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Sexual harassment: CP concludes interrogation of Ogun Commissioner, submits report

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The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun has interrogated the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, who was accused of sexual harassment by a teenager, Barakat Melojuekun.

Muhabarishaji learnt that Abudu-Balogun was grilled by the Police Commissioner himself after the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department.

Recall that the 16-year-old Barakat Melojuekun had in a viral video alleged that Abudu-Balogun sexually harassed her by forcefully touching her breasts, caressing her and saying some incantations with an attempt to place his hand on her head.

Though Abudu-Balogun debunked the allegations, describing it as political blackmail, it did not stop Governor Dapo Abiodun from suspending him to allow for a thorough police investigation.

While giving update on a Family FM Abeokuta programme monitored by Muhabarishaji on Wednesday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi hinted that the police has concluded its investigation.

According to Oyeyemi, the CP, Ajogun took charge of the investigation as he personally questioned the accused Commissioner, the 16-year-old accuser and Lasisi Saheed, the uncle that took her to Abudu-Balogun’s house. 

In his words, Oyeyemi explained that the command has submitted its report to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

“We (The police) have concluded our investigation and we have forwarded our report to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to know the next step.

“According to the nature of the case, we will conclude our investigation and forward the report to the DPP. It is the DPP that will now advise us on what the accused will be charged for. We are waiting for the advice from the DPP.

“You will remember that the girl and her father made efforts to withdraw the case. But the police did not agree to that. The case is no more their own. It is now between the Commissioner of Police and the accused. That’s why we continued with this case to get to the root of the matter.

“We have done all that is necessary in our investigation. In fact, it was the CP himself that interrogated the accused person, the accuser and her uncle that took her to the house of the Commissioner for Environment,” Oyeyemi explained.

Asked, the PPRO refused to give details of what was in the report forwarded to the DPP by the police.

“Everybody will see the outcome of our investigation by the time the DPP sends its recommendations,” he quipped.

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Coronavirus

Lebanese protest rise in poverty amid covid lockdown

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Anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli last night, leaving 45 injured.

At least nine were taken to hospital for treatment by the Lebanese Red Cross following the clashes.

Protesters targeted government offices, torched a military vehicle and blocked the city’s main square.

The army was deployed to contain the demonstrators, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Demonstrators have been angered by the national lockdown which has worsened the already dire economic situation and prevented many from working.

Anger boiled over in Tripoli on Monday night leading to similar clashes that left 30 people injured.

Protesters also took to the streets in the southern Lebanese town of Saida, in a show of solidarity with demonstrators in Tripoli.

Last week, authorities lengthened a nationwide lockdown, extending the restrictions until at least mid-February.

The move angered Lebanon’s residents, many of whom rely on daily income to feed their families.

READ: Lebanese herders, Israeli military row over cows grazing near border

In the previous three lockdowns, the government provided financial assistance to those unable to work because of the restrictions, according to Al Jazeera. However, the government is yet to announce plans to help vulnerable people financially under the current round-the-clock curfew.

Under the lockdown rules, shops and restaurants have been shuttered and grocery shopping restricted to home deliveries which are often not available in poor areas.

Lebanon is also grappling with a debilitating economic crisis that started at the same time as mass anti-government protests in October 2019.

The Mediterranean state’s currency has lost more than 80 per cent of its value over the past 12 months and seen 50 per cent of the population pushed under the poverty line.

Despite economic concerns, the most recent lockdown has been forced after a spike in coronavirus cases, caused by a relaxation of lockdown rules over the Christmas period, threatened to overwhelm Lebanon’s health sector.

The country of six million people has seen over 280,000 cases and 2,477 deaths from the disease since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Delivery of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected next month under a World Bank funded programme.

The initial vaccine rollout will target priority groups including high risk healthcare workers, people aged 65 and over, and citizens aged between 55 and 64 with comorbidities.

Controversially, journalists have also been included in the high priority group list.

READ: Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to receive free covid vaccine

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Kenya

I know CSs Who Don't Pick Uhuru's Calls – David Ndii

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  • Kenya’s fiery economist David Ndii has claimed that he knows a number of Cabinet Secretaries who often ignore President Uhuru Kenyatta’s calls.

    In a statement he shared on Tuesday, January 27, the outspoken economist claimed that in one instance, he was hanging out with a number of the CSs when the Head of State called them but they did not pick.

    Sensing fallout in the Cabinet, Ndii further noted that the incident occurred two years ago, adding that the relationship must have worsened by now.

    “He’s talking about roaring and already two years ago I sat with CSs who ignored his phone calls. How bad must it be now? Man, finish up and go” posed Ndii.

    a
    Economist and political activist David Ndii
    File

    When he was questioned about the specific CSs he befriends, the economist listed down their names without disclosing whether they had ignored the President’s call.

    He noted that he is friends with East Africa Community CS Adan Mohammed since they met at Kangaru School in 1983 as well as Trade CS Betty Maina from their days at University of Nairobi (UoN) in 1985.

    Others include Defence CS Monica Juma (UoN, 1985), Tourism CS Najib Balala (Parliament in the early 1990s) Labour CS James Macharia (banking in the late 1990’s) and Interior CS Fred Matiangi (State University of New York, 2003).

    In 2019, Ndii noted that he had appeared as a referee on Matiang’i’s CV.

    Ndii was responding to a video clip of Uhuru’s speech during the launch of Ksh1 billion in Ngong where he noted that he still had enough days to run the country.

    “We shall do politics. Some people look at me and dismiss that I am leaving (office) and that there is nothing I can do. Let me remind you, I still have days left to (run the country)… There is no vacancy,” stated Uhuru.

    The Cabinet has suffered tensions pitting members on several occasions with some leading to firings such as that of former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.

    When he was shown the door in January 2020, Kiunjuri revealed that he was relieved to hand over the responsibilities, explaining that it was too stressful.

    In 2019, tensions also arose in which four CSs were accused of plotting to kill Deputy President William Ruto during an alleged secret meeting they held at La Mada Hotel.

    The four CSs included Joe Mucheru (ICT), Peter Munya (Trade & Industrialization), James Macharia (Transport) and Sicily Kariuki (Health).

    The CSs vehemently denied the allegations, stating that they had convened at the hotel to discuss Huduma Namba, the referendum and development issues in the Mt Kenya region. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta attending a past function in Mombasa
    President Uhuru Kenyatta attending a past function in Mombasa
    File
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    Iran

    Tehran International Short Film Festival winners introduced

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    Tehran International Short Film Festival winners introduced

    Addressing the gathering, the festival director Sadeq Mousavi thanked the event’s organizers, as well as the Iranian artists and filmmakers who sent about 1700 short films to the secretariat of the event

    Iran is top 10 short films producers

    Addressing the same gathering, Head of the Cultural and Social Commission of the Islamic Council of Tehran, Mohammad Javad Haghshenas, said: “We have been dealing with the Covid-19 disease for more than a year and many jobs and professions have been damaged, including the people of culture and art.”
    Haghshenas said that Iran is one of the top 10 producers of short films in the world.

    He added that the Iranian Youth Cinema Association is one of the oldest cinema schools in the world and organizes national and international festivals. 
    In the meantime, Deputy Minister of Health Iraj HaririchiI thanked the festival’s organizers for commemorating martyrs of health, adding that dedicating a section for health is appreciated. 

    Covid-19 Prize Category 

    The award for best film in the “Covid 19” category went to “Shahab Abroshan” for “Ansins”.

    Also in the continuation of this ceremony, the prizes of the short film study conference were awarded. The third prize went to “Mohsen Rahnama”, the second prize went to “Parisa Hosseinzadeh” and the first prize went to “Ahmad Khoshnit”.

    ISFA Medal

    The ISFA Medal was awarded by Elham Hosseinzadeh, President of the Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA). 

    While appreciating the film “Dakal” directed by “Babak Mostafavi”, the “ISFA” medal for “Innovation in theme and creativity in the presentation of the film” Fear Shifts “directed by” Iman Salehi “.” ISFA “commendation plaque was also awarded to “Mahsa Samani”, the director of “Habub” animation, and was presented by “Maryam Kashkolinia”.

    Addressing the same gathering, Head of Cinema Organization Hossein Entezami said:” When a phenomenon dominates the world, two paths can be taken; one is to shut everything down, and the other is to experience bio-coronation and move on with it. This festival took the second way and I have to thank my colleagues.”

    Commemorating ceremony of Amir Lotfian

    The next part of the ceremony was dedicated to the veteran photographer and filmmaker Amir Lotfian.

    In this section, “Ahmad Masjed Jamei”, a member of the Islamic Council of Tehran, said, “In Mr. Lotfian’s collection of photographs, I saw photography which conveyed a lot of joy during the hard and difficult years of the 60’s. I thank the doctors for their support of this festival, but of course, the cinema has lost great people during this period, whose memory we cherish. I hope we continue to see short filmmakers shine at home and abroad.”

    International Competition Awards

    Iranian director Behnam Behzadi, Italian Director Lia Beltrami, as well as Planning Manager of Busan Film Festival Kyeongyeon, are slated to judge the films in this section of the festival.

    The Best International Documentary Award went to “Kak Iraj” by Jamshid Farjondfarda from Iran. The director of this film presented this award to the medical staff.

    The award for best animated short film went to “Candela” co-directed by Marc Riba and Anna Solanas from Spain.

    The award for best short fiction film went to “DAYIE or Good Night” directed by Anthony Netty from Ghana.
     
    National Competition Awards

    The jury members of the “National Competition Section were: “Mohammad Mehdi Asqarpour”, “Mohammad Reza Delpak”, “Nasser Saffarian”, “Ismail Monsef”, “Bahram Tavakoli”, “Rohollah Hejazi”, “Roqayeh Tavakoli”, “Ashkan Rahgozar” and “Hamid-Reza Lotfian” cast their votes as follows:

    In the Best Cinematography category, the festival statuette and the cash prize for the best cinematography were awarded to “Vahid Beyoteh” for the feature film “Gabriel”.

    “Leila Mir Nasiri” was awarded the Diploma of Honor for Best Innovation for his role in “Nahid”.

    The best editing award went to “Babak Bahrambeigi” for editing the short film “Bloody Children”.

    In the best sound section, the festival statue and a cash prize were awarded to “Mohammad Hossein Mehrjoo” and “Mohammad Kashfi” for the sound of the feature film “Khonab”.

    The award for the best research in the documentary was given to “Fereshteh Tavakoli” for “Forough Kooche Bonbast”. 

    In the best screenplay adaptation category, the festival statue and a cash prize were awarded to “Mohammad Reza Moradi” for “Dual Pa”.

    In the category of the best screenplay, the festival statuette and a cash prize were awarded to “Samad Alizadeh” for the feature film “Nahid”.

    The best animation director award went to “Mona Abdullah Shahi” for “Red Fire”.

    The Best Documentary Director Award went to “Arman Gholipour Dashtaki” for “Bloody Children”

    The award for best director of experimental film went to “Kamal Kachouian” for “Adapt”.

    The Best Feature Film Award went to “Mahyar Mandegar” for “Winged White Horse”.

    The special jury award went to “Iman Salehi” for “Overcoming Fear”.

    The award for best film in Iranian cinema went to “Hamid Reza Zubair” for production of “Winged White Horse”.

    The grand prize of the festival in the international section was awarded to “Reza Fahimi” for the short film “Sefidpoosh” from Iran.

    Presided by Sadeq Mousavi, the event which inaugurated on Jan 15, in physical and online formats in Iran Mall cinema hall was wrapped up on Jan 25.

    In this year edition, over 4,986 foreign and 1,700 Iranian short films were submitted to different sections of the festival.

    In the meantime, 146 Iranian films are competing in the national sections of the event which include feature, documentary, experimental and animation.

    ZZ/PR

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