Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Jussie Smollet’s “Empire” Role Getting Reduced In Wake Of Scandal: Report

Jussie Smollet’s “Empire” Role Getting Reduced In Wake Of Scandal: Report

Jussie Smollet’s “Empire” Role Getting Reduced In Wake Of Scandal: Report

Jussie Smollet is seeing his role on "Empire" getting reduced following his false "attack" scandal.
In the wake of his nationally publicized scandal, Jussie Smollett will be seeing his role on Empire dramatically reduced. Production sources tell TMZ that Jussie has had several scenes cut from an upcoming episode.

Jussie was supposed to have nine scenes in the second to last episode as well as a big musical, but that’s no longer the case. Production reportedly cut out five of his scenes, and completely took out his musical. Of the remaining four scenes he’s involved in, he’s no longer the focus anymore either and will be casted alongside an ensemble of fellow actors.

As a result of the reduced workload, Jussie will be spending way less time on set as well. Instead of working every day this week, which he normally would do, Jussie is now only working Friday and possibly Thursday, and he won't be rehearsing. Writers have spent the past 24 hours making edits to the script to make up for Jussie’s reduced role, but they're clearly separating themselves from the Chicago actor.

Jussie’s story took a turn for the worse this weekend as investigators believe Jussie staged his whole attack and paid two accomplices to jump him. Jussie is currently waiting to head to a Grand Jury for a verdict, but things aren’t looking good for him. We’ll keep you posted. HNHH
Nigeria army uncovers 'unholy' political plan

Nigeria army uncovers 'unholy' political plan

Nigeria army uncovers 'unholy' political plan

Barely 24-hours after Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari said he had given orders for the security forces to be ruthless on ballot box snatchers, the army said on Tuesday that it had uncovered a plot to disrupt the process.

“Credible intelligence available to HQ 6 Div NA has uncovered an unholy plan by some political actors within its AOR to arm and sponsor miscreants in addition to using military-like fatigue dress for deception to cause pandemonium at polling stations for their political gain,” the military said on social media.

The statement noted that the said incident was in the Niger Delta region. It said there were efforts to track the source of weapons being used in the said operation. Officials were also cautioned against active politicking which was against service rules.

To this end, the GOC 6 Division and Land Component Commander (LCC) OPDS Maj Gen Jamil Sarham wish to reassure the good people of Niger Delta of providing adequate security in conjunction with other security agencies before, during and after the 2019 General Elections,” the statement added.

Nigeria’s army plays a crucial role in Nigeria’s complex security setup – soldiers are largely in charge in zones affected by terrorism – in major parts of the northeast. They are also involved in anti-kidnapping, banditry operations in north-central and northwest.

Buhari’s caution was issued at a meeting of the national caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the capital, Abuja.

“I do not expect anybody to make any disturbance. I have briefed the law enforcement agencies and the military, they have identified hot spots, flashpoints, they should be prepared to move.

“I really gave the military and police order to be ruthless… Anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturbs the voting system will do so at the expense of his own life.

“We are not going to be blamed that we want to rig elections. I want Nigerians to be respected, let them vote whoever they want across the parties.”
Nigeria army uncovers 'unholy' political plan

Buhari’s comments were met with a swift riposte from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Whiles they accused Buhari of giving a shoot to kill orders, pro-government activists insist that he was only speaking in the language that ballot snatchers understand.

Nigeria would have by now known the results of the February 16 poll that was postponed by the elections body, INEC. The action was taken about six-hours to the opening of polls, something Buhari gravely deplored and called for a probe into. AFRICA NEWS
Workers strike at Port Sudan container terminal over concession deal

Workers strike at Port Sudan container terminal over concession deal

Workers strike at Port Sudan container terminal over concession deal

Workers at Port Sudan’s southern container terminal went on strike on Monday to protest against a deal with Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), port employees and a union official said.

Witnesses in Port Sudan said work at the terminal had been suspended since the morning because of the strike, which was timed to coincide with a visit by the Sudanese prime minister aimed at resolving opposition to the deal.

“Today with the prime minister’s visit all the workers in the container terminal in Port Sudan’s port carried out a full strike,” said Othman Taher, head of an opposition trade union. “They numbered 1,800 workers.”

“Our message and our demand to the government is to refuse the privatisation and cancel the contract with the Philippine company to protect the country’s resources.”

On Jan. 3 ICTSI subsidiary ICTSI Middle East DMCC signed a 20-year concession deal with the Sea Ports Corporation of Sudan (SPC) to operate, manage and develop the South Port Container Terminal at Port Sudan, a disclosure from the company said.

The transfer of facilities would take place in the first quarter of this year, it said, adding that the terminal has a capacity of more than 1 million TEU, the standard unit for shipping container size. AFRICA NEWS
US Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to step down in March

US Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to step down in March

 Rod Rosenstein, the US deputy attorney general who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign, is expected to step down by mid-March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

US Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to step down in March

 Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by the US Senate last week. 

 The Justice official said Rosenstein's departure was not related to renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump and using the 25th amendment of the US Constitution to remove the president from office. 

Rosenstein, the No 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017 named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. 

The investigation continues. 

 A registered Republican, Rosenstein made the decision because his then-boss, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign, had recused himself from the issue.

 Last September, the New York Times reported Rosenstein in 2017 had suggested secretly recording Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to oust the president using the provisions of the Constitution's 25th Amendment.

 In an interview broadcast on Sunday with CBS News "60 Minutes," former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe confirmed the Times account that Rosenstein considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump. 

 Rosenstein said both the Times story and McCabe's account were "inaccurate and factually incorrect," which a Justice Department spokeswoman reiterated after the "60 Minutes" interview.

 Earlier on Monday Trump accused both McCabe and Rosenstein of planning a "very illegal act," which he described in a tweet as "illegal and treasonous." 

 Rosenstein ceased overseeing Mueller's probe on November 7 when Trump named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general. 

 Barr now has oversight of the investigation. Rosenstein had attracted far more attention than is typical for the No 2 Justice Department official because of his decision to appoint Mueller to lead the investigation eight days after Trump fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 Trump has frequently and publicly seethed about the Mueller probe, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department, which oversees them both. 

 The president has denied any collusion and Russia says there was no election meddling, despite findings to the contrary by US intelligence agencies.  
Mueller's investigation, which the president has repeatedly called a "witch hunt," has so far netted 34 individuals and three companies who have pleaded guilty, been indicted or been otherwise swept up in the inquiry.
US-backed Syrian forces call for 1,500 coalition troops to stay

US-backed Syrian forces call for 1,500 coalition troops to stay

 The commander of US-backed forces in Syria called on Monday for about 1,000 to 1,500 international forces to remain in Syria to help fight Islamic State and expressed hope that the United States, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout.

US-backed Syrian forces call for 1,500 coalition troops to stay

The remarks by Mazloum Kobani, the commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, followed talks with senior US generals at an airbase in northeast Syria and offered perhaps the most comprehensive view to date of his requests for enduring military assistance from the US-led coalition.

 "We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us," Kobani told a small group of reporters who travelled with the US military to an airbase at an undisclosed location in northeast Syria. 

 With US help, the Kurdish-led fighters are poised to seize Islamic State's last holdout in eastern Syria. 

At the height of its power four years ago, Islamic State held about a third of both Iraq and Syria in a self-proclaimed Caliphate. 

 But Islamic State still has thousands of fighters, who, now dispersed, are expected to turn to guerrilla-style attacks. 

 Kobani said there were discussions about perhaps French and British troops supporting the SDF in Syria.

 But he stressed he also wanted at least "a partial group of American forces," who now number more than 2,000 in Syria, to stay as well. 

 US Army General Joseph Votel, head of Central Command, said after the talks with Kobani that he was still carrying out President Donald Trump's December order for a complete US. withdrawal of American forces. 

 "We certainly understand what they would like us to do, but of course that's not the path we're on at this particular point," Votel told reporters. 

 US presence Asked about any discussions on a continuing US presence in Syria, Votel said: "So the discussion really isn't about US forces staying here. We've looked at potentially what coalition (forces) might be able to do here." 

 Trump's surprise December decision to withdraw all the US troops from Syria has triggered deep concern among US allies about the risk of an eventual resurgence of Islamic State. 

 But the pullout raises an even more immediate threat to Kobani's SDF, which fears that Turkey will make good on threats to attack them. 

He warned of a "new genocide" in SDF controlled areas of Syria. 

 Kobani thanked Trump for publicly stating his intent to protect the SDF but said: "I want him to live up to his word." 

 Without a deal with the US-led coalition, experts say Kobani may have to strike a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to avoid a Turkish sweep or a resurgence of Islamic State. 

 Votel is recommending continued support to the SDF as long as it keeps up pressure on Islamic State militants. 

 But Army Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, who is the commander of the US-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, cautioned on Sunday that the United States would be legally unable to support the SDF if they partnered with Assad or Assad's Russian backers. 

 Kobani stressed he was not seeking a military deal with Damascus.

 Perhaps sensing an opportunity to stoke doubt among the Kurdish communities, Assad warned on Sunday the United States would not protect those depending on it.

 "We say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not protect you," he said.

 "The Americans will put you in their pockets so you can be tools in the barter, and they have started with (it)." 

 Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, is among the US lawmakers expressing concern the US withdrawal could deal a devastating blow to Kurdish forces and warned that any sense of US betrayal could cast a long shadow for years to come.

 "It will chill future potential groups from assisting us if we're going to treat the people who have been so stalwart on our behalf in this way.

 It is very dangerous in terms of national security," he has said.
Nicaraguan opposition leaders sentenced to 200 years over protests

Nicaraguan opposition leaders sentenced to 200 years over protests

 Two opposition leaders in Nicaragua were handed sentences of more than 200 years on Monday for participating in violent protests last year against President Daniel Ortega that left 325 people dead, their lawyer said.

Nicaraguan opposition leaders sentenced to 200 years over protests

 Medardo Mairena was sentenced to 216 years in prison for "terrorism" and six other offences related to his participation in the protests that caused the death of four police officers and a civilian said lawyer Julio Montenegro from the non-governmental Permanent Commission for Human Rights. 

 Pedro Mena was given 210 years for terrorism and other offences. Montenegro described the sentences as "unprecedented" and "overly exaggerated."

 The two opposition leaders will serve only 30 years in prison, though, as that is the maximum allowed in Nicaraguan law. 

 Mairena is one of the leaders of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, an opposition group that was formed in May to try to find a solution to the country's political crisis through dialogue with the government. 

 Protests had begun in April and escalated quickly as they were met by a brutal government crackdown. 

 The talks broke down in June as Ortega refused the opposition's main demands to step down and bring forward presidential elections. 

 Protests lasted until October and as well as the many dead, more than 750 people were arrested and accused of terrorism. 

 The Nicaraguan opposition accuses former guerrilla leader Ortega, in power since 2007, of establishing a corrupt dictatorship with his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo.