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Edward Snowden: “My Actions Are Not Meant to Harm the US”

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Contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden made his first public appearance Friday since last month’s National Security Agency leaks.

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Flanked by Human Rights Watch researcher Tanya Lokshina on one side and WikiLeaks’ Sarah Harrison on the other at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Snowden said he was applying for political asylum in Russia. He reportedly said, “I am only in a position to accept Russia’s offer because of my inability to travel.”

No video cameras were allowed in the airport meeting, but The New York Times’ Ellen Barry was in touch with Lokshina, who relayed Snowden’s words.

Russia has avoided taking a stance on Snowden’s asylum request, with President Vladimir Putin saying early in July, “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition — he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.”

Snowden responded to Putin’s condition Friday, saying, “No actions I take or plan are meant to harm the US. … I want the US to succeed,” according to Lokshina.

Lokshina said Snowden plans to submit an asylum request once again to Russia, though he plans to travel to Latin America eventually. He also thanked Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador for their offers of asylum.

Snowden petitioned rights groups and the rights workers present at the meeting to plead his case, according to Lokshina.

Several Russian rights workers had confirmed they would attend the Friday meeting requested by Snowden in response to an “unlawful campaign” against him by the United States government.

Sergei Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International’s Moscow office, and Vladimir Lukin, the Kremlin-appointed human rights ombudsman, are among those who confirmed to Russian news agencies that they would accept the invitation to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, reportedly sent Thursday from an email address supposedly belonging to Snowden.

The note, which could not be verified, requested the attendance of a slew of well-known rights workers and lawyers “for a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward in my situation,” according to a copy of the invitation posted by Human Rights Watch researcher Tanya Lokshina.

It was sent from the email address “edsnowden@lavabit.com,” according to Lokshina’s post, and signed “Edward Joseph Snowden.”

Airport officials confirmed to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that the meeting would indeed take place.

The whistleblower applied for asylum in more than 20 countries, though after a series of rejections only Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia still appear open to hosting the whistleblower.

But it remains unclear how he would be able to leave the airport, where he is believed to have been hiding since his arrival in Russia on June 23.

US authorities revoked his passport as Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow.

“Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the US Government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the note said.

Respected Russian lawyer Genri Reznik speculated that Snowden, should the meeting prove to be genuine, may ask to remain in Russia, news agency Interfax reported before the meeting took place.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax that no representatives of the Russian government were invited, and that the Kremlin has nothing to do with Snowden.

Source: raw story

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COVID-19 vaccine: US embassy celebrates Nigerian doctor Ogbuagu

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The United States Mission to Nigeria has celebrated Dr Onyema Ogbuagu, for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ogbuagbu, who graduated from the University of Calabar in 2003, migrated to the US and rose to become an Associate Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist at Yale University.

He was part of the team that helped pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a Facebook message on Monday, the US mission wrote, “Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr Onyema Ogbuagu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Ogbuagu is the son of a former Vice-Chancellor of Abia State University, Prof Stella Ogbuagu. He also has a twin brother who is an engineer.

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Elon Musk surpasses Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person as Tesla’s market cap inches closer to $500 billion

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After beating Mark Zuckerberg in world rich list ranking — the billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now leapfrogged Bill Gates to grab the world’s second-richest ranking.

Musk’s net worth rose more than $7.2 billion on November 23, driven by another surge in the Tesla share price, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. The current net worth of Elon Musk stands at $127.9 billion.

This comes as one of the biggest gains in the ranking of the world’s 500 richest people — Musk has added over $100.3 billion to his net worth this year.

Elon Musk surpasses Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person as Tesla’s market cap inches closer to $500 billion

In January 2020, he ranked 35th, but the soaring Tesla share price has driven his ranking to surpass other billionaires in the world.

The jump in Musk’s fortune came as the shares of the electric car-maker Tesla soared as the electric car makers market cap neared $500 billion on Monday.

Gates would have been on the top, had it not been for his philanthropy.

~BusinessInsider~

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#EndSARS Protest: Those who have murdered Nigerians will not benefit from trade or travel to the UK – Lyn Brown

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British politician serving as Member of Parliament, Lyn Brown has called for sanctions against those involved in the shooting incident during the EndSARS protest in Lekki on October 20.

Speaking during a debate in the house on Monday November 23, Lyn stated that the least they can do is to make sure that those who have “murdered” Nigerians and deprived them of their human rights are not able to benefit from trade or travel to the UK.

She added that these include government officials and the Nigerian army who are stopping a “transparent investigation and effecting of justice.”

The lawmaker also averred that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government went ahead to not only accuse protesters of sponsoring terrorism and freeze their accounts, but also blamed them for the increase in food prices.

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