The Genesis GV 80: Exceptional SUV luxury with impressive design, performance and reliability

CC™ Carmania

The question though is will Hyundai botch the re-marketing/re-introduction of the Genesis line of luxury cars as it did in its original introduction? And let's not forget the complete marketing disaster that was the introduction of the EQUUS to the U.S. market.

I believe Genesis will topple both Mercedes-Benz and BMW eventually as it is becoming increasingly diffcult to dismiss the quality of their new cars namely the Genesis G90, the G80, the G70 and now the exceptional luxury SUV GV 80. The future also entails some pretty exciting designs and concepts as the luxury brand also looks to dabble into the electric car market, among other adjacencies.


We won’t allow any group undermine Nigeria's territorial integrity - Military

President Buhari (L) and COAS Buratai (R)
CC™ Nigeriaworld

The Nigeria military has vowed that it will not allow any individual or group to jeopardize the sovereignty and stability of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.

The military also told relevant stakeholders to join hands with the armed forces and intelligence agencies to ensure that Nigeria is secured and not to look for other methods likely to negate the national policy and Community Policing approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration. 

Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting presided over by President Buhari before his departure to London.At the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said the whole essence of the meeting was to critically evaluate what the armed forces of Nigeria, as well as other security and intelligence agencies, were doing with regard to ensuring that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not undermined by any individual or group of individuals.

He disclosed that some of the equipment acquired by the armed forces for the Nigerian Air Force has started arriving, adding that two helicopter gun shoots arrived on the 15th of January.On the essence of the meeting, he said, “You recall that we had a meeting on the 30th December 2019 and today we held another one. The whole essence of the meeting is to critically evaluate what the armed forces of Nigeria, as well as other security and intelligence agencies, are doing with regard to ensuring that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not undermined by any individual or group of individuals.

“We also looked at the emerging situations in some of our areas particularly acts of banditry in some of the North-Western states and other parts of the country and we have critically looked at everything and we are satisfied with the progress we are making.

“We are satisfied with the support the Federal Government is giving the armed forces and other security agencies in terms of procurement of platforms. A substantial number of this equipment is expected by the end of February.

“Some of the equipment we are acquiring have started arriving for the Nigerian Air Force, two helicopter gunshots have arrived on the 15th of January and we are now in the process of putting them together which will add to whatever we have.

“We are equally expecting other equipment like I said that is meant for the armed forces of Nigeria which we are hoping to get by the end of February. I am sure you are also familiar with the equipment acquisition by the Nigerian Police Force.

“I am sure you are also aware of the policy on Community Policing that was approved by Mr. President and it is going to be funded. The whole idea is to ensure that Nigeria is secured and Nigerians can go about pursuing their legitimate aspirations without any hindrance.”

On the message of the armed forces and other security agencies to Nigerians, Air Marshal Abubakar said, “What we want to do here is to reassure Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria and indeed security and intelligence agencies in Nigeria are going to continue to work round the clock to ensure that our country is secured and to ensure that nobody undermines the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Nigeria.

“We are going to keep a very close watch on what is going on and with the equipment that we are getting, definitely, the challenges we are facing in some of the theaters of operation particularly the North East will be addressed adequately.“We are doing everything with the other sister countries in the Lake Chad Basin working together to ensure that the Boko Haram terrorism is brought substantially to an end as quickly as possible.

” I think our appeal is for all Nigerians and other stakeholders to join hands with the armed forces of Nigeria and other security and intelligence agencies to ensure that our country is secured rather than looking at other methods that are likely going to negate the national policy and community policing policy that the Federal Government has approved.

“What we expect is for all stakeholders, local government, state government, other stakeholders to join hands with us, let us work together to ensure that our country is secured.”

Editor's Rebuttal: For the record, the military under the current adminsitration of Muhammadu Buhari is essentially a state-sanctioned as well as institutionalized terrorrist organization. The Nigeria military has been found wanting in its basic task of maintaining the security and well being of Nigerians through the preservation of the nation's territorial integrity. Under Buhari and his service chiefs, the military has engaged in ethnic cleansing both directly and through acquiescence, against non-Fulani ethnic nationalities. I will be writing a piece very soon on the decision of South-West leaders to institute a community policing outfit known as "Amotekun". Amotekun was established in response to the desperate security crisis that has engulfed that region of the country from the terrorist activities of Fulani herdsmen, backed by Miyetti Allah, the Sultan of Sokoto, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai. Amotekun is here to stay and seeking to blackmail the Yoruba with the 2023 presidency is looking too far ahead, as Nigeria may have ceased to exist by then.


Buhari's government are ‘Islamic fundamentalists without bombs’, says Nigerian bishop

President Muhammadu Buhari
CC™ Nigeriaworld

'The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb,' Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah claimed.

The beheading of 10 Christians by Islamist militants in Nigeria has sparked a condemnation by a bishop who accuses the government of using different methods to achieve the same goal of Islamic dominance.

In the wake of the Christmas Day attack by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and an attack by Boko Haram on Christmas Eve, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need of his disgust with the authorities.

He said: “The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb.” He added: “They are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence. With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.
“They have created the conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to behave the way they are behaving.” On Boxing Day 2019, ISWAP released a video beheading 10 Christians and shooting one Muslim, saying they were avenging the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, Daesh (ISIS)’s leader, and other senior Daesh members killed during a US raid in October. This followed a Christmas Eve attack by Boko Haram in which seven were killed.
The UN estimates that over 2.2 million have been displaced by Boko Haram’s actions – between 2013 and 2015, more than 11,000 people were killed by the group. Bishop Kukah said the Nigerian government, by packing key government positions with hardline Muslims, gives tacit approval to such groups.
“If the people in power don’t do enough to integrate Christians then they give oxygen to Islamism. If they have countries where everybody is Muslim in power then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme.”
Bishop Kukah hit out against Western nations who he said are happy to mine the resources of Africa but not defend its people.
He said: “Western nations are not doing enough. They have shown that the resources of Africa are more important than the ordinary people. Clearly, the Western nations could have reduced the influence of Boko Haram by 80 or 90 percent – they have deliberately not done enough.”
Bishop Kukah said that the only thing preventing Nigeria from being engulfed in civil war was the peaceful tenets of Christianity. He said: “Christians have every reason to feel insecure and also there is a general feeling of their marginalisation from the political process. If the principles of our religion were different, there would be a civil war by now.
“It is the glory of our religion that this hasn’t happened. It is difficult to preach peace in this context. Any resolution depends on how Christians decide to react. They won’t use violence but what will they do?”


Eddie Murphy to receive Lifetime Achievement honor at Critics' Choice Awards

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The critics are paying the ultimate homage to Eddie Murphy.

The "Dolemite Is My Name" star will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his stellar movie career at the 25th Annual Critics Choice Awards on Jan. 12. Murphy is already nominated for the best actor award for his role as Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s "Dolemite."

Murphy will be feted for a career which places the "SNL" star on the short list of actors who have starred in multiple $100 million pictures over the past three decades, from "Beverly Hills Cop" (which just turned 35) to "Daddy Day Care." 
Some of Murphy's other hits include "48 Hours," "Trading Places," "Coming to America," "Harlem Nights," "Bowfinger," "The Nutty Professor" and the voice of Donkey in the "Shrek" franchise.
In 2007, Murphy won the Critics' Choice best actor for his portrayal of James “Thunder” Early in "Dreamgirls," a performance which earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
Murphy told USA TODAY before the release of "Dolemite" that his banner 2019 year is not a comeback, despite fans insistence.
"People are saying, 'You’re back! It’s a comeback!' " said Murphy. "I’m like, no, I’m not trying to do a comeback. I’ve just been enjoying sitting on the couch so much. A few years ago, I was like, 'I could sit on this couch and stay here watching 'Little Women: LA' and their exploits.' "
Murphy had a stellar return to "SNL" on Dec. 21 and will undertake his first comedy tour in three decades in 2020.
"Dolemite" director Craig Brewer has finished filming Murphy and Arsenio Hall in a sequel to 1988's "Coming to America," which is set for theaters in 2020.
Source: USA Today Entertainment 


Political blackmail as U.S. threatens to block Iraqi access to key bank account if American troops are forced to leave

U.S. President Donald Trump
CC™ Global News

While a good chunk of Iraq's parliament wants American troops to begin a safe withdrawal from the country in the wake of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Washington is in turn threatening to block Baghdad's access to its central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in an effort to keep the forces in place, Iraqi officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Iraq, like many other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed, which helps them manage national finances, including revenue from oil sales. If the government can't access those accounts, it'd reportedly due some significant damage to an already-struggling Iraqi economy. An official in Mahdi's office said the prime minister received a warning about the bank account during a phone call Wednesday.
The warning appears to have some members of the Iraqi government on edge, with officials stressing the need to maintain friendly ties with the U.S. despite pressure from pro-Iran militias. Some have pointed out that international pressure on Iraq's economy would hurt Baghdad's efforts to answer to its citizens, who have launched massive anti-government protests in recent months. "The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy," said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.
Others, like Mahdi adviser Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, think the U.S. is bluffing. "If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever," he said. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

On "State TV" Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy wonders what would happen if the U.S. accidentally shot down a jet. Geraldo Rivera reminds him 'we did.'

CC™ Politico

What would happen if the United States accidentally shot down a jetliner like Iran apparently did this week? There's no need to speculate, as Fox News' Geraldo Rivera just pointed out.

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Friday discussed news that officials believe the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran earlier this week, killing 176 people, was mistakenly shot down by Iran. "Can you imagine if the United States of America accidentally shot down a jetliner," Steve Doocy asked.
"Well, you know Steve, we did in 1988," Geraldo Rivera noted, referring to Iran Air Flight 655, which in July of that year was mistakenly shot down by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people. As CNN notes, the USS Vincennes' captain was wrongly told the passenger jet might be an Iranian F-14, which the U.S. military believed to be equipped with Maverick missiles.
"If the unknown aircraft was carrying those Maverick missiles, the U.S. captain had less than five minutes to decide if his ship was in danger," and he gave the order to fire, CNN writes, citing the U.S. Navy report on the incident. After Iran sued the U.S. government, the suit was settled in 1996, and the U.S. paid $62 million.
"It was something that took us years to live down," Rivera noted.
Commentary: The US "paid a lot of money" after fighting Iran in international courts for eight years. Ultimately, and without apologizing or admitting responsibility, the US paid out about $62 million to victims' families -- or a little less than $250k per person killed.
Source: This Week


Confirmed: American businesses and consumers are paying 'approximately 100%' of Trump tariff costs

CC™ Business and Finance 

President Trump made over 100 claims about China and tariffs in 2019, stating that Beijing was paying “tremendous amounts of tariffs.”

However, new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found the opposite. 

“U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” the NBER working paper stated. “Similarly, we also find that the substantial redirection of trade in response to the 2018 tariffs has accelerated.”
The Trump administration has placed tariffs on $550 billion worth of imports from China, and China has slapped tariffs on $185 billion worth of imports from the U.S. since the trade war between the two countries began in March 2018.
On August 3, 2019, Trump claimed that “our consumer is paying nothing” in regard to the tariffs, but NBER stated that “approximately 100% of these import taxes have been passed on to U.S. importers and consumers.”
American consumers and businesses paid at least $42 billion for the tariffs as of October 2019, according to an analysis from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland (THH). In October 2019, the trade war cost an additional $7.2 billion through tariffs, an $1 billion increase from October 2018. 
Trump has made several inaccurate claims about the tariffs on China: he’s said that the U.S. is taking in “billions” from China, that the money is being passed along to American farmers bearing the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs, and that the tariffs would boost blue-collar jobs in the U.S.
recent study from the Federal Reserve indicated that the tariffs have actually led to a loss of jobs, especially in manufacturing. 
“While the longer-term effects of the tariffs may differ from those that we estimate here, the results indicate that the tariffs, thus far, have not led to increased activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector,” the Fed study stated.
Steel is one of the industries hit hardest by tariffs, with foreign firms preemptively lowering prices and American firms struggling to compete with the market reaction. Detroit-based company U.S. Steel was forced to lay off 1,545 employees back in December 2019, partially due to struggles from Trump’s steel tariffs. 
“The data show that U.S. tariffs have caused foreign exporters of steel to substantially lower their prices into the U.S. market,” NBER’s paper stated. “Thus, foreign countries are bearing close to half the cost of the steel tariffs. Since China is only the 10th-largest steel supplier to the U.S. market, these costs have been largely borne by regions like the EU, South Korea, and Japan.”
Source: Adriana Belmonte - Associate Editor for Yahoo Finance.


Troubling reports of Iranian-Americans being questioned on their political allegiances upon entering US

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More than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans have been detained at length and questioned at the US border with Canada, according to advocacy groups, as the crisis over the killing of Qassem Soleimani escalates.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported those who were detained had their passports confiscated and were questioned about their political views and allegiances.
“These reports are extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens,” Masih Fouladi, the executive director of CAIR-Washington, said in a statement.
The advocacy group has also claimed a source at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said a national order has been issued to report and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed “potentially suspicious”, regardless of their citizenship status.
CBP has denied any such directive is in place and insisted reports of Iranian-Americans being detained on social media were false.
“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false,” CBP wrote on Twitter.
“Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”
However, the National Iranian American Council also said it had spoken to Iranian-Americans who were detained for hours at borders and airports over the weekend and asked about their views on Iran.
The allegations come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after top Iranian general Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike order by Donald Trump last week.
His death marks a major escalation in tensions and has been followed by threats of further attacks by both countries.
On Sunday, Iran announced it would no longer respect restrictions on enrichment of uranium introduced under the 2015 international nuclear agreement.
Meanwhile, Iraqi MPs passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops, including about 5,000 US soldiers, to leave its country in response to the attack.
Mr Trump has threatened severe sanctions and attacks on cultural sites if Iran retaliates against the US over the killing.
Pramila Jayapal, a Washington congresswoman, has said she is “deeply disturbed” by reports of Iranian-Americans being detained at the border, while Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has said his office is “closely tracking” the situation.
Mr Inslee later added that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had told his office there was no order issued to detain or refuse entry to Iranian-Americans but his team was continuing to seek answers from officials.
One woman, who was allegedly detained and interrogated for more than 10 hours at the border crossing, said the majority of people who were held were American citizens.
“We kept asking why we were being detained and asked questions that had nothing to do with our reason for travelling and were told ‘I’m sorry this is just the wrong time for you guys,’” the woman told CAIR.
On Saturday, DHS updated its National Terrorism Advisory System to warn that Iran could retaliate against the US through cyberattacks or attacks by “homegrown violent extremists”.
However, the department acknowledged that it had “no information indicating a specific, credible threat” at this time.
CAIR Washington has said it believes everyone who was detained has now been released but the group will continue to monitor the situation.
Source: Independent


Bill Gates calls for higher taxes on the rich

Bill Gates
CC™ Introspective

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates started the last decade worth more than US$50-billion and with a pledge to give away his fortune to charity.

By the end of the decade, he'd donated billions of dollars to fight poverty and improve health care and education. But his fortune also more than doubled during the period, a result of soaring stock markets and favourable tax policies.

And so in a fitting end to the decade, the world's second richest person said he wants his fellow billionaires to pay much higher taxes.

US lawmakers should close loopholes, raise the estate tax and hike the capital gains tax so that it equals the rate on labour income, Gates wrote on Monday in a year-end blog post.

He also called for states and local governments to make their taxes "fairer" and reiterated his support for a state income tax in Washington, where he lives.

"I've been disproportionately rewarded for the work I've done - while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by," he wrote. "That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me."

Gates, 64, has a net worth of $114 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people.

At an event in November, Gates expressed reservations about the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In his blog post, Gates said he won't take a position on the various proposals being debated during the campaign.

"But I believe we can make our system fairer without sacrificing the incentive to innovate," he said.
"Americans in the top 1% can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs. 

In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn't hurt our incentive to build a great company."

Source: Tech Central