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50 UNN lecturers to withdraw their IPPIS enrollment — ASUU Chairman

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At least 50 of the 153 members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Nigeria, Nsukka chapter, that enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the institution were set to withdraw, an official has said.

Mr Christian Opata, the Chairman of the chapter, disclosed this in Nsukka on Wednesday while briefing newsmen shortly after UNN-ASUU congress convened to brief members on the outcome of the National Executives Council (NEC) meeting held recently in Minna, the Niger capital.

He said that of the 153 enrollees, at least 50 indicated interest to withdraw from the system, since they registered out of misinformation.

He said: “In this congress, I briefed members on NEC’s last meeting in Minna, where ASUU leadership insisted that IPPIS is illegal and a complete violation of university autonomy and agreement between government and ASUU.

“During this congress, 50 lecturers, who have wrongly enrolled said they will withdraw their enrollment in IPPIS immediately.”

The chairman said the congress agreed to publish the names of all the 153 lecturers, who enrolled in IPPIS in UNN-ASUU notice board so that members will know them.

ASUU-UNN will issue queries to these defaulting members as well as forward their names to national body for appropriate sanction.

“This is because ASUU national body said from the beginning that IPPIS enrollment is a complete violation of university autonomy and illegal,” Opata said.

The ASUU boss said that the union was not bothered about Federal Government’s threat of “no work no pay”, adding that ASUU was used to government’s threats.

“If government makes good its threat that academic staff that did not enroll will not receive salary, ASUU has no option than to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.

ASUU has told government that if it wants its members to enroll in IPPIS, government should first amend the law creating public universities that granted them autonomy.

ASUU is waiting on government’s final decision on IPPIS enrollment in public universities before the union will take its own final decision,” Opata said.

(Edited by: Sam Oditah)
(NAN)
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Foreign

German weather service records one of sunniest springs in nearly 70 years

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BERLIN, May 29 (Xinhua)– The frequent influence of high-pressure areas had brought one of the sunniest springs in Germany since the beginning of recording in 1951, Germany‘s National Meteorological Service (DWD) announced on Friday.

With 705 hours of sunshine between March and May, almost eight hours per day, the long-term average of 467 hours was exceeded by around 50 percent, according to a first evaluation of data from around 2,000 measuring stations.

Spring 2020 in Germany was “extremely sunny, quite warm and much too dry,” DWD noted. Germany was “predominantly in the range of warm air masses, few cold air inrushes were mostly of short duration.”

This spring in Germany was also one of the six springs with the lowest rainfall since 1881, according to DWD.

Already in April, Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) warned that “it could again be a very difficult year for German agriculture if it continues to remain so dry.”

German Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Kloeckner also stressed that “another year of drought would hit many farms very hard” and added that the concerns were taken seriously and the situation would be monitored.

According to DWD, temperatures in April had been well above average but were followed by temperatures slightly below average in May, although some weather stations in the south of Germany had “recorded up to seven summer days with more than 25 degrees Celsius.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Feature: Rwandan small businesses strive to keep running following eased restrictions

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The novel coronavirus has affected many small and medium sized businesses in Rwanda even after the easing of lockdown measures taken by the government.

Jeremie Nyandwi, a shoe maker in Nyarugunga sector, Kigali’s Gasabo district, used to earn around 300,000 Rwandan francs (about 320 U.S. dollars) from his shoe craft business in a month before a lockdown imposed to contain the COVID-19 epidemic in March. In the same premises, he also ran a cosmetics shop, running smoothly with the income of at least 6,000 francs per day.

In order to contain COVID-19, the Rwandan government announced a total lockdown in March.

“We were asked to close down immediately and I had little to do about it but to go home and look after my goats, sheep and two cows which I had bought from my savings,” Nyandwi told Xinhua.

For about two months, Nyandwi survived on farming and milk from his animals which kept him moving until the government eased the lockdown measures from May 4. Currently, private businesses are allowed to resume with essential staff.

Returning to his shop, Nyandwi encountered another shock of his life after finding his shop in a shape he never anticipated. “Rats had taken advantage of the lockdown period and inactivity in the shop, eating all the shoes and leather material. Now I’m back to zero,” he said.

Weeks after the lockdown was relaxed, Nyandwi said he is worried of how to revive his business after losing about 3 million francs worth of raw materials.

He has no income in months yet he has to pay rent and foot other bills. Nyandwi, who had never embraced banking financial services, is now contemplating using a soft bank loan to revive his business.

Rwandan central bank in March announced a facility of 50 billion francs that banks with liquidity challenges can borrow from at the central bank rate to give loans to small and medium businesses affected by the COVID-19. However, the central bank on May 14 said only one bank has applied for a loan.

Many small businesses owners of saloons, restaurants, mobile phone shops in Kigali told Xinhua that the number of clients is still low owing to the impacts of the virus.

Joseline Mukamana, who runs a hairdressing and clothing business that had just opened a second branch in Kigali before the lockdown, said in a day they receive less than three customers compared to dozens before the outbreak.

“I have decided to employ fewer staff because it seems the spending power of clients dwindled as some lost their jobs while others cut expenses on luxuries. It is a challenging situation,” Mukamana told Xinhua.

The businesses would remain slow from the beginning after the lockdown due to limited cash flow, Rwandan economist Teddy Kaberuka told Xinhua.

People don’t have the same liquidity level they used to have before the lockdown because many spent their savings, which leads to a cash flow issue, he said. In addition, the economy is not operating fully under measures to contain the virus, he added.

According to him, consumer behavior and attitude have likely changed, whereby people are very conservative in their spending as a result of raised awareness on the saving culture during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Some 87 percent of African small businesses participating in the African Management Institute (AMI)’s COVID-19 Business Survival Bootcamps fear they may not survive the COVID-19 crisis, and need access to practical tools and support to prevent financial loss, said a AMI’s survey released on May 13. It added 67 percent of those surveyed said business has been hit hard since the introduction of social distancing, lockdowns, and curfews on the continent.

The government of Rwanda has budgeted 800 billion Rwandan francs for a period from May 2020 to December 2021 in its economic recovery plan to invest in social protection, food security and support of affected businesses with emphasis on small and medium enterprises.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

First unmanned electric connecting boat in Helsinki to start trial running

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The first unmanned electric connecting boat in the Finnish capital Helsinki, which can be ordered with a smartphone application, will start trial running in mid-June, reported Finnish national broadcaster Yle on Tuesday.

The electric boat that runs across the approximately 150-meter-wide Reposalmi strait in Helsinki archipelago is a six-seat covered catamaran, and its cross-channel customer journey can be ordered with an application called Callboat, which can be downloaded to a smartphone.

According to Mente Marine, the company which developed the boat and Callboat application, even though there will be a skipper in the trial as monitoring staff, the company aims to get several driverless electric boats into water transport in the Helsinki metropolitan area in the next few years.

“We hope that anywhere in Helsinki you can order a boat in the future within five minutes. That would mean that there will be stops everywhere, from which you could board and the boat could move wherever you want,” Peter Ostberg, CEO of Mente Marine, was quoted by Yle as saying.

The unmanned electric boat’s engine batteries are mainly charged at night at the dock. In sunny weather, energy is also collected in the batteries by solar panels placed on top of the boat’s canopy, said Ostberg.

During summertime, there are polar diurnal phenomena and often sunny days around the Helsinki area, which will give big possibilities for the use of solar energy.

The transport trial is planned to begin on June 16. The connecting boat will operate until the end of August, said the company.

Plenty of Finns would enjoy camping and other outdoor activities in summer and the coastal and island views around the Helsinki area draw groups of tourists every year. As a new choice of water transportation, the unmanned electric connecting boat could bring convenience and joy to people.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Italian Paralympic marathon runner Carlo Durante passes away at 73

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Italian Paralympic gold medalist Carlo Durante, a blind marathon runner, passed away on Sunday at the age of 73.

During his career, he won three Paralympic medals, including a gold in the B1 marathon race at Barcelona 1992. He also claimed three European championship titles and won the World Championships gold in 1994.

Durante attended more than 70 marathons worldwide. Suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, he completely lost his vision at 40.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and The Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP) have paid tributes to this star distance runner on their official websites.

“A giant of Italian sport passes away, a star of the Italian Paralympic Committee,” Italian Paralympic Committee President and IPC Governing Board Member Luca Pancalli said.

“I am saddened by the death of Carlo Durante. In addition to being a champion, Carlo was a point of reference for our movement, also for the promotion of sport for all. I take this opportunity to express my condolences and that of CIP to his family and loved ones.”

(XINHUA)

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Metro

NiMet predicts sunny thundery weather, May 25 to May 27

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and thunderstorms across the country from Monday to Wednesday.

NiMet weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja predicted cloudy conditions with intervals of sunshine over the northern region on Monday to Wednesday.

It also predicted chances of a few thunderstorms over Taraba, Southern Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Kaduna and Adamawa axis later in the day.

According to the agency, there are chances of morning thunderstorms over central cities like Abuja, Kogi and Nassarawa.

NiMet forecasts prospects of thunderstorms over central cities in the afternoon/evening hours with cloudy mornings over southern areas with chances of a few thunderstorms over Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt axis.

It further forecasts better prospects of thunderstorms over the southern region during the afternoon/evening period.

“On Tuesday, cloudy conditions are likely over the northern region with chances of thunderstorms over Gombe, southern Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zaria in the afternoon/evening period.

“Cloudy conditions with prospects of thunderstorms over Abuja, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Niger and Kwara during the afternoon/evening period are expected.

“The southern region should be cloudy in the morning hours with the exception of Enugu, Ondo and a few cities on the coast that has chances of thunderstorms.

“More prospect of thunderstorms is expected over the region in the afternoon/evening period.’’

NiMet predicted patches of clouds with intervals of sunshine and light thunderstorms on Wednesday over the north eastern axis in the morning hours.

The agency envisaged cloudy conditions with prospects of a few thunderstorms over Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba in the afternoon/evening hours.

According to the agency, the central cities should be cloudy with possibilities of thunderstorms over Kogi, Benue and Nassarawa in the morning hours.

NiMet, however, forecast chances of thunderstorms over Nassarawa and Abuja in the afternoon/evening period with the southern region to be cloudy with prospects of thunderstorms over south east inland and coastal cities in the morning.

“In the afternoon/evening hours, thunderstorms are anticipated over most parts of the region.’’

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

Kipchoge likens global pandemic to running marathon uphill

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has likened the struggle athletes are enduring during the COVID-19 pandemic to running a marathon on an uphill course.

Kipchoge, who plans to run a course record in the London Marathon in October, said he has maintained a strict training program despite doing it alone at home.

The Olympic marathon champion, who has not lost a single race since 2013, when he was beaten by then-world record holder Wilson Kipsang in Berlin, said he is keen to defend his titles in London and at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, he said athletes must become innovative to overcome the challenges caused by the coronavirus.

“I’m a marathoner, and the marathon is like life,” Kipchoge said on Sunday from Eldoret. “We have many courses in the world: flat courses, uphill and downhill, and this period of COVID-19 is like an uphill course, where we need to live in a slow way, in a positive way, in order to finish the race well.”

Kipchoge said while he misses group training, he has adjusted his program to focus more on strength work and long runs rather than speed and tactics.

Kipchoge has been on the frontline to help athletes in vulnerable positions. He has partnered with the Kenyan government and enlisting the support of his sponsors to deliver food packages to lower-level athletes in the country, to give them the fuel required to continue their training and help their families.

“Our country right now is total upside down,” Kipchoge said. He has proved the power of sport to be a role model when needed most.

“We have many athletes in Kenya, and for 80 percent of them, is participating in races in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania regions for financial means. That’s what they were relying on. So last week, we provided about 70 athletes from five counties in Kenya with food for the whole month,” said Kipchoge.

However, despite the hunger to return to competition, Kipchoge advised athletes to stay strong and remain positive as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

China-Laos railway’s tracks go through 1st tunnel

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As each row of 14 cement sleepers laid smoothly across the Ban Nong Khay Tunnel at the prescribed distance and then the 500-meter long tracks settled on the sleepers precisely by the engineering train, China-Laos Railway’s tracks has passed its first tunnel on Saturday.

The 661-meter-long Ban Nong Khay Tunnel is located in Vientiane Province, some 60 km to the north of Capital Vientiane, at the juncture of central and northern Laos’ plains and mountains.

Lei Chao, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) working committee at the China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) railing base, which undertakes the track laying of the China-Laos railway, told reporters that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the CREC-2 has been actively planned the work and mobilized over 700 Laotians and 200 Chinese engineers and workers who cooperated closely and effectively, raising the railing speed from two km per three days at the beginning to 1.5 km daily now.

The track laying work was kicked off on March 27 in Vientiane.

The 414-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.

The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards.

The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic in December 2021.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Biden asks Senator Amy Klobuchar to undergo vetting to be running mate: media

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has asked Senator Amy Klobuchar to undergo a formal vetting to be considered as his vice presidential running mate, local media reported Thursday.

The request for information from potential running mates like Klobuchar “is underway,” a senior Biden campaign aide told CBS News.

It’s not yet clear if Klobuchar has consented to the vetting.

If a potential contender consents, she should be poised to undergo a rigorous multi-week review of her public and private life and work by a hand-picked group of Biden confidantes, who will review tax returns, public speeches, voting records, past personal relationships and potentially scandalous details from her past, said a CBS News report.

Biden has publicly credited Klobuchar for strong debate performances and for helping him win her home state Minnesota in March.

Biden committed during a March primary debate to picking a woman as his running mate and told donors during a fundraiser last month that he hoped this vetting process would be done by July.

Besides Klobuchar, California Senator Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are thought to be possible contenders.

The 77-year-old former vice president would be the oldest man ever elected to the White House and has not committed to seeking a second term if he wins the presidency, meaning his vice president would be a presumptive front-runner in the 2024 election, or positioned to lead the pack in 2028.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

China-Laos railway tunnel’s border drilling finished

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China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) told Xinhua that it has drilled through the Friendship Tunnel from northern Laos to the border line with China on Wednesday.

After 37 months of hard work, the China-Laos Railway Friendship Tunnel, which runs through the Laos-China border and is constructed by CREC-2 and designed by China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group, was bored from northern Laos’ Boten, some 370 km north of Lao capital Vientiane, to the border with China on Wednesday.

The progress has, hence, laid a solid foundation for the completion of the railway by December 2021.

The Friendship Tunnel, with a total length of 9,959 meters and 2,425 meters of which belonging to the Lao section, and with the maximum burial depth of 243 meters, is located in the forests in northern Laos.

In the depth of the mountains, the tunnel meets salt layer with thickness of over 100 meters and salinity of over 80 percent, which is extremely harmful to the safety of the tunnel structure.

In view of the poor geological conditions of the tunnel and the frequent occurrence of water inflow and slump, the project department strengthened the geological prediction and information collection. They held several meetings to refine and optimize the construction plan to ensure the safety, quality and progress of the project.

With the COVID-19 epidemic setting in, the Chinese engineering companies also comprehensively implemented epidemic prevention and control to ensure tunnel construction.

The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos’ strategy to convert from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.

The 414-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.

The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards.

The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic in December 2021.

(XINHUA)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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