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Defence/Security

LG boss charges security personnel to arrest killers of village head

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The Chairman of Mangu Local Government in Plateau, Mr Lawrence Danat, has urged security personnel to arrest the killers of the village head of Kadunu in the area, Alhaji Mohammed Bayero.

Bayero was killed by suspected assassins at his residence on Sept. 15.

Danat, during a condolence visit to the deceased’s family, described the killing as “very shocking”, “barbaric” and “wicked”

“The increasing crimes in our area is unacceptable and,therefore,it has become expedient for our security operatives to live up to the expectations of the ordinary citizens.

“The assassination of Dakachi Kadunu village is very unfortunate, barbaric and wicked; it calls for proactive measures from our security operatives.

“The murderers of must be tracked down and brought to book to help reduce crime in this local government, the state and the nation, ” he said.

The chairman , who led a delegation including security chiefs on a condolence visit, pledged to improve security surveillance in villages and other settlements to curtail attacks on innocent citizens.

‘’The security situation in our Local Government Area will be reviewed and we, as citizens, must endeavour to always report any suspicious movement to the security agents,” he said.

He admonished the family of the deceased to take solace in God and be comforted.

Responding on behalf of the family and the Langai Traditional Council, Hakimi Langai, Mr Inusa Yaktol, thanked the chairman for the condolence visit.

Yaktol said that the family was shocked by the gruesome killing of their father and leader but that “we leave everything to God, who knows why it happened this way.”

While pleading with security agents to be more proactive in tackling crimes, Yaktol appealed to government to give special attention to Traditional rulers by providing security aides in their Palaces.
TYC/AMY

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

Foreign

Indonesian president asks for scaling up tests ahead of new normal

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday ordered relevant authorities to double COVID-19 tests and aggressively trace the infected people as the country is gearing up for a new normal scenario.

The provinces of East Java, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan where the infection rates stay afloat have to be put in priority efforts to curb the coronavirus transmission, the president told a limited cabinet meeting at the State Palace.

“On the tests of specimens, my previous target of 10,000 per day has been passed, and the next target is 20,000 specimens per day. We have to set up a plan for the achievement,” Widodo said.

“I ask for more aggressive tracings by taking advantage of the communication technology, and ignoring the conventional ways,” he remarked.

Taking examples of the usage of a digital diary in New Zealand and the Mobile GPS (Global Positioning System) technology being developed by South Korea, the president said the tracings of the infected people could be well monitored.

I want the COVID-19 task force, the Health Ministry, the military and the police to concentrate more in the three provinces where the transmission rates are still high, so that the rates can be edged lower,” the president said.

Indonesia has made progress on scaling up testings, albeit the effort remains insufficient as the vast-archipelagic country’s population settles at over 260 million people.

The total specimens tested in Indonesia increased to 345,434 from 246,433 people, according to the data from the task force.

The country has planned to reopen economic activities particularly those in the areas where the virus infection has been obliterated or subdued, along with the implementation of a new normal scenario.

Health protocols have been prepared for the areas and sectors to be reopened, such as those on tourism, trades and sports.

The coronavirus has killed 1,698 people across Indonesia and infected 28,233 others, according to the data from the Health Ministry on Wednesday.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Mongolia reports 1 new COVID-19 case, 21 more recoveries

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Mongolia reported one new COVID-19 case in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide count to 186, the National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) said Thursday.

“A total of 469 tests for COVID-19 were conducted across Mongolia yesterday and one of them tested positive,” NCCD’s head Dulmaa Nyamkhuu said at a daily press conference.

The latest case is one of the over 170 Mongolian nationals who returned home from Russia on a chartered flight on May 26 amid the pandemic, said Nyamkhuu.

According to the official, all the confirmed cases, including four foreigners, were imported, mostly from Russia. No local transmissions or deaths have been reported in the country so far.

Nyamkhuu added that 21 more patients have recovered from the disease, raising the total number to 65.

On March 10, a French national tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Mongolia.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Latvia reorganizes network of economic representations abroad

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The Latvian Investment and Development Agency has decided to reorganize its network of economic representations abroad, after consulting entrepreneurs’ organizations and the national exporters’ association.

The government agency, which is responsible for facilitating Latvian businesses’ operations in foreign countries and attracting foreign investment in Latvia, said on Wednesday that it will close economic representations in four countries and open new ones in four other countries.

At present, Latvia has economic representations in 20 countries. Those in Lithuania, Poland, Kazakhstan and Singapore will be closed, and the economic representation in India will be closed temporarily, the agency said.

Meanwhile, it plans to open new economic representative offices in Belgium, South Korea, Canada and Austria.

The agency’s director Kaspars Rozkalns said in a statement to the media that Latvian entrepreneurs are feeling increasingly comfortable in neighboring markets and can manage without representatives’ assistance, but more support is necessary to Latvians doing business in distant markets where they have no previous experience.

“For that reason, we want to focus more on providing support to entrepreneurs in distant markets, increasingly involving professional Latvian expatriates residing in these countries,” said Rozkalns.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Germany unveils 130-billion-euro stimulus package to boost virus-hit economy

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Germany has agreed on an economic stimulus package worth 130 billion euros (146 billion U.S. dollars) to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Wednesday.

“The size of the package will amount to 130 billion euros for the years 2020/2021, 120 billion of which will be spent by the federal government,” Merkel said during a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures to boost the severely-hit economy.

“We have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future, and in addition, we’re now dealing with our responsibility for Europe and the international dimension,” she noted.

The comprehensive economic stimulus measures include billions in aid for struggling industries, additional funding to deal with unemployment and lost tax revenue, and a one-time 300-euro per child bonus.

Merkel said the main value-added tax (VAT) rate will be temporarily reduced from 19 percent to 16 percent for six months, starting from July 1. The usual VAT rate for hospitality of 7 percent will be reduced to 5 percent over the same period.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that an additional supplementary budget will need to be passed for the stimulus, without naming any figures.

The stimulus programme follows a 750-billion-euro rescue package agreed by the German government in late March to mitigate the damage of the pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Thousands of people continue to protest over death of George Floyd in New York

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Police officers arrest some demonstrators during a protest over the death of George Floyd in New York, the United States, June 3, 2020. Thousands of people continued to protest here on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

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Foreign

Malaysia’s Petronas enters Myanmar gas market

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Malaysia’s state-owned oil firm Petronas has entered Myanmar gas market with first liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery, the company said Thursday.

Petronas said in a statement that through its subsidiary, Petronas LNG (PLL) completed its maiden delivery of LNG to Yangon.

Two LNG cargoes were delivered to Yangon in May and June, and the delivery is part of a master sale and purchase agreement between PLL and CNTIC VPower that was signed in early 2020.

As part of the agreement, the LNG cargoes were sold on Free-On-Board basis, amounting to a total LNG volume of 190,000 cubic meters.

PLL‘s chief executive officer Abdul Aziz Othman said the delivery to CNTIC VPower marked a new era in the growth of LNG demand in Southeast Asian region.

With Myanmar as the latest nation to adopt LNG as a form of cleaner energy, Petronas looks forward to being a long-term partner and supplier, leveraging on our world-class reliability, as well as innovative and customer-centric solutions,” he added.

In addition to the first two LNG cargoes, Petronas is also working with CNTIC VPower for further deliveries that will strengthen the relationship between both companies, which will facilitate the growth of their foothold in Myanmar’s fast-growing gas industry.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Enugu Govt announces 9 new positive COVID-19 cases

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The Enugu State Government says it has recorded nine positive COVID-19 new cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 27.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi, announced this in a statement issued on Thursday in Enugu.

Obi, who corrected the misinformation from the last update, said that the last announcement that gave the total of 19 was in error.

The Enugu State Ministry of Health wishes to correct the misinformation from its last update.

“It was announced that the total number of cases in Enugu State was 19, with six active cases and 13 discharged.

“However, an error from the reference laboratory was quickly detected and a case that was reported positive, on further investigation, was reconciled and confirmed negative,” he said.

According to him, the update on COVID-19 cases in the state is that there are three newly confirmed positive cases in the state, the previous day, and six newly confirmed cases late evening of Wednesday (June 3).

He added that another previously positive case has responded to treatment, tested negative and discharged.

“Consequently, the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Enugu State at the moment is 27 (13 active and 14 discharged, no death),” the commissioner explained.

Obi said the patient remained in quarantine for the period of clarification of the result.

“The quickly repeated test helped to avoid, for the individual, the experience of being wrongly admitted into an isolation and treatment centre,” Obi said.

He added that prior to this update, the state had recorded 18 cases, including five active and 13 discharged.

The commissioner further explained that case Number 19 was a 55-year-old male, from Enugu East Local Government Area, with no positive travel history.

According to him, Case 20 is a 17-year-old male from Udi Local Government Area, who had been exposed to an individual that had returned to Enugu briefly for a burial ceremony and had returned to Delta State where he tested positive for COVID-19.

Case 21 is a 23-year-old female also from Udi LGA who had also been exposed to this same burial attendee as above that travelled to Enugu from Delta State, who returned and tested positive.

Case 22 is a 25-year-old male from Enugu East, with no travel history.

Case 23 is a male from 9th Mile in Ngwo, Enugu North LGA, who came into Enugu from Imo State a week ago.

Case 24 is a female from Enugu North LGA.

“Case 25 is a 45-year-old male contact of case 19, with a history of international travel to an undisclosed country.

Case 26 is a 66-year-old male from Enugu South LGA and a recent returnee, a few days ago, from Onitsha, Anambra State.

“Case 27 is a 55-year-old female university lecturer with a history of exposure to someone with symptoms of COVID-19,” Obi said.

The commissioner said that it was pertinent to inform the public at this stage that community transmission was gradually being established in the State.

“The Enugu State Government continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the State Ministry of Health also continues to treat its existing cases, respond to alerts, carrying out contact tracing and following up on suspects and probable cases.

“As the social directives of the Federal Government and the Enugu State Government gradually ease, the public health advisories of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Enugu State Ministry of Health, essentially remain and should be adhered to,” he advised.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Economy

Oil prices fall on doubts over output cuts, surging United States diesel inventories

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Oil prices dropped on Thursday, reversing gains in the previous session, on concern over whether major crude producers will be able to agree to extend record output cuts, heightened by worries over a huge build in United States distillate inventories.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 1.46 per cent, or 58 cents, to $39.21 a barrel as of 0459 GMT, while the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures slid 1.98 per cent, or 74 cents, to $36.55 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the world’s biggest oil producers, have agreed to support extending into July the 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in supply cuts backed in April by the OPEC+ group, comprised of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers.

But they failed to agree on holding an OPEC+ meeting on Thursday to discuss the cuts, with OPEC sources saying it would be conditional on countries that have not complied with their targets so far deepening their cuts.

“The market has taken a look at that and said it’s getting more complicated to get that deal over the line,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research at National Australia Bank.

“That would imply OPEC+ would go back to what they agreed in April, which was to ease their supply cuts to 7.7 million bpd from July,’’ he said.

Further, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are not planning to extend voluntary additional output cuts of 1.18 million bpd after June, indicating crude supply could rise next month no matter what OPEC+ decides.

The huge build in distillate inventory in the United States, the world’s biggest oil user, also weighed on prices, said CMC Markets’ chief market strategist, Michael McCarthy.

The United States Energy Information Administration data, on Wednesday, showed gasoline stocks rose by 2.8 million barrels, nearly triple what analysts had expected, while distillate stocks rose by 9.9 million barrels or nearly four times more than expected.

Overall demand for diesel and similar fuels is down by 13 per cent from the year-ago period over the last four weeks.

Gasoline product supplied, a proxy for demand, picked up last week, but the four-week average still shows a 23 per cent drop from the year-ago period.

“It shows the recovery in gasoline and distillate demand is not V-shaped.

It just reinforces that we’ve had this initial (price) recovery driven by supply-side discipline,’’ Shaw said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Malaysia’s April exports fall 23.8 pct amid COVID-19

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Malaysia’s exports plunge 23.8 percent year-on-year to 64.92 billion ringgit (about 15.17 billion United States dollars) in April amid COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed Thursday.

Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement, Malaysia’s trade fell 16.4 percent year-on-year to 133.34 billion ringgit in April due to COVID-19 pandemic which caused major disruptions to global supply chain.

The country’s imports also decreased by 8 percent to 68.42 billion ringgit, and a trade deficit of 3.5 billion ringgit was recorded in April.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the declines in both exports and imports are expected given that most countries around the world were under some form of lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“This has caused major disruptions to the manufacturing activities and movement of goods globally. Nevertheless, exports of some products such as iron and steel, rubber gloves and refined palm oil recorded increases,” he added.

He expected Malaysian‘s exports to improve in the coming months as the government allowed more industries to resume operations and at full operating capacity since May 4.

“Similarly, companies in other countries are also ramping up their business operations. This will boost trade activities between Malaysia and other countries,” he added.

For the first four months, Malaysia’s trade dropped by 3.5 percent to 573.75 billion ringgit compared to the corresponding period of 2019.

Meanwhile, Malaysia exports to China increased by 0.2 percent for the first four months. The export to the China in April rebounded by 4.2 percent to 12.07 billion ringgit on higher shipments for iron and steel products, electrical and electronic products and crude petroleum.

The Socio-Economic Research Center‘s executive director Lee Heng Guie told Xinhua that the larger than expected contraction in exports indicate the impact of restrictions measures employed by governments worldwide to combat COVID-19, which had disrupted demand and supply chains.

“The sharp export declines will be a big drag on overall gross domestic product for this year. We estimate exports to contract by 11.2 percent in 2020,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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