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Trump Announces Plans For Pentagon To Create ‘Space Force’ |RN

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
Watch: Trump wants US to dominate space (Reuters)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

President Donald Trump shows off a "Space Policy Directive" after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows off a “Space Policy Directive” after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”

Trump had previously suggested the possibility of creating a space unit that would include portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the ‘Space Force’ as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. He said the new branch’s creation will be overseen by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. He added: “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”

Donald Trump     © associated press Donald Trump

 

The president also used the White House event to establish a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space. The policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, and several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

The council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.

AP

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Ekiti: Prepare To Accept Defeat In Good Faith, Atiku Tells APC |RN

Atiku-abubakar1

Atiku Abubakar

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti

A former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has called on the All Progressives Congress to prepare to accept its defeat to the Peoples Democratic Party in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.

He advised the party to be ready to follow the concession of defeat by the PDP in the 2015 presidential election.

The former Vice President, who was in Ekiti State with the members of the PDP Governorship Campaign Council on Monday, expressed satisfaction with the level of the preparation of his party for the upcoming governorship election.

He said, “We are satisfied that the PDP is prepared for this election. We hope that the APC will accept the outcome of the election. They should be democratic for the first time. We have seen how democratic they are, but for the first time in 2015 we had an opposition party taking over from the ruling party, we expect them to do the same.”

Answering questions from reporters, Governor Ayodele Fayose said that the only thing the opposition APC was hoping to do to win the election was rigging.

“They (PDP leaders) are here because they know that PDP has won this election. Everyone is on the same page with us. The only thing the APC is holding on to is to rig the election. We have told the Independent National Electoral Commission that this is a pointer to the 2019 elections. They should save their image.

“The country is bigger than all of us. Let me tell them that if rigging has been tried elsewhere, it won’t work here. The people will defend the election. We are aware of the plans to bring thugs here to disrupt the election; the people will stand up to them.

“The PDP leadership is in the state today (Monday) to strengthen our hands and assured us of their support. I want to say that this election is about the people for the people and it must be so. Ekiti election is not only about Nigeria, the whole world is watching.

“We are looking forward to having observers from all over the world because I am the voice they want to suppress. We are prepared for the election and we are going to win.”

On the entourage were the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; a former Senate President, David Mark;  a former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel; a former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, and  Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe,  among others.  (Punch)

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I’ll Not Meet nPDP Members – Buhari |The Republican News

Buhari-new-pix4

President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that he will never sit down for discussion with the aggrieved members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party that joined forces to form the ruling All Progressives Congress.

A top government official disclosed this to journalists on the condition of anonymity on Monday.

The source said Buhari had conveyed his position on the matter to state governors elected on the platform of the APC during a meeting he had with them recently.

The President was said to have insisted that state governors and the national leaders of the party should be able to resolve such issues.

He said the issue was a party matter and he was not ready to sit with any faction.

“It is a party matter. I am not ready to sit down with any faction. If they have problems, they should go to the party. I will not interfere.

“Governors as party leaders in the states should deal with all issues. Where there is a need, the party leadership can come in. I will not get involved,” Buhari was quoted to have told the APC governors.

He was, however, said to have agreed that the contact started by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should continue.

The source also added that opinions were divided on the issue among the governors that attended the meeting.

“Some hard-line governors asked the President to ignore the nPDP members while the majority felt the party and the VP should continue to talk to them,” the source added.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, could not be reached on the telephone for comment as of the time of filing this report.

But the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano-Central); and Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna-Central), who are part of the aggrieved APC members, could not be reached for comments on Monday night.

Several calls made to Sani and Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, were not answered and they had yet to reply to messages sent to them as of the time of filing this report.

Saraki and Olaniyonu had gone to Saudi Arabia to observe the lesser Hajj.

When contacted, an aide to Kwankwaso, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his principal was out of the country and was not aware of the position taken by the President on the crisis.

He said, “I think what you should do is to get the response from the Chairman of the nPDP,  Alhaji Kawu Baraje. My boss has travelled out of the country and I can’t say anything about it. He has not heard anything like that.”

The nPDP had earlier in May issued a seven-day ultimatum to President Buhari to address grievances of alleged marginalisation and persecution of its members.

The ultimatum was contained in a letter sent to the President by the chairman of the defunct nPDP,  Baraje and the secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

It was sent to the President through the office of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

The nPDP bloc expressed dismay that despite significant contributions they made in the emergence of Buhari as the winner of the 2015 Presidential election, they had been sidelined by the government.

Specifically, they claimed that members of their group were denied juicy appointments while those who got top positions in the National Assembly were being allegedly persecuted by the Federal Government.

Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, are prominent members of the nPDP bloc of the APC.

Saraki is facing prosecution for alleged false asset declaration charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The President had earlier mandated a national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, to reconcile all aggrieved members while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had met with the leadership of the nPDP members to resolve the crisis. Both efforts have been futile with the nPDP leadership insisting on meeting with the President.  (Punch)

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ISIS Smuggling Jihadists Into Nigeria From Syria – Report |RN

ISIS-Jihadists

 

Adelani Adepegba, Leye Aluko with agency report

Leaders of the terrorist group, Islamic State, are sneaking battle-hardened jihadis from Syria into Nigeria to train terrorists for possible attacks in Britain.

Fanatics, including Boko Haram insurgents, were also being sent to the Middle East for training in a chilling “exchange programme,” The UK SUN reported on Monday.

The paper said there were fears that strong links between Nigeria and the UK would make it easier for IS to send its killers to Britain to orchestrate terror attacks, death and destruction.

It noted that more than 150 British troops are conducting counter-terror training with Nigerian forces in an attempt to stem the bloody tide — and stop IS from taking hold in the West African region.

At one training mission in Kaduna, a senior Nigerian Air Force commander revealed how local jihadi groups were learning from IS after swearing allegiance to its black flag.

Group Captain Isaac Subi, 46, who has been fighting terrorism across Africa since 1991, said, “They come and train their fighters here and some of our insurgents too are granted access to their training in Yemen and Syria, acquiring those skills and they come back and teach others.

“They have this exchange programme of fighters.”

The report stated that the poisonous influence of the fighters had already ended in horror attacks on British streets, citing the stabbing to death of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013 in London by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, both of Nigerian descent.

The Nigeria Immigration Service spokesman, Sunday James, said the agency has strengthened border security to ensure that “no foreign entity is allowed by whatever means into the country by land, air or waterways.”

He added in a statement that NIS operatives have been proactive, “going by the several arrests in recent past around the country by the Special Border Patrol Corps operatives of the NIS trained and deployed to carry out reconnaissance patrol.”

James admonished Nigerians to report suspicious individuals or groups to the Immigration Service or other security agencies for necessary action.  (Punch)

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Elizabeth Holmes, Founder Of Theranos, The World Youngest Billionaire May Spend 10 Years In Jail

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Air Force Begins Bombardment Of Zamfara Bandits |The Republican News

Nigerian-Air-Force1

 

The Nigerian Air Force commenced aerial bombardments on Monday, in a joint military offensive to end the banditry in Zamfara communities.

The Commander of the 207 Quick Response Group of the Air Force, Group Capt. Caleb Olayera, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Gusau.

He spoke after taking delivery of two aeroplanes deployed for the operation.

Olayera described the operation as part of a joint military operation involving the Air Force, Army, Police and civil defence to flush out the bandits.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Zamfara in Nigeria’s northwest has seen intense banditry in recent times that has left hundreds dead and displaced thousands in various communities.

The Federal Government has since been battling the jihadist Boko Haram group in Nigeria’s northeast in a low-intensity war that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions since 2009.

Olayera said that two helipads had already been constructed by the Air Force for the Zamfara security operation.

“We told you that the helipads will be used as the base for our fighter jets to neutralise any group of criminals and their hideouts.

He assured that peace would soon return to troubled communities in Zamfara with the commencement of the military operation.

The governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, in an apparent frustration over the banditry in the state, recently renounced his position as chief security officer of the state.

He cited his inability to take charge of security agencies in the state to end the banditry.

(NAN)

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INEC Registering Foreigners To Vote In 2019 – Southern, M’Belt Leaders

INEC-.-Prof.-Mahmood-Yakubu-takes-oath-of-office-as-INEC-Chairman-before-PMB

PIC.16. NEW INEC CHAIRMAN, PROF. MAHMOOD YAKUBU TAKING OATH BEFORE PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA IN ABUJA ON MONDAY (9/11/15) 7076/09/11/2015/ICE/NAN

Friday Olokor, Eniola Akinkuotu, Okechukwu Nnodim and Olaleye Aluko

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has raised the alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission has embarked on the registration of foreigners,  especially from the Niger Republic,  to pave the way for electoral malpractices in 2019.

The forum, which stated this in a communiqué made available to journalists on Sunday, alleged that registration of foreigners could be one of the reasons why the Federal Government was in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi in the Niger Republic.

The leaders from the Middle Belt, South-South, South-East and South-West had met in Lagos on Friday and issued the communiqué titled, “Our case against 2019 elections preparations” on Sunday.

The communiqué was signed by  Yinka Odumakin (South-West);   Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South);  Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr Isuwa Dogo ( Middle Belt).

The leaders, who expressed concern about the 2019 general elections, restated their demand for the suspension of the current Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, pending the investigation of the underage voter scandal in Kano.

They restated their lack of confidence in the INEC chairman “whose conduct over the scandal of underage voters in Kano has shown a gross betrayal of public trust.”

The leaders alleged that intelligence report at their disposal had shown that INEC was registering Nigeriens and other foreigners for the purpose of voting in the 2019 elections.

They stated, “Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring  countries especially from the Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration which could have been one of the reasons why the Federal Government is in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Money has been appropriated for this in the 2018 budget.”

The leaders also recalled that the INEC chairman assured Nigerians that alleged underage voter scam in Kano would be fully investigated.

The forum also recalled that the INEC boss promised to look into the voter registers nationwide in order to purge them of any possible ineligible registrants.

According to them, Yakubu promised to make the findings of the investigation public.

They said, “Five clear months after the promise and prompt conclusion of the assignment by the team he set up, the INEC chairman has refused to release the report which would necessarily have necessitated a nationwide interrogation of the voter registry.

“Information at our disposal is that the report of the committee is so damning and that is the reason why he is doing a macabre dance on it. How on earth can we trust a man doing such over an issue of public knowledge to be fair on matters relating to free and fair elections that would not be in the public glare?

“We demand the immediate release of the INEC report on the Kano underage voter’s scandal and interrogation of the voter registry by a judicial commission with representatives from international and local elections observers to check cases of underage voters and foreign mercenaries before the 2019 elections. This is very necessary as INEC cannot be a judge in its own case.”

To ensure equity, they also demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari should “rejig the nation’s security apparatus now…and reconstitute the security apparatus so as to earn the confidence of all communities in Nigeria.”

Provide evidence, INEC challenges SMBFL

In his response, however, the INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said anyone who had evidence should come forward.

He told one of our correspondents on the telephone that there was no cause for alarm since the voter registration would be displayed before Permanent Voter Cards would be issued.

Osaze-Uzzi said in the event that any alien was spotted on the voter register, he or she would immediately be removed.

The INEC director said, “If anyone is alleging that there is irregular registration, we display the register and they should furnish us with evidence of such illegality. If someone who is not entitled to be in the register is on the register, we will have the opportunity of removing that person.

“So, if they can furnish us with details, I think we will be able to properly look into it because the voter register is exclusively for eligible Nigerian citizens. If there are non-Nigerians on the register, they should help us by providing us with details such as location, pictures especially since there is an opportunity to do so when the register will be displayed next month.”

Allegations serious – TMG

But the Chairman of Transition Monitoring Group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said that the allegations of the leaders were serious and called on them to provide evidence.

She said, “The allegation on registration of mercenaries is a serious indictment. The TMG ad hoc observation has not revealed this development. We, therefore, call on the group to provide more evidence on this allegation…

“However, TMG opposes the call for suspension of INEC chairman, as an unnecessary demand. What we need now is to strengthen INEC and not distraction capable of truncating 2019 elections agenda.”

SERAP, CACOL demand FG’s investigation

Also,  two civil society organisations, the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, asked the Federal Government to investigate the allegations of voter registration in the Niger Republic, noting that the groups must also come forward with pieces of evidence to their claims.

The SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “I hope that these groups are altruistic in their position and they are not raising the alarm for political purposes. If it is indeed true that such exists, we demand that 2019 elections must be free, fair and credible. Such elections start with the proper registration of voters.

“The Federal Government has to ensure that it looks into this matter immediately and see that nothing untoward happens to the electoral process. This is because if the 2015 election was not free and fair, President Muhammadu Buhari would not be the President of this country. So, what he must do is to ensure that the tradition of credible elections takes root in the country.”

Also, the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “The authorities of INEC have meetings regularly and if there is anything suspicious, the groups ought to come forward with petitions. Otherwise, their claims will be like a storm in the teacup. They need to provide adequate witnesses and pieces of evidence. If such secret voter registration is ongoing, it is going to affect the whole country and this is not good for our electoral process. The groups must come forward with evidence and witnesses.”

Rail project not for such venture – NRC

But when contacted to comment on the rail allegation, the spokesperson for the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mahmood Yakubu, said the NRC was not aware of such thing.

He said, “I am not a politician and don’t comment on political issues. I am a civil servant. You should contact the Minister of Transportation because I don’t have any idea about that as the NRC spokesperson.”   (Punch)

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