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Musings From Abroad

Alert from heaven: Britain discovers $23 million ‘stolen fund’ by ex-Nigerian leader, Abacha

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Another round of loot by ex-Nigerian Military Head of State, Sani Abacha has been recovered. Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) says it has recovered more than $23 million stolen from Nigeria by the country’s late military dictator.

Sani Abacha was a Nigerian general who ruled as the military head of state of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998 having seized power on 17 November 1993 in the last successful coup d’etat in the military history of Nigeria.

Transparency International alleged that Abacha stole between US$3 and $5 billion in public money during his time as Nigeria’s ruler.

In May 2020, Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, in a statement said approximately $311,797,866.11 of the Abacha loot was repatriated from the US and Jersey.

The recovered fund forms part of a larger pool of funds identified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as having been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates, the NCA said in a statement.

Asset Denial Senior Manager at the NCA, Billy Beattie, said “the NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and the civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight,”

The $23 million were recovered after seven years of litigation and international negotiation pursued by the NCA, at the request of the DOJ, the statement said. The funds will be transferred to the DOJ.

An NCA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a query about whether the funds would ultimately return to Nigeria. In the past, countries including the United States and Switzerland have repatriated Abacha loot there.

Musings From Abroad

US Supreme Court abolishes abortion right after almost 50-year precedence

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The US Supreme Court on Friday reversed a nearly half century old constitutional right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito who wrote for the Majority argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which had favoured abortion right “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

The ruling comes after leaked draft of Roe vs Wade ruling which guaranteed abortion rights across the country has caused outrage last month.

The Roe vs Wade, ruling was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Although the supreme court declined comment at the time of the leak in May, the Friday ruling perhaps confirmed the fears of many.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, in a series of tweets while reacting to the leak stressed that “an extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has drawn reactions from top politicians in the US. One of such is veteran congressman and Democrat, Benie Sanders who tweeted that “overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want. Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe.”

American singer, Taylor Swift, also reacted against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.” The singer said on twitter.

Also reacting to the ruling is US former president, Barrack Obama, who said “today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

Meanwhile, there have also been reactions in support of the abolishing of the nearly 50 years of precedent, notably Americans with ideological sentiment with Republicans.

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Musings From Abroad

Elon Musk’s transgender child sever ties with father, seeks name change

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The 18-year-old transgender daughter of billionaire owner of electric car manufacturing company, Tesla, Elon Musk, has severed ties with her rich father and has filed a request to change her name in accordance with her new gender identity.

The petition for both a name change and a new birth certificate reflecting her new gender identity was filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica in April.

Christened Xavier Alexander Musk at birth, the billionaire’s child who recently turned 18 which is the age of consent in California, has asked the court to legal authority to change her gender recognition from male to female and to register her new name.

While filing the petition, Xavier said he took the decision because “I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.”

Xavier’s name, according to media reports, was redacted in documents to reflect his mother’s name which is Justine Wilson, who divorced Musk in 2008.

However, there was no further explanation of the rift between Musk’s daughter and her father, as lawyers for both parties refused to make further comments.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been a vocal opponent of sex change and had spoken about the practice in the past.

In 2020, Musk weighed in on the issue of transgender people choosing their preferred pronouns in a tweet by saying, “I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic (sic) nightmare.”

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