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Nigeria accounts for 20% of India’s trade in Africa, says High Commissioner



Mr Abhay Thakur, the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, has said that Nigeria alone accounted for 20 per cent of India’s trade in Africa for the year 2018.

He said that their total trade in Africa grew by nearly 18 per cent, which amounted to 14 billion dollars and that Nigeria alone accounted for 20 per cent of the India’s trade.

“I must say we are proud to be Nigeria’s largest trading partner.

“Our trade grew by nearly 18 per cent in 2018 to 14 billion dollars and Nigeria alone accounts for 20 per cent of India’s trade in Africa.

“We have had a whole range of important exchanges with West Africa.

“We are looking forward to the first joint commission this year and also cooperation in the field of maritime security, as well as greater collaboration and growing trade between the two countries,” he said.

Thakur said that it was a special day to celebrate the occasion with Nigerian friends and that it acquired even greater significance because of the thriving relations between the two countries.

He said that the occasion was significant because they had a thriving Indian community in Nigeria numbering almost 50,000, who conduct their own business and also employed a large number of Nigerians.

However, Thakur, who read the President of India speech, Nath Kovind, said that many important bills were just passed in a spirit of cross-party cooperation.

He said that independence was a key milestone in nation building and that it was a continuous process that required every institution and every stakeholder to work in harmony and togetherness.

“Nation building is about creating optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their government, as well as between civil society and state.

“It is critical for our key institutions and the policy makers to study and appreciate the message being sent by its citizens and to be responsive to the thoughts and wishes of our people.”

He said that government can build infrastructures in various forms but it was more crucial for the society and for citizens to use and nurture those infrastructures for the benefit of the society.

He, however, advised Indians to always be conscious of the magic and uniqueness of India and never lose sight of its ancient ideals nor forget its sense of fairness and adventure.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the independence was marked with several songs and choreography performances from various groups of the Indian Cultural Association at the Commission.


Pakistan mulling legal action over Twitter suspension of accounts




“A lawsuit would be an extreme step, but we have to protect our people,’’ Arslan Khalid, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focal person for digital media, said.

Twitter suspended at least 240 Pakistani accounts that include journalists over posts related to Kashmir last week.

Only 10 accounts have been restored so far.

“We are expecting a response from Twitter today and hope our concerns are addressed,’’ Khalid said.

Pakistan formally complained on Monday and since then, instead of suspending accounts, Twitter has sent warning emails to people, including journalists.

Twitter cannot “moderate” on an issue at the behest of India, Khalid said.

“My Twitter account was suspended when I replied to a veiled nuclear threat by the Indian Defence Minister,’’ Kamran Yousaf, Defence Correspondent for English-language daily The Express Tribune, said.

India’s decision, earlier this month, to revoke the special constitutional status of its part of Kashmir and impose a security lockdown on the region has escalated tensions between the neighbours, who have previously fought two wars over Kashmir.

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis took to social media websites to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and highlight human rights violations in the disputed region.

Pakistan and India both control parts of Kashmir, but each lays claim to the entire region since the countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. (dpa/NAN)


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Pakistan Supreme Court orders action against judge in ex-PM case




Islamabad, Aug. 23, 2019 Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered disciplinary action against a judge, who convicted former premier, Nawaz Sharif, effectively giving a boost to Sharif’s appeal against a seven-year jail term for corruption.

Sharif was convicted and jailed last year after failing to prove the source of income that had led to his ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia.

Under Pakistani law, that is taken as proof of corruption.

Sharif denied the charges that he said were politically motivated.

His party in July presented a video at a news conference, apparently showing the judge who presided over Sharif’s conviction, Arshad Malik, as saying he had been pressured into handing down a guilty verdict by individuals, he did not identify, and who had compromised footage of him.

Malik later issued a statement denying he had been blackmailed to convict Sharif and said the video had been manipulated.

Malik had already been removed from his position in an anti-corruption court and the Supreme Court on Friday ordered him to report back to the High Court in the city of Lahore.

“We expect that after his repatriation, appropriate departmental disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated against him,’’ the Supreme Court said in an order.

The court said Malik’s “stinking conduct” in connection with the video scandal was abhorrent, and an appeal court should decide whether to consider it as evidence for any relief for Sharif.

An appeal against Sharif’s conviction is pending before the Islamabad High Court.


Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Russian protest leader Navalny released from jail after 30 days




Navalny’s team has organised a series of weekly protests in central Moscow over the past month after several opposition politicians were controversially rejected from the ballot for upcoming city council elections.

Police have been accused of taking a heavy-handed approach to the demonstrations, grabbing protesters forcefully and dragging them into vans.

Upon being released from jail, Navalny said the wave of protests would continue to grow.

“This regime will strongly regret what it has done,’’ he said.

He said those opposition politicians and protesters were taken into custody were “taken as hostages to scare everyone else’’.

Navalny is not currently running for office.

He ran for mayor of Moscow six years ago, garnering a quarter of the official vote count.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, endorsed by the ruling political party, won a slight majority at 51 per cent.

Navalny’s supporters accused the electoral authorities of vote-rigging. (dpa/NAN)


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Rescuers hunt for 30 missing after Indonesian ferry catches fire



Rescuers hunt for 30 missing after Indonesian ferry catches fire


Jakarta, Aug. 23, 2019 Indonesian rescuers on Friday searched for 30 people missing from the blazing wreckage of a ferry off the Coast of Java Island.

A government official, Syahrul Nugroho, told TV One in Jakarta.

The KM Santika Nusantara was traveling between the country’s second-largest city of Surabaya and the town of Balikpapan on Borneo Island with 277 people on board, when it caught fire on Thursday evening, Nugroho said.

“About 245 people have been evacuated using small boats, while 30 passengers are still missing,” he said.

Officials have given no details on the cause of the fire. Rescue efforts were complicated by the boat’s manifest listing only 111 passengers, officials said.

Ferries are an important means of transport in Indonesia, which is made up of some 17,000 islands, and sea connections are cheaper and more extensive than air links.

But safety standards are not always strictly enforced and accidents occur fairly often. (Reuters/NAN)


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Hajj 2019: NAHCON organises special flight for hajj returnees



The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), a body responsible for the coordination of hajj operations in Nigeria and Saudi, has organised a special flight to transport some Nigerian pilgrims back home.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that this is part of arrangements, the commission put in place, to speed up the return flight of the pilgrims.

The Control and Command Centre of the commission in Makkah on Friday said the special flights would be for most of the 50 Nigerian journalists that covered the hajj, this year, to Abuja.

Meanwhile, NAHCON has so far carried out 12 return flights, involving 5,659 Nigerian Muslims, back to the country, according to its command and control centre in Makkah on Friday.

“Today (Friday), MAXAIR flight VM2016 departed Jeddah to Kaduna at 08.32 a.m. with 552 Pilgrims,’’ the centre said.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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