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Suspected Ricin-Laced Mail Sent To U.S. Defense Secretary

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Suspected Ricin-Laced Mail Sent To U.S. Defense Secretary

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that it had received mail suspected of containing the deadly poison ricin, including an envelope that a U.S. official said was addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Pentagon said in a statement that it had put its mail facility under quarantine and that the FBI was analyzing the envelopes.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the envelopes initially tested positive for ricin after being detected by Pentagon police on Monday at a mail sorting facility on the Pentagon compound but not in the main building.

Separately, the U.S. Secret Service said it was investigating a “suspicious envelope” addressed to President Donald Trump that was received on Monday, though it never entered the White House. The agency did not provide further details.

It was not immediately known if the two incidents were related.

Ricin is found naturally in castor beans but it takes a deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. No known antidote exists.

U.S. government buildings have sporadically received packages with suspected ricin, including in 2013 when ricin-laced letters were addressed to a U.S. senator, the White House and a Mississippi justice official.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., letters containing another deadly substance, anthrax spores, were mailed to the Washington offices of two senators and to media outlets in New York and Florida.

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Nigerian News

Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

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Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

Nigeria still holds the unenviable position as the third most terrorized country in the world.

The 2018 global terrorism index, released on Wednesday, says  this is as a result of the spate of terrorism in Nigeria.  It also points to what it called the “increase in violence involving Fulani extremists”.  The report says this is happening as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling..

Nigeria is ranked only below Iraq and Afghanistan, both in first and second positions.

This year alone, hundreds of Nigerians have been killed in attacks by suspected herdsmen as well as clashes between the herders and farmers/communities.

States worst hit in the attacks are Plateau, Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and others.

The report also noted that, compared to the peak of “terrorist deaths” in 2014, “the largest falls in the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

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World News

Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

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Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

Central American migrants stuck at the U.S.–Mexico border breached the border fence on Monday, even though they knew they could be detained by U.S. authorities. They hoped the illegal entry would allow them to apply for asylum.

Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, have traveled north through Mexico in a caravan, some walking much of the long distance.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the migrants, sending troops to reinforce the border and attempting a procedural change to require asylum-seekers to remain in mexico while their cases are heard. So far, the courts have denied those attempts.

Applying for asylum at a U.S. land border can take months, so if migrants enter illegally and present themselves to authorities,their cases could be heard more quickly.

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World News

Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

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Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

A political analyst says prospects for returning to a unified Yemen remain dim despite members from both warring parties meeting to discuss peace in Stockholm, Sweden.

Supported by the United Nations, representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels will meet for political consultations later this week, although no exact date has been announced for the start of the negotiations that would be the first peace talks since 2016.

Mokhtar Yafie, a political analyst in Aden says he does not expect much success from the Stockholm peace meeting.

Yafie added that the internal divisions within the Yemeni government and the Houthi would also complicate the negotiation.

Although some residents in Yemen hold little hopes for the peace talks, there are people having high expectations for them.

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