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Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff



The Senate has confirmed the appointment of three military leaders to positions within the Defense Department.

Last night, the Senate voted to confirm Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Today, the Senate voted to confirm Gen. Randy A. George as Army chief of staff and Gen. Eric M. Smith as Marine Corps commandant.

“I want to congratulate Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. on his confirmation as our nation’s next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said following last night’s confirmation vote. “He will be a tremendous leader of our joint force, and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

Since August 2020, Brown had served as Air Force chief of staff. In his new role, he will replace outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, who retires at the end of this month. Brown will be sworn in later this month.

Brown began his service as a pilot. He has served as both an instructor and commandant at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. He was also the commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, dubbed the Wolf Pack, in Kunsan, South Korea.

Brown’s nomination as the new chairman was announced in May. At the time, Austin voiced his approval of the choice when he said Brown “has developed the expertise, the vision and the warfighting acumen to help the president and senior DOD [Defense Department] leaders navigate today’s toughest national security challenges. In his tenure leading the U.S. Air Force, he has been a model of strategic clarity and a powerful force for progress.”

Austin also offered congratulations to George and Smith following their confirmations.

“I want to congratulate Gen. Randy A. George and Gen. Eric M. Smith on their confirmation as our nation’s next chief of staff of the Army and commandant of the Marine Corps, respectively,” Austin said. “They will each be incredible leaders of their service and will work to strengthen and modernize our military for the challenges ahead.”

During testimony in July, George said preparing for future conflicts would be among his top priorities as chief of staff of the Army.

“My No. 1 focus will be on warfighting, so that our Army is always ready to respond when our nation calls,” George said. “Second, I will work to ensure that we are continually improving to stay ahead of our potential adversaries. As the war in Ukraine has shown us, we are in a rapidly changing strategic environment. We can’t afford not to evolve.”

Smith took over as acting commandant of the Marine Corps in July, following the departure of outgoing Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger. Smith had served as deputy commandant for combat development and integration at Marine Corps headquarters and as commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

Over the past several months, a hold in the Senate has prevented lawmakers from using traditional means to confirm military personnel who have been nominated to leadership positions in the Defense Department. The most recent confirmation votes used an alternative voting method to confirm those leaders.

The current Senate hold has affected more than 300 general and flag-officer nominations and continues to affect the smooth transition of leadership within the department, defense leaders have said.

“It is well past time to confirm the over 300 other military nominees,” Austin said. “The brave men and women of the U.S. military deserve to be led by highly qualified general and flag officers at this critical moment for our national security. And their families, who also sacrifice so much every day on our behalf, deserve certainty and our nation’s unwavering support. I will continue to personally engage with members of Congress in both parties until all of these well-qualified, apolitical officers are confirmed.”

Following the confirmation vote, George was sworn in by Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth, who lauded him for his service.

“Gen. George is a battle-tested soldier and seasoned leader who has been a critically important champion for the Army as vice chief of staff and as acting chief,” said Wormuth. “Having first entered the force as an enlisted soldier 42 years ago, he understands the importance of service and leadership at every echelon. I deeply value the partnership we have already built and look forward to working with him to strengthen and transform the Army’s warfighting capabilities and sustain our all-volunteer force.”

It is expected Smith will be sworn in as Marine Corps commandant in the coming days.

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Houston runoff elections: Tough mayoral race as early voting starts Monday



U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Texas Sen. John Whitmire are headlining the runoff election this year after neither cleared the required 50 percent vote mark required to be called Houston’s next mayor.

Early voting for Houston’s runoff elections kicks off next Monday. Here’s what you should know.

Early voting begins Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 5 before the election on Dec. 9. There will be nine races on the ballot.

Mayoral race

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and State Sen. John Whitmire are headlining the runoff election this year after neither cleared the required 50 percent vote mark required to be called Houston’s next mayor.

The two led a crowded race weeks ago when final ballot counts revealed that 42 percent of voters supported Whitmire and 35 percent voted for Jackson Lee. Jackson Lee and Whitmire were quick to become headbutting contenders, rising to the top of a crowded field of mayoral candidates for their legislative experience and notable endorsements.

Their months-long heated race for the seat has stayed the subject of local and national headlines after their campaigns dished out thousand of dollars in advertisements and billboards.

Gilbert Garcia came in third place in the general election with 7.2 percent of the vote, and former city councilman Jack Christie followed with 6.9 percent of the vote.

The eight other races in the runoff are for city controller and seven of the 16 seats on the Houston City Council, including four of the five at-large positions. Here’s what else is on the runoff ballot.

Other races on the ballot

City controller – Former Harris County treasurer Orlando Sanchez against former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins

District D – Incumbent Carolyn Evans-Shabazz against Travis McGee

District G – Incumbent Mary Nan Huffman against Houston attorney Tony Buzbee

District H – Mario Castillo against Cynthia Reyes Revilla

At-large position 1 – Julian Ramirez against Melanie Miles

At-large position 2 – Willie Davis against Nick Hellyar

At-large position 3 – Richard Cantu against Twila Carter

At-large position 4 – Letitia Plummer against Roy Morales

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PeacePro call on FG to prosecute all those involved in $11b P&ID fraud conspiracy



Says every penny spent on ligation must be recovered from economic saboteurs

A peacebuilding think tank, Foundation for Peace Professionals also known as PeacePro has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to prosecute all those involved in the conspiracy to defraud Nigeria by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited.

PeacePro said that, the attempt to defraud Nigeria by P&ID to the tune of $11billion is not an isolated case, as several of such cases exists, some of which maybe ongoing and others concluded, noting that those involved in the scam are a cartel that must be exposed and severely punished.

In a statement by the Executive Director of PeacePro, Amb Abdulrazaq Hamzat over the weekend, PeacePro said that Commercial Courts of England and Wales saved Nigeria from what could literally be described as catastrophe of the greatest order and we must do everything possible to ensure the country is never put at the mercy of foreign government to address crisis of such magnitude.

According to Hamzat, after a long, tortuous legal battle, Nigeria narrowly escape from a hefty penalty of over $11billion over a fraudulent failed 2010 deal to develop a gas processing plant in the country.

Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales halted enforcement of a $11 billion Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited arbitration award against Nigeria, which has been described as scam.

According to the judge, the company’s award against Nigeria was obtained by fraud.

Hamzat explained that, Nigeria may have succeeded in upturning the fine, which is about 30% of our national budget, but that is after spending over $40 million in litigation fees and the federal government must treat all those involved as economic saboteurs.

Hamzat maintained that, those involved are scattered amongst the senior civil and public servants, with support of some private players and President Tinubu and the national assembly must address the situation like a national emergency.

He concluded that all business deals involving govt, either concluded or currently disputed should be reviewed to identify pattern of fraud and the respective players.

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Businessman sentenced in $180m bank fraud that paid for lavish lifestyle, classic cars



CLEVELAND (AP) — A businessman who orchestrated a $180 million check-kiting scheme and used the proceeds to live a lavish lifestyle and amass one of the world’s most revered classic car collections has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Najeeb Khan, 70, of Edwardsburg, Michigan, told a federal judge Thursday that he was “blinded by greed” to carry out the scheme and buy more than 250 cars, as well as airplanes, boats and a helicopter, according to Besides receiving a 97-month sentence, he must pay $121 million in restitution to Cleveland-based KeyBank, $27 million to clients and $9.8 million in back taxes.

Authorities have said Khan carried out the fraud from 2011-2019 while growing his payroll processing business in Elkhart, Indiana. He funneled dozens, sometimes hundreds, of checks and wire transfers with insufficient funds through three banks, artificially inflating the amount in his accounts. He siphoned off about $73 million for himself.

He used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included expensive vacations, mansions in Arizona and Michigan and properties in Florida and Montana, as well as planes and yachts. His massive car collection included pristine vintage Ferraris, Fiats and Jaguars.

Khan had plead guilty to bank fraud and attempted tax evasion. His attorneys said he had helped his victims recover some funds, in part by selling off his car collection that fetched about $40 million at auction.

Prosecutors said that when Khan’s scheme collapsed, about 1,700 of his clients lost out on money Khan’s company had withdrawn for payroll taxes. Those companies included small- and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and charities, including the Boy Scouts of America and four Catholic dioceses.

Some victims had to pay the IRS or their employees out of their own pockets or take out lines of credit, prosecutors said. Others laid off employees.

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