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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrested in London. US seek extradition

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The United States has requested the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 47, British police said, after they arrested him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London on Thursday.

The founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange was found guilty of skipping bail in the U.K. on Thursday, and faces likely extradition to the U.S., after a dramatic day that began with his arrest at the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he had been under diplomatic protections since 2012.

U.K. police confirmed on Thursday that he was arrested “on behalf of the United States authorities” as well as on U.K. charges of “failing to surrender without reasonable excuse.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said that he faces up to five years in prison on charges of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” related to the 2010 leak of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.

Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum on Thursday morning, inviting police officers with a warrant for his arrest into the Central London embassy. Assange first barged past officers shouting “this is unlawful, I’m not leaving,” according to prosecutors, before being handcuffed and bundled into a police van. Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno cited Assange’s bad behavior in the embassy as one reason for allowing U.K. police to arrest Assange.

At trial later that afternoon, a U.K. district judge found Assange guilty of skipping bail — a charge for which he had been wanted since 2012 — calling him “a narcissist who cannot see beyond his own selfish interest.”

Assange could be sentenced to up to a year in prison in the U.K. but may be extradited to the U.S. before serving time. “Papers for the extradition proceedings have to be circled within 65 days,” Assange’s barrister Liam Walker told TIME.

Assange, 47, received diplomatic asylum from Ecuador after breaching bail in the U.K. during an investigation into sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Sweden has since rescinded its arrest warrant for Assange, though the case is not closed.

The WikiLeaks founder shot to prominence in 2010 when his site published a cache of leaks from the U.S. military provided by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, including videos showing U.S. troops allegedly killing civilians. Assange has argued that he could be arrested by the U.S. if he were arrested in the U.K. or extradited to Sweden.

U.S. prosecutors allege that that Assange helped Manning crack a password to access a government network on Department of Defense computers. Manning then downloaded classified records and sent them to Wikileaks.

“Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her,” the U.S. attorney’s office said. “Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.”

At one point, Manning told Assange, “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“Curious eyes never run dry in my experience,” Assange responded, prosecutors said.

In a video posted to Twitter Thursday, the Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno criticized Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive” behavior in the embassy, saying it had “led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.” Moreno took office as President in May 2017, replacing Rafael Correa, who had extended asylum to Assange.

“He particularly violated the norm of not interfering in the internal affairs of other states,” Moreno said. Assange had been accused by Ecuador of endangering its standing on the international stage by continuing to participate in releasing leaks on WikiLeaks from the embassy. “The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit,” Moreno said.

Ecuador said Thursday that officials had received a guarantee from the U.K. that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face the death penalty, according to Reuters.

WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 played a role in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Prosecutors said Russian hackers had passed those emails to WikiLeaks in order to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In December 2018, the U.N. criticized what it called the U.K.’s “arbitrary deprivation of liberty” of Assange. “States that are based upon and promote the rule of law do not like to be confronted with their own violations of the law, that is understandable,” a U.N. panel of experts on arbitrary detention said.

“The only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador.”

After Assange’s arrest, Prime Minister Theresa May thanked the Metropolitan Police and said that Assange’s apprehension proved that in the U.K., “no one is above the law.”

Assange was appearing in court on Thursday.

Police were invited into the embassy on Thursday morning by the Ecuadorean ambassador, police said.

TIME

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World News

Buhari nominates Adesina for second term

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President Muhammadu Buhari has re-nominated Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), for a second four-year term as head of the African regional financial institution.

Adesina became president of the Bank on May 28, 2015, twenty four hours after his tenure as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration ended.

Adesina disclosed his renomination for the Bank’s top position Sunday when he received a lifetime achievement award as Nigeria’s international icon at the 23rd Hallmarks of Labour awards held in Lagos.

He said, “President Bihari has nominated me again to be re-elected for a second term as President of the AfDB. I thank him for that support and I am extremely grateful to him. By the God’s grace, and with your support, I was elected president of the AfDB on May 28, 2015, exactly 24 hours after my term of office as minister of our dear nation, the nation jubilated as I became the first ever Nigerian to be elected president of the AfDB.
“We have been able to do much and God has helped us tremendously. The Bank was voted fourth most transparent institution globally last year. The Bank continues to maintain its goal through the race, we connected 16 million people to electricity within the last three years. We connected 17 million people with agricultural technology to get food security, we got nine billion people connected to finance, 55 million people with access to improved transport, and 31million people with access to improved water sanitation. Nigeria is the largest shareholder of AfDB. There is still much to do, there are still lots of challenges as we all know. I know I cannot do much unless I get a second term as President of the AfDB. I want to say that once again Nigeria has given me air in my lungs. President Buhari has nominated me again to be re-elected for a second term as president of the AfDB.”

Adesina said his election as the first ever Nigerian to head the Bank was a collective effort of Nigerians, mentioning Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Prof. Sule Gambari, Nigeria’s former permanent representative at the United Nations and Dr Ngozi Okinjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy in the Jonathan government, whom he said represented the country well and made Nigeria stand tall in the international community and made it possible for him to follow their examples.

“Some of these people may be dead but they are alive. Their achievements have become paths for us today just like the paths of the forest that leads one to the beach. I want to say that all of us must begin to take responsibility and that there is need for all of us at all times to be the best ambassadors of Nigeria and to make it the nation we want it to be,” Adesina added.

He charged Nigerians to emulate the examples set by notable Nigerians, saying that his position at the head of the AfDB was a collective effort of all Nigerians.

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World News

Oil prices fall again

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Oil slipped on Monday as China’s economic outlook remained weak even as manufacturing data improved, with an ongoing trade war with the United States weighing on demand growth for the world’s largest crude importer.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures were down 52 cents or 0.84 percent at $61.39 a barrel by 0846 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures were 35 cents or 0.63 percent lower at $55.56 a barrel.

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 49.8 in September, slightly better than expected and advancing from 49.5 in August.
However, it remained below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction on a monthly basis, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

The PMI data “remained in contractionary territory for the fifth month in a row, indicating that economic fundamentals were still weak,” Citi analysts said in a note.

“The (Chinese) government will certainly step up fiscal and monetary efforts to boost domestic demand, which we believe can help stabilize, probably not accelerate, economic growth.”

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has restored capacity to 11.3 million barrels per day after an attack on its processing facilities this month, sources told Reuters last week, although Saudi Aramco has yet to confirm it is fully back online.

While Saudi Arabia is maintaining exports by using crude from in

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National News

Xenophobia: Nigerians in SA look forward to the two presidents meeting

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Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA), is optimistic that the meeting between Nigerian and South African Presidents in October, will bring lasting solutions to the recurrent xenophobia.

The President of NICASA, Mr Ben Okoli, made this known in a telephone conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Okoli said President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, were expected to meet in October to discuss modalities to address attacks on Nigerians living in that country.

“We are looking forward to the state visit by President Buhari and we believe his coming will help reduce the suffering Nigerians go through in South Africa.

“We will use the opportunity to lay our complaints to the president and highlight security of lives and properties of our members, as the area of concern that we want addressed.

“We will also be able to get assurance from our host country’s president towards securing lives and properties of Nigerians here.

“We hope the visit will comfort Nigerians here, because we expect our plight to be tabled before the host government, so they can provide adequate protection to ensure Nigerians feel safe,” he said.

He lamented the high handedness of police operatives in South Africa on matters that concerned Nigerians, saying issues like brutality and killings should be brought to the fore at the meeting.

“We will list all potentials that could bring about economic benefits and growth to Nigerians through the anticipated state visit,” he said.

He said that Nigerians ha, without any fear of contradiction, contributed immensely to the growth of the South African economy.

“We urge the South African Government to ensure that the attacks do not reoccur. We appeal to them to device alternative strategies since previous efforts to stop xenophobia have not worked.

“We believe xenophobia can be stopped and therefore appeal to the South African government to provide succour to foreigners who have lost their source of livelihood, especially Nigerians.

He commended the Nigerian Consulate General to South Africa, Godwin Adama, for the pro-active steps he had so far taken to douse tension via the media in that country.

“The mission’s gate has never been shut against Nigerians; it has always kept its door open.

“What happened is that after the crisis in Pretoria where South African’s destroyed Nigerian businesses and property, those whose property were destroyed went to the mission out of frustration and anger.

“I understand the situation; it is not easy for somebody to lose his property and just be watching; but the mission gate was not shut against them,” he said.

He said they were invite in and received by an official of the consulate who went as far as organising food and drinks for them to make sure that they are comfortable.

“So they were attended to and nobody would say that the gate was shut against them.

“The mission allowed them in even though they came in by force and destroyed part of the entrance.

“They were encouraged to go and calculate their losses and bring back the report through the organisation. So, we are actually collaborating with people who have lost their property.

“We are taking inventory of what our people lost, which I will make available to the high commissioner in due time,” Okoli said.

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Travel & Tourism

Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos

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Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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