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Ukraine Invasion: Russia places ban on 29 top UK journalists, officials

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Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday announced the ban of dozens of British journalists, media representatives and defence figures from entering the country.
In a move that Moscow said was a response to Western sanctions and the “spreading of false information about Russia”, 29 journalists and members of British media organisations such as BBC, the broadcaster Sky News and the Guardian and Times newspapers were personally banned.

Another 20 British figures who Moscow said were linked to the defence industry were also banned from entering Russia. The British journalists included in the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas, the ministry said.
BBC reports that the list includes high-profile journalists, news anchors, editors and senior managers, including the editors-in-chief of the Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Guardian newspapers.
“The British journalists included in the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the report, among the journalists banned are the Guardian correspondents Shaun Walker, Luke Harding, Emma Graham-Harrison and Peter Beaumont, as well as Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian.
British journalists working for the BBC, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Independent, Daily Telegraph, Sky News and a number of other outlets have also been banned. The editors-in-chief of the Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent were also listed.
The Guardian also reports that Russia has launched an unprecedented crackdown on Russian and foreign independent news outlets since its 24 February invasion of Ukraine, as well as on foreign social media networks.
Legislation was introduced soon after the war began to criminalise media outlets that disseminate “false information” about the Russian army.
A number of media groups stopped operating in Russia as a result, with the draconian law in effect threatening to punish independent journalism with prison sentences of up to 15 years. Russia has also blocked access to several foreign news organisations’ websites, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle.

Russia warned US news organisations this month they risked being stripped of their accreditation unless the treatment of Russian journalists in the US improved.
“Work on expanding the Russian ‘stop list’ will continue,” the statement said.
Among those banned on the second part of the list were the UK minister of state for defence procurement, Jeremy Quin, and Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.
The full list is:
Shaun Walker, Guardian correspondent; Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph columnist; Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent, Sky News; James Rothwell, Daily Telegraph journalist;
John Witherow, editor-in-chief, the Times; Chris Evans, editor-in-chief, the Daily Telegraph; Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, the Guardian;
Richard Sharp, chair of the BBC board of governors; Timothy Davie, director general of the BBC; Clive Myrie, BBC correspondent and news presenter; Orla Guerin, BBC correspondent; Nick Robinson, BBC presenter; Paul Adams, BBC correspondent; Nick Beake, BBC correspondent; Alexander Thomson, Channel 4 News correspondent and presenter; Dan Rivers, ITV correspondent;
Peter Beaumont, Guardian correspondent; Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian correspondent; Sophy Ridge, journalist and Sky News presenter; Catherine Newman, journalist and host of Channel 4 News; Edward Verity, editor-in-chief, Daily Mail; Christian Broughton, editor-in-chief, the Independent; Larisa Brown, military news editor, the Times; Mark Galeotti, political scientist;
Joseph Barnes, Daily Telegraph correspondent; Gideon Rachman, Financial Times correspondent; Luke Harding, Guardian correspondent; Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times and Daily Mail columnist; Lawrence Freedman, Sunday Times columnist.
Jeremy Quin, minister of state for defence procurement; Leo Docherty, under secretary of defence; Benjamin Key, commander of the Royal Navy, chief of staff of the Royal Navy; Mike Wigston, RAF commander; Robert Magowan, deputy chief, UK strategic command; Charles Stickland, commander, joint operations, UK armed forces;
Roger Martyn Carr, chair of the board of directors, BAE Systems; Charles Woodburn, executive director of the BAE Systems; David Armstrong, managing director of BAE Systems; Glynn Phillips, managing director of BAE Systems; Clifford Robson, managing director of BAE Systems; Alexander Cresswell, chair of the board of directors and CEO of Thales UK; Christopher Shaw, chief operating officer of Thales UK; Paul Gosling, vice-president, Thales UK; Ewen McCrorie, vice-president, Thales UK; Suzanne Stratton, vice-president, Thales UK; Lynne Watson, vice-president, Thales UK; Gregory Campbell, MP; Gavin Robinson, MP; Samuel Wilson, MP.

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Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife

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Dino Melaye

Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.

Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.

The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.

“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.

Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.

Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”

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Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .

The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.

A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.

The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.

Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.

Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.

Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.

Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.

According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot
The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world.

After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.

The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.

However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.

“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.

Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.

The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Biggest decliners
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.

New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.

Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.

“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.

Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.

Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.

“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.

Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.

“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.

The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.

For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.

The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:

  1. Vienna, Austria (99.1)
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
  3. TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
  4. TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
  5. Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
  6. Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
  7. Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
  8. Toronto, Canada (95.4)
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
  10. TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
  11. TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)

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