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Man stabbed pregnant daughter to death because she married man against his wishes, reports say




Man stabbed pregnant daughter to death because she married man against his wishes, reports say

A man reportedly stabbed his pregnant daughter to death in the street because she married a man against his wishes.

The body of Meenakshi Brijesh Chaurasiya, 20, was allegedly found with her throat slit on a street in Mumbai, India, on Sunday morning. 

Rajkumar Chaurasiya, 55, was reportedly angry that his daughter had “disobeyed” him by refusing to marry the man he had chosen for her, and suspected she had become pregnant before her marriage.  

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He asked Ms Chaurasiya to meet him on the pretext of giving her some money for new clothes on Saturday night, the Indian Express reported.

Mr Chaurasiya then stabbed his daughter in the neck several times and slit her throat before fleeing.

Akhilesh Kumar Singh, a police officer investigating the murder, told the Hindustan Times that Mr Chaurasiya had arranged for his daughter to be married in March and had already sent out invitations.

However in February, Ms Chaurasiya eloped with a distant relative who lived in the same village where she grew up in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  

The following month, the couple returned to the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar where Brijesh Chaurasiya ran a shop.

“For Rajkumar, Meenakshi’s marriage had brought shame to his family as villagers taunted him about his daughter not obeying him,” an unidentified police officer told the Hindustan Times.

“The father also suspected that Meenakshi got pregnant before she got married, and feared that this would become a topic of gossip for the rest of their village.” 

Mr Chaurasiya reportedly confessed to killing his daughter after police found the location on his mobile phone matched Ms Chaurasiya’s on Saturday night.



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Improved governance in agric sector will reduce poverty – Oxfam


The Country Director, OXFAM, Mr Constant Tchona
The Country Director, OXFAM, Mr Constant Tchona

By Sylvester Thompson

Mr Constant Tchona, the Country Director of OXFAM in Nigeria, an NGO says improved governance in the agricultural sector is key to the reduction of poverty and improving economic development.

Tchona said this on Tuesday in Lokoja during Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on 2020 Agriculture Budget organised by ActionAid Nigeria, Oxfam and ECOWAS Commission.

Other organisers are One Campaign, CAADP Non State Actors Coalition (CNC) and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

The Country Director said Nigeria needed to develop smallholder farmers because many Nigerians work in the agricultural sector and agriculture had been an important revenue earner for the country.

“In 2017, agriculture contributed around 20.85 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP and there is potential for more than this, and it lies in our ability to unlock the productivity of smallholder actors.

“This is doubly important for Nigerian farmers to be competitive in agricultural production and move away from raw material exports and into value addition.’’

Tchona expressed surprise over the ignorance of state governments about key national policy instruments and framework such as the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

He said he was awestricken by the relative lack of awareness of these state governments on the Nigerian Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF) and Nigerian Agricultural Investment Promotion (NAIP).

“In a situation such as this, CAADP can provide a framework for which state-level governments can assess the impact of their agricultural policies.

“States should use CAADP not just as a means of keying into the national agenda, but as part and parcel of guiding their own agricultural investments as well.

“The Malabo commitment of 10 per cent for agricultural budget got a lot of press, but we need to ensure the quality of these investments as well – that is where the need for improved tracking and monitoring comes in.

“One of the good things about CAADP is that it gives a framework for setting targets at state and national agricultural policy responsiveness, and agricultural policy development,’’ he said.





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Funke Olakunri: Akure community blows hot over Fasoranti daughter’s death, reveals next step



Residents of Akure community, Ondo State have decried the persistent attacks on indigenes of the community by suspected herdsmen.

The people, who are still in shock over the gruesome murder of one of their daughters, Mrs. Funke Olakunri, who was shot dead by suspected herdsmen on Friday, last week while on her way to Lagos from Akure, stated that “nation is indeed descending into anarchy.”

According to Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru, who spoke on behalf of the Akure people at a press conference on Tuesday, the community has had enough as regards the effrontery of the herdsmen on their land and at the people.”

Oluwateru, who was a former deputy governor of the state, emphasized that almost all the farmlands within and around Akure community, which comprises two local governments, Akure North and Akure South have been taken over by herdsmen.

The former ambassador to Uganda also named ex-Minister of Finance and former presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falae as one of the many indigenes who have been subjected to the criminalities of herdsmen in the community.

“We must declare that we are currently in deep mourning, occasioned by the dastardly murder of a prominent Akure indigene, Mrs Olufunke Olakunri, daughter of our father, Pa Ruben Ayo Fasoranti, the Leader of Afenifere, and by extension Yoruba leader.

“We are indeed very sad at this ugly development and also deeply angered and frustrated at the fact that our nation is indeed descending into anarchy, a development that cannot be excused at all. The killing of Olufunke represents a new scourge, invasion of our lands by Fulani criminals, now commonly referred to as Fulani herdsmen who have wantonly killed, raped and destroyed across Yorubaland and it has now gotten to a stage that the Yoruba nation must rise and declare enough is enough!

“In Akure kingdom, these Fulani criminals have even driven their criminal messages into our ears fiercely through their nefarious kidnapping activities, they began by abducting Chief Olu Falae in his farm, while in their captivity he was treated with great disrespect and abuses, we held our peace in national interest in this instance, hoping that Government at both State and Federal levels will take actions to forestall this evil development, alas our expectations in that respect has been dashed.

“Arising from the foregoing, more kidnappings by these Fulani criminals continue unabated, many citizens have been kidnapped majorly in Akure North Local Government Area, with the attendant results that farmlands have been abandoned on this premise. Today, prime kidnapping activities are rife in Oba-Ile, Iju, Itaogbolu, Irese, Osi and even the fringes of Akure metropolis, these remain unacceptable and inexcusable to us as a Kingdom and therefore demand that government begins to implement actions that will halt this trend forthwith.

Ambassador Oluwateru added that “While we mourn a distinguish daughter, Mrs Olufunke Olakunri, we must say that we have now come to the realization that Nigeria is indeed in severe problems, with dwindling capabilities to discharge its responsibilities to the citizenry.

“Therefore we now see these ugly developments through an entirely new vista, which dictates that we must begin to develop security models that will guarantee the arrest of this evil trend and defend ourselves as a community henceforth.

“It is a generally accepted fact that Akure people are very hospitable, welcoming people from diverse backgrounds and places into our communities and this practice is age long, we therefore request from all residents a respect for lives, law and order.

“We cherish the peace and tranquility that had hitherto reigned in our Kingdom, even also in our State and nation and do expect that constituted authorities must be alive to their responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution, proper discharge of these responsibilities is the only safeguard against anarchy in our nation.

“We also warn that lawlessness possess the capability to make us put in place self help strategies as self preservation is the first law of nature.

“Finally we condole the Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s family, the bereaved husband and children of the deceased, the entire Akure Kingdom on the demise of our dearly beloved Mrs Olufunke Olakunri, it is our prayer that her gentle soul will rest in peace.”





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John Paul Stevens: Canny Strategist and the ‘Finest Legal Mind’ Ford Could Find


WASHINGTON — Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 and died on Tuesday at 99, was the last of a breed. He was chosen for his ability as a lawyer and not, as is common today, for how he was likely to vote in ideologically charged cases. In picking him in 1975, President Gerald R. Ford, a Republican, said all he wanted was “the finest legal mind I could find.”

Justice Stevens was confirmed 19 days after his nomination, by a unanimous vote. Though Roe v. Wade had established a constitutional right to abortion only two years earlier, no senator asked him about the decision during his confirmation hearings, which were the last not to be broadcast live on television.

Three decades later, Ford expressed satisfaction with his choice, who had by then emerged as the leader of the court’s liberal wing.

[Justice John Paul Stevens, who led the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, dies at 99.]

“I am prepared,” Ford wrote, “to allow history’s judgment of my term in office to rest (if necessarily, exclusively) on my nomination 30 years ago of Justice John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

By most accounts, Justice Stevens drifted left over his decades on the court, assuming leadership of its liberal wing. But he said it was the court that had moved to the right.

In an interview in 2010, he said that every one of the dozen justices appointed to the court since 1971, including himself, was more conservative than his or her predecessor, with the possible exception of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Stevens was a canny strategist who wrote the first drafts of his opinions, a rarity among modern justices. “I really think it’s a good practice because you will find sometimes that it won’t write, and then you have to start over,” he said in 2010.

He worked behind the scenes, with mixed success, in cases on gun rights, affirmative action, abortion and executive power. He grew disillusioned with the death penalty over the years, announcing in 2008 his conclusion that it violated the Eighth Amendment. But he went on to say that his conclusion did not justify “a refusal to respect precedents that remain a part of our law.”

His most significant dissent may have been in 2010 in the Citizens United campaign finance case, which he viewed as a grave mistake. He stumbled over and mispronounced several words as he announced it from the bench.

Even so, there was no mistaking his basic message. “The rule announced today — that Congress must treat corporations exactly like human speakers in the political realm — represents a radical change in the law,” he said. “The court’s decision is at war with the views of generations of Americans.”

His shaky performance persuaded him that it was time to leave. “Unbeknownst to me,” he wrote in a recent memoir, “I apparently had suffered a ministroke.”

He elaborated in an interview in November. “I made the decision that day,” he said. “After I went to see the doctor, I sent a letter to the president right away.” President Barack Obama nominated Elena Kagan, then the solicitor general, to succeed him.

Of his memoir, Justice Stevens said, “It’s a long story.” And it was.

He was born to a prominent Chicago family that operated what was then the largest hotel in the world, the Stevens Hotel, with 3,000 rooms. He met celebrities like Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, and he was at Wrigley Field for Game 3 of the 1932 World Series to see Babe Ruth’s fabled called-shot home run.

Mr. Stevens attended the University of Chicago and Northwestern University School of Law. In between, he served in the Navy in World War II, signing up on Dec. 6, 1941. “I’m sure you know how the enemy responded the following day,” he liked to say, referring to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He earned a Bronze Star for his work as a code-breaker.

After law school, he served as a clerk to Justice Wiley B. Rutledge Jr., the last of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s appointees. Turning down an offer to teach at Yale Law School, Mr. Stevens returned to Chicago to practice law, specializing in antitrust cases. His career in private practice was broken up by government service, including as counsel to a special commission of the Illinois Supreme Court that led to the resignations of two State Supreme Court justices.

President Richard M. Nixon appointed him in 1970 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago.

Justice Stevens maintained an active life outside the court, and he did much of his work from his home in Florida, for years piloting his own plane there and back. He loved tennis, golf and bridge.

His long life gave him frames of reference — Prohibition, Tokyo Rose — that amused and sometimes confused his colleagues and law clerks.

He did not have an overarching legal philosophy, Justice Stevens said, beyond what emerged from deciding many hundreds of cases.

“There are a lot of things that run through my work over the years that I think are totally consistent,” he said. “There’s a great deal of wisdom to the notion that you try to decide cases narrowly and you let the other decision makers make as many decisions as they can.”

He did not subscribe to originalism, the approach to interpreting the Constitution that emphasizes the original meaning of its text. In a private memorandum to Justice Harry A. Blackmun in 1992, Justice Stevens put his objection this way: “Traditions — especially traditions in the law — are as likely to codify the preferences of those in power as they are to reflect necessity or proven wisdom.”



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Lawan appoints spokesperson, other aides


The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has appointed Ola Awoniyi to replace Festus Adedayo as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

The appointment comes weeks after he reversed his appointment of Mr Adedayo for the position.

He had appointed Mr Adedayo as his media aide but the decision was opposed by government loyalists who said Mr Adedayo was a harsh critic of the administration.

In his reaction, Mr Adedayo, a journalist and columnist, told PREMIUM TIMES he did not canvass for the position and that those condemning his appointment mistook him for a politician.

Mr Lawan also appointed Karage Mohammed Mamman as his Deputy Chief of Staff.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa.

Mr Awonyi, 58, according to the statement, is a graduate of University of Ibadan where he obtained a B.Sc in Psychology and holds Masters in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (MLC) and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy (MIAD) both from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

He also obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja in 1997.

He worked with Nigerian Tribune for over a decade before he joined the services of Agence France-Press (AFP), where he was the head of Abuja office.

Other appointments made by the Senate President were Abubakar Sidiq Usman as Special Assistant on New Media, Kabir Adamu as Special Adviser on Security and Intelligence, and Muhammad Mukhtar Yawale as Special Adviser on Health.

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All the appointments are with immediate effect.

The new Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Mr Karage, is a graduate of University of Sokoto where he obtained Bachelor of Arts (Education).

He retired as Director in Federal Ministry of Education in 2018.

Abubakar Usman graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Minna where he obtained both his first and second degrees.

Mr Sidiq was the head of Social Media Unit of the Field Operations Directorate of All Progressive Congress (APC) during the 2019 general elections.





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International Passenger and Cargo Airport: Cross River Widows protest alleged seizure of farm land, blast Gov. Ayade



Widows numbering over hundred in Okambi, Igwo, Atiekpe and Ikwomikwu communities in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State have protested over the alleged seizure of their farm lands for construction of International Passenger and Cargo Airport in the area.

Protesting at the site of the project on Tuesday, the leader of the group, Mrs. Agness Agba, alleged that the contractors destroyed their farm lands, houses and took over their ancestral homes without compensation.

Regretting the action of the state government, the protesters said that the mostly affected were widows from the four communities, who have raised the alarm over the destruction of their palm plantations and farms worth hundreds of millions of naira.

Mrs. Agba lamented their living condition and the untold hardship the proposed International Passenger and Cargo Airport has brought on them.

“We regret voting Governor Ben Ayade for the second time because of the kind of hardship we are now facing. Our farms including palm estate have been destroyed. For me, the palm estate was my pension and retirement plan as well as only major source of income for and my children

“It seems we have voted ourselves into hell fire with the kind of treatment we are now getting. I am over 60 years, I retired as a teacher and I have lost my husband. I have eight children some are grown up and married but the ones with me I have to train.

“All my hope is on the palm estate that has been destroyed. I have no other means to survive with my children; it’s my major source of income.

“The authorities should please take the Cargo Airport project to somewhere else because they have taken all our land and have no way to farm. I can’t start planting new ones now. I feel pained in my soul,” she said.

Another widow, Mrs. Georgina Okwang, said her farm was not only destroyed but that her house was attacked and some part vandalized because she protested against the railing over of her farm as well as destruction of her crops.

She said: “I was sleeping that faithful night when a group of armed youths broke my windows and glasses and they tried to gain access into my house if not for the iron doors and window protectors.

“They are using thugs and armed men to terrorize us because we said we don’t want airport. They have destroyed my farm and crops, I mainly plant rice, and cocoa, groundnut and other things and I do this every year

“Since I lost my husband I am like a father and mother at the same time. I now beg for food, even cassava because the ones in my farm have been destroyed because of airport,” she decried.

When newsmen contacted the former Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Technical, Mr Eric Akpo said “It is not true that widows, youths or anybody for that matter are being attacked in Obudu over the proposed Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport. It is totally false.”

Eric, who is the Task Force Chairman on the Airport project said, “Why will they protest when we have paid over 70% of the compensation for the lands acquired to the host communities? Neighbouring communities are also appealing that we include them even though we have not acquired their lands,” he stated.

It would be recalled that Cross River State has an Airport named Bebi situated at about twenty minutes drives to Obudu local government area which has been abandoned and the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar.





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Man stabbed pregnant daughter to death because she married man against his wishes, reports say




Man stabbed pregnant daughter to death because she married man against his wishes, reports say

A man reportedly stabbed his pregnant daughter to death in the street because she married a man against his wishes.

The body of Meenakshi Brijesh Chaurasiya, 20, was allegedly found with her throat slit on a street in Mumbai, India, on Sunday morning. 

Rajkumar Chaurasiya, 55, was reportedly angry that his daughter had “disobeyed” him by refusing to marry the man he had chosen for her, and suspected she had become pregnant before her marriage.  

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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He asked Ms Chaurasiya to meet him on the pretext of giving her some money for new clothes on Saturday night, the Indian Express reported.

Mr Chaurasiya then stabbed his daughter in the neck several times and slit her throat before fleeing.

Akhilesh Kumar Singh, a police officer investigating the murder, told the Hindustan Times that Mr Chaurasiya had arranged for his daughter to be married in March and had already sent out invitations.

However in February, Ms Chaurasiya eloped with a distant relative who lived in the same village where she grew up in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  

The following month, the couple returned to the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar where Brijesh Chaurasiya ran a shop.

“For Rajkumar, Meenakshi’s marriage had brought shame to his family as villagers taunted him about his daughter not obeying him,” an unidentified police officer told the Hindustan Times.

“The father also suspected that Meenakshi got pregnant before she got married, and feared that this would become a topic of gossip for the rest of their village.” 

Mr Chaurasiya reportedly confessed to killing his daughter after police found the location on his mobile phone matched Ms Chaurasiya’s on Saturday night.



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Lawan Appoints Media Adviser, DCoS, Others


Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has eventually named Ola Awoniyi, as his Special Adviser on Media, more than one month after his election as President of the Ninth Senate.

Lawan, had shortly after the inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly appointed Festus Adedayo of The Nigerian Tribune as his Media Adviser but had to withdraw his nomination few days after.

Awoniyi’s appointment was announced on Tuesday evening via a statement by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa.

Other appointees include Karage Mohammed, Deputy Chief of Staff to Senate President; Abubakar Sidiq Usman, Special Assistant on New Media; Kabir Adamu as Special Adviser on Security and Intellegence, and Muhammad Mukhtar Yawale as Special Adviser on Health.

All the appointments, according to the statement, take immediate effect.
Awonyi, aged 58, is a graduate of University of Ibadan where he obtained a B.Sc in Psychology and holds Masters in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (MLC) and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy (MIAD) both from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He also obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from International Institute of Journalism, Abuja in 1997.

He worked with Nigerian Tribune for over a decade before joining the services of Agence France-Press (AFP), where he is the Head of Abuja office.

The new Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Karage, is a graduate of University of Sokoto where he obtained Bachelor of Arts (Education). He retired as Director in the Federal Ministry of Education in 2018.

Usman, popularly known as Abu Sidiq, graduated from Federal University of Technology, Minna where he obtained both his first and second degrees.

A blogger, Sidiq was the head of Social Media Unit of the Field Operations Directorate of All Progressive Congress (APC) during the 2019 general election.





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Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda


Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs and conservative activists regularly flew first class to Saipan, an island just north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. They slept at the beachfront Hyatt Regency, and dined on fresh Japanese cuisine.

The junkets in the late 1990s were organized by Patrick Pizzella. The Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States, had hired him to ensure that Congress did not impose federal minimum wage and immigration laws in a place where some workers earned less than $1 an hour.

Mr. Pizzella, a genial lobbyist and government official who has spent years advocating the interests of businesses, is set to become the top Trump administration official protecting workers’ rights when he takes over as acting labor secretary this week. He will fill the vacancy left when Alex Acosta resigned amid criticism of a plea deal he approved in 2008 with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who has been accused of sex trafficking.

A longtime free-market evangelist, Mr. Pizzella, 65, has built a four-decade career in the conservative Republican mold, fighting regulation and organized labor.

His appointment is far more consequential than those of the many acting secretaries who have served in President Trump’s patchwork cabinet. The man he succeeds, Mr. Acosta, spent two years battling other White House officials who demanded that he push through a sweeping anti-union agenda and coordinate his actions with the president’s political team.

Mr. Pizzella, who is close to many of the conservatives allied with Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, is expected to be a significantly more cooperative partner in those efforts, according to administration and industry officials.

“Pat will be great — he is a movement conservative,” said Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff and a friend of Mr. Pizzella’s for two decades. “I think it’s fair to say that while he will be focused on issues of workplace safety, he will also work to ensure that the workplace is not overly burdened with regulations.”

When he filled the lone Republican slot at the Federal Labor Relations Authority during the Obama administration, Mr. Pizzella compared union representatives to the mob-connected bosses from the Marlon Brando film “On the Waterfront.” He cheered a federal-court decision that struck down potential restrictions on investigating unions. As a Labor Department official during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, he bemoaned the “staggering costs” of paid work time that government employees used to conduct union business, which is authorized by labor law and union contracts.

Mr. Trump has sent mixed messages about his stance on organized labor. He has courted construction and law enforcement unions while taking a harder line against most government employees. But the conservatives who run his West Wing policy shop are less ambivalent, pushing hard to undermine unions’ ability to bargain collectively, raise dues and exert political power.

Those ambitions suffered when Mr. Trump’s first choice for labor secretary, the fast food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination early in 2017 amid controversy over domestic abuse allegations. The administration turned instead to Mr. Acosta, a relatively moderate former prosecutor, who essentially inherited Mr. Pizzella as a deputy secretary already slated to work for Mr. Puzder.

Soon after Mr. Acosta took office, his aides were presented with a detailed to-do list by James Sherk, who coordinates labor policy for the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and joined the administration from the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The list, which was provided to The New York Times by a person who had obtained it from a former Trump administration official, included proposals to weaken collective bargaining rights and protections for workers on federally funded construction projects. The list also included a proposal that would have forced male actors in pornographic films to wear condoms.

Mr. Acosta rejected outright or dragged his feet on many of the plans, including the condom regulation, according to a person close to him and administration officials.

“We’re the Department of Labor, we’re not the Department of Commerce,” the secretary complained privately last year, the person close to him recalled.

Mr. Sherk gained a powerful new ally when Mr. Trump named Mr. Mulvaney acting chief of staff in January. Still, Mr. Acosta insisted that pursuing such a hard-line agenda would alienate the president’s blue-collar union supporters and make it more difficult to garner labor support for a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement that is awaiting a vote by the Democratic-controlled House, according to a current administration official with direct knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Acosta also resisted efforts to involve the Labor Department in broader political fights. In April, the White House sent Mr. Acosta’s office a request from Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, and other White House officials asking him to write an opinion column saying that a so-called Medicare-for-all proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont would hurt employers and workers, according to a copy of the request viewed by The Times.

Mr. Acosta refused after his legal advisers determined that the request raised “red flags” related to the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of government resources for political activity, according to memos provided by a former administration official.

“It should be expected that the White House and cabinet agencies, including the Department of Labor, would have frequent conversations around potential policy ideas particularly as it relates to the president’s priority of deregulation,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.

White House officials have good reason to expect more cooperation from Mr. Pizzella.

As an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, he wrote columns for the school newspaper, including one in 1972 in which he criticized Senator George McGovern, the recently defeated Democratic presidential nominee, for sending his daughter to an upscale suburban school near Washington.

“The hypocrisy continues as McGovern expresses the opinion that he represents the working man,” Mr. Pizzella wrote. “That’s similar to Hitler saying he represented the Jewish people in Germany during the 1930s.”

After college, Mr. Pizzella went on to work for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican primaries, according to a 2001 profile in The New Republic. He subsequently held a series of government appointments, building a formidable list of conservative contacts.

In the mid-1990s, Mr. Pizzella joined the lobbying arm of the law firm Preston Gates, where Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of defrauding clients, had set up a growing lobbying practice. One of the firm’s biggest clients in the late 1990s was the Northern Mariana Islands, which was exempt from federal minimum wage and immigration laws but could sell products under a “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

Large textile manufacturers set up production on the islands. Migrant workers, typically from China and the Philippines, worked long hours for low pay and lived in squalid, crowded dormitories. A 1997 federal government report concluded that nearly the entire private-sector labor force of the commonwealth consisted of “essentially indentured alien workers.”

The report said that foreign women were often coerced into prostitution, and that those who refused were sometimes raped or tortured.

It was Mr. Pizzella’s job to present a kinder, gentler image of the commonwealth to Republicans in Congress and their staffs, who controlled the House and Senate at the time. Allen Stayman, an Interior Department official involved in investigating conditions on the islands, said Mr. Pizzella “was in charge of showing the Potemkin village.”

One person on a trip to the commonwealth organized by Mr. Pizzella recalled meetings with senior officials of the local government in which the officials discussed their interest in making the commonwealth a laboratory for conservative policies like school vouchers. Mr. Pizzella also showed visitors factories and dormitories that were crowded but clean.

The lobbying efforts were effective. Legislation that would have applied the minimum wage and immigration laws to the commonwealth went nowhere in the House in the 1990s. At his 2017 confirmation hearings to become deputy labor secretary, Mr. Pizzella dismissed the reported abuses as “allegations” and said his job was strictly to lobby against the minimum wage.

Mr. Pizzella joined Mr. Bush’s administration in 2001, serving for nearly eight years as an assistant labor secretary for administration and management, but the Obama era gave him an even higher profile. As conservatives mobilized against Democratic policies, Mr. Pizzella joined the Conservative Action Project, which worked to establish alliances between socially and fiscally conservative organizations.

Mr. Pizzella convened meetings where conservative groups coordinated campaigns against Mr. Obama’s health care, climate change and labor policies, said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, one such organization.

Among other things, Mr. Pizzella spread the word about bus tours meant to build opposition to the Affordable Care Act. “We would say: ‘Hey, Pat, we’re doing these bus tours in these states on these days. Could you let the rest of the movement know?’” Mr. Phillips recalled. “And they would.”

In 2013, Mr. Pizzella was nominated by the Obama administration to be the only Republican on the three-member Federal Labor Relations Authority, which adjudicates disputes between federal workers and the agencies that employ them.

In several cases, Mr. Pizzella used cutting language to describe employees and identified them by name in his opinions, breaking with the agency’s traditional approach of withholding names. The naming and disparaging of workers risked exposing them to harassment, said Carol Waller Pope, the agency’s chairwoman for most of Mr. Pizzella’s tenure. (The authority typically named only the union bringing the grievance.)

“It could discourage people from using the process to resolve disputes — that was our mission,” Ms. Pope said. “I viewed it as having an effect.”



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Kwara Assembly probes Saraki – Daily Post Nigeria



The Kwara State House of Assembly, on Tuesday directed its Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development to investigate the alleged transfer of the ownership of a four-bedroom chalet to the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The building named Alimi Lodge is located on Alimi road in GRA, llorin, the state capital.

The directive of the House followed the raising of the issue under matters of urgent public importance by Omotayo Awodiji (APC- lrepodun).

Awodiji, while raising the matter, said that the lodge was transferred to Saraki under the state’s Pension Law for Governors and Deputy Governors.

The Raidar Gist reports that Saraki was a two-term governor of the state.

Awodiji, however, insisted that the ownership of the lodge was not transferable as it was meant for an incumbent Chief Executive of the state.

The Speaker, Danladi Yakubu- Salihu, while reading the resolutions of the House, said there was the need for the House to investigate the matter.

This, he said, was to put an end to all forms of abnormality in the state in order to enhance the well being of the people and fast track the socio-economic development of the state.

The committee was mandated to report back to the House on Thursday.





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Nigeria loses N1.4 tr annually to violence against children – UNICEF

UNICEFBy Polycarp Auta The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Nigeria loses over N1.4 trillion annually due to Violence Against Children (VAC). A consultant with...
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