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Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit

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Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit

Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit

Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday from southern Kazakhstan, just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West.

The remote Khayyam sensing satellite, named after the 11th Century Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam, was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and entered orbit successfully, Russia’s space agency said.

Iran’s space agency has received the first telemetry data sent from the satellite, the official IRNA news agency said.

Tehran has rejected claims the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying Iran will have full control and operation over it “from day one.”

The Washington Post reported last week that U.S. officials are concerned by the fledgling space cooperation between Russia and Iran, fearing the satellite will not only help Russia in Ukraine but also provide Iran “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor potential military targets in Israel and the wider middle east.

Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.

Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since Feb. 24, when the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, prompting the United States and its allies to impose the most severe sanctions in recent history.

In July, Putin visited Iran in his first international trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

While there, Khamenei told Putin that Tehran and Moscow needed to stay vigilant against “Western deception”. 

Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit

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UK Appoints New Country Director to Lead UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Relations

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UK Appoints New Country Director to Lead UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Relations

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom has appointed Mr. Mark Smithson the Country Director for the UK’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT) in Nigeria. He takes over from Chim Chalemera who recently concluded a three-year posting in that role.

Smithson is an experienced civil servant having undertaken a wide variety of roles both in the UK and overseas. In this new role, he will lead on the UK-Nigeria’s trade and investment relations to deliver an increased high value inward investment and greater exports into the UK and Nigeria as well as support market access and trade policy priorities.

To mark his arrival to Nigeria, Smithson said:“Nigeria is a country of huge importance to the UK and the world. Our historical, cultural, people to people and business ties are deep and ever growing.

“I am delighted to take up this new role as the DBT’s country director and I look forward to forging partnerships with the Nigerian government, the private sector and the UK supply chain and to seize the opportunities this great country and our unique partnership offer to deliver a more prosperous future to both our countries.”

Prior to Smithson’s arrival to Nigeria, he was based in London (2021-2024) where he led the DBT’s Capital Investment agenda first covering European and US large corporates and since September 2022 as His Majesties Government’s global account manager for large institutional investors from Southeast Asia with a focus on Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Smithson headed up the Consular Section at the British Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain, between 2007 and 2013. During his time in Spain, Mark dealt with many high-profile consular cases and sporting events.

In 2013 he transferred to the US to head up of Consular services covering Florida, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico from the British Consulate General in Miami where Mark oversaw an extensive outreach programme with US government agencies and dealt with several crisis including deployments as Rapid Deployment Team leader.

He transferred to Atlanta, USA in 2017, to lead on the UK’s Tech & creative Trade and Investment agenda covering the southeast of the USA before transferring to Bangkok in 2018 where he served till 2021 to lead the team in Thailand to drive forward an increase in exports and investment and lay the ground for the UK-Thailand Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).

Smithson is married to Patima who is Thai, and they have a three-year-old toddler.

UK Appoints New Country Director to Lead UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Relations

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Prepare for Rainy Days, Invest in UK Properties, Property Consultant Advises Nigerians

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Prepare for Rainy Days, Invest in UK Properties, Property Consultant Advises Nigerians

By: Michael Mike

Nigerians have been asked to considering investing in properties in the United Kingdom as another way of preparing for the rainy days.

Director, UK-based Property Consultancy Firm, Daniel Ford International, Yemi Edun said Nigerians owning a property in the UK is a brilliant investment and a perfect pension plan that can match inflation anytime.

Edun who spoke at the sidelines of UK Property Roadshow Holding in Abuja called on Nigerians to embrace the opportunities offered by the Berkeley Groups to own properties in the UK.

Edun said: “We won’t get involved in anything that will be untoward property-wise. So this is encouraging Nigerians to come buy homes in the UK. Yes. As an option.

“As an investment option. As a second home. As a mitigation for their currency that keeps crashing, you know.

“And you ask me who buys? We have people in inheritance money, divorce settlement, up-and-coming technology people, farmers, bankers, you know.

“They buy for a certain amount. In another 10 years that property has doubled or tripled, you know.

“It’s a good pension plan so that when you retire, you have income that can match inflation. Because imagine you buy a property and you are getting a rent of two million Naira. Two million Naira is a lot of money.”

Speaking on why London should be of particular interest, Edun said: “London is special. The age long connection is one of the reasons that people get to London and they don’t suffer a cultural shock.

“Most Nigerians can get to London and you won’t even notice he’s a foreigner. So English language, schools, medical, lifestyle, football, and it’s just six hours away.”

He said the Roadshow helps to remove some of the barriers as prospective buyers have the opportunity to meet with developers like Berkeley Groups.

He added that: “We have come with what I call the buffet of properties that we’ve hand-picked, you know, specially for them, negotiated good deals that they would otherwise not be able to get themselves.”

The Berkeley Groups is one of the leading property firms in the UK and they are quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

Prepare for Rainy Days, Invest in UK Properties, Property Consultant Advises Nigerians

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France denies secret deployment of troops in Benin against Niger

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France denies secret deployment of troops in Benin against Niger

By: Michael Mike

France has denied media reports that it has clandestinely deployed troops in Benin Republic as part of plans to counter the junta government in Niger Republic.

A Nigerian newspaper in an article entitled ‘French Military Transport Plane Drops Off French Soldiers in Benin Republic’, alleged that France took the measures following the expulsion of its troops from Niger Republic.

The report in itself is a follow-up to allegations by the military junta in Niamey that France has set up a military base in Benin to also enforce the continued border closures between the two neighbouring West African countries.

In response, the French Embassy in Nigeria described the report as baseless, unfounded and part of the growing disinformation aimed to sustain the growing anti-French sentiment.

The statement read: “The French Embassy wishes to inform the public that the aircraft mentioned in this article is not a French military aircraft, nor has it connections to France. Furthermore, Beninese and French authorities have denied the existence of French military bases or of plans to establish French military bases in Benin at multiple occasions in the last months, in the context of growing disinformation campaigns on that topic.

“In every country, French security and defense cooperation is based on a partnership of equals and full respect for sovereignty. Any action or programme is carried out with the full agreement of relevant authorities. We remain available to answer questions from journalists and hope Leadership will take these clarifications into consideration.”

Also speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior officer of the French Embassy, noted: “I don’t need to tell you that most of the information in this article is fake. We have no military bases in Benin. Our cooperation with Benin is not hidden but explained in detail on our Embassy website (https://bj.ambafrance.org/-Cooperation-de-defense-), so if we were trying to hide it, we would be doing a terrible job… As all French military cooperation, it is based on request from the partner country and done with the utmost respect for its sovereignty.

“And finally, of course, Niamey authorities have never demonstrated the ineffectiveness of military cooperation with France: cooperation was working very well before the July 2023 coup and giving good results. Accusing us of training terrorists, as the current Nigerien Prime Minister is doing, is so ridiculous. I can’t even understand why the media would report on that without disproving it.”

Earlier, the Beninoise government Spokesperson, Mr. Wilfried Houngbédji, refuted the alleged presence of French military operations which would justify the continued closure of Niger’s border with Benin.

He iinvited the junta leader, General Tiani as well as independent media from Niger to come and see on site the absence of such bases.

He said: “A military base is not a needle in a haystack after all! The Prime Minister can deploy the satellite resources he wants with his current military allies to check if we have a military base.”

Houngbédji also made the distinction between “Fortified Forward Points” and military bases, affirming that Benin has several military camps intended to ensure national security and fight against terrorism.

He stressed that these installations are known to everyone, and that others are planned to be built, particularly in border communities.

“Now, if he talks about our Fortified Forward Points, our small military camps that we have built to secure our country and fight against terrorism, that’s something else. We are making them and today we have around twenty of them and there are others planned to be made. There are some in our border communes in particular and the Head of State spoke about it about two years ago in a message on the state of the Nation; it’s known to everyone ,” clarified Houngbédji.

He noted that the Beninoise Government has invited General Tiani to send the independent media to verify their claims. “They should come and see if there is a base here ,” he challenged.

France denies secret deployment of troops in Benin against Niger

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