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Atiku Congratulates US President-elect

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated the United States President-elect, Joe Biden, on his “well-deserved victory” at the Nov. 3 elections.

In a statement he signed on Saturday in Abuja, Abubakar urged Biden to build on U.S.-Nigeria relationship.

He said that he looked forward to the age-long collaboration between the two nations in the course of the advancement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all peoples.

Abubakar said that he also looks forward to a Biden global leadership in the war on terror, and partnership with Nigeria to end the terror and poverty-related insecurities facing Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria and the U.

S. are two nations, united by a common language.

“Nigeria and the free world have much to learn from your victory, especially your pronouncement that you will not be a President for only those who voted for you.

“May such sentiments echo and reecho globally.

“Not only do I congratulate you on your victory, but I also urge you to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

“Only by fair trade will Africa fulfil its potential, and a prosperous Africa is good for the United States and the world.”

Abubakar said that in electing a man rich in experience, the great people of the United States of America have done the world a great service. (NAN)

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U.S. not Expecting to be Drawn into War but Predicts Attack by Iran Against Israel

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The United States expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to draw Washington into war, a U.S. official said late on Thursday.

The White House said earlier that Washington did not want conflict to spread in the Middle East and the U.S. had told Iran it was not involved in an air strike against a top Iranian military commander in Damascus.

The White House added it warned Iran to not use that attack as a pretext to escalate further in the region.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran’s embassy in Damascus on Monday in a strike for which Iran has vowed revenge and in which a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers were killed, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

Iranian sources told Reuters that Tehran has signalled to Washington that it will respond to Israel’s attack on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily, as Tehran presses demands including a Gaza truce.

The United States has been on high alert about possible retaliatory strikes from Iran and U.S. envoys have been working to lower tensions.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has since killed more than 33,000 people according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, caused a humanitarian crisis, and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies.

Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, waging attacks from Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

Tehran has avoided direct confrontation with Israel or the United States, while declaring support for its allies. (Reuters/NAN)

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Russia Sends Air Defence System, Soldiers to Niger

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 Russia has sent an air defence system and 100 military trainers to Niger Republic in West Africa.

Military personnel from the Russian Ministry of Defence are to install the system and train Niger’s soldiers in its use, the Nigerien state broadcaster RTN reported late on Thursday.

This was preceded by a telephone conversation between the head of the military junta, Abdourahamane Tchiani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of March.

Until the military coup last July, Niger was the last democratic ally of the U.

S., France and other European countries in the fight against Islamist militias in the Sahel region, where jihadists are continuing to gain influence.

In March, the junta ended its military cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.

The German Armed Forces operate an air base in Niamey, the future of which is still unclear.

State television showed images of a Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft that had landed at Niamey airport on Wednesday.

“We are here to train the Niger army using the military equipment that has arrived here,” a masked, fair-skinned man in military uniform said in heavily accented French in the broadcast.

Since the military seized power on July 26, Niger has embarked on a new path leading to the diversification of its partners in order to assert its sovereignty vis-à-vis the world, the report continued.

Putin and Tchiani had discussed “strengthening cross-sectoral and comprehensive strategic cooperation between Niger and Russia to deal with current threats, especially in the security field.”

Like its neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso before it, Niger is turning away from its Western partners, in particular ex-colonial power France, and towards Russia.

All three countries have been ruled by the military following coups.  (dpa/NAN)

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Make 2024 ‘Turning Point’ for Education, UN Deputy Chief Urges Leaders

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The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, on Thursday called for a transformation in learning, stressing that receiving a good education represents hope for all future generations.

Addressing a high-level meeting on education, convened by the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Mohammed paid tribute in particular to the children of Gaza, who have had no education for over six months, and where there have been direct hits on 212 schools.

“Today, the light for Gaza and the children of Gaza, is out.

We need a commitment to try to light that candle again for the children and the people of Gaza. Education is hope. Education is the future,” she said in  a statement.

This year will see a series of meetings that will build on Transforming Education Summit, convened by the UN in September 2022 in response to a global crisis in education, after more than 90 per cent of the world’s children lost access to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September this year, world leaders will gather to forge a new international consensus as part of the Summit of the Future.

Mohammed called for two specific outcomes on education at the Summit.

“First, we need a clear recognition from world leaders on the urgent need to transform and invest in education as a global imperative,” she said.

“Second, we need major breakthroughs on issues that are critical for education, including reform of the international financial architecture, strengthened digital cooperation and a new agenda for peace.”

Without additional measures, an estimated 84 million children and young people will still be denied access to the classroom by 2030, and approximately 300 million students will lack the basic – and vital – numeracy and literacy skills.

“Education is a fundamental human right. Investing in education is the greatest investment we can make in our common future, in peace, and sustainable development, and particularly in gender equality,” Mohammed said.

Contemporary education systems across the world are beset by challenges, including access, equity, relevance and digital inequality – which could leave billions of people behind, she added.

“I know that we can make 2024 a turning point for education. Let’s get to it.”

During her visit to Brussels, the Deputy Secretary-General also chaired the Governing Body meeting of the Spotlight Initiative, the world’s largest targeted effort to eliminate violence against women and girls.

The UN initiative is in partnership with the EU and other stakeholders and responds to all forms of violence against women and girls.

Its programmes across 30 countries and regions, focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and rising rates of femicide, together with human trafficking.

Since 2019, the initiative has resulted in more than 2.5 million women and girls accessing gender-based violence services, and two million men and boys have been educated on positive masculinity. (NAN)

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