Irregular migration: Death trap for desperate youths, stakeholder warns

By Juliana Agbo, Abuja

Nigerian youths have been urged to shun all forms of irregular migration in quest for greener pasture and work hard towards the development of themselves and the country.

The outgoing Country Director, Symbols of Hope Project, Dr Lesmore Gibson who gave the charge in an interview with the Nation in Abuja said hundreds of Nigerians are dying daily due to the act of desperation for greener pasture.

Dr Lesmore while noting that the Symbols of Hope Project was initiated by Lutheran World Foundation to focus on reversing the trend of irregular migration in Nigeria, said they will continue to work with the government and other relevant stakeholders to permanently curb the act.

While explaining that countries like Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia among others have zero tolerance for illegal migration, said many young people have lost their lives in deserts and the Mediterranean sea all in quest for greener pasture.

According to him, “many have endangered their lives and many of our young people have been buried in the desert all in their quest for greener pasture.

READ ALSO: Obaseki targets 50 percent reduction in irregular migration, human trafficking

” There are irreversible factors that have forced people to migrate, it could be as a result of conflict or political unrest in some context, but the context in Nigeria is more of economic factors.

“Most of the returnees or victims of migrants smuggling are people who felt that they need to go out in search of a greener pastures. It is a fact that Europe is attractive because things are working there, but it does not mean people should migrate irregularly.

“We are not condemning migration but we are saying irregular migration is bad.

Speaking further, Dr Lesmore said in changing the narrative, they have designed some interventions programmes for potential migrants and those who are contemplating on illegal migration.

“Apart from the advocacy we carry out, we are working on empowering returnees but with emphasis and attention been placed on potential migrants.

“The returnees need to go through psychological and healing process, because most of them return brutalized, also they have been violated in different forms.
We want the narrative to change.

“The project have designed interventions for those purposes, the other dimension is engaging in networking because symbols of hope cannot do every thing.

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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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Ground Zero Memorial and Rebuilding Fast Facts

Architecture

(CNN)Here’s a look at the rebuilding of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and the memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks.

April 28, 2003 – The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition launches.
June 2003 – The Memorial Competition submission period closes. 5,201 submissions are received from 63 nations.
    November 19, 2003 – Eight prospective plans chosen from the submissions are displayed for the public in the World Financial Center in New York.
    January 6, 2004 – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces its choice of “Reflecting Absence” by Israeli-born architect Michael Arad.
    September 10, 2005 – Supporters of the Take Back the Memorial campaign protest the inclusion of an International Freedom Center in plans for the memorial.
    September 28, 2005 – In a written statement, Governor George Pataki announces that plans for the International Freedom Center adjacent to the planned memorial at the World Trade Center site have been abandoned.
    July 12, 2011 – More than 42,000 passes to the memorial are reserved in the first 24 hours they are made available.
    September 11, 2011 – The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the dedication of the memorial.
    September 12, 2011 – The memorial opens to the public.
    2012 – A dispute between the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey delays construction of the 9/11 museum planned for the memorial site. The museum was originally supposed to open on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
    September 10, 2012 – The budgetary dispute delaying the opening of the museum is resolved when all parties enter into a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement that allows them to restart construction.
    May 15, 2014 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens its doors for the 9/11 community — survivors, families and rescuers. Within it are 12,500 objects, 1,995 oral histories and 580 hours of film and video.
    May 21, 2014 – The museum opens to the public.
    Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan:
    Fall 2001 – New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani create the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The mission of the LMDC is to “help plan and coordinate the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan.”
    The LMDC also administers the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, a separate process from that of rebuilding the World Trade Center area.
    A 15-member board of directors governs the LMDC. The governor of New York and the mayor of New York City each appoint half of the members. The LMDC is also assisted by nine advisory councils.
    According to an audit conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the rebuilding cost grew from approximately $11 billion in 2008 to $14.8 billion in 2012.
    August 12, 2002 FEMA and the Federal Transit Administration announce $4.55 billion in federal aid for transportation improvements in Lower Manhattan.
    September 26, 2002 Six design teams are hired, out of 407 submissions, to create land use plans for the 16-acre site.
    December 18, 2002 An exhibit of nine possible designs opens at the World Financial Center.
    February 27, 2003 Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations” is selected as the new design for the site.
    September 17, 2003 The LMDC releases a revised Master Plan for the site.
    November 23 2003 – PATH train service is restored, linking Lower Manhattan and New Jersey. Trains operate out of a temporary station in the area.
    December 19, 2003 Plans for the Freedom Tower to be built at Ground Zero are revealed.
    January 22, 2004 – Architect Santiago Calatrava unveils his plans for the area transportation hub.
    July 4, 2004 Construction at Freedom Tower begins. A 20-ton slab of granite, inscribed “the enduring spirit of freedom,” is laid as the cornerstone of one of the new skyscrapers that will stand on the site.
    May 4, 2005 Governor Pataki calls for a redesign of the new tower for safety reasons.
    June 29, 2005 – New York officials release the latest design for the signature building at the site after revising it to make the tower more secure.
    September 6, 2005 Architect Santiago Calatrava and public officials dedicate the first steel rail for the future transportation station.
    December 15, 2005 Architect Lord Norman Foster agrees to design the next major building planned for the site. Foster will design a 65-story tower for the northeast corner of the 16-acre site.
    April 26, 2006 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein reach an agreement about the financing of Freedom Tower, resolving problems that had delayed construction.
    April 27, 2006 The formal groundbreaking of Freedom Tower takes place.
    March 26, 2009 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announces dropping the name “Freedom Tower,” and that the first commercial lease in the building has been signed. Upon completion, the building will be named One World Trade Center.
    May 10, 2013 Construction workers bolt the last pieces of a 408-foot spire into place atop One World Trade Center, bringing the building to a height of 1,776 feet. This height references the year the United States declared its independence. It also makes the building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.
    November 3, 2014 – One World Trade Center opens for business, when the first tenant, Conde Nast, moves in.
    May 29, 2015 – The observatory opens in the top three floors of One World Trade Center.
      March 3, 2016 – The first phase of the World Trade Center transportation hub opens.
      June 29, 2016 – Liberty Park opens to the public.

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      September 11 Hijackers Fast Facts

      conflicts and war

      (CNN)Here’s some background information about the 19 hijackers of September 11, 2001.

      crime

        The 28 page report on 9/11 you can’t see

      — 8:46 a.m. ET (approx.) – American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The plane is piloted by plot leader Mohamed Atta.
        — 9:03 a.m. ET (approx.) – United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The plane is piloted by hijacker Marwan al Shehhi.
        — 9:37 a.m. ET (approx.) – American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington. The plane is piloted by hijacker Hani Hanjour.
        — 10:03 a.m. ET (approx.) – United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The plane is piloted by hijacker Ziad Jarrah.
        Hijackers by Airplane:
        American Airlines Flight 11
        Mohamed Atta – Egypt, tactical leader of 9/11 plot and pilot
        Abdul Aziz al Omari – Saudi Arabia
        Wail al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        Waleed al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        Satam al Suqami – Saudi Arabia
        United Airlines Flight 175
        Fayez Banihammad – United Arab Emirates
        Ahmed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Hamza al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Marwan al Shehhi – United Arab Emirates, pilot
        Mohand al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        American Airlines Flight 77
        Hani Hanjour – Saudi Arabia, pilot
        Nawaf al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
        Salem al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
        Khalid al Mihdhar – Saudi Arabia
        Majed Moqed – Saudi Arabia
        United Airlines Flight 93
        Saeed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Ahmad al Haznawi – Saudi Arabia
        Ziad Jarrah – Lebanon, pilot
        Ahmed al Nami – Saudi Arabia
        Hijackers by Nationality:
        Egypt
        Mohamed Atta
        Lebanon
        Ziad Jarrah
          Saudi Arabia
          Ahmed al Ghamdi
          Hamza al Ghamdi
          Saeed al Ghamdi
          Hani Hanjour
          Nawaf al Hazmi
          Salem al Hazmi
          Ahmad al Haznawi
          Ahmed al Nami
          Khalid al Mihdhar
          Majed Moqed
          Abdul Aziz al Omari
          Mohand al Shehri
          Wail al Shehri
          Waleed al Shehri
          Satam al Suqami
          United Arab Emirates
          Fayez Banihammad
          Marwan al Shehhi

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          The date which has both Hong Kong and Beijing on edge

          Asia

          Hong Kong (CNN)For months, October 1 has loomed over the mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, as a whispered deadline for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to take action to end the unrest.

          It’s a significant milestone that China’s leaders will not want overshadowed by protests in Hong Kong, which have grown in intensity since mass demonstrations began in June.
          But what action the party might take is unclear and highly debated, with some even saying the greater threat will be after the anniversary, if protesters disrupt or distract from the day’s celebrations and embarrass the country’s Communist leaders.
            The Hong Kong government has said there is no such deadline for action by Beijing to end the protests. In audio leaked to Reuters, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam can be heard reassuring business leaders that “they and ourselves have no expectations that we could clear up this thing before the 1st of October.”
            But the whispers have continued, with no clear consensus on what October 1 might mean for Hong Kong.
            Some predict that a military crackdown before October is inevitable, as Beijing seeks to save face. Others say that wanting to present a calm, united front in two weeks’ time is the only thing holding Beijing back.
            “The Chinese Communist Party will not allow any sign of a ‘step down’ around the moment of the 70th anniversary … They will do everything to make sure the situation stays under their control,” said 30-year-old protester David Wong.
            Hong Kong protests: The date which has Beijing on the edge - CNN

            Xi’s moment to shine

            Every country has important anniversaries or celebrations, but the Chinese Communist Party heavily politicizes dates such as this and uses them as opportunities to provide justification for the party’s ongoing mandate to govern.
            For instance, 2021 will be the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party. It’s also the self-imposed deadline for President Xi to deliver some of his signature achievements, such as eradicating all poverty and raise living standards to new heights.
            The 70th anniversary on October 1 will similarly be used by the government to highlight how far China has come economically and militarily since the party took power in 1949.
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            In the last 20 years alone, China’s wealth per adult has quadrupled, while its GDP has gone from just $150 billion in 1978 to over $12 trillion in 2018. Just over 30 million people are still living in poverty in China, down from 770 million 40 years ago.
            On the day itself, Xi is expected to address the nation and oversee a military parade through the streets of Beijing, followed by fireworks and cultural performances across the country.
            The celebrations in Hong Kong are expected to be muted in comparison. In the recording of Lam leaked to Reuters, she said that, given the recent “disruptions,” “we are going for a modest but solemn type of celebrations on the first of October.”
            The festivities also come at an important time for President Xi who is embroiled in a trade war with the United States, which has reverberated through global economy.
            Beijing has gone to vast lengths to ensure that the 70th celebrations go off without a hitch.
            Security has been tightened across the capital of Beijing and state media is promoting positive news stories about the government’s achievements. On television, popular dramas have even been banned in favor of patriotic films.
            In this atmosphere, headline-grabbing protests against the government in one of their most well-known cities will frustratingly complicate their narrative of a united and powerful country, happy under the Communist Party’s leadership.
            Asia

            What can they do though?

            But just three weeks out, it isn’t entirely clear what the Chinese government can do to prevent protesters from disrupting October 1 celebrations in Hong Kong.
            The protests have shown no signs of easing despite the Hong Kong government’s promise to withdraw the controversial China extradition bill that brought people onto the streets back in June.
            Some have speculated that Lam’s decision to announce the long-awaited withdrawal of the extradition bill was an attempt to ease tensions ahead of the important date. Many doubt that it will work.
            1. Fully withdraw the extradition bill
            2. Set up an independent inquiry to probe police brutality
            3. Withdraw the characterization of protests as “riots”
            4. Release those arrested at protests
            5. Implement universal suffrage in Hong Kong
            Protesters still have four key demands they say must be met before the unrest will end, including greater democracy in the Asian financial hub.
            In recent weeks, police have taken a hardline approach against violent protesters, arresting demonstrators in greater numbers and breaking up even small gatherings.
            But with more protests planned for this weekend, neither approach appears to have been successful so far.
            With no more concessions likely in the short term, the government could look to impose greater restrictions on protesters to try to pacify the city ahead of October 1.
            There have already been attempts to close down public transport stations close to planned protests, although it hasn’t proven successful as demonstrators have found alternate modes of transport to get around the restrictions.
            The possible deployment of Chinese troops on Hong Kong streets is regularly hinted at by Beijing. Officials have suggested the protests carry “terrorist” overtones and in the past two months, Chinese paramilitary police have held large drills across the border in the city of Shenzhen.
            But any military intervention appears to have been ruled out for now, according to the leaked recording from Lam.
            Little wonder, as it would be disastrous for not just Hong Kong but China more broadly. Investors would flee at the first sign of any military boots hitting the streets, something Beijing can’t risk as the domestic economy slows.
            As their options dwindle, Beijing may be forced to grin and bear a Hong Kong spoiler to their national day, but with the Communist Party’s pride at stake, any over-the-top October 1 protests could be met with an escalation from the government.
            After all, even minor attacks on the symbols of the Chinese government have been enough to provoke the fury in Beijing and state-run media.
              When protesters removed a Chinese national flag in the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui and threw it in Victoria Harbor, state-run media reacted with fury. State-run tabloid Global Times called for “justice (to) be served.”
              Beijing won’t forget quickly if Hong Kong embarrasses it during the Communist Party’s moment of triumph.

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