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Italian Police Seize 2.7 Tonnes Of Cocaine Hidden Among Bananas



NDLEA: Cocaine uncovered at Anambra monarch's palace

Italian police on Tuesday said they seized 2.7 tonnes of cocaine from a port in the southern region of Calabria.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza police force said that officers found 2,734 kilogrammes of extremely pure cocaine in two 12-meter-long refrigerated containers hidden among 78 tonnes of bananas.

This took place in the port of Gioia Tauro, calling the operation a “record seizure.’’

Police said they estimated the drugs to have a street value of some 800 million euros (870 million dollars).

The containers, which were coming from Guayaquil in Ecuador, were bound for Armenia and were due to go by the Georgian city of Batumi, the Guardia di Finanza said. 

– dpa

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Ministers from 50 countries to discuss future of transport worldwide



TRANSPORTATION: Mu'azu Sambo builds Ultramodern Mosque, Igniting mixed reactions

Transport ministers from some 50 countries, as well as policymakers and industry representatives, are expected to attend the International Transport Forum (ITF) in the German city of Leipzig.

Transport must be made more sustainable, British Transport Minister Mark Harper said at the opening of the summit on Wednesday.

Britain presides over this year’s forum.

Harper said that the question was not whether transport had to be made more sustainable, but how quickly emissions could be reduced.

Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing is also expected to attend the summit.

Industry experts will discuss current issues and challenges facing the transport sector.

The secretary general of the International Transport Forum, Young Tae Kim from South Korea, said the focus is not only on a sustainable future but also on making greener mobility options accessible for all.

“We need to do more and we need to do it now,” Young said of developing sustainable options for the future.

TRANSPORTATION: Mu'azu Sambo builds Ultramodern Mosque, Igniting mixed reactions
*Muazu Jaji Sambo, outgoing Minister of Transportation

Discussions will also be held with the goal to continue talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai at the end of 2023.

During the ITF summit, panel discussions and lectures are planned until May 26 with a focus on goals that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

The countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement committed to keeping global warming well below two degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, but if possible will limit it to 1.5 degrees. 

– dpa

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U.S. tanks land in Germany for Ukrainian training



…Macron says France ready to train Ukrainian fighter jet pilots

The 31 tanks the United States (U.S.) promised earlier this year to deliver to Ukraine have arrived at a military training centre in Germany, the U.S. Defence Department said.

“I can confirm that the 31 M1 Abrams training tanks have arrived at Grafenwöhr, Germany in preparation for subsequent training of Ukrainian tank crewson Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said in Washington on Tuesday.

Grafenwöhr, in northern Bavaria, is home to a U.S. military training base.

Ryder said Ukrainian crews were expected to arrive and begin training within the next couple of weeks.

“As we’ve discussed previously, this extensive training programme for Ukrainian crews and maintainers is intended to prepare them for their critical roles ahead in effectively operating the M1 tank and defending Ukrainian people.’’

At the end of April, U.S. Chief of Staff Mark Milley said at a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group at the U.S. airbase in Ramstein.

He said that Washington would first supply Abrams tanks that were not fit for combat, but could be used for training.

The Abrams tanks intended for the battlefield are still being repaired.

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. had accelerated the delivery in order to be able to provide Ukraine with more armoured equipment in the coming months.

The long-awaited decision to send 31 U.S. tanks to Ukraine was made back in January, in conjunction with Germany’s drawn-out decision on whether or not to send Kiev Leopard main battle tanks. 

In a related development, hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said the country would train Ukrainian fighter jet pilots, but he would not send the planes.

“We have opened the door to train Ukrainian pilots.

“The training can start from now.

”Several European countries had decided it was now necessary to start training,” Macron said.

Zelensky made the surprise trip to France on Sunday, on the heel of visits to Germany and Italy.

A Ukraine-France joint statement said new supplies would be prepared to address the most pressing and immediate needs to strengthen Ukraine’s defences.

The statement said that Paris would continue to help Kiev defend itself, “focusing its effort in supporting Ukraine’s air defence capacities in order to defend its population against Russian strikes.” 

– dpa

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Israel attacks Islamic Jihad in Gaza, killing 13



Abraham Accords passes first real test with Gaza conflict, but obstacles remain

Thirteen people were killed after Israel attacked targets of the militant Palestinian organisation Islamic Jihad, according to officials on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the dead included four women and four children in the strikes on Gaza and Rafah.

Russians Jamal Khaswan and his wife and son were also among those killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, according to the Russian mission in the West Bank.

About 30 Palestinians were injured, some of them critically, the ministry said.

Militant groups said they would retaliate.

Israel’s army justified the operation by citing rocket attacks from Gaza on the Israeli border area in recent weeks.

The Israeli army said the three militants were Chalil Bahitini, a commander in the northern part of the Gaza Strip who was responsible for recent rocket attacks on Israel.

Jahed Ahnam, head of the military council, and Tarek Az Aldin, coordinated the attacks in the West Bank.

UN envoy, Tor Wennesland, condemned the civilian deaths as unacceptable.

“I urge all concerned to exercise maximum restraint to avoid an escalation.

“We must be prepared for every scenario – the IDF and security forces are prepared to defend every front,” Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, said.

The military was ordered to prepare for a possible mobilisation of reservists.

The opposition backed the Israeli government’s deployment.

The U.S. was informed about the plans, according to media reports.

Several Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, condemned the Israeli attacks.

Civilians in southern Israel were ordered to stay near a designated shelter until Wednesday.

Border crossings with Gaza were closed and regional rail traffic was restricted.

According to eyewitnesses, the Gaza region saw little traffic, while schools, universities, and all ministries and public services were closed.

Amid fears of escalation, Managing Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Tamir Hayman, has said.

“As far as Israel is concerned, Hamas is not the target of the operation but the main question that will determine the intensity of this conflict and its duration is whether or not Hamas will join the campaign.’’

Israeli news site Ynet reported that Israel had sent a message to Hamas that they were not targeted.

A Hamas spokesman said that the Palestinian people know how to respond to the crime of the targeted killing of Jihad members and attack the occupying power.

A Jihad spokesperson said that Israel had ignored all the initiatives of the mediators.

In August last year, Israel killed the jihadi military chief, Chalid Mansur, in an air strike.

Two other jihad members were killed, including Mansur’s deputy.

At that time, there were massive rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory and further Israeli air strikes.

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect three days later.

The latest tensions stem from the death of Khader Adnan a week ago.

The senior member of the Islamic Jihad movement died after spending almost three months on hunger strike in an Israeli jail.

The Gaza Strip is home to more than two million people living in very poor conditions, while Hamas seized power in the Palestinian territory by force in 2007.

In response, Israel tightened a blockade of the coastal area, which was supported by Egypt.

The U.S., the EU, and Israel classify Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organisations.

Both groups were committed to the destruction of Israel.

Islamic Jihad, however, was seen as more radical than Hamas. 

– dpa

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