President Mnangagwa & General Chiwenga fight gets serious, Chris Mutsvangwa attacks Chiwenga (PIC) | My Zimbabwe News

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally Chris Mutsvangwa ranted against Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in a chance encounter with the MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, ZimLive can reveal.

The shock development comes as the Zanu PF Youth League has recently become vocal against “cartels”, seen as a precursor to an all-out war with Chiwenga by first targeting his financial backer, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, an influential player in the petroleum industry.

Chamisa was at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on January 29 ahead of a trip to South Africa when he came across the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association who was also at the airport on undisclosed business.

Two sources who witnessed the encounter said Mutsvangwa initially requested a photo to be taken with Chamisa, before launching into an unrestrained attack on Chiwenga, Mnangagwa’s ambitious deputy.

“He told Chamisa to disengage from Chiwenga, stating that the former army general was claiming influence that he did not have, both in the military and Zanu PF,” one source said.

Chamisa reportedly expressed surprise that Mutsvangwa was associating him with Chiwenga, remarking: “You are donating me to Chiwenga, and Chiwenga donates me to you. Which is which?”

Mutsvangwa did not care who was listening, another source who witnessed the encounter said. The war vets chief, said the source, appeared convinced that Chamisa was open to a political alliance with Chiwenga.

“He was particularly dismissive of Chiwenga, questioning his fitness for higher office,” the source, who had just walked over to greet Chamisa, told ZimLive.

Referring to Chiwenga’s nasty divorce from his former model wife, Marry Mubaiwa, Mutsvangwa told Chamisa: “Don’t be fooled by a man who has a pr0stitute running rings around him.”

Chamisa reportedly asked “who’s the pr0stitute, and who’s the man?” before the two men separated, both laughing.

The encounter reveals deepening divisions in Zanu PF, with two distinct factions – one led by Mnangagwa and the other by General Chiwenga – each seeking to take decisive control of the party before the next elections in 2023.

Chiwenga was the army general who led a coup against the former late president Robert Mugabe in November 2017. He recalled Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy, from exile to make him president in a bid to sanitise the coup.

But the two men have differed sharply after Mnangagwa claimed victory in a presidential election in August 2018 by just over 35,000 votes. Chiwenga’s camp says the 76-year-old Zanu PF leader is unelectable and has failed to effectively run the country, imperilling their project with the lurking dangers of a popular uprising or annihilation in a future election.

Mnangagwa, through his son Emmerson Junior, has reportedly engaged the Zanu PF Youth League to push back against Chiwenga.

Youth League deputy secretary Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu, the political commissar, have taken to social media to launch thinly-veiled attacks on Sakunda Holdings boss, Tagwirei, believed to be Chiwenga’s moneyman.

Tagwirei, the local partner of global commodities trader, Trafigura, is accused of running a near monopoly in the petroleum industry and fleecing the state through the opaque Command Agriculture scheme run by Sakunda.

A parliamentary committee says agriculture ministry officials have failed to account for US$3 billion expenditure on the scheme, and Tagwirei has refused to testify before parliament.

Writing on Facebook on January 29, Matutu said: “How can a few individuals prosper on majority’s tears?”

Avoiding naming Tagwirei, he added in another post on January 31: “We will be judged by our deeds as a generation. Personally, l refuse to be amongst the cursed ones simply because l would have ignored evil things happening whilst watching and right now l have an opportunity to make things right #cartelsmustfall.”

Tsenengamu, also taking to Facebook, said: “We will pay the price, either for fighting the blood-sucking cartels or for smiling at them while they suffocate us. I choose to fight.”

Tsenengamu said Zimbabwe was being destroyed “not by those few who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing something positive.”

“Monday is the day #CartelsMustFall,” he wrote on January 31, hinting strongly that the Youth League would pursue some action soon.

Zanu PF sources told ZimLive that Matutu was also personally angry after recently going to the party’s secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, to demand that he be issued a Toyota Land Cruiser “like all other politburo secretaries”, and being rebuffed.

All Zanu PF secretaries in the politburo had Land Cruisers purchased for them by Tagwirei, and if Matutu had been granted his wish, the party would have turned to the Sakunda boss who has used his vast fortune to buy influence.

The convergence between Matutu and Tsenengamu has surprised some, who say the two men have rarely been aligned.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone, however, because Tsenengamu will do anything for money or a voucher. He’s shamelessly unscrupulous. For a thousand dollars, he would slap the president, he’s that sort of guy,” a member of the Youth League said.

Mnangagwa’s son, Emmerson Junior, is reportedly pulling the financial strings on the Youth League to do his father’s bidding.

Mnangagwa has identified Tagwirei – whose accounts were temporarily frozen by the Reserve Bank last year over allegations that he was manipulating the local currency – as the power behind Chiwenga, and hopes by targeting him, he would leave his 63-year-old deputy financially weaker and unable to mount any challenge to his rule.

The Zanu PF leader has, since taking power in 2017, been reorganising the military top brass and retiring other senior officers in moves aimed at diminishing Chiwenga’s influence.

The Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday that “an unsettled Mnangagwa” had made moves to “coup-proof” his regime by changing the commanders of the Presidential Guard, the infantry battalion which, together with the Mechanised Brigade, played a critical role in the 2017 military coup that toppled Mugabe.

The Presidential Guard, responsible for providing protection to the president and securing Harare, is a specialised force trained to fight in built up areas. It consists of two battalions, the 1 PG Battalion commonly known as State House Battalion, and the 2 PG Battalion situated in Dzivaresekwa.

Mnangagwa has named Lieutenant-Colonel Alison Chicha as the commander of 2 PG Battalion, replacing Lieutenant-Colonel Regis Mangezi, who moves over to command the 1 PG Battalion. Mangezi takes over from Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Murombo, removed from the unit after he clashed with Mnangagwa’s wife – an incident caught on a leaked audio tape.

Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxillia, accused Murombo of spying on her and plotting to kill the president. Her outburst betrayed the first family’s fears and concerns about their security. Murombo has been shunted off to Zimbabwe Defence House, the military headquarters.

— ZimLive

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Mysterious Owl Attacked Benue Governor Inside Church And This Happened (Photos)

Governor Samuel Ortom and a pastor

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, was on Tuesday night attacked at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Makurdi, by a mysterious owl.

Ortom was in the church for a special thanksgiving service, shortly after the Supreme Court of Nigeria affirmed his election as Governor of Benue State.

According to an eyewitness, Prince Tordue Abe, the bird found its way into the church, the exact time the Governor was giving his testimonies and went straight to the altar where Ortom was kneeling down for his testimonies.

But for the prompt efforts of some youths, the night bird, which is superstitiously believed to be a witchcraft bird, would have landed on the Governor’s head.

The owl

According to an eyewitness, Prince Tordue Abe, the bird found its way into the Church, the exact time the Governor was giving his testimonies and went straight to the altar where Ortom was kneeling down for his testimonies.

But for the prompt efforts of some youths, the night bird, which is superstitiously believed to be a witchcraft bird, would have landed on the Governor’s head.

“It happened few minutes ago while the Governor was on his kneels praying at the Redeemed Christian Church Makurdi.

“An Owl flew in and headed right towards the direction of the Governor. On sighting the Governor the owl bowed before the Governor and together we rushed and killed it.

“Whatever it was they planned against the Governor, the Holy Spirit brought it to a halt.

“Indeed Governor Ortom is not just a man of God but a powerful man of God,” Abe said.

The apex court had on Tuesday delivered judgement in an appeal brought before it by Barr. Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressive Congress (APC), challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal to have upheld the election of Ortom, who contested under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9, 2019 guber election in Benue.

In a 30-second judgement delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuata, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the victory of Governor Ortom, saying, “The judgement of the Tribunal and Court of Appeal need not to be disturbed”. 

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Ihedioha: Imo church leaders urge S/Court to review judgement

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* Removal an assault on democracy, rule of law– ADF

Dozens of church leaders in Imo State have called on the Supreme Court of Nigeria to review its judgement that voided the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of the state while declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma as the new governor.

This is just as the Working Committee of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has described the removal of Ihedioha as the Imo state governor by the Supreme Court as a mindless assault on Democracy and Rule of Law which is its foundation.

Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries (CRM) in Owerri, the state capital on Wednesday, Rt. Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku who spoke on behalf of the church leaders under the auspices of the Concerned Church Leaders Forum, said the judgment ran “counter to the facts on ground and raises a lot of questions.”

Bishop Oparaojiaku, who doubles as the Anglican Bishop of Ohaji-Egbema, questioned the rationale upon which the Apex Court arrived at its judgment, warning that the judgment, ‘if not justified’, would set a bad precedent for the judiciary and democracy in the country.

The church leaders, therefore, urged the Supreme Court to review the judgment to ensure that justice was served in the overall interest of peace, unity, development and continued survival of democracy in the state and Nigeria in general.

Oparajiaku said, “it is not that Christian leaders hate the newly sworn-in Governor of Imo State who is undoubtedly an Imolite, but the judgment has raised a lot of unanswered questions.

“Where there is therefore any perceived act of injustice, we are morally authorized to speak out and question the modalities for the injustice.

“We are deeply worried about what will be the fate of future elections in Nigeria if the courts are allowed to use technicalities to subvert the will of the electorate.

“The general public, and especially Imolites will like to know how the Supreme Court arrived at the decision which plants injustice.

“In view of the above, we join millions of Nigerians to call on the Supreme Court of Nigeria to review that judgment; urge Imolites and all interest groups to ensure that only the way of peace, maturity and godliness is employed in handling this sensitive matter.”

In another development, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has said that it was not only rejecting the Supreme Court judgement that removed Ihedioha as governor but condemned the ruling of the judgement as a mindless assault on democracy and rule of law which is its foundation.

In a document issued by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala and Prof. Nath Aniekwu, president and secretary of ADF respectively, the group said, “It (the judgement) is, above all, an arrogant assault on the fundamental right of Imo people to decide those to whom they give their mandate to preside over their political affairs for the next four years”.

The statement said the ADF position was based on a number of factors surrounding the judgement, among which was “the technical and substantive impossibility of a candidate who came fourth in the election with just only 96,45 votes and came 4th in the Governorship Election would overtake every other candidate to defeat the number one candidate who scored 273, 404 votes.

“And this is a candidate whose Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), did not win any seat in the State House of Assembly Election held simultaneously with the Presidential in the 2019 General Election.

“What is more, the manner in which the Justice Tanko-led Supreme Court judges did their on-the-spot calculations and came to their conclusion is so bizarre that one wonders whether this is happening in a normal human society or in Alice’s Wonderland.

“The Justice Tanko-led Supreme Court appears to be desperately keeping faith with the grand design for which Justice Tanko was brazenly fostered on the Nigerian Judiciary after Justice Onnoghen was hounded out of office.

“Our people in Imo State and the entre Igbo nation should regard the removal of the legitimately elected Governor of Imo State as a great assault on the Regional solidarity of Alaigbo, especially now that Regional cohesion is vital to the defense and security of Alaigbo from the invaders”.

The post Ihedioha: Imo church leaders urge S/Court to review judgement appeared first on TheNigerialawyer.

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Nigerians drag EFCC for arresting “89 youths” at Ibadan nightclub. – YabaLeftOnline

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, announced that they arrested about 89 yahoo boys at a Club in Ibadan.

The commission on Saturday took to their social media pages to share photos of the youths arrested at the club, as well as vehicles that were seized in the process.

The Commission further alleged that the 89 youths arrested were alleged internet fraudsters, otherwise known as ‘Yahoo Boys’.

“The Ibadan zonal office of EFCC has arrested 89 suspected internet fraudsters at the popular Club 360 located on the Akala Expressway, Oluyole Extension in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

“In preparation for the late-night operation which took place over the weekend, officers of the commission had carried out series of discreet surveillance on the nature of activities going on in the nightclub which according to intelligence gathered, the said club was notorious for harbouring yahoo-yahoo boys.”, EFCC wrote on their social media pages, as captions to the photos shared.

Several blogs re-posted the story, and it has since garnered negative comments on Social media.

Right now, ‘Yahoo’ and ‘EFCC’ are number 2 and 3 trending topics on Twitter, as at about 2:10PM, Monday 20th January. YabaLeftOnline Reports.

Most folks on social media questioned how it was possible to tell that the 89 youths arrested at the club were all fraudsters.

Here are some comments below;

@OgbeniDipo: “Less than 6 months ago, the FBI arrested 80 Diaspora Yahoo Yahoo Boys. They already had evidence to nail every single one of them before making any arrest. EFCC can do better. You just can’t go around raiding club houses and arresting every single person in sight. It is wrong!”

@gimbakakanda: “Please, who knows how this works? When EFCC operatives raid a nightclub based on intel that it harbors fraudsters, how do they tell Yahoo boys from innocent partiers there? It’s not fair to arrest anyone for merely being in a club, and then release them later. That’s harassment.”

@RealOlaudah: “My dear EFCC, Leave Yahoo Boys for a while & go after thieving politicians. They’re the greater evil. One under your investigation just got appointed governor by Supreme Court. The other that parked Bullion Van on election Eve in his house is yet to write statement. DO BETTER!!!”

@tawah89: “This is a shakedown. You could be in a bar tomorrow drinking and screaming at Lacazette for missing a tap in and EFCC will rush in a grab you.”

@Animasaun_a: “Anytime I’m in Ibadan, I always go to this spot to hang out because it is very close to my parents’ house. Had it been that I was in Ibadan over the weekend, I would have been part of these guys and I’m not a Yahoo boy. You have also killed someone’s business. EFCC, this is wrong.”

@Ditoman2 also tweeted, “I do go there as well. Assuming I was there, they’ll tag me a Yahoo boy by now. Nigeria is a zoo.”

@Olikoko61: “It is very wrong. I was at that place last week with a friend and his girlfriend from the United States. This habit of busting public places is barbaric. Gather your Intel and go for the exact person.”

Some comments on Facebook;

D’wiseboy Stardom Kenflow: “The painful thing is that one of them.might have just started doing so call yahoo that day, and that night efcc catch him… such a painful story..the devil is at work”

Balooniankitme Elisha: “How this can be possible arresting some people that went to club to enjoy there weekend after work and hustle efcc went to arrest innocent people”

Simon Kilex: “This is how you people go around harassing innocent people in this country. Nigerian security agencies are still living in the past. Imagine security personnel just arresting someone simply because he or she goes for a party. Complete nonsense.”

Read Also: 👇🏾

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Why Catholic Church May Bar Mbaka From Preaching – Archbishop

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Adewale Martins, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has said Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, may likely be barred from preaching if he continues to deviate from the doctrines and tenets of the Catholic Church.

Martins, in a recent interview with BBC Igbo, said Mbaka was under the Diocese of Enugu and did not report to him, adding that if he continued in the manner he was doing things, the Catholic Church may bar him from ministering.

Martins was appointed Archbishop of Lagos by the Pope in 2012.

Mbaka had on New Year’s Eve prophesied that Uzodinma would emerge as governor in 2020, a prophecy which came to pass on Tuesday when the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha and named Uzodinma as the duly elected governor.

Martins said, “Fr. Mbaka falls under the authority of the Bishop of Enugu Diocese and therefore he has the responsibility of cautioning him. I can imagine that this must be giving the bishop some challenges.

“It must be giving him a bit of a headache and I feel sorry for him and I hope he will find some way of dealing with this matter that has been recurring. Of course, what could be done in the end is either to say, ok you receive the sanction of being stopped from public ministry. That is a possibility. If it is not done, there must be a reason.”

Martins, who was ordained a priest in 1983, said the Catholic Church does not engage in partisan politics.

He said even if Mbaka received a prophecy from God, he ought to ensure that his conduct corresponds with the scriptures and the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The archbishop added, “It is utterly surprising that Fr Mbaka would go as far as naming one person as governor against another. It is embarrassing when you hear of priests or people in position of authority making statements that are clearly partisan.

READ ALSO: Cobbler Shares Lady’s Nude Pictures After Raping Her 

“The position of the Catholic Church on matters that have to do with politics is not to be partisan. Of course, we as a church cannot be oblivious to political events and happenings in the country or the world at large and therefore we must speak from the point of view of principles.

“The priest who believes he has a gift of prophecy has to test whatever has been told to him in the light of the scriptures, in the light of the teachings of the church and in terms of the authority that has been given to leaders in the church.”

Martins said Mbaka’s behaviour was at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and he had fallen below the standard expected of priests.

Mbaka, who was ordained a Catholic priest in 1995, has been known to give many controversial prophecies.

In 2002, he prophesied that the then Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, would not return to office in the election but the governor won a second term.

In 2015, Mbaka prophesied that President Goodluck Jonathan would lose to the current President, Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which came true.

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Ogun: Abiodun, Akinlade react to death of Adeosun – Daily Post Nigeria

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Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) in the state during the last election, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, have mourned Hon. Saibu Adeosun.

The duo of Abiodun and Akinlade, in separate statements, described Adeosun’s death as a great loss to his family, friends and political associates as well as the All Progressives Congress in Ipokia Local Government and Ogun State in general.

DAILY POST reported earlier that Adeosun, one of the newly appointed 20 Local Government Caretaker Chairmen by Gov Dapo Abiodun has died. 

Adeosun was appointed alongside others to head Ipokia Local Government Caretaker Committee.

It was learnt that Adeosun, who was to be screened by the Ogun State House of Assembly today, died around 5 am on Wednesday.

Abiodun, while swearing in the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Mobolaji Ayodele Ojo and other Judges of the Court, observed a minute’s silence in Adeosun’s honour, praying that the good Lord comfort his family and grant his soul eternally rest.

“The death of the Chairman-Nominee for the Transition Committee in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, Saibu Adeosun Mulero, a few hours to his screening by the State House of Assembly came to us as a rude shock.

“He was such a diligent and resourceful grassroots politician, whose skills and astuteness would have helped the people of Ipokia move to a higher level of development.

“He will surely be missed by the party, APC, the good people of Ipokia LGA that he had plans to lead, and the Dapo Abiodun administration would miss his envisaged contributions to our model of inclusive and participatory governance, of which he was a disciple,” Abiodun said.

On his own part, Akinlade, who shares the same local government as Adeosun, in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Adelani Azeez, said, “It is with a heavy heart that we write to mourn the death of our brother and a member of our great party in Ipokia Local Government – Hon. Saibu Adeosun, who joined his creator this morning.

“Until his demise, Hon. Adeosun was a grassroot politician and an All Progressives Congress (APC) member.

“We did not wish for this untimely death, but God knows better and we implore Him to grant the family of the bereaved the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

“Hon. Adeosun’s death is a great loss to his family, friends, political associates, All Progressives Congress in Ipokia Local Government and Ogun State in general.

“Adeosun’s demise calls for sober reflections and it is a lesson to all of us that, from God we came and to Him we shall return someday.

“May Almighty God forgive his sins and grant him eternal rest.”

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Oyo APC chieftain dispels death rumour – The Nation Newspaper

A prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State , Chief Rotimi Ajanaku on Wednesday dispelled the rumour making rounds that he is dead.

He said he is alive, hale and healthy.

On Wednesday, the news of the rumoured death of the APC chieftain spread across the state, with his political family making frantic effort to reach across the politician .

Ajanaku , who contested the House of Representative election during the 2019 poll , said he is still in Lagos attending to his businesses .

In a statement by his media aide , Mr. Debo Adeoye and made available to newsmen in Ibadan yesterday , Ajanaku expressed shock at the rumor , station that he had received several calls from family, friends, colleagues and political associates, who tried to confirm the authenticity of the news.

He said “I was embarrassed when calls started coming in on my handset, some even demanded assurance that I was the one speaking with them on phone. To God be the glory, I’m alive, Hale and healthy. It’s malicious and mischievous, I wouldn’t know what the enemies stand to gain from this ignoble idea,” he queried

“Let me also inform you that the last and recent hoax from the enemies of progress was that I have left APC, quit politics and move to my state, Osun state. I know and you also know, this could only come from political enemies. Why should I quit politics and where’s my state? Perhaps I should seize this opportunity to clear air on that. I am still in politics and also a strong APC member in Oyo State, I only returned fully to my business after short sabbatical leave to purse my political ambition. Politicians should stop making politics their main profession.

“For the ignoramus, I’m from Oyo State, my father came from Lagos Island while my mother originated from Ondo State. By birth, I’m an Ibadan man, I was born and raised in Ibadan, that’s why I have my businesses in my country home and will continue to strive for the progress of Ibadanland, besides, my grandmother was from Ibadan, the great Foko Compound. Whoever is in doubt is at liberty to make further investigation.

READ ALSO: Oyo: Ajanaku returns to APC, pledges support for Adelabu

“With due respect to Osun State, I have not heard it from my parents that we related to any Ajanaku from Osun, however we can’t rule out some generations before my grand parents might, after all they all belonged to same state in the past and one Oduduwa family,” Ajanaku clarified.

Ajanaku however said APC remains a party to beat in 2023, he admitted there’s crisis in the party, but said all issues had been resolved.

“There’s no political party free of crisis but ability to surmount all crises and move on is what make APC the best party. We have resolved over 80% of all the crisis militating against progress of our party and it’s members. No one could be singled out for blame, we all were at fault and we have paid the prizes. Our party is back, APC will return to power in 2023 by God’s grace.” Ajanaku stated.

Ajanaku thanked those who called and visited him when the evil rumor was broken and pray God to reward everyone accordingly.

“My appreciation goes to everyone that knocked at my door, called and send sms to me when they heard of the fake news. May the good Lord reward everyone accordingly,” he prayed.

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‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant

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Iran is considering 13 scenarios to avenge the killing of a top Iranian military commander in Iraq by a U.S. drone attack, a senior Tehran official said on Tuesday as the general’s body was brought to his hometown for burial.

In Washington, the U.S. defense secretary denied reports the U.S. military was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, where Tehran has vied with Washington for influence over nearly two decades of war and unrest.

The killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for building up Tehran’s network of proxy forces across the Middle East, has prompted mass mourning in Iran.

U.S. and Iranian warnings of new strikes and retaliation have also stoked concerns about a broader Middle East conflict and led to calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to stop U.S. President Donald Trump going to war with Iran.

“We will take revenge, hard and definitive revenge,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, told tens of thousands of mourners in Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman.

Many chanted “Death to America” and waved the Iranian flag.

READ ALSO: Iran threatens to ‘unleash Hezbollah’ in Israel and Dubai

Soleimani’s body has been taken through Iraqi and Iranian cities since Friday’s strike, with huge crowds of mourners filling the streets.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military commanders have said Iranian retaliation for the U.S. action on Friday would match the scale of Soleimani’s killing but that it would be at a time and place of Tehran’s choosing.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans,” he said.

Iran, whose southern coast stretches along a Gulf oil shipping route that includes the narrow Stait of Hormuz, has allied forces across the Middle East through which it could act. Representatives from those forces, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, attended the funeral.

Despite its strident rhetoric, analysts say Iran will want to avoid any conventional conflict with the United States but assymetric strikes, such as sabotage or other more limited military actions, are more likely.

Trump has promised strikes on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates, although U.S. officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets.

Reuters and other media reported on Monday that the U.S. military had sent a letter to Iraqi officials informing them that U.S. troops would be repositioned in preparation to leave.

“In order to conduct this test, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner,” it said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said there had been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.

“I don’t know what that letter is,” he said.

U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the letter was a “poorly worded” draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by U.S. forces.

The letter, addressed to the Iraqi Defence Ministry’s Combined Joint Operations and confirmed as authentic by an Iraqi military source, had caused confusion about the future of the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, where there has been a U.S. military presence since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 invasion.

On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament, dominated by lawmakers representing Muslim Shi’ite groups, passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad on Monday that both sides needed to work together to implement the parliamentary resolution.

Friction between Iran and the United States has risen since Washington withdrew in 2018 from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other world powers.

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Iran and Tehran said on Sunday it was dropping all limitations on uranium enrichment, its latest step back from commitments under the deal.

The U.S. administration has denied a visa to allow Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said.

“The United States will get the decisive, definite answer for its arrogance at the time and place when it will feel the most pain,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Trump’s U.S. political rivals have challenged his decision to order the killing of Soleimani and its timing in a U.S. election year. His administration said Soleimani was planning new attacks on U.S. interests but has offered no evidence.

U.S. general Milley said the threat from Soleimani was imminent. “We would have been culpably negligent to the American people had we not made the decision we made,” he said.

Trump administration officials will provide a classified briefing for U.S. senators on Wednesday on events in Iraq after some lawmakers accused the White House of risking a broad conflict without a strategy.

Reuters/NAN

The post ‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Facebook keeps policy protecting political ads | ABS-CBN News

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Facebook logos are seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken Dec. 2, 2019. Johanna Geron, Reuters/file

SAN FRANCISCO — Defying pressure from Congress, Facebook said on Thursday that it would continue to allow political campaigns to use the site to target advertisements to particular slices of the electorate and that it would not police the truthfulness of the messages sent out.

The stance put Facebook, the most important digital platform for political ads, at odds with some of the other large tech companies, which have begun to put new limits on political ads.

Facebook’s decision, telegraphed in recent months by executives, is likely to harden criticism of the company heading into this year’s presidential election.

Political advertising cuts to the heart of Facebook’s outsize role in society, and the company has found itself squeezed between liberal critics, who want it to do a better job of policing its various social media platforms, and conservatives, who say their views are being unfairly muzzled.

The issue has raised important questions regarding how heavy a hand technology companies like Facebook — which also owns Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp — and Google should exert when deciding what types of political content they will and will not permit.

By maintaining a status quo, Facebook executives are essentially saying they are doing the best they can without government guidance and see little benefit to the company or the public in changing.

In a blog post, a company official echoed Facebook’s earlier calls for lawmakers to set firm rules.

“In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management overseeing the advertising integrity division, said in the post. “We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Other social media companies have decided otherwise, and some had hoped Facebook would quietly follow their lead. In late October, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, banned all political advertising from his network, citing the challenges that novel digital systems present to civic discourse. Google quickly followed suit with limits on political ads across some of its properties, though narrower in scope.

Reaction to Facebook’s policy broke down largely along party lines.

The Trump campaign, which has been highly critical of any attempts by technology companies to regulate political advertising and has already spent more than $27 million on the platform, largely supported Facebook’s decision not to interfere in targeting ads or to set fact-checking standards.

“Our ads are always accurate so it’s good that Facebook won’t limit political messages because it encourages more Americans to be involved in the process,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign. “This is much better than the approaches from Twitter and Google, which will lead to voter suppression.”

Democratic presidential candidates and outside groups decried the decision.

“Facebook is paying for its own glowing fake news coverage, so it’s not surprising they’re standing their ground on letting political figures lie to you,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

Warren, who has been among the most critical of Facebook and regularly calls for major tech companies to be broken up, reiterated her stance that the social media company should face tougher policies.

The Biden campaign was similarly critical. The campaign has confronted Facebook over an ad run by President Donald Trump’s campaign that attacked Joe Biden’s record on Ukraine.

“Donald Trump’s campaign can (and will) still lie in political ads,” Bill Russo, the deputy communications director for Biden, said in a statement. “Facebook can (and will) still profit off it. Today’s announcement is more window dressing around their decision to allow paid misinformation.”

But many Democratic groups willing to criticize Facebook had to walk a fine line; they have pushed for more regulation when it comes to fact-checking political ads, but they have been adamantly opposed to any changes to the ad-targeting features.

On Thursday, some Democratic outside groups welcomed Facebook’s decision not to limit micro-targeting, but still thought the policy fell short.

“These changes read to us mostly as a cover for not making the change that is most vital: ensuring politicians are not allowed to use Facebook as a tool to lie to and manipulate voters,” said Madeline Kriger, who oversees digital ad buying at Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC.

Other groups, however, said Facebook had been more thoughtful about political ads than its industry peers.

“Facebook opted against limiting ad targeting, because doing so would have unnecessarily restricted a valuable tool that campaigns of all sizes rely on for fundraising, registering voters, building crowds and organizing volunteers,” said Tara McGowan, chief executive of Acronym, a non-profit group that works on voter organization and progressive causes.

Facebook has played down the business opportunity in political ads, saying the vast majority of its revenue came from commercial, not political, ads. But lawmakers have noted that Facebook ads could be a focal point of Trump’s campaign as well as those of top Democrats.

Facebook’s hands-off ad policy has already allowed for misleading advertisements. In October, a Facebook ad from the Trump campaign made false accusations about Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The ad quickly went viral and was viewed by millions. After the Biden campaign asked Facebook to take down the ad, the company refused.

“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Facebook’s head of global elections policy, Katie Harbath, wrote in the letter to the Biden campaign.

In an attempt to provoke Facebook, Warren’s presidential campaign ran an ad falsely claiming that the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was backing the reelection of Trump. Facebook did not take the ad down.

Criticism seemed to stiffen Zuckerberg’s resolve. Company officials said he and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s president, had ultimately made the decision to stand firm.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University in October, Zuckerberg said he believed in the power of unfettered speech, including in paid advertising, and did not want to be in the position to police what politicians could and could not say to constituents. Facebook’s users, he said, should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” he said.

Facebook officials have repeatedly said significant changes to its rules for political or issue ads could harm the ability of smaller, less well-funded organizations to raise money and organize across the network.

Instead of overhauling its policies, Facebook has made small tweaks. Leathern said Facebook would add greater transparency features to its library of political advertising in the coming months, a resource for journalists and outside researchers to scrutinize the types of ads run by the campaigns.

Facebook also will add a feature that allows users to see fewer campaign and political issue ads in their news feeds, something the company has said many users have requested.

There was considerable debate inside Facebook about whether it should change. Late last year, hundreds of employees supported an internal memo that called on Zuckerberg to limit the abilities of Facebook’s political advertising products.

On Dec. 30, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division, wrote on his internal Facebook page that, as a liberal, he found himself wanting to use the social network’s powerful platform against Trump.

But Bosworth said that even though keeping the current policies in place “very well may lead to” Trump’s reelection, it was the right decision. Dozens of Facebook employees pushed back on Bosworth’s conclusions, arguing in the comments section below his post that politicians should be held to the same standard that applies to other Facebook users.

For now, Facebook appears willing to risk disinformation in support of unfettered speech.

“Ultimately, we don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies,” Leathern said. “Frankly, we believe the sooner Facebook and other companies are subject to democratically accountable rules on this, the better.”

2020 The New York Times Company

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Bye Bye AOC? Democrat Socialist Ocasio-Cortez Could Lose House Seat After New Census ⋆ Conservative Firing Line

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Based on the latest census projections, New York State may lose one congressional district, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fears the district that goes away will be hers.

The horror. 😉 A0C Fears Losing Seat Due to 2020 Census.

The Potential Loss of A0C’s District Highlights Why Democrats Fumed Over Trump’s Proposed 2020 Census Changes https://t.co/7xQu3sdo4K

— Junkyard Dogs (@baileyjer) January 1, 2020

Nothing is official yet. The Census Bureau will announce the final count in December 2020, and the congressional districts will be updated for the 2022 elections.

Party leadership is not happy with AOC, which is why her district is in danger.

As we reported in January of 2019, Congressional Democrats were growing sick and tired of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s antics, especially her use of Twitter to attack other Democrats and to get what she wants from the caucus.

Even some progressives who admire AOC, as she’s nicknamed, told Politico that they worry she’s not using her notoriety effectively.

“She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?” said one House Democrat who’s in lockstep with Ocasio Cortez’s ideology. “There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.

In  July, AOC used the race card against Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Responding to criticism from the speaker, she told WAPO:

“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out … it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful … the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,” she told The Post.

AOC appears to suggest that Pelosi is targeting her because Pelosi wants her to get death threats: “It’s singling out 4 individuals, and knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get …. I think it’s just worth asking why” pic.twitter.com/cueiQi9XC8

— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 11, 2019

When one adds the fact that in her first election she primaried and beat Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, who was seen as Nancy Pelosi’s heir apparent to the fact that she’s attacked the party leadership as much as the other party, it’s understandable why AOC fears being left without a district in 2022

There is something that may hold party leadership back from gerrymandering  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district out of existence. In 2022 Chuck Schumer will have to run for re-election. If she is left without a congressional district, AOC may attempt to primary Schumer. And who knows? Schumer is very powerful, but NY is VERY liberal, and a Democratic Socialist like AOC may be their cup of tea.

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