Category Archives: World News

Whatsapp sanctioned in Italy over Facebook message sharing

U.S.-based mobile messaging service, WhatsApp, was fined 3 million Euros (3.3 million dollars) on Friday in Italy for insufficient transparency on data sharing with its parent company, Facebook.

WhatsApp was taken over by Facebook in 2014 and two years later, it introduced new terms of service and privacy policies that gave Facebook access to WhatsApp users’ data.

Italy’s Antitrust Regulator — AGCM — said in a statement that “the opportunity for WhatsApp users to refuse the handover of data to Facebook was available `but it was inadequately flagged.”

The regulator also criticised WhatsApp for introducing “unfair clauses” to its term of service, such as giving the company the right to cut off services or start charging customers without warning.

In December, the European Commission, which regulates antitrust matters in the EU, launched an investigation into Facebook’s conduct prior to the WhatsApp buyout.

The EU executive accused Facebook of misleadingly telling the commission that it could not smoothly integrate its own users’ data with that of WhatsApp.

However, Facebook denied any wrongdoing and promised to explain its actions.

The commission said it could slap a fine of up to 1 per cent of annual turnover, around 280 million dollars, if it is not satisfied by the internet giant’s answers.

US to sponsor 101 Nigerians to Mandela Washington Fellowship

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria will send 101 young Nigerians to participate in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship program for six weeks from June 15 to August 3. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  It is composed of academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.  A total of 5 out of the 101 fellows will remain in the U.S. at the conclusion of the fellowship for internships of six more weeks.

Through this initiative, 40 U.S. universities will host 1,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa for institutes focused on public management, business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and for the second year, a specialized institute on energy.

As part of the orientation, the Embassy invited four leading Nigerian professionals to participate in a mentoring workshop.  Mr. Frank Nweke, Global Falcons; Mr. Tonye Cole, Sahara Energy; Mrs. Toyin Saraki, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa; and Mr. Eyo Bassey, Payporte Global Systems, each shared unique perspectives on leadership and opportunity.  When asked what he might have done differently in his career, Mr. Cole remarked, “I wish programs like this existed.”

In his remarks, the U.S. Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Mr. Aruna Amirthanayagam explained more than 22,000 Nigerians applied to participate in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship program.  “After the review by our partner NGO, after a reading by members of the Mission Nigeria community, after an interview in Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt, and Calabar, a total of 101 young Nigerians were selected”, he said.

Mr. Amirthanayagam also said the selected fellows, “along with 899 colleagues from 48 other sub-Saharan countries, will have the opportunity to engage students, professors, and professionals on the campuses of 40 universities, colleges, and institutions across the United States, from the University of San Diego in California to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and many place in between.”

He continued, “Secretary Tillerson addressed my colleagues at the State Department last week about regional issues and said, ‘the continent of Africa is a continent of enormous opportunity, and needs and will get, and will continue to receive our attention’.” Amirthanayagam went on to say, “You are our partners no matter your track business and entrepreneurship, civil leadership, public management, or energy policy because all of these, in one way or another, contribute to our shared priorities  strengthening democratic institutions, supporting economic growth, advancing peace and security, and promoting opportunity and development.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship and the larger YALI program has become the model for exchanges in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and in Europe.  They include the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) and the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI).

US spends N152bn on humanitarian services in North East, others

The United States Government on Thursday announced that it had in the last two years spent $500million (about N152 billion) on humanitarian assistance to communities in Northeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Mr Natan Holt, the U.S. Deputy Director at the Office of West African Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs, in Washington, D.C. made the announcement in a teleconference with Journalists from across Africa.

Holt, who expressed his government’s joy at the release of 82 more Chibok girls at the weekend, said that the girls were among thousands of victims of Boko Haram.

“Many of you will have also followed the news of the release of the Chibok girls over the weekend. That was a heart-warming and positive development for these young women and their families.

“We provide a range of assistance to Nigerian authorities in their efforts to combat Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa.

“That includes intelligence sharing, training, advice on strategic communications, and various services to support victims of Boko Haram.

“We have provided close to $500 million in humanitarian assistance over the last two years to those affected by the conflict in Northeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and  Chad,’’ he said.

According to him, Nigeria and her current challenges will continue to occupy an important place for the U.S.

Holt said that his government had gone from the place of, “not being on the same page with Nigeria, to a place where we see things very much in the same terms.

“The future of Nigeria matters not just for Nigeria, but very much for its neighbours and I would argue for this planet.

“We have gone from a place where we were often not on the same page with Nigeria, to a place where we see things very much in the same 1`terms,’’ he added.

Two Nigerians shot dead in South Africa

The Nigeria Union in South Africa said on Wednesday that two Nigerians  were  shot dead in Western Cape Province of that country.

Mr Mike Ibitoye, the Chairman of the Union`s chapter in the province, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Cape Town, South Africa,  that the Nigerians were  shot by unidentified assailants.

“ Mr Ernest Ughakwesili, 42, native of Nkpor,  Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State,  was shot in a night club by gunmen at Strand Area of Cape Town on Sunday.

“ The assailants escaped after the shooting and the victim died before being rushed to the hospital,” he said.

Ibitoye also said the second victim, Chimezie Oranusi, 26, from Oba town in Anambra State,  was  shot with a friend in a car at Delst area of Cape Town.

“ The friend is a South African and is still in the hospital receiving treatment.

“ The incidents have been reported to the police and  the national secretariat of the union,” he said.

The chairman said that the motive behind the shootings had not been ascertained, adding that  the police had commenced investigation.

The Secretary of the union, Mr Adetola Olubajo, said the national secretariat had received the  report of the killings.

“ We have received report about the killing of two Nigerians in Cape Town, Western Cape Province of South Africa.

“ The union`s chapter in the province is handling the matter while the national body has reported the incident to the Nigerian Mission in South Africa.

“ We urge Nigerians in South Africa to remain law abiding. We also  appeal to the Federal Government to continue to  protect the welfare of our people here,” he said.

photo: Chimezie, one of the victims

Vengeful Trump fires FBI Director, Comey, over Clinton emails

President Donald Trump has sacked  FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau’s investigation into members of the president’s campaign and his former national security adviser.

The immediate reason, however, was Comey’s adamant position that there was no basis to charge Hillary Clinton over her email investigation.

The White House said in a statement Trump fired Comey based on recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Sessions and Rosenstein cited Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, accusing him of “usurping” the powers of the former  attorney general and announcing the investigation was closed.

Neither men mentioned the ongoing investigation into purported ties between Trump’s circle and Russia related to Moscow’s campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election through hacking and propaganda.

“As you and I have discussed…I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand the refusal to accept the nearly university judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”–Rosenstein, deputy attorney General

Andrew McCabe is the Acting FBI Director, previously serving as Comey’s deputy. Attorney General Sessions is expected to announce an interim director. The president will have to nominate a new director, who must be confirmed by the Senate.

“The FBI is one of our Nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said in a letter to Comey. “I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation,” Trump continued, “I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

“I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” Trump said.

Attorney General Sessions wrote in a recommendation to Trump that “the Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the Department.”

“Therefore, I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, Jr. and identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI,” he added.

Rosenstein wrote, in a letter to Sessions: “As you and I have discussed…I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand the refusal to accept the nearly university judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”

“The Director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and present its findings to federal prosecutors.”

“The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department,” he added. “There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorisation of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.”