Although the Nollywood industry is a make believe craft, there are some Yoruba actresses who have vowed never to kiss in movies. They include, Jaiye Kuti, Seyi Edun and Dupe Jaiyesimi
Seyi Edun is a fast rising actress and a movie producer. She features majorly in Yoruba movies. Seyi joined the movie industry in the year 2009 through her younger sister who is also a scriptwriter.
Seyi graduated from house of Wisdom cancus in 2009, same year she produced her first movie.
She has once revealed in an interview that she can never share a wet kiss in the movie. She also vowed never to appear naked in any movie. Seyi Edun is currently married to another nollywood actor Adeniyi Johnson.
Durojayeola Oluwakemi Kuti, popularly known as Jaiye Kuti is the second on this list. Jaiye is a prominent Yoruba actress who is known for her energetic roles in movies.
She hails from Yewa Ayetoro Egbado in Ogun state.
According to her, she started acting because it has been her passion right from her childhood.
In an interview in 2014 she stated that it is impossible for her to have a wet kiss on the screen.
Veteran actress, Modupe Jaiyesimi who started acting professionally in 1990 revealed in an interview that she cannot kiss on set but she can only peck and she said she cannot kiss any other than her husband.
Frank Lampard bemoaned the repetitive nature of Chelsea’s mistakes this season after his side’s defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium.
An 89th-minute strike from Andriy Yarmolenko saw the Blues throw away the chance to overtake Leicester and move up to third in the Premier League table after the Foxes’ defeat to Everton earlier on Wednesday.
The 3-2 reverse saw Lampard rue his side’s lack of concentration and the Blues boss challenged his players to step up mentally in similar fixtures in the future.
‘It’s been a good season but there have been so many of these moments,’ he told NobleSports.
‘We had an opportunity today to go third but you have to do every part of the game to get results. If you switch off or make one or two errors then you will encourage teams. Players have to show an extra mentality to get through these games.
‘I get to see this group closely and I’ve seen us play great games then have moments where there’s the opportunity to capitalise and that’s the difference at the moment. We have work to do.’
Lampard was however keen to put the result in perspective of the whole season which has seen the Blues remain in the driving seat to secure Champions League.
But the former West Ham and Chelsea midfielder also admitted that his squad cannot look beyond the fact that it was ultimately a match they should have won.
‘There’s without a doubt a good group of players in there but then when you analyse the consistency, you feel a game like this is coming. Again, that shows there’s work to do,’ he continued.
‘If we are opening up to try and score that winning goal then we have to be prepared to run back the other way and defend. And defend better.
‘We are two points ahead of Manchester United, who have been playing fantastic and are on a great run, Wolves are having a great season and they’re behind us, Leicester have had a great season and we’re just behind them.
‘It’s about perspective. We are upset because we wanted to win the game, we’re footballers and we’re in a good position. So there’s no point in being down but I can’t help but say the truth today which is that it’s a game we should have won tonight.’
Why Lateef Adedimeji will be the biggest Yoruba movie star after Femi Adebayo and Odunlade Adekola
For a keen observer of developments in the Yoruba movie section of Nollywood, it should be known that there is a certain way star actors come on the scene, reign for their God appointed period of time, and then step aside for another star to take the centre stage. Yes, that has been the norm for years and it still continues.
For instance, time was when Saheed Balogun was on the centre stage and it seemed no one else could surpass him, but it happened. And same applied to others like Babatunde Omidina better known as Baba Suwe, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Funsho Adeolu, Muyiwa Ademola, and few others. They all came, saw and conquered at their God appointed time by taking the centre stage like a collosus in the industry.
Currently, and arguably so, the two major stars in the Yoruba movie industry that have been sharing the centre stage have been Femi Adebayo and Odunlade Adekola. For the two of them, the world has been their oyster for a couple of years now and they don’t seem to be ready to yield the centre stage for anyone else. In fact, their dominance on the stage is so pronounced that two competitive beer brands have the two of them as their separate Ambassador. And interestingly too, they have been winning the award for best Yoruba actor alternatively, for years. That is, if it is not Odunlade Adekola winning it, it would definitely be Femi Adebayo.
But there has surely come another actor who will be giving them a run for their money. And in the nearest future, he should be taking over the centre stage. He is no other than Lateef Adedimeji. This is an actor that is not just talented but very intelligent and dynamic. Anyone who has seen his acting would know he is made for the topmost level in his chosen career. Just give the lanky actor any role and you can be sure of getting the best interpretation of the script. You can even ask him to leave the regular Yoruba role and give you an Ibo character, and you would marvel at his delivery. Not many actors can do that switching effortlessly.
Without doubt, it is only a matter of time for a complete actor in the mould of Lateef Adedimeji to dominate his industry like an emperor ruling over his empire. Yes, Femi Adebayo, Odunlade Adekola and others would still be doing their thing, but Lateef Adedimeji promises to be the next biggest Yoruba movie star to take over the main stage. Just watch out for him.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho insists he would not swap Giovani Lo Celso for Bruno Fernandes after Spurs missed out on signing the Portuguese playmaker last summer.
The north London club were heavy favourites to sign Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon during last summer’s transfer window, with the player claiming that he agreed a deal to join Spurs.
However, Sporting and Spurs failed to agree on the player’s value, which saw Fernandes join Manchester United for £68million in January while Tottenham landed Lo Celso on a season-long loan last summer under Mauricio Pochettino – who was in charge of the club at the time.
Lo Celso has since made his loan move from Real Betis permanent, with Mourinho giving the thumbs up to complete the £27m deal.
While both players have flourished in the Premier League, it is Fernandes that has stolen the limelight having been directly involved in eight goals in as many appearances while his energetic performances has given United a new lease of life.
Asked whether he regrets Tottenham missing out on Fernandes last summer, Mourinho told Sky Sports: ‘I don’t know anything about that, but if that is true, and if Giovani Lo Celso was the player that came to Spurs [instead of Bruno Fernandes], then I would say I wouldn’t change Giovani Lo Celso for any player.
‘[I wouldn’t swap Lo Celso] for any player. It’s not just for Bruno, but for any player.’
Lo Celso initially struggled to find his feet earlier in the season under Pochettino, but has since gone on to become a key part of Mourinho’s plans.
The Portuguese boss has praised Lo Celso’s positive attitude and feels there is a lot more to come from his Argentine maestro, who is currently playing through injury.
Mourinho added: ‘I came to the club and he wasn’t playing. I think the only match he started was Red Star Belgrade away in the Champions League – apart from that he was not playing. When I arrived I went in other directions and he did exactly what I love a player to do: “I’m going to show you”.
‘[There was] no spoiled kid reactions, no crying, no moaning, no agents and family throwing messages to the press and to the social media. It was just between him and me: “I’m going to show you”, and he showed me step-by-step.
‘He’s working with lots of different conditions to try to play and to try to resist until the end of the season so what you see from Gio now is not the end product – he’s a fantastic player for us.’
Fresh facts have emerged on the agonising last days of the Chief Justice of Kogi State, the late Justice Nasiru Ajanah.
Justice Ajanah had reportedly died of COVID-19 on Sunday 28th June, 2020.
According to credible family sources, the man walked into an avoidable death as there was no credible evidence that he contracted the dreaded Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very bitter family member told this medium that what the judge complained of was malaria fever, over which he had even been treated with the local herbs.
“What gave us the confidence that all was well with him was that all the people close to him were tested along with him. His wife, driver and orderly were tested and they all came out negative.
“Inspite of this, he went to the isolation centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja expecting to be given a clean bill of health and to be back home this past Monday only for the family and the members of the public to be told that he passed on exactly two weeks after he got to the centre,” said a source.
Sources revealed that it wasn’t as if his condition was bad, and that a family member even volunteered to pay for the services of a nurse and that a sum of N500,000 (five hundred thousand naria) was agreed but that the CJ insisted on following the laid down rules. ” He went to the isolation himself not that he was taken there, even the text messages he sent to the family never indicated any cause for concern” said a source.
The family source told us that the amiable judge died a broken and sad man as he complained of severe neglect and abandonment even when he requested to see his family or be discharged from the centre.
The source said that he was never a man given to unnecessary complaints or undue preferential treatment as a result of his office.
The family disclosed that the oxygen level of the jurist was 97 percent which to them was still okay, with a sources saying that “we were confident he was going to be discharged.”
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, who had been at loggerheads with the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) over issues relating to COVID-19 in Kogi State seriously faulted the claims of the parastatal that the late Chief Justice of the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah died of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Governor maintained his opinion that the “disease was forced on the people for no just cause.”
Bello insisted that Justice Nasir Ajanah died of natural cause rather than the deadly virus, while disagreeing with the NCDC on the cause of the death of Ajanah.
Sources said that the Governor, who was once in a bitter confrontation with the amiable judge and made up with him before the last election in the state was particularly pained by this loss thus necessitating his recent outburst against the disease control agency.
Ajanah was however, buried in Abuja on Sunday June 28th according to Islamic rites.
In his sermon during the burial, Justice Nurudeen Khalifa urged Nigerians to live a life of emulation, pointing out that every man has a reward after death. He also advised Nigerians on good living while alive.
In his remarks, the son of the deceased thanked the state government for its support, describing his father’s death as painful.
The acclaimed “accomplished judge”, who died at the age of 64, was first appointed a high court judge by the Kwara State Government in 1990 and later transferred to Kogi when the state was created in 1991.
As a high court judge, Ajanah served in several jurisdictions across the state, including Ankpa (1991 to 1993), Isanlu (1994 to 1996) and Okene (1996 to 1999) before moving to Lokoja in 1999 where he served until his death.
Kogi Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Mouktar Atimah, condoled with the state government and the entire Ajanah family over the incident.
He described CJ’s death as shocking, coming when his services were most needed.
According to him, the late CJ will be remembered for his calmness, forthrightness and selfless service to the state and his community.
He prayed to God to grant the soul of the late CJ eternal rest and the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Ajanah’s death came barely one week after that of the former President of Kogi State Customary Court of Appeal, Shaibu Atadoga.
The late CJ started his education at the Local Authority (Central) Primary School Okene between 1962 and 1968. He proceeded to the Federal Government College, Keffi, in 1969 and was admitted by the same college for his Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 1974.
He studied Law at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School. He was called to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
His working career started with Kwara State Ministry of Justice where he served as State Counsel between 1982 and 1984. He later set up Nasiru Ajanah & Co. in Okene between 1985 and 1989 before he was appointed as a Judge of Kwara State High Court in 1990.
Ajanah served as Chairman, Kabba Disturbance Tribunal in Kogi State (1994); Chairman, Election Petition Tribunal in Adamawa State (1998); member of Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (1999 to 2006); Chairman, Panel on Murtala Muhammed International Airport Fire Incident (2000); Chairman, Election Petition Tribunal in Akwa Ibom State (2007); and Chairman, Election Tribunal Petition in Rivers State (2008).
This Wednesday saw Real Madrid’s application to take CD Tacon’s place in the Spanish Women’s league approved by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). Here is the official statement:
Real Madrid C. F. wishes to announce that it has sent the corresponding documentation to the Spanish Football Federation in order to make effective the merger by absorption of Club Deportivo Tacón, a women’s football club, as approved by the Extraordinary General Assembly of Committed Members held on 15 September 2019.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation has informed us that said documentation is correct, so the merger will be effective when the current 2019-20 football season is definitively concluded.
Real Madrid will play the women’s football competitions from the 2020/21 season, with Real Madrid City as the venue for the team’s matches and training sessions.
Our women’s football section will be made up of the senior and under-16s to under-19s teams. A youth structure that will allow us to remain faithful to our philosophy of identifying, training and developing young talent. Our teams will also play their respective competitions from the 2020/21 season.
Real Madrid are looking forward to this new challenge with a commitment to promoting women’s football and contributing to its development and growth in our society.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich have reached an agreement to prolong Philippe Coutinho’s loan at the German club by an additional two months.
Coutinho’s loan expired on June 30 but the coronavirus pandemic means the season has not yet finished, which has forced the two clubs to re-negotiate.
Bayern have managed to extend the Brazilian’s time in Bavaria and will now have him available for this weekend’s German cup final and the Champions League in August.
According to NobleSports Reliable Source, Bayern have prolonged the loan of all three loan players at the club. In addition to Coutinho, that also means Perisic and Odriozola. Coutinho and Odriozola will leave when the season ends, but Perisic could stay.
However, the main news in Bild is that the three players have all accepted a 50 percent wage cut during the additional two months they will spend with Bayern.
Bayern face Bayer Leverkusen in the cup final this weekend and have the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Chelsea to come in August. They lead 3-0 from the first leg and are favourites to make the quarterfinals, which will be staged in Lisbon.
They have already won the Bundesliga, which ended last weekend, becoming the first of Europe’s big five leagues to complete the full season.
The Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, on Wednesday charged government at all levels to amend laws on rape to include outright castration of offenders. In Crimes Story
Lagos Assembly wants govt to rename monuments named after colonial masters
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday urged the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to issue an order for the renaming of all sites and monuments named after colonial masters in the state. In In The News
NASS suspends FG’s Special Public Works scheme targeting 774,000 jobs
The National Assembly on Wednesday suspended the Special Public Works programme conceived by the Federal Government for the engagement of 774, 000 Nigerians. In Economic Today
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed the bail applications filed by suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala aka Wadume, and six other persons currently standing trial for alleged kidnapping and other related crimes. In Crimes Story
ASUU accuses Nigerian govt of experimenting with lives of poor Nigerians by reopening schools
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday accused the Federal Government of experimenting with the lives of poor Nigerians after it approved the reopening of schools across the country. In Edu-NATION
Retired Anambra civil servants demand new minimum wage
Retired civil servants in Anambra State on Wednesday asked the state government to adjust their pensions to reflect the new minimum wage approved by the Federal Government last year. In Business Updates
My govt is determined to support the poor in Nigeria —Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday the Economic Sustainability Plan put together by the Federal Government to stimulate the economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic would extend protection to poor Nigerians and other vulnerable groups. In Politics Today
Abuja, Lagos airports to resume domestic flights July 8, others July 11 and 15 respectively
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Wednesday domestic flight operations would resume at the various airports across the country on July 8. In Economic Today
Even Frenkie de Jong recognises that his first season at Barcelona has not been as spectacular as his last year was with Ajax.
However, even so, the Dutch midfielder has made his enormous talent clear and has become a key part of the side — both under Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien.
Having played over 3,000 minutes of football this season, De Jong is Barça’s most used footballer — even ahead of Sergio Busquets (2,876 minutes).
The former Ajax man has alternated between excellent performances and more standard ones, but it will be viewed as a decent adaption season.
Proof of his importance to the side already can be seen in Barça’s results and performances since he got injured earlier this month in the win at Mallorca.
Barcelona have won just one of their last three games since he was ruled out with a calf problem, drawing with Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid.
Keeping in mind how tough it will not be to win the league — Madrid can go four clear with a win over Getafe on Thursday — it remains to be seen if Barça will rush him back or turn their attention to the Champions League in August.
49,286 cases in 24-hour period reported in the US as death toll hits 128,000 while infections in India surpass 600,000.
New United States coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic. More than half of new cases each day come from US states of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, home to 30 percent of the country’s population. More than 128,000 people have died in the US due to the pandemic.
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate cessation of hostilities” for at least 90 days in key conflicts including Syria, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan and Congo to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark, resigned on Thursday, following recent slip-ups in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and personal mistakes.
Italy’s hard-hit northern region of Lombardy accounted for considerably more than half of the nation’s latest confirmed 187 coronavirus cases – raising the total to 240,760 nationwide. The Health Ministry also reported 21 new deaths, raising to 34,788 the total of known deaths.
Close to 10.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, over 5.6 million have recovered, and more than 516,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
A spike in non-coronavirus related deaths in the Indian city of Ahmedabad highlighted the impact of the pandemic on general healthcare, doctors warn.
The rise in the number of fatalities in the most populous city in western Gujarat state, is due to patients with serious illnesses either not able to go to hospitals or being afraid to visit them because of the virus, doctors said.
Data collected from twenty-four Hindu crematoriums and four of the largest Muslim graveyards in the city shows that there have been 3,558 deaths in April and 7,150 in May. During the same months the previous year, the number of reported fatalities were, respectively, 2,784 and 2,706.
The numbers contain “ominous signals” for the rest of the country, doctor Rajib Dasgupta, a professor of community health at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Reuters.
Viral picture of the three-year-old has sparked outrage with family accusing armed forces of killing the victim.
A picture showing a three-year-old child sitting on his grandfather’s dead body in Sopore town of Indian-administered Kashmir has stirred anger in the Muslim-majority region, with the family of the deceased accusing the security forces of killing the 65-year-old civilian during a gunfight.
“My brother was not a militant. He did not carry a gun. Why was he killed?” Nazir Ahmad, brother of the victim Bashir Ahmed Khan, asked.
“If you want, I can come with you to meet the top police officers to counter their claims,” he told Media.
The police rejected the family's allegations, saying the civilian vehicle had gotten caught in a gun battle between rebels and security forces.
Vijay Kumar, inspector general of police in Kashmir, told reporters that rebels opened fire at security forces from a mosque in the northern town of Sopore, setting off a gun battle on Wednesday. Kumar said one security official was killed and three were injured.
“The family is being pressurised by the militants to blame it on the security forces,” Kumar said.
But the victim’s family continued to contest the police claim. “We received a call that my father had met with an accident,” Khan’s son, Suhail Ahmad, said.
“When we reached Sopore, we were told he was killed in a crossfire. If it was a crossfire, his body should’ve been inside the car, but it was found on the road.”
Aijaz Ahmad Qudsi, Khan’s nephew, told Anadolu news agency his deceased uncle’s car was unharmed, with not even a scratch. Qudsi claimed the 65-year-old was taken from his car and shot by the armed forces.
The family members also accused the security forces of putting the child on the deceased civilian’s body “for taking pictures”.
“They dragged the body out and put the child on top. The child’s clothes were drenched in his grandfather’s blood,” one of Khan’s relatives claimed.
The family said the man was a small-time employee who earned 6,000 rupees ($80) per month.
The photo of the toddler lying on the body of his dead grandfather was widely shared on social media.
A spokesman for India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced criticism for mocking the picture of the dead civilian.
Sambit Patra tweeted the photo with the comment “Pulitzer Lovers??”
BJP leaders, including Patra, had criticised the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize to three Kashmir journalists in May, claiming the photos and commentary on them were “anti-India”.
Hundreds of people in Kashmir staged protests on Wednesday in the wake of the killing.
Relatives and neighbors carry the coffin of civilian Bashir Ahmed Khan during his funeral on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Suspected rebels attacked pa
Later on Wednesday, hundreds assembled at the man’s funeral near Srinagar, shouting “We want freedom [from Indian rule]”.
Government forces have intensified operations against rebels since a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March.
Since January, at least 229 people have been killed during more than 100 military operations across Kashmir, including 32 civilians, 54 government forces and 143 rebels, according to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a rights group.
For decades, rebel groups have fought for the region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. Since 1989, the fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.
India has more than 500,000 troops stationed in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory also claimed by Pakistan.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels. Islamabad denies the allegations.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, a region both claim in entirety but rule parts of.
The miners were ‘smothered by a wave of mud’ caused by heavy rain, officials say.
A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar has killed at least 113 people, officials say, warning the death toll was likely to rise further.
The incident took place early on Thursday in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state after a bout of heavy rainfall, the Myanmar Fire Services Department said on Facebook.
“The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud,” the statement said. “A total of 113 bodies have been found so far.”
Photos posted on the Facebook page showed a search and rescue team wading through a valley apparently flooded by the mudslide.
‘No one could help them’ Maung Khaing, a 38-year-old miner from the area, said he saw a towering pile of waste that looked on the verge of collapse and was about to take a picture when people began shouting “run, run!”
“Within a minute, all the people at the bottom [of the hill] just disappeared,” he told Reuters news agency by phone.
“I feel empty in my heart. I still have goosebumps … There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help, but no one could help them.”
Tar Lin Maung, a local official with the information ministry, said authorities had recovered more than 100 bodies.
“Other bodies are in the mud. The numbers are going to rise,” he told Reuters.
Fatal landslides are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant, the victims often from impoverished communities who risk their lives hunting the translucent green gemstone.
The government of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi pledged to clean up the industry when it took power in 2016, but activists say little has changed.
Official sales of jade in Myanmar were worth $750.4m in 2016-2017, according to data published by the government as part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
But experts believe the true value of the industry, which mainly exports to China, is much larger.
Northern Myanmar’s abundant natural resources – including jade, timber, gold and amber – have also helped finance both sides of a decades-long conflict between ethnic Kachin and the military.
The fight to control the mines and the revenues they bring frequently traps local civilians in the middle.
City’s riot police makes arrests as territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam says new legislation is ‘lawful, reasonable’.
Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of the territory’s return to China on Wednesday hours after Beijing’s imposition of a new national security law, drawing international condemnation and thousands of defiant protesters.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam joined her predecessors and other officials at the harbour’s edge for a flag-raising ceremony and a reception for specially-invited guests, as the territory’s annual pro-democracy march was banned for the first time.
In her speech, Lam praised the new law as “the most important development” in the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong since the 1997 handover, saying it is “necessary and timely” move to restore stability.
She defended the legislation, which came into force overnight after being rushed through China’s rubber-stamp parliament as “constitutional, lawful, sensible and reasonable”.
In a press briefing following the ceremony, Zhang Xiaoming, the Executive Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said suspects arrested under the law would be tried in the mainland, adding that Hong Kong’s legal system could not be expected to implement the laws of the mainland.
Spreading “rumours” and “directing hatred” towards Hong Kong police are among the transgressions that could be potentially prosecuted and punished under the new law, he said.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Lam also said that the law reflects Beijing’s desire to uphold one country, two system.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo, for her part, said that “free press could just be announced dead in Hong Kong.”
She added that journalists who publish sensitive information about Hong Kong could also be in “dire trouble”.
Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, meanwhile, was quoted by the South China Morning Post, as saying, “Today is the end of one country, two system. From today it is one country, one system.”
Amid threats of possible arrest, protesters gathered near the conference centre where the ceremony was held, carrying banners and shouting their opposition to the new law, which seeks to punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with punishments including life in prison.
Protest banned Authorities barred civil society’s annual demonstration, citing a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people because of the coronavirus, but many activists have said they will defy the order and march later in the afternoon. The crowd of protesters later grew to several thousands across the city.
At about 0500 GMT, police officers were seen making arrests, including Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan, who was seen being led by police in handcuff. Images on social media also showed police using pepper spray on Wan’s face. Ray Chan, another Hong Kong parlimentarian also reported being arrested alongside several other people.
At the city’s Causeway Bay area, one man wearing a “Free Hong Kong” shirt become the first person arrested by police for violating the new law. A search also yielded a “Hong Kong independence” flag, police said in a statement. According to reports, around 200 people were arrested but it was unclear what specific charges they face.
The annual rally is traditionally held to air grievances about everything from sky-high home prices to what many see as Beijing’s increasing encroachment on the city’s freedoms.
“We march every year, every July 1, every October 1 and we will keep on marching,” said pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung.
On July 1 last year, hundreds of protesters stormed the city’s legislature to protest against a now-scrapped bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, ransacking the building. The protests continued throughout the year with rally-goers demanding universal suffrage as promised in the territory’s Basic Law or mini-constitution.
Critics fear the legislation, which was only made public after it was passed, will outlaw dissent and destroy the autonomy promised when Hong Kong was returned from the United Kingdom to China in 1997.
Reporting from Beijing, Noble Reporters Media gathered that the speed at which the new law was crafted and passed proved China’s “determination to stamp out” Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, which it sees “as too much of a threat” to the central government’s power
She said that China may have lost patience over the last year, as the protests continued.
The legislation radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong envisaged under the so-called “one country, two systems” framework, obliterating the legal firewall between the city’s independent judiciary and the mainland’s party-controlled courts.
It empowers China to set up a national security agency in the city, staffed by officials who are not bound by local laws when carrying out duties.
Details of the law
Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.
Companies or groups that violate national security law will be fined and could have operations suspended.
Damaging certain transportation vehicles and equipment will be considered an act of ‘terrorism’.
Anyone convicted of violating security legislation will not be allowed to stand in any Hong Kong elections.
The activities of a new national security agency and its personnel in Hong Kong will not be under the jurisdiction of local government.
Authorities can surveil and wiretap persons suspected of endangering national security.
The law will apply to permanent and non-permanent residents of Hong Kong.
The law says the management of foreign NGOs and news agencies in Hong Kong will be strengthened.
It outlaws four types of national security crimes: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security.
The full text of the law gave three scenarios when China might take over a prosecution: complicated foreign interference cases, “very serious” cases and when national security faces “serious and realistic threats”.
“Both the national security agency and Hong Kong can request to pass the case to mainland China and the prosecution will be done by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the trial will be in the Supreme Court,” the law stated.
“No matter whether violence has been used, or the threat of violence used, leaders or serious offenders will be sentenced for life imprisonment or a minimum of 10 years in jail,” it said.
“The Hong Kong government has no jurisdiction over the national security agency in Hong Kong and its staff when they are discharging duties provided in this law,” it added.
The text also specified that those who destroy government facilities and utilities would be considered subversive. Damaging public transportation facilities and arson would constitute acts of “terrorism”. Any person taking part in secessionist activities, whether organising or participating, will violate the law regardless of whether violence is used.
The law also said certain national security cases could be held behind closed doors without juries in Hong Kong if they contained state secrets, although the verdict and eventual judgements would be made public.
The legislation has drawn international condemnation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing China of “paranoia” and saying the law “destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements”.
The introduction of the law also demonstrated that China’s commitment to international treaties, such as the Sino-British Joint Declaration, were “empty words”, Pompeo added.
Meanwhile, Taiwan opened an office on Wednesday to help people fleeing Hong Kong, with a senior minister saying the self-ruled island would continue to support people in the territory.
“This is an important milestone for the government to further support democracy and freedom in Hong Kong,” said Chen Ming-tong, the head of Taiwan’s China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council.
NRM reporting from Hong Kong, said that residents of the city probably felt that the new law was “a lot more far-reaching than they imagined, (and) many are “still trying to figure out how it will impact their lives.”
“Make no mistake. This is a law that will going to affect everyone in Hong Kong.”
Palestinians in Ramallah demonstrate against Israel’s plan to annex a third of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley.
But Israeli military and intelligence officials have warned the move could cause an uprising in the West Bank, which would be a grave security risk for Israel.
Furthermore, the plan has been met with condemnation by the Palestinian public, their leaders and the global community alike.
‘Another catastrophe’ “I’m angry because this is history repeating itself,” said Zeina Mustafa, a 20-year-old student from Ramallah.
“The annexation plan is another Nakba [catastrophe] and Naksa [day of setback],” she added, referring to the 1948 Palestinian exodus that saw more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs expelled from their homes and an Israeli state declared, and the 1967 Six-Day War after that saw Israel take control of the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
For Belal Gaith, a 40-year-old resident of Ramallah, the annexation plan would push Palestinians further under a state of occupation and military rule.
“As soon as the annexation plan is declared, it will be the end of the Oslo Accords,” he said, referring to the 1993 agreement which established the Palestinian Authority (PA) and gave it limited powers.
“We can potentially lose every single bit of our lands and live as prisoners under Israeli rule,” he added.
In the lead up to the anticipated declaration, the head of the PA and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said the authority had terminated all of its agreements with Israel and the United States amid Israel’s push for annexation.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned if Israel goes ahead with the plan, Palestinians would unilaterally declare a state along the pre-1967 borders.
A Palestinian demonstrator returns a tear gas canister during a protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah July
A key criticism of the plan is it would prevent Palestinians from accessing their agricultural land and water resources in the fertile Jordan Valley – known as the “bread basket” for Palestinians. The plan could destroy farmers’ export businesses and deprive them of their source of income.
Israel’s Jordan Valley Annexation explained “Israel is creating an environment in which the Palestinians cannot grow in their lands and business,” said Walid Assaf, a Palestinian minister and chairman of the Commission Against the Wall and Settlements.
“The crux of this conflict has been the land and Israel’s helping Jewish settlers take over it and expel the Palestinians in the process.”
Over the past few years, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs have reported an increase in the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jewish settler-only roads that connect them with Israel.
The structures have further carved up Palestinian territories and added to the disjointed nature of cities, villages and towns.
According to Assaf, Israel has already taken practical steps to annex the areas included in the plan, with the Jewish state allegedly building three new settlements in recent months; two near Nablus and another near Hebron.
Only a formality Still, many Palestinians believe the plan is only a formality and a de facto Israeli occupation of their land has been under way for many years.
“Israel’s annexation plan has been in process since 1967,” said Salah Khawaja, coordinator of an anti-occupation campaign called the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall and the Settlements.
“Israel has since built settlements and the wall. And so, annexation has been ongoing for a long time,” he added, as he stood among the crowd of demonstrators in Ramallah.
Although the plan does not aim to annex occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority sees as the capital of a future Palestinian state, the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union, have said it threatens to sabotage any peace agreement or two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“The plan will be the final nail in the coffin. It will end any chance for a future Palestinian state and our right to self-determination,” said Assaf.
“It will also restrict Palestinian lives in a way like never before. Making it impossible for us to build our lives or dream for the future.”
This is history repeating itself. The annexation plan is another Nakba [catastrophe] and Naksa [day of setback].
Ocasio-Cortez, Jewish students urge Trump administration to withhold US military aid if Israel annexes the West Bank.
A coalition of progressive Democratic politicians and Jewish groups are calling for withholding US military aid to Israel in response to planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is gathering legislators’ signatures on a letter urging the Trump administration to take steps to block Israel’s planned annexation.
“The United States must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other legislators said in the letter.
“We therefore urge you to make clear to the Israeli government that such a move is unacceptable,” they said in the letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
‘Lower standard’ Five other letters are circulating in the US Jewish community demanding accountability for the Israeli government and concrete actions by US Jewish institutions if a planned annexation goes forward.
Those letters have drawn more than 3,200 signatures, according to IfNotNow, a US Jewish group that opposes the occupation.
“It is time to stop holding America’s number one recipient of military funding – Israel – to a lower standard than we hold all other countries, exempting it from consequences when it violates our most basic values,” said Emily Mayer, political director of IfNotNow.
The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promptly condemned the Ocasio-Cortez letter, saying in a tweet that it threatens the US-Israel relationship.
Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives who signed the letter issued statements opposing annexation in strong terms.
“I have long believed that the United States needs to engage in an even-handed approach toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Sanders said in a statement.
“We need a resolution that ends the Israeli occupation and enables a future of security, self-determination, and prosperity for both peoples,” Sanders said.
“Conditioning US aid is one of the tools we can use to help achieve this goal,” Sanders said.
The US politicians said they would pursue legislation that would tie future US military aid – now $3.8bn a year – to human rights conditions and withhold funding for Israeli arms purchases.
‘Perpetuate and entrench’ Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American, said the Netanyahu government uses aid “to formalise an apartheid system”.
US taxpayers are helping to “perpetuate and entrench human rights violations in Palestine, including limitations on freedom of movement, further expansion of illegal land theft, home demolitions, and cutting off access to critical resources like clean water,” Tlaib said.
The letters and statements reflect a widening rift between the progressive and establishment wings of the US Democratic Party over support for Israel. While critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, leading Democrats like presidential candidate Joe Biden have been reluctant to condition US military support for Israel on changes in policy.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz last week, more than 190 House members voiced “deep concern” about the annexation plans but stopped short of threatening to withhold US military support.
“We understand that historically, US refusal to use its leverage – as we would do with other countries – has enabled a right-wing annexationist agenda to succeed in Israeli politics in the first place,” said Zoe Goldblum, a Democratic political organiser and former student leader at J Street, a pro-Israel advocacy group.
“We want lawmakers to know that young Jews are behind them,” she said.
Support for Israel within the Democratic party has been shifting as newer politicians have come into office.
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, known in the US Congress as “The Squad” for their progressive stances, won election in 2016 and have been sharply critical of Trump administration policies towards Israel.
“Unilateral annexation is a violation of international law, a violation of Palestinian human rights, and directly counter to American values of democracy and self-determination,” Omar said.
Last week, progressive challenger Jamal Bowman won a primary election in New York, displacing Representative Eliot Engel, a 16-term member of the House who has been a strong backer of Israel and is currently chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Bowman, who has called for justice for Palestinians, was backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders.
Several of Israel’s staunchest allies have criticised its annexation plans as jeopardising the status quo.
The plan, which aims to annex all illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – including the strategic Jordan Valley – amounts to one-third of the territory and is in line with US President Donald Trump’s so-called “Middle East plan,” which envisages a demilitarised Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli annexation was slated for July 1, but Israeli officials said the process would take place later this month in coordination with their American counterparts.
“Coordination with the American administration is not something that can be dismissed,” Israeli cabinet minister Ofir Akunis told Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is viewed as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there - as well as the planned annexation - illegal.
Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with annexation, which would further undermine a two-state solution.
Several countries, including some of Israel’s staunch allies, have come out with public statements against the annexation.
United Kingdom In an editorial in Israel’s largest selling newspaper on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for any annexation plans to be scrapped.
“As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests,” Johnson wrote in Yediot Ahronoth.
“Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” he said.
“I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”
France France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told the French parliament “an annexation decision could not be left without consequences”.
He said Paris was “examining different options at a national level and also in coordination with our main European partners”.
Germany The German parliament has called on Israel not to go ahead with the annexation of parts of the West Bank, describing the move as being “in contradiction with international law”.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Israeli plan threatened the stability of the entire Middle East.
“Peace cannot be achieved by unilateral steps,” he said.
PLO rally to protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank
Australia In a rare criticism of Israel, Australia warned against “unilateral annexation or change in status of territory on the West Bank”.
Jordan Jordan has warned annexation could trigger a “massive conflict” and has not ruled out reviewing its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
The Vatican The Vatican has summoned the US and Israeli envoys over Israel’s annexation plans.
A senior diplomatic source told Reuters that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state and the Vatican’s top diplomat, expressed “the concern of the Holy See regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardise the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East”.
Amnesty International Amnesty International’s deputy Middle East chief Saleh Hijazi said: “International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful,” adding if Israel moves forward it “points to the law of the jungle”.