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US journalist shot dead in Ukraine, another wounded

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Award-winning American journalist, Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine, according to Kyiv region police in social media posts yesterday. Kyiv police said another American journalist was wounded by Russian troops.

In a tweet, Kyiv region police named the 50-year-old American journalist, who was killed as Brent Renaud. Police posted a photo of his body and his American passport as evidence, as well as a photo of an outdated New York Times press badge with Brent Renaud’s name.

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said in a statement that Renaud “paid with his life for attempting to expose the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor,” according to a New York Times report.

CNN has been unable to verify which media outlet the American journalists were working for in Ukraine.

The New York Times said in a statement yesterday, “We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years. Though he had contributed to The Times in the past (most recently in 2015), he was not on assignment for any desk at The Times in Ukraine. Early reports that he worked for Times circulated because he was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago.”

The northern Ukrainian city of Irpin, just outside Kyiv, has been the site of substantial Russian shelling in recent days and has seen extensive destruction, according to the Kyiv regional government on Friday.

Brent Renaud was a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer, and journalist, who lived and worked in New York City and Little Rock, Arkansas, according to his biography on the Renaud Brothers website.

With his brother Craig, Renaud spent years “telling humanistic verite stories from the World’s hot spots,” including projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Egypt, and Libya, according to his website bio. Brent Renaud was a 2019 Harvard Nieman Fellow.

A post on the Renaud Brothers Facebook page, dated March 8, urged readers to follow their coverage of the war Ukraine.

The director of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard said on Sunday that the foundation is “heartsick” over the death of American journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine.

“Our Nieman Fellow Brent Renaud was gifted and kind, and his work was infused with humanity. He was killed today outside Kiev, and the world and journalism are lesser for it. We are heartsick,” said foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski in a tweet.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also yesterday condemned the killing of Renaud and called for the killers to be brought to justice.

The New York-based organization said in a statement, “U.S. reporter Brent Renaud was shot and killed, and another journalist was injured yesterday in the city of Irpin, outside of Kyiv, according to a Ukrainian police official and news reports. In denouncing the shooting, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the killers to be brought to justice.”

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. This kind of attack is totally unacceptable, and is a violation of international law,” added the CPJ’s program director Carlos Martinez de la Serna in the statement. “Russian forces in Ukraine must stop all violence against journalists and other civilians at once, and whoever killed Renaud should be held to account.”

Ukraine, Russia say ‘joint position’ in peace talks could be reached soon

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said yesterday that he thinks they will “achieve concrete results” from talks with Russia in the next few days.

In a video posted on Twitter, Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russia “becomes much more sensitive to the Ukrainian position” and has “started to talk constructively.”

“Our proposals are on the table. They are very tough. Among them, the withdrawal of troops, the ceasefire,” Podoliak added. “We shall not give up on any points, out of principle.”

Russia says there has been ‘substantial progress’ in peace talks and ‘joint position’ could be reached soon

The possible breakthrough comes after Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also said he thought progress could be made in the talks with Russia in a “matter of days”.

Also, Russian delegate involved in peace negotiations said the talks have made “substantial progress” and a “joint position” could be reached soon, the state-controlled Russian news agency RIA has reported.

Leonid Slutsky added the delegations could soon reach draft agreements.

Mr Slutsky said: “According to my personal expectations, this progress may grow in the coming days into a joint position of both delegations, into documents for signing.”Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there had been some “positive shifts” in the talks, but did not elaborate.

On Saturday the Kremlin said the discussions between Russian and Ukrainian officials had been continuing “in video format”.

SANCTIONS: Russia counts on China as US warns Beijing

Russia has said it is banking on China’s help to withstand the crippling economic sanctions placed by Western nations over the war in Ukraine as the United States warned Beijing not to provide that lifeline.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said sanctions had deprived Moscow of access to $300bn of its $640bn in gold and foreign exchange reserves, and added that there was pressure on Beijing to shut off more.

“We have part of our gold and foreign exchange reserves in the Chinese currency, in yuan. And we see what pressure is being exerted by Western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade with China. Of course, there is pressure to limit access to those reserves,” he said yesterday.

“But I think that our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing.”

Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s corporate and financial system since it invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a special military operation.

Siluanov’s comments in a TV interview marked the clearest statement yet from Moscow that it will seek help from China to cushion the effect.

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions, evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” Sullivan told CNN.

“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” added Sullivan, who is due to meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday.

China has been one of the few countries to avoid criticising the Russians for their invasion of Ukraine. China’s Xi Jinping hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing just weeks before Russia launched the February 24 invasion.

During Putin’s visit to China last month, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring “no limits” in the friendship between the two countries.

Chinese officials have also said Washington should not be able to complain about Russia’s actions because the US invaded Iraq under false pretences. The US claimed to have evidence Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction though none was ever found.

Russian troops attempting to block off Kyiv

Russian troops are trying to block off Kyiv from the east, in addition to other access points, as part of their siege on the capital, the Ukrainian army has said.

Russian units had crossed the E95 route in the direction of the suburbs Browary and Boryspil, while to the north-west and north-east of the city, Russia was gathering forces for an advance.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Kyiv, said the streets of the capital were empty as people bunkered down. Everyone is “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Khan said.

Latvian seeks permanent NATO base for protection against Russian aggression

Latvian President Egils Levits stressed yesterday that a permanent NATO military base in Latvia is “absolutely” needed in order to protect the country against any potential Russian aggression there.

“Absolutely. NATO should strengthen the NATO eastern flank. That’s the Baltics, Poland, Romania, so that this would be a strong signal to Moscow that NATO is ready to defend the member states,” Levits told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked whether US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s announcement that NATO is establishing a permanent base in Latvia would help protect the country against Russia.

“I welcome also the American troops in Poland and Baltics, and we need a permanent presence of American troops in this area. I think it is a response to Russian ideas on aggression beyond Ukraine,” he added.

“So, we should defend our way of life, our democracies, and this is a question for the confidence to the West. It is an exam for the West. It is an exam for the American leadership. And I’m sure that America and the West as a whole, they’ll pass this exam.ýÿýÿ

Latvia, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia, has in recent days condemned Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The war has caused the US to help Latvia shore up its defences, including by sending hundreds of American troops and some fighter jets to the country.

Bus full of Ukrainian refugees overturns in Italy; one dead

A bus carrying about 50 Ukrainian refugees overturned on a major highway in northern Italy at dawn on Sunday, killing one person, Italian firefighters said.

Italian state TV said there were also five people injured, but none of the injuries was serious, in the accident on the A14 autostrada near Forli’, a town in the Emilia-Romagna region in northeastern Italy. It said the rest of those aboard were safely evacuated.

Italy’s Interior Ministry said the bus had set out from Ukraine and was heading south to Pescara, an Adriatic port city, when it overturned. Some 35,000 Ukrainians refugees who fled war in their homeland have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia.

What caused the bus to overturn was under investigation.

Anti-war protesters detained in Russia

Anti-war demonstrations are once again taking place around the world, including in Russia – where vocal Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny has called for people there to take a stand against President Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.

Police rounded up some of the protesters in Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow.

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LASG DISBANDS M.O.T ENFORCEMENT TEAM

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The Lagos Ministry of Transportation has placed an indefinite ban on the operations of its enforcement team tagged M.O.T Taskforce.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Sola Giwa, stated that the decision was reached after a thorough appraisal and review of the enforcement teams operating under the Ministry of Transportation.

Giwa explained that the ban is part of measures initiated to streamline transport enforcement activities in Lagos State to achieve the required effectiveness in line with global best practices, warning that the ban is not an excuse for drivers to disobey the traffic laws of the State.

The Special Adviser averred that Traffic Management and Transportation is a cardinal pillar in the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stressing that the readjustment of the enforcement strategy was to enhance service delivery to the people of the State.

He, therefore, enjoined the general public to report the activities of any unauthorised enforcement team still operating with the tag M.O.T Taskforce to the Ministry of Transportation for prosecution.

Appealing to Lagosians to cooperate with the State Government in its effort to improve the traffic situation across the metropolis, the Special Adviser gave an assurance that a lot is ongoing behind the scene to bring the much-desired change in the transport sector.

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One million compatriots died to keep Nigeria together — Buhari

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria has gone through all troubles from January 15,1966, to date which resulted in the killing of a million of the citizenry in order to keep the country together.

He also urged political leaders to stay focused and uphold the ultimate objective of promoting interest of the country, saying “we are Nigerians, God willing, we remain Nigerians, and Nigeria shall remain one.’’

Speaking when he received former state chairmen of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, at State House, Buhari noted that the passion and zeal to improve the livelihood of Nigerians, which culminated in creation of the political party, had not dwindled, calling for more steadfastness as Nigerians.

He said the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between 1967 and1970 must not be allowed to repeat itself.

While noting that the CPC was founded on the bedrock of patriotism and loyalty to the unity of Nigeria, the President said: “Our main objective is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are human beings. We have our weaknesses, but I can assure you that the patriotism in us is hard earned.

”We have gone through all the troubles from 15th of January 1966 to date. You know what I mean by this, we have killed a million of ourselves in order to keep this country together.

“I don’t think there can be any practical experience more than that. We are Nigerians, God willing we remain Nigerians and Nigeria will remain one.”

He urged all members of defunct CPC and political leaders to always be mindful of the larger picture by working towards preserving the unity, peace and integrity of the nation.

The President thanked former chairmen of the political party, which was merged to form the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, for always highlighting the achievements of the government, admitting that some areas will surely get more attention.

“I am delighted to welcome the forum of State Chairmen of the former Congress for Progressives’ Change to State House today. I accord great significance to this visit as it demonstrates a determination and commitment to identify with our administration.

“This visit recalls the solidarity with the successes that we have recorded in critical areas of our society. The visit also affords us the opportunity to discuss other issues of interest to the forum.

“I commend members of this forum and all members of the legacy party-CPC, for their continued dedication to the ideals of democratic governance that we all believed in.

“The doggedness with which we pursued our vision and goals that culminated into the success we recorded remain like bright stars in the history of our dear nation,’’ he added.

He said he was particularly grateful for the unalterable belief members of CPC and, by extension, the Nigerian electorate, had and still had in him as demonstrated in their unalloyed support for his electoral struggles which reflected in the results he consistently recorded at the polls over the years.’

Describing the President as the patriarch of the CPC’, the Chairman of Forum of State Chairmen of the defunct CPC and former chairman of the party in Niger State, Umar Shuaibu, said the party had maintained all its structures across the country, assuring President Buhari of their loyalty, especially in the forthcoming elections.

Shuaibu commended the President for providing strong leadership over the years, particularly in remaining balanced, fair and above board on electoral issues.

“Before you, the opposition was arrested and maltreated, but it is no longer so. You did not deny them what they denied you when they were in power,” he said.

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Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan Hits the Right Safety Button with LNSA

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Since the inception of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Administration in 2019, there is one thing he reiterated in his manifesto and has sworn to uphold under his THEMES agenda where he highlighted Security as one of the pillars of his administration. In a bid to ensure all Lagosians can go about their lawful activities without fear of the unknown, he saddled himself with the responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the state to ensure he puts the necessary security apparatus in place to ensure the safety of lives and properties. Without a doubt, Governor Sanwo-Olu delivered in every aspect as no stone was left unrolled. Taking the Security of lives and properties serious, he invested a heavy financial war chest in the acquisition of security gadgets for the Police, the Response Rapid Squad RRS and the Lagos State Neighborhood Agency LNSA headed by the indefatigable Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan.

 

Since the Administrative commencement of the Agency in 2017 during the Past government till this moment, Mr. Governor has ensured proper funding for the safety outfit investing Billions of Naira to equip it so it can give the necessary security support in the aspect of surveillance to the necessary agency for a swift collaboration and a positive synergy for a better Lagos. When Ifalade took over in 2021, He was like a fresh Gust of Summer wind who had a loft idea owning to his background as a seasoned technocrat having worked at the Law Enforcement Training Institute LETI and his experience working with a dredging company and also as a season legal luminary. On assumption of office, one thing he ensured was to bring a different feel to consolidate the effort of Governor Sanwo-Olu in ensuring the agency functions optimally to ensure it lives up to its expected expectation. He used his good relationship to ensure Mr. Governor increases his stake in the affairs of the agency. The transformation agenda started by re-orientating his officers on proper conduct, proper dress code and proper ethics among the citizenry. He introduced the use of Body cameras for his officers. He also ensured they often attend LETI for proper updating of knowledge in discharging their duties. In addition to that, he also ensured proper welfare packages for his staff by raising a motion for life insurance for officers who are injured in the cause of discharging their duties or eventually loss of life. This was infused as many commended his effort that to protect lives and properties, one must be fully motivated to give his all. Falade did not only stop at that with the help of Mr. Governor, He also ensured several visiting routines were taken to ensure the functionality of each Local government and a general meeting with the head of commands where they relay their concerns on pressing issues and the challenges. This gives room for positive and negative feedback which the agency acts upon to be above board at all times.

 

In his process of rebranding, he also requests the permission of Mr Governor to further recruit more hands to enable adequate manpower for the agency to function well. Currently, the Agency is recruiting over one thousand officers who will be commissioned into the agency before the end of the year. In a bid to also spread its tentacles through a public and private partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons NAPTIP, the agency launched an anti-trafficking unit last year August in collaboration with NAPTIP on child and human trafficking among other vices. In a bid to rebrand, he has gotten the approval of Mr Governor to create several units in the agency that will also be supportive of intelligence gathering. The agency will create a research and documentation unit, Forensic unit, Situation Room, Water Ways surveillance, Drone deployment, Forest Monitor team and a host of others.

 

Over the week, at the Agency’s head office in Bolade, Oshodi, Falade and ensured the distribution of tactical materials like; caution tapes, Ropes, Scanners, Tasers, Shin and elbow guide, Generators, Riot Shield, LNSA Photo book and a host of items for administrative purposes and enforcement.

 

In his quest to show effectiveness in duty through proper monitoring, the agency under Falade’s watch also commissioned 16 zonal heads. The Zonal heads will monitor zonal local Government unit. He also handed out brand new patrol cars to the officers who emerged having gone through proper scrutiny, training and exams. The Zonal head will ensure the smooth running of their domain and ensure all unit functions optimally and report to the Agency’s head office. As part of the rebranding process, The Agency next month will commence the rebranding of all its offices across Lagos with full painting with the agency’s Blue and Yellow colour with visible signage to ensure uniformity. The agency will also commence building and furnishing of new offices for some units that run under a temporary office.

 

A close source disclosed that; all these giant strides and impeccable records would not have been possible if not for the full support and the quest for the protection of lives and property of the State Government under Governor Sanwo-Olu. In a quick conversation; Prince Ifalade averred that; “Mr Governor has been supportive in all ways. Our mode of operation now is different from what it used to be. Anytime we give Mr Governor a proposal on anything regarding security, he does not joke with it. In fact, he signed it with immediate alacrity. He has also told us to ensure that each time we have any request we should not hesitate to call his attention that he is ready to support us to the fullest so we can keep functioning at a higher capacity.”

 

“The Agency is not relenting despite some challenges we face. We will continue to intensify our effort to make Lagos a safe haven for all. We are also open to public and private partnerships. Every top individual and private firm in Lagos who wants to reach out through their Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, will also ease the burden on Government. Security is the responsibility of all sundry and should not be left to some selected people only. If all hands are on deck, Lagos will be a safer place”. He further concluded.

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