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17-year-old Nigerian emerges 2nd best in 2019 Commonwealth Essay Competition

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A 17-year-old Nigerian student, Nnemdi Ozoemena, has emerged the runner-up in the senior category of the 2019 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

Mr Blackson Bayewumi, Country Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Nigeria and Chairman Nigeria Conversation, said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

Bayewumi said that the Federal Ministry of Education had on March 11, inaugurated the competition in Abuja on behalf of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Nigeria during commemoration of the Commonwealth Day.

According to him, the Royal Commonwealth Society in Nigeria inaugurated the Essay Competition in Lagos on Feb. 20, 2019 and that the competition was held all over the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth.

“Ozoemena emerged runner-up courtesy of her literary piece chosen from more than 11,000 entries from across the five regions of the Commonwealth.

“She wrote about “Hello” a tale of two young people struggling with issues in their society and who do not feel truly appreciated for whom they are told through direct messages on Twitter.

“From different countries, backgrounds they find common ground and become friends; the One Final Panel Judge described the piece as ‘shop window of how youth are speaking to each other today’.

“Ozoemena will be invited to attend an Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace where the Duchess of Cornwall will present them with their certificates on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen,” he said.

Bayewumi said that Ozoemena came closely behind a 15-year-old Canadian, Beached Wang, in the senior category.

He added that Veronica Shen, 13, from Singapore emerged winner in the junior category while 12-year-old Ghanaian, Elise Jensen, emerged runner-up.

He, however, said that the senior category was for people between the ages of 14 years and 18 years, while the junior category was for those who were 13 years old and below.

Bayewumi said that notable authors would read extracts from the winning pieces at the ceremony as part of a week of cultural and educational activities in London, UK.

He explained that the 2019 competition titled “Connected Commonwealth” required applications on how the contestants could use cultural, technological, and environmental connections for positive change across the Commonwealth.

Topics for the competition provided room for young people to write on ways that Commonwealth potentials could be used to strengthen the vast and varied links between citizens.

“It is important to conclude that Nigerian young people have the competence, capacities, capabilities, and intelligence to compete globally and excel if given the opportunity and the right environment.

“While few Nigerian youths indulge themselves in crime, there are millions others making the nation proud in academics, sports, science and technology, entertainment, and other dignifying human endeavours,” he said.

He said that a pan-Commonwealth body consisting of more than 100 volunteer judges across 40 different countries assessed the entries for the competition.

Bayewumi also said that the judges commented on the skill and talent shown by any of the young writers, with entries described as ‘massively memorable’ and ‘very powerful’.

The competition is the oldest international schools’ writing competition organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society founded in 1868, as network of individuals and organisations to improve prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world.

The society seeks to promote Commonwealth societal values through youth empowerment, education and advocacy.
FEA/IAA/YEE

(Edited by Isaac Aregbesola/Emmanuel Yashim)

Foreign

Anthony Joshua thanks Nigerian envoy for inspiring him

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World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua has expressed appreciation to the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, for psyching him up to reclaim his titles.

After Joshua lost to Andy Ruiz Jr during their first match in New York in June, Okoyen sent him a letter praising his courage and assuring him of Nigeria’s support in his future fights. 

areer.

The letter obviously meant a lot to the 30-year-old Nigerian-British pugilist, who held it up in a photograph obtained by the Nigeria News Agency .

After reclaiming the titles in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, he reciprocated with words of appreciation to the Consul General.

Joshua’s message was conveyed by a U.S.-based Nigerian journalist, Joi John, who covered the rematch in Saudi Arabia.

The two-time heavyweight boxing champion was quoted as saying that the letter was a big source of inspiration to him at a time he needed it most. 

“To Ben. God bless,” Joshua wrote on an autographed copy of the official fight brochure at the Diriyah Arena which he sent to the envoy.

Okoyen displays the autographed brochure from Joshua.

Born in the UK to Nigerian parents, Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua has always identified with his Nigerian heritage. 

Moments after defeating Andy Ruiz Jr, he did a video message thanking Nigerians for their support. 

The boxer will be visiting Nigeria to present his IBF, WBA, and WBO world heavyweight boxing titles to President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare.

(Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Emmanuel Yashim)
(NAN)
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9 terror suspects face remand custody hearings in Denmark

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Nine suspects face remand custody hearings in Denmark on Thursday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack with a militant Islamist motive.

Danish media reported from the court that one woman and two men appeared at Copenhagen city court where they were charged with attempting to make explosives.

According to the report, in another courtroom at the Copenhagen city court, five other suspects, four men and one woman, were charged with attempting to acquire firearms or to finance the purchase of firearms.

Meanwhile, the ninth suspect was facing a hearing in the city of Odense.

The hearings took place the day after Copenhagen police and the Danish security service PET, said they had arrested about 20 people in connection with raids at about 20 locations across the country.

Jorgen Skov, of the Copenhagen police, said that authorities believed the suspects attempted to obtain material to make explosives and acquire firearms.

However, Police have not mentioned any possible target.

Skov said police would request the hearings be held behind closed doors.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, said in a statement that the arrests were “a reminder that there are individuals in Denmark who have the intent and capacity to commit acts of terrorism.”

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)
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Netanyahu to give up ministerial portfolios by Jan. 1

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the Justice Ministry on Thursday that he would give up his ministerial portfolios by Jan. 1, in light of corruption charges against him.

In addition to the post of Prime Minister, which he would retain, Netanyahu currently acts as Minister for welfare, Diaspora Affairs, Agriculture and Health.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement that Netanyahu would also appoint his replacements by Jan. 1.

Netanyahu’s move comes in response to a petition filed by the good-governance group Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel to the Supreme Court to have him removed from office.

The country will hold an unprecedented third election within a year on March 2, after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself Thursday amid a political stalemate that had grasped Israel since September elections.

Under Israeli law, Netanyahu does not have to step down as Prime Minister if indicted and vowed not to give up the position.

However, legal precedent stipulates that ministers cannot hold on to their position when they are on trial.

In November, Israel’s Attorney-General announced that Netanyahu would be charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases, making him Israel’s first sitting premier to face indictment.

Netanyahu recently spoke of a “witch hunt” and “coup attempt” against him, and has repeatedly hurled attacks at Israel’s Justice Ministry.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)
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Ukraine welcomes U.S. sanctions against Nord Stream-2 pipeline

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Ukraine’s leadership, on Thursday welcomed expected U.S. sanctions on the Russian-German Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline.

Ukraine had in a very long time protested the project as undermining existing Western economic sanctions to compel Russia to resolve a conflict in Eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border, and end its occupation of Crimea region.

According to Ukrainian Presidential Administration, Ukraine is grateful for the votes in favour of sanctions against the pipeline, a political project that undermines the energy security of Europe.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, welcomed congressional approval of the sanctions as good news.

“The sanctions should dramatically complicate the construction of the Russian pipe,’’ he said.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde
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Yemen’s Hodeida remains most dangerous for civilians, aid groups say

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Yemen’s port of Hodeida on Thursday continued to be the most dangerous area in the country, several international aid groups said.

According to the group, Dec. 12, makes it exactly one year since a peace deal was reached between Yemeni rivals that promised a ceasefire in the western city.

The Stockholm Agreement was reached in Dec. 2018, following UN-sponsored talks in Sweden between representatives of the government and the Houthi rebels.

It focused on a truce agreement for Hodeida that included a province-wide ceasefire and the withdrawal of Houthi fighters.

The agreement has not been fully implemented.

A group of 15 aid organisations, including the Norwegian Refugee Council and Oxfam, said in a statement that in 2019, 799 civilians were killed and wounded in Hodeida province, representing a quarter of all civilian casualties across Yemen.

“This was the highest toll across war-torn, impoverished Yemen,” they said.

The groups noted that about 390,000 Yemenis had been displaced so far in 2019, in spite of a drop in the levels of violence compared to 2018.

They added that besides Hodeida, the northern provinces of Saada and Hajjah, and the southern Taiz and Dhale were among the most dangerous for civilians in 2019.

“As aid agencies working in Yemen, we are outraged that after almost five years, Yemenis continue to suffer from an incalculable humanitarian crisis fuelled by conflict.

“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence,” they added.

Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Houthis and the government since late 2014.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)
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