| Wednesday, 23 May, 2018 | 13:40 GMT

Guatemala, Paraguay moves embassies to Jerusalem, Honduras next

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes

Israel remembers its friends, and has no better friend than Paraguay, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at the opening of the country’s embassy in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, attending his third embassy opening ceremony in the capital in a week, pledged that now is the time for Israeli-Paraguayan cooperation to “flow like water.”

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, who arrived in Israel Sunday evening, opened the embassy along with Netanyahu in the Malha Technological Park, in the same building where Guatemala opened its embassy in the capital last week. The US transferred its embassy to its consular section building in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood last Monday.

Netanyahu, who called Cartes “a great friend of Israel and a great personal friend of mine,” said that Cartes – who will be leaving office in August – has “done much” for Paraguay, and is now “doing something for both our countries.”

“This is a great day for Israel, a great day for Paraguay, and a great day for our friendship,” he said.

The prime minister recalled that Paraguay helped Jews escape Nazi Germany both before and during the Holocaust, and also took in refugees after the war.

“It was an act of benevolence and mercy that was forever engraved in our hearts,” he said.

Netanyahu also recalled that Paraguay supported the establishment of Israel during the partition vote in the UN in 1947. “Paraguay, before but especially under your leadership, took a very bold stance in international affairs and refused to cooperate with the lies directed against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Cartes said the embassy opening “expresses the sincere friendship and brave solidarity” between the two countries. He praised Israel for courageously defending its right to live in peace, and for “building a praiseworthy economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children.”

“I am not a lukewarm friend,” he said. “The unconcealed love and admiration I feel for this noble and courageous nation is based on values and principles that we share, such as democracy, freedom and the defense of human rights.”

The Palestinian Authority angrily denounced the move, with the PA Foreign Ministry issuing a statement calling it a blatant act of aggression against the Palestinian people and their rights, a scandalous violation of relevant UN resolutions and international law, and the result of American-Israeli dictates and enticement.

Cartes was the first Paraguayan leader to visit Israel, when he came here in 2016. A year later he traveled to Buenos Aires to meet Netanyahu, who was visiting Argentina on the first ever visit by a serving Israeli prime minister to Latin America.

Cartes, whose five-year term ends in August, was elected in 2013 with a campaign team that included a group of Israeli advisers, including Netanyahu’s former bureau chief Ari Harow.

| Wed. May 23, 2018 | 13:00 GMT 

"Don't play with Trump" - Mike Pence warns Kim Jong un

US Vice President Mike Pence

US Vice-President Mike Pence has warned North Korea's Kim Jong-un not to "play" President Donald Trump if they meet next month.

Mr Pence said in a Fox News interview that such a move would be a "great mistake" by the North Korean leader.

He also said there was "no question" that Mr Trump could walk away from the 12 June summit.

North Korea has threatened to pull out of the meeting after comments by US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The country reacted furiously when Mr Bolton suggested it would follow a "Libya model" of denuclearisation.

N Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit
North Korea crisis in 300 words
Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed with Western powers in 2003 to dismantle his programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. Eight years later he was killed at the hands of Western-backed rebels.

North Korea is also angry at current US-South Korea military drills and has halted talks with the South in response, South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet Mr Trump in Washington on Tuesday to discuss plans for the summit.

Only deal with US will save Kim - Trump
Could defectors affect North Korea talks?
Mr Pence said that Mr Trump would be willing to walk away from the planned Singapore meeting.

"I don't think President Trump is thinking about public relations, he's thinking about peace," the vice-president said.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the US president is asking aides and advisers whether he should continue to go forward with the summit.

US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae
Mr Trump will meet South Korea's Moon Jae-in, right, on Tuesday
Meanwhile, a group of journalists from the UK, US, Russia and China has flown in to North Korea from Beijing to cover the ceremony marking the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week.

The exact date and timing for the ceremony at the Punggye-Ri site has yet to be announced.

Presentational grey line
Journey to North Korea's nuclear heart

The Western, Russian and Chinese journalists are making their way to North Korea's remote Punggye-ri nuclear test site to witness its dismantling.

They have flown into the city of Wonsan. Tom Cheshire from the UK's Sky News says their onward journey will take in dirt roads and a two-hour hike to an observation area.

The site, in the country's mountainous north-east, is thought to be the North's main nuclear facility and the only active nuclear testing site in the world.

Testing has taken place in a system of tunnels dug below nearby Mount Mantap.

North Korea presented its offer to scrap the site as a concession during diplomatic rapprochement with South Korea and the US.

But scientists believe the site partially collapsed after the latest test last September and may be unusable.

Only media are attending the ceremony, not expert monitors, and the invitation to South Korean reporters was withdrawn amid the ongoing spat over the military drills.

(This article was originally published by BBC)

| Wednesday, 23 May, 2018 | 12:26 PM GMT

Shame on the Igbo race, their silence over the disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu is unbelievable

IPOB Leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu speaking to the press

It doesn’t matter from which perspective you’ve judged this matter. You might have joined the federal government of Nigeria to label a bold, innocent chap a terrorist for his demand for a better slate for the Ndi Igbo. He was arrested, refused bail against court injunctions, later released on unagreeable grounds, and finally kidnapped by the same government (perhaps killed like his dog and immediate followers.)

This young man proved more resourceful in all of Igbos post-civil war demand for fair inclusion in the Nigerian government. He had the highest followers and commanded the greatest respect from the Igbo youths more than Azikiwe, Chuba Okadigbo, Sam Mbakwe, Alex Ekwueme put together. Second only to Ojukwu. Nnamdi Kanu seemed to understand the language of the Nigerian government when it comes to the best way to draw its attention. For the few months he had the freedom to lead his followers, he achieved unprecedented results and made unimaginable impacts. Until his own brothers, betrayed him like Judas.

That the Nigerian government ever spoke of Restructuring was courtesy of Nnamdi Kanu. But the Igbos, particularly the subservient south east governors and the so-called Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo felt they would be pushed to the left side of history if they allowed ‘a nobody’ lead and achieve the long Igbo dream. Hence the treachery that led to Nnamdi Kanu’s disappearance or death; who knows?

And the saddest is the silence of his own brothers (the Igbos) towards it.

I can’t write to condemn the federal government whose efforts had been to crush Nnamdi Kanu from time but to damn the Igbo race for always proving to be the greatest threat to their own progress as a people.

Nnia Nwodo came out to say that Nnamdi Kanu’s approach was too rash and childish, and would achieve no results. Now, he goes about making most beautiful speeches to a bunch of ethnic bigots who commend him by sitting at the back, laughing and pressing their phones and mocking him, knowing that he is merely pouring libations on a dead rock. It would always end in the Yeas! and Nays! And the number is always theirs.

Nnia Nwodo erroneously believes that such beautiful speeches, laden with fine grammar would have any effect in a Nigerian system being driven by people who have no knowledge of even the simplest rules of grammar. Such a nightmare!

Only Nnamdi Kanu understood that the current Nigerian Structure would never guarantee Igbos their due entitlements in the Nigerian polity; with only one geopolitical zone out of 6, 5 States out of 36, 15 senatorial slots out of 109, and 43 seats out of 360 federal constituencies!

Tell me, what bill can the Igbo's sponsor and win independently in the current Nigerian setting?

Now IPOB remains a disbanded group of idlers, a ‘terrorist’ group, just like the government purposely baptized them to cripple them. Even when they never harmed anyone. No one speaks for the reversal of this hateful proclamation by the Buhari led government. Herdsmen are there, killing innocent people in hundreds. They’re not terrorists. Shites are there. They’re not terrorists. MEND is there. They’re not terrorists. Ijaw Youths Council is there. They’re not terrorists. Northern Youths Forum is there. They’re not terrorists.

Yet the said Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo led by Nnia Nwodo cannot even sustain the Restructuring which came up through Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB’S movement. Nobody hears the government or even the APC speak of Restructuring anymore. Of course, their threat had been eliminated; Nnamdi Kanu is no more. The remnants are barking dogs that would never bite. And to make the whole thing more laughable, I heard that Ohanaeze is organizing a conference on Restructuring. And one wonders, is it the Ohanaeze that they seek to restructure or what? Who would accent to their resolutions? Perhaps, it’s another plot to achieve their selfish goals, as they’ve been doing all along?

Here’s the conclusion of the matter: we Igbos must demand the release of Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government. He represents the new and most potent Igbo front to actualize and guarantee our stake and demand for fair share as one equal out of the three ethnic components of Nigeria. And if he is dead as every evidence points, then we will have to wait another century for another of his kind to be born. Forgetting Kanu means throwing a hundred years behind, our quest for self-determination as Ndi Igbo. Nnamdi Kanu must be found. He must not be forgotten like a dead chicken. At least, Igbos (his own brothers) should not.

Until then, the Ndi Igbo remains a defeated race, shamefully complicit in their own annihilation agenda.

I know it’s bitter, but swallow it”