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PDP to register Aisha Buhari

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Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been offered an opportunity to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after she lampooned the government of her husband as being hijacked by a cabal. Aisha’s interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has generated a lot of controversies recently. While some have supported her, others have castigated her.

However, the PDP, through its former deputy national publicity secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, said, in a report by the Telegraph, that it was ready to register the wife of the president and give her a membership card. The report further quoted Jalo as comparing Buhari with America’s Donald Trump over the Nigerian leader’s reaction to his wife’s interview. Buhari had said his wife belongs to the kitchen among others.

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Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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Saudi Arabia to provide evidence on its oil facility attack

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Saudi Arabia said it would show evidence on Wednesday linking regional rival Tehran to an unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran in a dangerous escalation of Middle East frictions.

Tehran has denied involvement in the Sept. 14 attacks on oil plants, including the world’s biggest crude processing facility, that initially knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s production.

“We don’t want conflict in the region … Who started the conflict?” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, blaming Washington and Tehran for a war in Yemen.

Yemen’s Houthi group, an ally of Iran, has claimed responsibility and said they used drones to assault state oil company Aramco’s sites.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials were headed to Saudi Arabia. United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen also left for the kingdom, Saudi’s U.N. envoy told Reuters.

Concrete evidence showing Iranian responsible, if made public, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response, though U.S. President Donald Trump said he does not want war.

The Saudi Defense Ministry said it will hold a news conference on Wednesday at 1430 GMT to present “material evidence and Iranian weapons proving the Iranian regime’s involvement in the terrorist attack”. Riyadh has already said preliminary results showed the attack did not come from Yemen.

A U.S. official told Reuters the strikes originated in southwestern Iran. Three officials said they involved cruise missiles and drones, indicating a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.

The officials did not provide evidence or explain what U.S. intelligence they were using for the evaluations.

Some U.S. allies, as well as those of Iran, have asked for proof behind accusations Tehran was responsible for the attack that cut 5% of global production. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, said on Tuesday the 5.7 million barrels per day of output would be fully restored by the end of the month.

Oil prices fell after the Saudi reassurances, having surged more than 20% at one point on Monday – the biggest intra-day jump since the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Illustrating international caution on such an inflammatory issue, Japan’s new defense chief said Tokyo has not seen any intelligence that shows Iran was involved

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