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Donald Trump hails Boris Johnson as future PM and attacks Sadiq Khan

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donald trump
Donald Trump

Donald Trump hailed Boris Johnson as a future prime minister, accused the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, of doing “a bad job” on terrorism and said there had been too much immigration in Europe in an incendiary interview that raised questions about the decision to invite him to Britain.

A day before the US president was due to have bilateral talks with Theresa May, Trump used an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun to endorse her principal Tory rival just days after he resigned from the cabinet in protest at her Brexit policy.

Donald Trump described Johnson as “a very talented guy” for whom he had “a lot of respect”. He claimed he was not trying to pit Johnson against his host, but added: “I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”

The president – who has said he would like to see Johnson during his UK trip – added that Johnson “obviously likes me, and says very good things about me.

I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country.”

Last month, a leaked recording of Johnson revealed that the former foreign secretary was “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump”.

The Conservative MP said that Trump would negotiate Brexit “bloody hard”, adding: “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos.

Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually, you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”

Donald Trump is due to have a summit meeting with May on Friday at lunchtime before meeting the Queen for tea at Windsor Castle and then heading to Scotland.

Protests have been organised to follow him everywhere around the UK, with a demonstration planned for Friday afternoon in London where organisers expect tens of thousands to attend.

The president renewed his feud with Khan with a series of heavyhanded comments aimed at Johnson’s successor as London mayor, trying to blame him for the spate of fatal terror attacks in the capital last year at Westminster, London Bridge and outside Finsbury Park mosque.

“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London,” Trump said, before referring directly to Khan: “I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.

I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”

Donald Trump even appeared to hold Khan personally responsible for immigration in Europe, in comments that were particularly inflammatory. “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.

I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”

The US president has repeatedly clashed with the London mayor, tweeting last June after the London Bridge attack that Khan was wrong to call for calm. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and the Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’,” Trump said that the time – prompting Khan to call the American leader “ill-informed”.

The president returned to the theme of immigration elsewhere in the interview, making further controversial claims: “Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.

I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.”

Donald Trump also complained that Khan had given permission for a six-metre-high “Trump baby” blimp to fly over Westminster on Friday.

He said he was pleased to be spending little time in the capital on his three-day trip as a result: “I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”

Media owned by Murdoch has repeatedly secured interviews with Trump. In addition to regular appearances on his Fox TV network, Michael Gove, in his brief period as a backbencher, interviewed the US president for the Times in January 2017 while the media mogul was in the room.

In his chronicle of the Trump White House, Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff said that Murdoch is a confidante of Trump, one of a circle of billionaires whom the US president calls to discuss politics and current affairs.
The Guardian

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DIASPORA

Five people killed,189 arrested so far in Johannesburg violence

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Johannesburg Xenophobic Violence

Five people have been killed and 189 arrested in a spate of Johannesburg xenophobic violence that has rocked parts of the city since Sunday, police confirmed on Tuesday.

The five deaths have led to police deploying more police officers in areas identified as hot spots.

The latest killings were of two South Africans who were shot in Coronationville on Tuesday afternoon.

“Police have increased deployments to cover all the areas identified as hot spots of violence that have seen several shops being looted, burned and the property being looted,” said police spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini.

He said the situation had been stabilised in parts of the Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg Central, Jeppestown and Cleveland policing areas.

This was, however, not the case in Coronationville, as violent clashes continued and claimed the lives of two South Africans on Tuesday.

The clashes forced Gauteng premier David Makhura to leave a meeting between police minister Bheki Cele and those affected by the recent violence and rush to the area to call for calm.

Apart from these two murders, two killings were reported in Hillbrow and one near the Jeppe hostel.

Police had, however, made arrests in connection with the outbreaks of violence.

“A total of 189 arrests have been effected since Sunday,” said Dlamini.

Those arrests are facing a raft of charges, ranging from charges which include public violence, malicious damage to property, theft, and business break-ins.

Police said they were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse a group of people who planned to loot businesses in Thokoza and Kempton Park in the early hours of Tuesday.

Dlamini said the spate of violent incidents led to criminals gangs taking advantage of the chaotic situation and breaking into businesses, not only those belonging to foreign nationals but also other businesses.

A process to identify leaders of the protests was underway.

“In the meantime, police are identifying the leaders of these violent groups and will be arrested them once full evidence against them has been gathered,” said Dlamini.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela thanked members of the public who provided information to assist the police in dealing with violent situations.

Mawela has also assured the public that no unlawful activities will be tolerated.

“All our members are on the ground to deal with criminality,” he said.TimesLive

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BUSINESS

African leaders boycott WEF Africa over xenophobic attacks in SA

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World Economic Forum on Africa

The presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi have decided not to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted by South Africa in the face of ongoing looting and burning of small businesses in that country, owned largely by African immigrants, local media reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the attacks, which have seen scores of people arrested in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Reports said Zambia had also cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa’s national men’s team Bafana Bafana scheduled for March.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari instructed his foreign affairs minister to summon South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria over the violence.

Some South Africans say they are retaliating against crime committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners, but political analysts say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over joblessness and general economic woes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union Commission’s Faki called for “immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice is done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”

“The chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity,” his spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. African News Agency

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CRIME

FBI takes down Nigerian fraudsters in $46M case

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Nigerian fraudsters

The relationship between a Japanese woman and a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria started online, through an international social network for digital pen pals. It grew into an internet romance over 10 months of daily emails.

It ended with the woman $200,000 poorer and on the verge of bankruptcy after borrowing money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Capt. Terry Garcia with his plan to smuggle diamonds out of Syria.

In reality, there were no diamonds and there was no Garcia — they were part of an elaborate scam hatched by an international ring of cyber thieves operating mainly out of Los Angeles and Nigeria.

Federal authorities cited the case of the Japanese woman, known only as “F.K.” in court papers, on Thursday when they announced an indictment charging 80 people with stealing at least $46 million through various schemes that targeted businesses, the elderly and anyone susceptible to a romance scam. Most of the defendants are Nigerian fraudsters.

“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. “We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”

The investigation began in 2016 with a single bank account and one victim, said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. It grew to encompass victims who were targeted in the U.S. and around the world, some of whom like the Japanese woman lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses,” the federal complaint states. “She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.”

Her relationship began innocently in March 2016 with an email but soon “Garcia” made “romantic overtures,” according to federal authorities. He told her they couldn’t talk by phone because he wasn’t allowed to use one in Syria.

So a stream of emails went back and worth, with her using Google to translate his English into her Japanese. A month into the relationship, Garcia told her he’d found a bag of diamonds in Syria and he began introducing her to his associates, starting with a Red Cross representative who told her Garcia had been injured but had given him the box.

F.K. ultimately made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S., Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain’s many purported associates.

The Nigerian fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she travelled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.

Authorities arrested 14 defendants Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area. FBI agents could be seen processing suspects in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot before they were arraigned in federal court. It was not immediately known if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Two suspects were previously in custody and a few others were arrested earlier this week. Hanna said he hoped to be able to work with foreign governments to extradite the remaining Nigerian fraudsters.

They all face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, and some are charged with additional offences for alleged fraud and money laundering.AOL

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