Nigeria: Military Determined to Wipe Out Remnants of Boko Haram – Minister

Photo: Daily Trust

Army.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Monday reaffirmed the determination of the military to completely wipe out remnants of Boko Haram in the the country.

Dan-Ali gave the assurance during an award presentation by the Borno chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) at the NUJ’s Combined Press Week in Maiduguri.

Dan-Ali was presented with a Platinum Award of Honour by Gov. Kashim Shettima on behalf of the NUJ for the military’s efforts at restoring peace in the North-East.

“I am really happy and honoured to be in Borno once again and to receive an award for my ministry.

“I want to thank the organisers of the programme for recognising the efforts of my ministry toward restoring peace and unity in Borno in particular and Nigeria in general.

“Let me use this opportunity to condole the Borno State Government on the sad incident of July 25 at Magumeri where oil exploration teams were ambushed along with the Military.

“Civilian Joint Task Force, University staff and some oil workers were killed, while some were held in Boko Haram captivity.

“I want to assure that this won’t bring any setbacks to our troops as we are determined more than ever before to completely clear the remnants of Boko Haram in our nation.

“I have ordered the Ministry of Defence to carry out thorough investigation on the attack to establish if there is a possibility of the locals and the insurgents who perpetrated the attack.

“Provision of security is not only the responsibility of the military and other security agencies, rather it is a collective responsibility of all.

“Therefore, all stakeholders must play an important role.

“I also want to extend our appreciation to the NUJ Borno Chapter for its unbiased report on the campaign against Boko Haram.

“Your sense of patriotism and commitment has contributed immensely to the successes of the war against insurgency.

“However, despite all the successes recorded, the negative reports from some media organisations is highly uncharitable and unpatriotic. These negative reports have really dampened the morale of our fighting troops.

“We, therefore, urged the media to emulate the journalists reporting professionally in Borno. They must rise up and place the unity of Nigeria above all parochial sentiments.

“I, will, therefore make a passionate call to religious clerics and political leaders to intervene in establishing dialogue with the aggrieved parties to enable us to bring peace to our nation,” Dan-Ali said.

The President of the NUJ, Abdulwaheed Odusile, commended the military for restoring relative peace in the North-East.

“I was in Maiduguri in September 2016, when I went back, I told my friends that I stayed out until 1 a.m. and they couldn’t believe me.

“What we have been doing in Borno shows that we are patriotic and determined to keep the peace,” Odusile said. (NAN)

Nigeria

Boko Haram Kills 31 Fishermen in Lake ChadGovernor Kashim Shettima of Borno on Tuesday confirmed that Boko Haram insurgents had killed 31 fishermen at Baga in… Read more »

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In Nigeria, Barking Dogs Foiled a Boko Haram Suicide Attack on a Hospital

Newsweek

 Conor Gaffey,Newsweek Mon, Aug 7 7:58 AM PDT

Boko Haram kill 31 fishermen in Nigeria

World

 AFP 19 hours ago

North Korea: Everything you need to know about the nuclear crisis that has got the world on edge

North Korea has been isolated for decades, and may soon have the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear missile

1K

North Korea has been making headlines recently for testing its missile capabilities, raising concern in Washington that the isolated nation could be tempted to launch a nuclear attack on the United States.

The situation has not improved in recent weeks as the country tested its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) prompting Donald Trump and the United Nations to impose further sanctions on the country.

Here’s what you need to know about the situation.

Why is this being talked about now?

North Korea has repeatedly tested its ICBM and nuclear capabilities this year, and it appears as though the country may have the technology — or will soon — to launch a nuclear missile that could hit the United States.

The US, unhappy with that potential reality, responded to that threat by imposing sanctions on the country the could impact roughly $1 billion worth of North Korea’s foreign exports. North Korea has vowed to fight those sanctions with a “thousands-fold” revenge.

North Korea’s recent testing is a “huge step beyond, probably, where most people would’ve expected Kim Jong Un to be,” Howard Stoffer, a professor at the University of New Haven, told The Independent.

So, interested parties are scrambling to respond to that threat.

How did we get here?

Things have been stewing since 1953, when China, the US, North Korea, and South Korea agreed to an armistice that ended the Korean War.

Since then, the US and North Korea have been isolated from one another. While other countries like China developed into a major economic, political, and military powers, North Korea has been largely isolated from the international community by the US.

“This is one of the countries that hasn’t transformed,” Mr Stoffer, who previously held positions with the US State Department and with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, said. “It remained a communist country. It remained an autocratic country that has never made its economy open up.”

But, regimes in North Korea have refused to accept a fate of being sidelined, and have been working on developing nuclear weapons capabilities that they hope will act as a deterrent that will force the US to negotiate with them.

What do the major players want, generally speaking?

The United States, for its part, is keen on North Korea ending it’s nuclear testing and development — and wants to ensure that the north doesn’t launch attacks on the south that would require America to come to its defence.

North Korea, meanwhile, is interested in developing and prospering as a country while maintaining its independence and keeping its cultural customs and traditions. They would also like to see the end of military exercises between South Korea and the US, which the country sees as acts of aggression.

China, which is the main trading partner for North Korea, also has security concerns. Although China doesn’t appear to have a huge interest in what North Korea does internally, there is some concern that their neighbouring country could turn their ire on them and launch attacks that hit the Chinese mainland.

How do the three countries disagree on how to move forward?

The United States believes that a strategy of strict sanctions will eventually force North Korea to abandon their nuclear program.

North Korea, meanwhile, is pushing forward with their nuclear ambitions, and thinks that that is the way to get the US to work with them.

At the same time, China has urged for a more diplomatic approach, and worries that sanctions could push North Korea to attack — or that the regime could collapse completely, leading to an unknown level of chaos in the region that could result in anything from a civil war to a mass of refugees showing up on the Chinese border seeking help.

“Between the US and North Korea, the difficulty is they are working under completely opposite logics,” Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, told The Independent.

Have sanctions worked before to stop nuclear programme development?

Yes and no. The most recent example of a success came when the Obama administration announced that it had negotiated a stop to Iran’s nuclear development. The US had placed heavy sanctions on the Iranian regime prior, which played at least a small role in convincing the Iranians to come to the negotiating table.

But, China is a strong example of sanctions failing to live up to expectations. The country persevered through years of a harsh economic climate to finally get its nuclear weapons. Because of that history, China has a different take on how effective those measures may be in convincing North Korea to drop its plans.

“More fundamentally, China disagrees with the approach of imposing more sanctions. China itself went through serious sanctions during the Cold War… and those sanctions weren’t able to force China to give up its own nuclear programmes at that time,” Mr Zhao said. “So the Chinese history of essentially resisting sanctions and still being able to pursue its nuclear program, really convinced china of the inability for sanctions to change a country’s nuclear policy.”

How dangerous is the current climate?

Experts say that, with the North Koreans showing that they may soon be able to launch missiles that hit the United States, things are particularly tense. The North Korean regime has minor gains to make to realise their goals of having a plausible nuclear deterrent against the United States.

That proximity to the proverbial finish line for North Korea means that everyone involved is racing to try and ensure the their priorities win out.

Added to that tense moment is Mr Trump, who experts worry is an unpredictable leader with an unknown level of knowledge about the ramifications that military assaults on North Korea could have.

“I think at this moment, the situation is particularly volatile compared to previous years,” Mr Zhao said. The “most important reason, is North Korea is on the verge of achieving its ultimate security goal, which is to obtain a credible nulcear deterrant” that could hit the US mainland.

The issue wasn’t however, unforseen. Just before Mr Trump took office, he was warned by outgoing President Barack Obama that North Korea would be one of his biggest challenges as president.

What’s the primary concern for a US military attack to stop North Korea developing their nuclear missile capabilities?

What reaction Kim Jong Un might have to western aggression isn’t known, and that uncertainty has made decades of American presidents tread lightly on the issue.

One potential reaction, however, could be that Mr Kim would retaliate with more traditional weapons and attack South Korea. The capital of the country, Seoul, is just 40 miles south of the border, and easily within range. That sort of attack would endanger the lives of the 25.6 million people in the area, and would likely leave hundreds of thousands dead.

“No one really knows that if you use military force what the result will be,” Mr Stoffer said. “The result could be that millions are in jeopardy and hundreds of thousands will be killed.”

US spy satellites detect North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to patrol boat

Despite the United States’ insistence that North Korea halt its missile tests, U.S. spy agencies detected the rogue communist regime loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago.

It’s the first time these missiles have been deployed on this type of platform since 2014, U.S. officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence in the region told Fox News on Monday.

It also points to more evidence that North Korea isn’t listening to the diplomatic threats from the West.

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the Philippines Monday.

North Korea loaded two Stormpetrel anti-ship cruise missiles on a Wonsan guided-missile patrol boat at Toejo Dong on North Korea’s east coast.

“North Korea is not showing any evidence it plans to halt its missile tests,” said one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “It’s a trend that does not bode well for hopes of de-escalating tensions on the [Korean] peninsula.”

The latest moves by Pyongyang point to a likely missile test in the days ahead or it could be a defense measure should the U.S. Navy dispatch more warships to the Korean peninsula, officials said.

President Trump on Monday afternoon voiced his displeasure about the coverage of the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote over the weekend to sanction Pyongyang. “The Fake News Media will not talk about the importance of the United  Nations Security Council’s 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on N. Korea!” Trump tweeted.

Meantime, there currently are limits to the size of the warheads South Korea is allowed to deploy on top of its missiles. But following a talk between leaders of South Korea and the United States, the Pentagon is working on allowing changes to the policy.

“Yes, we are working on it,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. “It’s a topic under active consideration here, and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea.”

The United States removed its tactical nuclear missiles from South Korea in 1991.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Lost Roman city that was home to Jesus’ apostles found, say archaeologists

Experts believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.

Last month, archaeologists from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, completed excavations at el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. El Araj has long been considered a possible location of ancient Julias, which was also known as Bethsaida.

“The results of this season’s excavation indicate that el-Araj should now be considered a leading candidate for the lost city of Jesus’ Apostles,” explained the excavation team, in a statement emailed to Fox News.

EXPERTS HUNT FOR BIBLICAL TABERNACLE THAT HOUSED THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

“There are indications that we’re excavating Bethsaida-Julia – we have to continue digging to confirm and clarify,” Prof. Steven Notley of Nyack College, the dig’s academic director, told Fox News. “This is really one of the few [biblical sites] that has remained lost.”

The Roman city of Julias was born out of the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida during the first century A.D, according to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. The New Testament describesBethsaida as the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus also healed a blind man at Bethsaida, according to Mark 8:22-26, while Luke 9:10-17 describes a nearby location for the feeding of the five thousand people.

While many experts had previously assumed there was no human presence at el-Araj during the Roman period, this summer’s excavations have shed new light on the site. A previously unearthed Byzantine structure, for example, offered plenty of clues to the archaeologists. More than 30 coins found beneath the structure’s floor dated its construction to the 5th century A.D.

DNA DISCOVERY IDENTIFIES LIVING DESCENDANTS OF BIBLICAL CANAANITES

Below the Byzantine era level, however, Roman era pottery dating back to between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D. was found, along with a bronze coin from the late 2nd century and a silver denarius coin of the Emperor Nero that dates from 65 to 66 A.D.

Some 6.6-feet below the Byzantine floor, a Roman period wall was also discovered. Adjacent to the wall was a large section of black-and-white mosaic floor with mortar, clay bricks and ceramic vents typical of Roman bathhouses.

The archaeologists note that Roman-style baths were uncommon in rural settlements, so their presence at el-Araj indicates an urban site, making it a strong candidate for the city of Julias.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNEARTH 2,700-YEAR OLD RESERVOIR IN ISRAEL

Geological research also suggests that the Sea of Galilee, the second lowest lake in the world, was at a lower level than previously thought during the Roman era. Experts had long thought the lake was 686 feet below sea level in Roman times, with the el-Araj site underwater until the Byzantine period centuries later. The Roman wall, however, was discovered at a depth of 692 feet below sea level.

Geologists studying el-Araj found that the site was covered with mud and clay, possibly from flooding of the nearby Jordan river, and abandoned sometime between 250 A.D and 350 A.D. “The Roman layer was buried at a certain period by these sediments derived from the nearby outlets of the Jordan River and Meshushim stream,” explained Prof. Noam Greenbaum of Haifa University, who participated in the excavation. “We hope to deepen and extend our study in the future in order to clarify the full picture.”

The site appears to have been resettled towards the end of the 4th century A.D. during the Byzantine period.

EXPERTS UNCOVER EVIDENCE OF ANCIENT JERUSALEM’S DESTRUCTION BY THE BABYLONIANS

The Byzantine structure at el-Araj also offers a fascinating glimpse into the site’s biblical past. Small gilded glass blocks called tesserae that form part of a mosaic were found, suggesting that the building was once an important church. Archaeologists note that Willibald, the bishop of Eichstatt in Germany, visited the Holy Land in 725 A.D., and describes visiting a church at Bethsaida built over the remains of the house of apostles Peter and Andrew. “It may well be that the current excavations have unearthed evidence for that church,” explained the archaeologists, in their statement.

Other archaeologists have been looking to prove that the nearby site of e-Tell is the location of Bethsaida-Julias.

Excavations at el-Araj will start again in June 2018. “We’re looking right now at trying to do another five seasons,” said Notley.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Google employee’s anti-diversity manifesto prompts torrent of responses, sparks wider debate

Christopher Carbone

An anonymous note accusing Google of embracing diversity while chilling intellectual freedom has unleashed a flood of divergent opinions and proves not everyone inside the tech giant toes the company line.

The 10-page memo, written by a male engineer and widely shared internally, was eventually leaked to Gizmodo. In it, the author slams the tech giant’s “left bias” for having created a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”

The engineer, who has not been identified publicly, argues that gender disparities in Google’s workforce can be explained by biological differences between men and women. The memo asserts Google should replace its existing diversity efforts with policies to allow for more “ideological diversity.”

In a recent annual report the company made public, 69% of Google’s employees were revealed as male and 55% of its employees were white.

Reaction to the memo, pro and con, has been vehement.

“From what I’ve seen it’s been a mix of women saying, ‘This is terrible and it’s been distracting me from my work and it shouldn’t be allowed;’ Men and women saying ‘this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;’ and men saying ‘This is so brave, I agree,’” one current Google employee told Motherboard.

The company’s VP for Diversity, Integrity and Governance, Danielle Brown, swiftly rebuked the anonymous engineer’s memo:

“Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”

According to Motherboard, some employees wrote messages of support for the memo’s author, including this one:

“The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ which is essentially a pipeline from Women’s and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company,” another comment in the thread said.

The company’s diversity chief also addressed Google’s perceived lack of ideological diversity:

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown wrote. “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”

The memo also led a range of current and former tech employees to tweet, pen their own essays and call out the engineer who wrote it.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

Courtesy, Fox News

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