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President Trump says former attorney Cohen lied, asked for a pardon




He said that had put the credibility of the lawyer back under the spotlight.

Cohen, addressing a Congressional committee last week in a public hearing, said, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”

Trump, however, said that Cohen told a number of lies, including about wanting a job at the White House and the pardon.

“Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again!” Trump said in a tweet on Friday.

“He’s lied about a lot of things, but when he lied about the pardon, that really was a lie,” Trump earlier told reporters at the White House.

Cohen’s spokesman, Lanny Davis, said that Cohen’s statement to Congress was technically true, as he had never personally asked Trump for a pardon, but rather had “directed” his lawyer to explore a pardon that was being dangled by Trump’s legal team.

Davis said this was before July 2018, when Cohen stopped being part of Trump’s team, and later began to cooperate with prosecutors.

In his testimony to Congress, Cohen indicated Trump may have committed illegal acts while in office.

Cohen is set to go to jail in May for bank and tax fraud, campaign finance violations and previously lying to Congress about a real estate deal in Moscow he was involved in for the Trump Organisation.


V4 PMs discuss with European Council president about EU funds




The prime ministers of the Visegrad group (V4), namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, spoke on Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel about European Union (EU) funds allocated to their respective countries, according to Czech Government Office.

The group discussed the EU Reconstruction Fund and the Multiannual Financial Framework, stressing the necessity to clarify the conditions of loans distributed by the European Commission (EC), said the Government Office in a release.

The Prime Ministers of the V4 identified the allocation criteria as an absolutely key issue. All Member States are facing a major economic downturn, so the distribution of funds should not disadvantage countries that have managed the pandemic well,” said the release.

The Czech Republic is expected to receive nearly 20 billion euros (22.4 billion U.S. dollars) from an extraordinary EC fund meant to prop up the economies of the EU members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local media reports.

The EC allotment comes from a 750 billion-euro (840 billion U.S. dollars) proposal for direct payments and loans to affected countries.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis criticized certain factors in determining the distribution of these funds, for example, unemployment, which the Czech Republic has had at a markedly low level for several years.

“I do not agree with the criterion of the unemployment rate in 2015-2019, for example, because it is not related to the problems caused by the coronavirus crisis,” said Babis.


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I’ll stand by you, Buhari tells AfDB President Adesina



President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will stand solidly behind Dr Akinwumi Adesina in his bid to get re-elected as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The President made his position known at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, when he hosted Adesina, who was on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.

Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a statement, quoted the President saying:

In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position.

“I didn’t say because you were a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Minister, and I belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC), so I would withhold my support.

“I’ll remain consistent with you, because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria.’’

The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Adesina was elected for a second term built on the record of his achievements during his first term.

The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders are trying to ensure that Adesina is re-investigated on some allegations, and rendered ineligible to run.

Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, said the 16 allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”

He added that the Ethics Committee of the bank cleared him of all the allegations, and calls for fresh investigation by the United States of America, were against the rules.

“My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned.

“The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank. It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations.

“That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched.

“I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion,’’ Adesina said.

While stressing that the motive was to soil his name, and that of the bank, the AfDB President said he was proud to be Nigerian, and thanked President Buhari for his unflinching support.

“You helped me to get elected in the first place, and you have supported me robustly all along, and the African Union unanimously endorsed my re-election,” he declared.

He commiserated with President Buhari on the death of the former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari.

Adesina also described the new Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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AfDB President visits Aso Villa, meets Buhari



President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adesina, who arrived the State House at about 2.55p.m, was escorted to President Buhari’s office by protocol officials of the State House.

NAN reports that the agenda of the meeting between the president and Adesina was unknown as at the time of filing this report.

President Buhari had on May 7,commended Adesina over the clean bill of health given to him by the financial institution’s Board of Directors.

Buhari noted that a report dated May 5, 2020, signed by Niale  Kaba, Chairman of the Bureau of the Board of Governors, indicated that Dr Adesina had been exonerated of allegations against him by whistleblowers.

The allegations were thoroughly investigated by the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, and a recommendation made to Governors of the African Development Bank, and African Development Fund.

“On the basis of the results contained in the report of the committee, I am of the view that we should adopt its conclusions by declaring that the President is totally exonerated of all the allegations made against him,’’ the report by Kaba indicated.

However, the U.S Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, had called for an independent probe into the allegations by a group of whistleblowers against the AfDB President.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had, in May, written a letter to some former leaders on the African continent to rally their support for Adesina, who has come under severe pressure mounted by the US government as he seeks a second term at the helm of affairs of the bank.

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Senate president advocates stiffer penalty for rape



President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, has advocated for stiffer penalties for rape in Nigeria.

Lawan made the call on Tuesday in his concluding remarks on a motion over increasing rape cases and brutality against the girl child in the country.

According to him, having  stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as deterrent to perpetrators of the act.

“We stand together, shoulder to shoulder on this, and I think we need to make the penalties for rape stiffer to be sufficient deterrent for those who are involved in this or who even desires to be involved.

“We have to save our future, and these girls and women are the future of this nation,” the senate president said.

Earlier, sponsor of the motion on “increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria”, Sen. Sandy Onor (PDP, Cross River Central), noted that on May 26, a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe, was hit by a bullet when a policeman opened fire on a bus in Lagos.

According to the lawmaker, efforts to save Tina proved futile as she passed on two days later at a hospital.

Citing another incident, the lawmaker noted that “on May, 27 a first year undergraduate of University of Benin, Miss Uwailia Omozuwa was brutalised and raped at her church, where she went to study in the evening of that day.”

He added that brutality and rape cases against the girl child in Nigeria were on the rise, with some of the cases reported and several others unreported.

The lawmaker who bemoaned the lack of safety for the girl child in Nigeria, said that, “our young girls may no longer have the confidence to live their normal lives.

“The average young girl in Nigeria is obviously becoming terrified and scared to live with and trust her close male relatives and neighbours.”

Onor expressed worry that most Nigerian girls and women might have experienced one form of verbal and physical abuse or assault in their lifetime.

He stated that the negative physical, psychological and emotional effects of rape and brutality on young girls might impact on them for the rest of their lives with attendant consequences on their self esteem and general productivity.

Onor therefore said proactive measures must be taken by relevant authorities to curb the dastardly acts and bring culprits to justice.

The lawmaker stressed that unless timely action was taken against sexual assault and brutality, it would hinder national growth.

It is therefore our responsibility as leaders to rescue these young girls from the scourge of rape and brutality, he added.

Lending her voice in support of the motion, Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP – Ekiti South) said, “these are very ominous times for our children, especially the girl child.”

“If the authorities do not take serious action against rape, it will become a big scourge that will eat us down the line because the girls are being attacked psychologically, and that is not good for this nation,” she said.

Accordingly, the senate in its resolutions, called on State Houses of Assembly to amend the penal and criminal code to make penalties for rape and sexual assault stiffer so as to deter perpetrators.

It also condemned the killings of the young girls, and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the unwholesome acts.

The Senate, while urging the Federal Government to stage a campaign against the increasing brutality and rape of the girl child, called on security agencies to evolve proactive measures to checkmate the unfortunate occurrences.

The senate also observed a minute silence for Tina and Uwaila and all those who lost their lives from such brutality and rape.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)


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Floyd’s death to inspire change in America: Ghanaian president




Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed his hope here late Monday that the death of George Floyd would inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism.

Describing Floyd‘s death as “unfortunate and tragic” on social media, Akufo-Addo said black people over the world are shocked and distraught by the killing of the unarmed black man by a white police officer in the United States.

African American Floyd died on May 25 shortly after a white police officer in Minneapolis held him down with a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes despite pleas by Floyd he was struggling to breathe, which ignited violent protests in dozens of U.S. cities.

“It can’t be right that in the 21st century, the U.S., this great bastion of democracy, continues to grapple with the problem of systemic racism,” he said.

“It carried with it an all too painful familiarity and un ugly reminder,” said the president, adding that Ghanaians stand with their kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times.


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Mozambican president launches national independence celebration




President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi launched Monday the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of national independence, appealing for unity and strengthening efforts to defend territorial sovereignty.

The June 25, which marks the national independence of Mozambique from the Portuguese colonial rule, was the beginning of a new era where Mozambican people became owners of their own destiny, said the head of state from the presidential palace in Maputo.

“Mozambicans will never allow their country to be divided to satisfy the wishes of invaders from whichever origin and nature. They will not tolerate blackmails of cyclical wars promoted by manipulators to feed the ego of internal and external elites,” said Nyusi.

“This date reminds us of the need for us not to give in to the complexity of the challenges that we currently deal with in the construction of our nation. Our cultural mosaic and endless resources are our strength. Only if we value diversity and work as one will we build a resilient and prosperous country,” said the president.

He saluted the young members of armed forces throughout the country especially those who stationed in the central and northern regions where conflicts are reported.


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La Liga president admits match times could change in hot weather



La Liga has taken the unusual step of including temperature predictions in its fixture lists for the remainder of the Spanish football season.

Spanish players union AFE had voiced concern over players playing in extreme heat with the season now extended into the hottest months of the year in Spain.

But La Liga have taken steps to demonstrate that they will not put players’ health at risk from climatic conditions.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said: “We have worked with the historical (average for time of year) temperatures and with the 15-day forecast.”

Both numbers can be seen alongside each game in the fixture list on La Liga’s web page.

The kick-off time causing most concern is the 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) slot.

Tebas said: “We have seen that on the weekend of June 12 the weather is going to be cool. So, we have programmed games at 1 p.m.

“If the weather changes and the temperature rises, we will move the game to a 5 p.m. slot.

“The 1 p.m. slot is important for our partners (clients) abroad.”

Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)

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Ghanaian president announces gradual easing of COVID-19 measures to restore socio-economic activities




Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced here late Sunday the beginning of a phased easing of the measures instituted in March to combat the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

The president said in his 10th televised address to the nation on the COVID-19 measures that the gradual easing was expected to bring back the country’s social and economic life.

Akufo-Addo ordered schools to start re-opening from June 15 and called for educational authorities to ensure the appropriate enhanced safety protocols and social distancing adherence.

Restaurants could open with the appropriate safety protocols, he added.

The president also assured that the government would continue to repatriate stranded Ghanaians in other countries and quarantine them on arrival.

As of Monday morning, the West African country has recorded a total of 8,070 confirmed cases with 36 deaths.


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Ogbeh drums support for Adesina’s 2nd term as AfDB President



Chief Audu Ogbeh, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has drummed support for the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Ogbeh, who succeeded Adesina as minister, told News Agency of Nigeria , that the AfDB president had demonstrated deep concern and understanding of the economic challenges facing the continent.

He said the president had also proven to know the desperate need to find investment capital to stimulate economic growth, especially in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure.

“I speak out in support of Dr Adesina and his continued management of the AfDB.

“I also congratulate African leaders, past and present, who have declared their support for Adesina’s second term in office.

“The truth is that he has demonstrated deep concern and understanding of the economic challenges facing the continent,’’ he said.

Ogbeh described the insistence by the United States for a probe other than the one done by the ethics committee of the Bank as ‘a needle in haystack’ to justify his removal.

According to him, prejudice and scorn for Africa have all combined to keep us down for too long, inflicting pain and penury upon us with no sign of relief in sight.

NAN recalls that Adesina had been accused in a 20-point allegation of non-respect for internal rules and regulations in recruitment, unethical conduct and impediment to efficiency by unnamed employees.

Other allegations are preferential treatment, adversely affecting confidence in integrity, among others.

United States Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had signed a letter to the board rejecting an internal investigation that cleared Adesina.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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