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Putin Himself Ordered Russian Hacking of Campaign, U.S. Says

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  • Putin Himself Ordered Russian Hacking of Campaign

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a hacking and disinformation campaign to influence the U.S. presidential campaign and developed “a clear preference” for Donald Trump to win, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a declassified report on their findings.

The agencies said they “assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” according to the report released Friday. “All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.”

The report was issued shortly after Trump met in New York with top intelligence officials for a briefing on their findings that Russia was responsible for the hacking of Democratic Party computers and the leaking of e-mails damaging to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump has long questioned the conclusion that Russia was behind the breach, a stance that has put him at odds with some top congressional Republicans.

In a statement after the meeting, the president-elect sought to tamp down his differences with the intelligence agencies — he said he has “tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation” — although he didn’t explicitly endorse their conclusions that Russia was responsible.

“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said.

The intelligence agencies agreed there was no evidence of ballots being hacked but said, “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”’

Trump said he will appoint a team that will give him a plan within 90 days of taking office “to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.”

In a related move Friday, the Department of Homeland Security designated elections systems as “critical infrastructure,” which will allow the federal government to provide cybersecurity resources to state and local jurisdictions. That includes protecting voter registration databases, voting machines and computer systems used to manage elections, the department said in statement, adding that this doesn’t denote a “takeover” of elections.

During and after his successful presidential campaign, Trump has expressed admiration for Putin as a strong leader and predicted they can work together on issues such as fighting Islamic State terrorists. He also has scoffed at indications Russia was behind the election hacking, saying “it also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Cyberattacks, Trolls

Drawing on multiple intelligence sources, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency said in the report that Russia’s operation blended covert activity, including cyberattacks, with public efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media and paid social media users known as “trolls.”

The agencies emphasized that the public version issued Friday — unlike classified versions presented to departing President Barack Obama, Trump and members of Congress — didn’t include all of the sources, methods and supporting evidence used by the American spy agencies.

Russia’s intelligence services initially carried out cyber operations against targets involved in last year’s presidential campaign, including those tied to both U.S. political parties, the agencies said.

“Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates,” according to the report. “When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.”

Eventually, the agencies said, “Putin publicly indicated a preference for President-elect Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia, and pro-Kremlin figures spoke highly about what they saw as his Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine. Putin publicly contrasted the President-elect’s approach to Russia with Secretary Clinton’s ‘aggressive rhetoric.”

DNC Access

Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee networks in July 2015 and remained there until at least June 2016. The GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, “probably began cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election by March 2016,” the report said. “By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC.”

“We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks,” the report said. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said Russia didn’t give him the leaked e-mails, although he hasn’t commented on whether an intermediary might have done so.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session

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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.

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House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion

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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.”

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US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left

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Joe Biden Economic Impliccations on Nigeria

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.

Also read Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Lock President Trump Out of Their Platforms Following Insurrection

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