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Saturday, 30 November 2019

Police officers in London on Friday after stabbing on London Bridge. A similar incident happened in The Hague

Dutch police said on Friday several people were wounded in a stabbing on a shopping street in The Hague, hours after a stabbing incident happened around London Bridge in the UK.

Police from the city said in a statement that emergency services were at the scene.

In a separate message, Hague police said they were seeking a man aged 45-50 and described him using a Dutch term often applied to people of North African descent.

Police said the man was wearing a shawl and wearing a gray tracksuit.

Published in World

Nigerian President Buhari pleased with speed in transformation of Iranian oil and gas

Nigeria and Iran have agreed to set up a bi-national commission that will promote trade, investment, agriculture and technology transfer.

According to the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu in a statement in Abuja, the agreement was part of the outcome of a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian, on Friday in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Speaking at the bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the 5th Summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum, President Buhari said he was impressed with the speed in transformation of Iranian oil and gas industry from what it used to be when he served as Nigeria’s petroleum minister in the 1970s.

He said: “I will work very hard toward the joint commission. We will go back and identify sectors of common interest.

“In particular, we are interested in how you utilised your gas, with 95 percent of your national population wired to gas.

“The evolution of our gas industry is too slow. We are still flaring gas.

“I will work with you on how to harness and utilise our gas. I am very impressed.”

President Buhari asked to be given up to the second quarter of 2020 on the modality of the bi-national commission.

He noted that Iran also flared gas in the 70s, expressing his delight that the fires had all been put out.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon attain the same feat.

The President recalled, with delight, his close association as Nigeria’s oil minister with Iran.

He told his guest that if the blueprint he left behind as petroleum minister had been followed, Nigeria would have had 12 Liquefied Natural Gas trains by 1983.

“Instability and partisan politics thwarted all that, leaving us with just six, and the seventh we are now working on.

“We would have been earning more from gas,” he added.

According to him, the future of oil and gas is in value addition, extolling Iranians for attainments in oil and gas, electricity generation, agriculture and petrochemical industry.

The President commended the Iranian defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, saying the dispossession of the terrorists of their oil wells meant that they had lost access to resources used in supporting Boko Haram in Lake Chad sub-region.

The Iranian Vice President, who was emphatic that Nigeria and Iran could do a lot, said: “A lot can be done. We can do miracles. We have the vision.”

He suggested four major areas of economic cooperation, namely: petrochemical, power, irrigation agriculture and industry.

The Iranian Vice President also offered cooperation in counter-terrorism, citing the routing of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as major contribution to the global anti-terrorism efforts.

He used the meeting to brief the President on the political and security situation in the Middle East region.

Published in Business
Saturday, 30 November 2019 07:41

Sitting president bags 20-year jail term

A military court in Suriname sentenced President Desi Bouterse to 20 years in prison Friday over the executions of political opponents when he was the South American country’s dictator in the 1980s.

Bouterse, 74, is on a state visit to China and will appeal the judgement when he returns next week, his lawyer Irvin Kanhai said.

A two-time coup leader, two-term president and convicted drugs-trafficker, Bouterse has dominated Suriname’s politics since taking power in a 1980 military coup.

Friday’s judgement, delivered by a three-member court martial led by Judge Cynthia Valstein-Montor, relates to the executions of 15 regime opponents in December 1982.

The so-called “December killings,” in which the regime rounded up and executed 13 civilians and two military officers, have long clouded Bouterse’s rule.

Bouterse has always denied involvement, saying the victims had been held for plotting a counter-coup with the help of the CIA, and had been shot while trying to escape.

His evidence, presented by his lawyers, contradicted several witnesses who said he was present during the executions at Fort Zeelandia, the colonial fortress in the capital Paramaribo.

In her ruling, Valstein said Bouterse had played a “crucial” role in the killings, carefully preparing the ground for executions he had the power to prevent.

Military prosecutors opened the case against Bouterse and 24 other suspects in 2007, but the president and political allies several times sought to derail it in Congress.

The trial has gone on so long — 12 years — that six of the suspects have died.

Bouterse is due to begin the second leg of his foreign trip, a two-day visit to Cuba, on Monday on his way back from China.

The veteran leader is unlikely to go to jail anytime soon, however. Under Surinamese law, he cannot be arrested until all appeals have been exhausted.

Bouterse seized power as a 34-year-old sergeant major.

He stepped down in 1987 under international pressure, but returned to power in 1990 in a second, bloodless coup. He left office a year later.

In 2010, Bouterse’s election as president protected him from an Interpol arrest warrant issued after a Dutch court sentenced him to 11 years in prison for cocaine trafficking.

Dutch-speaking Suriname’s people have roots in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

It gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975.

Published in World

WWII bomb shuts down Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport.

Air traffic was interrupted for about an hour at Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport on Friday after an unexploded World War II bomb was found near a runway.

Bomb disposal experts have set up a safety zone around the site, according to police.

“Flight operations can take place safely and have resumed for the time being,” the airport operating company said.

The bomb was found at 12:20 pm (1120 GMT) and is to be defused sometime during Friday night.

Six incoming aircraft were diverted to Tegel, Berlin’s other main airport, during the interruption.

Six take-offs were also delayed by about an hour.

The bomb was discovered during repair work on a taxiway, a spokesman said.

Asphalt surfaces are being laid on Taxiway G, which runs parallel to the runway between the terminals and the take-off and landing strip.

Published in Travel & Tourism

Ex-Brazilian football chief Ricardo Teixeira was banned for life from football on Friday for bribery, FIFA announced.

World football’s governing body said the Brazilian was banned and fined one million Swiss francs (907,000 euros) for taking bribes for marketing and media rights for continental and Brazilian football competitions between 2006 and 2012.

Teixeira, the 72-year-old ex-son-in-law of the late former FIFA president Joao Havelange, is also a former FIFA executive committee and standing committee member.

FIFA said in a statement that its investigation into Teixeira focused on “bribery schemes” carried out between 2006 and 2012 “in relation to his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights” for competitions run by the federations (CBF) of Brazil, South America (CONMEBOL) and North and Central America (CONCACAF).

Teixeira, a lawyer by profession, is wanted by US authorities for his part in the major corruption scandal that erupted in 2015 implicating the then head of FIFA Sepp Blatter and a string of top officials in world football.

His successor Jose Maria Marin was arrested in Zurich in 2015 ahead of a FIFA meeting, extradited to the United States and later sentenced to four years in prison by the American courts.

But Teixeira and another former CBF chief Marco Polo Del Nero have remained in Brazil and escaped extradition.

Teixeira also dodged a Spanish attempt to bring him to justice for alleged involvement in the same case that saw ex-Barcelona boss Sandro Rosell jailed.

He has also been under investigation in Andorra and Switzerland.

“Is there a safer place than Brazil? Which? Why would I run if here I’m not accused of anything? Everything they accuse me of abroad is not a crime in Brazil. Not that I’m saying if I did it or not,” he told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper in 2017.

Well before the FIFA scandal, Teixeira was one of the main beneficiaries of ISL — the discredited Swiss marketing firm in charge of rights for FIFA before going bust in 2001.

According to court documents made public in 2012, ISL paid out kickbacks of over 40 million Swiss francs to Blatter’s predecessor Havalange and Teixeira between 1992 and 2000.

Aside from Marin the only other leading South American football baron to appear before US justice was Juan Angel Napout.

The former Paraguayan football chief and ex-president of CONMEBOL was sentenced to nine years in prison at his 2018 trial.

Polo Del Nero was also banned for life for his role in the scandal.

Published in World
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