• Democratic VP nominee, Tim Kaine, says Roman Catholic Church may change its opposition to gay marriage

    14/Sep/2016 // 419 Viewers

     


    PARIS, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016: (DGW) TIM KAINE,  predicts that the Roman Catholic Church may change its stance soon and approve gay marriage.

    Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, who is a devout Catholic, a Senator from Virginia and former Virginia Governor told  the Human Rights Campaign that he had unavoidably had to change his mind on gay marriage because his church may follow suit one day.

    His words: 

    "I think it's going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, 'It is very good,'" Kaine said. He then recalled Pope Francis' remark that "who am I to judge?" in reference to gay priests.

    "I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we're supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it," Kaine said.

    While he pledged to fight for increased rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans, Kaine admitted that he had opposed gay marriage until 2005.

    "For a long time while I was battling for LGBT equality, I believed that marriage was something different," he said. Virginia's lieutenant governor when state lawmakers pushed for a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between one man and one woman, he recalled speaking to amendment supporters who said they hoped LGBT people would feel so unwelcome that they would move out of Virginia.

    "When I heard the proponents describe their motivations, it became clearer to me where I should stand on this," he said.


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  • American company lost $100 million to email fraud, U.S. says

    15/Apr/2016 // 310 Viewers

     

    NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An unidentified American company was defrauded last year out of nearly $100 million by individuals who created a fake email address in order to pose as one of its legitimate vendors, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

    The details of the scheme came as the U.S. government filed a civil forfeiture lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan seeking to recover about $25 million in proceeds derived from the fraud held in at least 20 bank accounts around the world.

    Nearly $74 million has been recovered and returned to the American company, authorities said.

    The case appeared to be the latest, and one of the largest, examples of a "business email compromise," a growing type of cyber scam in which fraudsters target businesses that work with foreign suppliers or regularly perform wire transfers.

    The FBI said in an alert issued to companies last week that businesses had suffered $2.3 billion globally in losses from email wire-transfer scams from October 2013 to February of this year.

    The complaint filed on Thursday "appears to be the largest email scam that I've seen," said Tom Brown, a former Manhattan federal prosecutor who is now managing director of Berkeley Research Group's cyber security practice.

    The scheme at issue in Thursday's lawsuit took place from August to September and was identified after a Cyprus-based bank identified suspicious transfers, authorities said.

    According to the lawsuit, the perpetrators carried out the scam by creating a fake email address that resembled that of one of the company's vendors in Asia.

    The perpetrators then posed as a vendor while communicating with a professional services company that was hired to handle the details and logistics of vendor payments for the American corporation, the lawsuit said.

    The fraud caused the American firm to send $98.9 million meant for the actual vendor to an account at Eurobank Cyprus Ltd, which discovered the fraud, the lawsuit said.

    Eurobank, which did not respond to an email seeking comment, on its own initiative in September restrained nearly $74 million of the funds.

    The remaining $25 million was laundered through other accounts in locations including Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Hong Kong, authorities said.

    Foreign governments at the request of U.S. authorities have restrained 20 accounts worldwide that received portions of the remaining stolen funds, which are now the subject of the lawsuit, authorities said.


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  • Anti-Muslim attacks occurring in record numbers across US

    15/Dec/2015 // 227 Viewers

    Police officers stand watch as people leave Friday prayers at the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah-Amer mosque where shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook was seen two to three times a week at lunch time, in San Bernardino, California December 4, 2015. © Mike Blake / Reuters

     

    Crimes against Muslims and vandalism at mosques appear to have hit an all-time high in the wake of terrorist attacks in France and California. Mosques are struggling with security, as some have hired armed guards or asked the federal government for help.
    On Sunday, two mosques in Hawthorne, California became the latest in a string of anti-Muslim attacks that are on the rise since a radicalized Muslim couple killed 14 people and injured 21 more at a terrorist attack on a holiday party in San Bernardino.

    “A few of our members went to early morning prayer at about 5 a.m. and they found graffiti on the outside wall and ‘Jesus’ was written on the fence,” Zahid Mian, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque, told the San Bernardino Sun. “As Muslims we don’t really find [the crosses] very offensive, but the act of vandalizing is disturbing.”

    A grenade was found inside the building, as well. Police cordoned off the area, but later determined that the weapon was a plastic replica.

    The Islamic Center of Hawthorne was also vandalized Sunday, with the phrase “Jesus is the way” scrawled on the building.

    On Thursday, a knife-wielding man made threatening comments to a Muslim woman at a car wash in Chino Hills, California. Daniel Senteno, 40, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats and brandishing a weapon, but investigators are likely to pursue hate-crime charges in the case, Cindy Bachman, a San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Senteno’s bail has been set at $75,000. He remains in custody and is expected to be arraigned this week, Bachman said.

    Record number of anti-Muslim incidents
    So far in 2015 ‒ through December 8 ‒ American mosques and Islamic centers have been the victims of vandalism, harassment and anti-Muslim bigotry at least 63 times this year, according to preliminary data for a study that the Council on American-Islamic Relations provided to CNN. The report was compiled using based on media accounts and reports from the group's regional chapters, Corey Saylor, a CAIR spokesman, said, adding that the number of incidents at mosques is likely higher than has been reported thus far. According to the Justice Department, hate crimes are often drastically under-reported.

    The previous high of 53 such incidents came in 2010, when a controversy arose in New York City over whether or not to build a mosque near“ground zero” of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, CNN reported.

    There were 17 anti-Muslim incidents at mosques in November alone, most of which were vandalism or harassment, the CAIR study found. On November 13, terrorists in Paris, France carried out coordinated attacks that killed 130 people and injured 368 more. Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) has claimed credit for the attack. The year also began with a terrorist attack in Paris on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, followed by related attacks in the city. The gunmen identified themselves as members of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.

    At least 14 threats and attacks on Muslims and mosques occurred between December 8 and 12, according to news reports compiled by the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald. The incidents include arson at a mosque in Coachella, California; a pig’s head found at a mosque in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the evacuation of the CAIR headquarters in Washington, DC after it received an envelope filled with a suspicious substance; and a Georgia teacher asking a 13-year-old black Muslim student whether she had a bomb in her backpack.

    RT’s own compilation shows that at least 10 total anti-Muslim attacks took place across the US every day between December 5 and 11.

    Late Friday, hours after firefighters were called to a blaze at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley in California that was described as a possible “fire-bombing,” Carl James Dial was arrested and charged with multiple felony offenses including: commission of a hate crime, two counts of arson, one count of maliciously setting a fire, and a count of second-degree burglary, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported. Dial, 23, remained jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, according to jail records.

    Saylor believes the number of anti-Muslim incidents at mosques plays into the hands of IS.

    "Daesh wants Americans to turn on each other, and with November seeing the highest number of mosque incidents since [CAIR] started keeping data, it seems they are getting their wish," Saylor said, using an alternative name for the IS.

    Stepping up security
    Mosques are increasing security around their buildings, with at least two ‒ one in Phoenix, Arizona and one in Northern Virginia ‒ requesting help from the US Department of Homeland Security, Reuters reported. The All Dulles Area Muslim Society outside of Washington, DC took the step after the security guards they hired quit.

    "Security guards resigned because they were fearful of getting hurt in the backlash" after the San Bernardino attacks, Rizwan Jaka, the society’s chairman, said. "People were concerned."

    "Our fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on," CAIR attorney Maha Sayed told the newswire.

    The East Plano Islamic Center near Dallas, Texas, hired an armed security guard after the Paris attacks, Imam Nadim Bashir told Reuters.

    "We're just trying to ramp up our efforts in the community and get a better name," he said.

    The Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in California has spent $10,000 over the past two weeks to increase security. It is now asking for donations from the congregation to defray that expense, Imam Obair Katchi told Reuters. It has faced increased scrutiny after it was reported that Enrique Marquez Jr., who supplied the two rifles used in the San Bernardino shooting, had once attended the mosque.

    A silver lining for Muslims?
    It’s not all bad news for the Muslim community, however. A Muslim-led fundraiser for the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks blew past its first three goals in days. It has now raised nearly $210,000 from almost 2,000 supporters since December 3, and is closing its campaign overnight on Tuesday, 15 days ahead of schedule, according to its LaunchGood page.

    A high school in Chicago, Illinois is battling Islamophobia with an initiative called ‘Walk a Mile in Her Hijab’, in which non-Muslim girls are encouraged to wear the traditional headscarf to better understand life as a woman in the Muslim faith, the Siasat Daily reported.

    “This event is to hopefully denounce negative stereotypes,”  Vernon Hills High School senior Yasmeen Abdallah, the president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and who coordinated the event, said. “You can’t really understand or judge a person and their beliefs until you understand why they do it and what it’s like for them to do what they’re doing.”

    Over a dozen female students have participated, according to the Siasat Daily.

    “I wanted to learn more about the religion, considering my uncle is also Muslim,” Charli Mosley, said, wearing a red hijab.“With more people wearing a hijab around school, it could bring more acceptances to the religion and have more people become more aware.”

     

     

    Source: RT


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  • Muslim woman arrested in US for faking hate attack by DONALD TRUMP fans - BBC reports

    15/Dec/2016 // 675 Viewers

     

    A young Muslim woman who reported being harassed on the New York subway by supporters of US President-elect Donald Trump has been arrested for fabricating the story, officials say.

    Yasmin Seweid, 18, said three men had called her a "terrorist".
    She has been charged with filing a false report and obstructing governmental administration.

    She reportedly later admitted to police she had been out drinking and had made up the story as an excuse.

    The student originally told police the men had told her to "get out of this country" and to "get the f****** hijab off your head!", NBC reports.

    She said they had tried to tear off her headscarf and that no bystanders had intervened during the alleged incident on 1 December. She also said that one of the men had grabbed her bag, breaking the strap.

    "It breaks my heart that so many individuals chose to be bystanders while watching me get harassed verbally and physically by these disgusting pigs," she said on Facebook one day later, according to NBC.
    But officials reportedly got suspicious when they could not find witnesses or any significant video.

    Then, last Friday, the woman was reported missing, in a case that was widely reported on US media. She was found one day later.

    She was arrested on Wednesday and admitted fabricating the story to avoid getting into trouble with her parents.

    Ms Seweid was arraigned at Manhattan Criminal Court, where she appeared without a veil and with her hair shaved. Unnamed sources told the NY Daily News her parents had forced her to cut her hair over the incident.
    Released on Thursday, she faces up to a year in jail for each charge.

    In the days after the election of Mr Trump in November, hundreds of alleged cases of intimidation and abuse were reported in the US. Many of the cases were linked to Trump supporters, a monitoring group said.


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  • JUST IN: Jubiliation as Nigeria's Amina Mohammed becomes UN Deputy Secretary General - The Washington Post reports

    15/Dec/2016 // 690 Viewers

    UNITED NATIONS — Antonio Guterres, who takes over as U.N. secretary-general on Jan. 1, announced Thursday that his top team will be all female — led by Amina Mohammed of Nigeria as deputy secretary-general.

    The former Portuguese prime minister and U.N. refugee chief, who has promised to make gender parity a top priority, said Brazilian diplomat Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil will be his chief of staff and former South Korean diplomat Kyung-wha Kang will take on a new post as special adviser on policy.

    Guterres said he chose the three “highly competent women ... for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action.”

    “These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity,” Guterres said in a statement.

    Mohammed, a development expert who is currently Nigeria’s environment minister, spearheaded adoption of the U.N.’s global goals for 2030 as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning.

    Viotti, a career diplomat who was Brazil’s U.N. ambassador from 2007 to 2011, is currently the under-secretary for Asia and the Pacific in her country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Kang served as U.N. assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs before taking her current job heading Guterres’ transition team. She was U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights from January 2007 to March 2013.

    Guterres was one of 13 candidates vying to succeed Ban, whose second five-year term ends on Dec. 31. He led all six informal polls in the Security Council, which unanimously recommended his selection to the General Assembly. The 193-member world body elected him by acclamation in October, and he was sworn in on Monday.

     

     


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  • Breaking: More trouble for immigrants as Congress quietly passes Bill S211 to reform immigration with media focused on attacking Trump

    15/Feb/2017 // 4619 Viewers

    Republicans supporting their President
     
     
    President Trump has been walking a difficult road since he entered office just under a month ago. Compared to what he is facing while in the White House, his “impossible” election looks simple.
     
    Every action he takes is scrutinized and criticized by liberals, the media, and even some Republicans. They have joined forces to try and make it impossible for President Trump to actually accomplish anything. They have had a fair amount of success and many of Trump’s actions are taking longer than they should to complete.
     
    While the world is focusing on the Commander-in-Chief, waiting to see how they can interfere next, a Republican Congress has been working quietly behind the scenes. Without the normal scrutiny, they have been able to accomplish several major bills that will only serve to aid President Trump in his battles.
     
    Immigration is at the top of everyone’s list for contentious subjects. President Trump is fighting to fix the problem but with liberals standing fast, he is forced to take smaller, slower steps. On the other hand, Congress has made some important ones and nobody seems to have noticed.
     
    S.211 – State Refugee Security Act: Introduced by Senator Ted Cruz, this bill allows Governors the ability to reject the settlement of any refugee in that state. This would be the default stance “unless there is adequate assurance that the alien does not present a security risk.”
     
    This is vital to states such as Minnesota and Washington who have opposed the settlement of refugees within their states and were essentially overruled by the Obama administration. It is common sense that states should have a say, it is their resources and their citizens who are being drained when these huge resettlement camps are placed.
     
    States that have large resettlements have been torn apart, their crime rates spiking as refugees run rampant.
     
    Senator Grassley working hard to pass important legislation

    S.180 – Introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley, would change the criteria to be eligible for certain H1b and L1 work visas. Immigrants applying for these would need to have a U.S degree in that field or an acceptable equivalent.
     
    H.R. 643 – Visa Overstay Enforcement Act: Introduced by Representative Lou Barletta, would increase penalties if immigrants overstay their visa terms. Those who violate the dates on their visas would face a fine and up to six months in jail. Subsequent offenses would carry a penalty of up to two years in jail
     
    Senator Grassley is also working to assist in mandating the E-verify program. This would be a computerized government record system that confirms employees’ authorization to work in the U.S. This would greatly reduce the capability of illegals to manipulate the system and gain employment under false pretenses.
     
    The bill would also require notification from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of anyone who receives a final “non-confirmation” message. That message signifies that an employee is not authorized to work in the United States.
     
    The E-verify system had come under scrutiny before and was considered a form of computerized mass deportation. Given what President Trump hopes to accomplish with immigration, the E-verify system would be a major boost, the electronic equivalent of President Trump’s wall.
     
    In a similar security vein, the House approved almost 20 bills regarding Department of Homeland Security (DHS) procedures including;
     
    H.R. 505 – “Strengthen accountability or deployment of border security technology.”
     
    H.R. 612 – Will establish a grant program to “promote cooperative research between the U.S. and Israel on cybersecurity.”
     
    Congress is quietly working for President Trump AND Americans

    Although H.R. 666 does not specifically mention whistle-blowers, think Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, two other bills do
     
    H.R.914 and H.R. 67, a.k.a. the “Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Act.” The contradictory legislation suggests the DHS has a vested interest in maintaining the outside appearance of a pro-whistleblower stance, even as they devote more resources to identifying whistleblowers within the department.
     
    Besides immigration and security policies, Congress took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Education, the Election Assistance Comission, Roe v. Wade, nuclear technology, and marijuana legislation.
     
    Two bills, both containing one sentence each, were introduced. One would terminate or at least severely limit the EPA and the other would terminate the Department of Education.
     
    A total of 7 bills between the House and Senate went after Roe v. Wade, Republicans taking advantage of their majority to do battle for pro-life advocates; S. 231, H.R. 681, S. Res.15, H.R. 692, H.R. 718, H.R. 354, and H.R. 7.
     
    Each of these 7 tackles a piece of the longstanding right to choose legislation including disposal of fetal parts and defunding Planned Parenthood.
     
    It is heartening to see such support of our President at a time when everyone appears determined to stop him. Little of the current controversy has to do with the issues. Liberals are fighting a losing battle because they have problems with President Trump, not necessarily his policies.
     
    Along the way, of no concern to the left, they are causing unnecessary delays for important legislation. All that they are truly accomplishing is showing the world that the Democratic Party has become a futile, broken entity.

    This post was syndicated from Conservative Daily Post.
     


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  • : Letter From Africa: Not even TRUMP can keep Nigerians from America - Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

    15/Mar/2017 // 918 Viewers

     

    Nothing will stop Nigerians from aiming for America, writes novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. Not even the recent travel advisory by a special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari urging Nigerians with valid US visas to postpone their trips there.

    To many Nigerians, America is the Promised Land. A land where clear waters gush and trees flourish with fresh dollar notes, where bees lose their sting and pigs fly.

    A land where lame feet are cured and blind eyes are opened, where African accents shed their dense tones and become shrill nasal emissions filled with "R"s and "wanna" and "gonna".
    Insurance policy

    In America, lizards transform into crocodiles. Are you the class dunce? The black sheep of the family? A notorious ne'er do well? Never mind. America will soon change your story. And the next time you visit Nigeria, your entire village will gather to receive you at the airport.
    America is also the insurance for a child's future. Many Nigerian couples do not mind borrowing funds to travel and have their babies there, so that the children are instantly issued with the red booklet that is their passport to a better tomorrow far away from Nigeria.
    Let's not forget the shopping. America has some of the best goods and experiences that capitalism has to offer. Nigerians who have it need somewhere to spend their money.

    So what if President Buhari's special adviser is right and some Nigerians with valid visas have been denied access to Donald Trump's America?

    Thanks for letting us know. Very kind of you, indeed. We shall simply add the US border officials to the list of principalities and powers that have to be defeated as we journey to this Promised Land, right next to the US Embassy officials that we have been battling with and overcoming for decades.

    Many Nigerians narrate their conquests at US Embassy interviews in a manner that must be similar to how David recalled his slaying of Goliath.

    "The woman was looking at me," they say. "I looked back at her. She didn't even look at my documents. I kept staring at her. I didn't remove my eyes. Then, she did her face as if she was about to deny me the visa. Under my breath, I just prayed and asked God to take full control.
    "In my spirit, I already knew that the victory was mine. Suddenly, she frowned and said I should come back for my visa. She didn't even know what came over her. God just took control and turned her heart in my favour."

    'Visa juju'

    But don't be fooled by how easy it all sounds. These conquests - whether for a visitor, student, immigrant or any other kind of US visa - are usually preceded by natural and spiritual preparations.
    On the natural side, there are men and women, "agents", who have gained a reputation for their US visa application expertise. Some are consultants, selling advice on what and what not to say in order to nail your interview.

    Some assist with the application process.

    "If this man helps you fill your application form," people say, "there is no way they can refuse you a visa. He knows exactly what you should write."

    On the spiritual side, preparations for a US visa interview sometimes include periods of fasting and praying, or visits to spiritual experts who will command invisible forces in the unseen realm to yank open the doors of America before you.

    For, until these gates of brass have been unlocked spiritually, they say, you may attend a billion interviews and fail. The embassy officials are merely succumbing to forces beyond their control.

    While visiting Edo State in southern Nigeria last year, I met a friendly juju priest, known in his community as "Doctor", who claimed that his specialty was ensuring girls taken to Italy for prostitution did not run away without repaying the debts owed to the brokers, the madams, who paid their way to Europe.

    He also told me that he assists men to smuggle cocaine successfully through international borders.

    "I tell them on what exact day they should travel," he said.

    "If they follow my instructions, they will never get caught. On that day, nobody will be able to see whatever it is they are smuggling through."

    His spiritual powers purportedly blind the most advanced detectors.
    If the rumours of Nigerians being turned back at US borders are true, I imagine that Doctor's services will soon extend to "seeing" and "telling" the exact date one should travel to America, the day when the border officials will be spiritually hypnotised into saying "Welcome to America" with hardly a glance at your visa or passport.

    Rather than adhering to any travel advisory, many Nigerians would simply extend their unorthodox efforts, not just to conquering a US Embassy interview, but to crossing border control successfully.

    For nothing, not even President Trump, can stand between a Nigerian and his or her quest for a better life.

    *Original post appeared first on the BBC


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  • JUST IN: WhatsApp launched a video call, to start working on Tuesday (Today) - CNN

    15/Nov/2016 // 280 Viewers

     

    Users accessing the Facebook (FB, Tech30)-owned messaging app on iOS, Android and Windows can now visually chat with friends but also multitask within other apps at the same time. 

    So if a call goes on for too long, users can distract themselves by scrolling through Instagram.

    The feature also has a major emphasis on security. Like messages and phone calls on WhatsApp, the video chat functionality will be encrypted by default. This means only the two devices involved in the conversation can access the shared data.

    It's a part of a larger effort from WhatsApp, which is favored by a range of users from high school students to politicians, to make privacy and encryption mainstream.

    The feature comes more than a year after Facebook rolled out video chat capabilities to its Messenger app.

    While Apple's iOS-only FaceTime video chat feature touts similar security protocols and multitasking features found in the app update, WhatsApp has a leg up in emerging markets where Android devices dominate. For example, Andoid makes up 97% of the market in India.

    Meanwhile, Google's new video app Duo includes end-to-end encryption, but the platform is minuscule compared to WhatsApp's 1 billion user base. Facebook recently unveiled a secret conversations feature for texting on Messenger,. However, it requires users to opt-in each time.

    WhatsApp's relationship with Facebook might worry some privacy conscious users. Earlier this year, it was announced the texting app would starting sharing phone numbers with the social network, so users could see personalized Facebook ads based on WhatsApp data.

    WhatsApps new feature will roll out to all users starting Tuesday. - CNN


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  • 'B'Haram leader deserts SAMBISA' as PUTIN congratulates TRUMP, talks about international terrorism

    15/Nov/2016 // 1418 Viewers

     

    (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with US President-elect Donald Trump Monday, according to statements from the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.

    Putin "called to offer his congratulations on winning a historic election," according to a Trump statement. The two leaders discussed issues including shared threats, strategic economic issues and the historical US-Russia relationship.
    The two men also spoke about working to normalize relations between the two countries and emphasized the importance of creating a foundation of bilateral ties through trade, the Kremlin said.
    They also discussed the need for "joint efforts in the fight against common enemy No. 1" -- international terrorism and extremism.

    Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump on his win, after a campaign dogged by alleged Russian hacking and Trump's cozy relationship with the Kremlin.
    Trump praised Putin as a strong leader even as US officials accused Moscow of meddling in the election by leaking hacked Democratic campaign emails to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy.
    Multiple critics of Putin have been outspoken in their shock at Trump's win. "Russia was a democracy, if briefly," wrote Gary Kasparov on Twitter. "Then Trump's idol won our last real election."

    During the campaign, Trump was criticized for saying that Putin "is not going into Ukraine," two years after the invasion of Crimea. He later claimed that he meant as President he would not allow further incursions.
    The President-elect also made a habit of questioning NATO's relevance, a departure from over 60 years of bipartisan foreign policy. Putin has been a long time critic of the alliance's expansion into eastern Europe.
    However, on Monday, in his first news conference after Trump's election, President Barack Obama said that Trump had told him he was committed to NATO.
    Last week, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN that he hoped Trump would help improve relations between Washington and Moscow.
    "Because what we have currently is a very lousy relationship," he said.

     


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  • The struggle of tipping at the Lagos airport

    15/Nov/2016 // 251 Viewers

     

    Nigeria is generally perceived as a country where everyone is money conscious and so, money rules the day. Lagos being the business hub of Nigeria is not let off. Unlike some other states were a majority of the population takes on jobs mainly to fulfill dreams and pursue their passions, the key motivation for workers in Lagos is the wage and the addition that comes from extra ‘hustling’. Passion, vision and dreams only comes after the money has been made, so, people only render regular services when there is fiscal incentive, and excellent service in the occasion of a bonus or tip.  Consequently, tipping has become the only way to get things done commendably. 

     

    While some might argue that this notion is one of the many typecasts associated with the state and country, there are not enough facts to dispel the already wide-spread conjecture. Tipping is expected by everyone: policemen on the road, waiters at restaurants, porters at hotels, taxi/cab drivers, baggage handlers etc. Most agonizing is the tipping tradition at the Lagos airports. Lagos has the busiest airports in the country (Murtala Mohamed Airports -MM 1 and 2), and everyday myriads of travelers are seen flocking in and out. Most of these travelers usually do not wear pleasant smiles on their faces as they have to endure endless tipping to ensure they get a smooth travelling experience. 

     

    For those travelling out of Lagos, It usually starts from the parking lot. To get a good parking space, you have to tip the coordinators with a smile and maybe even pleasant small talk. If you don’t, they would most likely park you somewhere so far from the entrance that you have enough time on the trek to regret not tipping them. Next are the luggage handlers. There are designated carts to help you move your luggage from the car to the departure lounge, however, aside from the fee you have to pay to get one, you would be expected to tip the airport staff attached to the cart to help you load the cart, follow you to the ticket stand and possibly move it to the check-in counter.  At the ticket stand, the tipping is inescapable. The airport staff who are meant to direct and assist you, expect you to tip them for any assistance given, and usually even negotiate on the amount before assisting you. On getting to the check-in counter, depending on how much luggage you have, you would be asked to weigh you luggage. After that, you have to stay a while at the waiting lounge for your flight to be announced. Even at the waiting lounge, some officials without being asked help you out with the stamping processes and even advise you on what entrance to sit close to, so that you can queue easily when you hear the announcement of your flight. These Officials also expect to get a tip.

     

    For travelers coming in to Lagos, it is almost the same routine, from the arrival lounge to pick up point, there are different airport officials who solicit tipping for different reasons. Sometimes these officials work as a group and share a large tip from the traveler in the end, while some officials attach themselves to one travel and assist the traveler through various points and receive a large tip at the end. Whatever the case, the traveler ends up tipping, and quite largely too as these airport officials get offended when they are handed paltry sums of money. Most would prefer being tipped in foreign currency such as the US dollar, Euro or British Pounds

     

    Whereas the tipping tradition at the airports might seem like a huge problem, most people who live in Lagos are not bothered by it. They rather encourage it as they see it as a means to achieve quick results. They argue that the decision to tip is quite optional, but then its advantages make it imperative. In countries such as USA, it is compulsory to tip, and they go as far as factoring the tip into your bill (mostly at restaurant). Unfortunately though, the workers do not remember you the next time you visit, and they treat you like every other person. In Lagos however, you tip what you want and how you want, but when you do tip, not only do you get expedient service, the workers mark you and are willing to offer quick and prompt service next time. Some even go as far as giving out their numbers to ensure you get their help next time. Again, the tipping tradition is justified with the fact that these officials get paid very sub-standard salaries and need these tips to live above minimum wage. In this regard, tipping should no longer just be a form of courtesy- to show that you appreciate and respect the service of the person serving you, but also be a medium through which the recipients can receive financial assistance.

     

    No matter the reasons given to justify tipping tradition at the Lagos airport, there are still heavy cons to the dilemma. Things becomes especially difficult for young or low-budget travelers who have actual need of assistance but do not have enough cash to tip accordingly. Again, expatriates who are not well acquainted with the tipping tradition, find it overwhelmingly absurd and get the bad impression that in Lagos, things only get done once the pocket is involved.

     

    To help you survive the travails of tipping at the Lagos airports. Jumia Travel, Africa’s No. 1 online booking portal has these 7 valuable tips:

    ·       Ensure you have lots of change when travelling via the airport

    ·       Giving the tip before the task most times speeds up the service

    ·       Do not engage officials who try to negotiate before assisting.

    ·       Discreetly tip by putting the money in their hand

    ·       Do not feel obligated to use the services of the airport officials. It is okay to say ‘No’ and go through due processes on your own. You should however prepare your mind for the length of time you might take to complete each process.

    ·       Always collect the number of the official you tipped as it comes in handy next time. They will respond faster when you call before arrival.

    ·       Sometimes, the best tip to leave is something other than money


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