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Abia: Ikpeazu to commission Osusu road on Monday

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The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, will on Monday, 11th of January, 2021, commission the Osusu Road project in Aba South LGA, Following its completion.

A statement by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, said the Governor will commission the road in the company of Catholic Archbishop, His Excellency, The Most Reverend Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Apostolic Nuncio (Head of Diplomatic Missions) to Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Antilles, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.

According to the statement, the Governor will also commission Ebenma, First Avenue and Egege/Ama Ohafia Roads in Aba North LGA of the State.

“Governor Ikpeazu who is also expected to inspect ongoing road projects along Ngwa, Ohanku and Obohia Roads in Aba South LGA, cordially invites the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji and members of Abia State House of Assembly, members of Abia State Executive Council (Exco), Traditional Rulers, the Clergy and members of the press, to accompany him on the commissioning and inspection functions.

“The project commissioning and inspection tours tagged “Kinetic Abia” and launched in August 2020 have seen the Governor commission eleven completed road projects bringing to a total of 102 road project completed by his administration with 56 other construction project sites active across the state,” the statement said.

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Europe & Russia

Greece, France ink $3bn fighter jet deal

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Greece and France signed a $3 billion warplane deal yesterday as part of plans to upgrade Athens’ armed force in response to Turkish challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, France24 reports.

Greece will buy 18 French Rafale jets, 12 of them used, the report explained.

Government spokesman Christos Tarantilis said delivery of the first six planes would begin in July.

A group of Greek air force pilots and technicians are to travel to France for training over the next few days, he added.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece have risen in recent months over a border dispute in the Mediterranean Sea.

READ: EU imposes sanctions on Turkey officials involved in gas drillings

In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey’s goodwill gesture in halting explorations.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating Ankara’s interests, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

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News

Old Mutual cuts ties with MacG for transphobic remarks

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Old Mutual has announced it is severing ties with MacG for making transphobic comments on his podcast Podcast and Chill with MacG.

“Old Mutual has seen the discussion that took place on MacG’s podcast. As a responsible business that fully respects the rights of everyone, we have decided to terminate the relation with MacG, with immediate effect. We distance ourselves from the harmful commentary against the LGBTQI community and humanity at large,” the finance company said.

It said that MacG’s commentary was both ignorant and insensitive, which shows that much education needs to happen, especially in a country where people continue to ostracised, abused, killed and raped for being who they are.

“As a country it is our duty to educate ourselves and hold each other accountable, to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected,” Old Mutual said.

In an interview with radio personality Sol Phenduka, the pair talk about the LGBTQ community and in particular, the transgender community. In no time, the conversation went completely downhill mentioned a rapper who had apparently had relations with a trans woman.

“Interesting fact, one of the members of G-Unit, Young Buck, used to see a trans person…A shemale but I think that’s a bad term, we don’t use that term,” he said.

“A trans person, so a woman with a d*ck,” he said, prompting MacG to burst into laughter.

A woman in the background can be heard correcting him saying: “It’s a trans female”

“Yeah but he saw a woman with a d*ck,” Phenduka said again.

Video of the chat has gone viral on social media and sparked backlash from LGBTQ allies

“transphobia and homophobia is violence. the lives of trans people matter. when platforms like MACG’s podcast invalidate their existence with ‘jokes’ & derogatory terms many intolerant people feel comfortable to violate & endanger those lives too. it is dangerous & intolerable,” said one Twitter user.

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Asia & Americas

The US and Israel are changing the narrative on Palestine through Trump’s legacy

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“An unprecedented place,” is how Israel Hayomdescribed the Trump administration’s scheming with Israel against the Palestinian people, during an interview with outgoing US Ambassador David Friedman. Unprecedented, that is, if we isolate the Trump era from decades of US and international foreign policy.

This distinction was reinforced by Friedman in his assessment of the recent years juxtaposed against that of the Obama administration and its last minute, symbolic gesture of voting in favour of UN Resolution 2334 regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements and expansion. According to Friedman, Trump’s aim was to achieve a resolution “on the basis of just a dispute between two people with competing claims to territory that should be resolved as disputes get resolved, not that one side is an illegal occupier and the other side is a perpetual victim.”

No mention of the fact that Israel is indeed an illegal occupier; that it was created upon ethnic cleansing and colonisation; and that the international community invented the “conflict” to promote a changed narrative that generates impunity for the occupation state. Throughout Trump’s term of office, the aim was to alter the narrative further and use the term “conflict” in a way that marginalises Palestinians to the point of disappearance from the political process that has stolen their land. Hence the normalisation agreements which allow Israel and the US to determine the new conflict narrative, even as the forced absence of Palestinian political demands makes it easier to perceive the illegalities of colonisation and the non-existence of alleged “competing claims to territory”. Had there been any symmetry in the parties to this dispute, the Palestinians would be given an equal platform and powerful interlocutors — perhaps even arms — to fight their case.

READ: The PA’s ‘hope’ masks the reality of the two-state compromise

In December, the Times of Israelreported that, once in the White House, Joe Biden would not be prioritising Israeli-Palestinian initiatives. So far, indications suggest that Biden will pursue a fusion of Trump’s policies and two-state politics, in a boost for Israel and its plans to continue normalising relations with Arab states. The US Embassy will remain in Jerusalem; there is no intention, it seems, to annual Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s undivided capital and thus America’s acceptance of its illegal annexation by the settler-colonial state.

Which narrative will Biden now pursue? What will it mean when he opposes settlement expansion, as he is likely to do — albeit rhetorically — but supports the normalisation of relations with Israel despite such deals being an important part of its de-facto annexation agenda?

If Biden does not overturn Trump’s concessions to Israel, the two-state compromise changes, and the international community needs to clarify the covert adjustments. The constant pressure on Palestinians to sacrifice their demands for the sake of “peace” and make concession after concession has only brought a steady deterioration of territory, bolstered by the Palestinian Authority’s internationally-funded and totally spineless politics.

How much visibility is Biden willing to allow the Palestinians in the international arena? Will it be influenced by the “conflict” rhetoric, or will they have the opportunity to demand an end to the colonial violations that the Abraham Accords have normalised? If the US proceeds with hailing the Arab normalisation of relations with Israel as a positive step forward, just as the UN did last year, then Biden will be prolonging and promoting Trump’s legacy in favour of the occupation state, leading to the complete obliteration of Palestinians at a political level.

READ: UNRWA and Palestinian refugees are the next targets of normalisation deals with Israel

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