk, President Vladimir Putin said at talks on Monday with Alexander Lukashenko, the embattled Belarusian leader, adding that the Belarusian people should resolve the crisis without foreign interference.
Putin, in comments broadcast on television from the talks in Russia’s Sochi, said he thought a proposal by Lukashenko to carry out constitutional reform was logical and timely.
Lukashenko arrived in Sochi to meet Putin on Monday, as protests continued across Belarus seeking the end of his rule following a disputed August 9 election.
His plane landed in the Black Sea region a day after police arrested 774 people at anti-government rallies across the country, including 500 in the capital, Minsk, the Belarusian interior ministry said. At least 100,000 protesters flooded the streets of Minsk on Sunday.
The meeting, in which Lukashenko thanked Putin for his support, marked the first face-to-face talks between the leaders since the contested Belarusian election.
Putin congratulated Lukashenko on his victory at the time, but later described the vote as not ideal. The Russian president’s actions have so far suggest he has no desire to see the leader of a neighbouring ex-Soviet country toppled by pressure from the streets – even if Lukashenko has often proved a prickly and difficult ally.
Protests, some featuring violence, have gripped the country for five weeks since the vote, with anti-Kremlin placards seen at some rallies
“I’m worried about Russia’s intentions to enforce its interests here. We have to be friends with Russia, but it is not good for neighbouring countries to be involved in our internal problems,” said a protester at Sunday’s rally.
Katsiaryna Shmatsina of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Studies told Media known to Noble Reporters Media: “Lukashenko this month has exhausted all the tools he used to apply in the previous years which were used to large scale oppression towards people. People would get beaten and detained and then this would scale down protests. This time this doesnt work.”
On Monday, the UN rights council agreed to host an urgent debate on reports of violence at the hands of authorities during protests.
Lukashenko, 65, last week gave an interview to Russian journalists, including Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Kremlin-controlled channel RT, in which he warned that if his government falls, “Russia will be next”.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the Eastern European nation of 9.5 million people with an iron fist since 1994, has previously blamed the West for fomenting demonstrations in Belarus in hopes of turning it into a “bridgehead against Russia”.
Reporting from Minsk, NRM said: “Lukashenko has left Belarus for the first time since the political crisis has started and his bargaining position has not improved after this mass rally on Sunday. He was hoping to keep the numbers low to show to President Putin that he has everything under control which obviously didn’t work.
“He needs more support from President Putin then ever before. And Putin is willing to give him his support because Putin really wants to prevent Belarus to fall in the hands of the West and possibly NATO. But that support will come at a price.”
Belarusian opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, currently in Lithuania, warned Putin against signing any agreement with Lukashenko.
“She said she was sorry Putin was having a dialogue with an usurper and not with the Belarusian people,” said Vaessen.
Chemical signature of phosphine, a gas that on Earth is only associated with life, has been spotted in Venusian clouds.
Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighbouring Venus: Hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet.
Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick Venusian clouds the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, according to a study in Monday’s Nature Astronomy journal.
Several outside experts – and the study authors themselves – agreed this is tantalising but said it is far from the first proof of life on another planet.
As astronomers plan for searches for life on planets outside our solar system, a major method is to look for chemical signatures that can only be made by biological processes, called biosignatures.
Three astronomers in Hawaii decided to look at the closest planet to Earth: Venus. They searched for phosphine, which is three hydrogen atoms and a phosphorous atom.
On Earth, there are only two ways phosphine can be formed, study authors said. One is in an industrial process. (The gas was produced for use as chemical warfare agent in World War I).
The other way is as part of some kind of poorly understood function in animals and microbes. Some scientists consider it a waste product, others do not.
Phosphine is found in “ooze at the bottom of ponds, the guts of some creatures like badgers and perhaps most unpleasantly associated with piles of penguin guano”, Clements said.
Study co-author Sara Seager, an MIT planetary scientist, said researchers “exhaustively went through every possibility and ruled all of them out: volcanoes, lightning strikes, small meteorites falling into the atmosphere … Not a single process we looked at could produce phosphine in high enough quantities to explain our team’s findings”.
That leaves life.
The astronomers hypothesise a scenario for how life could exist on the inhospitable planet where temperatures on the surface are about 425 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit) with no water.
“Venus is hell. Venus is kind of Earth’s evil twin,” Clements said. “Clearly something has gone wrong, very wrong, with Venus. It’s the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect.”
But that is on the surface.
Seager said all the action may be 50km (30 miles) above ground in the thick carbon-dioxide layer cloud deck, where it is about room temperature or slightly warmer.
It contains droplets with tiny amounts of water but mostly sulfuric acid that is a billion times more acidic than what is found on Earth.
The phosphine could be coming from some kind of microbes, probably single-cell ones, inside those sulfuric acid droplets, living their entire lives in the 16km-deep (10-mile-deep) clouds, Seager and Clements said.
When the droplets fall, the potential life probably dries out and could then get picked up in another drop and reanimate, they said.
More proof needed Life is definitely a possibility, but more proof is needed, several outside scientists said.
Cornell University astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger said the idea of this being the signature of biology at work is exciting, but she said we do not know enough about Venus to say life is the only explanation for the phosphine.
“I’m not sceptical, I’m hesitant,” said Justin Filiberto, a planetary geochemist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston who specialises in Venus and Mars and is not part of the study team.
Filiberto said the levels of phosphine found might be explained away by volcanoes. He said recent studies that were not taken into account in this latest research suggest that Venus may have far more active volcanoes than originally thought.
But Clements said an explanation would make sense only if Venus were at least 200 times as volcanically active as Earth.
NASA has not sent anything to Venus since 1989, though Russia, Europe and Japan have dispatched probes.
The US space agency is considering two possible Venus missions. One of them, called DAVINCI+, would go into the Venutian atmosphere as early as 2026.
Trump goes to California to meet with wildfire responders, as Biden derides ‘climate denial’.
Biden has condemned Trump’s “climate denial” while calling him a “climate arsonist” moments before the president arrived in wildfire-ravaged California, where he’s set to meet with local and federal responders.
“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?” Biden said.
“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze? If you give a climate denier 4 more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?” said Biden, before detailing his plans to prioritise renewable energy.
Democrats have said the West Coast fires are clearly related to Climate Change, while Trump has portrayed the blazes as the product of poor forest management.
United States President Donald Trump heads to fire-ravaged California on Monday, as Democratic Candidate Joe Biden, in Delaware, calls him a “climate arsonist”.
Kamala Harris hosts virtual fundraisers with Hillary Clinton, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler
Mike Pence campaigns in Janesville, Wisconsin
Trump held his first indoor rally in three months on Sunday, prompting rebuke from Nevada governor