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3,345 athletes register for 2019 Coal City International Marathon



No fewer than 3,345 athletes have so far registered to participate in the forthcoming Coal City International Half Marathon, tagged “ Coal City 2019’’ in Enugu.


Nzube Ndiokwelu, who Race Director of Coal City International Marathon, disclosed this to the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Tuesday, said registration would be within month duration of opening the website portal for the registration for participation in the marathon.


“The website portal is still open for athletes within and outside the country to register.


“We already have 30 international athletes, mainly from African countries that have registered so far. The rest are athletes within the country.

“Interested athletes can still register on as the website is opens, 24 hours each day.


“We have to come to the end of the website registration to know the total number of athletes registered so far,’’ he said.

According to him, however, athletes, local and international, that have registered in the 2019 edition had surpassed the number that registered in the first edition of the marathon in 2018.


Ndiokwelu also said that the organisers of the marathon encouraged more local marathon runners from Enugu metropolis to register, adding that a special category had been created for them.

“We want the locals to come and compete as we have a special category which has money attached to it to encourage local flavour and sense of belonging.’’


Nigeria News Agency reports that Enugu State Government had earlier approved the 2019 edition of Coal City International Half Marathon to hold within Enugu metropolis on Nov. 23.(NAN)


Edited by Edwin Nwachukwu/Dada Ahmed

General news

Rape: Coalition wants establishment of DNA to enhance investigation 



Prof. Joy Ezeilo, leader of a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations and Rights Group, has called for the establishment of a DNA laboratory for investigation of rape cases in Nigeria.

Ezeilo, who is also the founder of an organisation,  Women Aid Collective (WACOL) made the call on Friday in Enugu  during a protest against incessant violence against women.

Ezeilo said the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) would help facilitate investigation of rape cases in the country.

According to her, the problem with investigation of rape cases is in proving the ingredients and elements of the offense beyond reasonable doubt.

“ Some people are calling for stiffer penalty. The problem is not stiffer penalty but  rather in proving the ingredients of the offense.

“ The ingredients are no consent, penetration, capacity to do it or incapable of having carnal knowledge”, she said.

She advised that if established,the police should run the laboratory.

Ezeilo further disclosed that during the period of lockdown between April and May, WACOL recorded 156 cases of violence against women, including rape, in Enugu State.

She urged the National and State Assemblies to declare a state of emergency on violence against women.


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COVID-19: Coalition private sector donations given to isolation centres



A coalition of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has called on the FCT Administration to invest donations by private sectors to isolation centres directly.

The coalition made the appeal in a communiqué signed by Alhaji Abubakar Yaqub and Mr Ossai Ilome, at the end of a one-day situation room meeting on Friday in Abuja,

Yaqub is the NLC Chairman, FCT chapter, while Ilome is the Secretary, Communique drafting committee of the meeting.

The communiqué recommended that Road Transport Union should demonstrate goodwill to government existing protocols by identifying and sanctioning members flouting the existing physical distancing guidelines.

It also recommended decentralised committee on monitoring of members’ compliance on exiting protocols in the six Area Councils.

“A call for state meeting to bring this decision to all members as it was discovered that the delivery of donated hygienic items/materials were not been conducted in an effective manner, and therefore, recommended testing, treating and tracing.

Further engagement with the NLC headquarters should be conducted to solicit broader media campaign for direct donations to relevant stakeholders/departments/facilities.

“Pursue the development of standard operating manual on various procedures to treatment and evacuation of COVID-19 patients.

“Unions should endeavour to pro-actively engage employers without waiting for untoward action to happen first.

National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) in collaboration with NLC headquarter would be engaged to pursue a stimulus package for the aviation industry where necessary,” the communique stated.

However, some of the stakeholders also made suggestions as captured by the communique.

For example, NUATE observed that payment of salaries; sack of employees by the employers; absence of protocol for resumption and hygiene supplies are still posing challenges.

Similarly, the NUJ observed that payment of salaries; security harassment of journalists; supply of hygiene items to media houses as well as lack of hazard allowance were the major challenges facing the sector.

Medical and Health Workers Union emphasised the lack of PPE supply; disproportionate holding centres; and non-existence of FCT owned testing centres.

“They also noted death of health workers outside isolation centres as well as hazard allowance and reduction of tax/insurance as promised is still the problems faced by health officials.

Labour Business School emphasised the apparent loss of income by businesses and called for the formulation of strategic employers’ engagement protocol to be deployed by union executives.

Joint Health Workers’ Union pointed out the absence of insurance cover for health officials and inadequate community sensitisation.

“Others are absence of hazard allowance; inadequate primary health care centres as well as lack of transportation vehicles for health officials to their workplaces,” the communique stressed.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Indonesia edges down coal reference price as pandemic depresses demands




Indonesia has ratcheted down the country’s coal reference price known as coal benchmark reference price for June as the novel coronavirus has depressed demands for the commodity.

The Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry set the coal reference price in June at 52.98 United States dollars for metric ton, or 8.13 dollars lower than the figure in the previous month, the ministry’s spokesman Agung Pribadi said on Friday.

The global economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic that has weakened demands for the commodity, he said.

The coal stockpiles of the importing countries remain afloat, thus the importers prefer to use them first, according to the spokesman.

Indonesia’s coal reference price came lower last year with an average of 77.92 dollars per metric ton, falling from 98.96 dollars per metric ton in the previous year, according to the ministry.

The Indonesian reference price for thermal coal is the basis for setting up the prices of the country’s 77 coal products and measuring the royalty producers have to pay for each metric ton of coal sold.

Indonesia is the world‘s largest exporter and producer of thermal coal.


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Saudi-led coalition in Yemen launches 14 airstrikes on Houthi rebels’ positions: Houthis




Yemen’s Houthi militia said the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen launched 14 airstrikes on their positions on Thursday.

The group’s al-Masirah TV reported four airstrikes on Haradh district in the northern province of Hajjah, one on al-Buka area in the northern province of Saada and nine on Sirwah district in the central province of Marib.

The Saudi-led coalition has made no comment on the Houthi allegations.

On Monday, the coalition announced the interception of two drones launched by the Houthi militia toward the Saudi border city of Khamis Mushait against civilians.

Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman of the coalition, said the Houthis reject the cease-fire that has been enforced by the coalition since April 9.

The cease-fire decision came after a call by UN Secretary-General Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for warring parties to lay down their weapons.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in early 2015 to support Hadi’s government.

The Yemeni five-year civil war has pushed more than 20 million to the brink of starvation.


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19 IS militants killed in airstrikes by int’l coalition aircraft in Iraq




A total of 19 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft in northern Iraq, Iraqi military said on Thursday.

The 19 extremists IS militants were killed when the coalition aircraft conducted 26 airstrikes and destroyed 46 IS hideouts in Qara-Chokh Mountain near the town of Makhmour, about 60 km southeast of Nineveh’s provincial capital Mosul, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, said in a statement.

The airstrikes were based on information presented by the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), which was conducting an operation to hunt down IS militants in the area, the statement said.

Separately, a CTS force carried out an operation in Wadi Hauran area in a desert in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and destroyed three IS positions, the statement added.

Also in the province, a CTS force captured two IS militants in the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the capital Baghdad, the statement said without giving further details.

The operations came as the extremist IS militants have intensified their attacks on the security forces, including Hashd Shaabi forces, and civilians in the formerly IS-controlled Sunni provinces, resulting in the killing and wounding of dozens.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.

However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.


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Kurdish-led militia, United States-led coalition forces brace for operation in eastern Syria: monitor




The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and forces of the U.S.-led coalition are bracing for operation in eastern Syria against Islamic State (IS) militants, a war monitor reported on Thursday.

The SDF brought hundreds of its members in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour province to areas in the northern countryside of that province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The watchdog group said the military operation will be focused on in the desert region in the northeastern countryside of Deir al-Zour.

The IS still has sleeper cells and members in the Syrian desert in Deir al-Zour and Homs provinces.

The group has carried out a number of attacks against the Syrian army in Deir al-Zour.


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Attacks: Coalition appeals for emergency measures from Federal, Sokoto Govts



The Coalition of Concerned Sokoto State Citizens (CCSSC) has appealed to the Federal and Sokoto State Governments to adopt emergency measures in tackling the security situation of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the coalition made the appeal while addressing a newsmen on Friday in Sokoto.

Prof. Nasiru Gatawa, who spoke for the group, noted that Sokoto hitherto known for peace and hospitality had gradually shifted toward total anarchy.

“This is as a result of the activities of bandits, who regularly and persistently terrorise the state.

“Particularly the eastern zone which comprises eight local government areas of Gada, Goronyo, Gwadabawa, Illela, Isa, Rabah, Sabon Birni and Wurno.

“Each of these local governments have parts of it under the control of bandits whose heinous activities have crippled social and economic activities and has led to the loss of hundreds of lives and properties worth billions of Naira,” he said.

Gatawa alleged that the most terrorised area in the zone was Sabon Birni lical government where bandits operated freely and in broad daylight for several hours.

“Within the first quarter of the year 2020 over 20 attacks were carried out by bandits in Sabon Birni local government alone.

“However, the bloodiest attack in the LGA happened on May 27, where more than 70 persons were killed; many of whom were children celebrating Children’s Day in a football game.

“Moreover, the situation is getting so serious that even the state metropolis cannot boast of being safe from attack of bandits,” he added.

The group further appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Aminu Tambuwal to direct both the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to immediately provide succour to victims of the attacks.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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China excludes clean coal projects from list eligible for green bonds



China has excluded “clean coal” from a list of projects eligible for green bonds, according to long-awaited new draft guidelines published by the central bank on Friday.

The new catalogue of eligible projects replaces the previous one published in 2015, and will be open to public consultation until June 12, the People’s Bank of China said in a notice.

The previous catalogue controversially allowed green financing to be raised for the “clean use of coal”, including coal washing plants that remove impurities, and technologies that reduce pollution during the combustion process.

The inclusion of “clean coal” in the 2015 list had put China at odds with global standards, a point of contention for some international investors and many environmental groups.

Chinese financial institutions provided billions of yuan in green financing to coal-related projects last year and have also supported other fossil fuel projects, including the expansion of an oil refiner.

The new guidelines also include projects that help replace coal with cleaner forms of energy for winter heating.

Green finance will also be available for steel mills to pay for mandatory upgrades to their emissions control technology.

The central bank has also added shared bicycle and scooter services to the list of eligible projects.

It will also allow green financing to be used to support China’s carbon and green power certificate trading sectors.

Beijing has been promoting new green financing methods to help industry pay for its transition to cleaner modes of growth.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Coalition of conservation organisations launches online petition against vulture killings



A coalition of international conservation organisations has launched an online petition dubbed #StopTheKillings, calling for action to address the unprecedented mass killings of vultures in Guinea-Bissau through poisoning.

Mr Oladapo Soneye, the Head Communications, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) made the call in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Members of the coalition of #StopTheKillings petition  are BirdLife International, Vulture Conservation Foundation, IUCN Vulture Specialist Group, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Peregrine Fund and Organisation for the Defence and Development of Wetlands in Guinea-Bissau (ODZH).

Soneye said that the killings, the largest incident of mass vulture deaths in the world was a big blow to conservation efforts to save Africa’s vultures.

“More than 2,000 critically endangered hooded vultures are reported to have died following deliberate poisoning with an agricultural pesticide, which is highly toxic for vultures.

“Vultures play a vital role in our environment keeping it free of decaying carcasses, yet these majestic birds have experienced catastrophic declines around the world with populations of all African vulture species plummeting by 70 to 97 per cent over the last 50 years.

In the Guinea-Bissau case, initial investigations indicate that this mass killing of vultures is being driven by belief-based use.

“It is erroneously believed that vulture heads and other body parts have special powers and can bring
good luck to users.”

He said that widespread killing of vultures in Guinea-Bissau through poisoning, the leading cause of vulture mortality in Africa, threatened to wipe out stronghold populations of these critically endangered birds.

Soneye said that the coalition of conservation organisations was calling on the Guinea-Bissau government, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the global community to take urgent action to halt these mass killings.

“These killings can be halted by bringing to account those responsible for these atrocities, and enforcing measures to safeguard vultures.

“The large scale poisoning of vultures in Guinea-Bissau represents a major blow to vulture conservation efforts in the West African region and in Africa at large. ”

He said the petition also called on the global community to support interventions aimed at halting the persecution of vultures in Guinea-Bissau and across Africa.

Soneye quoted Mr Francisco Wambar, the Executive Director, ODZH as saying “we are urging the Guinea-Bissau government to address these mass killings urgently to safeguard Guinea-Bissau’s vulture populations.”

Prof. Carlos Lopes, retired UN Under-Secretary General was quoted as also saying: “As a long-time amateur ornithologist, I have come to admire birds’ life cycles and conservation needs.’’

“The mass deaths of vultures in my country highlights the dire vulnerability of Africa’s vultures and the need to urgently save these rapidly disappearing birds, while involving local communities in these interventions.”

Rebecca Garbett, Vulture Conservation Manager at BirdLife International, was quoted as saying: “Poisoning of vultures in Guinea-Bissau is being driven by demand for vulture body parts used for superstitious purposes such as ritual charms.’’

“Changing this trajectory will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders, most importantly local and national authorities and civil society organisations.

“Halting the killings and urgently putting in place measures to protect vultures should be a priority.”

Soneye said the NCF, which is the BirdLife partner in Nigeria was lending its support to the petition launched on Wednesday in furtherance of its “save vulture” campaign project, which started in 2017.

He said the awareness campaign had been done in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja and taken to the vulture hotspots states such as Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Enugu, Yobe and Oyo.

Soneye said the vulture conservation campaign “is ongoing in Nigeria’’.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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