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French far-right leader Marine Le Pen backs retired generals’ hint at military uprising in France

             Marine LePen (52) has framed herself as a 'law and order' candidate

 Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said France is at risk of a “civil war” as she prepares to tackle President Emmanuel Macron in the 2022 election.


There are no signs of a coming conflict, but stoking tensions surrounding issues like economic inequality and a feeling the country is becoming less safe, serves Ms Le Pen.


She has been campaigning for office since the start of the year, trying to frame herself as the law-and-order candidate.


While Ms Le Pen has spoken repeatedly about clamping down on migration and the need to be tougher on Islamism, her latest comments are perhaps the most contentious yet.


After a group of retired generals last month hinted at the threat of a military uprising, another open letter to the president on Sunday warned of “chaos and violence.” The first letter was signed – the latest one wasn’t, though it was attributed to unidentified serving officers by the right-wing weekly that published it, Valeurs Actuelles.


Both times Ms Le Pen backed the authors, while insisting she isn’t calling for insurrection and urging those who supported them to join her movement.  


At a campaign event on Monday, Ms Le Pen said the latest letter offered “a lucid” assessment of the state of the country. “There’s always a risk of civil war,” she added.


Other French presidents have faced similar warnings from army officers in recent years but the threats never materialised. Officials from Mr Macron’s administration dismissed the letters as political manoeuvring.


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In 2018, during protests by the Yellow Vests, a grass-roots movement against a fuel tax, and after a spat between Mr Macron and the army Chief of Staff, some retired generals called for a military government.


Ms Le Pen is running close to Mr Macron in the polls, but the challenge for the 52-year-old nationalist in her third presidential campaign is to soften her profile enough to pick up more moderate voters while keeping her core electorate on her side.


With less than a year to go before the first round of presidential voting, Ms Le Pen is seeking to capitalise on concerns about security that Mr Macron has failed to quell despite a high-profile campaign to push back against Islamists responsible for a spate of violent attacks.


She tried to frame the first letter as referring mainly to the situation in the areas of social housing on the outskirts of many French cities which are typically racially diverse and economically deprived.


She also argued that the government itself has expressed concern over insecurity and pointed out that one former Macron minister had talked about the risk of a widening gap between such areas and the rest of the country.


The latest letter states that “the hatred of France and its history are becoming the norm” – an apparent reference to Mr Macron’s efforts to acknowledge the abuses of France’s colonial past – and used coded language to criticise Muslim communities that don’t integrate.


“This is a far-right political column,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said, calling the signatories to lift their anonymity.


The Republicans, France’s traditional right-wing party that has been squeezed between Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen, described it as a legitimate alarm bell. 



Manchester City are the Premier League champions (2020/2021)

 Man City win fifth Premier League title: Are they now a 'great' team? |  Football News | Sky Sports

 Manchester, England (PA Media/dpa) - Manchester City were confirmed as Premier League champions once again after Manchester United were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester on Tuesday night.


City missed the opportunity to secure a third league title under Pep Guardiola on Saturday when a missed penalty from Sergio Aguero proved costly as Chelsea came from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.


United beat Aston Villa on Sunday and needed another victory to delay the celebrations once again - but a side showing 10 changes could not see off the Foxes, who took an early lead through a fine volley from teenager Luke Thomas which was cancelled out by Mason Greenwood's neat finish.


Caglar Soyuncu headed in a corner midway through the second half to secure all three points, which left City as champions with three games still to play.


Even if United, set for a rescheduled league match against Liverpool on Thursday as well as the Europa League final, could have produced the required performance, it would have only delayed City's seemingly inevitable march towards the title.


"I have been in Spain, I have been in Germany, and I can say this is the toughest league by far," Guardiola said in a video posted on the Manchester City's Twitter account.


"To achieve five Premier League [titles] in 10 years means a lot for this organization."


Guardiola will now take his side to Newcastle on Friday safe in the knowledge of having delivered another major trophy back to the Etihad Stadium, reclaiming the league crown from Liverpool.


The manager will relish the opportunity to celebrate with the club's supporters when some are allowed into the ground for the final home match of the league season on May 23.


"I am looking forward to the Everton game, we will lift the trophy with 10,000 people I think who will be coming to the stadium, it will be incredible," he said.


"This business without these people is not the same, and hopefully next season we can enjoy it at all the Premier League teams."


City will also have European dominance firmly in their sights, with the chance to set the record straight when they tackle Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29.


Southern Governors Forum Ban open grazing of cattle across the three regions, call on Federal Government to convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency

 Southern Governors Forum (SGF), has yesterday resolved on immediate ban of open grazing across the Southern part of Nigeria as they requested for a national dialogue on restructuring.


The meeting which was held yesterday in Asaba had in attendance 15 Governors from South- West, South-East, South- South, including two Deputy Governors from Imo and Akwa Ibom State while two others Governors of Cross Rivers and Osun State were absent.


Reading the 12 point communique on behalf of the 17 Governors after a closed door meeting in Asaba, Chairman of Southern Governors Forum, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu urged the President to address the Nation over the Insecurity challenge in view to regain trust of the people.


“It is observed that the incursion of armed robbers, criminals and bandits into Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to love their normal lives”.


They consequently resolved against open grazing or cattle in the Southern Nigeria as they called on Federal Government to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.


“We noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local population in the South. Give this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South ( including cattle movement to the South by foot)”.


While attributing the current agitation among several quarter of the country to greater need for inclusiveness in governance, they stressed the urgent need for national dialogue.


“The progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigeria Federation leading to evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favor of the sub -national government and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to the true practice of federalism”.


Hence, they expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country.


“We suggest greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.”


       


         

     



Isreal forces continue East Jerusalem Air Strikes 24 Killed

 Israel's armed forces say they have bombed "130 military targets" inside the Gaza Strip, in response to rockets launched from inside the Palestinian enclave. Palestinian sources say there have been at least 24 deaths, including nine children. Israel claims the majority of the victims were members of the ruling Hamas party, or the extremist Islamic Jihad.


       A fire caused by the Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021


An Israeli army spokesman stressed that the Tuesday morning air strikes were "an initial phase" of the response, adding "we are ready for any escalation".


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that fighting could “continue for some time”.


The air raids were in reprisal for a series of rocket attacks launched on Monday afternoon from positions in the east and north of the Gaza Strip.


Condemnation

Hamas had warned of "military action" against Israel unless there was an end to the violence which has seen soldiers of the Jewish state fight Muslims around the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem for the past five days.


Those clashes were sparked by a dispute over Israeli settlement-building in the Arab quarter of Sheikh Jarrah.


At least 700 Palestinians have been injured in the Jerusalem violence.


Hundreds of residents of Arab communities across Israel on Monday staged overnight protests against the situation in Jerusalem, one of the largest demonstrations by Palestinian citizens in Israel in recent years.


Israel’s tactics in Jerusalem have drawn angry reactions from across the Muslim world.


Saudi Arabia has condemned what it said were attacks by Israeli forces against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa and the safety of its worshippers. The Saudi foreign ministry called Tuesday on the international community to hold Israeli forces responsible for any escalation.


Separately, the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is holding an emergency meeting of its permanent representatives in the Saudi port city of Jeddah to discuss the tensions in Jerusalem.

What to know about DarkSide, the hacking group responsible for Colonial Pipeline cyberattack in USA

 DarkSide was singled out by the FBI on Monday as being responsible for the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that shut down a major oil network over the weekend.


Here is what we know about the hacking group:


Darkside Hacking Group Reveals Dangerous Evolution - YouTube


What is DarkSide?


DarkSide is a group of organized hackers selling ransomware hacking tools to other criminals to carry out attacks, according to Boston-based cybersecurity technology company Cybereason. The ransomware was first detected in August of 2020.


The geograhical origin of the hacking group has not been confirmed, though Cybereason noted it does not target entities based in former Soviet countries. In a statement posted to the dark web that appears to address the Colonial cyberattack, DarkSide denied being connected to a foreign government, according to the Wall Street Journal.


On Monday, President Joe Biden said "so far" there has been no evidence of involvement by Russia intelligence in the cyberattack but suggested the country "might have some responsibility" to deal with ransomware attacks, noting "there is evidence the actor's ransomware is in Russia."


Cybereason chief security officer Sam Curry told the Washington Examiner there is a "system of Russian-aligned languages" such as "Russian, Georgian, Turkmen, and Azerbaijani" that DarkSide hackers appear to avoid.


DarkSide has an "ethos" to appear ethical in its illicit practices, telling its customers who and what targets are acceptable to attack, Curry said.


The hacking group tells customers using its malware to avoid targeting organizations include hospitals, hospices, schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Prime targets for the hackers include for-profit companies in English speaking countries, Cybereason said in a blog post published on Monday.


"We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives," DarkSide said, according to a statement obtained by Cybereason from the hacking group.


The hacking group also claims it has donated a portion of the stolen proceeds to charities, though Curry said "those charities are not accepting it, they can't take things like that."


COLONIAL PIPELINE AIMS FOR RESTART THIS WEEK AFTER CYBERATTACK


"It's like Robin Hood stole 100 pounds of gold and gave what, a shilling to a kid somewhere and that kid couldn't take it," Curry added.


What is DarkSide seeking?


The intruders took nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of the Colonial's network based in Alpharetta, Georgia, in just two hours, according to two people involved in Colonial Pipeline’s investigation, Bloomberg reported Saturday.


Cybereason said the hacking groups exercise a technique called "double extortion" in its cyberattacks, meaning they not only encrypt the victim's data, but the group also steals data and threatens to make the information public on a website called "DarkSide Leaks" if a ransom is not paid.


"This means the target is still faced with the prospect of having to pay the ransom regardless of whether or not they employed data backups as a precautionary measure," Cybereason posted in a statement.


Typical ransom demands range from $200,000 to $2 million, according to Cybereason. The cybersecurity firm said hackers learn the size and scope of the companies they target in order to find out who the central decision makers are within a firm.


Curry said the biggest takeaway from the attack is that hackers are exercising an illicit "business model," adding that the practice poses a "real risk to critical infrastructure."


What does DarkSide do?


Cybereason said the hackers used a new version of its malware called DarkSide 2.0, adding that, "So far DarkSide tried breaching 10 of our customers but we stopped it. Eight were in US and two in Europe."


Peter Philip, a Texas-based information technology expert who has over 20 years of experience leading organizations in technology solutions, said the "double attack" is a common practice among hacking groups.


"They're building hacking toolkits that then they're distributing and people can hobble these together to do concerted organized attacks against particular organizations or infrastructure and this is what we saw here," Philip told the Washington Examiner.


Curry said two possible ways hackers enter a secured network are through phishing strategies or using an existing vulnerability in the network.


Ongoing investigations will likely reveal the root cause of the breach at a later date. "We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation," the FBI said on Monday.


Cybereason said DarkSide has a reputation for being "organized" and "professional," offering a help desk and phone number dial for data breach victims.


What does the cyberattack mean for national security?


The hack is likely "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure we know of in the United States," energy analyst Amy Myers Jaffe told Politico.


Philip agreed with Jaffe's assessment, saying the cyberattack was significant in-part because "This was done remotely by an organization not even based in the United States."


Colonial is the largest refined fuel pipeline network in the United States and transports more than 100 million gallons per day, providing around 45% of fuel utilized along the East Coast. Operations at the refinery have been suspended since Friday, though the firm has said it plans to resume operations sometime this week.


Curry said the source country for the recent Colonial attack is hard to pinpoint because hackers can use "false flag operations that can pose as someone else."

FG Reintroduces COVID-19 Restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Shuts Bars, Recreational Centres

 The Federal Government has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).



This new directive is to take effect by midnight of Tuesday, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, declared.


Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday in Abuja.


With the restrictions imposed, mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time.


Access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.


According to Mohammed, the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide curfew will be in force until further notice.


He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to.


The PSC member, however, stated that there was no limitation to intra-state travel.



On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said returning foreign passengers who fled the quarantine facilities and violated the compulsory requirement would not go unpunished.


He noted that the committee has received reports that some persons who recently returned to the country violated the mandatory quarantine requirement under the advisory by escaping from the facilities.


Mustapha, who is also the PSC Chairman, condemned the violation of the nation’s laws and hospitality, noting that the committee was awaiting the report of ongoing investigations and would impose appropriate sanctions on the violators.


He revealed that the PSC has considered several pre-emptive measures to be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the variants of COVID-19, should they get imported into Nigeria.


The SGF explained that the step became important in view of the fragile state of the nation’s health systems, the disruption to the delivery of vaccines, and the lack of compliance with the extant public health measures and social measures contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.


According to him, it is imperative to reinstitute the various public health measures that were put in place under the health protection regulations.

Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has revealed that Northern Nigeria will never support secession calls to Breakup Nigeria

    

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has revealed that Northern Nigeria will never support secession calls because there's nothing wrong with the extant structure in the country.


Across the country, calls for secession have continued to gain momentum.


There are the Indigenous People of Biafra in the South-East while there are agitators for the independence of the Oduduwa nation in the South-West.


But in an interview with SaharaReporters on Monday, ACF's spokesman, Emmanuel Yawe, said the North can never support secessionists because Nigeria is relatively okay the way it is.  


Yawe further stated that secession attempts would only worsen the problems ravaging the country and could even lead to a civil war.


He said, “There is no way any part of Nigeria will secede without a civil war. We are so integrated that it is impossible for us to sit at a conference table and allow each part to go their ways, it's not possible, it's not a tea party, there will be war. If any part of Nigeria wants to secede, there will be war, maybe even more serious war than what we had before between 1967 and 1970. So, if anyone is calling for secession, he's calling for war.


“And we in the North fought the war to keep this country together, so it will be a contradiction for those of us who tried to stop this country from breaking up to now be engaging in activities that will break this country; we don't want this country to break up. Nigeria is a great country as it is. We have problems but those problems are not enough for us to break up.


“We believe these problems can be remedied and these problems will only be multiplied if we go into war. We love the country. We don't like what some people are doing with the country but for us to have come from the biggest black nation on earth, it is an honour and we should try to preserve this honour. We should try to see how we can use the resources we have to build a great world power. The rest of Africa is looking up to us and they feel sad when we behave as if we want to break up the country they all look up to. We don't want the country to break up. It is better the way it is, even with all the problems.”


The national leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, had also earlier explained why the North would never want the country to break up.


Adebanjo, who had always consistently called for restructuring, recently condemned the unyielding attitude of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to calls for constitutional reforms and resource control.


Adebanjo had over time explained that the current constitution favourably places Northern Nigeria over the South.


He was quoted as saying, “...The constitution we have now is an imposed constitution by the military and the problem we are having in the country now is because of this constitution.


“People should get that clear. It appears both Garba Shehu and his boss, Muhammadu Buhari, don’t want to address the question. I have said that this constitution is a fraudulent constitution; it is not the constitution we agreed on at independence. It is not the constitution Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the founding fathers of this country agreed on at independence. Whether you are talking about resource control, state police, all these agitations have been settled and that is what is causing the crisis in the country today.


“So, when the military said they are going back to the barracks in 1999, Afenifere and the National Democracy Coalition (NADECO) said ‘send us back to the constitution you met us with because this is not the constitution of our founding fathers.’ So, the question of restructuring is to restructure the country back to federalism which our founding fathers agreed on.


“This unitary form of government with all its impositions which have enslaved the South to the North was imposed on us by the military.


“It is the military that created more states in the North; it is the military that created more local governments in the North. It is the military that said that revenues would be shared on the basis of local governments and you people are not addressing it. These are questions you need to answer; why is that so? You don’t stay in a club that is not favourable to you.”

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen backs retired generals’ hint at military uprising in France

               Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said France is at risk of a “civil war” as she prepares to tackle President Emmanuel Macron in...

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