Royalty. Buckingham Palace announces Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will not return as working members of the royal family; Prince Harry to give up honorary military titles
Celebrity Divorce. Kim Kardashian files for divorce from Kanye West after nearly seven years of marriage and four children together; the couple had been separated since early January.
Global Oil. Saudi Arabia and Russia are at loggerheads as they head into an OPEC+ meeting that's renewing the debate on global oil supply. Riyadh is said to prefer keeping output steady while Russia wants to proceed with an increase.
Spain. Thousands in Spain are protesting the imprisonment of rap artist Pablo Hasél, whose lyrics insulted the Spanish monarchy and praised defunct groups that the European Union lists as terrorist organizations.
2010 President Umar Musa Yar'Adua returned to Nigeria after staying in Saudi Arabia due to health reasons for 3 months.
1966 Coup ousts President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
1997 Deng Xiaoping the former paramount leader of China is cremated five days after he passed away
2008 Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba due to ill health after nearly fifty years
2020 Scientists identify the first animal that doesn't need oxygen to breathe - a tiny parasite living in salmon tissue, reported in journal PNAS
You and Whatsapp's New Policies
Image Source: India Today
What will happen? The information, provided in an FAQ on its website, states that starting May 15th, its functionality will become more limited, and users will no longer be able to send or read messages from the app. They’ll still be able to receive calls and notifications, but even that will stop after a “short time", as the company confirmed to TechCrunch this period will last a few weeks.
Newspaper vendors in the Red
Image Source: Guardian
The Story The Newspapers and Magazines Distributors Association of Nigeria (NDAN) has asked for more support from media houses and government to aide the performance of their duties.
Support with what? Chairman of NDAN, Lagos Island Zone, Godwin Akpan, who made the requests during his swearing-in ceremony at the weekend, further said that the government should empower and educate distributors and vendors in their operations and reduce the cost of newspapers and magazines production, especially newsprint so that the cover prices could also come down for people to be able to afford it.
More requests... In addition, he urged government and media houses to provide insurance cover for vendors because of the risk of accident in the distribution process. Speaking of their significant population, he noted that Lagos alone has about two million vendors. "No nation can afford to disenfranchise such a large group of people from participating fully in the real sector of the nation’s economy,” he said. SOURCE
Poor performance of extended capital budget
Image Source: Guardian
The Story The Speaker of the federal house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed concern over the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget, which was extended till March 2021.
What about it? He made the observation at a meeting convened by the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, which was to ascertain the level of implementation during the extension of the capital component of the 2020 budget. The Speaker recalled that the Senate had extended implementation of capital aspects of the 2020 Appropriation Act to March 31, 2021, after it went through first and second readings.
What's their reason for the extension? Gbajabiamila stated that the extension followed a request by President Muhammadu Buhari, through Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in a letter to the National Assembly asking for it to enable the executive to implement the capital aspect of the budget. “It is not an unusual thing to extend the life of a budget", he said.
So why the concern, especially after granting the extension request? According to the Speaker, the leadership of the National Assembly is basically 'carrying out an oversight on the extension that it granted for three months'. "It will not be an extension for the sake of extension, there should be a reasonable and visible identifiable result. Now we are about four weeks to the end of that extension and we do not seem to know where we are, where we stand, and that which we need to do", he said. SOURCE
Italian ambassador killed in DR Congo attack
Image Source: Aledeh
The Story Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday during a fact-finding mission to the country’s troubled east, a senior diplomat told AFP.
You don't mean it! The envoy, Luca Attanasio, “died of his wounds” after a convoy of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) came under fire near Goma, the source said in Kinshasa. Two other people also died in the attack, Major Guillaume Djike, the army’s spokesman in North Kivu province told AFP, without identifying the casualties.
Were there no security personnel with the envoy? North Kivu governor, Carly Nzanzu, told Al Jazeera the seven-member convoy was not escorted by any security forces when the incident happened. The WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities as the ambush occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.
Have the perpetrators been identified? There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place at about 10:15am (0815 GMT). Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and immense sorrow” over the attack and left a meeting in Brussels with European Union counterparts to make an early return to Rome.
Mr Nzanzu, the North Kivu governor, said local security forces had not been informed of the delegation’s presence in the area. Mr Nzanzu said Mr Attanasio was hit by bullets fired by the attackers during an exchange of fire between the rebels and Virunga park rangers supported by the DRC’s armed forces who were alerted to the attack. The DRC’s army said troops were searching the area in the Virunga National Park for the assailants. SOURCE
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QUESTION & ANSWER
What spy missions backfired?
Oh dear… Sit back kids, this gets good.
Meet Katrina Leung. One of the FBI’s most prized Chinese assets.
Ms. Leung was for years one of the most valued assets the U.S. had. She started off as the manager of an import-export company that was facilitating illicit technology transfers to the PRC in Los Angeles. She left this job just as the FBI was closing in on the company to shut it down.
FBI Special Agent James Smith opened an investigation into her, found that she was vulnerable, and eventually turned her as an asset for the FBI.
Katrina’s information proved to be invaluable. She was codenamed “Parlor Maid” and provided information on the PRC for 20 years. Much of her information was corroborated by multiple sources. She became one of the best sources on the PRC and traveled to and from China often, always coming back with good intel. Smith’s career was set, he had a high-performing asset, and was on-track for promotions and accolades for his work.
Special Agent Smith just happened to also be carrying on a 20-year extramarital affair with Katrina as well.
To add to his issues, Special Agent Smith also had a habit of talking about things that he shouldn’t have in front of Katrina. Smith would discuss ongoing operations she had no business knowing about, share files with her, and generally break every rule on handling assets.
Things started to go downhill in the early 90s. Katrina was noted on a recording talking to a known MSS operative regarding the FBI’s counterintelligence program. Telling Smith that the MSS had found out about her activities and she was giving them information to save herself.
The only problem was that this was a lie. Katrina had always been a double-agent, just for the Chinese, not the U.S.!
Somehow, miraculously, she remained an asset for 10 more years!
It all started to topple in 2001 when the FBI got warrants to look into her. They found an FBI telephone directory, information on an ongoing FBI counterintelligence operation at Lawrence Livermore Labs (Royal Tourist), and other classified materials in her home.
In 2002, they found that she had likely transmitted photos of FBI agents to Chinese intelligence, and copied a Top Secret document Smith had checked out overnight.
When Leung was arrested in 2003, she was already deemed one of the most damaging spies in FBI history. Some compared her to Hanssen (many consider him worse than Aldrich Ames).
The biggest fail?
Leung walked away free on espionage charges due to prosecutorial misconduct. She was eventually convicted on, of all things, tax evasion. She received a slap on the wrist.
The magnitude of all of these fails was impressive in scope.
Leung’s disclosures to MSS should have disqualified her immediately. Instead, she stayed on board for 10 more years.
SA Smith was never questioned about his handling of Leung. He was seen as “above reproach.” He routinely deflected and ignored threats to Leung.
Derogatory reporting on Leung was never followed up. Multiple times.
SA Smith knew about her disclosures and hid them because he was afraid of his relationship with her being exposed.
In 1992, the FBI had information on a PRC double agent named Katrina that was working with an FBI agent. An inexperienced analyst left out the identifying information. Smith sat in on the debrief of this source and deflected the informer as a misogynist and liar.
FBI managers were reluctant to confront Smith. Leading to the tail wagging the dog, as Smith insisted that Leung was the FBI’s best PRC asset.
FBI Management repeatedly toned-down language regarding Leung, and refused to compel her to take a polygraph or be subject to more rigorous vetting.
SA Smith treated Leung like a member of his squad, often providing her information she had no business knowing.
There’s more, but that gives you an idea of the cluster that this was.
The effects of this case are still echoing through the FBI today. What started off as a classic counterintelligence operation, with excellent results, turned into one of the biggest counterintelligence failures in U.S. history. SOURCE