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Vice-President of Malawi, Saulos Chilima arrested for corruption

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By Gloria Ikibah

Vice-President of Malawi, Saulos Chilima has been arrested on allegations that he accepted money in exchange for awarding government contracts.

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According to the country’s anti-corruption agency, he is accused of receiving $280,000 (£230,000) from a British businessman “and other items”.

Chilima has appeared in court but has not commented on the charges.

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He had already been stripped of his powers in June when he was first accused by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

It had named him and another 83 Malawian officials as allegedly having corrupt dealings with the British businessman, named as Zuneth Sattar.

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Chilima is now facing a six count charge relating to corruption.

His supporters appeared to clash with police as he entered the court in the capital, Lilongwe, the Reuters news agency reports video from local media as showing.

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Mr Sattar was arrested in the UK in October last year and is out on bail.He is accused of using connections with senior Malawi government officials and politicians to fraudulently obtain contracts to supply goods and services.

The contracts related to armoured personnel carriers, food rations and water cannons, the Financial Times reported in May.

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Sattar has denied all wrong doing.

Chilima came to power in 2020 as the running mate of President Lazarus Chakwera.

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He had previously campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, promising to end decades of sleaze in government and ending poverty in one of the worlds most poorest countries.

“Corruption has the power to rupture a country and its people beyond repair. Corruption has the power to make a government lose its legitimacy over its people,” the vice-president is quoted in a 2021 Anti-Corruption Bureau newsletter as saying.

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Foreign

Peruvian PM Anibal Torres resigns amid crisis

Peruvian
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Peruvian President, Pedro Castillo has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Anibal Torres, the El Comercio newspaper reported on Friday.

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According to the report, Peru’s opposition-controlled Congress rejected leftist Torres’ request to hold a confidence vote on Thursday, indicating that the executive and legislative branches are still at odds.

In his address, Torres sought the repeal of the law, which establishes that all constitutional reform initiatives submitted to a referendum must first be approved by Congress.

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Castillo accepted Torres’ resignation, noting that he would reshuffle the Cabinet.

He said that the decision of the Congress was “a clear denial of trust,” the newspaper reported.

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Torres was the country’s fourth prime minister since Castillo took office in July 2021.

Former Prime Minister Hector Valer worked for about a week and stepped down amid allegations of corruption and domestic violence against him.

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Opposition lawmakers impeached Castillo twice but failed to oust him, although they managed to fire several cabinet members.

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Foreign

Ukraine Battles To Reconnect Millions In The Cold And Dark

Ukraine threatens
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Ukraine battled Friday to get water and power to millions of people cut off after Russia launched dozens of cruise missiles that battered the country’s already crippled electricity grid.

The energy system in Ukraine is on the brink of collapse and millions have endured emergency blackouts over recent weeks.

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The World Health Organization has warned of “life-threatening” consequences and estimated that millions could leave their homes as a result.

“The situation with electricity remains difficult in almost all regions,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday evening. “However, we are gradually moving away from blackouts — every hour we return power to new consumers.”

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More than 24 hours after Russian strikes smashed Kyiv, mayor Vitali Klitschko said late Thursday that 60 percent of homes in the capital were still suffering emergency outages. Water services had been fully restored however, said city officials.

But the shelling had killed seven people at Vyshgorod, on the outskirts of the city, said Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration.

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And a fresh round of strikes Thursday killed at least four people in the southern city of Kherson, recently recaptured by Ukraine, said a senior official there.

The latest attacks on the power grid come with winter setting in and temperatures in the capital hovering just above freezing.

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The western region of Khmelnytsky was one of the worst affected by power outages, with just 35 percent of its normal capacity, but that was enough to connect critical infrastructure, according to Serhii Hamaliy, the head of the regional administration.

About 300,000 residents in the eastern Kharkiv region, near the border with Russia, were still without power on Thursday evening, but electricity supply had been restored for nearly 70 percent of consumers, said Oleh Synehubov of the regional military administration.

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“We’ve restarted power supplies,” said Igor Terekhov, mayor of Kharkiv city, adding that water was being restored to homes and municipal workers were reconnecting public transport.

“Believe me, it was very difficult.”

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Ukraine accused Russian forces of launching around 70 cruise missiles as well as drones in attacks that left 10 dead and around 50 wounded.

But Russia’s defence ministry denied striking any targets inside Kyiv, insisting that Ukrainian and foreign air defence systems had caused the damage.

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“Not a single strike was made on targets within the city of Kyiv,” it said.

‘Scariest day’
Moscow is targeting power facilities in an apparent effort to force capitulation after nine months of war that has seen its forces fail in most of their stated territorial objectives.

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“The way they fight and target civil infrastructure, it can cause nothing but fury,” said Oleksiy Yakovlenko, chief administrator at a hospital in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kramatorsk.

Despite the increasingly frequent blackouts, Yakovlenko said his resolve was unwavering.

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“If they expect us to fall on our knees and crawl to them it won’t happen,” Yakovlenko told AFP.

Russian troops have suffered a string of battlefield defeats.

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Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson meant a withdrawal from the only regional capital Russia had captured, Moscow’s troops destroying key infrastructure as they retreated.

On Thursday, Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson military administration, said Russian strikes there had killed at least four people.

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“The Russian invaders opened fire on a residential area with multiple rocket launchers. A large building caught fire,” he said on Telegram.

Ukraine prosecutors also said Thursday that the authorities had discovered a total of nine torture sites used by the Russians in Kherson, as well as “the bodies of 432 killed civilians”.

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Wednesday’s attacks disconnected three Ukrainian nuclear plants automatically from the national grid and triggered blackouts in neighbouring Moldova, where the energy network is linked to Ukraine.

All three nuclear facilities had been reconnected by Thursday morning, said the energy ministry.

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Power was nearly entirely back online in ex-Soviet Moldova, where its pro-European president Maia Sandu convened a special meeting of her security council.

‘Shutdowns’
The Kremlin said Ukraine was ultimately responsible for the fallout from the strikes and that Kyiv could end the strikes by acquiescing to Russian demands.

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Ukraine “has every opportunity to settle the situation, to fulfil Russia’s demands and as a result, end all possible suffering of the civilian population,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Zelensky said Ukraine’s forces were “preparing to advance” in some areas.

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“Almost every hour I receive reports of occupiers’ attacks on Kherson and other communities of the region,” he said.

“Such terror began immediately after the Russian army was forced to flee from Kherson region. This is the revenge of those who lost.”

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The Ukrainian leader struck an optimistic tone at the end of his nightly address.

“We have withstood nine months of full-scale war, and Russia has not found a way to break us.”

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Porn star dad of accused shooter says he’s ‘glad son isn’t gay’ in vile rant

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Former MMA fighter Aaron Brink made the abhorrent comments about his son Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who is accused of murdering five at the LGBTQ-friendly Club Q in Colorado Springs

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The father of a suspect alleged to have killed five people at a gay bar has expressed relief his child isn’t gay in an abhorrent homophobic rant.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of shooting five people dead at the LGBTQ-friendly Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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The accused shooter’s dad Aaron Brink, 48, has spoken out for the first time since the shooting last Saturday, and expressed relief his child was not attending the bar as a customer.

He told CBS8: “I was scared. I was like “Oh my god, s**t, is he gay?” And he’s not gay. So I said “phew.””

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Brink is known to have brain damage from his career as an MMA fighter and his addiction to meth. Aldrich is estranged from their father.

Brink continued: “I am a Mormon, I am a conservative Republican… we don’t do gay.”

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Mormons also don’t generally do pornography, however Brink has starred in a number of adult films according to his IMDB page.

Information from the attorneys given to Brink appears to have been sparse and he was told what his son was alleged to have done by reporters outside his home.

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When told Aldrich was held and accused of killing LGBTQ+ people in a shooting, Brink responded: “Ok, well… he’s accused of doing that… I’m glad he’s not gay.”

Authorities are expected to file hate crime charges against Aldrich.

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Aldrich used to be known as Nicholas Brink, but changed their name in 2016 due to Brink’s porn career and his appearance on the show Intervention where he talked about his meth addiction.

The shocked dad explained he thought he had lost his son before when his ex-wife rang and told falsely him Aldrich had taken their own life.

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Brink explained: “I thought he was dead. I mourned his loss. I had gone through a meltdown and thought I had lost my son.”

In the bizarre interview, Brink also expressed remorse for the five lives lost in the terrible attack and explained there was no excuse for resorting to violent actions even if he disagreed with their sexuality.

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“Those people’s lives were valuable,” Brink added.

“They were good people probably. You know, it’s not something you kill people over. I’m sorry, I let my son down.”

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Brink also admitted he “praised him for violent behaviour really early,” though was reportedly not that involved in his child’s life. He and his ex-wife divorced when Aldrich was a baby.

According to court filings, Aldrich allegedly identifies as non-binary and is referred to with they and them pronouns.

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Aldrich appeared heavily bruised in court earlier this week, the first time they were seen publicly since the shooting. The injuries are reported to have come from people in the club who took down the alleged shooter.

Among them was army veteran Rich Fierro, who was attending a drag show with his daughter and her boyfriend Raymond Green Vance, along with some friends.

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Fierro was called “heroic” by police as he and a fellow military man, Navy technician Thomas James, are reported to have taken the shooter down and beaten him to submission.

Raymond, 22, was one of the five killed in the club along with Ashley Paugh, 35, Kelly Loving, 40 and staff member Daniel Davis Aston, 28, and Derrick Rump, 38.

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Brink said he loves his child no matter what they are accused of and also praised their grandfather, Republican politician Randy Voepel.

Voepel, 71, is the representative in the California State Assembly from the 71st district but lost his seat in the Midterm elections.

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He has been controversial in his career, once comparing the January 6 riots in 2021 to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first engagements in the American Revolutionary War.

Voepel, whom Brink described as future president material, later said he “condemned violence and lawlessness.”

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