The CIA blocked a top deputy of Trump's original choice for National Security Council director. (Courtesy of U.S.

Days before Michael Flynn resigned as Donald Trump’s national security adviser, his top aide, Robin Townley, was denied security clearance for the National Security Council, effectively ending the aide’s tenure with the council.

Townley, the council’s senior director for Africa and one of Michael Flynn’s closest deputies, was notified Feb. 10 that the CIA rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC. Flynn, under intense scrutiny for his pre-inaugural communications with Russian officials, stepped down three days later.

The NSC’s Africa director has a central role in policy formulation, including staffing presidential and NSC leadership and coordinating the many different U.S. departments and agencies. However, the recent rejection is expected to further delay development of coherent policy within the region.

Professor: Forests Can Help Save Nigeria From Recession

A retired agricultural professor said during the 39th annual conference of the Forestry Association of Nigeria that forests are the solution to the county’s economic recession.

During the conference — themed “Harnessing the Uniqueness of Forests for Sustainable Development in a Diversifying Economy” — Emmanuel Lucas, a former professor in the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Ibadan, urged tree planting and for government officials to patronize private entrepreneurs engaged in seedling raising.

“Forests are finitely renewable and can supply raw materials for industries; there is no construction material that comes near wood in low energy requirements for exploitation, processing and installation,” Lucas said. “While petroleum, cooking gas failed Nigeria, inflicted heavy environmental pollution on the country, forests can take over; it has little negative impact on the country’s environment.”

Congo Militia Accused of Killing Over 25 Unarmed Civilians

In recent military footage leaked by Congolese human rights activists, a squad of what appeared to be uniformed members of the national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, accompanied by a heavy military truck, recently raised their weapons and killed over 25 unarmed civilians including women and children.

After shooting the civilians, the soldiers then reportedly walked over to the wounded individuals and shot them in the head with assault rifles.

Human Rights Watch, Western diplomats and United Nations officials are reportedly investigating the video.

“The video shows shocking footage of killings and executions of civilians by uniformed personnel,” The United Nations Peacekeeping Department said in a statement.

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Lauren Victoria Burke

Lauren Victoria Burke has covered politics on Capitol Hill since 1998. She began her career in journalism assisting Cokie Roberts at ABC News. Prior to that, she was a staffer on Capitol Hill. She has...

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