Telecoms giant, the MTN Group is facing a new set of allegations in the United States.
According to Reuters, some Washington based law firms filed the new amended complaint, on Friday, as they alleged MTN’s “conduct targeted the United States” by executing a strategy reliant on dominating markets in unstable countries not allied with Washington.
The telco, which is the largest telecoms company in Africa, allegedly aided militant groups in Afghanistan, including paying protection money, in an amended lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of families of US soldiers.
The initial lawsuit was aimed at 8 multinational companies which include MTN, security firm G4S, US infrastructure group Louis Berger and consultancy Janus Global that operated in Afghanistan and Iran between 2009 and 2017.
The suit which was filed in December 2019 in the United States District Court in the District of Colombia, alleges that these companies violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
MTN also allegedly violated the Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money of more than $100 million to al-Qaeda and Taliban so that its cellular towers would not be targeted for destruction. The telecoms firm deactivated those towers at night, preventing US intelligence operations,
MTN, however, has denied the allegations, asking the court to dismiss the original suit.
This appears to be another round of fresh controversy for Africa’s largest mobile operator, which has had running battles in some countries, especially with an alleged security breach.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian subsidiary was fined $5.2 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015 for partial compliance of regulatory guidelines by not disconnecting improperly registered subscribers’ identification module.
The compliance audit carried out by NCC on the network showed that 5.2 million customers lines were not deactivated as had been directed and so were fined the sum $1,000 for each unregistered SIM according to the Telephone Subscribers regulation law.
The federal government feared that this might have contributed to the security crises in the country. The fine was later reduced to $3.2 billion after pressure and negotiations with the South African government and the telecoms firm.
The telecoms giant was also criticized for its activities in Iran’s telecommunication sector. A US-based advocacy, united against nuclear Iran alleged that MTN technology is enabling the Iranian government to locate and track individual cellphone users which it says as a violation of users’ human rights.
In 2012 it was alleged that MTN Group may have been complicit in securing American telecommunications technology from sun microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems on behalf of Irancell in violation of trade sanctions against Iran.
President Biden directs international air travelers must quarantine upon arrival
President Joe Biden has directed international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the United States.
The United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it mandatory for international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US.
Similarly, the executive order also includes a directive that all interstate travellers in the US will be expected to wear a face mask. This travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation, but grants them the ability to issue exemptions.
What the US President is saying in the executive order
According to a report from Reuters, President Biden’s order says, ‘‘To the extent, feasible air travellers must comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines concerning international travel ‘including recommended periods of self-quarantine.”
However, the executive order does not explain how it will be enforced as the implementation still remains quite hazy.
The order also directs US agencies to engage with Canada and Mexico on public health protocols for land ports of entry including implementing CDC guidelines. Almost all non-essential travel at US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been suspended till February 21.
The CDC recommends a 7-day quarantine for people arriving in the United States from nearly all countries.
Biden is directing agencies to reconsider international contact tracing requirements for U.S.-bound passengers, which was abandoned by the Trump White House, as well as the possibility of follow-up Covid-19 testing for travellers after they arrive in the United States.
In addition, the US President has also directed that all travellers including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country from abroad in an order that underscores the CDC policy announced last week.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Trump administration had resisted calls for the enforcement of a mask-wearing requirement.
- The Biden administration has also announced that it would reimpose coronavirus-related ban on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from European Union, Brazil, the United Kingdom.
- This follows the lifting of the restrictions by former US President, Donald Trump through an executive order on Monday.
Joe Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States
The whole world watched in awe as Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
The 78-year-old Democrat and former Vice president to Barack Obama is being sworn in after emerging the winner of last year’s Presidential elections.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.
The inauguration took place at the US Capitol, the same building that was stormed on January 6, by Donald Trump’s violent supporters.
Trump who for months refused to conceded to Biden’s victory at the polls left the White House for the final time hours earlier and flew to Florida after making it clear weeks ago that he will not be attending the inauguration.
Trump’s Vice, Mike Pence attended the ceremony, as he skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.
The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Former Presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all present at the inuaguration
What you should know
- At 78, Biden is the oldest president ever to take the oath of office.
- In his speech, Biden swore to defend the constitution and the country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
- History was made as Kamala Harris became America’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice-president.
- Donald Trump skipped the ceremony, becoming the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.
Joe Biden to return United States to WHO on first day as President
In-coming US President, Joe Biden has resolved to immediately return the country back to the WHO after his inauguration.
The US President-elect Joe Biden plans to immediately return back the country to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the first day after his inauguration as he intends to make a sweeping review of the policies of outgoing President, Donald Trump.
This is as he intends to send top US medical expert Anthony Fauci to speak to the group in a strong rejection of Donald Trump’s snubs and criticisms during the coronavirus pandemic.
This disclosure is contained in a fact sheet released by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the incoming administration plans to take part in the WHO executive board meeting this week, with Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, heading the delegation and speaking.
The statement says that as soon as the United States resumes its engagement with the WHO, the new administration will work with the body to strengthen and reform the UN health agency.
What this means
- With these announced plans, the Joe Biden administration is showing that it intends to set a new science-based tone in seeking to reverse Donald Trump’s dismissal of strategies to mitigate the virus as well as seek international cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
- It also further reinforces the incoming President’s earlier criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic especially in the early days rather than laying blames.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump in May 2020, announced that the US would exit the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
- He often referred to the UN health agency as being controlled by China and criticized their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US had been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions annually, with Trump’s last year decision drawing sharp criticism in Congress, as well as from allies in Europe.