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Believe me, No state in Nigeria is held, controlled by Boko Haram, Buhari tells the world

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday boasted that no state in Nigeria is currently under the control of Boko Haram terrorists.

He said that his administration is doing everything possible to win the war against terrorism in Nigeria, noting that he has recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014 and also liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will by this dreaded group. Speaking at the world economic forum in Jordan, Buhari opined that the world has changed and urged every nation to be corporative. “Cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity”, he said.

He equally called for social and economic inclusion, noting that they are the root causes of many challenges the world is facing. His words, “In this digital age where physical borders no longer exist to protect even the most secured nations, the only way to overcome predatory and divisionary forces is for all well-meaning nations to work together for the greater good of mankind. “Simply put, cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity. In the last ten years, the world as we knew it has completely changed.

“ We have seen and experienced significant shifts on many fronts. In Technology; Population and Migration; Trade and Geopolitics; Climate change; and many more. “For some nations, these trends have had positive impacts. But of course, we have also seen the negative and destructive outcomes of these trends in other countries. “ It is my view, that no region of the world has felt the full impact of these dramatic shifts and shocks like the Middle East and Africa – North and Sub-Sahara. “On one hand, our region is blessed with a very young, vibrant, enterprising and dynamic population. We also have valuable natural resources that are the envy of many nations.

“These assets and endowments contributed to our region experiencing some of the highest economic growth rates in the world. “ On the other hand however, we have also been hosts to some of the deadliest conflicts in recent history. The deaths, damage and destruction caused by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram over the last ten years will take decades to repair.By the special grace of God, today, most of these terrorist organizations have been significantly degraded. The world came together to achieve this. Now, we are faced with the task of rebuilding.

“It is at this point that we must ask ourselves how we, as a region, got to this point. The answer, at least in the case of Nigeria, is the lack of social and economic inclusion. As Nigeria celebrated being the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Nigerians were migrating in droves through harsh desert conditions and across treacherous seas to seek what they believe would be a better life in Europe.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly believe that the lack of social and economic inclusion was the root cause of many challenges we are experiencing. Today, our population is one hundred and ninety million people. By 2050, it is estimated that we hit three hundred and ninety million making us the third most populous country in the world. This means we must start working now to ensure this population is productively engaged.

“In the last four years, we focused on security while implementing inclusive policies. On the security front, we made significant gains in fighting Boko Haram. We have recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014. We have liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will. “Today, I am pleased to say no territory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is held or controlled by Boko Haram.

We are extremely grateful to the many countries that have stood with Nigeria to confront this global scourge and in particular, the Kingdom of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty, the King. “Furthermore, our economic diversification and social inclusion policies are also yielding positive results.

Our country has now returned to the path of growth. We are making gains in the ease of doing business indices. A key driver for growth is the agricultural sector where we aggressively pushed agricultural policies that empowered millions of our rural citizens.

“In the spirit of “Building New Platforms of Cooperation”, we partnered with the Kingdom of Morocco to domesticate fertilizer production in Nigeria and revive over two million tons of abandoned fertilizer blending plant capacity.

“The outcome is we created tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and retail sectors. We are able to achieve moderate growth. But it was inclusive. Nigeria is now at a new dawn and embarking on a new development trajectory. We are determined to industrialise Nigeria leveraging our comparative advantage.

“We recognize the private sector as the engine of growth and a veritable partner in our economic agenda. The Middle East is a natural partner. Africa and the Middle East must therefore focus on policies that will deliver shared economic prosperity for all our citizens. On trade and investments for example, we can do more.

Africa represents only five percent of Jordan’s trade with the world. But we have the resources, the people and the markets to do more. “Opportunities exist in key job creating sectors such as Agriculture, Health, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure as well as Textile and garmenting to mention a few. Our new, inclusive and diversified Nigeria is definitely open for business. Our population, resources, policies and programs make it the most attractive investment destination in Africa. “As friends and allies, we must therefore cooperate and leverage on our relative strengths. We must remain open to “Building New Platforms of Cooperation. As we deliberate over the next two days, I would ask all leaders present to reflect on our collective experiences. We must identify how we can work together.

“Today, we are living in a new world. In this new world without borders, my personal view is stability and sustainability can only be achieved through inclusive economic growth, and enhanced cooperation amongst nations. I thank you all for listening and I wish you a very successful and productive summit.”

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Facebook disables billions of accounts

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Facebook on Thursday said it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that five per cent of active accounts is likely fakes.

An estimate of how many of the online social networks accounts are fake and actions was taken against the creation of more during the first three months of this year was disclosed in Facebook’s latest report on enforcement activity.

Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

“The number of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen said.

Facebook apparently disabled the accounts as automated imposters were trying to establish them. The leading social network, meanwhile, estimated that five per cent of its 2.4 billion monthly active users were fake accounts yet to be uncovered.

The California-based company also said it has made progress in battling hate speech, automatically detecting 65 per cent of the content removed instead of needing to wait for users to report it.

Facebook took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen.

AFP

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Government Kicks Against Cow-Kissing Challenge

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The Austrian government Thursday warned internet users to shun an online cow-kissing challenge, calling it a “dangerous nuisance”.

A Swiss app called Castl launched the #KuhKussChallenge (“Cow Kiss Challenge”) on Wednesday, encouraging users in Switzerland and other German-speaking countries to kiss cows — “with or without tongues” — to raise money for charity.

But Austrian Agriculture Minister Elisabeth Koestinger branded the challenge a “dangerous nuisance” in a statement on Thursday.

“Pastures and meadows are not petting zoos — actions like these could have serious consequences,” she added, pointing out that cows could become aggressive when defending their calves.

Balancing the activities of tourists and cattle farmers is a sensitive topic in Austria’s mountain regions, with both being key pillars of the region’s economy.

In February, a court in the Tyrol region caused uproar after ordering a farmer to pay 490,000 euros ($555,000) in compensation to the widower of a woman who was trampled to death by a herd of his cows in 2014.

The farmer is appealing the verdict and is being supported by Austria’s farmers’ federation, which has warned of the “end of our mountain pastures” if the verdict is allowed to stand.

The government has tried to prevent such incidents by publishing a “code of conduct” for mountain walkers and hikers, advising them to avoid herds of cows wherever possible.

“Actions like this challenge fly in the face of our efforts to promote co-existence on the pastures. I simply can’t understand it,” said Koestinger.

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Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky To Be Sworn In As Ukraine’s President On Monday

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Ukraine’s parliament voted on Thursday to hold the inauguration of newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday after he wrangled with lawmakers over the date.

Zelensky had wanted to hold the inauguration on Sunday, but those plans were controversial because that is a day of mourning for victims of Stalin-era repressions in the former-Soviet country.

The 41-year-old comedy actor, whose only previous experience in politics was playing the president in a television series, crushed the incumbent Petro Poroshenko in a runoff vote on April 21, in which he took 73.2 percent of the vote.

He repeatedly accused MPs of deliberately postponing the inauguration. But they defeated him and voted in favour of holding it on Monday, with 315 backing the date and two opposing.

The long and rancorous wrangling over the date suggest that Zelensky may struggle to impose his will over a parliament in which he does not command a majority despite his decisive victory in the presidential poll.

Following the vote, Zelensky on Facebook slammed the lawmakers as “petty crooks.”

His advisor Dmytro Razumkov told Ukrainian news agency Interfax that some lawmakers voted for a Monday inauguration “simply in order not to support the proposal of the country’s president.”

But pro-Western MP Serguiy Vysotsky wrote on Facebook that “the language of ultimatums is not politics,”  accusing Zelensky of behaving “like a child who wants everything to go the way he wants.”

Zelensky’s team has suggested that the lawmakers’ decision to delay the inauguration could affect the president’s ability to call snap elections to take advantage of his current popularity instead of waiting until October.

Zelensky has promised to eradicate Ukraine’s widespread corruption and end the war with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country, accusing the outgoing president of doing nothing to improve living standards and reduce poverty.

Yet beyond continuing Ukraine’s pro-Western course, his programme remains unclear and his team largely unknown, raising questions over how he will run a country battling pro-Russian separatists in the east and an unprecedented crisis in relations with Moscow as well economic woes.

AFP

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