Category Archives: World

Tanzania’s President sacks 10,000 civil servants over fake certificates

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John Magufuli said the civil servants had “robbed us… like common criminals”

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has sacked nearly 10,000 civil servants for having fake education certificates.

He was responding to the release of a government report into fraudulent qualifications in the public sector.

The education minister said that some had been using their relatives’ school certificates, while others did not appear on official records at all.

President Magufuli has given those on the list until 15 May to resign or face legal action.

The 9,932 people named in the report account for more than 2% of the country’s estimated 450,000 civil servants.

Officials convicted of fraud could face up to seven years in jail.

Last year, Tanzania removed more than 10,000 so-called ghost workers from its public sector payroll in a crackdown on corruption.

Payments to the non-existent employees had been costing the government more than $2m (£1.4m) a month, it said.

When President Magufuli came to power two years ago, the government temporarily suspended recruitment in some government sectors while they checked up on existing employees’ qualifications.

The report focused exclusively on secondary school qualification and did not examine university degree certificates.

Source BBC

Thousands of Tanzanian civil servants found with fake school certificates

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Nearly 10,000 Tanzanian civil servants have fake school certificates, according to a report received by President John Magufuli.

The details released in the capital, Dodoma, show that 9,932 government employees were found to have fraudulent secondary school qualifications.

The BBC’s Sammy Awami says that this is just over 2% of the country’s 435,000 civil servants.

President Magufuli, seen here in the right at his inauguration

AFP

President Magufuli, seen here in the right at his inauguration, has a reputation for being a no-nonsense leader

Airline passengers caught with 10 kilos of cocaine in pants

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Customs and Border Protection officers at New York’s JFK airport said they captured two more passengers who attempted to smuggle drugs by strapping packages of cocaine to their legs.

The most recent seizure came when two men tried to bring more than 10 kilos of cocaine into the United States on April 19, officers said. Both men allegedly had the drugs taped to their legs under their clothing, and one man taped the drugs to his back.

The two men traveled on the same flight from the Dominican Republic to New York last week, but it’s unclear if they knew each other.

“This latest seizure demonstrates our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs,” Leon Hayward, acting director of CBP’s New York field operations, stated in a news release.

In the statement, it was not mentioned what tipped off the officers to conduct additional inspections on the men. But they were taken to a private search room where officers seized 23 pounds (10.4 kilos) of cocaine estimated at a nearly $400,000 street value.

The two men were arrested and are facing federal narcotics smuggling charges, according to the CBP.

Last month at the same airport, officers said they discovered two other passengers on separate days with drugs taped under their pants.

Those seizures equaled to 6.8 kilos (15 pounds) of cocaine.

Source: CNN

Raila Odinga chosen to challenge president in Kenya vote

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Raila Odinga will run for the presidency for the fourth time

Kenya’s veteran politician Raila Odinga has been confirmed as the main opposition coalition’s presidential candidate for August’s election.

Mr Odinga, 72, is set to face incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, the man who beat him in 2013.

This will be the fourth time Mr Odinga runs for president.

He also ran in the disputed 2007 poll. The violence that followed led to the creation of a unity government in which Mr Odinga served as prime minister.

Mr Odinga will represent the National Super Alliance (Nasa), which is a coalition of the country’s main opposition parties including the candidate’s Orange Democratic Movement.

The announcement was made at a rally at Uhuru Park in the capital, Nairobi.

Thousands of opposition supporters turned up and live video footage from the rally showed them breaking out into wild cheers as Mr Odinga’s name was read out.

His running mate will be former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Mr Odinga is trying to run on an anti-corruption message and is also emphasising that he is the candidate of national unity, says the BBC’s Dickens Olewe.

President Kenyatta says that Kenya has achieved a lot of economic development under his government and he has managed to increase opportunities for the country’s large youthful population.

Source: BBC

Turkey suspends 9,000 police in crackdown

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Turkey’s police force has suspended more than 9,000 officers over alleged links to the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

It said the action had been taken on the grounds of national security.

President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Mr Gulen of instigating a failed coup against him last July – a charge the cleric denies.

Earlier, authorities detained more than 1,000 people in the latest operation against alleged Gulen supporters.

The nationwide sweep was one of the largest such operations carried out in Turkey in months.

As well as the 1,009 detained on Wednesday, arrest warrants were issued for another 3,224 people, as part of a police operation across Turkey’s 81 provinces, reports said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the raids were targeting a Gulenist network “that infiltrated our police force, called ‘secret imams'”.

In the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt, which was led by military officers, 40,000 people were arrested and 120,000 sacked or suspended.

They included soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants – all of whom were accused of having links with militant groups.

The latest purge comes just over a week after President Erdogan narrowly won a controversial referendum on increasing his powers.

Opponents fear the victory, which has bitterly divided Turkey, brings him closer to authoritarian rule.

Two days after the referendum, Turkey’s parliament extended a nine-month state of emergency by a further three months.

The scale of the “anti-Gulen” arrests has raised alarm in Europe, and stalled Turkey’s bid to join the EU.

After the latest sweep, Germany’s foreign ministry said it had “taken note of the mass detentions with concern”.

Source: BBC

South Africa foils ‘coup plot’

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A suspected “coup plotter” has been arrested in South Africa for planning to assassinate nearly 19 people – including government ministers, officials of state-owned firms and prominent citizens, the elite Hawks police unit has said. 

The 23-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday following undercover operations in the capital, Pretoria, and the main commerrcial city, Johannesburg, Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

The suspect, a founding member of the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA), was arrested while trying “to explain to donors how the assassination of state capture beneficiaries was going to be carried out by the undercover coup plot snipers”, Brig Mulaudzi was quoted by local media as saying.

The Hawks said its investigators had also uncovered a plot by a group known as the Anti-White Monopoly Capitalists Regime (AWMCG) which had also been “soliciting donations in order to assassinate senior government officials and other South African citizens”.

One person had been arrested over the alleged plot, and was due to appear in court on Friday, it said.

South Africa has been hit by sharp political divisons over the past year with President Jacob Zuma’s critics accusing him of allowing a wealthy Indian-born family to wield undue influence in the government. The refer to this as “state capture”.

Mr Zuma and the family deny the allegation.

In turn, the president’s allies accuse his critics of being close to “white monopoly capital”, and opposing “radical economic transformation” aimed at benefiting the black majority.

African National Congress (ANC) and South African President Jacob Zuma dances and chants during the closing session of the ANC's National General Council (NGC) in Durban on September 24, 2010.
Mr Zuma has been a polarising figure in South Africa

Source: BBC

Court declares South Africa’s nuclear deals ‘unlawful’

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South Africa currently has one nuclear plant

A South African court has annulled initial agreements the government reached with three countries to help it build nuclear power stations.

The deals with Russia, the US and South Korea were unlawful, the court ruled.

The government failed to hold public hearings and a parliamentary debate over its plans, it added.

Environmental groups said they welcomed the ruling, pointing out it came on the eve of the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The government has not yet commented on the ruling, in a case brought by the Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

Its plan to build eight nuclear plants at an estimated cost of around 1tn rand ($76bn; £59bn) has been dogged by controversy.

Critics fear the deal will be unaffordable and plagued by corruption, and suspect that Finance Minister Pravin Gordan was sacked by President Jacob Zuma last month because he had serious reservations about it.

“In the past few weeks citizens have demonstrated their willingness to mobilise against corruption and the capture of our state. The nuclear deal is at the centre of it all.” SAFCEI official Siphokazi Pangalele said in a statement.

Concerns about the affordability of the deal contributed to global rating agency Fitch’s decision on 7 April to downgrade South Africa to “junk status”.

The government says it needs new nuclear power stations to meet South Africa’s growing electricity demand, and to move away from relying on coal-fire plants. The country currently has one nuclear plant.

It had reached preliminary agreements with Russia, the US and South Korea to build eight more, AFP news agency reports.

Environmental groups say South Africa should rely more on renewable energy to meet its electricity needs.

Source BBC

Hot felon’ Jeremy Meeks is deported from the UK less than eight hours after he landed for a fashion shoot

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‘Hot felon’ Jeremy Meeks has been deported from the UK, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned – less than eight hours after he arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Meeks, 32, of Stockton, California, was set to spend this week in the British capital where he had been due to shoot a series of magazine covers, according to his manager Jim Jordan.

But on arriving in London on Monday, Meeks was detained by UK border officials and banned from entering the country, despite claiming to have the correct paperwork and a letter from his parole officer.

Photos exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com show a dejected Meeks sitting in a Border Force holding area shortly before being bundled onto a US-bound plane.


He was flown back to the US, and landed in New York on Monday night.

Meeks’ wife and manager Jim Jordan, who were traveling with him, are currently holed up in a hotel in London.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Jordan said: ‘We went into the UK and we went through immigration and they detained Jeremy.

‘He wasn’t arrested but they deported him out of the country. They wouldn’t let him come into the country. He is really upset. He was police-escorted onto the plane.’

A video shot by Meeks at the airport, exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com, shows the felon being escorted onto the flight accompanied by officials.

In it and pointing to his ‘escort’, Meeks said: ‘I’m sick of this s***. I’ve been denied. London don’t want me here having served my time. S*** is crazy.’

Meeks shot to fame in 2014 when the Stockton Police Department posted his mugshot on their website, following his arrest for street terrorism [gang activity] and a misdemeanor charge of resisting/obstructing justice.

The photo promptly went viral, with internet users dubbing him ‘the hottest convict ever’.

Since being released from jail in March 2016, Meeks has embarked on a career as a model and appeared on the catwalk at Phillip Plein during New York Fashion Week in February.

Meeks has also completed his first cover shoot – for British magazine Man About Town, with the issue featuring the felon due to launch this Thursday.

Jordan, who was with Meeks and his wife Melissa when they were stopped, said the trio had been flown to London to attend the launch party.

According to LA-based model agent, he and Meeks had approached the same immigration official but while his passport was stamped, his charge was ordered to one side.

Over the next eight hours, Meeks was interviewed, fingerprinted and searched before being told he could not enter the UK and escorted onto a New York bound American Airlines flight.

Jordan, who founded White Cross Talent Management, says Meeks had the correct paperwork, had obtained a work visa for the trip and was carrying a letter supplied by his parole officer. Jordan said: ‘We flew to London from Los Angeles this morning. We got there, and Jeremy and I walked up to the customs office together.

‘They stamped my passport. They looked at Jeremy’s passport and they said, could you guys go sit over there. So they put us in this sectioned off section and we were sitting there for an over an hour.

‘Then they came to me and asked if I could go through customs without Jeremy.’

According to Jordan, he and Meeks’ wife Melissa spent the next five hours in an airport restaurant waiting for the felon but were eventually told that he was being deported.

Jordan said: ‘I started getting calls from Jeremy, saying hey, they’re putting me in this room and there’s another guy in here and the guy has been here for about eight hours.

‘He said they were interviewing me, they’re going to do a search and they’re doing all these things.’

Jordan says he did not hear again from Meeks until 10.30pm EST when he landed in New York. The 33-year-old is now hoping to catch a flight to Los Angeles.

He told DailyMail.com: ‘Jeremy said [Border officials] did a four-hour interrogation, they took a s*** ton of pictures of him.

‘They strip-searched him, they fingerprinted him. They locked him in a small room for hours. They took his passport from him, they didn’t give him his passport back.

‘They basically said, you cannot come into the UK with no explanation. Jeremy is really sad, he’s just really sad.’

Jordan says he will visit the US Embassy in London to seek assistance and will also make sure Meeks’ wife can continue her trip to the UK.

He added: ‘[This was] the very first thing that Jeremy has done. It was his first time in London and he was all excited. It was his big debut.

‘He was on the right track for what we feel was going to be his new life. Now he’s very sad. Hopefully this is just a setback and he will be able to come back from this.’

Source: Mail Online

 

 

Piles of cash keep turning up in Nigeria

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Money in NIgeria

EFCC

Nigerians have been shocked and bemused after huge piles of cash have been unearthed in various parts of the country in recent months. Journalist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani looks at what is going on.

In February, $9.2m and £750,000 were discovered by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the EFCC, in a property belonging to Andrew Yakubu, a former director of the national oil company, NNPC.

In March, large sacks containing bundles of “crispy” banknotes worth a total of $155,000 (£130,000) were found in Kaduna airport.

In April, a stash containing $43.4m, £27,800 and 23.2m naira were recovered from a Lagos apartment with its owner yet to be identified.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

EFCC head Ibrahim Magu was quoted in the local media as saying that the total amount recovered by the agency in the past few months was about $53m, £120m and €547m, on top of hundreds of millions of Nigerian naira.

So what’s going on? To find out, read Nigerian journalist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani column here.

Source: BBC

France elections: Le Pen steps aside

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Le Pen is a French lawyer and politician

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her National Front (FN) party.

The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.

Opinion polls suggest Mr Macron is firm favourite for the second round but Ms Le Pen said: “We can win, we will win.”

The French term she used signalled that the move to step aside would be temporary.

She told France 2 that France was approaching a “decisive moment”.

Ms Le Pen said her decision had been made out of the “profound conviction” that the president must bring together all of the French people.

“So, this evening, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the candidate for the French presidency,” she said.

The BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris says this is a symbolic act intended to show her concerns are for the country as a whole and not for her party, and that she is reaching out for the voters of candidates defeated in the first round, particularly those of the Republicans’ François Fillon.

Meanwhile, also on Monday, Mr Fillon told party leaders that he “no longer had the legitimacy” to take the party into legislative elections that will follow next month’s presidential run-off.

He said he would become “an ordinary activist like any other”.

Ms Le Pen took over the FN leadership from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January 2011.

She won 7.6 million votes on Sunday – the strongest ever result for a FN candidate, and 2.8 million more than her father won in 2002.

Her party wants to slash immigration, clamp down on trade, and overturn France’s relationship with Europe.

Her campaign has called for:– Negotiation with Brussels on a new EU, followed by a referendum

– “Automatic” expulsion of illegal immigrants and legal immigration cut to 10,000 per year following an immediate total moratorium

– “Extremist” mosques closed and priority to French nationals in social housing

– Retirement age fixed at 60 and 35-hour week assured

Mr Macron, a former economy minister, is widely expected to win the run-off vote on 7 May.

On Monday, he won the backing of President Hollande, to go with that of two defeated candidates.

President Hollande said the far right would threaten the break-up of Europe, “profoundly divide France” and “faced with such a risk, I will vote for Emmanuel Macron”.

He said his former economy minister would “defend the values which will bring French people together”.

Mr Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon both urged their supporters to vote for Mr Macron.

Mr Macron, 39, has never stood for election before, and if he wins would become France’s youngest-ever president.

His campaign promises include:

– Cut 120,000 public sector jobs and bring down the budget deficit

– A €50bn (£43bn; $53bn) public investment plan to cover job-training and shift to renewable energy

– Slash corporation tax from 33% to 25% and let companies renegotiate 35-hour week. Unify the pension system

– Bolster EU ties and the eurozone, higher tariffs to protect European industry, common border force.

Source BBC