- Another Christmas Day Terror Plot Foiled in Australia
A “significant” Islamic State-inspired Christmas Day terror plot targeting central Melbourne has been foiled after a series of arrests in raids across the city, police said Friday.
Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton alleged those detained planned to use explosives, knives and guns to attack busy locations including Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral.
“Over the last fortnight… we have had to conduct a criminal investigation relating to the formation of what we believe was a terrorist plot,” he told a news conference.
“We believe that there was an intention to conduct what we call a multi-mode attack, possibly on Christmas Day.
“The attack that we will allege was being planned, we believe was going to involve an explosive event, the use of explosives, and we gathered evidence to support that.”
Police believe the plotters were planning to also use other weapons including knives and guns.
The targets of the alleged attack are all in the same area in the heart of the city, and only a short distance from the Melbourne Cricket Ground where up to 100,000 people are expected to attend the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan.
Of the seven arrested on Friday morning, five remain in custody. All had been under surveillance for weeks.
Ashton said four of them were Australian-born, of Lebanese background, with the fifth an Egyptian-born Australian citizen, all in their 20s.
“Certainly these are self-radicalised, we believe, but inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda,” he added, referring to the jihadist group.
“If this had got under our guard this would have been a significant attack, we believe. No doubt about that.”
He added: “A substantial number of people could have been injured in the attack, from what we’ve seen. Certainly potential for quite a number of people to be injured or killed in this attack.”
The foiled plot comes with security on heightened alert in Australia after a truck drove into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
On Wednesday in the capital Canberra, a van laden with gas cylinders exploded outside the headquarters of an Australian Christian lobby group, although police said it was not being treated as terror-related.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said a potential disaster had been averted in Melbourne and praised police and security services.
“This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years,” he said in Sydney.
“We are approaching the Christmas season, a time when we come together in peace and love, with our families.
“These terrorists sought to disrupt it. They have been thwarted. They are in custody. They are no longer a threat to Australians’ security.”
Twelve terror attacks have now been prevented on home soil in the past two years, according to Australian officials. But four have taken place, including the murder of a Sydney police employee last year.
Counter-terror police have made a large number of arrests since late 2014, with the youth and depth of radicalisation of many of those detained a growing concern.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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