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The US Senate defied President Donald Trump on Monday by voting to overrule his administration’s deal with Chinese telecom firm ZTE and reimpose a ban on hi-tech chip sales to the company.

Senators added an amendment targeting ZTE into a sweeping, must-pass national defense spending bill that cleared the chamber on an 85-10 vote.

The company has been on life support since Washington said it had banned US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to ZTE for seven years.

READ ALSO: Some Belgians want to see me fail – Lukaku

US officials imposed the ban because of what they said were false statements by the firm over actions it claimed to have taken regarding the illegal sale of goods to Iran and North Korea. ZTE pleaded guilty to those charges in March last year and was hit with $1.2 billion in fines.

Earlier this month the Trump administration gave ZTE a lifeline by easing the sanctions in exchange for a further $1.4 billion penalty.

But the Senate measure nullifies that action, proposing an outright ban on the government buying products and services from ZTE and another Chinese telecoms firm, Huawei.

“We’re heartened that both parties made it clear that protecting American jobs and national security must come first when making deals with countries like China, which has a history of having little regard for either,” a bipartisan group of senators said.

Hong Kong-listed shares in ZTE plunged 25.81 percent to end at HK$9.85 on Tuesday. The company has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since it resumed trading last week after a two-month suspension that followed the initial ban.

The lawmakers who introduced the amendment include top Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Marco Rubio.

However, the bill — which provides $716 billion in funding for national defense for fiscal year 2019 and gives policy guidance to the Pentagon — is not a done deal.

The House of Representatives passed its own version of the measure, and the two chambers must now hash out a compromise.

“It is vital that our colleagues in the House keep this bipartisan provision in the bill as it heads towards a conference,” Schumer and Rubio said.

Trump’s intervention to help the firm was seen at the time as part of a move to smooth over trade tensions with Beijing as they embarked on talks to avert a trade war, with the president tweeting on May 13 that too many Chinese jobs were at threat.

READ ALSO: Why mediocre Eagles and coach must not be disbanded

“This is the first time Congress has really stood up to (Trump) on a trade issue, and it’s clear they are angry,” Bill Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Bloomberg News.

“There will be a lot of congressional resistance to weakening the ZTE amendment, but I would not be surprised to see a compromise.”

ZTE, which employs 80,000 people, said soon after the ban was imposed that its major operations had “ceased”, raising the possibility of its collapse.

Its fiberoptic networks depend on US components and its cheap smartphones sold en masse abroad are powered by US chips and the Android operating system.


The Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, arraigned the duo before the Judge on a five-count bordering on fraud and conspiracy.

The prosecutor, Mr O.G. Iwuagwu, had told the court that the duo were being tried for alleged N16.4 million fraud.

Iwuagwu told the court that the defendants committed the alleged offence between May 2006 and November 2006, when they allegedly conspired and used their positions to place N500 million in two fixed deposit accounts.

He told the court that the money was part of the N557,995,065 donated by the Bayelsa State Government to the Nigeria Police Force for the purchase of arms and ammunition.

The prosecutor alleged that the said N500 million placed in fixed deposits yielded N16.4 million interest.

The defendants had denied the charges.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the matter could not be heard due to the absence of the Judge and the case was adjourned to June 26, for the continuation of hearing.


The Kano Police Command has denied a media report alleging that its officers shot four persons at Shoprite located in Ado Bayero Shopping Mall Kano on June 17.

The denial is contained in a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Magaji Majiya and issued to newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.

“The attention of Kano police command is drawn to a media publication by Solacebase media that police on guard duty allegedly shot four persons at Shoprite Kano on June 17.

“The reporter did not verify nor balanced his story but went on to publish.”

READ ALSO: Thailand carries out first execution since 2009

According to him, ongoing construction works from Dangi roundabout to Zoological Garden along Zoo Road in Kano had created heavy traffic flow forcing the closure of the recreation centres in the area.

He, however, said that some youths protested over the closure, throwing stones and vandalising public and private properties, a situation that necessitated police intervention to restore order.

“Police would not fold its arms and watch while law and order is broken,” he stressed, insisting that when the stampede occurred the police acted professionally and never shot at anyone.

The command’s spokesman further insisted that the police neither used firearm nor even teargas.

“Minimum force was used to disperse the protestants, while children and properties were professionally safeguarded by the police and sister security agencies working at the place and peace was brought under control within the shortest time.”

Majiya stressed that the people of Kano enjoyed peaceful Sallah celebration with many trooping to other recreation centres to celebrate Eid-El-Fitr.


The U.S. has condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the attack on Saturday in Damboa, Borno in North Eastern Nigeria by suspected members of Boko Haram terrorists.

The U.S., in a statement by Ms Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, said it stood firm with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

According to reports, no fewer than 32 persons were killed, while 84 others were injured when six suicide bombers detonated Improvised Explosive Devices in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram attacks Damboa, kills 31, injure

“This violent attack, aimed at civilians celebrating with their families and communities during the Eid el-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is a reminder of the depravity of those who commit such attacks against innocent people.

“The United States stands firmly with Nigeria in its fight against terrorism.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who were injured and killed, and mourn all those who were lost,’’ the U.S. stated.


Russian opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, on Tuesday, called for nationwide protests to take place across the country during the World Cup over a government plan to raise the retirement age for the first time in its modern history.

The Kremlin announced the unpopular hike to the state pension age for women and men, going up to 63 and 65 respectively, on the day the tournament started on June 15.

Writing on Instagram, Navalny called for Russians to take to the streets on July 1: “Let’s be honest: the increase of the pension age by Putin and (Prime Minister) Medvedev is a pure crime.”

“This is the robbery of several dozen million people under the guise of an ‘overdue reform’,” he added.

READ ALSO: Two refugees killed in clash while watching World Cup match in Uganda — Police

Navalny said his team had so far applied for permits to hold demonstrations in cities that are not hosting the World Cup, in line with a ban on protests where the games are taking place between 15 and July 15.

But he also called for the protests to be “nationwide” — implying demonstrations will take place in Moscow and other major Russian cities — and called for Russians to take part in them “whatever their political beliefs”.

More than 1.5 million Russians have signed a petition against the government proposal, which would be the first raise in the pension age in nearly 90 years.

The state pension age in Russia is currently the same as it was under the Soviet Union: 55 for women and 60 for men.

With life expectancy on the rise, more than a quarter of the Russian population of 146.9 million is now over that age.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for the pension age to be gradually increased from next year, reaching its targets in 2028 for men and 2034 for women.

Navalny, a constant critic of President Vladimir Putin, was freed from prison the same day the World Cup started in Russia, after serving a 30-day sentence for organising an unsanctioned protest.

The 42-year-old, who was barred from taking part in March’s presidential election, was sentenced a month ago after calling for the demonstrations ahead of Putin’s fourth inauguration.

Upon his release, he immediately denounced the high cost of hosting the World Cup, alleging that much of the money was embezzled by businessmen seen to be close to Putin.


Thailand has carried out its first execution since 2009, putting a 26-year-old convicted murderer to death by lethal injection in a move condemned by Amnesty International as “deplorable”.

Theerasak Longji was executed on Monday, six years after his conviction for stabbing a 17-year-old student 24 times to steal his mobile phone and wallet.

The execution came as Thailand’s coup leader-turned-premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha prepares to travel to Britain and France on a highly-publicised official visit.

The trip may now see the former army chief face awkward questions over the use of the death penalty as well as Thailand’s wider human rights record since he seized power in a 2014 coup.

Prayut, however, defended capital punishment on Tuesday, telling reporters that in order to maintain peace and order in society, executions are “still a necessity and what people want”.

READ ALSO: Two refugees killed in clash while watching World Cup match in Uganda — Police

“There are many serious cases happening today,” he said.

The Department of Corrections, which oversees one of the world’s highest incarceration rates, said 325 convicts have been executed since 1935, the majority by shooting.

That practice ended on December 11, 2003. Between then and 2009 a further six were executed by lethal injection.

Monday’s execution serves as a “lesson to deter those who wanted to commit serious crime”, the department added in a statement.

But rights groups and the United Nations hit out at the sudden resumption of the death penalty, which remains mandatory for a number of offences including aggravated murder.

“This is a deplorable violation of the right to life,” Amnesty International said, accusing the kingdom of reneging on commitments to move towards abolition of the death penalty.

Thailand was “also putting itself out of step with the current global shift away from capital punishment”.

Figures provided to Amnesty by the Ministry of Justice show 510 people including 94 women were on death row at the end of last year.

Nearly 200 had exhausted all final appeals — like Theerasak. As a last resort, they can seek a pardon from Thailand’s king.

The death penalty is still in force in numerous countries in Asia and China remains the world’s top executioner.

The International Federation of Human Rights said Thailand would have become a “de facto abolitionist” had it not carried out any executions before August 24, 2019, 10 years after the last death sentences were carried out.

About 10 protesters rallied on Tuesday afternoon outside the high-security prison in Bangkok where Theerasak was executed, holding placards that read “Execute Justice, Not People” and “Choose Humanity, Not Barbarity”.

The UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia said it “deeply regrets” the resumption of executions.

Thailand’s justice system has been criticised for favouring the wealthy and connected and is notoriously slow and harsh for poor suspects.

In 2015 two Myanmar migrant workers were sentenced to death for the 2014 murder of two British backpackers, one of whom was raped, on the dive resort island of Koh Tao after a flawed police investigation.

Their lawyer told AFP on Tuesday they were awaiting a ruling on their final appeal.

Chinese researchers have discovered that a gene called MTOR plays a key role in the ability of women to release healthy eggs from their ovaries.

MTOR, which stands for Mechanistic Target Of Rapamycin, is recognised by scientists worldwide as an integrator of pathways which can turn genes on and off, or spur a cell to move.

It is responsible for regulating cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation.

In experiments on mice, researchers at Nanjing Medical University tried to shut down the MTOR gene at all stages of egg cell development.

They found that once the MTOR pathways were deactivated, female mice could not release healthy eggs, which led to infertility.

However, on the question of whether it be prevented, their findings may be disappointing.

READ ALSO: Students must do problem-solving projects, not theses –Tech-U VC

“It may not be necessary to check whether the MTOR gene is functioning or mutated in pre-pregnancy tests,” said Zhang Teng, lead researcher on the study.

“Because without the gene, it is almost impossible to have a viable egg, and the gene has performed its function in egg development since before the woman was born.”

To encourage an optimal MTOR pathway, Zhang suggested that women of childbearing age maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, exercise reasonably and avoid excessive stress.

The research was recently published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


The police said two South Sudan refugees were killed in an ethnic clash while watching a World Cup football match on television at Tika Zone, Rhion Refugee Settlement.

Josephine Angucia, police spokesperson for the West Nile region, said in a statement that two Dinka tribesmen were killed in clashes with the Nuer in a fight that erupted while they were watching a World Cup football match on television.

Angucia said one Dinka tribesman was killed on Sunday after the two groups clashed following verbal arguments.

She said another Dinka tribesman was killed when the fighting continued on Monday morning.

“Police deployed heavily to stop the fight.

“Investigations have kicked off so as to bring the suspects to book,” she said.

READ ALSO: Ugandans love Nigerian flag, respect our musicians – SolidStar

Angucia said the Office of the Prime Minister is in the process of separating the two groups by relocating them to different camps.

“At the moment, the situation has cooled down and heavy police deployment maintained,” said Angucia.

The bodies of the two killed have been transported to Arua Referral Hospital for postmortem.

South Sudan has been embroiled in more than six years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, according to relief agencies.

The UN said no fewer than one million South Sudan refugees have fled to neighbouring Uganda since December 2013.


While there are various theories and postulations on how we got here as a nation and who is to blame, one thing that most Nigerians can all agree on is that we cannot continue to fester in this cesspool of failed systems, poor leadership at some levels of governance and missed opportunities. More than ever, there is an urgent need to change course before we find ourselves in more turbulent waters than the recent 2015/16 troubles, where our vulnerabilities were greatly exploited.

Certainly, we are on the road to the recovery, thanks to a few bold – and sometimes unpopular – moves of the current administration, evidenced by a reported 1.95 per cent growth in the Gross Domestic Product , improved investor sentiment, increasing ease of doing business and stability in the foreign exchange market.

However, now is not the time to fall back on our old ways of over-reliance on crude oil exports to the detriment of other vibrant sectors of the economy, nor is it the time to fold our arms and watch the progress we have made come undone if the political tides shift and bring with it a new dispensation.

Current realities demand an inclusive, participatory, transparent and revolutionary approach that includes all stakeholders within our society, individuals, institutions and governments alike.

At the heart of the successful transformation of any nation are inclusive, dependable, responsive and trustworthy political, judicial and economic institutions. The onus lies on the ability of existing institutions to take responsibility for their pivotal role in shaping Nigeria’s development and prioritise it accordingly.  Too often, the needs of ‘the one organisation/institution’ are prioritised over the needs of the federation and its people. This often results in underhanded practices that are detrimental to the whole and for which these entities are never held accountable.

There is, however, a call for a transition from self-serving methods of operation to more transparent and sustainable practices that transcend ethnic, religious, gender, political and socio-economic divides and embrace true nationalism.

We suffer greatly from a situation where electoral cycles constrain government leaders to focus on cyclical issues during their term(s) in office, thereby leaving out the structural transformational initiatives that can create sustainable progress.

At some point we had Vision 2010. Then there was Vision 2020. Now we have the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. But what happens when next power changes hands? We will again have a reset of our objectives as a nation because we lack consensus on where we want to go and who we want to be. Therein lies the power of a shared vision.

Key players within the national and sub-national spheres need to come together to agree on the vision of Nigeria. We need to set and agree on clear targets that will guide the activities of each era of governance at the federal, state and local government levels. This way, a succeeding government picks up the baton from where its predecessors left off and continues to run with it till the target is achieved.

Granted, it is no easy feat, but an impressive level of collaboration/partnership across several political parties, regions, states, private and public institutions, and the various arms and levels of government can indeed make this a reality. This would guarantee that the efforts of those at the top trickle down to the smallest unit of the nation effecting real change across board.

While proper political arrangement is crucial to the development of the nation, it is equally important that we build, elect and appoint transformational leaders right from the local levels all the way to the federal government.

What we need are servant-leaders who focus on building a solid foundation of shared goals by showing sincere interest in the needs and concerns of others, building a common vision and working to creatively build consensus.

The ills in the following – rent-seeking, ethnic and religious divisions, corruption, etc. – are now engrained in our culture. However, the culture is a product of years of repression, manipulation, misinformation and erosion of our people’s integrity by poverty and deprivation.

How do we then reverse the effects of abuse? It is by reorienting the masses. It will neither happen in a day nor be contained in a single message. Rather, every person of influence must speak about it in their respective spheres to teach their fellow countryman what it means to be a good citizen. Within our communities, religious leaders, social media influencers, entertainers, mentors, and every single person with a voice must be the agent of a change if we will make a difference.

Our goal is to, therefore, do whatever it takes to educate the population and equip them with the right skills to not only thrive within Nigeria, but to compete on a global scale in this 21st century. This does not speak to only formal avenues of education but extends to the proper organisation of even skills acquisition and spurring young Nigerians to innovation and creativity.

These efforts will, however, come to naught if we do not have the right environment to function. There is an urgent need for funding to support the massive infrastructural development that will sustain our efforts at economic development and the easiest identified approach is through Public-Private Partnerships. Furthermore, the need for diversification is even more crucial. Ours is a country that is blessed with diverse natural and human resources which have not begun to scratch the surface. We need to deploy the full extent of our resources to explore these opportunities and more importantly, build the necessary capacity to move beyond exports of raw commodities to beneficiation.

Solution is not enough to fix Nigeria, neither is one person or even one government. It will take a reorientation of the people, a collaborative approach and a consistent pursuit of one shared vision.

  • Joseph Tegbe is the founder of Tegbe Foundation, a non-profit organisation

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: theeditor@punchng.com


For a player who has made so many headlines at the World Cup, it is appropriate that Luiz Suarez will make his 100th appearance for Uruguay at football’s biggest tournament.

Barring any last minute disasters, the Barcelona striker will reach his century of games for the Celeste on Wednesday when they play Saudi Arabia in Rostov-on-Don in Group A’s second round of matches.

The match should be routine and could secure Uruguay’s passage to the knockout stage, but with Suarez football fans know that very few things are mundane.

[READ ALSO] World Cup: Pinnick confident…says Eagles’ll bounce back

The last two World Cups have seen Suarez exit in ignominy.

In 2010, the forward was sent off after making a last minute “save” against Ghana, which helped avoid defeat and saw the South Americans progress to the last four.

The incident became so infamous it got its own Wikipedia entry — Suarez even described it as the best save of the tournament — but that was nothing to what happened four years later.

In 2014, he was banned from all football for four months and fined after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, the third biting incident of his career.

Uruguay players have hit out at the way Suarez was subsequently treated by the footballing authorities, but their protests have garnered little empathy outside the country.

Suarez is a player loved and loathed in equal measure; his on-field behaviour has been questionable but not so his talent.

Despite the ever-present controversies, the 31-year-old is Uruguay’s record goalscorer, scoring 51 times in 99 matches.

Five of those have come in the World Cup and despite a sluggish start in Uruguay’s 1-0 opening game win against Egypt, the match against a weak Saudi Arabia side may offer him the chance to celebrate his centenary in style.

READ ALSO: Mikel trains 10 minutes ahead of other Eagles

Uruguay may make changes to midfield, bringing in Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez ahead of Nahitan Nandez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia still smarting from their opening day 5-0 drubbing by Russia, could make wholesale changes as they desperately try to stay in the tournament.

The Saudis preparations were jolted by a mid-air mishap on Monday when the plane carrying them to Rostov suffered a fire in one of its engines.

The aircraft landed safely after what one of the Saudi players called a “simple malfunction”.

“It was a small fire in one of the engines, the right engine, but the plane landed safely,” association president Ahmad Al Harbi told Saudi sports TV channel KSA.


World Cup hosts Russia face an Egypt side buoyed by the likely return of star man Mohamed Salah on Tuesday knowing a win will all but guarantee a place in the last 16.

Liverpool wizard Salah missed his team’s defeat to Uruguay on Friday as he struggles to recover from the shoulder injury sustained during last month’s Champions League Final.

Salah’s shoulder has continued to cause him problems in Russia, and last weekend he needed the help of three team-mates to put a shirt on during a training session.

However the 26-year-old is desperate to start in what is a must-win game on Tuesday for the Pharoahs, who are playing in the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was bullish ahead of the match in Saint Petersburg that his team can rein in the explosive striker.

“We know how to play against him,” he said. “We are ready to stop Salah and we will.”

Russia got the 2018 World Cup off to the perfect start Thursday with a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, but are under no illusions that the seven-time African champions with Salah pose an altogether tougher test.

“Egypt’s game with Salah is different from the one they play without him,” forward Alexei Miranchuk said.

Salah, already a national hero after his 94th-minute penalty clinched a 2-1 win over Congo to send Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990, has been declared 100 percent fit by the team doctor.

Without Salah, Egypt lacked bite in their 1-0 opening loss to Uruguay.

But if fully fit, the sight of Salah, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, will strike fear into the Russians.

– Lewandowski vs Mane –

Also on Tuesday, Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane face off in a mouthwatering World Cup shootout between two of European football’s most lethal forwards as Poland take on Senegal.

Eighth-ranked Poland enter their Group H opener at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium as favourites led by Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski who netted 41 times in all competitions this season.

After a disappointing showing at the Euros in France two years ago, the forward said he was entering the tournament in a different frame of mind from 2016.

“I’m sure that training will be better now and that I’ll be fresh and dynamic at the right time,” he said. “I started preparing for the World Cup much earlier.”

Tuesday’s early game sees Colombia take on Japan in Saransk, four years after pounding the Asians 4-1 at the 2014 World Cup.

The South Americans have their own injury concern in the form of Brazil top scorer James Rodriguez, with the Bayern midfielder nursing a calf strain.

James, 26, netted six goals and created four assists to help Colombia qualify for Russia, while midfielder Wilmar Barrios is also battling to be fit.

Japan’s build up to Russia has been tumultuous, after coach Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked in April despite steering the team to the finals.

Tuesday’s round of fixtures will mean that all 32 teams in the tournament have now played at least once.

On Monday, England made hard work of a 2-1 win over Tunisia in Volgograd, relying on an injury-time Harry Kane header to spare their blushes.

Captain Kane put the Three Lions ahead on 11 minutes from close range but Tunisia levelled through a first-half Ferjani Sassi penalty.

“Credit to the lads, they kept going, kept going to the last second,” Kane said after the final whistle.

“I am absolutely buzzing, everyone on the staff is. It shows good character to get the job done.”

Third-ranked Belgium meanwhile beat World Cup newbies Panama 3-0, with Romelu Lukaku bagging a second-half brace in Sochi.

Belgium laboured against the South Americans in the first half but opened their 2018 account with a stunning Dries Mertens volley.

“That first goal was going to be essential,” said Martinez. “It is almost a mental blow for one team and it gives you a lot of breathing space for your first game in the tournament,” said coach Roberto Martinez.


NIGERIAN Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has granted a 9.5 megawatts embedded electricity generation licence to Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited and an Independent Electricity Distribution Licence to distribute same within Ariaria Market to Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited.

The post NERC moves against court injunction, grants 9.5mw licence to Ariaria Market appeared first on Vanguard News.

source https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/nerc-moves-court-injunction-grants-9-5mw-licence-ariaria-market/

The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has insisted that issues of June 12, 1993 presidential election remain unresolved, even as he declared that “corruption has become so bad that it is in every area of our national life.”

The post Deeper issues of June 12 unresolved — Kukah appeared first on Vanguard News.

source https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/deeper-issues-june-12-unresolved-kukah/

CALABAR—THIRTY- SEVEN host communities straddling four local government areas  of Cross River State,  are on collision course with  Wilmer PZ International, a multinational firm from Singapore,  which  acquired  palm  estates from the state government,  over alleged takeover of their land and  desecration of their surroundings.

The post 37 C’River communities, multinational firm at daggers drawn over land appeared first on Vanguard News.

source https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/37-criver-communities-multinational-firm-daggers-drawn-land/