Tuesday

THE GHOST OF JUNE 12: A REFERENTIAL TO "7 FATAL DELUSIONS AMONG SOUTHERNERS"


CC™ ViewPoint 

By Yahaya Balogun

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." - Saul Bellow

The way we democratize deliberate ignorance in the southern district of a failing Nigeria (i.e., the Southern part of what I call f-Nigeria) is beyond pale. The current agitation for the Oduduwa Republic is mused in the wrong footings. The agitators for the emancipation of the Oduduwa republic are Oduduwa patriots. But the method being used by them to liberate the intellectually resourceful geolocated region within a troubled Nigeria is wrong.

Some of the southern stakeholders are fully packaged in fool's paradise. They are languishing in a faded country that can be a bright light compass for other African countries. But Nigeria is now a dark compass for a beleaguered Africa and a seeming pariah continent. A sad commentary and development in our moments of history. Southern Nigeria has always been a contextual entity within Nigerian geopolitics.

Realistically, if you are a clear-sighted Southerner and you want to face facts and not be in the cocoons of delusional people, please, go and read the exposé titled: SEVEN FATAL DELUSIONS AMONG SOUTHERNERS authored by Mr. Moses Oludele Idowu. The article, dated June 5, 2021, is a brilliant exposition for thoughtful minds in Yorubaland and beyond. The writer couldn't have exposed our delusional state of being better in his masterpiece. I had similar intent to pen down the delusional unseriousness of some Southerners, but Mr. Moses Oludele Idowu did justice to the structure and substance of the article. The Southerners are now caught in the cobwebs of a failing state called Nigeria. Sadly, we are fighting a 'crude' and a "just war" to save ourselves from ourselves and the barbaric and heinous exploits of the Fulani herdsmen and the Nigerian state. We are fighting for a just course with once-upon-a-time (dis)honest warriors and traitors. From time immemorial, Our progenitors ignorantly sold a formidable race to invaders and brutish British with the bad taste of history. We got our independence without a thorough negotiation of severance or disunity from the constituency of fraudulent masters. Different people with different mores, cultures, religions, and ways of life were jam-packed for the administrative convenience of the colonial rulers. While their reigning periods were being dismantled at independence, the imperialists left us in false unity for future perils. The chicken of our forefathers who sold our generations to perfidy has come home to roost. Our current generation is reaping the sour milk of our forefathers' quiescent thoughts and deliberate ignorance.

Today, the conglomeration of Nigeria is a bitter union or entrapped marriage. Southerners are the worst enemies of themselves. Some Southerners cannot be counted on. It seems a generational curse that needs to be broken. The Northerners are very united at perpetrating evils and destruction against their perceived enemies. They suffer from the born-to-rule syndrome. Born-to-rule syndrome is a generational curse that the north must break. The Easterners are good at being used as an administrative convenience by the Nigerian rulers. Easterners have never been fully united for a common purpose and achievable course. It is a generational curse that needs to be permanently halted. Who will be the first to break the collective curses and unending condemnations plaguing each geopolitical zone in "a mere geographical expression" called Nigeria is a daunting task.

Meanwhile, we all remember how the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo's political efforts were thwarted by the six- unwise men in the Southwest(i.e., the Yorubas). Late Chief MKO Abiola and Late Chief Akintola were used against Awo's ideals and ideas that would have transformed the Southern and entire Nigeria for good. Southerners were used to impede Awo's laudable agendas for Nigeria. We remember how the man in Minna used some six unwise notable men in the Southwest to annul the June 12, 1993, presidential election. The debunk of history will reveal their names at the appropriate time. June 12 is the most peaceful and freest presidential election in the history of a contrived and troubled Nigeria. June 12, the late MKO Abiola's victory was invalidated using southerners to hatch the eggs of southern conspiracy.

Aiyekooto, but truth be told, some of us who supported Buhari's political (in)competency suffered from political amnesia, thinking Buhari will assuage the southerners to bring the much-needed change. We were deadly wrong. Buhari's orientation is tailored towards Western self-containment and preservation. With all evidentiary facts, it's obvious that Buhari loves Hausa-Fulanis first before Buhari loves other tribes in Nigeria.

What Mr. Moses Oludele Idowu, the author of the referential article, espoused are our delusional expectations that the Western world will come to African aid when African Africans roast or eat Africans. The Southerners' delusional fixation can also be juxtaposed with the delusional expectation that Buhari will leverage Southerners' interests for the sake of Southerners. Like Western countries against Africa, Buhari's tribalized persona and ethnicized administration will never leverage anything at the expense of the Hausa-Fulani's interests and oligarchy. Buhari is an unconcerned, stealthy, and unapologetic bigot. We hyped Buhari's integrity at the expense of our patriotism and blurry political eyes. Buhari's silence, ineffectual, and tired hands at handling and tackling the insecurity in Nigeria is one of the worst things to have happened to Nigeria. It is high time he woke up from his slumbering demeanor.

Nigeria is jinxed. Buhari, the perceived providential child, has morphed into a circumstantial child racing backward to align with the immediate past. The situation in Nigeria is imminently precarious pre and post-Buhari. After Buhari, what next? The delusional coexistence and utopian Nigeria now and after Buhari is obviously null and mirage. If I have siblings or family members living in Nigeria's Northern and Eastern parts, I will unequivocally ask them to begin sauntering back to base. Nigeria is an illusion, and our delusional unity is a question of time. Nigeria is at the point of inflection to deflect into the chasm of time. Unfortunately, our state of disequilibrium in Nigeria is a slippery slope to the unknown.

With no equivocation, all the 7 bullet points highlighted by the brilliant author, Mr. Moses Oludele Idowu, cannot be overlooked or overemphasized. This is the auspicious period we must begin to unite in the Oduduwa enclaves to liberate ourselves from a forced marriage of convenience. Nigeria as we know it is delicately sitting on k-legged tripod stands that may not stand the test of time. Mr. Moses Oludele Idowu's well-researched article, expectedly, may not be widely read by the Aiyékòóto?´ and apathetic Southerners who may not see themselves as the most delusional, confused and well-learned region in our false geopolitical conundrum called Nigeria. Until we appease the ghost of June 12 through the true national conversation, Southwestern Nigeria will continue to pour needless libations at the void entrance of a house of lamentations.

Sunday

Case of the criminal accusing its victim as 75 so-called Northern groups place N100m bounty on Nnamdi Kanu

The ESN was set up by Nnamdi Kanu in response to the terrorist Fulani Herdsmen from the North

CC™ Global News

A coalition of 75 Northern groups, on the platform of Northern Consensus Movement, has announced a reward of N100 million for persons who can produce the supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, for the continuation of his trial for alleged treason.

The groups, which disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital on Thursday evening, accused Kanu and the Eastern Security Network (IPOB’s militia wing) of masterminding the recent spate of attacks on Northern communities in the Southeast via what they called ‘hate speech’.

Dr. Awwal Abdullahi Aliyu, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition, urged the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to facilitate Nnamdi Kanu’s repatriation to Nigeria to face the charges against him.

Aliyu said, “The Northern Consensus Movement, an amalgamation of more than 75 civil society groups of Northern extraction, has taken it upon ourselves, as active citizens of this country, Nigeria, to state in unequivocal terms that:

“We are declaring Nnamdi Kanu wanted for crimes against humanity and for instigating the killing of innocent Northerners in the southeast via his hate speech.

“We want him to answer for the killing and destruction of Northerners residing and undertaking lawful businesses in the southeastern part of Nigeria.

“So, we are placing a bounty of N100m as an offer to anyone who can produce him alive, hale, hearty, and uninjured to us for onward delivery to the security agencies for the continuation of his prosecution.

“We call on both the US, the UK, and the EU, a champions of democracy, rule of law, and freedoms of speech and expression to kindly and humble respect Nigeria’s sovereignty and facilitate the repatriation of Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria.

“This is so he can face his treason, and possibly fresh terrorism and genocide charges against innocent citizens of Nigeria.”


VANGUARD

Friday

Nigeria: The prophetic consequences of dining with the devil.....

President Buhari (L) and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (R)
CC™ Viewpoint - By Ike Amaechi

Shortly after overthrowing Muhammadu Buhari's military junta on August 27, 1985, Ibrahim Babangida set up what he called the Nigerian Political Bureau. The 17-member panel inaugurated on January 13, 1986, with Samuel Cookey, a professor of political science, as chairman was charged with the responsibility of refocusing Nigeria's political trajectory by chiseling out a new socio-political order. 

With membership cutting across academia, business and labour - Abdullahi Augie, Bala Takaya, Dr. Edwin Madunagu, Prof. Oye Oyediran, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Prof. Eme Awa, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Dr. Ola Balogun, Haroun Adamu, Comrade Paschal Bafyau - the bureau reached out to prominent Nigerians. At the end, it received well over 27,000 memoranda on issues ranging from religion to ethnicity and ideology from ever-willing and rambunctious Nigerians. 

But Obafemi Awolowo was not sold on the project and refused to participate.

In his rejection letter addressed to Cookey, Awo was clairvoyant and made a damning proclamation. 

"I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.It is, therefore, proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so. I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search. At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

"In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

"But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better."

But in the event that Nigerians were not attuned to heeding the advice, there was, Awolowo said, an alternative option: "To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos." Nigerians obviously settled for the alternative option and 33 years after, we are still treading that self-destructive path. No matter how anyone cuts it, Nigeria is in trouble. The country under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch is gradually but inexorably succumbing to permanent social instability and chaos. When Nigerians elected Buhari president in 2015, they believed that they were enthroning a new order. Change was the slogan. Today, not a few are terribly disappointed. Truth be told, with Buhari, we embarked on a fruitless search.

Buhari has neither ruined himself nor about to. In fact, he doesn't care. I doubt if he gets it. But Nigeria is worse off for the shenanigans of his government. And the conduct of the last governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States reinforces the prevailing pessimism.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, elections were a do-or-die affair. As bad as that was, Buhari has taken the ugly trend to the next level, a notch higher, where it does not really matter whether you do or you don't, being a Nigerian willing to express a contrary political opinion makes you an enemy of the state with dire consequences. Which explains why the Kogi State PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, was burnt alive in her home just because of elections.

In broad daylight, hoodlums that were not masked arrived at Abuh's house, blocked every exit, knowing full well that she was inside, poured petrol on the building, set it ablaze, stepped back and fired gunshots continuously to scare people away from rescuing her. Terrified villagers who apparently knew the assassins could only watch the gory spectacle from afar, helplessly.

Meanwhile, the murderers were having a ball - smoking, drinking and chatting away - without a care in the world while their victim was wailing and begging for mercy. The blood-thirsty thugs waited patiently, mocking their victim. They had the license to kill. Like a child sent on a stealing voyage by his father, who loudly and without a care kicks the door open, they stood there supremely confident that their bestial act will go unpunished.

That is the level Nigeria is today. To date, nobody has been punished for this horrific crime. I dare say that nobody will be made to pay for the heinous crime. Lesser incidents will convulse any other country. Abuh's tragic fate reminds me of Mukaila Abdullahi, Kano State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, who was burnt to death at his Kano GRA residence on April 4, 2015 together with his wife and two children.

Abdullahi presided over the presidential and National Assembly elections. He didn't live to superintend over the governorship and state Assembly elections. His remains were buried in his home state of Jigawa even before investigations started. To date, there has been no serious attempt to unravel the mystery. Why should there be when the police concluded without any investigation that the entire family "suffocated after inhaling black smoke emitting from the split air-conditioner hose that caught fire after an electrical fault." To date, Kano residents and Abdullahi's neighbours dispute that account.

The Kano State police commissioner who made the announcement, Ibrahim Idris, became the Inspector General of Police, IGP, shortly after. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria seems to have succumbed to permanent social instability and chaos. The homes of Nigerians are routinely burnt down and innocent citizens murdered in cold blood for daring to assemble as was the case of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, this week.

The government cherry picks which court order to obey. The National Assembly has become a mere rubber stamp with lawmakers misconstruing patriotism to mean allegiance to the president rather than the Constitution of the country. Nigerians have been cowed into silence. A Hate Speech Bill that prescribes death penalty is hanging over the heads of naysayers like the axiomatic sword of Damocles. There is also the Social Media Bill. The ominous warnings are back. Mere protest is a treasonable felony that must be firmly and ruthlessly put down. Any act of dissent is a potential banana skin.

On Tuesday December 3, 2019, the Department of State Services, DSS, sounded an ominous warning, claiming to have uncovered plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in parts of the country by instigating protests, mass action and violence. "These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks," DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced in righteous indignation.

"Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts. Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order. The Service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods." 

Recently, the world also watched as Nigerian soldiers shot at innocent #EndSARS protesters as the latter were demonstrating against the activities of the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, accused of murdering innocent Nigerians, mostly the youth, in cold blood. There are also reports from inside sources that the Buhari administration is in a clandestine alliance with Boko Haram as the Northern leaders, namely the Sultan of Sokoto (who is the standard bearer of Fulani Jihadism), Nasir El-Rufai, the tyrannical Fulani irredentist Governor of Kaduna State and the Aso Rock Northern-Muslim Cabal surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari, seek to hold that as a dark horse over the country, ahead of the 2023 elections. 

The gloves are off. Buhari claimed he was a born-again democrat. Nigerians believed him. But can the leopard actually change its spots? Hardly! Buhari is exactly who we thought he was and Awolowo was right. He saw this coming more than three decades ago.

Wednesday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain, as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain.

Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. 

More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)?

Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious, based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References:
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

Monday

Crypto is the next step toward a cashless society


CC™ Financial News

Julian Hosp

It will take some time for consumers to warm up to crypto, but education is the key to its mass adoption. 

From QR code payments to mobile banking apps, consumers worldwide are increasingly reliant on digital payment solutions, especially as mobile technology becomes more ubiquitous. Government-led efforts in driving cashless economies have been a key factor, with countries such as Singapore or the Philippines seeing their central banks driving the adoption of contactless payments during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, usage rates for digital payments platforms have recorded promising growth, even as high as 5,000% in the Philippines alone.

This unprecedented rise in cashless payments is also paving the way for the broader adoption of crypto, with the number of crypto users worldwide hitting around 106 million in January. While this marks an impressive 15% month-on-month growth, it is still just a drop in the ocean when compared to the 4.7 billion people who have access to the internet.

But as crypto continues to command headlines, what will it take for mass adoption to happen?

A new model of financial accessibility

Today, billions of people worldwide are unable to access even the most basic financial services via traditional means, and thus are unable to save or manage their money securely. In times of economic devastation, such as this past year in which global economies have been staggered by the impact of COVID-19, the vast gap between rich and poor has become abundantly clear. The global pandemic has only perpetuated the absence of inclusive financial infrastructure, which has led to approximately one-third of the global population having no financial safety net to fall back on.

With crypto wallets, however, anyone can transfer their crypto internationally without needing to maintain a minimum balance in their account, as long as they have an internet connection. As crypto applications are built on decentralized blockchains, transactions are performed on a peer-to-peer basis in the absence of traditional intermediaries such as bankers or brokerage houses. This results in significant savings in transaction costs, as traditional cross-border remittance fees for small amounts can be as high as 7% after taking into account intermediaries’ fees on both the sender and recipient side. Meanwhile, the same fees for cryptocurrencies are often less than 1 percent — regardless of transaction amount.

Furthermore, highly decentralized platforms are permissionless, meaning that anyone with a crypto wallet and internet connection can lend, remit or trade their crypto without validation by a central authority or intermediary. Instead, transactions are executed by smart contracts, which automate them as long as pre-encoded conditions are met. Beyond the cost savings, consider the time savings as well. Remittance transactions can take several days to be processed, whereas cryptocurrencies can be transferred in mere minutes.

However, most crypto platforms still ask for some form of formal identification as part of their identity verification and Know Your Customer (KYC) process. This can range from a phone number to photo ID to proof of residential address. Some platforms adopt a multi-tier approach in which the more information that users provide, the more services they can access. While necessary for KYC and Anti-Money Laundering compliance, this poses barriers to users who do not own any formal identification documents.

Having said that, some decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, still honour the principles of anonymity and trustless working by not enforcing KYC on their users. The elimination of account verification and waiting time for approval has drawn many towards these types of DEXs — such as PancakeSwap, Uniswap and DeFiChain’s DEX — and has made finance truly accessible and inclusive for all.

Beyond simple transactions, recent innovations in the crypto space promise a much more equitable financial system where the unbanked and underbanked can access more means to build wealth. While DeFi products, such as token holding and staking on a DEX, might be a little too advanced for this group of users at the moment, simplified centralized decentralized finance (CeDeFi) services and improvements in financial literacy over time will help to open the door to these inclusive wealth creation opportunities.

Education is key to crypto adoption at scale

Widespread adoption of digital payment technologies, such as QR codes and biometrics, is definitely a promising sign that consumers have become more digitally savvy than ever before. In the Asia Pacific, more than 90% of surveyed respondents said they would consider at least one new payment method in the next year.

In addition to new payment technologies, the proliferation of retail investing has led to a paradigm shift in the investment landscape, with trading activities doubling over the past year. User-friendly platforms such as Robinhood and their well-known crypto counterparts — such as Coinbase — have made investing much more accessible to non-institutional investors.

This historic rise in cashless payments and retail investing saw the public gain more exposure to different asset types. However, in the United States, a staggering 84% of adults are either uninterested in cryptocurrencies or have never heard of them. While this could be attributable to the seemingly intimidating technicalities involved, we are now in a good place to gradually transition towards a more crypto-forward society.

For now, there’s much more to be done to help mainstream consumers gain a better understanding of crypto. Crypto projects, for one, would do well to invest more resources towards creating educational content to bridge the knowledge gap — whether through guides or detailed explainers. Meanwhile, taking on a more transparency-focused approach that looks to debunk misconceptions and ensure that users are aware of the risks associated with crypto, will enable those users to navigate their entry into the space with greater ease and confidence.

Crypto is the MVP in the cashless drive

As conversations on cryptocurrencies evolve, governments are taking note. While cash will not be eliminated any time soon, as many as 86% of central banks around the world are looking into central bank digital currencies in their quest to go cashless. The world’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the Sand Dollar — was announced by the Central Bank of the Bahamas way back in 2018 and officially launched in October last year. The technology team behind this project was led by U-Zyn Chua, who went on to co-found DeFiChain.

Although CBDCs will be regulated by a central authority, their adoption will send a profound message to market participants on the legitimacy of digital currencies. The introduction of CBDCs is thus a much-needed springboard to catalyze large-scale crypto adoption.

In the short term, crypto is not going to replace the existing financial system, but will instead carve out its own ecosystem that is fit for a new generation of digital-first, financially savvy users. While it will take some time for consumers to warm up to crypto, the nascent technology will prove its worth in due time by offering cheaper, safer and more inclusive financial services for all.

Julian Hosp is the CEO and a co-founder of Cake DeFi, a platform dedicated to providing access to decentralized financial services and applications. He is also the chairman of DeFiChain, a DeFi platform built on the Bitcoin network. Julian is an active speaker for the Washington Speakers Bureau and an adviser for the EU’s blockchain groups. Julian graduated from Medizinische Universitat Innsbruck with a Doctor of Medicine in human medicine.

COINTELEGRAPH

Sunday

Netanyahu uses last speech as prime minister to attack Biden on Iran

Photo Illustrator: Aïda Amer/Axios. Pics: Horacio Villalobos (Corbis), Michele Sandberg (Corbis), Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

CC™ Global News

Barak Ravid

Hours before a vote to oust him, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused President Biden of endangering Israel's security by taking a soft line on Iran, and claimed the man who is about to replace him, Naftali Bennett, would be too weak to stand up to Washington.

Why it matters: Netanyahu had waged a desperate but apparently unsuccessful campaign to stop a "change coalition" from joining together to replace him after an inconclusive election in March. Facing an imminent demotion to opposition leader, he foreshadowed a willingness to damage the U.S.-Israel relationship to put his rival under pressure.

"He decided to damage the U.S.-Israel relationship for his own personal interests and is trying to leave scorched earth for the incoming government."

Senior Israeli diplomat on Netanyahu

Driving the news: Bennett, a right-wing former tech entrepreneur, will lead the most ideologically diverse coalition in Israeli history, with its members united by little more than a desire to remove Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption and battled through what seemed like a never ending cycle of elections over the past two years.

  • Bennett spoke before Netanyahu, but as he was trying to present his platform, allies of Netanyahu continuously interrupted him with shouts of "liar" and "fraud."

  • Bennett took a hard line on the Iran deal in his speech, saying it was a mistake in 2015 and remains one today. He also thanked Biden for his support for Israel, stressed that he wants good relations with both parties in Washington, and drew a contrast with Netanyahu by promising that any disagreements with Biden will be managed with "mutual trust and respect."

  • Bennett's coalition partner, centrist Yair Lapid, forwent his opportunity to speak next, citing the interruptions during Bennett's speech, which he said were a disgrace.

Then Netanyahu rose to speak. He accused Bennett of being weak and untrustworthy (noting that he'd broken a campaign pledge by forming a government with Lapid), and said his protege-turned-rival would refuse to stand up to Biden on Iran.

  • Netanyahu claimed that the Biden administration had asked him to keep their disagreements on Iran private, but that he refused to do so, valuing his hard line on Iran over smooth relations with the U.S.

  • Netanyahu positioned himself as the only man standing between Iran and an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and claimed Iranians were celebrating his departure. He also compared Biden's Iran policy to the refusal of the U.S. to bomb the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

  • He also said he'd rejected U.S. demands to freeze settlement construction and opposed Biden's plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which handled relations with the Palestinians before being shut down by Donald Trump. Again, he claimed Bennett lacked the stature or credibility to take similar stands.

Between the lines: Despite Bennett's right-wing politics and hardline positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many senior officials in the Biden administration will be be happy to see the end of Netanyahu's tenure.

What's next: The Bennett-Lapid power-sharing government faces a confidence vote late on Sunday.

  • Netanyahu vowed to bring the "dangerous" government down, and "much sooner than you think."


AXIOS

England make winning start at Euro 2020 as Sterling sinks Croatia

Getty Images

CC™ Sports News

Raheem Sterling ignited England's Euro 2020 campaign as the Manchester City forward's clinical finish sealed a 1-0 win against Croatia in their Group D opener on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate's side were struggling to break down Croatia until Sterling struck in the second half at sun-baked Wembley.

The 26-year-old's first goal at a major tournament -- in his 13th game -- was the perfect riposte to critics who questioned Southgate's decision to select him instead of Jack Grealish.

Sterling has endured a chequered relationship with England fans after being hounded following his tame performances at Euro 2016.

He also struggled to hold down a place with Premier League champions City this term, culminating in his lacklustre display in their Champions League final defeat against Chelsea.

But, days after he was given an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his anti-racism campaigning, Sterling enjoyed a perfectly-timed moment of redemption.

In a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semi-final won by Croatia, England were hampered by a lack of cutting edge until Sterling came to the rescue.

Sterling's winner eased the tension at Wembley and got fans bellowing 'Football's coming home' in the hope England can emulate their run to the semi-finals when they hosted Euro 96, and maybe even win a major tournament for the first time since the 1966 World Cup.

In truth, this was a far from convincing performance, but Southgate will take heart from the way his team kept their nerve on a pressure-packed occasion.

England host neighbours Scotland in their second Group D match on Friday before taking on the Czech Republic in their final game of the first stage on June 22.

After England were booed for taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before their friendlies against Austria and Romania in Middlesbrough, there were fears fans at Wembley would turn on the team as well.

There were a smattering of boos from sections of the 22,500 crowd, but the majority cheered the gesture this time.

It was Southgate's surprise decision to select Kalvin Phillips that attracted most pre-match attention.

But it proved an inspired move as, along with Sterling, the Leeds midfielder was England's most accomplished performer.

- England hold firm -

Manchester City forward Phil Foden, his hair bleached blond, has drawn comparisons with England legend Paul Gascoigne, who sported the same eye-catching hair cut during Euro 96.

Foden was inches away from giving England the perfect start in the sixth minute with the kind of magic that made Gascoigne so beloved.

Collecting Sterling's pass on the edge of the area, Foden worked space to curl his left-footed shot off the far post.

Phillips was quickly into his stride and forced Dominik Livakovic to make a scrambling save with his strike from the edge of the area.

But Southgate's men showed signs of running out of ideas after their early flurry failed to yield a goal.

Southgate had picked Foden, Sterling and Mason Mount as the creative forces behind Harry Kane.

With that quartet still struggling to unhinge Croatia into the second half, fans began chanting for the introduction of Aston Villa playmaker Grealish.

But Sterling quelled the mounting anxiety as England struck in the 57th minute.

Phillips was the catalyst as he burst forward past two Croatians and slipped a deft pass behind the defensive line.

Sterling arrived just ahead of his lunging marker and slotted a low shot past Livakovic from 10 yards.

Kane was denied in painful fashion when he crashed into the post after Duje Caleta-Car made a superb block to keep out his close-range effort.

Mount fired a free-kick narrowly over but England went on the defensive in the closing stages.

In the absence of the injured Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and John Stones were up to the task as England's centre-backs held firm to clinch a victory in their opening European Championship game for the first time.

Saturday

GOP Senator Confronts HHS Secretary on ‘Birthing People’ Phrase: ‘Mom Is a Pretty Good Word’

President Joe Biden 

CC™ Politico News

Caroline Downey

Oklahoma senator James Lankford (R.) confronted Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra Thursday over the department’s replacement of “mothers” with the term “birthing people.”

Lankford challenged Becerra to defend the phrase during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, according to a press release from Lankford’s office. The senator questioned him about the “language in the President’s proposed budget regarding maternal health that referred to ‘birthing people’ instead of mothers even though the science is clear that women give birth.”

“I also noticed you changed a term in your budget work. You shifted from using the term ‘mother’ to ‘birthing people’ rather than mother. Can you help me get a good definition of ‘birthing people?'” Lankford asked.

The HHS secretary paused and failed to offer a concise response, claiming he had to “check on the language.”

“But I think if we’re talking about those who give birth, I think we’re talking about . . . I don’t know how else to explain it to you other than [that],” he continued.

Lankford retorted that “the language is important always.” “Would you at least admit that calling a mom a ‘birthing person’ could be offensive . . . that they don’t want to get a ‘Happy birthing person card’ in May? Can you at least admit that term itself could be offensive to some moms?” he added.

Becerra said he would need to refer to the “terminology that was used.” His comments come after Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young doubled-down on the Biden budget proposal’s use of “birthing people,” insisting it’s more inclusive and equitable, at a congressional hearing Wednesday.

“There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female and male, so we think our language needs to be more inclusive on how we deal with complex issues,” she remarked.

“Our official policy is to make sure that when people get service from their government that they feel included, and we’re trying to use inclusive language,” Young concluded.


National Review

Friday

We will hunt down Igangan killers — Agbekoya warriors


CC™ - Global News 

Dapo Akinrefon & Shina Abubakar

THE Agbekoya Farmers Society of Nigeria, yesterday, said it is on the trail of eight suspected Fulani herdsmen who were involved in the killing of no fewer than 20 people in Igangan, Ibarapa area of Oyo State and other towns in the South-West.

It also dissociated itself from a 21-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government over the killings in Igangan, describing the ultimatum as fake.

This came as the Army, Police and Joint Task Force embarked on a show of force, following cult-related killings and other insecurity challenges in Osun State. Reacting to an ultimatum issued to the Federal Government over the killing of the 20 people, Agbekoya described those who issued the ultimatum as fake and impostors.

In a statement by its President and National Publicity Secretary, Messrs Kamorudeen Okikiola and Olatunji Bandele, the farmers’ society said it has launched a manhunt to track down and arrest the leaders of the criminal Fulani herdsmen who perpetrated the dastardly act of merciless killings, burning of houses and the palace of the traditional ruler of Igangan.

The statement reads: “Agbekoya Farmers Society has not given an ultimatum to the Federal Government and we dissociate our association from this fake news by impostors.

Agbekoya is already working assiduously underground and we have mobilized our warriors to hunt for the leaders of the criminal Fulani herdsmen who masterminded the merciless killings of our people in Igangan, Ibarapa area of Oyo State.

“We decry the lackadaisical, irresponsive and nonchalant attitude of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agents who were supposed to have acted fast to prevent the recent massacre in Igangan in Ibarapa area of Oyo State where many lives and property were lost despite intelligence reports and information about the reprisal attack given to the security agents.

“The security agents have not been cooperating with the self-determination groups like Agbekoya, OPC, and the hunters who have been assisting them in reducing insecurity in the South-West, rather the security agents have been intimidating and harassing members of Agbekoya, OPC and hunters who can assist them in combing the villages and porous border routes in Southwest.

“Our men in Ibarapa and Oke Ogun areas of Oyo State are already combing the various communities and villages, especially the porous borders in Oke Ogun area, Kaima, Idere, Ibarapa, Ijio, Aiyegun, and Komu. The Agbekoya Farmers Society warriors have also launched a search for suspected criminal Fulani leaders who led the merciless killings and Agbekoya will not relent until the eight suspects are arrested and brought to book.”

Army, Police, JTF patrol streets in Osun

Meanwhile, patrol vehicles, involving personnel of the Nigerian Army, Police, JTF and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, moved around the state capital as early as 8 am.

The team, blaring siren, moved through Dele Yes sir roundabouts through Oke-Fia to Old Garage before heading towards Ayetoro to Powerline area. When contacted, Osun police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola said the joint patrol is a message to miscreants who might be planning to disrupt peace across the state.

Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Security, Mrs. Abiodun Ige said the patrol is a show of force to assure residents that government would not tolerate any act of disruption from anybody.

Ige said: “It is a normal show of strength, we are just trying to make sure we do everything possible to secure the lives of the citizens of the state and also to tell the people that nobody can just start or do things under the claim that they are free to do whatever they like. Everybody should know that the situation in the country is tensed. We should just go about our business without fear.”


VANGUARD

Thursday

Wednesday

British Royal family refused to employ people from racial and ethnic minorities

WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES
CC™ Royal Buzz

To this day it is impossible for women or people of ethnic minorities to seek legal action due to discrimination they have faced working for the royal household.

Buckingham Palace had banned the appointment of "colored immigrants or foreigners" from serving in clerical roles in the royal household until at least the late 1960s, according to newly discovered documents from the National Archives. 

The documents were obtained by The Guardian as part of their ongoing investigation into how the royal family have used an outdated procedure known as the Queen's Consent in order to influence British law. 

The documents reveal that although immigrants and people of ethnic minorities were permitted to work in the royal family's staff as domestic servants, in 1968 the Queen's chief financial manager said that "it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint colored immigrants or foreigners" to cleric roles in the royal household. 

The documents do not indicate when this practice ended, and royal household records only indicate the racial and ethnic background of staff from the 1990s onwards, making it impossible to know when they repealed this rule. 

Buckingham Palace refused to answer questions about the ban and when it had officially been repealed when questioned on the matter by The Guardian. 

Due to the Queen's Consent procedure, the Queen is personally exempt from following equality laws which were put into place in the 1970. To this day the exemption makes it impossible for women or people of ethnic minorities to seek legal action due to discrimination they have faced working for the royal household. 

The royal family has been under scrutiny for racism and discrimination in recent months due to an interview with Oprah in which Meghan Markle revealed that she had struggled with her mental health during her time in the royal family, and alleged that when she was pregnant with her son Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family had expressed worry about the color of her unborn child's skin.

Tuesday

Monday

Band of thieves and purveyors of ineptitude.....

"BARBARIANS AT THE GATE"
CC™ Viewpoint 

It actually does not matter what aisle of the 'political' spectrum you belong to, this rudderless leadership has failed Nigerians, more-so even worse, since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for fifteen mostly inglorious years (1999-2015) under the stewardship of the following:

a) Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007)

b) The late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (2007-2010)

c) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015).

For at least 12 of those first 15 years of the 4th Republic, corruption, by and large, became the norm while the climate created by avaricious greed, further engendered a general state of lawlessness.

Kidnappings and killing orgies became commonplace and have continued unabated, till today.

While some may say that there was a certain degree of accountability, with the accompanying restoration of some semblance of sanity during Yar'Adua's brief reign, the truth remains that his vision of a better Nigeria was never going to see the light of day, given the scavengers and marauders he was surrounded by.

For this piece, we will absolve Umaru Yar'Adua of some of the PDP misrule when one considers that he was never in charge, as the cabal (whose stranglehold on the proverbial throat of Nigeria has never been in doubt) led by the one Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo et al essentially pulled his strings. When he (Yar'Adua) then dared to think for himself, he was murdered by the demonic powers behind the Nigerian throne of oppression.

Then came Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo again, as in his quest to maintain his inordinate hold and that of his fellow 'barbarians at the gate' on the destiny of Nigeria, he ensured that the next Nigerian leader would come from his "political family tree'. Thus, the dysfunctional reign of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an absolute and utter misfit for any public office, was visited upon Nigerians.

It remains telling that only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could have made an ethnic and religious bigot attractive to the same Nigerians that had rejected him (Muhammadu Buhari) a resounding three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) prior to his resounding victory in the 2015 general elections.

In case some have forgotten how we got here, this was the "scorecard" of the PDP misrule, particularly under Jonathan:

a) Coffers-to-personal account accountability (or lack-there-of) where public funds were used for personal gain including the extravagant wedding of GEJ's daughter http://www.myjoyonline.com/…/goodluck-jonathans-daughter-re….

b) An aviation industry (once led by Femi Fani-Kayode and then later by the certificate forging Stella Oduah) that was nothing short of a death trap. I should know as I lost a close relative, Deji Falae (Ondo State Commisioner for Culture and Tourism at the time) to one of those unfortunate but far-too-common air crashes under the PDP misrule.

c) Fabricated economic numbers embellished masterfully by sycophants in the Finance and Economic Ministries to obfuscate the fact that the average Nigerian could not afford the most basic amenities under the Jonathan misrule.

d) Religious over-reach where Jonathan consistently employed openly the advise and services of so-called Christian Pastors and even embarrassed the country by taking his whole cabinet to Israel to "pray". Can you imagine the outcry from the same hypocritical CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and their egunje leadership if PMB had gone to Saudi Arabia with his whole cabinet to pray?

e) Under Jonathan, the bigotry and balkanization of Nigeria was effectively set in motion as Jonathan was essentially committed to the disintegration of Nigeria; and this was made even more apparent with the systematic decimation of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Jonathan, in an act of subterfuge against the Nigerian state, then employed foreign mercenaries (former South African soldiers under the apartheid racist regime) to fight Boko Haram at the end of his unfortunate misrule. 

f) Do Nigerians also forget that Jonathan attempted to scuttle the democratic process during this period of shame and disgrace to the Nigerian nation by postponing the elections?

g) The use of the DSS to terrorize, intimidate and kill (thousands of people disappeared without trace) Nigerians in the North, the SE and the SW (in particular) with Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro leading the assault on political opponents in the SW with the firm support of the DSS, much like the days of Nazi Germany. 

h) Nigeria became a pariah state under Jonathan and effectively lost its voice both on the African continent and globally. Anyone who underestimates the forces that are against this current administration with its stated desire to sanitize the nation must be truly misinformed. The forces are both spiritual and physical and I will caution Nigerians that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  

And the circus has continued under the rudderless and despotic rulership of Muhammadu Buhari, who has proven himself to be just as incompetent a leader as he was as a soldier. Sadly, the teeming masses of hardworking and highly industrious Nigerians remain saddled with an unbecoming band of brigands and marauders as so-called leaders.

Nigerians need to realize that they are merely pawns in the game of high stakes chess being played by a corrupt and morally bankrupt political class. The truth is they (the political class) even intermarry and are not bothered by ethnic or religious so-called differences, while at the same time fanning the embers of ethnic and religious warfare among the desperately poor who just would like to have a fair shake in life, for once. 

As the late Sunny Okosun said in his famous song from almost three decades ago, "Which way Nigeria. Which way to go?" The answer lies squarely in the hands of the Nigerian people and the sooner they realize how much power they have to make a change, the sooner that change will come.  

Heaven, as they say, helps those who help themselves. 

Saturday

Caitlyn Jenner says tents in Beverly Hills are the latest sign of the homelessness crisis because they used to only be downtown


CC™ News

By Sarah Al-Arshani

California GOP gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner said the presence of tents in Beverly Hills is the latest sign of the state's homelessness crisis.

"When you drive in Beverly Hills and you look at the park, and there's tents in the park, we have to look at that issue very seriously," Jenner said in an interview on the Fox LA show "The Issue Is" that aired Friday.

Jenner said homelessness is a top concern for Californians.

"But to be honest with you on a big picture, living in a tent in a park in Beverly Hills, it's just different today. Before, the homeless were all downtown. I'm sure you've been downtown. I mean, you walk down there, and it's just like so tough, so difficult on these people," Jenner said.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $12 billion proposal to fund affordable housing and increase social services that would help move people off the streets. If approved, the plan would provide housing for 65,000 people and stabilize housing for thousands more.

Jenner is running to unseat Newsom in a special recall election after a GOP-led effort to challenge the governor collected enough signatures. She said it's difficult to build affordable housing in the state because of too many regulations, specifically citing the California Environmental Quality Act as an issue.

Jenner said she would relax environmental restrictions in order to streamline building permits and work with charitable groups to increase affordable housing.

Jenner, a former Olympian and reality TV star, has no prior political experience, but said her experience in business makes her qualified to be governor.

"I have been in the entrepreneurial world," she said. "People think - you've been in show business, think of you as a reality star. Certainly, I've done that, but entertainment is a business, and you have to run that business."

Last month, Jenner was accused of being out of touch after she suggested support for public transportation was unnecessary while making repeated references to her private jet during an interview with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

"Here's my crazy thinking. We are now spending billions of dollars on this high-speed rail, OK, and they talk about it all the time, between LA and San Francisco. And I'm going, 'Why are we doing that?' I can get on a plane at LAX, and I'll be in San Francisco in 50 minutes. Why do we need high-speed rail?" Jenner said, referring to an ongoing project intended to transport travelers from Anaheim and Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider