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Congo Republic president’s adviser awarded oil licenses at heart of Eni probe

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A Congolese presidential advisor played a key role in awarding oil licenses now at the heart of a corruption probe by Italian authorities that has engulfed energy giant Eni SpA and the family of its chief executive.


The advisor, Denis Gokana, headed a committee that awarded licenses to Italy’s Eni and a Congolese partner company he founded, according to government records and confirmed by Gokana via email.


The Congolese president appointed Gokana in 2013 to head a committee responsible for boosting the role of the country’s private sector in the economy, a role that was disclosed at the time in the official government gazette.


This is the first time the role played by a key Congolese official in events at the center of the Italian corruption probe has been publicly revealed.


Gokana, who is special natural resources advisor to Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, denied any wrongdoing.


State-controlled Eni, one of the world’s largest oil companies, disclosed last year that it was under investigation by Milan prosecutors for corruption in Congo Republic.


It was reported on Sept. 28 that Italian prosecutors were investigating the wife of Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi as part of its corruption probe.


The inquiry revolves around agreements signed between 2013 and 2015 by Eni’s Congolese subsidiary with local partners and seeks to determine whether certain contracts hid a form of bribe.


Eni denies any wrongdoing and said it had no say in the awarding of the licenses or the government’s choice of its local partner – Africa Oil & Gas Corporation (AOGC), the company founded by Gokana.


A lawyer for Descalzi’s wife, Marie Magdalena Ingoba, said his client had no comment.


The Congo investigation comes as Eni faces allegations alongside Royal Dutch Shell that it paid more than 1 billion dollars in bribes to gain control over a Nigerian oil field.


Italian authorities have charged Eni, Shell and 13 individuals, including Descalzi, with violating Italy’s international corruption law in an ongoing case in Milan.


Shell, Eni, Descalzi and the other individuals have denied any wrongdoing in the Nigeria case.


The company has said it is confident the allegations leveled at it by prosecutors would be found groundless.


In the Congo matter, the fresh detail about the role of the president’s advisor raises questions about Eni’s due diligence into its local partner, said Natasha White, a London-based researcher at anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness.


The non-governmental organisation identified the ties between Eni and Gokana and shared the findings with Reuters.


A former Eni director told prosecutors that while at the company, he raised concerns to CEO Descalzi about ties between Eni’s Congolese partner company and the president’s advisor, and that the CEO dismissed them, according to a 2015 deposition reviewed.


Descalzi “disputed the basis of my remarks and told me my behavior was paralyzing Eni’s commercial activities in the petroleum sector,” former board member Luigi Zingales, a finance professor, told prosecutors.


Descalzi, who has led Eni since 2014, is not a target of the corruption probe related to the company’s Congolese operations, according to Eni and a person familiar with the investigation.


Eni, Africa’s biggest foreign oil and gas producer, declined to comment on Zingales’ statements to prosecutors but said it didn’t believe he was in a position to properly assess its governance.


The company said an audit conducted with the help of external lawyers and consultants found no evidence of corruption in relation to operations in Congo.


Eni said its due diligence did identify that its local partner company had been founded by presidential advisor Gokana but concluded that he no longer held an ownership stake or served as a manager.


Asked whether the company was aware that Gokana headed the committee that awarded the licenses, Eni said: “Eni has no evidence of knowledge of any specific of alleged activity rendered by Mr.


Gokana for the benefit of Eni in the award processes.”


A Congolese government spokesman did not respond to requests for comment addressed to the president and the government.

Congo Republic, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer by volume, is one of Eni’s key African operations. (Reuters/NAN)


FAT/ABI

Edited by Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa

Fatima Sule: 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

COVID-19: Gombe to install, inaugurate testing centre on Wednesday

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The Gombe Government is to install and inaugurate a Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centre on Wednesday, a task force official has said.

Prof. Idris Mohammed, Chairman of the state task force on the COVID-19, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Gombe, while giving an  update on the pandemic in the state.

He said that the testing machine would be arriving Gombe on Tuesday, May 26, while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)  would be arriving the state on Wednesday May 27, to install and inaugurate it.

According to him, soon after the installation of the machine, testing of suspected cases will begin.

He stated that the presence of the testing centre in the state would ease the difficulties of traveling with samples for test to other states.

Mohammed noted that so far 44 out of the 64 almajiri pupils, who were quarantined in Amada, had tested negative and reunited with their families.

The chairman said they were still awaiting the remaining 20 results of the almajiri pupils who were quarantined.

He said the state was hoping they returned negative adding that as soon as the results were  out they would also be reunited with their families.

According to him, there are only 15 persons in the isolation centres, five at the Specialist Hospital and the remaining 10 at the Kwadon Isolation Centre in Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Top aide to British PM defends actions amid row over lockdown rules

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Defence

London, May 25, 202 Dominic Cummings, a top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended his decision to leave London amid lockdown travel restrictions, saying he acted “reasonably.”

“I did not ask the prime minister about the decision, he was ill himself and he had huge problems to deal with,” Cummings told reporters.

Cummings travelled 430 kilometres from London to his parents’ home in County Durham at the end of March. Both Cummings and his wife were ill at the time and suspected they had the coronavirus.

He and his wife were worried there was “nobody in London [they] could reasonably ask to look after [their] child and expose themselves to COVID-19.”

Calls have mounted for Cummings to resign over the decision, but Cummings said he had “not considered” that.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

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Putin spokesperson Peskov leaves hospital after recovering from virus

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Recovery

Moscow, May 25, 202 Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has left hospital after recovering from the novel coronavirus, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Monday.

Peskov, 52, had revealed two weeks ago that he was undergoing treatment for the virus. He suffered from pneumonia in both lungs, Interfax reported.

Four other top officials have also contracted the virus: the prime minister, and the ministers of construction, science and culture. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, 54, returned to work last week.

Russia has reported more than 350,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, currently the world’s third largest caseload behind that of the United States and Brazil, according to comparative data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Politics

Lawmakers congratulate Edwin Clark at 93

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The Minority caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated with Chief Edwin Clark as he turns 93.

The members extoled the  leadership qualities, patriotism and relentless commitment of the elder statesman and former Information Minister in the development of the country.

The Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDA-Delta), in a statement signed and issued  on Monday, described Clark as ‘a leading light, a forthright, fearless and outspoken leader’.

Elumelu said Clark had remained steadfast in his commitment toward the unity, stability and development of Nigeria.

”Chief Clark has remained a firm and uncompromised voice for the entrenchment of rule of law, social justice, adherence to the principles and tenets of constitutional federalism.

”He stands for equitable distribution of national opportunities and undiluted respect for the sensibilities and rights of federating units in the quest for a strong, united and virile nation,” he said.

The lawmaker said that over the years, Clark had remained philanthropic and dedicated to the good of the Nigerian people.

According to Elumelu, his commitment to the development of the younger generation is evinced in his roles, leading to the establishment of the University of Benin and the Edwin Clark University.

He said that Clark, in his service to the nation, had demonstrated the hallmark of statesmanship as well as a huge example for leaders at all levels.

Elumelu congratulated Clark on his 93rd birthday and prayed God to grant him more years in good health to continue in his good works for the nation and humanity at large.

 

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Aregbesola laid foundation for infrastructural development in Osun — Tinubu

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National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, has commended the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, for his pioneering inspirational leadership in Osun and his continued service to Nigeria.

Tinubu, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman, described Aregbesola as a loyal and dependable friend and partner.

The APC leader, while congratulating the Minister on turning 63, said he had done remarkably well for his state and country.

According to Tinubu, Aregbesola laid the foundation for the infrastructural development of the State of Osun.

“He turned it to what it is today: a modern state.

“He is creative and innovative. He provided inspirational leadership in Osun and now at the centre in Abuja.

“Aregbesola is resolute and committed to worthy causes.

“He is bold, courageous and always eager to take decisions that would impart the lives of a majority of our people.

“An engineer and political activist, Aregbesola made the difference in Lagos as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure for eight years, in Osun as governor for two terms and at present as Minister of Interior,” he said

The APC leader said that the Minister is an exceptional grassroots campaigner and mobilizer who has remained invaluable to APC.

Tinubu congratulated Aregbesola as he turned 63.

He prayed that the grace of Almighty Allah continued to be with him.

“May He grant him many more years, good health and renewed energy to continue in the service of our people and humanity,” he said

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: Army Ordnance Corps distribute palliatives to host community

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The Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps on Monday distributed palliatives to the most vulnerable residents of Ojuoluwa Empire Community in Surulere Local Government Area in Lagos state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that items given to cushion the effect of the lock down occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic include rice, beans, garri, groundnut oil and seasonings.

Others are noodles, salt and two packs of 500g sugar each.

Maj.-Gen. O.A. Akintade, the Commander, Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps, said that Ojuoluwa community was chosen for palliative because of their relationship.

Akintade was represented at the occasion by Brig.- Gen. Effefiong Ekpenyong, Director, Land Service Administration.

He said that the organisation understood the effect COVID -19 pandemic had on the people and decided to reach out to the host communities.

“We are aware of what the current scourge across the world has done, a lot of people are suffering and are feeling the impact of COVID-19 seriously.

“This particular community is our neighbour and we have excellent relationship over the years, it is on that premise that we decided to identify with it,” he said.

On COVID-19, the commander urged the community to keep adhering to measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

“The Presidential Task Force has rolled out about seven protocols for everybody to adhere, which include social or physical distancing, washing of hands and the use of sanitisers.

“I call on the community to religiously implement all these protocols for their safety,” he said.

Mr Olukayode Adeyemi, Special Adviser, Community Affairs, Surulere Local Government appreciated the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai for reaching out to ward F1.

Adeyemi also commended the Army Ordnance Corps for giving out the palliatives in an orderly manner.

According to him, face mask and tags were given to beneficiaries a day before the palliatives were distributed.

Also, Chief Oladunjoye Davies, the Baale of the community said he was grateful that such hand of friendship was extended to his community.

“I am grateful to the COAS, the Commandant of the Ordnance Corps and the officers for bringing this gesture to my community, God will continue to bless them,” Davies said.

He also said that the community had been adhering to the measures rolled out by the government.

Iyabode Davies, one of the beneficiary said that she was grateful to the Army for reaching out to the community.

“I am overwhelmed with these gesture, may God continue to bless Buratai and the Nigerian Army because whatever it does, it is excellent,” she said.

Kofo Olalere, a pregnant woman who also received the palliative, thanked the army for reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Sport

Bayern Munich’s Thiago to miss top game at Borussia Dortmund through injury

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Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Bundesliga top game against Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich’s coach Hansi Flick said on Monday.

This came to light after the playmaker, who had already missed Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, failed to recover from a muscle injury.

“Thiago did not train today,” Flick told a virtual news conference. “Unfortunately he will miss the game (at Dortmund).”

Bayern Munich are top of the table on 61 points, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund, with seven matches remaining in the campaign.

Victory in Dortmund would send them seven points clear and put them within touching distance of a record-extending eighth consecutive league crown.

“It is a completely different game from the first one (which Bayern Munich won 4-0 earlier this season),” Flick said ahead of the game which will be played in an empty Dortmund stadium that normally sits 80,000 fans.

The Bundesliga restarted 10 days ago with a strict medical protocol banning fans from the stadiums to minimise the risk of infection.

“We are on a good run and have lost only twice in the last 23 games and drawn once. We relish this game. It’s what this job is about and that motivates the players more,” Flick added.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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General news

Kinsmen organise prayers for Gambari

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The ancestral community of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Erubu/Asunnara/Ita Aburo in Ilorin, Kwara, on Monday, organised a special prayer for his successful tenure as the new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
An Islamic scholar, Alhaji Uthman Erubu, who led the prayer, thanked Allah for the appointment of Gambari, whom he described as an illustrious son, to the Buhari-led administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other attendees also recited Quran to pray to Allah for a successful tenure in office for Gambari.
In his sermon, Dr Ridwan Olagunju of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, urged Ilorin youths to emulate the good deeds of past leaders to guarantee a better future.
”The past deeds of Gambari, as a reputable international bureaucrat, were responsible for his appointment, in spite of the fact that he is not a politician,” he said.
He advised the CoS to bring his past experiences to fore in finding solutions to the myriad of challenges currently bedevilling the country.
Earlier in his remarks, Dr Abdulrahman Mustapha of the Kwara State University, said that Gambari had made positive impacts in the community.
He described the former diplomat as a good ambassador of the community, saying that he had represented it well in various capacities, both nationally and internationally.
The don urged the youth to work assiduously for the development of their home community, wherever they might find themselves.
He prayed Allah to guide and guard Gambari in the new assignment.
NAN reports that the prayer session was attended by traditional chiefs as well as sons and daughters of the community.
Gambari, an Ilorin prince, was appointed the chief of staff to replace Malam Abba Kyari, who died of complications from coronavirus on April 17.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

Former UK PM Tony Blair questions Trump’s leadership in coronavirus pandemic

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Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair questioned U.S. President Donald Trump’s leadership in facing “terrifying” novel coronavirus pandemic and expressed his worry about the lack of global coordination in tackling the crisis, the British newspaper Daily Mail has reported.

“The worry I have that an absence of global coordination and global leadership that’s necessary for it is a huge problem,” the Daily Mail quoted Blair as saying, citing his recent interview with NBC News.

Blair, who served from 1997 to 2007 as British prime minister, said it’s important to bring the world together when facing the pandemic.

With “global coordination”, Blair said leaders could find a vaccine together, accelerate the development of therapeutics and testing capability, and organize economic measures to keep the international economy afloat, Daily Mail reported.

“It’s that global coordination, the absence of which means that each individual country’s less effective at dealing with the disease. That’s the thing that worries me,” he said.

Blair said in Western countries people are well-informed about the disease but not sufficiently informed about the economic collapse it could trigger.

“The safest thing for any political leader to do is just keep the lockdown because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is going to be minimal, but on the other hand if you’re looking responsibly into how you get through this into the medium term without the economic wreckage being absolutely devastated,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“The countries that locked down fast and that are building, testing, tracing and tracking capability fast, that then enables you to be more bold on the economy,” he said in the interview with NBC.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Children’s Day: Imo govt. to send palliatives to orphanage homes

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The Imo Government on Monday said it would be visiting and donating palliatives to orphanage homes, juveniles in correctional centres and other vulnerable groups on May 26.

The Commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Group in Imo, Mrs Nkechinyere Ugwu, disclosed this at a news conference.

Ugwu said the visit would be part of the ministry’s activities to mark the 2020 International Children’s Day celebration on May 27.

She said the essence of the visits would be to reassure the orphans at the orphanages and juveniles at the correctional centres in the state that government had not abandoned them.

She said the ministry had braced up against any kind of abuse against the girl-child and vulnerable groups in Imo.

“We will not tolerate harassment of the girl-child in Imo; we will rise to protect their rights at any time.

“International Children’s Day is a day set aside to lay emphasis on the protection of children’s rights.

“We are also doing our best to encourage girl-child education and to discourage all forms of abuse and molestation against the girl-child,’’ the commissioner said.

She urged parents to ensure that the girl-child was given early orientation on what constituted abuse to them, while also advising children against negative relationships.

Ugwu, however, noted that the celebration would be partly affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic will make it impossible to observe all normal activities that require physical contact.

“We will ensure that all the NCDC guidelines on COVID 19 are strictly observed during the event,’’ the commissioner added.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Politics

Edo 2020: PDP leader urges members to work for victory

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Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo have been urged to work towards achieving victory in the forthcoming governorship election.

The PDP National Vice chairman, South South, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi stated this on Monday during a visit to the new State Executives of the Party led by Dr Tony Aziegbemi.

Ogidi said he was in Edo to strengthen the strategies adopted by his Party to oust the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) from power in the interest of the people.

“We need to work hard to get Osadebey Avenue. That is why I am here (in Benin City) to be sure that we get there, because we have been looking forward to it.

“I have not been happy since I became the zonal vice chairman of PDP. Each time I went to any of the states, I kept saying I am not complete. Until we have Edo state, we cannot proudly say that we are complete.

“Although, we have five of the six states in the South-South zone and our five governors are doing well, but we need Edo state to do well too.

“There is every need for PDP to take over Edo. By the grace of God, we are going to win the election,” he said.

Ogidi said: “I am pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act, to avoid the kind of violence witnessed in Bayelsa and Kogi states.”

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic was a good one, because e-voting was the easiest way to fight Coronavirus.

Meanwhile Aziegbemi has said that the State Working Committee (SWC), were working hard to get PDP back to Osadebey Avenue by carrying all stakeholders along in its strategies.

“We reached out to all those that one way or another are aggrieved. We can tell you the units, wards and local government areas that PDP is strong and not strong in Edo.

“Basically, the only thing we are out for is winning the governorship election on September 19. We promise you, we will give our all to make sure that we deliver on the mandate given to us.

“When we were campaigning, that is what we told the delegates, to give us the mandate and we will get them Osadebey Avenue.

“We reiterate the commitment, the vow we made with our people, that we will get them back to Osadebey Avenue,” he said.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

Kenya’s COVID-19 tally rises to 1,286

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Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 1,286.

Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the latest cases were detected from 2,711 samples which were tested in the last 24 hours.

Mwangangi said that 70 of the latest patients are Kenyans, while the other two are foreigners from Uganda and Somalia respectively.

She said nine patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 392.

Mwangangi said one person died from the deadly respiratory disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 52.

The east African nation has so far tested 61,971 from 20 national laboratories that are strategically located in critical areas across the country.

The Kenyan government has developed several nutrition guidelines to keep populations healthy, banned movements in and out of the disease hotspots, suspended learning and banned international and domestic flights to help contain the spread of the virus.

The government has also trained 11,000 health care workers and 60,000 community health workers across the country.

(XINHUA)

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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

Africa Day: Putin congratulates Africa, hails Russia-African close relationship

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Russian President Vladmir Putin has congratulated African Countries and leaders on the occasion of the Africa Day celebration, hailing the close relationship between the Continent and Russia.

In a message signed by Putin and obtained from the Russian Embassy in Abuja on Monday, Putin said that the day symbolizes the aspiration of the countries of Africa to freedom, peace and prosperity.

He added that the celebration was significant to both Russia and Africa as it reaffirms the relationship of the duo which dates back to the colonial era.

“This holiday assumes special significance in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and people celebrated this year.

“Decades ago, when many African Peoples were just embarking on the path of sovereign development, our country provided them with active political support, extensive assistance in the social and economic sphere, and training of civilian and military personnel.

“Today, African Countries are Russia’s significant and promising partners, who enjoy well-deserved authority on the global arena and play an active role in addressing topical international issues,” he said.

Putin noted that the Russia-Africa Summit which held in 2019 in Sochi, turned out to be an exclusively important milestone in the development of Russian-African relations.

According to him, the dialogue between our Countries has been brought to a qualitatively new level.

“The Russia-Africa Partnership Forum established during the Summit will undoubtedly contribute to building up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and coordinating efforts to counter the threats and challenges of our time.

”Including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a serious test for our Countries and Peoples.

“I whole-heartedly wish you good health, prosperity and every success in your state activities, and peace and prosperity to all your compatriots,” Putin said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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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

Africa javelin champ Yego looks to clinch gold in final Olympics

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Africa javelin champion Julius Yego hopes to use the Diamond League campaign to improve his throws ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Yego, 31, won silver with one throw at the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, before a groin and ankle injury slowed his progress.

However, after three years of rehabilitation, false starts and bruised egos, Yego is ready to pick up the gauntlet and stake his claim to the javelin gold at the delayed Tokyo Games next year.

Yego is eyeing the Diamond League to showcase his blossoming talent and reclaim his status on the world stage.

“I started my training early enough knowing that for the first time, I had no niggling injuries. I can say, I was doing very well in training and looked forward to start of the season,” Yego said in Nairobi on Monday.

His target will be to improve his personal best time. At the continental level in Rabat, Morocco last year, Yego threw a season’s best 87.73 meters to clinch the Africa title, just five meters off his personal best, which he set in Beijing in 2015 when he hurled the javelin 92.72m to win the world title.

“I feel this was to be my year. I had it all planned, but I have to go back and plan hoping to emerge stronger when the lockdown is lifted. It is important to remain fit and active so as to take little time to return to competition,” he added.

World Athletics has confirmed that the Diamond League will start in August.

“In Rio, I got silver because of injury. I was sure to win gold in 2020, but here we are, the Games are postponed. I still hope that I will achieve my dream of getting an Olympic gold next year because I believe it will be my last appearance at the Games,” said Yego.

The lockdown and closure of training camps in Kenya has not stopped Yego from training.

“I maintain a strict routine to keep fit through running and other small exercises,” added Yego. “I hope to regain my form, which I had in 2015. Time will tell.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

6-year-old discovers millenia-old clay tablet in Israel

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Discovery

Tel Aviv, May 25, 202 A six-year-old discovered a 3,500-year-old clay tablet described as unique by archaeologists during an outing with his parents in southern Israel.

The family was walking near the village of Re’im in southern Israel in March when the boy noticed a small square clay tablet with carvings of two people on it, Israel’s Antiquity Authority said on Monday.

The family subsequently handed over the artefact to the authorities.

The tablet shows a soldier wearing a belted skirt pushing a naked captive whose arms are tied behind his back, it said, adding that the artist had wanted to show the humiliation of the captive.

Israeli authorities said the discovery would help their investigations into the millenia-old Canaanite mud city of Yerza.

The Canaanites were people who lived in an area which according to ancient texts may have included parts of modern-day Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

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Foreign

Germany’s Lufthansa says gov’t approves 9-bln-euro rescue package

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German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Monday that the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) set up by the federal government has approved a stabilization package of up to 9 billion euros (9.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the company.

Lufthansa said the WSF will make silent participation of up to 5.7 billion euros in total in the company’s assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros is classified as equity. The silent participation is unlimited in time and can be terminated by the company on a quarterly basis in whole or in part.

Two seats on the Supervisory Board are to be filled in agreement with the German government, one of which is to become a member of the Audit Committee, said the company.

While noting that the executive board supports the package, the company said the package still requires the final approval of the management board and the supervisory board. It is also subject to the approval of the European Commission, the company added. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Israeli forces shoot Palestinian in Jerusalem

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Israeli forces on Monday shot and badly injured a Palestinian who allegedly tried to stab a Border Police officer in East Jerusalem amidst escalating tensions in the region.

The incident took place in Jabel Mukaber, a Palestinian neighborhood in southern East Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect, a 30-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, did not injure any police officer before he was shot and “neutralized.”

The man sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital, he added.

It was the second attempted attack on Monday. Earlier in the morning, the military said troops shot towards two Palestinians after they attempted to stab soldiers near the settlement of Amichai, east of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The violence came as tensions were rising over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley, a portion of the West Bank. The move stirs concerns and anger among the Palestinians, most of the Arab world, and some of Israel’s European allies.

In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that the Palestinian Authority is no longer committed to any signed agreements with Israel or the United States.

Israel seized the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, in 1967 war and kept controlling it ever since despite international criticism.

(XINHUA)

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Laos reports 38 new cases of dengue fever, 1 new death

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Laos reported 38 new confirmed cases of dengue fever and one new death from the disease, according to Lao Ministry of Health report.

The highest number of dengue patients were reported in Lao capital Vientiane at 345 with two deaths, while 190 cases were reported in Attapeu province, and 186 cases were reported in Vientiane province.

As of Sunday, 1,337 people had been diagnosed with dengue fever and four deaths were recorded, according to the Center of Information and Education for Health under the Lao Ministry of Health.

Lao health authorities urged people to clear potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and workplaces to help control the spread of dengue fever.

Meanwhile, improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of dengue at hospitals and dispensaries is necessary to prevent unavoidable deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is one of the fastest emerging infections and is currently the most rapidly spreading viral disease known, with Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore also seeing high incidence. The number of cases in the Western Pacific Region has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

(XINHUA)

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