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BREAKING: Iran Apologises For ‘Mistakenly’ Shooting Down Ukrainian Plane



Iran has apologised its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 on board.

The statement on Saturday morning blames “human error” for the incident, adding that the military mistook Flight 752 for a “hostile target”.

Press TV also quoted Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces as saying that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military site”.

The military said it was at its “highest level of readiness” amid the heightened tensions with the United States.

“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said.

It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

In a statement posted on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”.

“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said, adding that “investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake”.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft.

But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

On Friday, Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation authority, said it was impossible due to close coordination between Iran’s air defence and the civil aviation department.

“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukraine International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq.

In a social media post, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to the disaster”.

“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims and to other affected nations.”

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, when it was shot down.

“This is the right step for the Iranian government to admit responsibility and it gives people a step toward closure with this admission,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada who lost a number of friends in the crash.

“I think the investigation would have disclosed it whether they admitted it or not. This will give them an opportunity to save face,” he told AP news agency.

(Al Jazeera)


Suspended EFCC Boss, Magu Probed Over 380 Houses, 7 Crude Oil-Laden Ships, ₦37bn Assets



The embattled Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was on Wednesday confronted with more allegations.

The Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel asked him to account for 380 houses and seven vessels loaded with crude oil.

The probe panel also grilled him on the disposal of assets worth N37 billion.

Magu is being grilled, following allegations raised against him by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN).

The panel started quizzing Magu on Monday after his arrest by detectives in Abuja. On Tuesday, he was grilled on cash discrepancies said to be N539 billion realised from the sale of seized assets and N504 billion declared by the commission.

Both issues are part of the over 20 allegations levelled against the anti-graft agency chairman by the AGF.

Vanguard also gathered, on Wednesday, that on the ground floor of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, Area 10, Abuja, where the EFCC boss is being held, his family members are allowed to visit him.

A Presidency source had said, on Tuesday, that the probe was an affirmation that nobody under the present administration was above scrutiny. The source had also explained that the interrogation of the anti-graft boss was being done to give him the opportunity to clear himself of the weighty allegations.

Vanguard gathered that Magu was brought to the venue at about 11:14am from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, building where he had been held since Monday. He was also joined by his lawyer at the panel for interrogation.



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JUST IN: Hushpuppi’s Lawyer, Pissetzky Says Instagram Star ‘Absolutely Not Guilty Of Fraud’



Gal Pissetzky of Pissetzky & Berliner, a top criminal defence attorney in Chicago hired by alleged Instagram scammer, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, who was arrested in Dubai, UAE last month for alleged Internet fraud has stated that his client is not guilty of the crimes he is being accused of.

In an interview with Forbes, Pissetzky said, Ramon Abbas, is “absolutely not guilty of the [the] charges they are accusing him of.”

The criminal defence attorney stated that “[Abbas] was running a legitimate business and a very legitimate Instagram account and did not take part in any scam or fraud.”

He further revealed that Hushpuppi is “an entrepreneur,” who is also “involved in real estate.” The lawyer in the interview also said, “[he’s] an Instagram personality.”

Revealing how Hushpuppi was making money, Pissetzky said “He [Hushpuppi] was promoting brands and that’s how he was very legitimately making his money.”

Court documents sighted by ORIENTAL TIMES, Wednesday, showed that Hushpuppi, retained the Senior Partner at Chicago law flrm Pissetzky & Berliner, Pissetzky, to help free him from the multi-million dollar fraud charges levelled against him by American authorities.

Pissetzky was called to the bar in 2002 and has practiced in Chicago since 2002. His firm’s website said he had been retained in high-profile cases and also widely recognised by major American media outlets as a legal consultant on serious criminal matters.

Hushpuppi who was ultimately handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 2, by Dubai Police, arrived in the US on July 3 and made an initial court appearance in Chicago.

Although American prosecutors said he would still be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks, he has decided to hire a top lawyer in Chicago to guide him through the process of transfer to Los Angeles.

The document likewise revealed that Pissetzky made the first appearance for Hushpuppi at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 6, documents showed.

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Ohanaeze Gives Nnamdi Kanu 7 Days To Withdraw Death Threat On Nwodo



Nnia Nwodo and Nnamdi Kanu

A face-off is brewing between the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, as the former has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Kanu to withdraw his alleged death threat on President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.

They said Kanu should be ready to face dire consequences if he failed to apologise to Nwodo, Ohanaeze youths and the entire Igbo nation for his unguarded utterances.

The IPOB leader had a fortnight ago, in one of his outings on social media, directed Igbo youths to stone the Ohanaeze leader to death anywhere they saw him.

The report, which went viral has dominated public discourse across towns and communities in Igbo land and beyond.

Irked by the development, Ohanaeze youths staged a solidarity march for Nwodo on some streets of Enugu metropolis Tuesday evening.

The march terminated at the Ohanaeze national secretariat, where they were received by the President of Ohanaeze, Enugu state chapter, Chief Alex Ogbonnia.

Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Enugu State, Wenceslaus Ogbonnia, who spoke on behalf of others said they embarked on the march to demonstrate that the IPOB leader was on his own and to tell the world that Igbo youths were firmly in support of the various steps their parent body of all Igbo socio-cultural associations globally, had taken so far in ensuring unity of Igbo people world over.

Such steps they said, had help in cementing peaceful relationship between the Igbo and their neighbours, host communities and other ethnic groups, most especially in Nigeria.

They described the utterances of Kanu against Nwodo as very unbecoming and his recent outburst urging Igbo youths to stone him [Nwodo] to death, as the highest point of insult on the Igbo leader, the youths and the entire Igbo race.

“We read Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s death threat in which he urged Igbo youths to stone Chief Nnia Nwodo, the Ohanaeze President General, wherever they see him on the social media. We followed it up and found out that it has been an issue of public discussion across Igbo land. Here today, the Igbo youths are saying no to Nnamdi Kanu’s proclamation. We have respect for our elders. We have respect for Chief Nnia Nwodo. He has achieved much for the Igbo nation, in his capacity as the current President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide,’’ they stated.

They also applauded the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for adopting and canvassing for ‘restructuring’ as a panacea to the nation’s socio-political and economic problems.

According to them, restructuring was similar to the ‘self-determination’ pursuit of an independent state of Biafra.

The youths commended Nwodo’s approach in tackling the various socio-political challenges confronting the Igbo, stating that they cannot no longer be at ease Kanu’s style of intimidating and threatening Igbo leaders, to gain cheap popularity.

Addressing the crowd when he eventually drove into the Ohanaeze secretariat, Nwodo disclosed that there were other threats and propaganda aimed at maligning him but that as a father of the Igbo Nation, he simply has refused to join issues with his sons.

He said he still sticks to his inaugural statement to defend the cause of all Igbo pressure groups with genuine cause, when it matters and thanked Ohanaeze youths for their peaceful solidarity march.

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