Amber Heard has lost her bid to have Johnny Depp’s $50million (£39m) defamation lawsuit against her dismissed.
The actress’ legal team made a motion to dismiss the case on Tuesday May 3 but it was disputed by Depp’s lawyers in a lengthy speech.
Depp launched a lawsuit against his ex-wife over her 2020 op-ed in the Washington Post, in which she wrote about her experience of suffering domestic abuse.
While she didn’t name the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, his lawyers argued that this falsely implies that he sexually and physically abused her – something he has fiercely denied.
Judge Penney Azcarate, presiding over the case at the Fairfax County Court in Virgina, ruled that sufficient evidence had been presented to continue the case against Heard.
‘If there is a scintilla of evidence that a reasonable juror could weigh, then the matter survives a motion to strike,’ she said.
She also explained that there was ‘evidence that jurors could weigh that the statements were about the plaintiff (Johnny Depp) that the statements were published and that the statement was false, and that the defendant made the statement knowing it to be false or that the defendant made it so recklessly as to amount to willful disregard for the truth.
‘The weight of that evidence is up to the fact finders.’
Heard’s lawyers called their first witness, Dr Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist.
Heard was due to be the opening witness in the defense but will reportedly be second on the stand her lawyers said.
The 36-year-old Heard has countersued for $100million (£76m), claiming that her former partner libeled her by calling her a liar.
The trial began in April, with Depp among those taking the stand beside alongside other witnesses, including Heard’s former nurse, their former couple’s therapist and the actor’s security guard.
The trial continues.
Stop IPOB from using your platform to incite violence, FG tells Facebook
Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
THE Federal Government has asked Facebook and other social media platforms to stop allowing the Indigenous People of Biafra from using their platforms to allegedly incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
The government said that since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, “Facebook has no justification for yielding its platform to the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, according to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Segun Adeyemi, made the demand in Abuja at a meeting with a team from Facebook.
He said, “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech. They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed.
“They use both English and their local language as it suits them,” Mohammed said.
“He said the actions of the proscribed group have real-life implications, adding, “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”
The minister said despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.
“Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.
“Most often than not, nothing is done about such complaints. The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective,” Mohammed said.
The minister said the government would be “monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.”
“We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media. They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” he said.
Death toll rises to nine
At least nine persons have been confirmed dead in a suspected gas explosion that occurred in Sabon Gari area of Kano State.
The blast which occurred on Tuesday morning at a building located at No. 01, Aba/Court Road, opposite Winners Kids Academy, affected some buildings and left several people injured, including school children.
The National Ergency Management Agency(NEMA) in a statement said nine corpses were recovered from the scene of the explosion.
NEMA’s spokesperson, Manzo Ezekiel, said the Director-General, Mustapha Habib, who visited the scene of the explosion, coordinated the rescue operations.
“Nine dead bodies have been recovered so far from the rubbles of a collapsed building beside a primary school following explosions from a gas cylinder at Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano. Director-General National Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, was at the site of the incident and coordinated the rescue operations,” the statement read.
“He mobilised excavators being used for the rescue operations and said NEMA team will ensure complete removal of the rubbles to retrieve all trapped persons.
“Furthermore, the DG instructed the NEMA rescue team to remain at the site until the conclusion of the rescue and to work together with security agencies and other response organisations present at the location.
“NEMA is presently coordinating the rescue operations involving members, Nigerian Red Cross, military, the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Kano SEMA.”
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Samaila Dikko, had earlier confirmed that it was a gas explosion and not bomb as widely reported on social media.
A statement issued by spokesperson of the State Police Command, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said “preliminary Forensic Analysis revealed a suspected Gas Cylinder Explosion with the recovery of chemicals”
“Scene of the suspected explosion that led to a building collapse was cordoned up and four victims (3 Males and 1 Female) including a Wielder, named Mr. Ejike Vincent were removed and rushed to Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital Kano, where a Medical Doctor certified them dead,” the PPRO added.
Meanwhile, the Kano State Government in a statement clarified that the explosion did not occur in schools.
The state commissioner for information, Malam Muhammad Garba said the incident happened at an animal feed store opposite the school along Aba Road, Sabon Gari area of Fagge local government.
He said while the cause of the explosion and the damage it had done is yet to be officially ascertained, investigation has since commenced to determine the cause, impact and measures to be taken.
Malam Garba called on the people in the state particularly those living in the area where the incident occured to remain calm while government in collaboration with relevant agencies are working on the matter.
The commissioner assured that government would keep the public abreast on any development and warned people to desist from spreading unsubstantiated news.
Watford decline to sign Super Eagles player Peter Etebo permanently from Stoke City
Watford football club will not activate their option to sign Super Eagles midfielder Oghenekaro Peter Etebo permanently from Stoke City, according to new reports.
Watford based paper, the Watford Observer in a new report on Tuesday, May 17, said that the club’s new manager Rob Edwards doesn’t see him as part of his plans due to his injury concerns.
Following a nice start to his career at Watford, injury forced Etebo, 26, to miss out on months of football, after which he has been on the sidelines.
Watford have an option to sign him permanently should they wish to, but club sources have told the Watford Observer they do not think he will be needed.
The report reads;
New manager Rob Edwards is set for talks with club chiefs in the coming days, during which the current playing squad will be discussed, as the Hornets prepare to clear out players they think are either surplus to requirements, or will bring in money needed to help balance the books ahead of a season in the Championship.
And one such player who the club do not envisage as being part of their future plans is Etebo, who has been on loan from Stoke during the current campaign.
Decisions on the future of other players, like Juraj Kucka, whose contract Watford also have an option to extend by a further year, are yet to have been made and will depend on how those conversations with Edwards play out.
Rob Edwards was present at Vicarage Road for Sunday’s 5-1 defeat to Leicester City, as he saw his new club play in person for the first time since his appointment.
Etebo has featured in just 10 games in all competitions for the Hornets this season, nine Premier League appearances and one in the Carabao Cup.
He missed the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon due to injury but returned to the squad for the 2022 World Cup playoffs with the Black Stars of Ghana in March.