‘Amotekun has biblical origin’ – MURIC demands rebranding of security outfit – TheCable – TheCable

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked governors of the south-west to rebrand Amotekun.

The Western Nigeria Security Network is code-named Amotekun, Yoruba word for leopard.

In a statement on Monday, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC’s director, said Amotekun has its origin in the Bible, and it would not be possible for Muslims to be a part of it. 

“Jeremiah 5:6 says, ‘A leopard shall guard over their city’. Amotekun is mentioned in this verse with particular reference to guarding a city. Now, we have a sub-region where Muslims have been under persecution for ages coming up with a security outfit under the name of the same leopard mentioned in the bible as a guard over the city,” he said. 

“This is not a coincidence. The handlers of Amotekun picked the name deliberately from the bible in order to score a spiritual point. It is very critical. It calls for serious concern. So why give a security unit a religious name?

“We advise the planners of the new security outfit to give it another name in the interest of peace and harmony in the sub-region. This is necessary if they want to carry all stakeholders along. Amotekun as a name is already controversial. We do not need a Christian security unit. Neither do we need a Muslim security outfit. The security agency in the South West must not only be neutral, it must also be seen to be neutral.

“We affirm that Muslims form the majority in the population of the south-west. They are therefore critical stakeholders and the unity of the Yoruba cannot become fait accompli without involving the Muslims in the sub-region. Muslims must be carried along in any security network in the zone. We are interested in security. We are security conscious.

“We will therefore join a South West security initiative if it is not tainted with Christian landmarks. We will have confidence in a security outfit that involves Muslim leaders, not one that parades pastors, bishops and archbishops alone.

“It must also be noted that a security group that starts with subtle threats to our brethren in faith in another part of the country cannot be safe for Muslims in Yorubaland. There is no racism or tribalism in Islam (Qur’an 49:13). It is a global brotherhood. Yoruba Muslims love Yorubaland. They also love Nigeria. But they owe their Creator, Allah, an unflinching and undiluted love towards their brothers and sisters in Islam no matter their race, tribe or colour.” 

Akintola had earlier had accused governors of the south-west of recruiting only Christians into Amotekun which he had described as a militia.

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Google will charge law enforcement and government agencies to access user data – Digital Trends

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Google has begun charging law enforcement for access to user data, according to a report by the New York Times. The company is levying fees of $45 for a subpoena, $60 for a wiretap, and $245 for a search warrant, according to documents reviewed by the NYT.

The company receives a high volume of requests from law enforcement agencies to hand over data about its users and has therefore decided to bring in charges to “offset the costs” of compiling this data. According to the report, Google is legally allowed to levy these charges but traditionally big technology companies have handed over data without any charges.

On the one hand, it seems in poor taste that Google could be seen to be profiting from the performance of police searches. On the other, an incentive against law enforcement performing overly broad searches will be welcomed by privacy advocates.

In its transparency report about requests for user information, Google revealed an uptick in requests over the last decade, with over requests for data of over 160,000 users or accounts in the year 2019. In between 60 and 80% of cases over the years, Google has handed over at least some data. “We review each request we receive to make sure it satisfies applicable legal requirements and Google’s policies,” Google says in the report. “If we feel that a request is overly broad — asking for too much information given the circumstances — we seek to narrow it.”

Google also shares that, regarding legal requests from government agencies in the U.S., “By far the most common is the subpoena, followed by search warrants.” It says it notifies users whose data has been requested where possible, as “If Google receives ECPA legal process for a user’s account, it’s our policy to notify the user via email before any information is disclosed unless such notification is prohibited by law.”

As concerning as it is that Google can make money (albeit a modest amount) from handing over user data to governments and law enforcement agencies, this week has seen far more worrying news regarding privacy. Phone-hacking technology seems to be in widespread use among law enforcement agencies in the U.S., with reports of the Israeli firm Cellebrite hacking phones on behalf of the U.S. government.

VW CEO Expects His Company To Beat Tesla At Their Own Game – news – Carscoops

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In a recent interview, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess stated that his company is not afraid to challenge Tesla, despite the latter recently surging past $100 billion in market value, exceeding the German brand.

So while Tesla is still top dog as far as electric cars are concerned, VW is in the process of buying software companies and increasing investments in sustainable vehicles and battery cells, as reported by Autonews Europe.

“It’s an open race,” said Diess. “We are quite optimistic that we still can keep the pace with Tesla and also at some stage probably overtake. The company which adopts fastest and is most innovative but also which has enough scale in the new world will make the race.”

Must Read: Tesla’s Market Value Exceeds $100 Billion, Topping VW Group Even Though The Latter Sold 10.5 Million More Cars

The VW brand has already begun building its first-ever mass market EV in Germany in the shape of the ID3 – a compact hatchback that’s meant to rival Tesla’s Model 3.

Meanwhile, Diess stated that he was concerned with more than just Tesla, after attending a dinner with U.S. president Donald Trump last week. While the meeting was described as “positive,” the threat of U.S. tariffs on European carmakers still exists, said the VW boss.

“It’s very difficult to read President Trump but he stated that he’s still not happy with Europe. We’re doing what we can to avoid tariffs.”

As for the company’s more immediate future, Diess knows that VW will need to sell more sustainable cars or risk heavy penalties due to Europe’s new fleet emission targets.

“2020 for the auto industry will be a very difficult year, but we’re doing the right things to be competitive.”

A Reporter’s Suspension After Tweeting About Kobe Bryant’s Dismissed 2004 Rape Case, Offers a Teachable Moment in Workplace Ethics – Inc.com

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Would you suspend an employee for a tweet?

What if that tweet was about rape allegations against Kobe Bryant, who just died?

What if the rest of the internet was focused on all his victories and the good he did, and your employee wanted to remind people that he wasn’t a saint?

That’s what happened to Washington Post reporter Felica Somnez who, in the midst of the sadness of Bryant’s death (and the deaths of eight other people), tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article, Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession.

The Washington Post suspended Sonmez, who says she received over 10,000 nasty messages–including death threats. And I, along with most of the internet, believed it was purely because of the decision to post a negative story in a very sad time. The Daily Mail reports:

Tracy Grant, managing editor of The Washington Post, told DailyMail.com on Sunday: ‘National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.

‘The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.’ 

The real reason behind the suspension is unknown, as a request for comment from The Washington Post went unanswered. But the answer may be more complicated. Journalist Mathew Keys says a Washington Post Insider tipped him off that it wasn’t the original post, but screenshots that she included in follow up posts that revealed personally identifying information of the people who threatened her, a practice known as doxing. 

This becomes an entirely different situation. Doxing is serious business and that can undermine the entire company. If you can’t trust a company to keep your personal information confidential, you’ll be hesitant to work with them. Who wants to give a reporter a tip about their corrupt boss if the reporter will tweet their email address?

Now, as someone who has been on the receiving end of death threats for articles I’ve written, I am not a huge fan of offering those people protection, but I see why her bosses would not have been thrilled. If I were going to expose anyone who sent me a death threat, I’d probably want to run it by my bosses here first.

Can you punish employees for their use (or misuse) of social media?

Regardless of whether Somnez penned the initial article–she didn’t–is she required to make sure the information is accurate and relevant? If we hold that standard, all of us are guilty. Should a reporter be held at a higher standard? Yes, but she wasn’t a sport or a crime reporter.

For the most part, there are no free speech protections in the private sector. (Some states and localities have guarantees, but there are no federal protections.) So, it’s almost certainly legal to suspend or terminate or otherwise punish an employee for tweeting something you find objectionable. Even a journalist can only publish what their publisher wishes.

In this case, Somnez lists her affiliation with her employer in her Twitter bio. You could easily argue that she’s always representing the company. If she’s always representing her employer, then she needs to make sure her tweets are aligned with company policy.

This is why some company’s social media policies include clauses about not posting while wearing company shirts, or identifying your employer in your bio. While vigilante Twitter mobs do, sometimes, track private people down and attempt to destroy their lives, most of the time a stupid or crude tweet, Instagram post, or TikTok video just disappears into the ether.

Suspension is better than immediate termination

Remember the Chipotle Manager who had a twitter mob after her? Chipotle gave into the mob and fired her–and then rehired her after they did their investigation. When 10,000 people are angry enough to send threats to your employee, your first obligation is to make sure the employee is safe and the second is to investigate. Suspension during that time period makes sense.

It gives everyone time to breathe and time to find out what really happened. It’s a great tool that you can use when an internet mob forms against you or one of your employees. Take a step back.

Was Somnez suspended for tweeting the original article, or for doxing the people making threats, I’m not sure. Regardless, think through your response before terminating an employee based on a social media post.

US Army general says he’s mourning a soldier killed in Syria instead of Kobe Bryant – Business Insider

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Kobe BryantJason Miller/Getty Images

  • Many took offense at a general’s comment for seeming to minimize the death of superstar Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others.
  • "Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I’ll use my energy to remember SPC Moore and his Family. #RIP," Maj. Gen. John Evans tweeted about Spc. Antonio Moore, who was killed Friday in Syria.
  • Some veterans said that the general’s comment failed to acknowledge the grief many feel for Bryant, 41, who retired from the NBA in 2016 after a legendary career.
  • A spokeswoman for Cadet Command said, "Since we tend to connect to celebrities more, we have a tendency to forget about others who are just as important. There was no disrespect meant."
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As Americans continued to a grapple with the death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on Monday, a US Army general took to Twitter to highlight the loss of another American: a 22-year-old soldier killed in Syria.

But many took offense at the way the general did it.

"Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I’ll use my energy to remember SPC Moore and his Family. #RIP," Maj. Gen. John Evans tweeted.

Spc. Antonio Moore, a combat engineer in the Army Reserve from Wilmington, N.C., was killed in a vehicle rollover accident on a Friday mission in eastern Syria. In a statement, his battalion commander said: "Antonio was one of the best in our formation. He will be missed by all who served with him."

Many veterans said that the general’s comment failed to acknowledge the grief many feel for Bryant, 41, who was retired from the NBA after a legendary career. His daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant was also killed, as 

"As a life long laker fan, #Kobe helped me get through deployments in the early 2000’s," wrote one person in response to Evan’s comment. "Both deaths are tragic, but in different ways. No need to make it a contest."

And a former Army officer, who led a research program on veterans prior to joining the RAND Corporation, tweeted that the comment was not in keeping with Army values.

"This is not a healthy look for civil-military relations," tweeted Philip Carter. "The military does not have a monopoly on suffering or death; insisting on primacy of grief is inconsistent with the Army value of selfless-sacrifice."

 

Evans leads thousands of Army ROTC cadets as the head of Cadet Command, based in Fort Knox, Ky. He said the response from many veterans made his point.

"I think my detractors here made my case for me — no one life is any more important than another — regardless the celebrity. Look forward to them Retweeting the story about SPC Moore to demonstrate their conviction."

A spokeswoman for Cadet Command said Evans didn’t intend any disrespect in his comment.

"As we mourn the losses of a basketball legend and of a Soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this great Nation, we believe everybody’s life has value and that all loss of life tragic," Lt. Col. Nichole Downs said in a statement. "Since we tend to connect to celebrities more, we have a tendency  to forget about others who are just as important. There was no disrespect meant towards the families of the nine that were lost."

 

NOW WATCH: We can thank the US military for the smelliest weapon in the world

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China overtakes Russia, becomes world’s 2nd largest weapons producer – Vanguard News

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China overtakes Russia, now world's 2nd largest weapons producer
China flexes its military muscle

The People’s Republic of China has claimed the spot for the world’s second-largest weapons manufacturer, according to new research by a leading peace institute.

The Asian superpower jumped ahead of Russia, from whom they used to buy many weapons.

The United States of America retains the spot of number one as China comes behind, according to a Swedish research institute announcement on Monday.

New research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that four Chinese arms groups generate sufficient sales to be ranked among the world’s top 20 weapons sellers. The four groups have combined sales worth $54.1 billion (€49.1 billion) in 2017.

ALSO READ: China celebrates 70 years, flexes military muscle

“This research represents the most comprehensive picture of Chinese companies’ weapons production to date,” SIPRI announced on their website.

They also noted that the new figures are likely an underestimate, given the lack of transparency in China.

The vast majority of the Chinese munitions sold every year are bought by the different branches of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

In the previous report published in 2017, SIPRI placed the country at sixth place in the world. These new figures place it ahead of Russia. In the past, China was a major importer of weapons from Russia.

SIPRI ranks individual companies rather than countries. Three Chinese arms manufacturers would be placed in the top 10.

[dw]

Vanguard News Nigeria.

The post China overtakes Russia, becomes world’s 2nd largest weapons producer appeared first on Vanguard News.

Michelle Obama wins Grammy for best spoken word album – Daily MonitorHome

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By AFP

The former first lady can now add Grammy winner to her resume, after snagging the award on music’s biggest night for Best Spoken Word Album, for the audiobook of her memoir “Becoming.”

Her win on Sunday gives the Obama household its third Grammy: former president Barack Obama has already snagged two Grammys in the same category for his books.

She faced an eccentric group of rivals that include Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys for “Beastie Boys Book” and John Waters, the director-performer known for his transgressive cult films, for “Mr. Know-It-All.”

Released in late 2018, “Becoming” saw the former first lady slam President Donald Trump for questioning her husband’s citizenship and promoting the notion that he was born abroad.

“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,” Obama wrote.

America’s first black first lady also dug into her personal life in her book, expounding on issues including a miscarriage, using in-vitro fertilization to conceive her daughters and marriage counseling.

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Rensource raises $3m equity investments from Proparco, EU – TechMoran

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Rensource has raised $3 million from Proparco, with the support of the European Union under the Africa Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility (ARE Scale-Up).

Rensource, the first beneficiary in the program, will use the funding to contribute to facilitating energy access in the context of a significant and growing energy gap in Nigeria and support the development of innovative solar energy solutions.

Rensource Energy aims to develop, build and operate over 100 minigrids with a combined power capacity exceeding 35MW over the next five years and to provide clean and affordable electricity to 250,000 SMEs. This will lead to significant job creation and save 30,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

With support from the European Union, PROPARCO and Agence Française de Développement set up the Africa Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility (ARE Scale-Up) to boost investments in off-grid renewable energy in Africa.

“By developing innovative economic models based on renewable energies, SMEs such as Rensource will be playing a key role in the energy sector over the coming years”, explains Jean GUYONNET-DUPERAT, PROPARCO’s regional director in Nigeria. “Our investment is fully aligned with PROPARCO’s mandate which is to support green and inclusive growth and is 100% in line with the Paris Agreements. The project is also a great fit with French initiative Choose Africa, which aims at supporting African entrepreneurship”.

In December, EDP Renováveis invested $3 million in Rensource, a company that develops and manages decentralized solar energy systems, to support its expansion in Nigeria.

This $3 million investment (about € 2.6 million) – which was the result of a financing initiative completed by EDP Renováveis and other international investors such as CRE Ventures, Omidyar Network, Inspired Evolution, Proparco, I&P, Sin Capital and Yuzura Honda – will support the company’s expansion in Nigeria.

The firm also announced it raised $20 million Series A round to build an online platform for supply-chain services, business-analytics and working capital options for Nigeria’s SME.

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