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Low turnout for German protests against coronavirus restrictions

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Far fewer people attended protests against coronavirus restrictions on Saturday in several German cities than organisers had initially expected.

Numbers were down at rallies in the capital Berlin, as well as in Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt and Hanover, following several weeks in which swelling numbers had protested against restrictions to stem the pandemic.

Several dozen people attended a protest in Stuttgart, far fewer than the 500 registered and a sharp drop from 5,000 attendees the previous weekend.

But they might have another chance on Sunday, after a Saturday court ruling overturning a ban against the far-right Alternative for Germany party conducting its own rally in the city that day.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, celebrity TV chef, Attila Hildmann, was temporarily arrested on the way to a rally at the chancellery.

Hildmann was accused of violating coronavirus restrictions, a police spokeswoman said.

The chef, who is known for his vegan recipes, recently came to the attention of authorities in connection with the spread of coronavirus conspiracy theories, the Police said.

According to the Police, more than 100 people had gathered around Hildmann in Berlin’s Central Lustgarten Park.

The Police said it seemed as if he was planning to lead them in a march, something not currently permitted under Germany’s coronavirus restrictions.

Officers intervened and briefly arrested Hildmann, before releasing him again in time for him to address a rally of around 100 people, a dpa reporter at the scene said.

Hildmann said of his arrest that a crowd of people had formed around him once he was recognised.

Officers had then stopped the crowd moving and when he had asked about the legal basis for their actions, he had been “violently arrested’’.

The police did not comment.

Overall in the capital, around 1,100 police officers were deployed in preparation for what had been expected to be well-attended demonstrations and counter-demonstrations.

Yet only a handful of people attended a demonstration at the city’s central Victory Column, while another protest was abandoned by the organiser after 100 people turned up, twice as many as permitted, the Police said.

Elsewhere, in the northern city of Hamburg, the Police deployed a water cannon on the sidelines of a demonstration against the coronavirus restrictions attended by around 750 participants.

The Police said they had intervened to break up an unauthorised counterdemonstration of around 120 people who refused officers’ requests to disband.

Several Hamburg organisations had called for counterdemonstrations, as they said they expected radical far-right elements to attend the rally.

In the south, heavy rains and thunderstorms put a dampener on 60 separate rallies planned across the state of Bavaria.

In the state capital Munich, organisers called off at the last minute a demonstration they had expected to be attended by 1,000 people, due to the inclement weather.

In Nuremberg, only a handful of people braved the rain for the protest, far fewer than the 500 registered, the Police said.

A few hundred demonstrated in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but here too police said numbers were far lower than expected.

Just 360 of the 1,000 registered participants attended a protest in the western city of Essen.

In Cologne, about 250 formed a human chain, about half those expected to attend.

The rallies largely went off without incident, the emergency services said.

Protests also took place in the central state of Hesse.

The Police counted several hundred participants at a demonstration in Frankfurt, while another 40 people attended a similar rally in Erfurt.

Rallies in Hanover and Bremen were attended by 130 and 170 people respectively, the Police said.

Many of the rallies were also met with small counterdemonstrations.

Thousands took to the streets last weekend in cities throughout Germany, protesting against coronavirus restrictions and what they argue are violations of constitutional rights.

Many also turned out for counterdemonstrations against conspiracy theories and against right-wing groups that the Police had warned could exploit the unrest.

There might be at least one protest on Sunday, following a court ruling overturning a ban against the far-right Alternative for Germany will push ahead with a separate rally in the city on Sunday.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Babatunde Abdulfatah: 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

Foreign

Iran allows reopening of restaurants, cafes after 2 months of closure over COVID-19

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Restaurants and cafes reopened in Iran on Tuesday after over two months of closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mohsen Farhadi, an Iranian deputy health minister, on Tuesday said that all the restaurants will restart their activities observing certain health protocols.

Besides, the cafes will begin their services without offering tobacco, said Farhadi in a video press conference. The use of Hukka is very popular in the Iranian tea houses and cafes.

Iran has gradually eased restrictions on economy and cultural activities since early April. The country suspended economic, sports and cultural activities since early March following the reports of first COVID-19 cases on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Rainbow appears in sky over village following heavy rain in Yemen

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A rainbow appears in the sky over a village following heavy rain in Dhamar province, Yemen, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

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Greece reopens restaurants and cafes, allowing travel to all islands

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Greece took more steps to normality on Monday, reopening restaurants and cafes while allowing travel to all the islands.

Two months after the shutdown of the catering sector and the introduction of strict travel restrictions as part of the efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, Greeks queued at airports and ports wearing masks and keeping safe distances and are able to visit their favorite coffee shops and restaurants again.

Members of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Greece performed at the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” to celebrate the day and greet travelers as the airport is getting prepared for the delayed tourism season this summer.

Until Monday, only a few international and domestic flights had been permitted.

The entire country was in lockdown from March 23 to May 4 and in the past three weeks the government has been gradually lifting preventive measures.

Retail shops and shopping malls have returned to business, middle and high school students have returned to classes and on June 1 primary schools will reopen along with hotels as social and economic activities in the last few sectors restart.

“I think that with the reopening of the catering sector, the atmosphere has changed,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after strolling down commercial streets at the port of Piraeus on Monday, according to an e-mailed press statement issued by his office.

Mitsotakis spoke with shop owners and customers about how they were adapting to the new normality, which includes additional outdoor seats for restaurants and cafes and a limit of six seated customers per table.

“The danger is not permanently over,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with local television STAR on Monday evening, urging Greeks and foreign visitors to continue observing health safety rules suggested by experts.

In his views, Greece’s success in containing the virus so far lies, to an extent, to the timely implementation of measures.

“We had been following developments regarding the coronavirus in China since January… When we saw the first data of what was happening in Italy it was absolutely clear that Greece would not be spared in this pandemic,” he said.

He explained that the government had a first response plan in place and took preventive measures starting with the cancellation of carnival festivities before the first case was confirmed in Greece on Feb. 26.

The prime minister expressed confidence that with this spring’s experience Greece will be better prepared for a possible second wave in autumn.

Greek authorities have so far registered 2,882 confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 172 deaths, according to an e-mailed press release issued by the Health Ministry on Monday.

Since Sunday four new cases were reported and one death.

(XINHUA)

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Trump threatens to change GOP convention site if full attendance not allowed

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that the Republican National Convention scheduled in August in North Carolina would be “reluctantly forced” to move to a new site if the southern state’s governor cannot guarantee the party’s “full attendance” at the event.

Trump complained on Twitter that the state’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is in “Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … full attendance in the Arena.”

“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced … to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site,” the president tweeted.

The Republican National Convention is planned to take place on Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, the state’s largest city, while the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place a week earlier in Milwaukee after being rescheduled from July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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India’s federal government allows domestic flights to resume

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An airport employee (L) wearing a face mask disinfects the baggage of a passenger at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, May 25, 2020. India’s federal government has allowed domestic flights to resume from Monday. (Photo by Partha Sarkar/Xinhua)

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Foreign

Palestine declares end of lockdown in light of slowdown of COVID-19 pandemic

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Palestine on Monday declared the end of lockdown and a set of new measures in dealing with the COVID-19.

“As we continue to control the spread of the virus, and in light of the workers’ tests, the Emergency Committee, the Council of Ministers, security services and governors have recommended new measures that were approved by the president,” said Palestine Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye.

Under the new measures, the ban on movement between cities will be lifted immediately, allowing public transportation to normally operate in terms of safety procedures.

Shops, commercial and industrial establishments, including cafes, restaurants, and health clubs as well as mosques and churches will be allowed to open starting from Tuesday morning.

Official bodies will return to work regularly starting Wednesday morning after the end of Eid al-Fitr holiday while observing safety requirements.

Indoor and outdoor halls for group events are being studied by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

Nevertheless, the one-month long state of emergency declared by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 5 is still in effect.

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila told Xinhua that the tests will continue to be conducted on a daily basis, especially amongst workers recently returning from Israel, who are required to commit to home-bound quarantine.

Precautionary measures are likely to change again in accordance with the results of the new tests in the coming two weeks, as the state of emergency is still on, she noted.

According to official data, nearly 30,000 workers have returned home for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, and a random sample check of 5,408 was conducted, showing no positive cases.

Currently, there are 32,300 cases in-home quarantine under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

The number of cases registered in Palestine has reached 602, including 475 recovered and only five dead.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Sri Lanka likely to slow repatriation of citizens after rise in COVID-19 cases

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Sri Lanka is likely to slow repatriation of its citizens from overseas after several of those who returned from foreign countries in recent days tested positive for the COVID-19, local media reports quoting the Health Ministry said here Monday.

Director-General of Health Services at the Health Ministry Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that Sri Lanka is still dealing with one active COVID-19 cluster and the government might make a decision to slow the repatriation process after the numbers rise significantly in recent days due to the returning passengers.

“Recently flights were arriving almost once a day. We are still dealing with infections within the naval forces, so a decision may be taken to create a gap,” Dr. Jasinghe said.

According to official figures, Sri Lanka recorded 52 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, one of the highest reported since the outbreak, with 49 of them being local nationals who had recently been repatriated from Kuwait.

Earlier on Monday, seven more people who returned from Kuwait tested positive.

All nationals repatriated from other countries in recent days have been transferred to the quarantine centers set up outside the capital, the health ministry said.

Dr. Jasinghe said that the number of patients may rise further among those who have been repatriated from other countries.

Sri Lanka has so far recorded over 1,100 positive COVID-19 cases out of which nearly 700 have recovered and been discharged.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Gov. Oyetola mourns New Telegraph editor, says death huge blow to journalism

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Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun has described the death of Alhaji Waheed Bakare, Saturday Editor of The New Telegraph Newspapers, as “a devastating blow and a great loss to his immediate family and journalism in Nigeria”.

Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Monday in Osogbo, commiserated with Bakare’s family, friends, colleagues, the Journalists’ Hangout family and the management of The New Telegraph Newspapers over the loss.

The governor described Bakare as a hardworking, talented, cerebral and an accomplished journalist that would be sorely missed by all.

“I received with great shock the passing of Alhaji Waheed Bakare, Editor, Saturday New Telegraph.

“His death is not only a loss to his family, but also to the journalism profession.

“As people who believe in God, we should take it in good faith and give gratitude to God that the late journalist ran a good race and gave a good account of himself as a newsroom leader and gatekeeper.

“As a professional and a devout Muslim, Bakare showed class in the discharge of his responsibilities.

“My deep condolences go to the entire family, the New Telegraph management as well as all journalists in Nigeria. He will be sorely missed.

“I pray Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljanah Firdaus. I also pray Allah to comfort his bereaved family and loved ones,” Oyetola added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bakare died on Sunday after a brief illness.

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Foreign

Bulgaria reports record-low new COVID-19 infections

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Bulgarian health authorities on Monday reported a record low of only six new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,433.

Meanwhile, another 22 people have recovered from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 862, secretary of the national coronavirus task force Dimo Dimov said in a statement, adding that there were no new COVID-19 deaths.

He also said that 235 patients are currently hospitalized with 20 in intensive care units.

(XINHUA)

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Vancouver unveils “Slow Streets” program to help people maintain physical distance

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Eid-el-fitr: Gombe records low turnout at prayer grounds 

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Gombe State on Sunday, recorded low turnout of Muslim Faithful at the Eid prayer grounds across the state, as most of them opted for private prayers in line with the stay at home directive, occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the fanfare that usually accompanied Eid el Fitr celebration, to mark the end of Ramadan fast, was absent.

NAN also reports that some Eid prayers were held under heavy rain as some Muslim devotees still came out to observe the prayers.

There was however, no prayer at the central Eid ground, where the Emir, Governor and other top dignitaries in the state normally hold the prayers.

Some residents who spoke to NAN, attributed the low turnout to COVID-19 pandemic, which had affected so many activities, including congregational worship.

They however, prayed to God to bring an end to the calamity.

Alhaji Shehu Aliyu, said that in spite of the pandemic, he attended the Eid prayer at Federal Low Cost Mosque, though the turnout of people was low.

He prayed to God to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, and the world at large.

Malam Yunusa Mohammed, said he performed the Eid prayer with his family members at home due to the fear of contracting the virus.

“This is because performing the prayer at home with my family members, is as good as doing it at the Eid praying ground,” he said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Kano residents observe low key Eid celebration

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Muslim Faithful in Kano, on Sunday observed prayers to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration in a low key mood, because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that Eid-el-Fitr, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan fast, an important religious obligation that Muslims worldwide observe annually.

NAN, however, reports that prayer sessions were held at the Kofar Mata praying ground and other designated locations in the metropolis.

Thousands of residents, including children dressed in colourful attires, attended the prayer at Kofar Mata praying ground, led by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero.

The usual Durbar, which characterises Sallah celebrations, was cancelled, while most residents returned to their homes at the end of the prayer session in compliance with the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Some of the residents, who spoke to NAN, expressed joy over the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.

Malam Mubarak Sayyadi, said he was happy for being alive and healthy; and would celebrate the season with his family at home, in compliance with the safety protocols and physical distancing order on COVID-19.

“I will also limit visit to friends and family due to the pandemic, as against what we are used to during Sallah celebrations,” Sayyadi said.

Another resident, Abubakar Jibril, said he celebrated the Sallah in a low key mood due to the pandemic.

“I am happy to be alive, hale and hearty to witness the Eid, in spite of the financial constraints due to the negative impact of the pandemic,” Jibril said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, in a Sallah message, urged Muslim faithful to pray for a quick end to the pandemic.

While felicitating with Muslims, Shekarau, noted that this year’s celebration came at a trying period and most Muslims might not enjoy the festivities due to the global pandemic.

He said: “This is part of the sacrifice we must make to help various governments fight the pandemic which has crippled both social and economic activities worldwide.

“We should not relent in our prayers for the Almighty to bring an end to the scourge soon.

“I am optimistic with the policies put in place by the government, and strict adherence to various safety and protective measures laid out out by the Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19, the end of this pandemic is in sight.

“We pray for the souls of all those who lost their lives during this period and wish all Muslim faithful a hitch free Sallah,” Shekarau said. 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

 

 

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COVID-19: Offa residents celebrate low key Eid-el Fitri, desert praying grounds

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Residents of Offa in Ilorin are having a low key Eid-el Fitri celebration to mark the end of the Ramadan as they desert praying grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria , who went round the town on Sunday observed that the bubbling and fanfare that usually characterise the Eid-el Fitri celebration were absent.

The praying grounds that were normally being besieged by residents to observe the two “rakah’’ or voluntary prayers were under lock and key as there was no sign of worshippers.

NAN reports that there are seven Eid praying grounds apart from the major praying ground attended by the Chief Imam of Offa and Olofa of Offa and all were deserted.

People were however seen going about their daily activities with few people wearing face masks as directed by the state government.

Some of the residents, who spoke with NAN said that the singular act of not observing congregational Eid prayer had made the celebration short of its usual euphoria.

 

Mr Taiwo Adeniran said that he had never witnessed a low key Sallah of this nature since he was born.

He said that he found it difficult to believe that there would be Sallah with no congregational Eid prayers.

Mrs Mariam Asekun said though she was thankful for the gift of life, “this is an abnormal Eid celebration”.

“I have been answering questions from my kids as to why we will observe Eid prayers at home as against the normal practice of congregating.

”I just pray there is an end to this before Eid-l Kabir celebration,” Asekun said.

On her part, Mrs Fatima Olagoke said the low key celebration saved her the cost of buying Sallah clothes for her kids since there was no congregational Eid prayers.

NAN reports that the state government had eased lockdown in the state but banned all forms of religious or social gathering to control the spread of the pandemic.

According to the state government, as at 11 p.m. on May 23, Kwara has 45 active cases, 34 discharged and one death from COVID-19.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Foreign

COVID-19 deaths in New York drop below 100 for first time since March

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave Westchester and the Hudson Valley the green light to reopen starting on Tuesday as the coronavirus death toll dipped below 100 for the first time since the crisis erupted in March.

The governor also suggested hard-hit Long Island could start the reopening process on Wednesday if the death toll and case numbers keep dropping in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“What’s safe in Buffalo is safe in Albany is safe in New York City,” Cuomo said on Saturday.

The death toll dropped to 84 people Friday, the first time it’s dipped below 100 since the pandemic slammed the city and surrounding suburbs more than two months ago.

Cuomo called it a bittersweet benchmark that shows how far New Yorkers have come.

“It doesn’t do any good for those 84 families that are feeling the pain.

“But we are making progress and that feels good,” Cuomo said.

In the city, 52 people died of coronavirus in the 24 hours ending Friday evening.

The total death toll rose to 21,138.

There have been nearly 195,000 COVID-19 cases in the five boroughs.

Cuomo explained that the Hudson Valley region, which includes suburban Westchester – the first state hot spot – Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties has already met the state-set benchmarks for deaths and cases.

The area still needs to meet its goal of the number of trained people to trace and track infected people, but officials expect to surpass that total over the long weekend.

Long Island, which was once as serious a COVID-19 hot spot as the five boroughs, will begin the open up on Wednesday as long as its numbers keep headed in the right direction.

New York City hopes to start its reopening process in June if officials see enough progress.

As the state continues to emerge from the first wave of the pandemic, Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to get tested for the infection, even if they have previously been tested.

He said capacity had now exceeded the demand for tests so anyone who wanted a test should get one, especially if they interacted with the public.

“Get a test. We’ve made it as easy as possible, so go do it.

“It’s not: ‘I got one test and I’m done.’ Get tested again,” Cuomo said.

As the Memorial Day weekend started with a rainy Saturday, the governor praised state beach-goers for obeying social-distancing rules on Friday.

Showing photos of a sparse crowd at sunny Jones Beach, he said sun-worshipers mostly stayed safely apart from one another and many wore masks.

“People were great,” said Cuomo, who added: “They are doing what they are supposed to do and we thank them.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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S. Africans allowed essential travel abroad amid coronavirus pandemic

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The South African government on Saturday approved essential travel for its nationals who want to return to countries where they are based.

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for one of the following reasons: work, study, family reunion, taking up permanent residency and receiving medical attention, Motsoaledi said.

South Africa imposed travel restrictions in mid-March as part of the measures put in place to fight COVID-19, only allowing travel between countries under special circumstances.

Under the new policy, South Africans wishing to return to countries where they reside are required to provide necessary documentation. Moreover, if returning by road or connecting via flights, they need to submit permission from each transiting country.

The announcement came amid a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Saturday, South Africa has recorded a total of 21,343 cases, the highest number in Africa, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Over the past 24 hours, the country has reported 1,218 cases, the highest single-day surge since March 5.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 407, up by 10 from Friday.

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19: Agency lauds Bauchi Govt. for paying allowances of health workers

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Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA) has commended Gov. Bala Mohammed for releasing N12.7 million for the payment of allowances of frontline health workers in the fight against COVID-19 in the state.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Executive Chairman of the agency disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Bauchi on Saturday.

Mohammed said the money was a motivation to the workers, whom the state government recognised in the struggle against the dreaded disease.

“Couple of days ago, Bauchi State Government paid about N12.7 million for allowances of all the healthcare workers working to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“This is because the state government recognises and appreciates the impact the health workers are playing in the fight against the virus.

“It is very important that we should inform the public that the state government is doing its own part and we, the health workers, we do our part in the fight against the spread of the virus in the state,” Mohammed said.

The BASPHCDA boss also disclosed that out of the 27 frontline health workers that contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty, 24 had tested negative and had been discharged.

“Three of them are now on admission and hopefully they will also be discharged soon,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state, as of Friday, recorded a total 230 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 156 had been discharged, five deaths, with 69 active cases.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Health

Gov Ortom rescinds order allowing religious activities, markets in Benue

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Gov. Samuel Ortom has rescinded the order allowing Churches and Mosques in Benue to reopen for religious activities.

Ortom announced the cancellation of the order on Saturday in Makurdi during the weekly news briefing on activities of the Covid -19 Quick Response Team.

He explained that the decision to revert to status quo was based on the apprehension expressed bythe Federal Government over decisions by some state governments to reopen religious activities.

According to him, as a state that is a component of the federal government, we cannot take decisions that go against the expressed standing of the federal government.

He said the federal government, as the custodian of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had all the needed information on the viral infection and how to contain its spread.

He, therefore, sued for understanding from the Benue people over the decision to rescind the order allowing religious activities.

” You need to be alive before you can worship,”he said.

He said he had already made consultations with relevant stakeholders including leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria and Jamatu Nasiru Islam on the matter.

Ortom also announced that Mrs Elizabeth Apedzan, a former federal lawmaker, who tested positive for Covid-19 had been discharged.

He, therefore, appealed to those with symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 to avail themselves of testing.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Judiciary

Lawyers pay glowing tribute to late Supreme Court Justice Karibi-Whyte

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Some lawyers in Lagos on Saturday paid glowing tribute to late Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, who died on Friday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the late Justice Karibi-Whyte was aged 88.

Reacting, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa,SAN, said:”Nigeria has lost a foremost jurist and a fearless adjudicator with a robust intellectual mind.

“He was full of wits, wisdom and judicial stamina to tackle most cases that he participated in, either in writing the leading judgment, supporting judgment or dissenting judgment.

“He rendered very profound explanations behind the reasonings contained in his judgments, all of which have helped to shape the course of judicial history in Nigeria.

“He deployed his knowledge and experience garnered from private legal practice, up to the Bench as a judge of the then Revenue Court, now known as the Federal High Court, up to the Supreme Court, in the practical application of the determination of cases brought before him.

“His book on the practice and procedure of the Federal High Court is always a delight for judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students alike.

“I, hereby extend my heartfelt condolences to the Nigeria Bar, to the Governor and good people of Rivers State, to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President on the demise of this erudite jurist.

Also speaking, a former Chairman of the Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Adedotun Adetunji described the death of Justir Karibi-Whyte as a huge loss to the legal community.

He said the late jurist was an epitome of knowledge and a Professor of Law whose judgement could only be described as sound and classic.

“His Lordship was a fine jurist with penetrating and lucid reasoning in his judgements.

“Significantly, His Lordship was courageous to dissent with majority views while he was in the Supreme Court,” he said

He said that the demise of the legal icon leaves yet another legacy to be emulated by younger jurist.

Adetunji commiserated with the family of the deceased as well as the entire Nigerian legal community and prayed for a peaceful repose soul of the late Justice.

Another human rights activist, Mr Spurgeon Ataene in his reaction described the late jurist as a dogged fighter for the course of Justice.

He said:”I condole with the family of this legal Colossus Late Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte who retired from the supreme Court upon attaining the mandatory 70 years stipulated for retirement of Justices at that level

“He was such an enigma in every sense; one that should be emulated in hardwork and judicial activism.

“To have started out as a court clerk- the lowest in the court system and steadily acquired requisite education to become a lawyer, got his Masters degree from London and a PhD from University of Lagos.

“He was prepared for the journey to the bench, and was one with wide knowledge from the West and native intelligence from home in Nigeria.

“No wonder his gargantuan exploits on the bench cannot be easily matched.

“I commiserate with his entire family members, the legal community, and the country at large for Nigeria has indeed lost an almost irreplaceable brain,” he said

In the same vein, another lawyer, Mr Anthony Makolo described the late Judge as “the people’s jurist”

“When the news of his demise filtered the air, it simply reawakened in him, the consciousness that every man will be remembered for the legacy he leaves behind.

“I must extend my heartfelt sympathies to the NBA, the nation’s Judiciary, as well as the Rivers State Government for this great loss,” he said

NAN reports that Justice Karibi-Whyte hails from Abonnema, in Rivers State.

He was appointed as a Judge of the Federal Revenue Court in 1976, where he began his illustrious judicial career.

Thereafter, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1980, and later to the apex Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1984 from where he later retired after a meritorious judicial service.

Some of his notable celebrated judgments include Government of Gongola State v Tukur (1989), Attorney General of the Federation v Attorney General of Abia State , amongst others.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Trump says U.S. states must allow religious services to resume

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday demanded that states allow religious services to take place again this weekend, thus ending shutdowns that were part of efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

Trump made the proclamation, which he phrased in the form of a verbal order, from the White House briefing room.

His exact authority to dictate to states was unclear, but his words will carry political weight and potentially add pressure on state officials.

“Today I am identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said, meaning they can be open during the pandemic.

He said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would be issuing guidance “at my direction,” although no CDC directives had been issued at the time of his speech.

Trump’s comments come amid reports that public health officials were hesitant to release sweeping recommendations on reopening houses of worship.

Church closures have stoked parts of Trump’s conservative base.

There is a partisan divide on lockdown orders, and, while the majority of the country remains concerned about the virus, Republicans are somewhat less wary and more likely to want faster reopenings.

“I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open, right now,” Trump said, adding that “the people are demanding” to be able to attend services at churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Trump said he will “override” any governor who does not allow in-person worship.

However, it is unclear if he has any authority to do so.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House spokesperson, would not clarify what law the president can invoke to override local public health orders.

Normally, the judiciary would weigh in on decisions by governors deemed to be in violation of state or federal constitutions.

The U.S. Justice Department has backed churches that are suing states regarding the closures, arguing that houses of worship should be considered essential businesses.

The U.S. Constitution protects full freedom of religion and the church closures have proven to be a thorny issue.

Conservative groups have been calling for more lax rules on churches, despite some outbreaks traced back to places of worship.

Meanwhile, some pastors have defied public health orders and conducted in-person gathering.

Republican-controlled states are pushing for quicker economic reopenings, while some Democrat-controlled areas are largely taking a more cautious approach.

In California, the nation’s most populous state, more than 3,000 individual churches are expected to reopen later this month, regardless of public health orders, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Churches and other religious services are grouped with movie theatres and hair salons in California’s reopening plan.

Some states, however, have already moved to allow some religious services to resume.

According to Pew research, about a third of U.S. people attend religious services once a week, a number that has been in steady decline in recent years.

The percentage of people who say they seldom or never attend prayers is the rise.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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COVID-19: Vulnerable groups, low income earners get palliatives in Kaduna

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The Kaduna State government has commenced the second phase of palliative distribution to low income earners and the vulnerable members of the society, in compliance with Gov. Nasir El- Rufai’s directive.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Malam Balarabe Lawal, made available to newsmen on Friday.
He said that the relief materials were aimed at ameliorating the effect of the lockdown imposed on the state to check the spread of coronavirus.
“In this phase of distribution, 14 local government areas will be covered, with 32,000 households, representing 32 clusters.
“Trailers conveying food items like rice, beans, semovita, maize flour, garri (cassava flakes), spagetti, noodles and vegetable oil have already arrived most of the local governments.
“This exercise will leverage on the successes recorded in the earlier distribution of the palliatives to the beneficiaries.
“In addition, lessons learnt in the first exercise have been incorporated in the second phase so as to accommodate more of the target groups and minimise human discretion in the exercise,’’ he said.
Balarabe, also the state Chairman of COVID-19 Relief Distribution Committee, said that the aim was to make the distribution as transparent as possible and to reach more low income earners and the vulnerable.
He said that the package was much bigger than the earlier exercise, with variety of food items, to enable the beneficiaries have balanced diet.
Balarabe said that the list of the beneficiaries was generated by the committees of the 32 clusters across the 14 local government areas and the Social Investment Programme (SIP) register of the Federal Government.
“The various lists were transparently generated by the cluster committees, which comprises two women, two clerics, a representative of the traditional institution, one councilor and one charitable organization,” he said.

Edited By: Chidi Opara and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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