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Sports / Manchester City Wins Historic 4th Consecutive Premier League Title by anigold: on Sun at 06:43 pm

Foden, who was player of the match in Sunday's 3-1 win over West Ham after scoring two goals, told Sky Sports after the game: "Not just me, all the lads have played in important games, we've played this scenario over. We were confident. It's paid off.

"It was the perfect start. The [nickname] sniper is going to stay forever now. This feeling will never get old. I want this winning feeling always."

City have now surpassed Manchester United to become the only side to win the Premier League four times in a row.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, speaking on co-commentary, added:"What an amazing achievement from Manchester City's players and coach.

"Man City come back week after week, month after month, season after season. From a sporting perspective, you can't take anything away from them. They are at such a high level."

US Politics / Ghost Shark And Manta Ray: Australia And Us Unveil Undersea Drones by anigold: on Tue at 12:16 pm

Ghost Shark and Manta Ray protect the undersea realm. Sounds like the plot of a future Marvel movie, but in actual fact, it’s what could be the future of Pacific naval defenses.

Ghost Shark and Manta Ray are the names of prototype uncrewed underwater vehicles – UUVs or drones – introduced recently by Australia and the United States respectively.

Experts say the submersibles could represent the future of undersea warfare, showing the ability to exert power while minimizing the danger to human life.

The use of drones in aerial warfare has become commonplace. The US used them extensively during conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan beginning in the 1990s, and newer, cheaper drones have become key pieces of military hardware for both sides in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv has also built naval surface drones, which have inflicted heavy losses on the much larger and more expensive ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Aerial and surface sea drones can be controlled using satellites and light and radio waves. But those don’t function in the same way in the depths.

A 2023 study published in the Swiss journal Sensors points out that underwater communications require more energy but still see significant data loss to variables including water temperature, salinity and depth.

Makers of the new generation of military UUVs aren’t saying how they would overcome communications problems.

But when Australia unveiled Ghost Shark last month, it called the prototypes “the most advanced undersea autonomous vehicles in the world.”

“Ghost Shark will provide Navy with a stealthy, long-range autonomous undersea warfare capability that can conduct persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and strike,” a statement from the Australian Defense Ministry said, adding that it expects the first production models to be delivered by the end of next year.

Australian officials and those from manufacturer Anduril Australia said they could not share any of the specs on Ghost Shark as those remain classified.

But they touted the speed with which the submersible has gone from idea to testing, with the program having started just two years ago.

“Being ahead of schedule, on budget, it’s pretty unheard of,” Shane Arnott, Anduril’s senior vice president for engineering, told reporters.

“Delivering the first Ghost Shark prototype ahead of schedule sets a new standard for capability development at the speed of need,” Australia’s chief defense scientist, Tanya Monro, said in a statement.

Emma Salisbury, a fellow at the British think tank Council on Geostrategy, said the Ghost Shark seems much like the Orca extra-large UUV being developed in the US.

“I assume that they are all intended for roughly similar mission sets – persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike capability, particularly in the anti-submarine domain,” Salisbury said.

The US Navy called the Boeing-built Orca UUV “a cutting-edge, autonomous, unmanned diesel-electric submarine with a modular payload section to execute a variety of missions” in a December news release on the delivery of a first Orca test platform, an early prototype.

Having a modular payload means the Orca in theory could carry different weapons varieties depending upon the task or be fitted with specialized equipment for reconnaissance or possibly intelligence gathering.

The release said the Pentagon would acquire five more of the UUVs, without giving a timetable. But the US Orca has been in the works for more than a decade, the Navy release said, a sharp contrast to the speed with which Australia has developed Ghost Shark.

Chris Brose, Anduril’s chief strategy officer, said the company and Australia are in the “process of proving” that “these kinds of capabilities can be built much faster, much cheaper, much more intelligently.”

Anduril Australia said the entirely domestically developed Ghost Shark would be made available for export after it joins the Australian naval fleet.
Manta Ray trials

Meanwhile, back across the Pacific, the Orca isn’t the only UUV being developed in the US.

America’s latest UUV entry is Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray, a prototype of which was tested off Southern California in February and March.

The Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon branch in charge of developing new technologies, says Manta Ray’s strength is in its modularity, the ability to switch out payloads depending on the mission.

It can be broken down and fit into five standard shipping containers, move to where it’s going to be deployed, and reassembled in the field, according to Northrop Grumman.

The prototype was built in Maryland and then reassembled on the California coast.

“The combination of cross-country modular transportation, in-field assembly, and subsequent deployment demonstrates a first-of-kind capability for an extra-large UUV,” Kyle Woerner, who heads the Manta Ray program at DARPA, said in an agency news release.

He also noted the modular transport method means the Manta Ray can save internal energy for its mission, rather than using it to get to the deployment site.

Like the Orca, the Manta Ray hasn’t come together as quickly as Ghost Shark. Its program began in 2020 and DARPA didn’t give a goal for the Manta Ray – or some variant of it – to join the US fleet.

Education / Steps Towards Finding A Job by Pedro272: on Sat 11 at 03:43 pm
Reflect on your skill
Update your resume regularly
Plan your career path
Prepare for Job interviews and tests
Know how to Negotiate Salary

Crime / Mango Markets Attacker Guilty Of Fraud Over $110 Million Exploit by anigold: on Fri 19 at 12:48 pm
Crypto trader Avraham Eisenberg was convicted Thursday in U.S. federal court of manipulating Solana decentralized finance (DeFi) trading platform Mango Markets in October 2022 to steal $110 million worth of cryptocurrency.

A federal jury found the 27-year-old Eisenberg guilty today on all counts of commodities fraud, commodities manipulation, and wire fraud after a week-long trial in Manhattan. He faces up to 20 years in prison but has not yet been sentenced by New York District Court Judge Arun Subramanian.

Mango Markets is a Solana-based decentralized exchange (DEX) governed by a DAO made up of holders of its native token, MNGO, that lets investors lend, borrow, swap, and use leverage to trade crypto. Back in 2022, Eisenberg sold huge amounts of MNGO perpetuals between accounts that he controlled, pumping the price of MNGO by several orders of magnitude.

As Decrypt reported, he then used his artificially pumped collateral to trick the protocol into allowing him to "borrow" $110 million in various cryptocurrencies.

Within hours of draining Mango's pools, Eisenberg published an anonymous proposal to the protocol's decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), offering to return $67 million of the stolen funds in exchange for permission to keep the remaining $43 million and a promise not to pursue charges.

The DAO rejected the proposition.

Eisenberg's defense team, led by crypto lawyer Brian Klein, argued that his trades on Mango Markets were "successful and legal," claiming that they "fully complied" with the decentralized protocol's rules at the time of the heist, doubling Eisenberg's arguments on social media. After all, a smart contract cannot execute instructions it wasn’t designed to execute.

However, the prosecution argued that Eisenberg acted with fraudulent intentions by inflating the price of perpetual futures contracts and then using the artificially pumped value of his positions as collateral, never intending to pay the funds back.

"He manipulated that price so he could trick the system into giving him money," stated Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Burnett. "He planned to take the money and run."

Evidence presented at trial included internet searches by Eisenberg for terms like "statute of limitations market manipulation" and "elements of fraud," as well as records showing he fled to Israel shortly after the exploit was uncovered. Prosecutors contended these showed Eisenberg knew his actions were criminal.

The jury finally argued that Eisenbergtook advantage of an ineffective price oracle to dupe the system —which is considered fraudulent.

Eisenberg was arrested in Puerto Rico in December 2022, around two months after carrying out the heist. He has been in federal custody awaiting trial since then, and will remain detained pending sentencing by Judge Arun Subramanian at a later date.

Crime / Re: Sam Bankman-fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison by Pedro272: on Thu 11 at 01:34 pm latest breaking news in Nigeria on

Crime / Sam Bankman-fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison by anigold: 12:53 pm On 3 Mar
There is no possibility of parole in federal criminal cases, but Bankman-Fried can still shave time off his 25-year sentence with good behavior.

“SBF may serve as little as 12.5 years, if he gets all of the jailhouse credit available to him,” Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN.

Federal prisoners generally can earn up to 54 days of time credit a year for good behavior, which could result in an approximately 15% reduction.

Since 2018, however, nonviolent federal inmates can reduce their sentence by as much as 50% under prison reform legislation known as the First Step Act.

Epner says the First Step Act was billed as a civil rights measure, to help minority offenders who committed non-violent drug-trafficking offenses.

“It has turned out to be an enormous boon for white-collar criminal defendants, who are already given much lower sentences … than drug-traffickers,” Epner added.

There is also a provision that allows a court to reduce a person’s sentence for extraordinary and compelling reasons, which are often medical, according to Jordan Estes, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at Kramer Levin.

“Since the pandemic, courts have been more willing to grant early release under this provision if the defendant has served a substantial portion of his or her sentence,” Estes said.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said he would recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that Bankman-Fried be placed in a medium-security facility or any lower-security facility the bureau finds appropriate.

Medium-security federal prisons have strengthened perimeters — often double fences with electronic detection systems — and mostly cell housing, according to the Bureau of Prisons. They also have a “wide variety of work and treatment programs.”

Judge Kaplan also ordered a forfeiture of $11.02 billion.

He ruled Bankman-Fried’s forfeited assets can be used to help fund the repayment of victims of the FTX collapse.

Education / The Colombian City Sending Men To School To Learn How To Care by anigold: 10:21 am On 3 Mar
Bogota, Colombia —

It is a rare spectacle in Bogota.

Three women in fluorescent exercise gear stop in their tracks and gawp in surprise. A young mother pushing her newborn in a buggy pulls out her phone and snaps a picture. An elderly man with a bushy mustache pauses to wipe his glasses.

What has grabbed their attention is the sight of a dozen men huddled next to a van in the bright morning sun attempting, with varying degrees of success, to put diapers onto baby dolls. Most are middle-aged adults, but there are a few retirees and one teenager giving it a try.

“That’s not bad for your first try,” says Omar Jimenez, a teacher and trained psychologist, as he inspects a doll presented to him by one of the men in training. “But you could have wrapped the diaper a bit tighter. And it’s a bit wonky. You don’t want the fluids getting out!”

The trainee, Sergio Rivera, nods with a tinge of disappointment. But much like the other men attending this pop-up session in southern Bogota, the 26-year-old is himself a work in progress.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air to learn this,” says Rivera, who has autism and is cared for by his mother. His parents divorced when he was still very young, leaving his mother to raise him and his older brother alone. “I was never taught how to do it as a boy.”

On this warm December day, the men have just 30-minute “taster” slots to learn the basics like using toys to play with children and how to braid the hair of a partner, but the session is part of the wider Escuela de Hombres al Cuidado program, or “care school for men.”

Since 2021, the radical, city-run project has been teaching men across Colombia’s sprawling capital how to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, and any other societally-defined masculine role.

Teacher Omar Jimenez Vega observes a man try to change a diaper at a pop-up session run by the Care school for men

The city’s authorities believe the initiative will go some way to tackling the country’s entrenched machismo culture, or male chauvinism, and by extension encourage men to contribute their fair share of caregiving and domestic work, which they say is at the root of much of the country’s gender inequality.

“My mother worked so hard bringing me up and providing for me,” says Rivera, who came across the event by chance walking along the street. “But it shouldn’t just be left for women to do. Us men have to play our part.”

Research by the Colombia’s Ministry of Culture, Sport and Recreation, shared exclusively with CNN, shows that the initiative may already be having some impact. A survey from late 2023 suggests more men and women in Bogota say that they distribute household work equally than in 2021. There have also been changes in beliefs around gender roles and masculinity, aided by men like Jimenez.

Making more caring kinds of masculinities the norm

After another round of changing diapers, the group moves swiftly onto a different lesson in caring: hair braiding. The idea is that the activity, simple as it is, will catalyze men to be more supportive of and attentive to their partners.

Four mannequin heads in dark brown wigs are set up under a canopy beside Jimenez’s van, which travels around the city running introductory sessions like these at a number of sites each week.

The men gather around the models somewhat hesitantly.

“What’s the most important thing when braiding a woman’s hair?” asks Jimenez, wearing a bright turquoise apron as he leads the class.

“Oh oh, wash your hands!” exclaims one attendee with glee.

“Should we put on gloves?” offers another with less certainty.

“Those are nice suggestions,” replies Jimenez. “But my answer is: do it with tenderness.”

The men let out enthusiastic gasps as if a great secret of the universe was just revealed to them and soon get to work at the unorthodox hair salon.

Among them is Luis Martinez, a former construction worker who struggles to braid the mannequin’s hair neatly. His intensive job meant the 67 year old rarely had time at home with his wife and three sons, but now his schedule has freed up and Martinez says the session has opened his eyes to how to be a better husband.

“I’ll do it for my partner,” says Martinez, entwining the long brown locks of the mannequin with his well-worn palms. “She deserves it. I neglected her before.”

A man learning how to braid hair at the mobile van session in Bogota

The morning’s event intends to make more caring kinds of masculinities the norm and, in turn, rebalancing extensive gender inequalities in relation to unpaid care work.

The gender care gap in Colombia’s capital is particularly stark. About 30% of Bogota’s female population – 1.2 million women – provide unpaid care full-time, averaging 10 hours a day. Women as a whole – including those also in paid work – dedicate an average of five hours and 32 minutes to care work each day compared to two hours and 19 minutes for men, amounting to more than 13 hours spent working each day, according to the 2017 national time use survey. If these hours by women were paid, they would represent 13% of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2018, there were 647 million working age, full-time, unpaid caregivers worldwide, according to a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), providing everything from child and elderly care, to cleaning, cooking and emotional support. About 94% of them (606 million) were women.

More broadly, according to data from 88 countries and territories gathered by UN Women between 2001 and 2017, women on average devote 18% of their day to unpaid care and domestic work, compared with the 7% spent by men. But one region, North Africa and Western Asia, the data shows women do six times more unpaid care work than men.

“The world couldn’t function without these women,” says Clara Alemann, director of programs at Equimundo, an international nonprofit fighting for gender equality. “They do the only job required for all other jobs to exist. But care work is still not properly recognized.”

Equimundo’s 2023 State of the World’s Fathers report stated the need for governments across the world to “promote men’s involvement in care work, prevent gender-based violence, teach the value of care, and promote equitable, nonviolent, caring relationships.”

This is exactly what the Bogota City Hall team is doing, propelled by the city’s first woman and g*y elected mayor, Claudia López, when she was in the role, making it one of few cities worldwide spearheading a revolution in the care economy.
‘Women weren't born with DNA of knowing how to care’

In 2020, the city of Bogota opened its first-ever “Manzanas del Cuidado,” or “Care Block.” These neighborhood centers offer numerous free services to caregivers in one space, including laundry, legal aid, daycare, psychological support, language lessons, STD testing, and yoga and dance classes.

In short, they provide care and support for caregivers, like Rivera’s mother, on a scale and scope never seen before.

“A third of the women in Bogota devote their lives to caregiving, but until now there was nothing for them,” says Diana Rodríguez who developed the initiative as the then women’s affairs secretary under Lopez.

The city of 7.5 million people (with the population reaching 10 million when Greater Bogota is included) now has 22 Care Blocks, funded through a public budget of $800,000 annually, and, according to the team, the aim is to have 45 Care Blocks in action by 2035,

Between March 2021 and December 2023, almost 250,000 caregivers benefited from the services, of which 83% (205,000) were women, including 37,000 people who received education for their high school diplomas and training in computer skills and English. An estimated 38,000 women and their families received entrepreneurship support to improve their employability.

Crime / Biggest Fraud In Chinese History?beijing Accuses Evergrande Of Inflating Revenue by anigold: 10:07 am On 3 Mar

Chinese regulators have accused Evergrande and its founder of inflating revenues by $78 billion, putting the insolvent property developer at the heart of the country’s biggest ever financial fraud case.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) slapped a penalty of 4.175 billion yuan ($580 million) on Hengda Real Estate, the group’s main Chinese unit, the company said in filings to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday.

Xu Jiayin, founder and chairman of the Evergrande Group, was fined 47 million yuan ($6.5 million) for the overstatement and other alleged violations. Formerly China’s richest man, he was also barred from the securities markets for life.

The findings were revealed after an eight-month-long investigation by the CSRC.

The investigation had previously derailed Evergrande’s debt restructuring talks with its overseas bondholders in the fall, because the company couldn’t issue new notes, according to a company statement issued in September.

Days later, Evergrande said its chairman had been detained by Chinese authorities on suspicion of “crimes.” In January 2024, a Hong Kong court ordered Evergrande to liquidate.

n Monday’s filing, Hengda said the CSRC accused the company of several violations, including inflating sales in its financial reports, relying on these allegedly falsified figures to sell bonds and failing to disclose relevant information as required.

The regulator said Hengda had fabricated 214 billion yuan ($30 billion) in sales for 2019, which accounted for half of that year’s revenue. Another 350 billion yuan ($48.6 billion) in sales for 2020, accounting for 78% of revenue, were also falsified.

As a result, 2019’s net profit was inflated by 63% and 2020’s net profit by 87%, it said.

The alleged fraud, amounting to a total of 564.1 billion yuan ($78 billion) over two years, is the largest ever financial fraud case in mainland China’s securities markets, according to previous regulatory statements and state media reports.

In addition to the penalties levied on Hengda and Xu, six other executives were fined by the CSRC for being “directly responsible.”

Like Xu, Xia Haijun, the former vice chairman and CEO of Evergrande Group, was banned from the nation’s securities markets for life.

“Xu Jiayin had made decisions, organized, and implemented the financial fraud … Xia Haijun had organized, arranged and prepared the falsified financial reports… their means were really bad and the circumstances were grave,” the regulator said.

World Politics / Pirate Ship Capture Showcases India’s World-class Special Forces, Analysts Say by anigold: 10:02 am On 3 Mar
The Indian Navy’s rescue of a commercial ship from pirates off Somalia’s coast last weekend shows how Delhi’s military has developed special forces capabilities on par with some of the world’s best, analysts say.

The navy rescued 17 crew members of the vessel MV Ruen during an anti-piracy operation lasting nearly two days, according to an Indian Navy news release, with no casualties reported. Dozens of pirates were taken into custody, it said.

The operation involved a navy destroyer, a patrol ship, an Indian Air Force C-17 transporter flying more than 1,500 miles to airdrop marine commandos, a naval drone, a reconnaissance drone and a P-8 surveillance jet, the release said.

“The success of the operation marks the Indian Navy as a top-class force in terms of training, command and control and other capabilities,” said John Bradford, Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow.

“What marks this operation as impressive is how risk was minimized by using a coordinated force that includes use of a warship, drones, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and marine commandos.”

Experts fear the volatile security situation in the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels on commercial shipping may tie up international forces and provide a window for Somali pirates in the nearby Horn of Africa – presenting a multi-billion-dollar threat to the global economy.

Yemen and Somalia are among the region’s poorest nations, both ravaged by years of civil war.

Somali pirates’ capture of the MV Ruen in December last year marked the first successful hijacking of a vessel off the country’s coast since 2017.

Spanish, Japanese and Indian warships tracked the Malta-flagged, Bulgarian-managed bulk carrier as it was taken into Somali territorial waters, according to a December report from the European Union Naval Force.

But when the Ruen, now operated by a pirate crew, last week left Somali waters with the intent of committing acts of piracy on the high seas, the Indian Navy made moves to intercept it, according to a navy statement posted on social platform X.

The destroyer INS Kolkata, operating in the area to help ensure international maritime security, used a ship-launched drone to confirm the Ruen was being operated by armed pirates, the Indian statement said.

World Politics / Pirate Ship Capture Showcases India’s World-class Special Forces, Analysts Say by anigold: 10:00 am On 3 Mar
The Indian Navy’s rescue of a commercial ship from pirates off Somalia’s coast last weekend shows how Delhi’s military has developed special forces capabilities on par with some of the world’s best, analysts say.

The navy rescued 17 crew members of the vessel MV Ruen during an anti-piracy operation lasting nearly two days, according to an Indian Navy news release, with no casualties reported. Dozens of pirates were taken into custody, it said.

The operation involved a navy destroyer, a patrol ship, an Indian Air Force C-17 transporter flying more than 1,500 miles to airdrop marine commandos, a naval drone, a reconnaissance drone and a P-8 surveillance jet, the release said.

“The success of the operation marks the Indian Navy as a top-class force in terms of training, command and control and other capabilities,” said John Bradford, Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow.

“What marks this operation as impressive is how risk was minimized by using a coordinated force that includes use of a warship, drones, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and marine commandos.”

Experts fear the volatile security situation in the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels on commercial shipping may tie up international forces and provide a window for Somali pirates in the nearby Horn of Africa – presenting a multi-billion-dollar threat to the global economy.

Yemen and Somalia are among the region’s poorest nations, both ravaged by years of civil war.

Somali pirates’ capture of the MV Ruen in December last year marked the first successful hijacking of a vessel off the country’s coast since 2017.

Spanish, Japanese and Indian warships tracked the Malta-flagged, Bulgarian-managed bulk carrier as it was taken into Somali territorial waters, according to a December report from the European Union Naval Force.

But when the Ruen, now operated by a pirate crew, last week left Somali waters with the intent of committing acts of piracy on the high seas, the Indian Navy made moves to intercept it, according to a navy statement posted on social platform X.

The destroyer INS Kolkata, operating in the area to help ensure international maritime security, used a ship-launched drone to confirm the Ruen was being operated by armed pirates, the Indian statement said.

After the pirates fired on the drone, destroying it, and then on the Indian warship itself, the Kolkata responded by firing on the Ruen, disabling its steering and navigation, the statement said.

Boats maneuver around the pirated commercial ship MV Ruen during an Indian military operation on Saturday.
Ministry of Defence/PIB

As the Kolkata sought the surrender of the pirates, the commandos parachuted in after a 10-hour flight from India, the air force said on X. Rafts were also dropped into the ocean from the large transport for marines to reach the Ruen.

The Indian show of force proved too much for the pirates.

“Due to sustained pressure and calibrated actions by the Indian Navy over the last 40 hours, all 35 Somali pirates surrendered,” the navy statement said.

Bulgarian leaders, including President Rumen Radev, thanked India and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the operation.

“My sincere gratitude to (Modi) for the brave action of (the) Navy rescuing the hijacked Bulgarian ship ‘Ruen’ and its crew, including 7 Bulgarian citizens,” Radev posted on X.

Analyst Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain, said the incident highlighted the professionalism of the Indian Navy and said Delhi’s marine commando force, known as MARCOS, had learned from its US and British counterparts.

“The Indian Navy itself is a highly trained and disciplined professional force,” Schuster said.

“MARCOS’ nearly eight months of training is modeled after Britain’s SAS. Despite a very intense selection process, only about 10% to 15% of those who enter the training graduate,” he said.

The analysts noted that the Indian Navy is experienced in anti-piracy operations, going back more than 20 years – and the restive security situation in one of the world’s major shipping lanes meant they were likely to be called on again.

In a January media briefing, an Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said maritime security in the region is a priority for India.

“The ongoing activities there are indeed a matter of concern, and it affects our economic interests,” official spokesperson Shri Randhir Jaiswal said.

“We are consistently monitoring the situation. Our naval forces, naval vessels are engaged in ensuring the safety of our commercial vessels,” Jaiswal said.

A helicopter flies over the commercial vessel MV Ruen during an Indian military anti-piracy operation last weekend.

Sports / Serie A: Osimhen Irreplaceable At Napoli – Capello by anigold: 10:56 am On 3 Mar

Former AC Milan manager Fabio Capello says it will be a tough task for Napoli to find a replacement for Victor Osimhen.

Osimhen is expected to leave the reigning Serie A champions in the summer.

Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are among the top European clubs circling around the Nigerian.

Capello admitted that it will be difficult for the Partenopei to get a suitable replacement for their talismanic striker when he leaves the club.

“How do you replace Osimhen next year? Million dollar question, there are no players around to replace Osimhen. You would have to have a crystal ball to find him,” Capello told II Martino via Area Napoli.

The 25-year-old scored 26 goals in 32 games to help Napoli win the Scudetto for the first time in over three decades last season.

He has scored 11 times in 17 league appearances this term.


Cryptocurrency / Bitcoin Breaks $70,000 In Volatile Trading, Hitting A New Record To End The Week by anigold: 10:55 am On 3 Mar
Bitcoin breaks $70,000 in volatile trading, hitting a new record to end the week

The price of bitcoin jumped to a new record on Friday.

With the introduction of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the U.S., big crypto moves now tend to take place during traditional stock trading hours.

The price of bitcoin jumped to a new record on Friday, breaking through $70,000 for the first time ever.

The cryptocurrency was last higher by about 2% at $69,304.84, according to Coin Metrics. At one point, however, it rose as high as $70,170.00, topping its previous record set on Tuesday. It’s on pace to end the week higher by 10%.

The up move began around the time the U.S. stock market opened. With the introduction of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the U.S., big crypto moves now tend to take place during traditional stock trading hours.

The early advance may have been driven in part by investors who were weighing the February jobs report, hopeful that a higher unemployment rate and cooler than initially reported employment growth in December and January will clear the way for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates later this year.

However, crypto trading has been especially volatile this week. After bitcoin reached a new record on Tuesday for the first time in more than two years, it quickly tumbled as much as 10%, pulling down other cryptocurrencies and crypto stocks along with it, then recovering much of those losses the next day. The bitcoin historical volatility index is at its highest level in almost a year, according to TradingView.

“Navigating old highs is notoriously tricky and the bitcoin dam doesn’t tend to burst at the first time of asking,” said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto exchange Nexo. “Tuesday’s sharp bitcoin sell-off was healthy, necessary and a prelude to further gains. Volatility defines bitcoin bull markets and 2024 will be littered with sudden and gut-wrenching 10%-20% plunges.”

Cryptocurrency / Binance Drops Nigerian Naira From P2p Platform Amid Forex Manipulation Concerns by anigold: 01:46 pm On 2 Feb

Crypto exchange Binance has removed Nigeria’s fiat currency, Naira, from the national currencies it supports on its peer-to-peer platform, according to CryptoSlate sources.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that two Binance executives have been detained in the country, with their passports seized. The Binance employees had traveled to Nigeria to resolve the country’s ban on crypto exchange websites.

Nigeria has the highest peer-to-peer volume in the world due to the high level of adoption in the country. The development comes amid increasing regulatory concerns about Binance’s role in Nigeria’s foreign exchange challenges.
P2P exchange rate concerns

Last week, the Nigerian government restricted access to the online platforms of various crypto firms, including Binance. The regulators argued that this would prevent what they perceived as ongoing manipulation of the foreign exchange market and the unlawful movement of funds.

However, as is well known in the crypto industry, the exchange rates on P2P markets are not controlled by crypto exchanges — rather, the rate is the price at which two individuals agree to trade their assets.

The “open-market exchange rate,” as it is often called, is determined by people participating in P2P markets involving unstable fiat currencies. The exchange rates often fluctuate heavily depending on market conditions and are usually above the interbank rate.

This is the first time a government has blamed crypto exchanges for the open market rates of their currency.

Binance has yet to respond to CryptoSlate’s request for comment as of press time.

It’s worth noting that the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declared Binance’s operations illegal in 2023, citing its lack of registration in the country.
Unverified $26 billion transaction

Olayemi Cardoso, the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, recently told local media that Binance Nigeria allegedly facilitated the transfer of $26 billion from unidentified sources last year.

Cardoso said:

“In the case of Binance, In the last one year, 26 billion dollars has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify.”

Local media reported that Cardoso also reiterated the ongoing clampdown on crypto platforms and revealed the collaboration between federal agencies to curb the foreign exchange rate distortions.

He reportedly said:

“[The authorities] are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market or put it differently to not allow others to manipulate our markets in a way that ends us distortionary and sub-optimises for all Nigerians.”

Nigerians remain pro-crypto

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s young, tech-savvy population has shown keen interest in cryptocurrencies despite the government’s recent stance.

Victor Asemota, a prominent tech entrepreneur in Nigeria, highlighted the nation’s reliance on cryptocurrencies for cross-border transactions, citing a lack of alternative reliable channels.

Asemota added:

“You can’t kill crypto, it will just become more hidden and more sinister. What is within the control of government is to make other channels more efficient. Crypto is not easy to use but it becomes easier when there are no choices. Provide easier choices and people will use them.”

Sports / Paul Pogba Banned For Four Years For Doping To Effectively End World Cup Winner' by anigold: 01:39 pm On 2 Feb

Ex- Manchester United star Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years for doping.

The midfielder was initially suspended in September after failing a drugs test while with the Italian giants. A secondary sample was then counter-analysed, which also returned a positive result for DHEA.

The National Anti-Doping Tribunal was to decide on a punishment and it has now been confirmed that Pogba will now not be able to play until at least 2028. It is the maximum ban that a player could have received.

The ban means that Pogba could potentially be 35 by the time he is able to play again. Pogba's contract with current employers Juventus is set to run until the summer of 2026 and he will now never play for the side again. His second stint with the club has been a disaster.

The Frenchman - who won the World Cup with his nation in 2018 - returned to Turin in 2022 on a free transfer from Manchester United. His first season was constantly disrupted by injury, while he made just two appearances this season before being suspended.

His international career now also looks all but over. Pogba had earned 91 caps for his nation - the last coming in 2022 - and scored 11 goals. He won the nation's second World Cup crown during the 2018 edition in Russia.

Speaking in December, France boss Didier Deschamps said: "I love all my players, but I'm sad about what Paul is living. I'm not just talking about the most recent events, but also about everything he has experienced so far, with the personal problems that have inevitably had consequences on his injuries. I feel bad for Pogba: how can he do it?"

Elsewhere, speaking before the second sample was tested, Pogba's representative Rafaela Pimenta said: "We are waiting for the counter-analysis and until then we can't say anything. The certain thing is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break the rules."

Sports / Nigeria Vs South Africa Afcon 2023 Semi-finals (4 - 2)pens On 7 Feb 2024 by anigold: 10:38 pm On 2 Feb
AFCON 2023

Semi Finals

Nigeria. Vs South Africa

Date: Wednesday 7th February 2024

Time :. 6:00pm

Venue:Stade Bouaké

World Politics / China Gives Suspended Death Sentence To Former Top Banker by anigold: 01:52 pm On 2 Feb

A Chinese court has handed a suspended death sentence to Tian Huiyu, an ex-president of China Merchants Bank and previously the right-hand man of the country’s former economic tsar, on charges including bribery and insider trading.

The sentence comes as Chinese leader Xi Jinping steps up his anti-corruption purge across the vast financial system, which is aimed at consolidating his control over the “lifeblood” of the economy.

Tian received a death sentence with a two-year reprieve, according to a verdict announced on Monday by the Intermediate People’s Court in Changde city, in central Hunan province. That means the sentence may be commuted to life imprisonment after two years if he does not commit any serious crimes during the two-year period.

Tian was also found guilty of three other charges: abusing his positions in state-owned enterprises, using undisclosed information for stock trading and leaking inside information.

The court said he had used his privileged access to information to make more than 290 million yuan ($41 million) in illegal gains from the stock market. He also leaked inside information about stocks to other people, which yielded more than 8 million yuan ($1.1 million) in illicit profits, it said.

The verdict said Tian had taken advantage of his roles to help individuals and organizations get loans, jobs or businesses. In return, he accepted bribes worth more than 210 million yuan ($30 million), it said.

A veteran banker, Tian had spent more than three decades working in some of China’s largest state-owned financial institutions, including China Construction Bank, the nation’s second largest bank, and China Cinda Asset Management, a major bad debt manager.

In the 1990s, Tian served as the secretary of Wang Qishan, China’s former economic tsar, who was then leading China Construction Bank, according to state-owned newspaper The Beijing News.

In 2013, Tian was promoted to head China Merchants Bank, serving as its president and its Communist Party boss.

In April 2022, he was removed from the top posts at the bank. Days later, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog, announced he was under investigation for “serious violations of discipline and law.”

In October 2022, he was expelled from the party and arrested. He was charged four months later.

Shanghai is mainland China's top financial center.

Last November, Tian pleaded guilty to the charges at a public court hearing in Changde, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The Communist Party has stepped up its crackdown on the country’s state-owned financial system since last year. More than a dozen senior executives at the country’s most important financial institutions have been investigated or charged, including Li Xiaopeng, former chairman of China Everbright Group, and Liu Liange, former chairman of Bank of China.

Some prominent figures from the private sector have also been ensnared. Bao Fan, one of the country’s top tech dealmakers, went missing in February 2023. China Renaissance, the investment bank that he had founded and chaired, said he was cooperating with authorities in an investigation.

Bao resurfaced earlier this month, with China Renaissance announcing his resignation from the company due to “health” and family reasons.

Sports / Nigeria Defeated Cameroon 2-0 In Their 2023 Africa Cup Of Nations Round Of 16 by anigold: 11:37 pm On 1 Jan
Enjoy that? Our first quarter-final of the tournament is set after Angola and Nigeria both had reasonably comfortable Saturday nights, Ademola Lookman scoring both goals to send the three-time champions through.

The Afcon 2023 action continues tomorrow, starting with Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea at 17:00 GMT and proceeding to Mohamed Salah-less Egypt against DR Congo (20:00 GMT). We'll have you covered with all of the action from both of those last-16 matches.

Thanks for your company this evening

Nigeria defeated Cameroon 2-0 in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash on Saturday.

Ademola Lookman scored twice in each half to hand Nigeria a famous win over the Indomitable Lions.

Victor Osimhen broke free and laid off a pass to Lookman, who saw his weak finish trickle pass the line.

Nigeria defeated Cameroon 2-0 in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash on Saturday.

Ademola Lookman scored twice in each half to hand Nigeria a famous win over the Indomitable Lions.

Victor Osimhen broke free and laid off a pass to Lookman, who saw his weak finish trickle pass the line.

With time running out, Lookman touched home Calvin Bassey’s cross.

Jose Peseiro’s men will now face Angola in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Earlier in the day, Angola thrashed Namibia 2-0 in their last-16 clash

World Politics / I Collected $30m For Helping Gov’t Recover $300m – Afe Babalola by anigold: 07:37 pm On 1 Jan

Legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Aare Afe Babalola, has revealed some of the big legal fees he has charged from clients, saying on one occasion, he got $30million for helping the government recover $300m from banks.

In another instance, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State, said he charged Mobile $5m in an appeal case he handled for the company in the 80s.

Babalola, who revealed this in a recent interview with a radio talk show host, Ifedayo Olarinde aka Daddy Freeze, said Mobile initially rejected his asking fee and engaged another SAN in Lagos who charged them N500,000, but lost the case.

“Yes,” Babalola confirmed when Daddy Freeze said he learnt that he charged Mobile $5m.

He said, “….The client has a right to pay in dollars or (its naira) equivalent. This time I was in my office then a message came from Lagos that Mobile people from Netherlands, Scotland and America wanted to see me. I went there and met some directors there. They had a big case and I charged them $5m. They decided to negotiate but I said no; that was what I would charge for the case. They said, ‘Ok, you would hear from us.’ I went back to Ibadan. They never came back.

“About two years after, the same Mobile sent for me and I went. They told me that the last time we referred a case to you and you charged us $5m, but when you left, one of us said there was a senior advocate in Lagos who demanded less than N500,000 so we paid him. Now we have lost.

“From the way you addressed us and the confidence we want you to handle the appeal for us. Can you handle it for us? Why not, but my fee remains the same amount. They said don’t worry, we will pay this time. Not only did I collect the money, I also won the case for them. So they remain my client; I became the special adviser to the company.”

Asked about other bigger legal fees he had charged, he recalled striking a deal with the government to get a 10% commission upon recovery of the sum of $300m from some banks.

“I can remember one case where there was a syndicate of banks fighting the government over a certain matter. I said you would pay me 10% of what I collect from them. At the end of the day, I collected $300m for them and of course 10% for me,” he said.

US Politics / Desantis Ends 2024 Presidential Campaign And Endorses Trump by anigold: 02:27 am On 1 Jan

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who entered the Republican presidential primary as Donald Trump’s greatest threat, announced Sunday that he is ending his White House bid and endorsing the former president.

His announcement, made in a video posted on X, comes after a disappointing second-place finish in last week’s Iowa Republican caucuses.

“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome, more campaign stops, more interviews, I would do it, but I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign,” DeSantis said.

He then touted his support for Trump: “While, I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the Coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden. That is clear.”

“I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement, because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear or repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents,” he said.

His departure leaves former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the lone Trump alternative in the race but without much time to consolidate support and catch up to the front-runner.

DeSantis’ decision came after days of conversations with donors. It became clear over the weekend that there was neither the rationale nor the financial support to continue his candidacy.

DeSantis and his wife Casey made the decision Sunday afternoon, surprising many of his rank-and-file staffers and supporters.

DeSantis called top donors personally and told them that he had woken up that morning and decided there was no path to winning and it was time to get out, two Republican donors with knowledge of the calls told CNN.

DeSantis told the donors that there was no reason to waste his time and money staying in the race. DeSantis said there was no path to victory with Trump in the race, recalling how he kept hearing from attendees at his events that, “if it wasn’t for Trump, I would vote for you.”

The two sources said DeSantis knows he is young and if he is to have a chance at winning the GOP presidential nomination in 2028, he needed to endorse Trump.

It’s a devastating blow to the promising career of a once-rising GOP star, and his failure to reach the lofty expectation of his candidacy has already sparked a wave of second-guessing from close allies and advisers. Some believe DeSantis took too long to attack former President Donald Trump. Others think his team underestimated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

More yet remain convinced that there was nothing DeSantis could have done to wrestle the party from Trump’s loyal and sizable followers.

“DeSantis has run the playbook to a T,” Steve Deace, a well-known conservative radio commentator and supporter of the Florida governor, told CNN in recent weeks. “It’s just as simple as: when they started indicting Donald Trump, people weren’t ready to move on from him. And for DeSantis, it wasn’t quite his time.”

For his part, DeSantis has blamed his performance on a host of challenges, including Iowa’s weather, conservative media’s loyalty to Trump and the unprecedented barrage of negative ads against him. One thing he hasn’t faulted was his main pitch to voters – his record of accomplishment in Florida – which he continued to feature in speech after speech until his final moments as a presidential candidate.

Last week’s outcome in Iowa proved an especially devastating blow. DeSantis had once vowed to win the state, then predicted he would perform well, claiming his ground game would reveal itself as a secret weapon. He instead finished nearly 30 points behind Trump and barely edged out Haley for second place, sapping his credibility along with the enthusiasm for him.

DeSantis vowed to fight on, but after Iowa, it was increasingly clear to many around him that his campaign had run its course.

Trump can now take credit for upending the political futures of three of the most prominent and promising Republican politicians in his adopted home state: DeSantis, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (the latter two of whom he bested in the 2016 Republican presidential primary).

It is unclear what is next for DeSantis, who, at age 45, has three years remaining in his second term as governor before he is term-limited. In recent weeks, DeSantis has planted the seeds for a potential 2028 bid, claiming that some Trump supporters have already encouraged it.

“They were coming up to me saying, ‘We want you in 2028, we love you, man,’” the governor recently told reporters.

DeSantis had an inauspicious start on the path to White House contender. It wasn’t until his third term in the US House in 2017 that he began to make a name for himself as a loyal defender of Trump on Fox News. On the website then known as Twitter, Trump called DeSantis “a true FIGHTER!”

With Trump’s backing, DeSantis won the Florida governorship in 2018. DeSantis then spent the next four years charting a path distinct from his one-time ally. He found his lane as an unabashed and willing culture warrior who broke from the medical community during the coronavirus pandemic and dove into national controversies over immigration, education and LGTBQ issues, earning fawning media coverage from right-wing outlets along the way.

By the time of his 19-point reelection victory in 2022 – when a GOP red wave fizzled elsewhere and many Trump-backed candidates flamed out – a presidential campaign was all but certain. Republicans looking to move on from Trump saw a resume straight out of central casting: blue-collar roots, Little League star, a college athlete at Yale, Harvard law degree, Navy veteran and a photogenic young family.

Beyond that, DeSantis at that point had never lost a race.

“DeFuture,” declared the New York Post, the tabloid published by conservative media mogul Rupert Mudoch, the morning after the midterm election, with DeSantis and his wife Casey, a top confidant, splashed across the cover.

But DeSantis slow-walked his entrance into the race – there was first a book to sell and a legislative session to oversee – and, once in, he struggled to match those lofty expectations. More critically, DeSantis failed to convince other Republican presidential hopefuls that he and Trump stood alone atop the GOP and spent the 2023 summer running against a crowded field instead of the former president.

The campaign trail proved a challenging environment for DeSantis, who had grown accustomed to holding court and chastising media from behind a lectern. His political foes gleefully elevated his stiff and awkward interactions with voters. In eight months as a candidate, he struggled to articulate a coherent rationale for his candidacy and focused more often on his past accomplishments as a governor than his ideas for the future.

His campaign was also beset with cost overruns and shakeups that dogged him throughout the summer. A small group of loyal but inexperienced advisers in Tallahassee regularly clashed with the veteran GOP operatives who commanded his super PAC, led by strategist Jeff Roe. By the time Iowans caucused, the super PAC, Never Back Down, was on its fourth CEO, had undergone an exodus of staff and advisers and was no longer running ads.

Still, DeSantis remained a viable candidate until the voting started, a testament to a relentless appetite for campaign stops and media appearances. In Iowa, for example, he visited all 99 counties and had earned the support of the state’s popular Republican governor, Kim Reynolds.

But it was clear in the days after the Iowa caucuses, when he appeared tired and sounded dejected, that the grind of the campaign had taken its toll. DeSantis maintained, though, that he had no regrets about running.

“If I had been sitting on the sidelines, and Republicans end up losing in 2024, people then would have said, ‘Oh, well, you had the opportunity to do something, and you didn’t,’” he said in a recent interview. “So, any one can sit there and carp on the sidelines – get in the arena, and fight for what you believe in.”

Crime / Oscar Pistorius Released From South Africa Prison After Serving 9 Years For Girl by admin: 10:01 am On 1 Jan

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Paralympic and Olympic sprinter, was released from prison on parole on Friday, more than a decade after shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in a killing that shocked the world.

A parole board granted Pistorius’ petition in November on the grounds that he had served half of his 13-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp, making him eligible according to South African law.

Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS), told CNN that Pistorius was released from Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, west of Pretoria, on Friday morning. He will be subject to parole conditions until his sentence expires in 2029.

In a statement Friday, Steenkamp’s mother said her only desire following Pistorius’ release is that she would be allowed to live her remaining years “in peace”.

“There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back,” June Steenkamp said. “We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”

Prison officials search a car at the main entrance of the Atteridgeville Prison in Pretoria, South Africa on January 5, 2024.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door in his home in Pretoria on February 14, 2013. He has maintained that he did not kill her in a fit of anger during a Valentine’s Day argument, as prosecutors argued, and said instead he had mistaken her for an intruder.

During the trial, which garnered global attention, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp’s killing.

He was initially convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years. But a higher court overturned the conviction and upgraded it to murder a year later, increasing his sentence to six years in prison.

The ruling was appealed by prosecutors who claimed the sentence was too lenient. Pistorius’ sentence was increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.

Pistorius became eligible for parole in March 2023, due to a law for inmates who have served half of their sentence and met conditions such as good behavior. The legislation is part of the country’s “Restorative Justice” process, which gives offenders the opportunity to “acknowledge and take responsibility for their actions.”

According to the DCS, Pistorius will complete the remainder of his sentence in the country’s community corrections system.

He will have to attend programs on gender-based violence and continue therapy sessions on anger management, Reuters reported, citing a lawyer for the Steenkamp family.

The DCS said in a statement Wednesday that “general parole conditions” will apply, including Pistorius being required to be home at particular hours of the day. He will not be allowed to consume alcohol or prohibited substances and will be required to participate in programs identified by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board.

“Just like other parolees, Pistorius is restricted from conducting media interviews,” the statement added.

Cryptocurrency / Binance Ceo Changpeng Zhao Quits, Pleads Guilty, And Must Pay $200 Million Fine by admin: 11:55 pm On 11 Nov 2023
BINANCE AND ITS chief executive, Changpeng Zhao, pleaded guilty to criminal charges for anti-money laundering and violations of US sanctions under a sweeping deal with the US Department of Justice. The deal, which will allow the company to continue to operate, will also see Zhao step down as CEO. Binance will pay a $4.3 billion fine.

As well as leaving his role as CEO, Zhao will pay $200 million in fines as part of the settlement. He appeared earlier today in court in Seattle to plead guilty and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

In court documents, Binance was charged with money-laundering violations, US sanctions violations, and conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Binance admitted that it had failed to prevent and report suspicious transactions made by terrorist organizations, including Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, the Islamic State, and al Qaeda.

Science/Technology / ‘lost Its Soul’:campaigners Decry Renovation Of Thailand’s Iconic ‘robot Buildin by admin: 10:25 am On 11 Nov 2023

For almost four decades, its cartoonish eyes gazed out placidly over Sathorn, a commercial district in downtown Bangkok. Now, with its facade stripped back to a concrete frame amid major renovations, the tower affectionately known as the “Robot Building” is barely recognizable, save for its characteristically blocky silhouette.

The building’s owners, the Thai arm of Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB), say the refurbishment will make its headquarters more energy-efficient and employee-friendly. While the company would not share images of the proposed redesign with CNN, conservationists and architects — including the tower’s 84-year-old designer, who says he was shown plans for the new exterior — have expressed dismay at dramatic alterations being made to an icon of Southeast Asian postmodernism.

Completed in 1986, the Robot Building was intended to reflect changes in the banking industry, which at the time was embracing new computer technology. Its designer Sumet Jumsai, who was inspired by one of his son’s toy robots, is considered a major figure in contemporary Thai architecture, and was named a “national artist” by the country’s government.

In an email to CNN, Sumet, who is now retired, decried the “defacement” of his creation. He described renovations as a “devastating statement” demonstrating the “ignorance and arrogance (of) big corporations.”

In March, the architect wrote to UOB Thailand expressing concern over the loss of the tower’s “original iconic features,” including its eyes, and urging it to reconsider plans “before it is too late.” The bank’s response, which was shared with CNN by Sumet, acknowledged that the building was a “significant landmark” — but said the planned refurbishment would bring it “into a new era while paying homage to its heritage.”

The bank added that it will keep a replica of the building’s original form in “a corner of the lobby.”

Originally designed for the Bank of Asia, the tower was acquired by UOB Thailand in 2005. The firm told CNN, via email, that its renovations are focused on “promoting environmental sustainability” and “enhancing employee well-being” for the thousands of workers who will occupy the building upon its reopening in 2025.

Bangkok’s abandoned ‘ghost’ towers still stand 20 years after crash
The organization said its redesign will reduce electricity consumption by at least 15%, with a new glass exterior “minimizing the need for artificial lighting and thus reducing associated… carbon emissions.”

‘Elevated’ design
Standing 20 stories high, the Robot Building’s floors get progressively smaller as they rise, giving the structure its distinctive staggered shape. Its iconic lidded “eyes” served as windows for two executive suites on the upper floors, while the building’s toy-like appearance was completed by antennas — used for communications and as lightning rods — and a series of large metallic nuts decorating its sides.

The Robot Building is among a vanishingly small number of landmarks from the era to have survived Bangkok’s breakneck urban development. After recovering from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Thailand’s capital experienced a building boom that transformed areas like Sathorn. Bangkok is now the world’s 14th tallest city, with 112 towers measuring 150 meters (492 feet) or above, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

The Thai branch of Docomomo International, a non-profit dedicated to preserving modern architecture, said it has identified the relatively diminutive Robot Building in its upcoming list of the country’s 20 “most outstanding” structures.

In an open letter to UOB Thailand, published in April, the conservation group’s president, Pongkwan Lassus, described the Robot Building as an “historical marker” signaling the transition from late modernism to postmodernism — an architectural movement known for decorative facades, ornamentation and a rejection of the mid-century mantra “form follows function.”

Bangkok-based filmmaker Dana Blouin, who is producing an as-yet-unnamed documentary on the Robot Building, said that despite campaigners’ pleas, the tower has now “lost its soul.”

Tokyo’s iconic Nakagin Capsule Tower to be demolished
“We’ve lost something that was probably more important than anyone realized,” he told CNN via video call.

While recognizing the tower may have been viewed as a “novelty,” Blouin said the original design “felt elevated and refined.” He added: “It was still fun, and it was still whimsical. And it was beautiful.”

“When it was built, it was one of the tallest buildings (in Sathorn district),” he said. “Today, the structure is minuscule by comparison — it’s dwarfed by these other glass and steel structures all around it. And that made it all the more special.”

World Politics / Jordan’s Queen Rania Says Being Pro-palestinian Does Not Equal Being ‘antisemiti by admin: 09:58 am On 11 Nov 2023
Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan has called for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas, saying that supporting the protection of Palestinian lives does not equal being antisemitic or pro-terrorism.

“Let me be very, very clear. Being pro-Palestinian is not being antisemitic, being pro-Palestinian does not mean you’re pro-Hamas or pro-terrorism,” Rania told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Sunday.

“What we’ve seen in recent years is the charge of antisemitism being weaponized in order to silence any criticism of Israel,” she said.

“I want to absolutely and wholeheartedly condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia…but I also want to remind everyone that Israel does not represent all the Jewish people around the world. Israel is a state and is alone is responsible for its own crimes.”

Israel declared a “complete siege” on Gaza following the October 7 terror attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave.

Hamas killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages, according to the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) count.

The Israeli siege and accompanying bombing campaign has seen Gaza pounded with relentless airstrikes, and a blockade of vital supplies to 2.2 million people living in the isolated strip. As of Sunday, more than 9,700 people had been killed in Israeli strikes, according to the Palestinian Minister of Health in Ramallah, using figures that are drawn from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

At a summit on Saturday, attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Arab leaders called for an immediate ceasefire, while Blinken repeated the US position that a ceasefire would give Hamas time to regroup for another attack on Israel.

The US is calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting for aid to be delivered, but Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Sunday that no pause was needed because “there’s no humanitarian crisis.”

Queen Rania told CNN claims that a ceasefire will enable more Hamas attacks is “endorsing and justifying” the death of civilians.

“I know that some who are against the ceasefire argue that it will help Hamas. However, I feel that in that argument, they are inherently dismissing the death, in fact, even endorsing and justifying the death of thousands of civilians, and that is just morally reprehensible,” she said.

‘Avalanche of human suffering’
Israel has repeatedly urged Palestinian civilians to move south of Wadi Gaza, the waterway that delineates north and south, as it intensifies its air and ground assaults across the strip.

Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that Israel is “making every effort” to get the civilian population in Gaza “out of harm’s way.”

He added, “Hamas is doing everything they can to keep them in harm’s way.”

But Rania said Israel’s claim of trying to protect civilians is “an insult to one’s intelligence.”

“When 1.1 million people are asked to leave their homes or risk death, that is not a protection of civilians, that is forced displacement,” she said.

Rania said she didn’t believe Israel’s evacuation orders were for the benefit of Gaza, but rather an attempt to “legitimize their actions.”

Last week, US President Joe Biden expressed skepticism over the death figures provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

Asked about that stance, Rania said it was standard “Israeli propaganda.”

“Trying to minimize the horrific consequences of their actions, trying to dehumanize Palestinians further and desensitize people to their suffering…they’re trying to exonerate themselves and they’re trying to exonerate the viewer,” she said.

More than two million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan according to the UN agency UNRWA.

Jordan air-dropped a medical aid package to a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza on Sunday, King Abdullah II said on social media, and last week the country recalled its ambassador to Israel, citing the war.

Queen Rania questioned how many more people must die before “our global conscience awakes.”

“All they want to hear is apologies from Palestinians. You’re being bombed, that’s your fault,” she said. “You’re being starved, that’s your fault. You dare be born in the occupied territories, that’s your fault… It’s been unbearable to watch the avalanche of human suffering.”

World Politics / How To Join A Political Party by Pedro272: 05:01 pm On 10 Oct 2023
How to join a political party in Nigeria 2023

Joining a political party is one of the processes of promoting the democracy of a country. It is also within the right of every qualified citizen of country to seek to join any political party for the realization of his or her political political ambition. This article will explore some of the processes or stages an individual can take to join a political party of their choice.

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Cryptocurrency / Ftx Exploiter Transferred Over $17m In Eth by admin: 06:00 pm On 10 Oct 2023
TX Exploiter Has Moved Over $17M In ETH

According to blockchain data source Spot On Chain, the Ethereum address linked to the FTX hack has moved over 10,250 Ethereum (ETH) worth around $17.7 million across various accounts since September 30.

A significant portion of the funds, totaling some 7,749 ETH, or almost $13.4 million, were directed to the THORChain router and Railgun smart contracts. The exploiter also engaged in a 2,500 ETH swap worth $4.19 million for tBTC tokens.

This comes as the trial of arrested FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) on seven charges, including fraud, is due to begin on October 3. The Department of Justice has seeked to block SBF’s witnesses from testifying, while he remains in jail after being denied bail while pleading not guilty.

Sports / Neymar Breaks Pele's Brazil Goal-scoring Record by admin: 09:26 pm On 9 Sep 2023
Neymar has scored his record 78th and 79th goals for Brazil in a 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia.

Neymar’s goals in the Amazon city of Belem put him two above the total of three-time World Cup winner Pelé as the Seleção’s top goal scorer.

Brazilian FA's president paid tribute by handing him a plaque and he celebrated with his teammates atfter acting head coach Fernando Diniz/s news conference.

The goal that put the 31-year-old Neymar on the top of Brazil’s scoring record with 78 came in the 61st minute in a World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia in the Amazon city of Belém.

It was Brazil’s fourth goal of the match in a 5-1 win, with the last goal of the game also being scored by Neymar — his 79th — during injury time.

Neymar's record-breaking goal came after a low cross into the penalty box, which the striker finished with accuracy from close range.

He celebrated with a punch in the air, as Pelé usually did.

World Politics / Mohamed Al-fayed, Billionaire Former Harrods Owner Who Waged A War Of Words by admin: 12:42 am On 9 Sep 2023

Mohamed Al-Fayed, the outspoken Egyptian tycoon who transformed the fortunes of two London institutions, the Harrods department store and Fulham Football Club, and waged a war of words with Britain’s royals after his son was killed in a car crash alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, has died, according to a statement from his family. He was 94.

“Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023,” the family statement, which was released by Fulham FC on Friday, said.

Al-Fayed forced his way into London’s high society by purchasing a number of lavish establishments after arriving in the UK in the 1970s, and also owned the storied Ritz Hotel in Paris for four decades.

But he proved an increasingly controversial figure during his public fight for British citizenship, and even more so after the death of Diana and his son, Dodi Fayed, in Paris in 1997.

Al-Fayed for decades insisted the pair were murdered, despite inquiries finding otherwise, and was scornful towards the British royal family in his later life.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929, Al-Fayed seized the entrepreneurial opportunities handed to him during his brief marriage to Samira Khashoggi, a Saudi author and sister of billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

After working with Adnan Khashoggi and setting up his own shipping company, Al-Fayed moved to London and began piecing together an expansive real estate portfolio that focused on luxury destinations.

In 2021 his net worth was around $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. His businesses interests included Punch Magazine, Kurt Geiger, Manhattan skyscraper 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and the Hyde Park Residence block of luxury apartments in London.

But the jewel in his billion-dollar crown was the famed Harrods department store, which spreads across an entire block of London’s prestigious Mayfair neighborhood and has served as the city’s most glamorous shopping destination for decades.

Al-Fayed’s heavily publicized bid for the House of Fraser group, which included the store, saw him going head-to-head with controversial British tycoon Roland “Tiny” Rowland, and the pair became engaged in several rounds of public mudslinging.

Ultimately, Al-Fayed purchased the group in a $842 million deal. He would frequently compare the renowned department store to one of the world’s ancient wonders. “Harrods is my pyramid,” he told CNN in 2004.

Meanwhile, the tycoon became as famous for his bristly relationship with the British establishment as he was for his investments.

For decades he publicly fought for British citizenship, a pursuit that began when Rowland raised questions in public about the source of his income. Then, in 1994, he sparked a political scandal when he named British lawmakers who had accepted money from him in return for asking questions in Parliament on his behalf.

After 1997, when a car crash claimed the lives of his son and Diana, Al-Fayed would frequently sling insults at the British royal family and became persona non grata among parts of the country’s elite.

“I live in a country where I feel sorry for the ordinary people and the masses of the people who live in this country. Their destiny and their human rights are kidnapped by gangsters and people who call themselves the establishment,” he once told CNN.

At the inquest into Diana’s death in 2008, he called the group a “Dracula family.” He pledged in vain for years to find evidence that countered the official conclusions about the car crash that killed the princess, telling the same court he would not rest “until I die,” even if he lost “everything to find the truth.”

His relationship with the royal family was depicted the fifth season of “The Crown” last year.

Al-Fayed was questioned by police in 2008 in relation to a s*x assault allegation that he denied, a Harrods spokesperson said at the time. He eventually sold the store to the Qatari royal family in 2010, for a reported $2.25 billion.

The tycoon also became a major player in the world’s most popular sport, purchasing London’s oldest football club, Fulham, when they were languishing in England’s lower leagues.

At times he could barely resist his showy and opulent tendencies – such as when he erected a golden statue of Michael Jackson at Fulham’s Craven Cottage stadium, a tribute to his pop superstar friend.

But the team’s fans remain grateful for the financial investments that drove the side from the doldrums of the English game into the Premier League and a major European final; the tycoon’s name is still sung weekly on the terraces at Fulham matches, at least ten years after he sold the club.

Al-Fayed had six children, including Dodi and the environmentalist entrepreneur Omar Fayed.

Sports / Spain Wins Women’s World Cup For The First Time, Deservedly Beating England by admin: 09:15 pm On 8 Aug 2023

History has been made. Against the odds and amid a backdrop of turmoil, Spain reached the pinnacle in Sydney on Sunday, beating England 1-0 to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time.

That Spain had progressed to the final, given the tumultuous year the national team had experienced, was remarkable. That La Roja triumphed against the reigning European champion and pre-match favorite in spite of the disputes and divisions which has clouded the national team throughout the tournament makes this achievement extraordinary.

Olga Carmona’s wonderful 29th-minute strike proved to be the winner. Spain could even afford to miss a second-half penalty as La Roja became only the second country, after Germany, to win both the men’s and women’s World Cups.

As Spain’s players celebrated by forming a joyful heap of red on the Stadium Australia pitch, many of England’s players were in tears as hopes of becoming the country’s first senior soccer world champion since 1966 were ended by a brilliant Spain.

For possession and attempts on goal, there was only one team in it – Spain outplayed England. But there is some solace for England which, like Spain, was competing in a Women’s World Cup final for the first time, because the team has progressed further than ever before in this competition. Even in defeat, the Lionesses had made history.

Prince William paid tribute to the “spirit” of the Lionesses, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Although it’s the result none of us wanted, Lionesses you have done yourselves and this nation proud.”

But it is Spain which celebrates and it is Spain’s future which shines the brightest, especially if off-pitch issues can be resolved, because now, incredibly, the Iberian nation is a Women’s World Cup winner at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level.

Some of the country’s most famous faces reveled in the team’s success. Tennis star Rafael Nadal, the 22-time grand slam winner and arguably Spain’s greatest athlete, posted an Instagram story which said: “Let’s goooooo!!!! Congratulations, WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!”

Division and uncertainty
But as fireworks lit up the night sky and a wave of golden ticker-tape showered the victorious players during the trophy presentation, thoughts wandered to those Spanish players who had missed an opportunity to win the sport’s biggest prize because of the dispute between the players, the coaching staff and the country’s soccer federation.

Last September, 15 Spanish players declared themselves unavailable for selection, saying they were unhappy with the training methods of head coach Jorge Vilda, who had described the situation at the time as a “world embarrassment.”

When asked in the build-up to the final what it was like to face a dressing room that questioned the worth of the coach and staff, Vilda told the Spanish newspaper Marca that there was no choice but to “focus” on work.

Only three of those 15 players who had written letters to the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) last year, saying the “situation” within the national team was affecting their “emotional state” and health, were selected for the World Cup squad.

One was Aitana Bonmati, the midfielder who excelled against England and who won the Golden Ball, given to the best player of the tournament. The Barcelona player was peerless and epitomized Spain’s supremacy and also the talent at the country’s disposal.

Spain has become a world champion without some of its best players, talents who are the finest in the world in their respective positions. It says much for the pool of talent at Spain’s disposal that it was able to succeed in such circumstances.

Yet although this could be a transformative win for women’s soccer in the country – in its three previous World Cup tournaments, Spain had never progressed beyond the round of 16 – it is perhaps not a unifying one.

The country is now the best in the world, but the international futures of those exiled players remain unclear. With victory, the questions surrounding the national set-up, of whether or how the dispute can be resolved, do not disappear.

The best team wins
This was a final between two of the best teams in the tournament, which made for an intriguing and entertaining encounter.

As expected, Spain monopolized the ball – enjoying over 50% of possession in the first half – and La Roja’s technical superiority allowed them to pass with finesse, their one-touch football putting the Lionesses on their heels.

Salma Paralluelo, the 19-year-old who came off the bench to play an instrumental role in the semifinal win against Sweden, started the match and justified her selection as she proved to be an ever-present danger in attack.

The teenager, who was named the tournament’s best young player, is now the first player to win Women’s World Cups at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level and could certainly become one of the game’s greats.

Even with two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas on the substitutes’ bench – the Barcelona star has been far from her best this tournament as she continues to find form after a serious knee injury – Spain was superior.

Although it was England which had the first real chance to break the deadlock, Lauren Hemp hitting the crossbar with a curling shot from just inside the edge of the box in the 15th minute.

Almost immediately afterwards, a fine save from England goalkeeper Mary Earps kept out Alba Redondo’s effort but, in truth, the Spaniard should have done better from close range.

Then, in the 29th minute came the opening goal, Carmona lazering her shot into the bottom-right corner after beautiful build-up play down Spain’s left flank. Lucy Bronze’s charge upfield had left a gaping hole in England’s defense and Spain capitalized.

Irene Paredes should have doubled Spain’s advantage, while Paralluelo’s first-time shot kissed the post just before the break.

Spain was in the ascendancy and continued to dominate after the break.

It seemed as if victory would be sealed in the 68th minute when Jennifer Hermoso stepped up to take a penalty after Keira Walsh had been penalized for handball. But a fabulous save from Earps, who dove low to her left to keep out Hermoso’s effort, ensured England stayed in the match.

Buoyed, England enjoyed its best period of the match thereafter. Substitute Lauren James forced Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll into action but for all of the increase in energy, England could not puncture La Roja’s defense and it was the eventual winner which finished the match the stronger.

Spain head coach Vilda said he was filled with “immense joy and pride.” He told reporters: “We’ve shown how we can play, we’ve shown that we know how to suffer. This team believed and we’re world champions.”

Meanwhile, England’s head coach Sarina Wiegman, who has now suffered defeat in two successive World Cup finals after being at the helm of a Netherlands team which lost to the US in 2019, said the Lionesses should feel proud.

“Of course, it feels really bad now,” she said. “We got to the final and then we lose it, but how we have shown ourselves, who we are, how we want to play, overcoming so many challenges we can be very proud, but it doesn’t feel that way at the moment.”

Business/Investments / Binance Secures Crypto Exchange License In El Salvador by anigold: 02:12 am On 8 Aug 2023
Today, El Salvador's central bank and crypto regulator granted Binance a Bitcoin Services Provider License (BSP) and Digital Assets Services Provider license (DASP)

The new licenses now let the exchange offer custodial services, process crypto payments, provide digital wallets, and operate a digital asset exchange platform in the country.

Daniel Acosta, the firm's general manager for Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean, said that the “licenses allow Binance to expand the products and services offered including options tailored to the needs of our customers in El Salvador."

El Salvador has adopted a pro-crypto stance having declared Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021. In January this year, El Salvador's President Bukele passed a new Digital Securities Law, launching Bitcoin-backed government bonds and creating the National Commission of Digital Assets (NCDA) for overseeing crypto regulation.

Binance is the first crypto exchange approved by the NCDA to operate an exchange within the country.

In April 2023, El Salvador’s regulators approved Bitfinex Securities' application for trading tokenized equities and yield-bearing assets like government bonds.

The positive regulator news in El Salvador comes on the back of various regulatory setbacks for Binance in the U.S. and Europe.

In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Binance and its CEO, Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, with breaking securities rules and allegedly using unethical trading practices to enrich “themselves by billions of dollars while placing investors’ assets at significant risk.”

In Europe, the exchange has also faced regulatory challenges. The Dutch central bank fined Binance $3.6 million for operating illegally in the Netherlands. Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands have all denied Binance an operating license as well.

Despite these setbacks, Binance has continued to seek regulatory approval around the world.

Adding El Salvador’s approval, the company has obtained licenses in 18 markets, including France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Dubai.

Cryptocurrency / Coinbase Revenue Beats Estimates On Interest Income Boost by anigold: 11:06 pm On 8 Aug 2023

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Coinbase Global (COIN.O) beat second-quarter revenue expectations on Thursday as a surge in the crypto exchange's interest income cushioned a slump in trading volumes.

The strong result comes on the heels of a dramatic quarter for the company and its rival Binance who were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June.

The lawsuit alleged that Coinbase traded at least 13 crypto assets that are securities without registering them with the regulator, marking a dramatic escalation of a crackdown on the crypto industry.

"Despite our good faith efforts and transparency of our business to the SEC for years now, we were deeply disappointed that the SEC brought an unwarranted enforcement against us in June," Coinbase said in a letter to shareholders.

Shares of the company were down 2% in volatile extended trading after surging 10% just after the results.

Coinbase earns interest on reserves backing USD Coin (USDC), the second-biggest stablecoin by market capitalization. It also earns interest on bitcoin-backed loans it provides to customers.

Interest income in the quarter surged to $201.4 million from $32.5 million a year ago, boosting revenue at the company's subscription and services segment.

In a victory for the industry, a U.S. judge ruled in July that Ripple Labs did not violate federal securities law by selling its XRP token on public exchanges.

Coinbase's revenue in the second quarter came in at $707.9 million, beating estimates of $662.5 million, according to Refinitiv data.

The company's loss in the quarter narrowed to $97 million, compared with $1.09 billion a year ago.

Reporting by Manya Saini and Sri Hari N S in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Arun Koyyur

Cryptocurrency / Missing Millionaire Crypto Influencer Found Dismembered In Suitcase by anigold: 12:49 am On 7 Jul 2023
Police have launched a murder investigation after the dismembered remains of missing millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba, 41, were discovered by a group of children in Argentina over the weekend.

The grisly case came to light after the kids found a red suitcase filled with body parts while playing by a stream in the town of Ingeniero Budge, Buenos Aires Province, on Sunday, Jam Press reported.

The children’s parents notified the Buenos Aires police, who inspected the package and reportedly found the victim’s legs and forearm inside, discovering another whole arm in the stream.

Police have launched a murder investigation after the dismembered remains of missing millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba, 41, were discovered by a group of children in Argentina over the weekend

On Wednesday, authorities discovered the missing head and torso, El País reported.

The body parts were cleanly amputated, suggesting the work of a professional, local media reported.

Meanwhile, a subsequent autopsy revealed that the victim had been shot three times before the dismemberment.

Police identified Algaba by his fingerprints and also by distinctive tattoos on the body parts. The entrepreneur had been declared missing since last Tuesday.

The businessman had accumulated millions renting luxury vehicles and selling cryptocurrency, which he frequently advertised to his 900,000 followers on Instagram.

The influencer, who lived in Barcelona, Spain, had reportedly been staying in Argentina for a week prior to his alleged murder.

Algaba had reportedly rented an apartment and was supposed to return the keys on July 19, but failed to show up or answer the phone, according to testimony by the property owner.

Police have arrested one suspect in connection with Algaba’s death. And while the motive behind the alleged murder remains unclear, authorities suspect that the influencer was killed over his numerous debts.

This marked a tragic end for the businessman, known by friends as Lechuga (lettuce), who started working at the age of 14.

“I started with a bicycle and a box and I started selling sandwiches,” said Algaba, who reportedly graduated to buying vehicles to repair and resell.

The budding entrepreneur’s dedication allegedly paid off, as he had a large warehouse full of high-end cars, motorcycles and jet skis by the time he was 24.

Algaba subsequently founded a luxury car and jet ski rental firm in Miami before picking up and moving to Barcelona earlier this year.

During his final years, Algaba was involved in trading cryptocurrency from an office in Buenos Aires with over 25 employees.

However, the moneymaker’s seeming rags-to-riches story was not all that it seemed.

Algaba had racked up “irrecoverable” debts with Argentina’s tax agency while his company, “Motors Lettuce SRL,” began bouncing checks less than a year after its January 2018 incorporation.

Algaba had also left a note on his phone claiming that he’d lost a lot of money investing in crypto, La Nacion reported.

And Algaba’s troubles weren’t limited to the business sphere.

He had reportedly run afoul of the Barra Bravas, a violent gang heavily involved in Argentina’s soccer scene, which reportedly demanded that he pay them a $40,000 loan.

“If something happens to me, everyone is already warned,” he wrote in a message.

Algaba’s brother Rodolfo Pérez Algaba said he wasn’t sure if his deceased sibling was involved with the criminal ring, but insists that he was “not a scammer” as many had allegedly claimed, local media reported.

The victim’s brother claimed that Algaba was simply a car salesman who “did not do well” in Bitcoin.

Rodolfo also noted that when he was 17, their father died and left an inheritance that Algaba used to start his business, hinting that the influencer didn’t go from poor to posh as he seemed to suggest.

Rodolfo, who reportedly had not seen the vehicle hawker for three months following an argument, claimed that Algaba “was under psychiatric treatment for an anxiety disorder.”

Rodolfo ultimately hopes that authorities can apprehend his brother’s killer.

“I’ve been here for three days and hardly sleep, thinking, breaking my head, how could this happen,” he declared. “But I’m not going to sit still, I’m not going to do justice with my own hands, but I hope that justice will be done.”

Cryptocurrency / Nigerian Social Payments App Shuts Down Crypto Exchange Services by admin: 12:56 pm On 7 Jul 2023
Nigerian social payments app Bundle has announced it is shutting down its crypto exchange arm.

According to the July 20 statement released on the company blog, Bundle said that it would cease operations of its exchange services as part of the shareholders’ decision to restructure the business to focus on Cashlink.

n the statement, the company noted that the decision by its shareholders is a result of the observed growth of the Web3 and blockchain community, and the need to focus on payment solutions that meet the ecosystem’s needs. It confirmed that users wouldn’t be able to sign up to Bundle, deposit assets into their Bundle wallet, swap assets in their Bundle wallet (except for Tether
USDT $1.00,) or withdraw with Cashlink if they do not have Nigerian naira or other fiat on Bundle.

According to the statement, all Bundle users are advised to withdraw their assets from the app on or before Sept. 12, 2023. However, the company specified steps required for its users in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and other francophone-speaking countries to withdraw their assets successfully

Users in these locations can withdraw their funds from Bundle to any preferred exchange. Nigerian users can withdraw naira using Cashlink or transfer funds to their bank account through P2P express. If their balance is less than $10, they can use the provided link to withdraw.

In April, Nigerian crypto payment startup LazerPay ceased operations and made its intellectual property available for sale.

Crime / Investor Who Lost $740k To Ontario's Crypto King Among 5 Men Charged With Kidnap by admin: 12:16 pm On 7 Jul 2023

Akil Heywood, 39, is facing several charges related to the alleged kidnapping of Aiden Pleterski in December 2022. Heywood says he is innocent. (Atlantic Mas Toronto/Facebook)

A Toronto investor who lost thousands to Ontario's self-proclaimed Crypto King is one of five men facing charges connected to the alleged kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault of Aiden Pleterski last December, CBC Toronto has learned.

CBC Toronto previously reported details of Pleterski's alleged kidnapping based on a report from ongoing bankruptcy proceedings against the 24-year-old. In the bankruptcy, investors have been working for nearly a year to try and track down more than $40 million given to Pleterski to invest in crypto currency and foreign exchange.

Akil Heywood has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping Pleterski and for threatening the administrator overseeing the bankruptcy in an attempt to get $2 million in crypto currency, according to court records.

The same day CBC Toronto learned of those charges, CBC reporters received a 12-minute edited video which shows a visibly beaten Pleterski explaining what he claims happened to the money he was given and apologizing to investors.

Pleterski's lawyer, Micheal Simaan, told CBC Toronto neither he nor his client have seen the complete video so Pleterski can't really comment on it.

"All [Pleterski] can say is that while some of it is accurate, he was being forced to say a lot of it by his kidnappers," said Simaan in an email.

"Aiden is grateful for the work of the Toronto Police in apprehending those involved in his kidnapping and assault."

Toronto police would not verify the video or comment on the investigation.

Heywood was arrested on July 5 and charged with kidnapping Pleterski against his will, kidnapping with intent to hold him for ransom, conspiring to kidnap, and confining Pleterski on or around Dec. 5, 2022. He's since been released on bail.

The 39-year-old is also charged with threatening Grant Thornton bankruptcy trustee Rob Stelzer to induce him to pay $2 million in crypto currency later that month and faces the same threat-for-money charge involving another man connected to the case.

A bankruptcy trustee is a federally regulated professional responsible for investigating the finances of a person or business that has gone bankrupt and administering their estate.

Heywood says he's innocent
Heywood declined an interview request or to answer questions for this story, but told CBC Toronto he is innocent.

Heywood was named one of five inspectors elected by other investors in August 2022 to represent their interests in the bankruptcy proceedings. He and Atlantic Mas Foundation, a non-profit Heywood founded, invested $740,000 with Pleterski, according to court records.

A court motion in the bankruptcy case states, "major decisions made by the trustee must be approved by the inspectors similar to the manner in which major decisions of management are approved by a board of directors" and the trustee provides inspectors the details of all aspects of their strategy and activities.

"I've never seen a bankruptcy proceeding where an inspector is charged in a kidnapping and a forcible confinement related to recovering money in a bankruptcy," said fraud recovery lawyer Norman Groot, who is representing some of the investors.

"Mr. Heywood would have been privy to the particulars of whatever investigation Grant Thornton was conducting — and the concern always, 'Is that information going to be used for their own purpose outside of the bankruptcy proceeding?'"

In an email, a spokesperson for Grant Thornton said Heywood resigned as an inspector in the Pleterski bankruptcy on July 7.

"We've been co-operating with police and have maintained open lines of communication," said Lindsay Barnes. "We cannot comment any further as this is an active investigation."

Pleterski flagged threats within weeks of alleged kidnapping
Less than two weeks before Pleterski was allegedly kidnapped, he was interviewed for the bankruptcy on Nov. 24, 2022.

During the interview, Pleterski told the representative for the trustee that "Akil [Heywood] is still, by the way, uttering threats, and very dangerous, violent threats, to me over Instagram comment sections and text messages."

Pleterski's lawyer told CBC Toronto that while Pleterski "wished that his concerns were taken more seriously by the trustee, he also recognizes the difficult role they have to play in satisfying many parties whose interests often conflict with one another."

"That said, he certainly hopes that the events of the past few days will cause the trustee to be more understanding of Aiden's concerns, and hopefully to not jump to conclusions as to the reasons behind Aiden's actions," said Simaan.

Simaan also said his client "looks forward to the fairest conclusion of the bankruptcy process for all parties involved."

Heywood is one of five men facing dozens of charges related to Pleterski's alleged kidnapping in December. Some of the other men were charged with additional offences, including pointing a firearm at Pleterski, discharging a firearm in a way that was reckless to the life or safety of Pleterski, and for allegedly assaulting him.

None of the charges related to the alleged kidnapping have been tested in court.

Details from a bankruptcy report previously revealed Pleterski's father told the trustee his son was driven around southern Ontario, beaten and tortured in December. Pleterski's landlord also said he got a call, asking for a ransom of $3 million. After a few days, Pleterski's father said his son was released but told to come up with some money soon, according to an interview transcript.

Pleterski says in video he lost $45M in a month
In the video received by CBC Toronto, Pleterski provides a timeline of when he started investing in cryptocurrency for himself in 2020, how that expanded to family and friends, and then to others, and how in the second half of 2021, "everything went downhill."

"When the crypto market started to tank in November of 2021, I should have been honest with everybody," Pleterski said in the video.

"I lost enough to where my debts outweighed my assets … I lost close to $45 million strictly alone in the crypto market within one month."

According to a bankruptcy report from earlier this year, there's only evidence of Pleterski investing about $670,700 — less than two per cent of the funds given to him by investors. The report says Pleterski spent nearly $16 million of investor funds on himself, renting private jets, going on vacations and adding luxury cars to his collection.

Pleterski says in video he will pay investors back
Later in the video, Pleterski acknowledges using some investor deposits toward personal house payments, insurance payments for cars, car payments and food expenses. He then goes on to apologize to investors.

"I'm sorry, I really am. I didn't want to, or mean to, ruin anybody's life. I know some people's lives have been ruined by this," Pleterski said in the video.

"I honestly feel very, very humiliated, I feel embarrassed.… No one should ever, ever, ever, ever do what I did."

Near the end of the video, Pleterski talks about wanting to "make it right for everybody."

"I'm going to work for it," he said in the video.

"I'm going to do it before I go and buy myself another car, before I go and buy myself another watch, before I go and buy myself expensive clothing or anything. I'm going to live on the bare minimum until every last soul is paid back."

Cryptocurrency / Bnb Token Is Being Heavily Shorted, Perpetual Futures Show by admin: 12:12 pm On 7 Jul 2023
Traders in the perpetual futures market tied to the BNB token are leaning bearish as the embattled cryptocurrency faces a challenging environment on multiple fronts.
Data tracked by Coinglass show open interest and volume-weighted funding rates in perpetual futures have slipped to -0.18%, the lowest since late April. It shows shorts, or positions that profit from a price drop, are dominant, and are willing to pay longs to keep their bearish bets open. Funding rates are charged every eight hours.
"BNB is being heavily shorted," Pear Protocol's pseudonymous co-founder Huf, said, referring to the deeply negative funding rates.

"The sentiment has worsened due to the recent high-profile staff exits, inconsistencies related to BCH withdrawals from Binance.US and the pending Department of Justice case against Binance's CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao," Huf added. BNB is the token of the BNB ecosystem, which was created by Binance, and crypto traders generally link the token with the exchange's fortunes.
Binance, facing regulatory pressures worldwide, has laid off 1,000 or more employees in recent weeks. Early this month, three senior officials left their roles, citing CZ's handling of the DOJ investigation over possible money laundering as the reason for their exits.
Over the weekend, CZ tried to calm market nerves, calling recent layoffs involuntary terminations and dismissing the layoff figure reported by media as FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).
"We are still hiring," CZ announced in a tweet on Saturday.

Still, the market remains nervous, as evident from the deeply negative funding rates, with some observers fearing more bad news ahead.
"24h APR -92% ~ Typically, these readings precede some bad news for Binance Wonder what's coming?" pseudonymous trader Skew tweeted on Sunday.
The negative funding rate also shows traders are still determining whether the recent U.S. court's ruling favoring Ripple would help Binance in its fight against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last week, in a highly anticipated ruling in the SEC's case against Ripple Labs for violating securities law through XRP sales, the District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that XRP is not a security when offered to individuals through centralized exchanges, adding that it will be treated as one when offered to institutional investors. In early June, the SEC charged Binance and Coinbase for offering unregistered securities over their platforms.
Potential for short squeeze
A short squeeze is a rapid move higher driven by bears abandoning their bearish bets. For a short squeeze to occur, the market needs to have a higher-than-usual bearish activity, as is the case in BNB perpetual futures. In such situations, a minor price bump can send bears or short sellers running to square off their positions, which, in turn, drives prices further up.

Cryptocurrency / Bitcoin Jumps As Traders Cheer Ripple-sec Ruling. What Comes Next. by anigold: 02:14 pm On 7 Jul 2023

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies marched higher Friday in the wake of a partial win for the digital asset industry in a closely watched legal case between the issuer of the Ripple token and the Securities and Exchange Commission
The price of Bitcoin has risen 2% over the past 24 hours to $31,200, breaking out of a trading range between $30,000 and $31,000 that has persisted for weeks and notching a new 13-month high above $31,750.

Catalyzing the jump was a federal court ruling on Thursday that a crypto token didn’t, in and of itself, meet the definition of a security. While there is little debate on Bitcoin being a security—most agree it is more like a commodity—the ruling has important implications for smaller tokens and the digital asset industry at large, the success of which can also buoy the biggest crypto.

“Bitcoin itself will rise on the coattails of this ruling—a rising tide lifts all boats—and (briefly) broke though the upper end of its recent … trading range, where it’s been residing for three weeks,” said Antoni Trenchev, managing partner at crypto lender Nexo. “Keep an eye on $32,000 because if Bitcoin breaks through that, the upper $30,000s beckon.”

This latest rally only builds on gains Bitcoin had seen earlier in the week, with cryptos rising alongside the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA +0.14% and S&P 500SPX +0.85% in the stock market amid signs of cooling inflation. This trend should push the Federal Reserve to be less aggressive on interest rates—the dramatic rise of which was a headwind for cryptos last year—and begin cutting rates next year, which would support risk-sensitive assets like stocks and cryptos.

Beyond Bitcoin, Ether —the second-largest crypto—climbed 6% to just shy of $2,000. RippleXRPUSD –4.03% , the token at the heart of the court ruling, spiked almost 70%, with other smaller tokens or “altcoins” following suit with big gains. Memecoins were also stronger, with DogecoinDOGEUSD +0.86% up 7% and Shiba Inu advancing 5%.

Cryptocurrency / Ripple’s Xrp Token Surges 96% After Partial Victory In Sec Lawsuit by anigold: 02:10 pm On 7 Jul 2023
XRP climbed as high as 93 cents at one point, its highest level since March 2022.

XRP’s price has skyrocketed 96% in the past day, climbing the most among the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization after a U.S. judge ruled the sale of XRP tokens on exchanges did not constitute investment contracts.
XRP climbed to as high as 93.8 cents, according to data from CryptoWatch, its highest level since March 2022, before settling to 81 cents at the time of publication.
The price action comes immediately after the District Court for the Southern District of New York said the “offer and sale of XRP on digital asset exchanges did not amount to offers and sales of investment contracts,” as “the record cannot establish the third Howey prong to these transactions.”

Sports / Dele Alli: Soccer Star Says He Was Molested During Chaotic Childhood. Two Decade by anigold: 01:48 pm On 7 Jul 2023
England soccer international Dele Alli says he recently spent six weeks in rehab to help with his mental health and treatment for “addiction and trauma,” revealing he had been molested when he was a child and dealt drugs at the age of eight.

“So, at six, I was molested by my mom’s friend, who was at the house a lot,” Alli told former Manchester United defender and England international Gary Neville on The Overlap podcast, which was made available on Thursday.

“My mom was an alcoholic, [so] that happened at six. I was sent to Africa to learn discipline, and then I was sent back. At seven, I started smoking; eight, I started dealing drugs,” added Alli.

“An older person told me that they wouldn’t stop a kid on a bike, so I rode around with my football, and then underneath I’d have the drugs, that was eight. Eleven, I was hung off a bridge by a guy from the next estate, a man.”

CNN was unable to reach Alli’s mother for comment, but in a 2018 interview, she told the Daily Mail that it was “painful that we’ve become estranged and the hard part is I don’t really know why.”

At the age of 12, Alli says he was adopted.

“If God created people, it was them,” Alli told Neville of his adopted family. “They were amazing, and they’ve helped me a lot, and that was another thing, you know –- when I started living with them, it was hard for me to really open up to them, because I felt within myself, it was easy to get rid of me again.”

Asked by Neville about his relationship with his birth mother, Alli answered that he doesn’t speak to her after his parents went to the media with a story about his adopted family.

“After that, I just felt so betrayed and let down and hurt that I just couldn’t keep the relationship with my mom,” said Alli.

The 27-year-old Alli most recently played for Turkish Süper Lig side Beşiktaş before returning to parent club Everton in the English Premier League after his spell in Turkey was hampered by injuries.

After returning to the UK, Alli decided to enter rehab.

“I was in a bad place mentally. I decided to go to a modern day rehab facility for addiction, mental health and trauma” said Alli.

“I felt like it was time for me. With things like that, you can’t be told to go there. You have to make the decision yourself.

“I was caught in a bad cycle, I was relying on things that were doing me harm. I was waking up every day and [I] was winning the fight, going into training, smiling, showing I was happy, but inside, I was definitely losing the battle and it was definitely time [for me] to change it.”

Alli told the Overlap podcast that Everton had been very supportive of his decision to enter rehab and how “open, honest, and understanding” the Premier League club was while he was “probably making the biggest decision of [his] life.”

“I couldn’t have expected it to go the way it did. Before you hear about it, it has [this whole] stigma. It’s something people don’t want to do, going into rehab, it definitely sounds scary.

“But I could never have imagined how much I would get from it and how much it [would help] me mentally because I was in a bad place.”

In a statement, Everton said it had been supporting “Dele in both his return to fitness and overcoming the personal challenges highlighted in his interview with The Overlap.”

“Everyone at Everton respects and applauds Dele’s bravery to speak about the difficulties he has faced, as well as seek the help required,” Everton added.

Alli’s former club, Tottenham Hotspur, tweeted a picture of Alli alongside an emoji of a white heart.

The former Spurs star added that he had only checked out of rehab three weeks prior to appearing on Neville’s podcast.

“It’s been going on for a long time (my addiction) … the things I was doing to numb the feelings I had. I didn’t realize it was for that purpose, whether it be drinking or whatever.

“I got addicted to sleeping tablets and it’s probably a problem that not only I have. I think it’s something that it’s going around more than people realize in football.”

Alli told Neville that he had chosen to speak out about his problems in the hope that he can help people who may be dealing with similar issues.

“If I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it this soon, I think maybe give it a little bit more time … I maybe could have done with a little bit more time in terms of when I was talking about it, but unfortunately, the way the world is now, you know the tabloids they found out and they was calling my team a lot and they were telling that they knew where I was and stuff.”

CNN has contacted Tottenham and BeÅŸiktaÅŸ asking for comment on the support they have offered Alli.

“The medical protocols and practices for players are managed directly by their clubs. We expect all clubs and their doctors to uphold the highest level of medical practice by providing treatment, support and advice to their players that meets their required professional standards, said the English Football Association in a statement sent to CNN.

“Support services are also available for players who are affected by addiction through the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association] and the Sporting Chance mental health charity, which are both supported by The FA,” added English soccer’s governing body.

The Premier League told CNN that it has a variety of methods to help support struggling players, past and present.

These include funding an independent player helpline, offering support workshops, and providing practical steps to help vulnerable players including counseling sessions and residential support.

World Politics / Kosovo President Condemns Brawl That Erupted In Parliament by anigold: 01:42 pm On 7 Jul 2023

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani condemned the brawl that erupted Thursday in Kosovo’s parliament between opposition and ruling party MPs, CNN’s affiliate N1 reported.

In a live video broadcast of the Kosovan parliament, Prime Minister Albin Kurti was interrupted by opposition MPs and had water thrown at him following some shoving and brawling between ruling Vetevendosje party and opposition MPs.

Kurti was speaking about easing tensions in northern Kosovo, which saw violent clashes in May when ethnic Serbs protested the installation of ethnically Albanian mayors.

There was a scuffle among the MPs who came to Kurti’s defense and those who came to the other side.

Glass was also heard breaking and the President of the Kosovo Assembly, Gljauk Konjufca, was also heard calling the police in the video.

The live broadcast from this session was then interrupted.

Fight breaks out between the opposition and ruling parliament members while Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti was giving a speech.

Osmani said in a Facebook such violence had “no place.”

“Using physical violence as a tool to address political discontent, differences or disagreements is the greatest harm that can be done to institutions that were built with so much can sacrifice,” she wrote, adding that “violence has no place in the temple of democracy and cannot become a political tool.”

“We must reaffirm our commitment to democracy, different thinking, as well as mutual respect, based on rule and law-abiding,” she said.

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama also condemned the brawl.

“Imagine how the irreplaceable allies and friends of Kosovo and the Albanians feel, when they see how Albanians grabbed each other by the throat instead of fighting with ideas and words, not insults and fists,” he said and called the opposition to distance itself from what he said was shameful behavior.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly a decade after a war in which Kosovan Albanians attempted to break from what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, made up of today’s Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia views Kosovo as a breakaway state and does not recognize its independence.

The bulk of Kosovo’s population is ethnically Albanian but in the restive north ethnic Serbs are the majority in some areas and have increasingly demanded greater autonomy.

Jobs/Vacancies / This Ceo Replaced 90% Of Support Staff With An Ai Chatbot by anigold: 01:39 pm On 7 Jul 2023
The chief executive of an Indian startup laid off 90% of his support staff after the firm built a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that he says can handle customer queries much faster than his employees.

Summit Shah, the founder and CEO of Dukaan, a Bangalore-based e-commerce company, said on Twitter Monday that the chatbot — built by one of the firm’s data scientists in two days — could respond to initial customer queries instantly, whereas his staff’s first responses were sent after an average of 1 minute and 44 seconds.

The average time taken to resolve a customer’s issue also dropped by almost 98% when they interacted with the chatbot, he tweeted.

Shah said the job cuts were “tough” but “necessary.”

Shah told CNN Wednesday that the 23 layoffs were made in September. At the time, he told Indian investment publication VCCircle that Dukaan’s shift away from smaller businesses to consumer-facing brands also contributed to the job cuts, because the switch to these customers had reduced the need for live chat or calls.

“Given the state of [the] economy, startups are prioritizing ‘profitability’ over striving to become ‘unicorns,’ and so are we,” Shah tweeted Monday, using the term for privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more.

By introducing the technology, the company has cut the cost of its customer support function by about 85%, Shah said. He added that this part of the business had long been problematic, with delayed responses and limited availability of staff at critical times, among other issues.

The tech founder said Dukaan was still hiring for multiple roles. According to the firm’s website, open positions include roles in engineering, marketing and sales.

Shah told CNN that he believed “in a future where AI and humans work together, each doing what they do best,” and that he was exploring opportunities to use AI in work involving graphic design, illustration and data science.

AI fears
The news of the layoffs comes as fears that AI will result in mass job losses have escalated eight months after Open AI released its AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT to the public.

ChatGPT has stunned users with its ability to provide lengthy, sophisticated responses to questions. Its potential uses — from writing high school essays to dispensing medical guidance — have heightened concerns that the technology could oust real people from their jobs.

Low- and middle-skilled jobs are most at risk from AI, including in construction, farming, fishing and forestry, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday.

But the technology’s improving ability to complete certain non-routine tasks means professionals in finance, medicine and law may also suddenly find themselves at risk of automation from AI, the OECD added in a report.

Science/Technology / Indian Tech Giant Wipro Will Invest $1 Billion In Ai, Including Training Staffs by anigold: 01:37 pm On 7 Jul 2023
Wipro, one of India’s top providers of software services, wants everyone on staff to know how to use artificial intelligence.

The IT giant announced Wednesday it would spend $1 billion on improving its artificial intelligence capabilities over the next three years, including training its entire staff of 250,000 people across 66 countries in the fast-moving technology.

Wipro (WIT) said it plans to run workshops “on AI fundamentals and responsible use of AI over the course of the next 12 months, and will continue to provide more customized, ongoing training for employees in AI-specialized roles.”

Wipro is one of India’s biggest outsourcing firms, specializing in IT and consulting services. Its move comes as generative AI, the technology that underpins popular platforms such as ChatGPT, has taken the world by storm.

“With the emergence of generative AI, we expect a fundamental shift up ahead, for all industries,” Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte said in the statement.

The company added it was launching a software system to integrate AI into every platform and tool used internally and offered to clients, as it capitalizes on its existing efforts in the space that started about a decade ago.

Businesses are increasingly using AI to either bolster or replace tasks usually carried out by humans.

This week, the CEO of an Indian startup made headlines for laying off about 90% of his support staff, saying the company had built an AI-powered chatbot that could process customer service requests faster than employees.

Cryptocurrency / Winklevoss Twins Take Strike Two With Crypto Hype by admin: 11:26 am On 7 Jul 2023

NEW YORK, July 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have kept busy since their 2008 feud with Mark Zuckerberg over who came up with the idea for social network Facebook. The twins took a $65 million settlement from that spat, invested some in bitcoin, launched a cryptocurrency exchange and even went on tour as a musical duo covering songs by the likes of Blink-182. But the music stopped last year as the cryptocurrency industry lost over $1 trillion in value - and the twins have once again found themselves at the mercy of technology’s latest hype cycle.

The Winklevii, as they came to be known after “The Social Network” movie debuted, are suing another former friend – crypto baron Barry Silbert. The two parties have been feuding since Genesis, a subsidiary of Silbert’s conglomerate Digital Currency Group, froze withdrawals last November. Its biggest creditor? The unfortunately named Gemini, founded by the Winklevii.

Gemini claims it gave nearly $1 billion of its own customers’ money to Genesis to lend, hoping Genesis could help fuel 7%-plus returns that had been promised to investors. Genesis, which filed for bankruptcy in January after making some risky bets, still owes creditors, including Gemini, over $3 billion, according to court filings

The Winklevii’s suit filed last week accuses Silbert and Genesis of misleading investors, and claims it used accounting tricks to try to cover up a hole in the parent company’s balance sheet. DCG has denied the allegations. Already, Gemini customers are seeking damages from both Genesis and Gemini over the fiasco, as are regulators.

While the Winklevii duke it out alongside other fallen crypto firms, other parts of the industry appear to be growing up and rocking on. Wall Street firms such as BlackRock (BLK.N) and Fidelity could be poised to get long-awaited approval for a U.S. spot bitcoin ETF, and the asset’s price has gone up more than 80% this year. That indicates some investors still believe in crypto even if they’ve lost faith in its former stars. Much like social media, the Winklevii seem to be on the losing end of the crypto streak, too.

n July 7, cryptocurrency exchange Gemini sued Digital Currency Group, the parent company of now-bankrupt crypto lender Genesis, seeking over $1.1 billion. Gemini, Genesis’s largest creditor, alleged in the suit that DCG CEO Barry Silbert created false financial reports and misrepresented the accounting treatment of liabilities it assumed from Genesis. Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss claimed in a July 7 Twitter post that DCG and Silbert were partially responsible for losses affecting thousands of Gemini users.

A DCG spokesperson denied the allegations to Breakingviews, calling them “baseless, defamatory, and completely false” in a statement on July 7, adding that it expects to bring Genesis’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to a conclusion soon.

World Politics / Nlc Protests Tinubu’s N500bn Subsidy Palliative, Demands 300% Pay Rise by admin: 10:26 am On 7 Jul 2023
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have thumbed down the N500bn palliative proposed by President Bola Tinubu, stating that it is grossly inadequate to assuage the hardships confronting workers sequel to the fuel subsidy removal.

They are demanding a 300 per cent salary increase to enable workers to cope with the challenges imposed by the deteriorating economic situation that came with the removal of the controversial fuel subsidy.

On Wednesday, the President wrote to the House of Representatives seeking approval for N500bn to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal.

Tinubu’s request was contained in a letter sent to the National Assembly and read during plenary by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.

The President had announced the petrol subsidy removal during his inaugural address on May 29, 2023, in response to claims that the subsidy regime favoured the rich more than the average Nigerians, among other reasons.

In his letter, the President proposed an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act.

It read, “I write to the House of Reps to approve the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act in accordance with the attached.

“The request has become necessarily important to, among other things, the source for funds necessary to provide palliatives to mitigate the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians.

“Thus, the sum of N500bn only has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Act of N819,536,937,815 for the provision of palliative to cushion the effect of petrol subsidy removal.”

The president said he hoped the lawmakers would consider his request “expeditiously.”

The House is expected to hold a plenary today on the president’s request.

Last December, the National Assembly passed a supplementary budget of N819bn for the 2022 fiscal year and also extended the implementation of the 2022 budget till March 31, 2023.

In May, the National Assembly passed the amendment to the 2022 supplementary budget to extend the implementation of the capital components to December 2023.

But unimpressed by the amount contained in the President’s letter, the NLC noted that the money would not be enough to cater for 125 million Nigerians who are believed to be living in poverty.

The National Treasurer of the NLC, Hakeem Ambali, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja, questioned the extent to which the palliative would cover.

When asked if the amount would be sufficient, he said, “Definitely not. We have over 125m Nigerians that are technically poor. To what extent can this cushion the effects of this economic hardship?”

Speaking on ways by which the President can mitigate the effect of subsidy removal, the NLC official asked for “Minimum wage review of 300 per cent to all workers; granting licences to individuals for modular refineries to refine petrol locally; granting economic stimulus loan to SMEs at 15 per cent rate.’’

He added, ‘’The government should provide social benefits for aged and unemployed youths; agric loans to farmers and youths through the Agric Bank and community banks at single digit rate; provide alternative energy supply such as massive investment in solar power and Compressed Natural Gas to motorists.

“Fix the refineries; reverse the privatization of electricity back to the state due to poor performance; Execute metro rail line projects in all state capitals and reduction of school fees for students of tertiary institutions.”


Speaking with The PUNCH, the Director-General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Olusola Obadimu, welcomed the idea of palliatives for the poor, but he questioned how the N500bn for the palliative measures would be spent.

According to him, the chamber will refrain from making further comments on the matter until clarification is given on how the fund would be utilised.

He said, “The idea, in principle, is good. Of course, people expect some relief. It is in the statement that we issued. We said it clearly that palliatives would be a good idea. We argued for it. But talking about a specific figure is something we can’t do when we don’t know the scope. The concept is fine, but we need more information about the scope.”

On his part, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa, while commending the move, said the fund would be insufficient to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal and the devaluation of the naira.

He further stated that the media and other interest groups must sustain the advocacy to ensure that the palliative measures are extended to the public and private sectors.

Idahosa said, “Whatever the president implements will not be sufficient to wipe out the impact of the two policies — subsidy removal and floating of the currency. So, it is going to be a partial effort to reduce, not eliminate the effect of those policies.

“There is a basis to complain if the details come out and only the public (sector) gets to benefit from it, then everybody in the private sector has a reason to complain. We have to wait and see how the first set of palliatives will be designed, then we can complain legitimately if the private sector is not involved.”

The President of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, said his group supported the palliative measure but stressed that it should be extended to those who really needed it.

He stated, “The clarity is that all of us are saying we must have palliative for the people affected. So if you are asking for palliative and the president cannot spend one naira without approval; so, where can he get it if he doesn’t borrow it?

‘’Everyone said there must be palliative for the subsidy removal and the palliative means that government must address the shock of the people. You know you cannot spend without approval and you also know that we are in deficit before; so, which other way can he get money if not borrow? So, he is following what the procedure says is legal.

“We support palliatives but it should go to the ultimate consumer and not those who sit in one place and are spending money. Identify the people that were affected the most and give them the palliative.”

World Politics / Turkey Has Agreed To Back Sweden’s Nato Bid, Alliance Chief Says by admin: 09:07 am On 7 Jul 2023

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that Turkey has agreed to back Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance – a major development on the eve of the NATO summit.

The announcement epresents a stunning about-face from Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan, who had earlier on Monday suggested Sweden could only join the alliance after his country is accepted into the European Union. ErdoÄŸan has stood in the path of Sweden joining NATO for more than a year over a multitude of concerns.

Speaking at a news conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, following a meeting with Erdoğan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Stoltenberg said that the Turkish president “has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly as soon as possible, and work closely with the Assembly to ensure ratification.”

Erdoğan dropping his opposition marks a major step forward, but does not mean that Sweden will immediately become the next member of the alliance. Stoltenberg did not offer a specific timeline for when Erdoğan would move the document forward to the Turkish Parliament, which must then vote to approve it. Hungary also has not voted to approve Sweden’s membership, though Stoltenberg said Monday that Hungary had made clear that it would not be the last to ratify Sweden’s bid.

Asked by a reporter when Sweden can be expected to officially become a NATO member, Stoltenberg was unwilling to commit to an answer, saying that it was up to Turkey to make an announcement and preferred to focus on the merits of a “historic day”.

“I think that we have to respect that every parliament has their own integrity, their own timelines, so I welcome that the president has made this clear that he will work with the parliament to ensure ratification, but exactly when has to be announced by the Turkish parliament,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the move was the result of a year of negotiations.

The movement on NATO’s accession comes after months of opposition and demands from Ankara. Turkey claimed that Sweden allows members of recognized Kurdish terror groups to operate, most notably the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey had also accused Swedish officials of complicity in Islamophobic demonstrations, such as the burning of the Quran.

At his news conference Monday, Stoltenberg noted that Sweden and Turkey had “worked closely together to address Turkey’s legitimate security concerns.”

“As part of that process, Sweden has amended its constitution, changed its laws, significantly expanded its counter-terrorism cooperation against the PKK, and resumed arms exports to Turkey,” he said.

NATO said in a statement that there were additional commitments made at the meeting between Stoltenberg, Erdogan and Kristersson.

The two countries agreed to continue cooperation on counter-terrorism efforts, and NATO will establish a new Special Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism role, the statement said. Sweden and Turkey “also agreed to step up economic cooperation.”

In addition, Sweden “will actively support efforts to reinvigorate Türkiye’s EU accession process,” the statement said.

US President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to meet with Erdoğan on Tuesday evening, welcomed the Turkish president’s commitment “to transmit the Accession Protocol for Sweden to Türkiye’s Grand National Assembly for swift ratification.”

“I stand ready to work with President Erdoğan and Türkiye on enhancing defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area,” Biden said in a statement Monday.

Top US officials had stepped up pressure on their counterparts in Ankara in the days leading up to the NATO summit. Biden spoke with ErdoÄŸan while he was flying aboard Air Force One Sunday. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with officials in Turkey and Sweden, respectively, on Monday in preparation for the summit. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan three times in a matter of five days, including on Monday morning.

The news represents a major win for Biden, who had consistently expressed confidence that Sweden would join the alliance at the Vilnius summit, despite Turkish opposition. The president told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an exclusive interview ahead of the summit that he was optimistic that Sweden would eventually be admitted to NATO, noting Turkey is seeking to modernize its F-16 fleet, along with Greece, which has voted to admit Sweden.

“Turkey is looking for modernization of F-16 aircraft. And (Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos) Mitsotakis in Greece is also looking for some help,” Biden said. “And so, what I’m trying to, quite frankly, put together is a little bit of a consortium here, where we’re strengthening NATO in terms of military capacity of both Greece as well as Turkey, and allow Sweden to come in. But it’s in play. It’s not done.”

Technology Markets / Twitter’s Future Is In Doubt As Threads Tops 100 Million Users by admin: 09:03 am On 7 Jul 2023
Twitter has weathered months, if not years, of mismanagement as well as mass layoffs, frequent service disruptions and an exodus of top advertisers, but the launch of a rival app from Meta could prove to be the final straw.

Threads surpassed 100 million users this weekend, less than a week after it launched, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Monday, marking a staggering feat for any social network and one that puts it on pace to rapidly pass Twitter’s audience size.

Meanwhile, multiple internet traffic analysts reported noticeable declines in Twitter usage in just the past few days. The results underscore the risk Meta poses to Twitter’s business and raise questions about how, or if, Twitter can stem its losses.

Twitter traffic had already been trending downward for months, according to data from the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare and the web analytics firm Similarweb. But the pace of decline appears to have accelerated in recent days, both companies said, likely reflecting strong interest in Threads and a mass migration from the platform owned by Elon Musk to the one run by Zuckerberg.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince shared a chart showing Twitter’s popularity relative to other websites it tracks. “Twitter traffic tanking,” Prince said as he posted the chart.

The chart showed that in January, Twitter was ranked 32nd on the list; the next month, it had fallen to 34th. For much of the spring, Twitter fluctuated between 35th place and 37th. But the beginning of July showed a rapid falloff in popularity, as Twitter plunged to 40th place. (Cloudflare defines popularity as the “size of a population of users that look up a domain per unit of time.”)

Similarweb told CNN Monday it has witnessed comparable trends in Twitter traffic.

“In the first two full days that Threads was generally available, [last] Thursday and Friday, web traffic to was down 5% compared with the same days of the previous week and down 11% compared with July 6 and 7, 2022,” said David Carr, a senior insights manager at Similarweb. “We’ve been reporting for a while that Twitter is down compared with last year – June traffic was down 4% – but Threads seems to be taking a bigger bite out of it.”

Bolstering the traffic reports were the anecdotal experiences of some Threads users. Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, said Saturday he ran an “unscientific test” of how the same post he shared on Twitter, Threads and Mastodon, another rival, performed with his audience over a 23-hour period.

The identical content Stamos created on each platform saw significantly more engagement on Threads than on Twitter as measured by likes and replies — despite having a fraction of his usual reach on the newer platform, he said.

Stamos, who has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter but only a tenth of that number on Threads, added that strong Threads engagement with his posts describing the “research” also supported the original findings. The quality of the replies to his posts were also much higher on non-Twitter platforms, he observed.

“From my perspective, Twitter is done as a platform for serious tech conversations,” Stamos said, who previously was the chief security officer at Facebook.

A Twitter rival but not quite a Twitter replacement
Fueling Threads’ rapid growth has been Meta’s use of Instagram as a springboard to sign up new users, along with what many Threads users have identified as a dissatisfaction with Twitter.

Threads started out with a number of celebrity accounts prepopulating its platform but has since gained additional high-profile users including Kim Kardashian and Jeff Bezos. An account that had been banned from Twitter that tracks the movements of Musk’s private jet has also joined the new platform.

More than 100 US lawmakers have signed up as well, Axios reported last week, though few world leaders appear to be on Threads at the moment.

Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri have emphasized that Threads is about more than replacing Twitter and that the app seeks to tap audiences outside of Twitter’s traditional user base. That means Threads will not actively elevate news or political content, Mosseri said, describing those topics as “not at all worth the scrutiny, negativity (let’s be honest), or integrity risks that come along with them.”

Over the weekend, Mosseri’s stance on news and politics triggered a debate over Threads’ approach to those topics. Some users praised it as a way to make the platform more accessible to average users, who may never have embraced Twitter before. Others argued that many of the topics Mosseri characterized as non-political, including music, fashion and entertainment, are their own source of news and can be inherently political.

Even as Meta’s executives look to put some daylight between Threads and Twitter, the rapid rise of Threads only appears to have deepened Musk’s longtime feud with Zuckerberg. The app’s launch prompted threats of litigation as Twitter has accused Meta of trade secret theft, not to mention talk of a physical cage fight between Musk and Zuckerberg.

On Sunday, Musk, who is known for erratic behavior and incendiary remarks, made it even more personal as he lobbed a s*xual insult at Zuckerberg and proposed comparing the size of their respective genitalia.

Zuckerberg has not directly responded to the insult. But after a Threads user pointed out that the new app was not featured in Twitter’s trending topics tab, Zuckerberg replied “Concerning” with a crying-laughter emoji. And he used the same emoji to reply to a post by the fast-food brand Wendy’s, which had suggested Zuckerberg should “go to space just to really make him mad lol.”

Health / Former Top Uk Tv Host Fiona Phillips Reveals Alzheimer’s Diagnosis At 61 by admin: 07:38 am On 7 Jul 2023

Fiona Phillips, 62, has already seen Alzheimer's disease destroy the lives of multiple family members, including both her parents

British journalist and TV host Fiona Phillips has revealed that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 61.

In an exclusive interview with a British tabloid, Phillips said the neurodegenerative disease, which commonly affects memory, reasoning and mood, had already “decimated” her family.

“My mum, my dad, my uncle Barry. I mean it just goes on and on,” Phillips told the Daily Mirror.

“This disease has ravaged my family and now it has come for me. And all over the country there are people of all different ages whose lives are being affected by it – it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

The former ITV breakfast show host is currently a columnist at the Mirror.

According to the newspaper, Phillips was diagnosed a year ago, after suffering from anxiety and brain fog. Although she had expected to receive the news one day, she said it still came as a shock, especially as she had thought her symptoms were menopause-related.

“It’s something I might have thought I’d get at 80,” she said.

The columnist said she felt more “angry than anything else” at the diagnosis, because Alzheimer’s had already heavily impacted her life and many family members.

Phillips is currently taking part in clinical trials at a London hospital for the drug Miridesap, which could potentially slow the effects of the disease.

“I just hope I can help find a cure which might make things better for others in the future,” she said.

Phillips added that her husband, fellow TV journalist Martin Frizell, has been helping her take her medication three times a day.

“Poor Martin, bless him. He’s injecting my stomach,” she said, describing how the medication is administered.

Asked how she is coping with her diagnosis, Phillips said she just does what she normally does.

“Otherwise what do I do? I don’t want to not work. I don’t want to be sitting around playing around my fingers.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, affecting as many as 5.8 million Americans as of 2020, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

World Politics / Chinese Warship Arrives Nigeria by admin: 06:32 pm On 7 Jul 2023
A warship belonging to the Navy of the People’s Republic of China has arrived the shores of Nigeria.

The warship, named MSL Destroyer NANNING arrived Lagos Sunday morning.

The vessel was received by officials of the Western Naval Command led by Flag Officer Commanding(FOC) Rear Admiral Joseph Akpan.

As at the time of this report, neither the government of Nigeria nor the Chinese government is yet to release official statement on the development.

In 2014 several Chinese naval vessels arrived in Nigeria for a friendship visit, where they conducted training exercises with the Nigerian Navy.

The 16th naval escort squad arrived in Lagos on a Saturday included the Type 054A guided missile frigate Yancheng, the Type 053H guided missile frigate Luoyang and the supply ship Taihu.

Cryptocurrency / Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin On Sec Crypto Enforcement Actions by admin: 06:28 pm On 7 Jul 2023
Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency project by market cap, took a stance on the recent actions that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken in the field of enforcement against crypto. Buterin mentioned how projects like Solana were included in these legal actions and stated that the real competition was the “centralized world.

Vitalik Buterin Opens up on SEC Crypto Enforcement Actions
Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum, has opened up on his thoughts about the recent crypto enforcement actions the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking against exchanges and cryptocurrency projects. When asked about his thoughts on the issue by Matt Huang, co-founder of California-based crypto investment firm Paradigm, Buterin answered:

I feel bad that Solana and other projects are getting hit in this way. They don’t deserve it, and if ethereum ends up ‘winning’ through all other blockchains getting kicked off exchanges, that’s not an honorable way to win, and in the long term probably isn’t even a victory.

Furthermore, Buterin warned about the possible objectives behind these actions, stating that “the real competition is not other chains, it’s the rapidly expanding centralized world that is imposing itself on us as we speak,” wishing other crypto projects a “fair outcome” on this situation.

Ethereum, Solana, and Their Classification
Solana, Cardano, Polygon, BNB, and other cryptocurrency projects have been included in the current legal cases that the SEC is battling against Coinbase and Binance, two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the market. SOL, the native token of Solana, a smart-contracts-enabled cryptocurrency project, has been labeled a security in these processes, endangering its permanence and listing in U.S.-based exchanges without prior registration.

However, the Solana Foundation, whose mission is to “help build the Solana protocol into the most censorship-resistant network in the world,” has questioned the validity of the SEC’s vision, stating it “disagrees with the characterization of SOL as a security.”

Ether, the native token of the Ethereum network, is also part of this security categorization debate. On a recent congressional hearing, SEC chairman Gary Gensler did not answer a direct question on whether ether represented a security in the eyes of the commission or not.

However, in his now infamous 2018 speech, former SEC official William Hinman detailed that based on his understanding, “current offers and sales of ether are not securities transactions.” On March 9, 2023, New York attorney general Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Kucoin, in which the prosecutor classified ether as a security.

According to JPMorgan analyst Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, the unsealing of the Hinman docs, a group of internal memos and emails showing the discussions SEC officer had before this speech, boosts the possibility of ethereum being ruled a commodity, explaining that these might trigger a boom for decentralization.

Health / ‘presumed Human Remains’ Found In Wreckage Of Doomed Titan Submersible, Us Coast by admin: 07:53 am On 6 Jun 2023
“Presumed human remains” were among the debris and evidence recovered from the seafloor where the doomed Titan submersible’s remnants were found, the US Coast Guard said Wednesday.

The remains were recovered “within the wreckage” of the submersible, the Coast Guard said in a news release – an announcement coming nearly a week after authorities determined the Titanic-bound vessel had imploded in the North Atlantic, killing all five men aboard.

The presumed remains, which the military branch said will be analyzed by US medical professionals, were among the evidence from the submersible that arrived at a Canadian pier Wednesday.

The company that owns the remotely operated vehicles that brought Titan’s remains to the surface, Pelagic Research Services, for now has “successfully completed” the offshore work, it told CNN.

A white panel-like piece – taller than the two men guiding it onto land – and another similarly sized part with cords and wires draped with white tarp were among the debris taken off the anchor handling vessel Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, photos by The Canadian Press’ Paul Daly show.

It was not immediately clear what those pieces were. Titan was made of carbon fiber and titanium and weighed 23,000 pounds, with room for only five adults, according to OceanGate Expeditions, which operated the craft as part of its offering for extreme tourists to get close to the century-old wreckage of the Titanic for $250,000 per person.

Crew members “have been working around the clock now for 10 days, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and are anxious to finish the mission and return to their loved ones,” the company said in a statement.

Pelagic Research Services deferred questions to the US Coast Guard, adding its team cannot comment on or provide any information related to the investigation into the Titan’s demise. The company will hold a news conference at its East Aurora, New York, operations base after “our team has regrouped,” it said.

A Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson declined to comment to CNN, saying more information about its investigation is forthcoming as warranted.

The OceanGate submersible and its five passengers began their descent to the 111-year-old wreckage of the Titanic on the morning of June 18. But about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive, the cramped vessel lost contact with its mother ship and did not surface as expected, kicking off a massive, dayslong multinational search and rescue operation that captured the world’s attention.

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard announced the vessel had suffered a “catastrophic implosion” that presumably killed all those aboard.

The tail cone and other debris from the submersible were found by a remotely operated vehicle about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic.

Over the weekend, the military branch said it convened a Marine Board of Investigation to probe what caused the implosion and to offer possible recommendations “to pursue civil or criminal sanctions as necessary.”

In its news release Wednesday, the Coast Guard said those working on the investigation board are collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses ahead of an expected public hearing for additional witness testimony.

“There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the Titan and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again,” Capt. Jason Neubauer, who heads the investigative board, said Wednesday.

World Politics / Why Prigozhin’s Short-lived Russian Rebellion Failed by admin: 10:31 am On 6 Jun 2023
Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin over-reached and lost.

His hubris-fuelled insurrection failed through a combination of hot-headed ambition and his inability to read Putin’s inner circle, of which he was a member, properly.

As one informed Moscow resident told me, the “system wasn’t ready for the radical change” he wanted.

When he packed up his tanks and pulled out of the Russian military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday, well-wishers rushed up to say thank you.
His battle-hardened troops, like veteran actors at a curtain call after a long and tense 24-hour performance, waved goodbye to an apparently adoring audience.

Whether it had it all been theater, we may never know, but in Prigozhin’s mind on Friday evening when he called his heavily armed forces to action on Russia’s not Ukraine’s streets, the time had come for him to take center stage.

For weeks, months even, he’d been arguing Russia’s war in Ukraine was being badly and unnecessary fought by an elite who couldn’t care less how many Russian lives were lost.

His message gained easy traction among Russians who understand that Putin and his coterie habitually lie and tolerate it only as long as their leader is strong and they enjoy stability.

It’s a compact forged across generations: resistance to dictatorship is useless, just put your head down and survive.

For months now, Prigozhin struck a chord with his charismatic and carefully choreographed front-line rants from Bakhmut where his fighters were dying in their hundreds so Putin could claim a tiny gain in his grindingly slow war in Ukraine.

To many, Prigozhin seemed brave. No Russian general was seen going so close to danger.

Prigozhin claimed his troops were being starved of ammunition by another of Putin’s trusted inner circle, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

The Wagner boss’s obvious hatred of Shoigu had developed into a festering turf war over who would control Wagner. At stake were the vast money-making ventures Prigozhin developed and owned for the Kremlin in Africa and beyond.

Putin, whose hitherto iron-fisted rule relies on manipulating his inner circle’s interests to keep them in line, should have shut the feud down sooner.

What the Russian public was hearing from Prigozhin, about how badly the war was going, was dangerous for Putin. The renegade mercenary boss’s regular diatribes about a screwed-up, lying military leadership were seeds of dissent falling on fertile soil.

Prigozhin’s miscalculation was how fertile that soil was, or more specifically which bits weren’t.

Not only had his message been gaining traction with the public, he’d also been drawing support from top military ranks. At the end of April, he recruited Deputy Defense Minister Mikhail Mizintsev direct from the Kremlin.

Another top defense official, Sergey Surovkin, who for a while last year was put in charge of Russia’s war in Ukraine, was a favorite of Prigozhin. “This is the only person with the star of the General of the Army who knows how to fight,” Prigozhin said, at the height of his spat with the defense ministry in Moscow.

Rumors were the respect was reciprocated

Around the same time Putin’s massively powerful and vital ally Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov heaped praise on Prigozhin’s troops. “The Wagner PMC has very good, courageous, necessary, necessary people,” Kadyrov said.

As Prigozhin threatened to pull his forces from the front lines Kadyrov was trying to mediate. “If you stay with us,” Kadyrov said, “I promise you that we will give you more, create better conditions, than you have today. We will try to make everything top notch for you.”

At 9 p.m. Friday night, Prigozhin claimed he met with Shoigu. What they discussed is still unknown. Shoigu left abruptly. Hours later, Prigozhin said he wasn’t budging till Shoigu came back to talk, and in the meantime said he had dispatched a fighting force to Moscow.

‘Treacherous’ Prigozhin
Late Saturday morning, as Prigozhin was still holed up in the Russian military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, Kadyrov played kingmakers’ hand: “What is happening is not an ultimatum to the Ministry of Defense. This is a challenge to the state, and against this challenge it is necessary to rally around the national leader,” he declared.

He called Prigozhin “treacherous” and said he was sending his special forces to rout the mercenary boss. The walls were closing in.

Any thought Prigozhin might rally Russian army generals to his cause was evaporating too. Hours earlier, Surovkin, the only general he valued, released a video message telling him to “stop” and to “obey the will” of President Vladimir Putin.

Facing a potential Alamo, Prigozhin appeared to negotiate his way out on Saturday afternoon – or at least, he thought he did.

Prigozhin claimed he called off his march on Moscow to save “Russian blood,” but the reality was that his neck was on the line.

Putin, fabled for rewarding loyalty and punishing the disloyal, had only hours earlier accused Prigozhin of “treason” and “armed rebellion.” Now, he hid behind a diplomatic fig leaf, allowing his weak Belarus neighbor and supplicant, President Alexander Lukashenko, to announce an amnesty and sanctuary for Prigozhin.

But by Monday, that amnesty appeared to have evaporated. Russian state media said charges against Prigozhin had not been dropped, and since Belarus is an enfeebled client of Russia, it can surely offer little safety for Prigozhin.

If the Wagner boss does have any leverage left, it is bundled up in his shady diamond, gold and other dealings with Kremlin clients he helped recruit in Mali, Central African Republic, Sudan and Libya.

Such currency rarely holds its value long.

Prigozhin’s world is a much smaller and more dangerous place now, but there can be little satisfaction for Putin in this as his empire is the most fragile it’s been since he consolidated his power from a wholly different group of oligarchs two decades ago.

Sports / Osimhen Beats Mahrez, Salah To African Award by Anigold: 09:27 am On 6 Jun 2023
Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen, has claimed the Best African Player award ahead of Treble winner Riyadh Mahrez and Mohammed Salah at the Ghana Football Awards, The PUNCH reports.

The 24-year-old registered 31 goals in all competitions last season to help Napoli win the Serie A title for the first time in over three decades.

The Super Eagles forward’s best season as a professional player has seen him scoop awards and break records, with his latest coming from the award ceremony in Ghana.

Osimhen, in a video online, thanked the organisers for the award and promised to make Africa proud.

“It is a great privilege for me to win this award, it’s really a great honour. Thank you to those who voted for me and the support. Major thanks to the organisers of Ghana Football Awards for their love and support also, I appreciate you all for this recognition.

Cryptocurrency / Token Issuers In Japan Exempt From 30% Crypto Tax On Paper Gains by admin: 02:37 pm On 6 Jun 2023

Token issuers in Japan no longer have to pay corporate taxes on unrealized cryptocurrency gains, according to a law revision by the National Tax Agency on June 20.

The tax exemption goes into effect nearly six months after the Japanese government approved a proposal eliminating the requirement for crypto firms to pay taxes on paper gains on tokens they issued and held.

Legislators in Japan have been discussing new crypto tax rules since last August as part of broader tax reform for 2023, but the tax authority has only given the final approval this week. Under the new rules, Japanese firms issuing tokens are exempt from paying a set 30% corporate tax rate on their holdings. Before this law, even unrealized gains were subject to taxation.

The cryptocurrency industry in Japan has been undergoing significant changes lately. Since June 1, the country has been enforcing stricter Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures to trace cryptocurrency transactions to align Japan's legal framework with global crypto rules. Lawmakers revised the AML legislation in December after it was found to be insufficient by the Financial Action Task Force.

In June last year, the government passed legislation prohibiting the issuance of stablecoins by non-banking institutions. Implemented just a few weeks ago, the bill stipulates that stablecoin issuance in the country is limited to licensed banks, registered money transfer agents and trust companies.

Japan was one of the first countries to legalize crypto as a form of private asset, and its crypto regulations are among the strictest in the world. After Mt. Gox and Coincheck were hacked, Japan’s financial regulator tightened rules on crypto exchanges. Local regulations are believed to have facilitated the speedy return of assets to FTX users in Japan following the exchange’s global collapse, in contrast to
users in other countries without a clear deadline for their refunds.

Science/Technology / James Cameron Says He Figured Days Ago That The Titan Submersible Imploded by admin: 02:34 pm On 6 Jun 2023
Filmmaker and deep-sea explorer James Cameron says he figured soon after learning a Titanic-bound submersible was missing it had imploded and its occupants were dead – days before officials announced that very outcome.

After hearing on Monday the “Titan” craft had disappeared, Cameron connected with people he knows in the deep-sea diving community and was told the submersible had lost communication and tracking simultaneously, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday evening.

“The only scenario that I could come up with in my mind that could account for that was an implosion – a shock wave event so powerful that it actually took out a secondary system that has its own pressure vessel and its own battery power supply, which is the transponder that the (mother) ship uses to track where the sub is,” Cameron said on “Anderson Cooper 360.”

Cameron, who directed the hit 1997 film “Titanic” and has made 33 dives to the Titanic wreckage, said he then talked with other people and “got confirmation that there was some kind of loud noise that was consistent with an implosion event.”

“That seemed to me enough confirmation that I let all of my inner circle of people know that we had lost our comrades, and I encouraged all of them to raise a glass in their honor on Monday,” Cameron said.

The submersible was carrying five people when it dove Sunday toward the Titanic wreckage in the North Atlantic. It lost contact with its mother ship an hour and 45 minutes into the journey, sparking a dayslong search.

On Thursday, US authorities announced searchers found the Titan’s debris on the seabed, indicating the vessel had imploded and the five aboard had perished.

The US Navy had detected an acoustic signature consistent with an implosion on Sunday in the general area where the vessel was diving, a senior Navy official told CNN on Thursday.

However, the sound of the implosion was determined to be “not definitive,” the official said, and search efforts continued. The Wall Street Journal was first to report about the acoustic signature picked up by the Navy.

Cameron was “hoping against hope” his conclusion was wrong, “knowing in my bones that I wasn’t (wrong),” he said Thursday.

“I couldn’t think of any other scenario in which a sub would be lost where it lost comms and navigation at the same time, and stayed out of touch, and did not surface,” Cameron said.

Responding to Cameron’s comments, OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Sohnlein urged people not to speculate about the cause of the accident.

“[Cameron] himself has pushed the limits of technology and operations in pursuit of his expeditions so it kind of comes with the territory and I kind of again wish we would hold off judgment and just see exactly what the data comes back with,” Sohnlein told “CNN This Morning” Friday.

“The deep ocean exploration community is a small community. We generally all know each other and in general we respect each other,” Sohnlein added. “Jim’s obviously a very experienced ocean explorer and also well regarded but as he knows, and we all know, working underwater in these conditions is a very risky operation.”

Cameron – who also directed the 1989 thriller “The Abyss” – is an experienced deep sea explorer who in 2012 dove to the Mariana Trench, considered one of the deepest spots in the Earth’s oceans at almost 7 miles below the surface, in a 24-foot submersible vehicle he designed called the Deepsea Challenger.

All five people who were abroad the Titan – Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet – were killed in the implosion, officials said Thursday.

Cameron said he hopes the tragedy doesn’t discourage tourists from exploring the ocean.

“I’m not worried about exploration, because explorers will go,” Cameron said. “I’m worried that it has a negative impact on, let’s say, citizen explorers, tourists. … These are serious people with serious curiosity willing to put serious money down to go to these interesting places – and I don’t want to discourage that.”

Weird News / A Robot Is Combing The Sea Floor For Debris From The Titan Submersible Implosion by admin: 02:32 pm On 6 Jun 2023
A robot is combing the sea floor for debris from the fatal implosion of the Titan submersible as authorities in both the US and Canada turn their attention from search and rescue to investigating what led up to the maritime disaster and whether any laws were broken.

The US Coast Guard has convened a Marine Board of Investigation to probe the implosion – the “highest level of investigation the Coast Guard conducts,” US Coast Guard chief investigator Capt. Jason Neubauer announced Sunday.

The board will work to determine the cause of the catastrophic implosion and fatalities, as well as make recommendations “to pursue civil or criminal sanctions as necessary,” Neubauer said.

For now, investigators are prioritizing recovering debris from the sea floor. Military experts found debris from the ill-fated submersible about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on Thursday, the US Coast Guard previously said.

“My primary goal is to prevent a similar occurrence by making the necessary recommendations to enhance the safety of the maritime domain worldwide,” Neubauer said Sunday.

The salvage operation comes as questions remain about the submersible’s design, the materials used in its construction, what caused it to implode and when exactly the implosion happened.

The Titan was 1 hour and 45 minutes into its descent to the Titanic’s wreckage on the ocean floor last Sunday when it lost contact with its mother ship, kick-starting a dayslong multinational search and rescue operation in the North Atlantic that ended Thursday, with the discovery of its debris.

The US Coast Guard’s investigation is one of several currently underway. Authorities in Canada also tasked with probing the incident will be reviewing voice recordings from the submersible’s mother ship, the Polar Prince, Canadian officials said.

Canadian investigators boarded the Polar Prince on Saturday “to collect information from the vessel’s voyage data recorder and other vessel systems that contain useful information,” Kathy Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said Saturday. A voyage data recorder stores audio from the ship’s bridge.

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is looking into whether “criminal, federal, or provincial laws may possibly have been broken.”

“There’s no suspicion of criminal activity per se, but the RCMP is taking initial steps to assess whether or not we will go down that road,” RCMP Superintendent Kent Osmond said at a Saturday press briefing.

US and Canadian authorities have also been conducting interviews in the port of St. John’s, Canada, where the Polar Prince returned Saturday with its flags at half-mast.

“This case has been extremely complex, involving a coordinated international, interagency and private sector response in an unforgiving and difficult to access region of the ocean,” US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander, said Sunday.

The Coast Guard announced the vessel suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” killing everyone on board.

Those killed were OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush; British businessman Hamish Harding; French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, who were British citizens.

The same remotely operated vehicle that found the submersible’s debris field last week is now involved in the operation to recover debris from the Atlantic Ocean, according to a statement from Pelagic Research Services, first seen by CNN, on Sunday.

The Odysseus 6K, a remotely operated vehicle, was on the seafloor in its fourth dive since arriving at the Titan rescue site on Sunday, according to a statement from Pelagic Research Services, first seen by CNN, on Sunday.

The company added Odysseus’ heavy lift capabilities “have been utilized and continue to be utilized” in the Titan recovery mission but would not confirm if debris had been recovered and referred CNN to the US Coast Guard, which is leading the investigation into the implosion and recovery effort.

Capt. Neubauer declined to give details on the recovery operation Sunday, but said that “resources are on site and capable of recovering the debris.”

Five different major pieces of debris from the submersible were found Thursday morning, officials said. Each end of the pressure hull was found in a different place, according to Paul Hankins, US Navy director of Salvage Operations and Ocean Engineering.

Remotely operated vehicle missions are expected to continue for about another week, according to Jeff Mahoney, spokesperson for Pelagic Research Services.

Any attempts to recover anything from the debris field will warrant a larger operation in tandem with Deep Energy, another company helping with the mission, because the debris will likely be too heavy for Pelagic’s ROV to lift by itself, Mahoney told CNN on Friday.

Pieces of the submersible will be examined as investigators seek to understand why it imploded.

The US Navy said it detected an acoustic signature consistent with an implosion on Sunday in the general area where the submersible was diving when it lost communication, a senior Navy official told CNN.

The sound was determined to be “not definitive,” the official said, and the multinational efforts to find the submersible continued as a search and rescue operation before the debris field was found.

Vessel used materials that ‘simply didn’t work,’ expert says
While the debris field is mapped out and pieces from the submersible are collected, experts are raising questions about the Titan’s design.

A CNN review of OceanGate’s marketing material, public statements made by Rush and court records show that even as the company touted a commitment to safety measures, it rejected industry standards that would have imposed greater scrutiny on its operations and vessels.

A former employee who worked briefly for the company as an operations technician had concerns about the hull’s thickness and adhesion, he said, speaking to CNN on the condition of anonymity.

“This was a company that was already defying much of what we already know about submersible design,” Rachel Lance, a Duke University biomedical engineer who has studied physiological requirements of survival underwater, said on CNN Thursday. She noted some of the vessel’s design materials “were already large red flags to people who have worked in this field.”

She said the unconventional combinations of materials used in the Titan, including carbon fiber, posed safety risks because “over the course of repeated pressurizations, they tend to weaken.”

“This is not exactly what, in my opinion, would be innovation because this is already a thing that has been tried and it simply didn’t work,” she said.

When submersible expert Karl Stanley was aboard the Titan for an underseas excursion off the coast of the Bahamas in April 2019, he felt there was something wrong with the vessel when loud noises were heard and sent an email to Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, sounding the alarm on suspected defects.

“What we heard, in my opinion … sounded like a flaw/defect in one area being acted on by the tremendous pressures and being crushed/damaged,” Stanley wrote in the email, a copy of which has been obtained by CNN.

When asked for comment about Stanley’s email, a spokesman for OceanGate told CNN they were unable to provide any additional information at this time.

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Sohnlein urged people not to rush judgment over the implosion. “There are teams on site that are still going to be collecting data for the next few days, weeks, maybe months, and it’s going to be a long time before we know exactly what happened down there,” Sohnlein told CNN on Friday. “So I would encourage us to hold off on speculation until we have more data to go on.”

World Politics / China Throws Support Behind ‘strategic Partner’ Russia After Wagner Insurrection by admin: 02:27 pm On 6 Jun 2023
China has voiced support for Russia after a short-lived insurrection posed the gravest challenge to the 23-year rule of Vladimir Putin, a close partner of Chinese leader Xi Jinping in his push for a new world order and strategic alignment against the United States.

The brief mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group reverberated beyond Russia, including in neighboring China, where Xi has forged a strong rapport with fellow authoritarian Putin thanks to their mutual distrust of the West – a strategic bond that has only deepened in recent years, even after Moscow’s stumbling invasion of Ukraine.

“There’s probably some scrambling around in Beijing to figure out what this means for Putin going forward, especially if it means a more fractured Russia or a Putin who is very much weakened,” said Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore.

Beijing finally broke its silence late on Sunday night, backing Russia with a terse statement that brushed off the incident as “Russia’s internal affair.”

“As Russia’s friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for the new era, China supports Russia in maintaining national stability and achieving development and prosperity,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in the online statement.

Beijing’s carefully crafted public comment came well after the brief and chaotic mutiny had dissipated, with warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin agreeing on Saturday to pull back his fighters in a deal with the Kremlin that would reportedly see him enter into exile in Belarus.

It also came after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko flew to Beijing to meet with Chinese officials on Sunday, where the two sides reaffirmed their close partnership and political trust.

China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Rudenko exchanged views on “Sino-Russian relations and international and regional issues of common concern,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a one-line statement posted on its website, with a photo showing the pair walking side by side while smiling at the previously unannounced meeting.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Rudenko also held “scheduled consultations” with China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu.

“The Chinese side expressed support for the efforts of the leadership of the Russian Federation to stabilize the situation in the country in connection with the events of June 24, and reaffirmed its interest in strengthening the unity and further prosperity of Russia,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

According to the Chinese readout, Ma told Rudenko that the mutual political trust and cooperation between China and Russia had grown continuously under the leadership of Xi and Putin. Ma also pledged to safeguard the “common interests” of both countries under what he called a “complex and grim international situation.”

Close bond
Xi, China’s most authoritarian and powerful leader in decades, has met Putin in person 40 times since coming to power in 2012 – far more than any other world leader.

In recent years, the world’s two most powerful autocratic leaders have brought their countries even closer together in an ambition to challenge what they see as a world older inflicted by “American hegemony.”

The pair declared a friendship with “no limits” in February 2022, shortly before Putin launched his war on Ukraine. Since then, China has refused to condemn the invasion and instead provided much-needed diplomatic and economic support for Russia, a position that has further soured its relations with Western nations, especially in Europe.

But as the devastating war drags on, Beijing’s costly alignment has been compounded by fears that the protracted conflict could ultimately destabilize Putin’s grip on power.

Nothing has accentuated those fears more than the extraordinary show of defiance by Wagner’s insurrection, which shattered the veneer of total control Putin has struggled to maintain more than 16 months into the invasion.

A civil war in Russia seems to have been avoided, for now, something Beijing will greet with a sigh of relief.

Internal conflict within Russia not only risks the stability of its 4,300-kilometer (2,672-mile) border with China, it would also make Moscow a less useful partner for Beijing to counter the US – or worse, it could give rise to a new regime more open to the West and less friendly to China.

Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist with the Australian National University’s Taiwan Studies Program, said Beijing is likely worried about the weakening of Putin.

“China likely fears a domino effect: that if Russia falls, China may be next,” he said. “For China, Putinist Russia is useful cushion both geopolitically and ideologically, especially during the era of Biden administration’s ‘value-based alignment’ rhetoric.”

Social media buzzing, but state media curated
That sense of political symbiosis is palpable in Chinese discussions about the Russian upheaval, which have dominated China’s tightly controlled social media over the weekend, with many citing the Chinese idiom: “If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold”.

Chinese state media, meanwhile, sought to stress continued stability within Russia and portray Putin in a positive light, Sung said.

Videos of Wagner fighters occupying military facilities in Rostov-on-Don, home to the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District, and departing the city to the cheers of local residents were broadcast Saturday around the world.

But those kind of scenes were notably absent from China’s most-watched news program on state broadcaster CCTV.

Instead, the prime time program aired footage showing traffic moving calmly outside the Kremlin and tourists posing for photos near a pair of security officers, as well as a determined Putin vowing retribution for those “on a path to treason” in his national address.

On Sunday, the same prime time show displayed videos of Wagner tanks and armored vehicles retreating orderly, escorted by police vehicles.

The Wagner insurrection “contradicts the narrative of Putin as a strong leader who enjoys full support of his people, and is here for the long haul as China’s global partner of choice,” Sung said.

“If Putin’s rule is unstable, then supporting him is bad business,” he said.

Weakened grip
In recent months, Beijing has sought to portray itself as a peace broker in an effort to repair relations with Europe – but it has also continued to deepen ties with Moscow.

In March, Xi and Putin made a sweeping affirmation of their alignment across a host of issues – and shared mistrust of the United States – during the Chinese leader’s first visit to Russia since the invasion.

“Right now there are changes – the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years – and we are the ones driving these changes together,” Xi told Putin as they bid farewell at the door of the Kremlin.

Three months on, the co-driving force for Xi’s vision appears to be at his weakest in decades, after Wagner’s mutiny punctured his infallible image and exposed cracks in his rule.'

Jokes / Elon Musk And Mark Zuckerberg Say They’re Ready For A Cage Fight by admin: 03:23 pm On 6 Jun 2023
Business rivalry seemingly isn’t enough for two of the tech industry’s most powerful billionaires. Now Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg say they want to settle their scores in a cage fight.

Twitter owner and Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk recently tweeted that he would be “up for a cage fight” with Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta. In an Instagram story Wednesday, Zuckerberg fired back by posting a screenshot of Musk’s tweet overlaid with the caption: “Send Me Location.”

Musk then responded to a tweet about the fight by Alex Heath, editor of tech news website Verge, with “Vegas Octagon” — a reference to the Las Vegas arena that hosts the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“I have this great move that I call ‘The Walrus,’ where I just lie on top of my opponent & do nothing,” he added in a separate tweet.

CNN has contacted Meta for comment. A spokesperson for the company told Verge: “The [Instagram] story speaks for itself.”

It remains unclear whether Zuckerberg and Musk are serious or having a laugh.

The two — who in the past jostled for a high spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index before Musk became the world’s richest man — have clashed before.

They have history
In 2017, they engaged in a very public feud over the future of artificial intelligence.

Musk had repeatedly warned about the dangers of AI, describing it as a potentially existential threat to the human race. Zuckerberg, on the other hand, took a much more optimistic view.

During a Facebook Live broadcast at the time he dismissed “naysayers” who sketched out “doomsday scenarios” as being “pretty irresponsible.”

Musk shot back shortly afterward, tweeting: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is pretty limited.”

Musk knocked Zuckerberg from the number three spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in 2020, before becoming the richest person in the world soon after that.

He was briefly ousted from the top spot in December by Bernard Arnault, the chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH (LVMHF), before reclaiming his title in May. Zuckerberg is now in the 10th position.

Quite who would win in a cage fight, however, remains to be seen. Musk is physically bigger than Zuckerberg, but the Meta chief practices jiu-jitsu, the Brazilian martial art, and won gold and silver in a tournament in May.

US Politics / Obama Says Meeting With Anti-democratic Leaders Is One Of The More Complex Parts by admin: 03:19 pm On 6 Jun 2023
Former President Barack Obama told CNN Thursday that meeting with dictators or other anti-democratic leaders is just one of the complex facets of the American presidency.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, Obama said he dealt with many figures he didn’t agree with during his time in the Oval Office.

“Look, it’s complicated,” Obama said in an interview from Greece, where he is discussing issues of democracy. “The president of the United States has a lot of equities. And when I was president, I would deal with figures in some cases who were allies, who, you know, if you pressed me in private, do they run their governments and their political parties in ways that I would say are ideally democratic? I’d have to say no.”

The full interview with Obama airs at 10 p.m. ET on CNN in a hour-long special, “Obama & Amanpour: Will Democracy Win?”

The comments come just hours before the White House rolls out the red carpet for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an official state visit. Modi has been accused by human rights groups of a drift toward authoritarianism but is also the leader of the world’s most populous democracy and is seen by the White House as an important bulwark against China’s growing influence.

Obama cited his work with Chinese President Xi Jinping on climate change as an example of finding common interests, even with leaders with poor human rights records. This week, Biden likened Xi to a dictator in comments to donors in California.

“You had to do business with them, because they’re important for national security reasons. There are, you know, a range of economic interests,” Obama said.

“I do think that it is appropriate for the president of the United States, where he or she can, to uphold those principles and to challenge –whether behind closed doors or in public – trends that are troubling. And so I’m less concerned about labels than I’m concerned about specific practices,” he went on.

Modi, who was being fêted by Biden on Thursday, has demonstrated a drift toward authoritarianism that has worried the West. He’s cracked down on dissent, targeted journalists and introduced policies that human rights groups say discriminate against Muslims.

Obama acknowledged that he also worked with Modi on climate change and other areas. But he said that raising concerns about Indian democracy must also enter into diplomatic conversations.

“Part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility India at some point starts pulling apart. And we’ve seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts,” he said.

Obama’s trip this week to Greece marked a return to the site of one his final foreign stops as president. In 2016, shortly after Trump had been elected his successor, Obama hailed the enduring power of American democracy from the ancient birthplace of the system.

Back then, as his supporters back home and foreign counterparts alike worried about the future under Trump, Obama said American democracy was “bigger than any one person.”

He lent symbolism to his commitment to democratic ideals when he climbed the Acropolis in central Athens and toured the Parthenon, the 2,500-year-old temple built by ancient Greeks dedicated to the goddess Athena. He also toured the museum constructed near the site that houses antiquities from the era.

Since then, however, concerns both about American and global democracy have only intensified. Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election and the ensuing insurrection attempt at the US Capitol laid bare how fragile the American system remains. And autocrats around the world have consolidated power.

While in Greece, Obama also met with participants from the Obama Foundation Leaders program. The leaders from Africa, Asia and Europe participated in group sessions with the former president and offered presentations of their work toward advancing democracy and finding solutions to societal issues.

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