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Defence/Security

Again, Buhari summons security meeting with Service Chiefs, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja received briefing from service chiefs and heads of other security agencies including the acting Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the president had on Tuesday met with the security chiefs and heads of security agencies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

NAN recalls that Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi also briefed the security meeting on Tuesday.

Those at the meeting on Thursday included the Minister of Defence, retired Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali; National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i.

Ismaila Chafe: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Health

WHO pays tribute to African leaders on fight against COVID-19

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation (WHO), Regional Director for Africa, has paid tribute to African leaders for the progress they have made in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Moeti gave the tribute on the official twitter account of the WHO Regional Office for Africa @WHOAFRO on Tuesday.

The regional director also commended Africans for their patience and support in the fight against the pandemic.

“So again, a shout out to African people, I thank them so much for the courage that they have shown, the forbearance under sometimes difficult circumstances.

“We are committed to continue in this fight with them.

“I would like to pay special tribute to African communities. It was said by the WHO Director General, Dr Tedro that our leaders have put in place some measures to control the pandemic.

“We have seen African countries take very tough decisions to put in place some of the control measures

“I am very pleased to have joined this celebration of Africa Day yesterday, and especially pleased to have been in the company of special envoys on COVID-19 in Africa,” she said.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963.

The Day is an opportunity to celebrate Africa’s vitality and diversity, and to promote African unity and it is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.

At a news conference to mark the Day in Geneva, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said the Africa Day 2020 was set aside to mark the successes and progress made throughout the African continent.

In his speech posted on WHO website, the director general said the celebrations were more muted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So far, although around half of the countries in the region have community transmission, concentrated mainly in major cities, Africa is the least-affected region globally in terms of the number of cases and deaths reported to WHO.

“Africa has just 1.5 per cent of the world’s reported cases of COVID-19, and less than 0.1 per cent of the world’s deaths.

“Of course, these numbers don’t paint the full picture. Testing capacity in Africa is still being ramped up and there is a likelihood that some cases may be missed.

“But even so, Africa appears to have so far been spared the scale of outbreaks we have seen in other regions,” Ghebreyesus said.

He said the early set-up of a leader’s coalition led by the African Union, under the chairmanship of President Ramaphosa of South Africa was key to rapidly accelerating preparedness efforts and issuing comprehensive control measures.

“Countries across Africa have garnered a great deal of experience from tackling infectious diseases like polio, measles, Ebola, yellow fever, influenza and many more.

“Africa’s knowledge and experience of suppressing infectious diseases has been critical to rapidly scaling up an agile response to COVID-19.

“There has been solidarity across the continent. Labs in Senegal and South Africa were some of the first in the world to implement COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

“And beyond that they worked together with Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO to extend training for laboratory technicians for detection of COVID-19 and to build up the national capacity across the region,” he said.

Furthermore, he said health clinicians, scientists, researchers and academics from across Africa were collectively contributing to the worldwide understanding of COVID-19 disease.

“For many years and from the outset of this pandemic, WHO has been working through our country offices to support nations in health emergency preparedness and developing comprehensive national action plans to prevent, detect and respond to the virus.

“With WHO support, many African countries have made good progress in preparedness.

“All countries in Africa now have a preparedness and response plan in place, compared with less than a dozen in the first few weeks of the pandemic.

“48 countries in the region have a community engagement plan in place, compared with only 25 countries 10 weeks ago.

“And 51 have lab-testing capacity for COVID-19, compared with 40 countries 10 weeks ago; WHO continues to support Africa with other life-saving supplies,” the director general said.

According to him, as of last week, millions of personal protective equipment and lab tests had been shipped to 52 African countries.

“In the coming weeks we plan further shipments of PPE, oxygen concentrators and lab tests.

“However, we still see gaps and vulnerabilities. Only 19 per cent of countries in the region have an infection prevention and control programme and standards for water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities.

“And disruption to essential health services, such as vaccination campaigns and care for malaria, HIV and other diseases pose a huge risk,” Ghebreyesus said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Health

Bauchi winning war against COVID-19, says official

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Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman, Bauchi State Primary HealthCare Development Agency (PHCDA), says the state government is rapidly winning the war against COVID-19 in the state.

 

Mohammed, also Chairman of the State’s Contact Tracing COVID-19, made the assertion in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi on Tuesday.

 

 He said that the successes recorded so far was as a result of the marching order given by Gov. Bala Mohammad that all avenues must be exhausted to ensure the treatment of patients and their recovery from the virus.

 

“Because our governor is a governor of the people and who makes the well-being of the citizens his top priority, he gave us a directive to use everything in our power to ensure that COVID-19 patients are treated to recover as soon as possible.

 

“He had been in their shoes and he knows how traumatic the experience could be, he gave us all the support we needed to do the job and we are now winning the war against the virus in the state.

 

“You can see that our cases are coming down very rapidly, we are now having more discharge than new cases.

 

“Initially, we were having over two hundred and twenty people on admission, now we are having only sixty three, obviously, we are winning the war,” he  said.

 

The PHCDA boss, however, said that the agency would be forced to implore the state government to initiate a lockdown if there were more rising cases of the virus.

 

He added that the agency might be forced to do so owing to non adherence to all the preventive measures by some some residents, as advised by the government and health experts.

 

“If people don’t follow the rules and regulations set to contain the spread of the virus and there are rising cases as a result of that, we’ll implore the government to initiate lockdown again, whether partial or total lockdown depending on the rising cases.

 

“The government of Bauchi state initially suspended the partial lockdown and complete lockdown in Azare, Giade and Zaki Local Governments for two weeks to test the work we have done, whether people are adhering to all the preventive measures put in place,” he said.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bauchi state had recorded 232 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 164 had been discharged so far, five deaths, with 63 active cases.

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Health

Int’l Nurse Year: Association suspends celebration in solidarity with fight against COVID-19

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A non-profit making organisation, Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association-United Kingdom (NNCAUK), says it has suspended the global celebration of International Year of the Nurse and Midwife slated for July due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The group said this in a statement by its President, Ms Wendy Olayiwola-Odutola and Director for International Liason, Mr Peters Omoragbon, which copy was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

“The entire world is gripped with the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a lot of strenuous demands on the entire nursing and medical team as frontline professionals.

“Along with doctors and other medical staff, nurses have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus-sharing stories of exhaustion and heroism in the face of a disease that has killed so many.

“As at May 25, according to John Hopkins University, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 5.4 million people and killed over 344,000 worldwide.

“The United Kingdom has recorded more than 36,675 deaths with 257,154 cases and Nigeria with over 8, 000 cases and 223 deaths recorded so far.

“In the light of the above, the NNCAUK, the umbrella association for all Nigerian nurses and midwives in the UK in consultation with the Global Stakeholders at a meeting has painfully decided to suspend the celebration,” she said.

According to her, the event and international scientific training programme slated from July 12 to 19 in Lagos is aimed at commemorating The Year of the Nurse and The Midwife.

The WHO has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of the 200 birth anniversary of the progenitor of the modern-day nursing/midwifery profession, Florence Nightingale.

The Year of the Nurse designation by the WHO highlights the push to increase the global nursing workforce.

“The action to suspend the celebration is in solidarity with the global fight against this dreaded virus in so doing, we would love to admonish every nurse and midwife in Nigeria.

“We admonish every nurse not only as frontline soldiers against the spread of the infection but to also act as agents of attitudinal change to respect all the directives on COVID-19.

“We urge you to respect all the directives that have been put in place by the government, especially as it relates to social distancing and obeying the lockdown order.’’

The officials, however, commiserated with every Nigerian at this trying time, especially as it related to meeting their financial obligations and hoped that the government would provide palliatives to mitigate the hardship.

“To the family of our colleagues and other Nigerians that have died from the infection, we pray God to grant you peace and gratitude to bear your losses.’’

In addition, they urged the health workers to be focused and take the opportunity provided by the association to improve on their skills.

NNCAUK shall continue its virtual engagement with all nurses/midwives in Nigeria with educational and informative programmes.

“We continue to engage them through webinars and social media on fighting the COVID-19,  to celebrate and support our colleagues with skills and knowledge transfer.

NNCAUK with the Nigerian Nurses/Midwives in Diaspora as Global Stakeholders held the inaugural Webinar on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020.

“We registered over 800 participants at the Webinar and 183 live participants with officials of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“We also had participants of officials of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, World Health Organisation, Lagos State Government with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and more than 25 countries were in attendance.

“This will continue on a regular basis,’’ the official assured.

NAN reports that Nurses Charitable Association-UK is a non-profit making organisation incorporated in January 1998 in the UK.

The association represents about 5,000 Nigerian Nurses and Midwives with established chapters nationwide.

The mission of the association is to provide a forum for collective action by Nigerian nurses to investigate, define and determine issues affecting its members.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Economy

South Africa’s rand climbs to 8 week high against dollar

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South Africa’s rand raced to its highest in more than eight weeks against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, as optimism about a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic boosted riskier assets, with investors looking past Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

At 0605 GMT, the rand traded at 17.4700 per dollar, 0.91 per cent firmer than its previous close.

The currency was at its strongest since March 27.

“The optimistic recovery narrative is holding within markets, keeping the dollar subdued and seeing the rand remain on a stable footing following last week’s rally,” Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said in a note.

“While there are looming geopolitical risks, it seems as though markets are currently pushing them onto the back burner, and will likely continue to do so until there is a new escalation or increased threat.”

Japan’s decision to end coronavirus-induced restrictions and a survey showing German business morale rebounded in May, lifted hopes of an economic recovery and helped offset a war of words between Beijing and Washington on trade, coronavirus and China’s proposals for stricter security laws in Hong Kong.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday a further easing of the country’s lockdown from June 1, allowing the vast majority of the economy to return to full capacity.

The government was due to give more details on Tuesday.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Latvia’s catering industry launches protest against tax policy

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Latvia’s restaurant association has launched a protest campaign against the tax policy implemented by the government, local media reported Monday.

The country’s catering industry has long demanded a reduction of value added tax (VAT) rate but was rejected by the parliament.

Catering service providers from all over Latvia including food suppliers to schools, family cafes and lifestyle restaurants are invited to join the protest, local media said.

Lauris Aleksejevs, vice president of the association, said that protesters will bang pots and pans to remind politicians of their earlier promises, including a 5-percent reduction of VAT on hospitality services.

The association said the government had promised to reduce VAT in return for the conclusion of a general collective agreement, under which the hospitality services providers committed to raising wages and lowering their prices.

Since COVID-19 broke out in Latvia in March, the country’s hospitality sector has suffered losses of 77 million euros, with 4,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and approximately 40,000 employees working in the sector directly affected.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

UN condemns use of improvised explosive devises against civilians in Tripoli

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The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Monday condemned the use of improvised explosive devises against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in/near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also praised the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

(XINHUA)

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General news

S/W APC hails Otetubi for withdrawing suits against Ondo party exco

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) South West Zonal Caucus, has commended Mr Idowu Otetubi for withdrawing the lawsuit instituted against the Ondo State executive committee of the party.

The commendation is contained in a statement signed by the Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Oladapo Karounwi, and made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Monday.

Otetubi had earlier instituted a lawsuit against Mr Ade Adetimehin, the chairman of APC in Ondo state.

The party leadership described Otetubi’s decision as being patriotic and a step is taken to unify the party.

The party assured him that his loyalty and commitment to the party “will not go unnoticed’’.

Karounwi stated that the APC places a high premium on elevating the collective interests of the party above individual interests.

The party admonished similar factions in APC, wherever they exist in other states of the South West, to follow a good example of Otetubi in the overall interest of the party.

“There are consequences for good behaviour as well as bad behaviour,’’ the party stated.

It advised other members of APC who have an axe to grind with the party in Ondo state to reconcile in the overall interest of the party.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: NAF produces ventilators to support fight against pandemic

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The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has produced locally-made ventilators as its contribution to national efforts towards fighting the novel coronavirus disease.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal (AM) Sadique Abubakar, announced this during Eid-el-Fitri lunch with troops of the Air Component of “Operation Lafiya Dole” at the Airforce Base in Maiduguri on Monday.

Abubakar said that the locally-made ventilator was a product of research development programme by the Nigerian Airforce in partnership with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

He said that the ventilators would be commissioned on May 27.

He explained that as part of the measures to combat the pandemic, NAF had distributed reusable face mask to all its personnel while PPE and ventilators were provided at the Nigerian Airforce Hospitals in Maiduguri.

“I wish to remind us of the need to maintain continues vigilance and ensure strict adherence to necessary guidelines and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.

The CAS said that despite the challenges of competing resources, occasioned by the COVID-19 induced lockdown, NAF has maintained the tempo of its operations, not only in the North East, but other parts of the country.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Germany’s top court rules against VW in diesel scandal compensation case

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A top German court ruled on Monday that leading carmaker Volkswagen (VW) must pay compensation for a buyer of the VW vehicle fitted with cheat device for emissions tests.

The latest episode of so-called dieselgate scandal sets an important precedent for about 60,000 similar cases.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe said in a statement that the buyer of the vehicle is entitled to compensation claims against VW, but the refund will not be the full purchase price, with the car’s mileage being taken into account.

A VW litigation spokesperson said in a statement that the ruling clarifies how the top court assesses the essential basic questions in the proceedings for the majority of the currently pending 60,000 cases.

The company is endeavoring to end these proceedings promptly in agreement with the plaintiffs, seeking “a pragmatic and simple solution with one-off payments,” according to the statement.

Monday’s ruling from the top civil judges basically confirmed the previous buyer-friendly judgment by a regional court in Koblenz. The plaintiffs and the defendants both appealed after the Koblenz court ruling, with the buyer demanding a full refund and the company arguing not paying at all.

The scandal surrounding illegally manipulated exhaust emission levels in millions of diesel cars turned out by VW became public in 2015. The German car giant has so far paid more than 30 billion euros (33 billion U.S. dollars) in regulatory fines and settlements worldwide.

In February, VW and the Federation of German Consumer Organizations reached an agreement on the negotiated 830 million-euro compensation settlement in a landmark action lawsuit, which involved around 260,000 VW customers.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Berlin police conduct almost 400 operations against criminal clans in 2019

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Police forces in German capital Berlin conducted almost 400 operations targeting clan crimes in 2019, the city’s senate announced on Monday.

“2019 was the year in which we significantly increased the pressure,” said Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s senator of the interior.

However, clan crime had developed a parallel world with its “own code and the rejection of existing law,” said Geisel and stressed that this would no longer be tolerated.

According to the senate, authorities searched more than 700 establishments in Berlin in 2019, including more than 300 cafes and bars, almost 200 hookah bars, as well as betting offices, gambling houses, barber shops and jewelers.

Berlin’s investigators seized almost 35,000 euros (38,200 U.S. dollars) in cash that was used for drug transactions, nearly 1,000 sales units of narcotics, over 30,000 untaxed cigarettes, 123 cars and 104 weapons and other items that could be used as a weapon.

“For a sustainable weakening of criminal structures, the confiscation of illegal assets is of immense importance,” according to the senate. In 2018, German authorities had confiscated 77 properties of criminal members of an Arab family with a total value of 9.3 million euros.

Geisel stressed that “the fight against clan crime will continue to be of great importance in 2020.”

“The rules of the rule of law apply to everyone without exception. This has not changed even in 2020 in times of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Vespa maker Piaggio wins EU case against Chinese copycat design

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Case

Rome, May 25, 202 Piaggio, the Italian company that makes the world-famous Vespa scooter, said Monday that it had won a legal case against a Chinese copycat design.

“A design registered by a Chinese party […] [has] been declared invalid by the invalidity division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO),” Piaggio said in a statement.

The Chinese design was presented at last year’s edition of Milan’s motorcycle fair EICMA, and removed after a complaint from Piaggio, the company said.

In its decision, EUIPO found that the Chinese design “closely reproduces features” of the original Vespa Primavera model and “lacks individual character.”

Therefore it “must be invalidated,” the EU body said.

The Chinese design was registered in the name of Chen Huang, the EUIPO decision showed.

Piaggio said the EUIPO case was part of its “wider activities against counterfeiting,” which have “led to the cancellation of more than 50 trademarks registered by third parties in the last two years.”

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Foreign

Mozambican president says conflicts go against Africa’s common development goal

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President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi said Monday that conflicts continue to be an obstacle to the progress of African continent, and goals will not be achieved if guns are not silenced.

The Mozambican head-of-state was addressing the nation in Maputo as part of the celebration of the Africa Day, which marks the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of African Union.

“This year’s theme: ‘silencing weapons to create favorable conditions for the development of Africa’ was set in recognition of the need to promote peace and conditions for sustainable and inclusive development, which will never materialize if there are conflicts,” said the president.

He highlighted the terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique as an example that those threats make it impossible to realize the common dream of prosperity.

The president promised his country will contribute to peace promotion, economic and social integration of the region and continent, as Mozambique is expected to assume the rotating presidency of the Southern African Development Community later this year.

Nyusi also said that African countries should come together and coordinate approaches to fight COVID-19, for an effective response that will allow economic recovery and sustainable growth.

(XINHUA)

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Metro

HoS warns against unauthorised circulation of official information

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The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, has noted with displeasure the recent unfortunate publishing of unauthorised official documents on social media.

Yemi-Esan, in a statement issued on Monday by Mrs Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, Director Information, Office of the HOCSF, warned against such action, saying it could jeopardise authentic information.

She noted that official documents, in some cases, were correspondences minuted on.

She said a development like that was unacceptable as it could turn out to be embarrassing to the government.

Yemi-Esan described “such irresponsible and reckless action” as an act of serious misconduct, with a penalty of dismissal from service, as provided in Public Service Rules (PSR) numbers 030401 and 030402.

She, therefore, warned that henceforth, any public officer found guilty of such act of serious misconduct would be severely dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the public service rules.

Yemi-Esan, therefore, directed permanent secretaries to draw the attention of their staff to the content of the circular and the consequences of breaking the public service rules.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

S. Korea’s Moon urges use of full fiscal capability against ‘wartime-like’ economic crisis

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on Monday called for “wartime-like” aggressive fiscal policy to cope with the economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, dismissing a burgeoning public concern about South Korea’s fiscal soundness.

“The bottom of the global economy is invisible.

“This is indeed an economic wartime situation,” he said during an annual national fiscal strategy meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.

He stressed the need to mobilise all of the government’s fiscal capabilities on par with a wartime fiscal operation.

President Moon Jae-in (C) speaks during the National Fiscal Strategy Meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on May 25, 2020. (Yonhap).

The president urged the speedy allocation of another batch of supplementary budgets, saying South Korea still had room for expansionary fiscal policy in comparison with other member states of The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“Our national debt ratio stays at the level of 41 percent,” taking into account the two previous extra budgets against the economic impact from the virus, he pointed out.

The average debt-to-GDP ratio of OECD members reaches 110 percent, he noted.

Moon underscored the importance of swiftly overcoming the serious crisis and seeking the recovery of fiscal health from a long-term perspective, which is a way to prevent the worsening of the debt proportion.

He was emphasising the importance of speedy and timely fiscal measures.

According to him, the government is preparing to submit a third extra budget bill.

He asked the National Assembly to approve it next month.

South Korea has already allocated 23.9 trillion won (US$19.2 billion) of supplementary budgets since the coronavirus outbreak early this year.

“(State) finances should play a role as a treatment for the ongoing economic crisis and a vaccine to strengthen the fundamental and immunity of the postcoronavirus economy,” he said.

Some media here have raised worries about the fiscal soundness of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.

The ruling Democratic Party is reportedly pushing for a third extra budget bill worth over 40 trillion won.

The Moon administration has also announced plans to pour 250 trillion won into helping companies maintain jobs, insulate key industries, support small and medium-sized enterprises, the self-employed and other vulnerable people.

Separately, the government is handing out direct cash payments of up to 1 million won to all of the country’s households.

On the monetary policy side, South Korea’s central bank slashed the benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage point to a record low of 0.75 percent in March.

Many analysts predict the Bank of Korea will cut it once again this week.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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General news

Eid el-Fitr: NOA urges Nigerians to observe precautionary measures against COVID-19

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As Nigerians join other Muslims worldwide to mark the 2020 Eid-el-Fitr amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged citizens to observe all precautionary measures against the disease.

The Director General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, made the call in a Sallah message to the Muslim faithful in Nigeria, a statement by the agency’s Head of Press Unit, Mr Paul Odenyi, said.

Abari also urged them to imbibe the lessons of Ramadan, some of which are discipline, selflessness, and piety.

According to the director general, the month of Ramadan is a period that Muslims should take advantage of to strengthen their faith and stay safe from the ravaging coronavirus by adhering strictly to the precautionary measures put in place.

He said leaders at the local level should take responsibility for enforcing movement restriction orders, inspiring compliance with all advisories by government in line with the spirit of Sallah.

“We cannot afford to be careless or nonchalant about safety precautions in our religious and cultural observations.

“We must be cautious (so as) not to facilitate community transmission of COVID19.

“Leaders, especially in religious and traditional communities, must take responsibility for the safety of the members of their communities from COVID-19 as they interact.

“They can do this by ensuring that prescribed social distancing, use of face masks, regular hand washing, and sanitisation are observed in our communities,” he said

The NOA chief urged Muslims to keep praying for divine protection of Nigerians from the coronavirus, and for the speedy recovery of those already infected.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Turkey, Iran presidents discuss cooperation against COVID-19 pandemic

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed cooperation possibilities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic on the phone, local media reported on Sunday.

Both leaders reviewed the possible steps that would be taken in the postpandemic era, the state-run Anadolu agency said.

Erdogan and Rouhani also discussed regional issues and bilateral relations, the agency added.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Nigerian army sustaining onslaught against insurgents, criminals – DHQ

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The Defence headquarters says Nigerian Army has sustained its onslaught against insurgents and other criminal in its reinvigorated operations across the country.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said that the troops of Army Super Camp 11, Gamboru, in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno, on May 21, rescued a local, who was abducted around Wulgo general area by some Boko Haram insurgents.

He said that a hot pursuit by the troops forced the abductors to abandon their victim and flee, adding that they also recovered five bicycles belonging to the abductors.

The coordinator also said that the troops of 251 Task Force Battalion in Dolari, in conjunction with elements of Civilian Joint Task Force, arrested one Bakura Rawa Modu who was detected loitering within Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp on May 20.

According to him, the suspect claimed to be a “motor boy”, and also confessed to be a Boko Haram member for the past five years, during preliminary interrogation,.

He said the suspect further disclosed that he coordinated several suicide bombings within Konduga general area in addition to his participation in series of Boko Haram attacks on the military and civilian targets.

“He confessed to be a spy sent to monitor activities of the troops within the IDPs camp,” the coordinator said.

Enenche further said that on May 18, troops of Strong Response Area, Ngoshe while on patrol, intercepted a woman named Maryam Ali, who was abducted by Boko Haram criminals five years ago, after they killed her husband.

“She revealed that her escape from Boko Haram was made possible by the devastating artillery and mortar bombardments on the Boko Haram enclave in Gava, Gwoza Local Government Area by Nigerian Army troops.

”She disclosed that the troops killed 15 of the insurgents while many others, including herself, suffered various degrees of wounds.

“She was, however, given first aid by the troops and later moved to a medical facility for better management,” he said.

Enenche also said that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji had, on May 22, discovered a kidnappers’ hideout at Tungar Duna deployed at Doka and Tungar Duna Villages in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara.

He said that the kidnapped victims were rescued from their den as the criminals fled on sighting the advancing troops.

He revealed that the rescued victims had been debriefed and reunited with their families.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Metro

Eid-el-Fitri: RATTAWU congratulates Muslims, urges precaution against COVID-19

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Eid-el-Fitri: RATTAWU congratulates Muslims, urges precaution against COVID-19

Salah

Awka, 24, 2020 The Radio Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union (RATTAWU), South East Zone, on Sunday congratulated Muslim faithful for successful completion of 2020 Ramadan Fast and Eld-el-Fitri celebration.

Mr Emeka Kalu, National Vice President RATTAWU, disclosed this in a statement issued in Awka.

Emeka, while congratulating the Muslims, said they should use their renewed spirits and lessons of Ramadan to relate harmoniously with people of other creed for overall national peace and progress.

He said they should celebrate the joyous occasion with full observance of standard safety protocols against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The Ramadan is an inspiration for enduring love and genuine loyalty, success, tolerance and RATTAWU calls on all to embrace the principle of peace.

RATTAWU South East Zone reminds our Comrade Muslim brothers and sisters to continue to abide by the regulations issued by the World Heath Organisation, Federal and State Governments on COVID-19 prevention.

“Recall that the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs had also banned all forms of public gatherings to celebrate this year’s Eid, a situation occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic across the world.

“Let’s remain in our homes and pray for our members, our Union RATTAWU and Nigeria as a nation, especially at this very challenging moment of global downturn.

“So as you engage in the celebrations associated with the completion of the Ramadan period, please remember to maintain physical distancing, use of face masks, hand washing and all other protocols enunciated by the NCDC.

“We must also remember the ban on all forms of non essential inter state movements,”  he said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Eid-el-Fitr: Tambuwal urges residents to maintain safety regulations against COVID-19

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Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has urged residents to abide by the coronavirus safety protocols put in place by the Federal Government during and after Eid-el-Fitr celebrations.

Tambuwal made the appeal in a special broadcast on Sunday in Sokoto, to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting and Eid-Fitr celebrations.

He lauded the Federal Government and other agencies for their support toward containing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

The governor advised citizens to remain steadfast in imbibing the culture of compassion, honesty and peaceful coexistence, which were the  lessons learnt during the period of the Ramadan fasting.

”This year’s Ramadan and sallah festivities have come at a trying moment occasioned by the debilitating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the world.

”This has necessitated unprecedented changes in our lives, thereby immensely affecting the socio-economic wellbeing of humanity.

”Though we have had our fair share of those infected by the pandemic, we remain ever grateful to the Almighty Allah for his mercies so far,” Tambuwal said.

The governor expressed appreciation to the people of the state for their cooperation during this trying moment and urged them not to relent in adhering strictly to all guidelines and measures with regards to the pandemic.

He further commended the dedication and sacrifice of health workers who are the first line of defence against the disease.

According to him, their role has not only saved many lives but also gone a long way in flattening the curve of the pandemic.

While commending the proactive response of the Federal Government to the health challenges of the citizenry, he said it was necessary to call for drastic and specific measures against banditry in some local government areas of the state.

He said lives had been lost and properties destroyed, with thousands of citizens displaced.

” In the light of these, I would like to acknowledge the efforts and patriotism of our security agencies toward ensuring adherence of the populace to rules and regulations, especially the interstate lockdown ” Tambuwal said.

He assured that his administration would continue to support in whatever way, to achieve the noble objectives of the agencies.

” Let me seize this opportunity to once again express our profound gratitude to individuals and organisations that have assisted us in cash and kind in the fight against the pandemic.

” These include BUA, Access Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, EcoBank, Nigeria Flour Mills, NNPC, some members of the National Assembly, Goodluck Ebele Johnathan Foundation and other public spirited individuals,” he said.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

 

 

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Religion

Eid-el-Fitr: Gov. Fintiri urges Muslims to pray against COVID-19

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Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa has urged Muslim faithful to pray for divine intervention against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Fintiri made the appeal in a Sallah goodwill message issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Humwashi Wonosikou, on Sunday in Yola.

The governor prayed Almighty Allah to accept all sacrifices and answer the prayers of the Muslim faithful because of the blessed  month of Ramadan.

“I urge Muslims to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world so that life can return to normal.

“In this trying times of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, everyone is admonished to cooperate with the frontline workers by observing the necessary safety protocols and contributing their quota in helping to save lives,” Fintiri said.

Similarly, the leadership of two religious bodies in the state; Adamawa Muslims Council and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had called on the people of the state irrespective of their beliefs to live in peace with one another.

They made the appeal in separate statements also issued on Sunday in Yola.

Most Rev. Dami Mamza, the CAN Chairman in the state, felicitated with the Muslims on the occasion, stating that their Christian friends wish to identify with their Muslim brothers at this special and spiritual time.

“Our bonds of unity and togetherness on such special occasions go a long way to foster fraternity between Christians and Muslims which is critically needed in such a polarised world.

“Informed by this spirit of love and unity, the Adamawa State Christians, specially pray for you and congratulate you as you mark this feast,” Mamza said.

On his part, Alhaji Gambo Jika, the Chairman, Adamawa Muslims Council (AMC), called on the Muslim faithful to live in peace and harmony for the development of the state.

Jika commended the Adamawa Government for intervening in the recent communal crisis in Lamurde Local Government Area of the state.

“We are appealing to the State Government to investigate the cause of the recent communal crisis in Lamurde and prosecute whoever is found guilty to serve as deterrent to others,” Jika urged.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Eid-el-Fitr  festival had witnessed low key celebration as a result of COVID-19 lockdown.

Citizens have been urged to adhere to the safety protocol measures put in place by experts and government to contain the spread of the disease, among which are regular hand washing and physical distancing.

In compliance with the measures, Muslim faithful observed their prayers in Mosques within their localities and there was low turn out of people to the mosques.

On the security of lives and property, DSP Sulaiman Nguroje, the Police Public Relation Officer of the Command in the state, said there had been no report of breach of peace so far.

Nguroje said the command had deployed significant number of personnel across the state to ensure security of lives and property.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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