Interactive Maps are helpful to make travel plans, explore routes, and itineraries by hovering over the map and clicking on markets in this map. Here are the step to add a Travel map to WordPress website
First of all, go to Google My Maps and click “create new map” button.
On Edit Map page, choose base map to create maps by adding layers, points of interest, etc. You can also draw lines on map, use rulers, add routes, and choose items. It will save all the map items created by you in layers. You can rename, add, edit or delete layers.
Click on any item to change title, add description, or add videos/photos. Once done, make it public to use on your website.
Click on share button. Under the section “Who has access”, click on “Change”.
Select “On – Public on the web” and click Save. Close the sharing center by clicking on “Done”.
Click on menu icon along with map name on edit panel, choose “Embed on my site”. Now, you will see embed code which can be copied.
Now, go to page or post where you can add Interactive Map. Switch to text editor and paste embed code on post edit screen. Save changes and preview to see it in action.
A Cameroonian student in China is the first confirmed African to test positive to the Novel Coronavirus.
Yangtze University, the institution where he studies, confirmed in a statement that the “21-year-old was being treated in a hospital in southern Jingzhou city, China.”
The statement read that the student, identified as Pavel Daryl, contracted the disease while visiting the city of Wuhan, China – the centre of the outbreak, where there are more than 20,000 confirmed cases and 425 reported deaths.
Today, according to CNN, there are more than 24,500 people across 25 countries infected, with a death toll of 492.
After his visit to Wuhan, he returned to Jinzhou where his place of residence is, in January. He began to show symptoms of the virus and was then admitted.
The student has been provided “psychological comfort” by the university, who has also updated his family on the situation.
“At present, the student is actively cooperating with the treatment in the hospital. His body temperature has been normal for two consecutive days. He has a good spirit and a healthy appetite and his vital organs are stable,” the statement further read.
According to The Guardian, more than 80,00 African students are in China, hundreds of those students have been caught in the lockdown of Wuhan city.
Many of these students are calling out for an evacuation from the city as they lack key supplies such as water, food and surgical masks.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, in a media briefing that was held on Monday in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, said that sixty Nigerians are trapped in Wuhan.
Nigerians in China, have repeatedly called out to the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to evacuate them, a request which they said has fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Gurjiya was sworn in as a lawmaker on Tuesday during the plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Abdulazeez Garba-Gafasa, following his victory during the recent rerun elections in the state.
According to him, the decision to remove the majority leader followed the agreement of 23 of the 28 APC lawmakers in the 40-member parliament.
The impeachment motion was seconded by another APC member representing Bagwai/Shanono, Ali Shanono.
Following the adoption of the motion, the legislators unanimously adopted the motion and called on the majority leader to step aside.
After the removal of the majority leader, an APC lawmaker representing Sumaila Constituency, Hamza Masu, nominated the deputy majority leader as the majority leader.
The nomination was seconded by some of the members and adopted by the assembly.
The lawmakers did not mention any specific reason for their actions. However, during the last sitting, the former majority leader had a confrontation with his colleagues, where he vehemently opposed the nomination of a local government education secretary supported by other lawmakers.
The lawmakers later went into a closed-door session to discuss the Kano State Education Development Support (Establishment) law as moved by the new majority leader, Mr Hassan-Dashi, and seconded by Mr Shanono.
146 – bce Punic Wars ended. The Third Punic War, the last of three between Rome and Carthage, came to an end this day in 146 , culminating in the final destruction of Carthage, the enslavement of its people, and Roman hegemony over the Mediterranean.
Justice Oyejide Falola of the Osun State judiciary has reacted to a petition filed against him at the National Judicial Commission (NJC), a body saddled with protecting the image and integrity of the judiciary in Nigeria.
Mr Falola’s reaction is contained in his formal response to a query issued him by the NJC over allegations of judicial misconduct, conspiracy and involvement in a fraudulent scheme levelled against him by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olanrewaju Ogunlesi. PREMIUM TIMES exclusively obtained the document in Abuja on Monday.
In the response, the judge claimed the senior lawyer and those who petitioned the NJC were working to destroy his career for no just cause.
A financial institution — Polaris Bank — which is a defendant in a matter decided by the judge, had petitioned the NJC, accusing Mr Falola of acting against the rules governing judicial practice in the country. The bank also alleged that the judge shared from the proceeds of his order.
The financial institution urged the NJC to investigate the allegations of misconduct against the judge, saying taking appropriate sanction against him would serve as deterrence to others.
How it all started
In an earlier report by this newspaper, a counter-affidavit deposed to by the bank’s counsel, Mr Ogunlesi, alleged that the judge, Mr Falola, “gave judgement over the Polaris Bank case based on precedent that did not exist, conspired with some lawyers and other court officials to execute a garnishee order without appropriate recourse to the law, and allegedly shared over N16 million carted away from Polaris bank’s branches in Osun state with others.”
The counsel said as soon as he established the fact that the judgement was fraudulent, he contacted Mr Falola through another lawyer, Lukman Ogunsetan.
The controversy that led to the allegations against Justice Falola began when the trio of Quadri Lateef, Hamzat Oladimeji and Rafiu Oladimeji, allegedly obtained an injunction at the Kwara State High Court, Ilorin, mandating a certain Gabriel Omeka to pay them the sum of N283, 174, 000 over an alleged business deal involving a company, AMD Global Concept Investment.
The Kwara State judgement was purportedly delivered by Justice Afolayan of the Kwara State High Court on December 4, 2015.
But the bank said the balance of $1,199,968.50 claimed to be in Mr Omeka’s account was a product of wire fraud. Polaris said the customer fraudulently inflated his balance when the bank reportedly experienced system breach between December 2 and 3, 2018. The bank claimed that the authentic balance in the account was $23.50.
A report by the Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Ibrahim Zango supported the bank’s claim. The Police further confirmed the arrest of some accounts holders of the bank, authenticating the system failure and the corrupt practices that arose.
However, Mr. Falola ruled based on Mr Omeka’s submission that the balance in his account was genuine, arguing that the customer provided evidence of the transfer of the funds.
On July 19 last year, Justice Falola’s order was executed at two Polaris Bank branches in Osogbo.
In executing the order, the bank claimed that in addition to movable items taken away, its property was vandalized while cash (later estimated as N16,445,720) was also carted away.
In a sworn counter-affidavit, Mr Ogunlesi said he conducted a search and affirmed that “there was no judgement of the Kwara State High Court which the Hon. Justice Falola acted upon.”
The SAN said he confronted Mr Falola with his findings.
Mr Ogunlesi said after their discussion in his office, Mr Falola undertook to “personally return the money.”
Justice Falola denies allegations
But in his reaction to the petition, Mr Falola denied the allegations levelled against him, saying; “Throughout the proceedings, the issue of bias, fraud or such other forms of malfeasance were never raised before me. All of us mentioned in that paragraph, together with Lukman Ogunsetan and the Registrar of the High Court of Justice, Ikirun and all the bailiffs that took part in the execution of my ruling have been invited by the Osogbo office of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).”
He said Mr. Ogunsetan told ICPC that he (Falola) did not prostrate for Mr Ogunlesi, “and that I did not admit sharing any money. That I only told Lanre Ogunlesi SAN in his presence that counsel to the first garnishee signed for the money.”
The judge said Mr Ogunsetan’s position was further confirmed by the counsel to the applicant in the matter, Omoyeni Odusola, who he noted also told ICPC that he collected the total amount from the bailiff and signed for it.
“That he had also written a reply to a letter from Osun State Judiciary that the money is with his client intact; that they are on appeal, and that, indeed, his client, apart from the appeal, has instituted fresh action against Polaris Bank,” the judge added.
Mr Falola also said another lawyer, J.P. Jones also informed the ICPC that he did not share any money with me and that he stood by the content of his rejoinder to Mr Ogunlesi’s media publications.
He added; “Odusola said he has written Petitions to Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee (LPPC) and Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) against Lanre Ogunlesi SAN, for lying on oath, misleading the vacation Judge and for deposing to counter affidavit personally, in a case he is a counsel, and uploading to the press a life issue (Motion pending before the court).
“And that Mr. Ogunsetan whom Mr Ogunlesi used to reach him, has sent several WhatsApp messages to him, “to confess and apologise, saying he was used to set me up. That the content of the counter-affidavit deposed to by Mr Ogunlesi, which invariably is the bedrock of this petition is full of lies and extraneous factors that have nothing to do with the Garnishee proceedings.
“I am a judge with honour. I am hardworking and I guide my integrity jealously. Lanre Ogunlesi SAN, on behalf of Polaris Bank, boasted that he had ended the career of many judicial officers. I urge my lordship (chief justice of Nigeria) to stop him this time around.”
During his State of the Union address this evening, President Donald Trump called on Congress to ban late-term abortions ending the lives of thousands of unborn babies every single year.
“I am also calling upon numbers of Congress tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies,” the president said. “Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God.”
Thousands of late-term unborn babies still are legally aborted in the U.S. each year. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group considered to have the most comprehensive abortion numbers, reported an estimated 926,200 abortions in 2014. Just 1 percent of that total means more than 9,000 potentially viable late-term unborn babies were aborted that year.
The truth is that many late-term abortions are elective.
Diana Greene Foster, a well-known pro-abortion researcher at the University of California San Francisco, wrote in 2013: “… data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment. Indeed, we know very little about women who seek later abortions.”
Ron Fitzsimmons, the former executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, made a startling admission about late-term abortions as well in 1997. He told the New York Times that he had lied to U.S. Congress when he said late-term abortions are rare. Fitzsimmons said late-term abortions are more common than abortion activists admit, and many are on healthy mothers carrying healthy unborn babies.
And late-term abortionist Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion procedure, said in a 1993 interview with American Medical News: “I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range…. In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective.”
Meanwhile, a new survey of abortion facilities in the U.S. has revealed a new, disturbing industry-wide trend that shows that overall in 2019, surgical abortion facilities have expanded into the late-term abortion market, where lucrative multi-day procedures can reap quick profits. Currently, there are 143 surgical abortion facilities that will conduct abortions at 20 weeks or more.
Over the past ten years, the number of abortion facilities that are willing to openly conduct abortions into the third trimester of pregnancy starting at 28 weeks changed little – until 2019 when the number jumped from six to eight.
The union also explained the levels of implementation of the minimum wage by the states.
It’s call follows the recent move by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review salaries of political office holders with “current realities” in the country.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, said this during a press briefing held in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said political office holders in Nigeria are being overpaid, and ”the salaries of our political elite are much higher than any other in the world.”
“I was thinking that wage review should be upward or downwards, but in the case of our political elites, it should be downwards,” he said.
He said that in other climes like South Africa, “the margin between the minimum wage and what politician earns can be determined because there are imperial data to arrive at the differential.”
“In our own case, what is the differential?” He said
Minimum wage implementation
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law on April 18. But its implementation had been stalled over salary adjustments and disagreement between the labour unions and government representatives.
Speaking on the status of minimum wage and consequential adjustment, negotiation in states, Mr Wabba said there are at least eight categories which each state falls under on the implementation of minimum wage and consequential salaries adjustment.
In the first category, Mr Wabba said there are 16 states “that have agreed and signed” like Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo.
In the second category, he said three states “have reached an agreement but have not signed”. They are: Cross River, Enugu and Sokoto.
The third category, he said there are 17 states “where negotiation is ongoing”. They are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe, and Zamfara.
The fourth category, he said, includes states “that have commenced implementation”. They are Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Sokoto, and Yobe.
The union said that, in the fifth category, “Taraba has not started anything, a committee has not been inaugurated, the process of dialogue has not commenced.”
The union appealed to the Taraba State Government to quickly respect the provision of the minimum wage act.
In the sixth category, Mr Wabba said in the three states, “implementation has commenced for level 1-6”. These are, Adamawa, Bauchi and Niger.
The seventh category includes states “that have negotiated but yet to implement and these include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Bayelsa.
“Finally, there are states where no implementation has commenced like Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba and Zamfara.”
Mr Wabba said the minimum wage act is already a law, and that “every political office holder must respect the sanctity of our constitution and also the sanctity of oat of office they’ve sworn to uphold”.
“If a worker is entitled to be paid his wages, the wages must be commensurate to what has been negotiated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the labour union also appealed to the president to address the issue of national security as a matter of emergency.
When asked whether the service chiefs should be sacked or remain in office, Mr Wabba said, “I don’t want to be in the politics of whether they should go or not.
“What we demand is that the issue must be addressed, if in the process they needed to go, that is the decision that the president and commander in chief need to take but what we want is efficiency, we want the issue to be brought to an end,” Mr Wabba said
“What we found [in prisons] was so shockingly bad that I had to agree to the language in the original report being toned down. With hindsight, I’m not sure that was the right decision.” — Ian Acheson, British expert on prisons.
“There were serious deficiencies in almost every aspect of the management of terrorist offenders… Frontline prison staff were vulnerable to attack and were ill-equipped to counter hateful extremism on prison landings for fear of being accused of racism. Prison imams did not possess the tools, and sometimes the will, to combat Islamist ideology. The prison service’s intelligence-gathering system was hopelessly fractured and ineffectual.” — Ian Acheson, “London Bridge attack: I told ministers we were treating terrorist prisoners with jaw-dropping naivety. Did they listen?”, London Times, December 1, 2019.
“Obedience is achieved by violence and intimidation carried out by members of the group known as enforcers. ‘Those who had committed terrorist crimes often held more senior roles in the gang,’ the study found, ‘facilitated by the respect some younger prisoners gave them.’ The study found that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida did not see prison as an obstacle. Quite the opposite, they viewed it as an opportunity to organize and expand.” — Patrick Dunleavy, former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections, June 18, 2019.
Usman Khan’s deadly terror attack in London on November 29, 2019 is evidence that the existing schemes for deradicalization and rehabilitation of convicted terrorists are inherently unstable and, in a certain percentage of cases, likely to fail. Pictured: Belmarsh Prison, in London, from where Usman Khan was released to continue his terrorist activities. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)
On Friday November 29, 2019, an Islamist terror attack took place in London. Two young people, both recent Cambridge University graduates, Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23), were stabbed and killed by a single attacker. It was a terrible and unnecessary loss of life.
The special irony about Jack and Saskia’s deaths is that they (and a colleague) had been involved with Cambridge University’s Learning Together prison-rehabilitation program, similar to the US version known as Inside-Out, both of which bring prison inmates together with students to learn together. The British programme is run by Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology, from which both Merritt and Jones had received M.Phils in criminology.
On that Friday, the fifth anniversary of the program, they were attending a conference on offender rehabilitation. The event, dedicated to work on reintegrating prisoners after their release, took place in the stately Fishmongers’ Hall at the north end of London Bridge. It was attended by a mix of academics, students, graduates and former prisoners, some with tags.
Just after lunch, at 12.58 p.m., the conference erupted into chaos when one of the participants threatened to blow it up. A man, later identified as Usman Khan, revealed that he was wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest. It is not clear what he planned to do, given that the vest was a fake and could not have served in any attack. However, he did have two knives taped to his wrists. When he left the Hall and went down to the bridge, it was indeed with these weapons that he killed Merritt and Jones and injured several others, some badly.
That Khan was there at all almost beggars belief. He was out on licence from prison, where he had served just half of a 16-year prison sentence for engaging with others in plans for what could have led to a major terrorist atrocity. He was at the conference because it was believed he was working towards his own deradicalization. Quite obviously, he had not been deradicalized.
Nine years earlier, when he was 19, Khan had been a leading member of a terrorist outfit inspired by al-Qa’ida. The members were arrested and put on trial in 2012, when Khan and two others were handed undetermined sentences; Khan was classified as never to be released. They had never carried out an attack, but they had ambitious plans, distributing letter bombs in the post, and setting off pipe bombs in toilets and pubs. There was also a handwritten target list belonging to the group which listed the names and addresses of the then London mayor, Boris Johnson, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, two rabbis, the US embassy in London and the stock exchange.
There were nine accused in all, but Khan and two others were described by the judge who sentenced them, Justice Alan Wilkie, to have been “more serious jihadis than the others.” Wilkie had also warned that Khan should not be released from prison early:
In my judgment, these offenders would remain, even after a lengthy term of imprisonment, of such a significant risk that the public could not be adequately protected by their being managed on licence in the community, subject to conditions, by reference to a preordained release date.
That warning was not heeded when it came to a reconsideration of Khan’s situation.
During his time in prison, Khan completed a course for people convicted of extremism offences and after his release went on a scheme to address the root causes of terrorism.
The first course Khan went on, the Healthy Identity Intervention Programme, was piloted from 2010 and is now the main rehabilitation scheme for prisoners convicted of offences linked to extremism.
There was, however, a flaw in these schemes: they had not been fully tested or evaluated. The BBC’s home affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw, remarked:
Last year, the Ministry of Justice published the findings of research into the pilot project which found it was “viewed positively” by a sample of those who attended and ran the course.
However, the department has not completed any work to test whether the scheme prevents reoffending or successfully tackles extremist behaviour.
There has also been no evaluation of the impact of the Desistance and Disengagement Programme, which Khan took part in after his release last year.
It need hardly be said that Khan’s attack is evidence that such schemes are inherently unstable and, in a certain percentage of cases, likely to fail.
Actually, the failure rate had already been predicted by Ian Acheson, a British expert on prisons who is currently a senior advisor to the US-based Counter Extremism Project. In 2015, Britain’s Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, appointed Acheson, aided by a small expert team, to conduct an independent review of Islamist extremism in the prisons and probation system in England and Wales. A summary of the main findings of Acheson’s final report has been made available online by the UK government.
On December 1, however, Acheson himself wrote an article for the London Times entitled “London Bridge attack: I told ministers we were treating terrorist prisoners with jaw-dropping naivety. Did they listen?”
In it, he revealed that his survey was originally opposed by the CEO of Britain’s Prison and Probation Service, who had to be overruled by Gove. He goes on to write that “What we found was so shockingly bad that I had to agree to the language in the original report being toned down. With hindsight, I’m not sure that was the right decision.” He continues with a deeply worrying account of what he and his team found:
There were serious deficiencies in almost every aspect of the management of terrorist offenders through the system that are relevant to Usman Khan. Frontline prison staff were vulnerable to attack and were ill-equipped to counter hateful extremism on prison landings for fear of being accused of racism. Prison imams did not possess the tools, and sometimes the will, to combat Islamist ideology. The prison service’s intelligence-gathering system was hopelessly fractured and ineffectual.
The rest of the article should be read in full, for it is a damning indictment of the way Islamic extremism and deradicalization of terrorists are handled within the UK’s prison network. At one point, he writes:
What has this got to do with Khan? Many of the recommendations I made related to what I saw as serious gaps in the management of terrorist offenders into custody and “through the gate”. There was a lack of expertise and appropriateness in the arrangements for probation supervision of these most potentially lethal offenders.
The questions Acheson proceeds to ask are detailed and well informed. Perhaps the government agencies responsible for incarceration and deradicalization of terrorists and would-be jihadists will listen to him and others who are deeply informed about the problem and will introduce some at least of the many reforms he calls for.
Tragically, that may not happen. As he himself admits, he is likely to be persona non grata within the service and perhaps the Ministry of Justice:
Moreover, there are legitimate questions to ask about the qualifications of the key people in this highly sensitive role and how they were appointed. HM Prison and Probation Service, where I spent nearly a decade working, is a notoriously closed shop when it comes to the advancement of its senior leadership, whatever the public relations person says.
To make life even harder for prison officials at every level, a study published by the Ministry of Justice in May 2019, has revealed that radical Muslims in gaol in the UK are almost out of control to the point where they rule prisons. Entitled “Exploring the Nature of Muslim Groups and Related Gang Activity in Three High Security Prisons: Findings from Qualitative Research”, the study paints a disturbing picture that could have been a script for a violent TV drama.
There is a useful summary of the UK situation by Patrick Dunleavy, a former Inspector General for the New York State Department of Corrections. Dunleavy has testified as an expert witness before the House Committee on Homeland Security about the threat of Islamic Radicalization in the U.S. prison system.
In his summary dated June 19, 2019, Dunleavy identifies a group of radicalized Muslims who function as a gang in UK prisons, taking control of territory and exercising influence over existing and new Muslim prisoners, even where the latter do not enter gaol as extremists or terrorist supporters. Dunleavy sums up the influence of this broad “gang”:
Obedience is achieved by violence and intimidation carried out by members of the group known as enforcers. “Those who had committed terrorist crimes often held more senior roles in the gang,” the study found, “facilitated by the respect some younger prisoners gave them.”
Leadership gives the orders for all acts of violence. No member acts on his own. If he does, one inmate said, he is taken aside by a leader….
The study described the leaders as manipulative, dominating, and outspoken and yet found they were able to portray themselves to prison staff as compliant and polite. In other words, “jail wise.”
A similar situation exists in the United States, where Muslim radicals also form gang-like structures of mutual reinforcement and coercion. Dunleavy draws on his own direct experience of US prisons:
I was assigned to “Operation Hades” at the time, a multifaceted investigative group of federal, state, and local agents, analysts, and law enforcement officers tasked with exploring the level of radical Islamic recruitment in the prison system.
The study found that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida did not see prison as an obstacle. Quite the opposite, they viewed it as an opportunity to organize and expand.
In prison, terrorists designed an organizational structure providing specific roles for each member, roles identical to what was just found in the UK; leaders, recruiters, enforcers, foot soldiers. The intelligence report also said that terrorists would operate their group in prison like a “brotherhood,” and that recruitment would thrive because they had a large “pool of vulnerable people” from which to draw.
However, in Dunleavy’s opinion, American prison and counter-terrorism authorities have handled these matters better than their counterparts in the UK:
The United States seems to have fared better curbing radical Islamic groups organizing in the prison system than our UK and EU counterparts. This may be due in part to the Correctional Intelligence Initiative program operated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which continues to build on the recommendations of the 2002 report.
If there is one shortcoming, it is in the area of post-release supervision of convicted terrorists.
As we have previously reported, more terrorists are being released from custody with no viable de-radicalization program or monitoring system in place.
Where they live or work, as well as any social media involvement after their release, needs to be strictly monitored. Any important intelligence gleaned from this should be shared across the board with participating agencies. International travel should also be restricted.
Usman Khan’s trajectory confirms Dunleavy’s uneasy concern about the “post-release supervision of convicted terrorists”. Is any form of deradicalization possible at all? It is no secret that hundreds of former Islamic State/Da’esh fighters may have returned or hope yet to return to their countries of origin in Europe:
Jürgen Stock, Interpol’s chief, who is also a criminologist and law enforcement officer from Germany, said: “We could soon be facing a second wave of other Islamic State linked or radicalised individuals that you might call Isis 2.0.”
“A lot of these are suspected terrorists or those who are linked to terrorist groups as supporters who are facing maybe two to five years in jail. Because they were not convicted of a concrete terrorist attack but only support for terrorist activities, their sentences are perhaps not so heavy.”
Many such fighters are already in custody under Turkish control. A recent report from Ankara indicates that the Islamist Turkish government is threatening to release them and send them into Europe. If that happens, handling such an influx could become an intense and possibly irresoluble headache for the prison, security, and counter-terrorism authorities everywhere.
In Part II, we shall examine what the Western states will have to do and should already be doing to quash this menace.
Postscript. Just as this article finished editing, a grim event, once more in London, took place in an eerie replica of Usman Khan’s November terrorist attack on London Bridge. On February 2, a young Muslim, Sudesh Amman, stabbed two passers-by in Streatham, a London district. Ten days earlier, he had, like Khan, been released from prison halfway through his sentence for terror offences in 2018. He too was shot dead by armed police, and in his case neither of his victims died.
Amman was one of the top five terrorist risk people in the country and was known still to possess extremist views, yet his parole board did not assess him before setting him free to go onto the street, take a knife from a shop, and attack two innocent people. This, despite the fact, as we shall see in part two, that the government had earlier announced plans to tighten up sentencing and end halfway release for terrorist prisoners.
Assuming each document is about 500 words long (or the equivalent in a spreadsheet), it would take more than two and a half years of non-stop reading for a single person to pore over every file.
So how do we go about tackling such a massive dataset? And how can we be sure we haven’t missed major stories?
We use a combination of technology, data analysis, research and the power of collaboration: journalists from 20 countries, exploring the documents, sharing their findings in a radical way, and then taking their reporting well beyond the leak.
Here are five elements that were key for mining the Luanda Leaks documents:
1. Dig through documents with Datashare
The first step was to upload all 715,000 leaked files into Datashare, our secure document research platform, which the 120 journalists working on Luanda Leaks could use to search, filter, star and tag the documents. Datashare is able to automatically recognize, highlight and list the names of people, organizations and locations in the files, and is also able to extract text from scanned documents and images to make it searchable.Recommended reading
With more than half of the documents written in Portuguese, digging into the leak was even more challenging – the majority of journalists working on this project were not fluent in Portuguese. For security and source-protection reasons, we wanted to avoid common online machine-translation tools (such as Google Translate or DeepL) and, instead, have the translation directly available on Datashare. So we decided to use an open-source piece of software called Apertium. Our team wrapped Apertium within a command-line tool that was able to translate any language pair directly into Datashare. We published the code of this tool on Github.
Journalists could also “batch search” documents: if they had lists of people, organizations or anything that they wanted to search en masse, they could upload a spreadsheet of search terms and Datashare would provide results per query, which helped save a lot of time.
2. Upload your CSV file and pick your search settings (exact matches, etc.)
After Datashare created an index of all the people and companies named in the 715,000 files, reporters needed a way to visualize all the connections and networks of entities and documents in the leak.
Drawing on experience from previous investigations, including the Panama and Paradise Papers, we used Neo4J and Linkurious (along with Talend and an SQL server) to generate a database and create a visual representation of the networks within the leak.
Using Linkurious, reporters could type a name like “Sonangol” and then find which documents were linked to this company. The visualization would show other people and companies that were also connected to the same documents, making it easy to identify links between the hundreds of thousands of records.
3. Training the machines
When you’ve got hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of files to search through, it’s essential to be able to spot patterns in the documents, and quickly identify the more useful records for further scrutiny. For example, in the Luanda Leaks, how could we find all the files that contained contracts? Or could we identify other types of useful documents that were similar to each other, but wouldn’t necessarily show up with simple keyword searches?
Over the last three years, ICIJ has been exploring ways in which artificial intelligence can help journalists with investigations. For Luanda Leaks, we partnered with Quartz AI Studio to see if machine learning could help provide answers to reporters’ requests.An example of the different groups in Datashare.
A starting point, for example, was the extraction of titles and subtitles from the documents and the generation of clusters based on words they had in common. Reporters would then get a spreadsheet that gave insights into the type of documents available in the leak that were similar to each other.
Another process involved journalists identifying types of documents of interest like “balance sheets” or “financial agreements” that could be used to train the computer to find other files that contained similar information or looked alike.
The results were shared in spreadsheets and integrated into Datashare, where partners could select clusters of similar documents for further exploration: bank documents, contracts, minutes, bank transfers, utility bills, water bills, among others.
4. The human factor
Using technology helps make the files easier to process, organize and explore. But making sense of the information and connecting it with additional sources wouldn’t have been possible without reporters. More than 120 brains put the pieces together and added months of reporting to leads they found in the documents.
Answering key reporting questions and finding newsworthy stories required substantial data analysis and research. Could we identify all the companies in which Isabel dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo held a stake as shareholders? Would it be possible to know how much money was invoiced by PwC and Boston Consulting to dos Santos’ and Dokolo’s companies for services provided?
To answer these and other questions, we explored thousands of invoices and corporate records, checked external data sources and manually built our own databases to track the research and facilitate the analysis. Each data entry had to be verified and fact-checked. And now, you can download a database of more than 400 connections to Isabel dos Santos and Sindika Dokolo.The human factor: reporters get together to discuss the documents.
5. Radical sharing
“How is the information connected across countries? Any exciting findings? How can we help each other? When do we publish?”
When you’re dealing with massive datasets, the only way to investigate thoroughly is to share the load. ICIJ’s Global I-Hub is where radical collaborative magic happens!
Journalists could log in to securely share their findings and coordinate the reporting. This technology is essential to keep the team together and the communication flowing for months. For Luanda Leaks alone, journalists shared more than 3,500 messages on 837 topics – an effort that couldn’t have happened over email and phone calls alone.
Agency ReportAn IDPs Camp in Adamawa used to illustrate the story
The United States has announced an additional $40 million (N14 billion) aid to Nigeria to address the humanitarian crisis arising from decades of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who made the announcement in Washington DC on Tuesday, said this was in addition to nearly 350 million dollars (N122.5 billion) in assistance provided by the U.S. last year.
Mr Pompeo spoke during a joint media briefing with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, after the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission (BNC) meeting hosted by the Department of State.
“The foreign minister (Mr Onyeama) and I also discussed today the massive humanitarian crisis that the conflict with Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa and other religious and ethnic violence.
“We know that these issues are hard. We know that they’re complicated.
“But, I strongly encourage the Nigerian government to do more to protect its civilians, including religious communities and the humanitarian organisations seeking to assist them.
“To aid in this effort, I’m pleased to announce today an additional 40 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria, adding to the nearly 350 million dollars that we provided last year,’’ he said.
The BNC is a platform for the Nigerian and U.S. governments to expand cooperation and advance shared goals in the areas of trade and investment, development, good governance and security.
Mr Pompeo said the two-day meeting also featured discussions on security cooperation between both countries, especially Nigeria’s “recent purchase’’ of 12 U.S.-made A-29 fighter planes worth $500 million.
The sale of the aircraft, according to him, is in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of building “a security force with the best training and modern weaponry.”
He said the U.S. would “hold Nigeria to the pledge’’ of ensuring that the country’s military operates with the highest standards of respect for human rights.
On his part, Mr Onyeama described the security challenges facing the country as an existential threat, but was quick to note that they were being addressed with respect for human rights.
“Of course, we are faced with other security issues within Nigeria, and we know that some of them cause disquiet amongst our partners and we are addressing a number of those.
“And in addressing those internal challenges, and especially in the security area, we absolutely make it clear and strive to uphold human rights.
“We have the greatest interest in protecting and respecting the human rights of our population and we do that,’’ he said.