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US imposes visa ban on individuals involved in election rigging in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states

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The United States has imposed a visa ban on individuals for their actions in the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said the visa restriction will also include individuals involved in negative practices in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections due to their conduct in the run-up to the poll.

The US didn’t reveal the names of the individuals banned.

A statement signed by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday, September 14 reads;

“In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.

“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles,” the statement read in part.

“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights,” the statement read.

The US said it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and condemned all acts of electoral violence, intimidation, or corruption that undermined the democratic process.

“As the Edo and Ondo State off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties, and the security services, to uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner,” the US stated.

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Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

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A schoolgirl has died after allegedly being beaten by her teacher for failing to answer two maths questions correctly.

The 10-year-old girl, identified by her surname Zhang, was a student at a primary school in the city of Guangyuan, central China.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the teacher, identified by the surname Wang, beat the girl on September 10.

Zhang was beaten on her palms four times and ordered to kneel for four minutes.

 

Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

 

Feeling dizzy, she was sent to the hospital by her grandmother and the teacher and was pronounced dead later that day at 3.30 pm.

She also had her ears pulled and her head beaten.

Medical experts found no wounds and an investigation into her death is underway.

The Cangxi county government has set up a task force and the teacher has been suspended from work, along with the school’s principal.

The victim’s grandmother told local media that she had a twin sister who was in the same class. She said Zhang looked close to fainting during the beating.

The grandmother also mentioned that Zhang was scared of her maths teacher, who she claimed often gave corporal punishment to students.

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Former Mali dictator Moussa Traore laid to rest

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Mali held a state funeral for ex-dictator Moussa Traore on Friday, attended by the head of the ruling military junta and other former leaders of the Sahel state.

Traore, who ruled Mali for 22 years before being deposed in a 1991 coup, died at age 83 in the capital Bamako on September 15.

The former autocrat was buried at a Bamako military camp on Friday, where a funeral band played at the arrival of his coffin, which was draped in the Malian flag.

Soldiers dressed in full regalia stood at attention, according to AFP journalists, while two planes performed a flypast overhead.

As a young lieutenant in 1968, Traore was the main instigator of a coup that overthrew Modibo Keita, the country’s first president after independence from France in 1960.

Traore became president the following year and ruled with an iron fist, before he himself was ousted in a military coup in 1991.

In recent years, the ex-dictator was increasingly seen as an elder statesman in the notoriously unstable country, with politicians soliciting his advice.

In attendance on Friday was the head of Mali’s ruling military junta Colonel Assimi Goita, part of a group of young officers who launched a coup ousting president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

Former President Amadou Toumani Toure — who deposed Traore in the 1991 coup — was also among the mourners, alongside other ex-leaders.

Russian diplomats attended the ceremony on Friday, according to AFP journalists, but no French or European Union diplomats were present.

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US to ban TikTok downloads, WeChat use from Sunday

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The United States on Friday ordered a ban on downloads of popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and use of the messaging and payment platform WeChat, saying they threaten national security.

The move, to be implemented Sunday, comes amid rising US-China tensions and efforts by the Trump administration to engineering a sale of TikTok to American investors.

“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.

But while WeChat will effectively be shut down from Sunday in the US, existing TikTok user will be able to continue using the app until November 12 — when it would also face a full ban on its US operations.

But the Commerce Department said if national security concerns over TikTok were resolved before then, the order may be lifted.

TikTok’s brand of brief, quirky videos made on users’ cellphones has become hugely popular, especially among young people.

The plan follows through on a threat by President Donald Trump, who has claimed Chinese tech operations may be used for spying, and it ramps up the pressure on TikTok parent ByteDance to conclude a deal to sell all or part of TikTok to allay US security concerns.

A deal which appeared to be taking shape would allow Silicon Valley giant Oracle to become the tech partner for TikTok, but some US lawmakers have objected to allowing ByteDance to keep a stake.

The ban on WeChat, owned by Chinese giant Tencent, has the potential for disrupting the widely used social media and financial application.

US officials said in a recent court filing they would not target those using WeChat for ordinary personal.

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