The United States is appointing Liberian government officials Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah; Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor of Liberia; and Bill Twehway, Managing Director of the National Ports Authority (NPA), for his involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia.
McGill has used his position to undermine the integrity and independence of Liberia's democratic institutions and subvert government priorities for personal gain.
Cephus has developed close relationships with suspects in criminal investigations and has received bribes from individuals in exchange for arranging to have their cases dropped.
Twehway has used his position in the NPA to corruptly promote her own personal wealth and his political agenda.
All three are being appointed pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and corruption around the world.
These three individuals have contributed to the worsening of corruption in Liberia.
These designations reflect our commitment to implement the United States Strategy to Counter Corruption and partner with the government and people of Liberia to help the country chart a better path forward.
For more information on today's actions, see the Treasury Department's press release.
Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sued the US Central Intelligence Agency and its former director Mike Pompeo on Monday, alleging it recorded their conversations and copied data from their phones and computers.
The attorneys, along with two journalists joining the suit, are Americans and allege that the CIA violated their US constitutional protections for confidential discussions with Assange, who is Australian.
They said the CIA worked with a security firm contracted by the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where Assange was living at the time, to spy on the WikiLeaks founder, his lawyers, journalists and others he met with.
Assange is facing extradition from Britain to the US, where he is charged with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing US military and diplomatic files in 2010 related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Robert Boyle, a New York attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the alleged spying on Assange’s attorneys means the WikiLeaks founder’s right to a fair trial has “now been tainted, if not destroyed.
” “The recording of meetings with friends, with lawyers and the copying of his attorneys’ and friends’ digital information taints the criminal prosecution because now the government knows the contents of those communications,” Boyle told reporters.
“There should be sanctions, even up to dismissal of those charges, or withdrawal of an extradition request in response to these blatantly unconstitutional activities,” he said.
The suit was filed by attorneys Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz.
They all visited Assange while he was living inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London under political asylum, since withdrawn.
The suit named the CIA, former CIA director and former US secretary of state Pompeo, and the security firm Undercover Global and its chief executive David Morales Guillen.
It said Undercover Global, which had a security contract with the embassy, swept information on their electronic devices, including communications with Assange, and provided it to the CIA.
In addition it placed microphones around the embassy and sent recordings, as well as footage from security cameras, to the CIA, the suit alleges.
This, the attorneys said, violated privacy protections for US citizens.
Assange is awaiting a ruling on his appeal of the British extradition order to the United States.
The charges he faces could bring a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.
Pompeo ‘approved’ the spying The suit said that Spain-based Undercover Global was recruited to work with the CIA in 2017 by officials from the Las Vegas Sands casino group.
Las Vegas Sands was at the time controlled by the late tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a powerful conservative backer of the Republican Party who, the suit said, “had cooperated with the CIA on similar matters in the past.
” The suit said that while Undercover Global controlled security at the embassy, each visitor had to leave their electronic devices with a guard before seeing Assange.
“The information contained on the plaintiff’s devices was copied and, ultimately, given to the CIA,” they said.
“Defendant Pompeo was aware of and approved the copying of information contained on plaintiffs’ mobile electronic devices and the surreptitious audio monitoring of their meetings with Assange,” the suit alleged.
It said the defendants became aware of the spying only when the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported in September 2019 that Morales and Undercover Global were under criminal investigation in Spain.
El Pais revealed information on the London operations that had previously been sealed in the case.
Indonesia eyes $2bn export vIndonesia is targeting two billion U.
S. dollars from exports of spices and herbs, and a total of 4,000 Indonesian restaurants abroad by 2024 to boost the country’s culinary industry.
Indonesian Industry Minister, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita, said in a statement on Monday that Indonesia was currently intensifying the promotion and marketing efforts for its seasoning products or processed foods and spices, through the program named “Indonesia Spice Up The World.
” “Indonesia has been widely known as a tropical country with fertile soil, making it an ideal place for growing spices.
“We have a variety of spices and speciality food products with authentic flavors.
This programme is one of our efforts to globally widen our marketplace for spices,” the minister said.
According to the data from the Trade Ministry, Indonesia’s export values for processed and fresh spices as well as herbs reached 1.02 billion dollars in 2020, increasing by 24.3 per cent from the previous year.
The United States has become the biggest market for Indonesia’s spice and culinary sales, constituting 20 to 25 per cent of the value.
The minister said there had been a total of 1,177 Indonesian restaurants globally, and that is not enough to bolster the popularity of the country’s culinary industry.
The UK’s drug regulator said Monday it had approved an updated Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus that targets the Omicron variant as well as the original form.
The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement said it had approved the vaccine for adult booster doses “after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness”.
It was the first such “bivalent” Covid-19 vaccine to be approved by the British regulator.
The MHRA’s chief executive June Raine said data from a clinical trial had shown it prompted a “strong immune response” against the original virus and Omicron, and would provide a “sharpened tool in our armoury” as the virus kept evolving.
While vaccines have helped lower hospitalisations and deaths from Covid, which first emerged in China in late 2019, the current jabs are mainly aimed at the earlier strains of the disease.
The World Health Organization warned in July that the pandemic was “nowhere near over”, due to the spread of Omicron subvariants and to the lifting of control measures.
Half of the Moderna vaccine, called Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron, targets the original 2020 virus and half the Omicron variant (BA.
The MHRA said the vaccine was also found to generate a “good response” against two Omicron subvariants, BA.
4 and BA.
5, which have partly driven a wave of new cases of the disease in Europe and the United States.
It also said the vaccine had the same “typically mild” side effects as the original Moderna jab.
On August 11, USAID Mission Director Helen Pataki, along with His Excellency the Minister of Industry and Commerce Silvino Augusto José Moreno, His Excellency the Governor of the Province of Maputo Júlio Parruque, and other partners recognized the continued successes of Mozambican exporters in 2022.
This was at the second edition of the Annual Exporter Awards, a collaboration between the US Government, the Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Exports (APIEX) and the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique ( CTA).
The Exporter Awards 2022 event also served at the same time as the official launch of the 57th edition of the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM 2022).
The winners of this year's Exporter Award ceremony are: Exporter of the Year: Nova Sun Limitada Exporter of the Year Finalist: Beluzi Bananas Lda Best Exporter to the South African Market: Murrimo Macadâmia Best Exporter to the US Market: Award Breakthrough Chá de Magoma (for social impact through community development): Sunshine Nuts The award winners, who export agricultural products such as nuts, bananas and tea, underlined the need to diversify the Mozambican export sector.
This award incentivizes and encourages Mozambican exporting companies to continue exploring innovative ways to improve their regional export competitiveness and to export their products worldwide and to the US market using the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
USAID Mission Director Pataki praised the continued collaboration between the United States and Mozambique to support the private sector, the results of which the award winners illustrate.
“The US government shares a vision with all of our partners to promote the role of private sector-led economic growth,” said Director Pataki.
“USAID and the US government at large are committed to promoting inclusive, sustained and resilient economic growth in developing countries, including Mozambique.” The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the United States government's international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people out of humanitarian crises.
For more information on USAID's work, visit www.usaid.gov
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday he will offer a wide-ranging aid package to the North in return for denuclearisation, a deal long seen as a non-starter for Pyongyang.
The proposal comes days after the North threatened to “wipe out” Seoul authorities over a recent Covid-19 outbreak and less than a month after leader Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear capability in any war with the United States and the South.
But calling denuclearisation “essential” for lasting peace on the peninsula, Yoon on Monday detailed a large-scale aid plan that would include food and energy as well as help in modernising infrastructure such as ports, airports and hospitals.
“The audacious initiative that I envision will significantly improve North Korea’s economy and its people’s livelihoods in stages if the North ceases the development of its nuclear programme and embarks on a genuine and substantive process for denuclearisation,” Yoon said in a speech marking the anniversary of liberation from Japan’s colonial rule in 1945.
Analysts say the chances of Pyongyang accepting such an offer — first floated during Yoon’s inaugural speech — are vanishingly slim, as the North, which invests a vast chunk of its GDP into weapons programmes, has long made it clear it will not make that trade.
North Korea has conducted a record-breaking blitz of weapons tests this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.
Washington and South Korean officials have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.
Iran rejects involvement in attack on Salman Rushdie Iran rejects involvement in attack on Salman Rushdie DenialTehran, Aug. 15, 2022 Iran has denied any involvement in the attack on writer Salman Rushdie in the United States.
“There is no connection between Iran and the perpetrator,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, as reported by the Iranian news agency Isna. “Rushdie himself is responsible for the attack,” Kanaani asserted, noting that the author’s work not only offended Iran, but Muslims worldwide.
Rushdie was stabbed onstage as he was about to deliver a lecture in New York State on Friday.
The writer is recovering in hospital and a 24-year-old suspect is in custody.
The Indian-born Briton’s novel “The Satanic Verses” led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s.
Iran is increasingly coming in for criticism in the international community over a death sentence issued against the respected author in the 1980s.
Late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict, or fatwa, sentencing Rushdie to death more than 30 years ago because of the “The Satanic Verses,” published in 1988. Khomeini accused Rushdie of insulting Islam, the prophet Mohammed and the Koran in his novel.
Some youth groups on Sunday called for youth inclusiveness in the nation’s polity to drive the desired progress and development.
Mr Nonso Orakwe, Convener, Vote Not Fight, South East Region, who spoke on behalf of the groups, made the call while addressing newsmen in Awka, to make the 2022 International Youth Day. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that International Youth Day is marked every Aug. 12 to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community.
The theme for the 2022 commemoration is “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages”.
Orakwe said that the collaboration of youth innovation and the experience of the older generation could give Nigeria the stability it needed.
“Nigeria needs to break the cycle of ageism for the voices of the youth to be heard.
Intergenerational solidarity means bringing youth to the table.
“It is the surest path to Nigeria’s much desired development,” he said.
Orakwe, also the Executive Director Catch Them Young Community Initiative, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary to ensure a free, fair and credible election in 2023. “As the 2023 general elections approach, let us reflect on our journey as a country and support young candidates.
“We call on INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections to give hard working young candidates a real chance.
“The judiciary must play their part to ensure that elections that are not credible are annulled.
This will give youth and other demographics an opportunity to reclaim subverted mandates.
“As youth, we are mobilising our peers to vote enmasse and do so without violence.
We must realise that our objectives to do well in the electoral process lies with working closely with allies from the older generation,” he said.
He commended youth groups for their campaigns to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions and processes.
“The Vote Not Fight: Election No Be War and National Youth Agenda campaigns have been in the forefront of promoting peaceful elections in Nigeria.
“The Not Too Young To Run movement helped remove constitutional age benchmarks which has created an opportunity for more inclusive governance processes in Nigeria.
“The young and old must make personal commitments and take steps to overcome ageism, insecurity, electoral violence, youth unemployment and declining standards of education in the country.
“We call on the government at all levels to take immediate steps to address these challenges, especially the lingering strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU),” he said.
Orakwe appreciated the National Democratic Institute, the United States Agency for International Development and the Federal Commonwealth and Development Office for their support to youth programmes.
North Korea on Sunday criticised UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his “dangerous words” after he called for the complete and verifiable denuclearisation of Pyongyang during a visit to Seoul.
Guterres, who was in South Korea on a two-day visit, expressed his “clear commitment” to North Korea’s denuclearisation, calling it a “fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region”.
His comments came as Washington and South Korean officials have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.
But the North’s vice foreign minister Kim Son Gyong denounced the UN chief, accusing him of showing “sympathy” to the hostile policy of the United States.
“I cannot but express deep regret over the said remarks of the UN secretary-general that grossly lack impartiality and fairness,” he said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim said “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” of North Korea was “an infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK”.
“We advise Secretary-General Guterres to be careful in making such dangerous words and deeds as pouring gasoline on flames,” he added.
On Thursday, Pyongyang blamed Seoul for a Covid-19 outbreak in the North and threatened to “wipe out” Seoul’s authorities.
North Korea has conducted a record-breaking blitz of weapons tests so far this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.
Last month, the North’s leader Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear deterrent in any future military conflict with the United States and Seoul.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday announced the appointment of Amir Abdulla as the Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The Initiative was launched by Ukraine, Türkiye, the Russian Federation and the UN on July 22, 2022, to enable the resumption of exports from Ukraine of grain, foodstuffs, and fertiliser, including ammonia, through a safe maritime humanitarian corridor.
Guterres announced the appointment in a statement issued from the UN headquarters in New York. Abdulla is the former Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of World Food Programme (WFP), overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.
Abdulla succeeds Frederick Kenney of the United States who was on loan by the International Maritime Organisation as interim Coordinator for the UN at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC).
The Secretary-General is grateful for Kenney’s dedication, expertise, commitment and excellent leadership in implementing the Initiative.
Abdulla brings over 30 years of experience in the areas of humanitarian response and management with the WFP as well as specialised expertise in emergency operations, supply chain and security.
From 2009 until June 2022, he served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of WFP, overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.
Prior to that, and starting from 1991, Abdulla served in various capacities in WFP both in the field and headquarters.
From 2008 to 2009, he was the WFP’s Chief Financial Officer and Director of Legal Division, managing WFP’s budget in response to fluctuating food and fuel prices and implementing accountability standards.
Prior appointments with WFP included Regional Director for Southern Africa (2006-2007), Regional Director for Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe (2004-2006), Director of Budget (2001-2004) and Project Manager for WPF’s corporate information management system (2000-2001).
Prior to joining WFP, Abdulla was a Branch Manager in Juba and Port Sudan for the shipping and forwarding company Transintra and Assistant Area Manager for the Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) engineering company in the Sudan.
He also taught at the American School and Comboni College in Khartoum.
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree from Imperial College, London University.
He speaks English and Arabic.