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Latvian economy dwindles 9.8 pct in Q2

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Latvian economy dwindles 9.8 pct in Q2

During the second quarter (Q2) of this year, Latvia’s seasonally unadjusted gross domestic product (GDP) dwindled 9.8 percent year-on-year, according to a flash-estimate released on Friday by the Baltic country’s national statistics office.


As the first wave of coronavirus pandemic hit the economy in April-June, the manufacturing sector declined 3.8 percent, the services sector shrank 11 percent and retail trade was down 1.6 percent in annual terms, said the statistics office.

According to seasonally adjusted data, the economic downturn in Q2 reached 9.6 percent, it said. Compared to the previous quarter, the economy shrank by 7.5 percent in Q2.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Sexual violence: Mrs Akeredolu pledges to partner stakeholders

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The wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has pledged her readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders to end cases of  sexual violence in the state.


Akeredolu spoke on Tuesday in Akure at a stakeholders meeting on gender-based sexual violence

According to her, an action plan must  aim at addressing the issue of rape in the state holistically.

The governor’s wife, therefore, advised stakeholders to collectively come up with a reasonable action plan that would end the menace.

Mrs Titi Adeyemi, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the essence of the meeting was to have a follow up forum on the previous meeting with stakeholders on rape and gender based violence.

Adeyemi noted that the spate of rape cases and gender-based violence was becoming alarming.

“It has become so worrisome, especially during the coronavirus period, which concerns every individuals.

“There has been an upsurge on issue of rape and all hands must be on deck to curb it.

” That is the main reason Mrs Akeredolu and relevant authorities have shown great concern at this time.

“We have put a team of experts together, people who have technical knowledge on gender-based violence issues to look for a lasting solution.

“We have a whole range of stakeholders coming together to evolve an action plan to tackle the menace, and I believe that this move is going to assist the state and the society at large,” she said.

Adeyemi said her ministry had concluded plans with the Ministry of Budget to include funds for gender-based violence management in its budget.

She also said that a desk for management of gender based violence cases would be created while government would build the capacity of care givers as well as empower victims.

The commissioner commended the governor’s wife for contributing to the proactive measures put in place to curb the menace in the state.

Mrs Bola Ogundadegbe, the Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, disclosed that the 112 rape incidents recorded since 2017 had been charged to court.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders at the meeting included representatives from Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, Women Affairs as well as representatives of non governmental organisations specialising on rape cases.

Others were from National Council of Women Societies, Betty Anyanwu Foundation(BAAF), Nigeria Police Force and NSCDC.

(
Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Digital economy: Nigeria must shift focus from certificate to skills – Pantami

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The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.


Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that digital literacy and skills was one of the pillars outlined for the development of the digital economy of Nigeria in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.

He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.

According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.

“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.

“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.

“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.

“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.

Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.

According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.

The minister further disclosed that the national security architecture must key into the digital revolution in tackling the prevailing security challenge using digital technology.

He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.

“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”

Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.

Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.

He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.

“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.

“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Commandant of the collage, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.

Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.

“A large part of the Course was conducted online, after the general lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

Spain records lower unemployment in July

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The Spanish Government on Tuesday said the rate of unemployment declined slightly in July compared to the previous month, in spite drastic measures implemented to fight the spread of the coronavirus.


According to the Labour Ministry, the number of unemployed people declined by 2.3 per cent, or circa 90,000 people, to 3.8 million.

However, analysts were surprised by the result, as predictions had said the number would rise by 20,000.

The figures indicate the Spanish labour market was recovering after unemployment numbers rose by 302,000 in March and 283,000 in April, but only 26,500 additional people were reported unemployed in May and 5,100 in June.

This, they said, marked an ever smaller increase in the rate of unemployment in the country.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis was more apparent in comparison to 2019, however, unemployment in July was 25 per cent higher than in July 2019.

YI/ MNA

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Philippine capital, surrounding provinces return to lockdown

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More than 27 million people in the Philippines on Tuesday went back under stricter lockdown measures as the Health Department reported a record number of new coronavirus cases.


The department reported 6,352 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s total caseload to 112,593.

The department added that death toll also rose to 2,115, following 11 additional deaths.

Meanwhile, almost half of the additional cases were confirmed in the Metro Manila region, which has been placed under what is locally called modified enhanced community quarantine for the next 15 days.

The protocol was also imposed in the four surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

Also, public transport, private and government offices and other commercial services were suspended in the five regions, while people were prohibited from leaving their homes unless for essential trips.

Dine-in services in restaurants were also suspended, and some of the 16 cities in Metro Manila re-imposed a ban on alcohol.

Catholic churches were once again closed to the public, as well as beauty salons and gyms.

Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have been increasing since the government began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to revive the economy.

The spike has prompted doctors, nurses and other health care workers to call on the government to recalibrate the response to the pandemic.

One of the doctors who joined the call warned that if the infections were not halted, the country would be the next New York City, where people die on stretchers due to lack of space in hospitals.

Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire urged the public to follow minimum health standards of wearing face masks, frequent handwashing and maintaining physical distance.

“We all know the situation in the country. We all know that as long as there is no vaccine or cure, we have to learn to live with the virus.

“That is why we are always reminding the public to follow health protocols,” she said.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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