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FBI claims woman may have tried to sell Pelosi’s computer device to Russia

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(Last Updated On: January 19, 2021)

US law enforcement is investigating whether a woman took a laptop computer or hard drive from US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6 siege of the Capitol and tried to sell the device to Russian intelligence, Reuters reported. 

An FBI agent disclosed the detail in an affidavit released on Sunday night that outlined a criminal case against Riley June Williams, a Pennsylvania woman accused of unlawfully breaching the Capitol building and directing people to Pelosi’s office.

The theft of electronic devices from congressional offices has been a persistent worry following the siege by supporters of US President Donald Trump.

Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said after the attack that some of the thefts might have potentially jeopardized what he described as “national security equities.”

According to the affidavit filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the FBI received a tip from someone who stated they were a former romantic partner of Williams, Reuters reported.

The tipster said Williams “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service,” the affidavit stated.

Reuters reported that according to the tipster, “the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it.” 

According to the FBI, it appears Williams has fled an address near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that she shared with her mother, deactivated her phone number, and took down social media accounts.

A Pelosi spokesman, Drew Hammill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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US officially rejoins Paris climate pact

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(Last Updated On: February 19, 2021)

The United States officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement on Friday.

The US State Department said in a statement on Friday that President Joe Biden signed the instrument to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement on January 20. 

Nearly 200 countries across the world have adopted the Paris pact, the landmark international accord to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the US State Department, the Paris Agreement’s purpose is “both simple and expansive: to help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming and to build resilience around the world to the impacts from climate change we already see.”

“Now, as momentous as our joining the Agreement was in 2016 — and as momentous as our rejoining is today — what we do in the coming weeks, months, and years is even more important,” the statement said.

“Climate change and science diplomacy can never again be “add-ons” in our foreign policy discussions. Addressing the real threats from climate change and listening to our scientists is at the center of our domestic and foreign policy priorities,” the statement read. 

“It is vital in our discussions of national security, migration, international health efforts, and in our economic diplomacy and trade talks.”

“We are reengaging the world on all fronts, including at the President’s April 22nd Leaders’ Climate Summit. And further out, we very much looking forward to working with the United Kingdom and other nations around the world to make COP26 a success,” the statement concluded.

Former US President Donald Trump in 2017 announced his intention to withdraw the US from the treaty and officially notified the United Nations in 2019.

The US officially left the agreement on November 4, 2020.

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Gunmen storm Nigerian school, kidnap ‘many’ students

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2021)

Unidentified gunmen attacked a secondary school in Nigeria’s Niger state overnight and abducted many students, the state governor’s spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the assailants stormed the Government Science college in the Kagara district at around 2 am, overwhelming the school’s security detail, according to local residents.

The spokeswoman said many students had been abducted but did not specify how many.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday condemned the raid, and dispatched security chiefs to coordinate operations to rescue the abducted students, his spokesman said.

According to Reuters, militant Islamic group Boko Haram and a branch of ISIS are active in northern Nigeria, but kidnappings by other armed groups – mostly for ransom – are also common.

The latest attack came two months after gunmen stormed a secondary school in northwestern Katsina state and kidnapped nearly 350 boys, who were subsequently rescued by security forces.

About 100 of more than 270 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok in 2014 are still missing.

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Biden reviews Guantanamo prison, aims to close it before leaving office

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(Last Updated On: February 14, 2021)

US President Joe Biden’s aides have launched a formal review of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial facility with the aim of doing so before he leaves office, the White House said on Friday.

Aides involved in internal discussions are considering an executive action to be signed by Biden in coming weeks or months, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters,

Asked whether Biden would shut the high-security prison located at the Guantanamo Naval Station by the time his presidency ends, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

Reuters reported that such an initiative is unlikely to bring down the curtain anytime soon on the facility, due largely to the steep political and legal obstacles in the way of closing it. .

Set up to house foreign suspects following September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, the prison came to symbolize the excesses of the US “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics say amounted to torture.

Former US President Donald Trump kept the prison open during his four years in the White House. Now, 40 prisoners remain, most held for nearly two decades without being charged or tried.

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