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Kosovo Declares Nobel Laureate Handke ‘Persona Non Grata’

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Kosovo declared Peter Handke a ‘persona non grata’ on Wednesday in the latest protest against his induction as a Nobel literature laureate, barring the Austrian writer from a place he has visited numerous times.

The Swedish Academy’s pick for the 2019 prize has reopened old wounds in the Balkans, where many see Handke as an apologist for Serb atrocities during Yugoslavia’s bloody collapse.

One Nobel committee member resigned over the choice, while Tuesday’s award ceremony was boycotted by representatives of the embassies of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Turkey.

“Today I have decided to declare Peter Handke as not welcome in Kosovo. He is a non-grata person… Denying crimes and supporting criminals is a terrible crime,” Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli wrote on Facebook.

The writer is not popular among Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-majority, who fought Belgrade for independence in a 1998-99 war that claimed 13,000 lives.

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But he was a frequent guest in the tiny Serb enclave of Velika Hoca, one of several small ethnic Serb communities scattered around the former Serbian province.

Handke has visited Velika Hoca at least five times and donated nearly 100,000 euros ($110,000) to the community of 500 people, whose village is nestled among the rolling hills of southern Kosovo.

“Even if there are big problems, I think life has a good rhythm here”, the writer said during a 2014 visit.

“I can be alone here. I can hide. I can walk very hidden behind the hills,” he added.

Handke’s elevation to Nobel laureate has also been painful for many Bosnian Muslims, as he is accused of questioning the genocide in Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serbs slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

On Wednesday he was formally barred from Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo, where the regional government said his appearance would “provoke the anger and humiliation” of war victims.

Yet he is still welcome to visit the Serb-run zone that spans nearly half of Bosnia’s territory — a legacy of the war that left the country carved up along ethnic lines.

On Tuesday Handke told RTRS, the public broadcaster in Bosnia’s Serb-run region that he would like to visit “in the spring”.

Handke has defended his work and denied any allegiance to the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Critics say Handke made his loyalties clear by speaking at the funeral of Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Handke’s 1997 book “A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia” was also accused of minimising Serb war crimes.

But among Serb fans, Handke is still celebrated for taking note of their suffering during the conflicts and challenging the narrative that Serbs were the sole aggressors in the wars.

In Belgrade, one politician suggested creating a human rights prize in Handke’s name on Wednesday.

Handke was one of “very few who searched for the truth during the 1990s,” said MP Mirjana Dragas, describing the author as a “brave, but above all great, novelist”.

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Tech

BREAKING: Google Is Now A $1 Trillion Company

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Google has recorded a milestone achievement of $1 trillion, joining the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.

The search engine company was able to achieve the feat on Thursday, after its parent company, Alphabet ended the day’s trading at $1,451.70 per share, up 0.87 percent.

With Thursday’s achievement, Google became the fourth S&P 500 component to top the lofty level. Business Insider reported that while Apple and Microsoft are still valued at more than $1 trillion, Amazon which was the second US firm to ever hit the $1 trillion level back in September 2018 has since fallen below the number.

This is the first time that three American companies are worth at least $1 trillion at the same time. The most valuable company on the planet is still the oil giant Saudi Aramco, who went public last month at a valuation of $2 trillion and is currently worth around $1.8 trillion.

Alphabet’s record market valuation came after a historic change in leadership at the company. Recall that Sundar Pichai became the CEO of both Google and Alphabet after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced that they would step back from the company which they founded in 1998.

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Entertainment

Actress Rita Dominic Reacts To Ihedioha’s Removal, Says ‘A Zoo Is Better Than Nigeria’

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Veteran movie goddess Rita Dominic has fumed over the recent sack of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha as Imo State Governor by the Supreme Court.

The light-skinned screen diva who hails from Imo was apparently shocked by the ruling of the apex court.

Recall that the Supreme Court Tuesday, January 14th annulled the March 9th 2019 election of Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo state.

In a lead judgement read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court ruled that records before it proved that election results from 388 polling units during the election, were unlawfully excluded from the overall collated results that declared Ihedioha winner of the state governorship election.

It noted that results from the cancelled polling units amounted to 213, 295 votes, adding that Ihedioha was returned elected, based on wrong computation of results.

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According to the apex court, the tribunal and the appellate court failed to properly award justice to Uzodinma when he petitioned them because they misinterpreted his petition.

Reacting apparently on the Supreme Court’s ruling, on micro-blogging site, Twitter on Tuesday, Rita Dominic expressed her disappointment, stressing that a zoo is better than Nigeria.

She wrote:

“Oh my goodness! A zoo is better than here to be honest.”

The actress however deleted the tweet almost immediately. A visit to the link shows that it is no longer available on her timeline which means she deleted it.

Meanwhile, senator Hope Uzodinma has since been sworn in as the governor of Imo State.

The governor-elect and his deputy, Professor Placid Njoku, were sworn in on Wednesday, January 15th, by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Paschal Nnadi.

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News

UPDATED: Uzodinma Sworn In As Imo Governor

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Senator Hope Uzodinma has been sworn in as the governor of Imo State.

The governor-elect and his deputy, Professor Placid Njoku, were sworn in by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Pascal Nnadi.

The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Imo State Government House, hours after Senator Uzodinma received his certificate of return from INEC in Abuja and one day after the Supreme Court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha and declared him the elected governor of the state.

The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of the State, Senator Rochas Okorocha and governorship candidate of APGA in the 2019 governorship election, Ifeanyi Ararume were among those in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony.

Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, who had predicted that Senator Uzodinma will emerge as governor of the state, was among those who were present at the event.

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The priest had drawn a large crowd upon his arrival as many swarmed his car praising him for his prediction.

Several APC chieftains, including APC National Vice Chairman, Emma Eneukwu, APC National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro, the Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly Chiji, as well as Ahmed Gulak and Andy Uba, were also in attendance.

Earlier, Senator Hope Uzodinma had said that he owes his gubernatorial victory at the Supreme Court to a functional judiciary.

Speaking after he received the Certificate of Return from the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) as the governor-elect of Imo State, Sen Uzodinma stated that the Supreme Court’s judgment is justice for the Imo People.

“We owe this victory to the almighty God, we owe it to the functional judiciary, the Supreme Court used the eagle eyes of the law and gave us justice, and there is so much excitement down there in Imo state,” Uzodinma said.

Senator Uzodinma told newsmen that the verdict was the wish of the Imo people who came out and voted for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and himself.

Mr. Uzodinma also noted that there is happiness in Imo State, adding that this is a sign that the peoples’expectations and the mandate which they have given him, was protected.

The governor-elect promised to deliver for the Imo people, stating that he owes them that much.

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