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Man docked for allegedly assaulting another with stick



The police in Osun, on Monday, arraigned a 30-year-old man, Fatai Ganiyu, before an Ile-Ife Magistrates’ Court for allegedly assaulting one Odeyemi Odeyinka with a stick.

Ganiyu, whose address was not provided, is facing a charge of assault to which he, however, pleaded not guilty.

The Prosecutor, Insp Sunday Osanyintuyi, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on April 4 at 10:30 am. at Gbelenkan area of Ile-Ife.

Osanyintuyi said that the defendant assaulted one Odeyemi Odeyinka by using a stick to hit his lower jaw, which caused him serious injury.

He said that the defendant also obstructed Insp. Akinpelu OlaOluwa while he was performing his lawful duty.

Osanyintuyi said that the offence contravened Sections 355 and 356 of the Criminal Law of Osun, 2002.

The Defence Counsel, Mr Olowoyo Ifedayo, applied for bail for the defendant in the most liberal terms, promising that his client would not jump bail, but would provide responsible sureties.

The Magistrate, Mr Joseph Owolawi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000, with two sureties in like sum.

Owolawi said that the sureties must swear to affidavit of means and must reside within the court’s jurisdiction.

He, thereafter, adjourned the case till May 11, for mention.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor and
(NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

Dorcas Elusogbon: 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]


Man heads towards mosque before offering Eid al-Fitr prayers during COVID-19 lockdown in Kathmandu, Nepal



A man heads towards a mosque before offering Eid al-Fitr prayers during the lockdown amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 25, 2020. (Photo by Sulav Shrestha/Xinhua)


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Romanian police seize 50 kg of heroin in tractor-trailer



Romanian police intercepted 50 kilograms of heroin in the cabin of a tractor-trailer driven by a Bulgarian citizen, at a border crossing point in the south, according to a statement released on Monday by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

The border police discovered the drug on Sunday, at the Calafat Border Crossing Point, Dolj County, on the north bank of the Danube River. When conducting a routine inspection, the police found in a travel bag hidden among luggage and food bags, several packages containing approximately 50 kg of heroin.

The market value of this batch of heroin is estimated at 1.5 million euros (1.6 million U.S. dollars), according to DIICOT.

The Bulgarian citizen, 38, was detained and then submitted on Monday to the Bucharest Tribunal, with a proposal for preventive arrest for a period of 30 days.

The driver claimed that the travel bag belonged to a friend of his, who had asked him to take it to Switzerland.

Due to its geographical location, Romania forms part of the Balkan route for drug smuggling.


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Romania to provide 1 bln euros to companies affected by COVID-19



The Romanian government announced Monday its plan to grant funds to the tune of one billion euros (1.09 billion U.S. dollars) to companies affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment, the funds would enter its budget from the Ministry of European Funds and will be distributed among companies in the hardest-hit areas.

Some 350 million euros could go to HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and cafes) and transport companies, about 100 million euros could be given as an aid in the form of vouchers for companies without employees (where the employer is the only employee), while the remaining 550 million euros could go to companies that want to speed up production, the ministry announced on its Facebook page.

“We think that in this program we will offer up to 800,000 euros non-reimbursable per beneficiary, money that can go to medium and small companies in industry and trade,” Liviu Rogojinaru, state secretary of the ministry, was quoted as saying, referring to the remaining 550 million euros.

This is another measure taken by the authorities to support enterprises during the pandemic. Late March, the government announced to suspend the payment of rates as a first major measure to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on households and companies. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)


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Lufthansa agrees on bailout with German government



The German Government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, both sides announced on Monday.

The deal, which provides for aid and equity measures worth nine billion euros ($9.8 billion), is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The German government said that Lufthansa had been profitable before the pandemic, but is now facing the biggest financial crisis in its history.

The pandemic has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes.

At one point, the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

The stabilisation package takes into account the needs of the company, as well as the needs of taxpayers and its employees.

The status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo, was a major factor in talks.

The German economic stabilisation fund, set up by the government during the coronavirus crisis to be able to acquire stakes in important companies in an emergency, approved the deal earlier on Monday.

Lufthansa’s executive board also approved the deal.

As part of the bailout, the government would receive a 20-per-cent stake in the company.

Some of the conditions, Berlin has set before it will take part, include more stringent environmental protections.

The stabilisation fund will also make a silent capital contribution of up to 5.7 billion euros in Lufthansa’s assets.

The interest rate is planned to increase from an initial four per cent to 9.5 per cent.

A loan of up to three billion euros is also planned with the participation of the state-owned KfW bank and private banks with a term of three years.

According to the announcements, conditions will include a waiver of future dividend payments and two supervisory board seats will be filled in coordination with the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government had been in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take-off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authority plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa.

Merkel is reported to have said “this will be a hard struggle’’.

Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said on Monday that a number of questions still needed to be clarified with the European Commission regarding the deal and that Berlin would “fight and work” to ensure that Lufthansa could continue to operate as before in Germany.

European Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the deal would be subject to special conditions.

However, a spokeswoman for the watchdog did point out that the rules for coronavirus aid in cases such as that of Lufthansa provide for “additional commitments to preserve effective competition’’.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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



German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Monday that the federal government’s Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) has approved a nine-billion-euro rescue package (9.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the company.

Lufthansa said the WSF would provide up to 5.7 billion euros in the form of “silent participation” in the company’s assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros would be classified as equity in accordance with related financial rules.

Under German law, “silent participation” is unlimited in time and can be terminated by the company on a quarterly basis in whole or in part.

The WSF will also acquire shares worth about 300 million euros in the form of a capital increase in order to build up a 20 percent stake in Lufthansa. The WSF may increase its stake to 25 percent plus one share in the event of a takeover of the company.

Other measures in the package include a syndicated credit facility of up to three billion euros with the participation of state development bank KfW as well as private banks, with a term of three years.

The conditions of the deal include a waiver of future dividend payments and restrictions on management remuneration. 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.

Noting that the Executive Board supports the package, the company said it still requires final approval from the Management Board and the Supervisory Board. It is also subject to the approval of the European Commission, the company added.

Lufthansa was operationally healthy and profitable before the pandemic and has good prospects for the future, but it came into an existential emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, the WSF Committee, which consists of representatives of several federal ministries, said in a joint statement.

The government’s stabilization package takes into account the needs of the company as well as those of taxpayers and employees of the Lufthansa Group, the ministries said.

In early May, Lufthansa revealed that it was in talks with the federal government on a rescue package to finance the troubled airline amid the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable damage to the aviation industry worldwide, with flights largely grounded due to the travel restrictions imposed by many countries.

Preliminary results released in late April showed that Lufthansa’s group revenues fell by 18 percent to 6.4 billion euros in the first quarter. In March alone, revenues declined by 47 percent.

The group announced in mid-May that it would gradually resume services in June. It plans to offer around 1,800 weekly round trips to more than 130 destinations worldwide by the end of June. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)


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German FA president calls for player salary cap to help keep fans



The President of German Football Association (DFB), Fritz Keller, says football must learn long term lessons from the coronavirus crisis to keep fans on board.

Keller suggested better financial controls and player salary caps to do this.

Germany’s Bundesliga was shut for more than two months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, before becoming the first major football league to resume action last week.

“We have to learn from our mistakes, because the crisis is an opportunity to restructure football,” Keller said in a virtual address to the DFB’s extraordinary meeting on Monday.

“We need to bring professional football to the people, to their everyday world. So we need an improved financial control system and, yes, a salary cap,” he added.

Some German clubs were close to financial collapse after the first month of suspension, the league had warned, as it pushed for a restart.

But the restart has also been criticised by some as too early.

The DFB meeting also approved the restart on May 30, of Germany’s third division, with the last match day scheduled on July 4.

This was in spite of opposition by some of its members who had called for the season to be abandoned.

In a vote, 222 were in favour of a resumption of the division, with 12 voting against and 16 abstaining.

Germany had reported some 178,570 positive COVID-19 cases, while the death toll rose by 10 on Monday to 8,257.

Keller noted that football needed to think long term.

“Commissions for agents and immense transfer figure irritate society and estrange them from our beloved sport. Football has to offer satisfactory answers to these issues.

“We do not only need new rules, but also a new attitude, not to think just from season to season, as we painfully found out.

“Football as a whole has to live on long term perspectives,” Keller stated.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Lufthansa agrees bailout with German government




Berlin, May 25, 202 The German government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said on Monday.

The deal, thought to be worth up to nine billion euros (9.8 billion dollars) is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

Lufthansa is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes. At one point the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

Passenger traffic ground to a virtual standstill from mid-March, though Lufthansa’s freight business has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

Government sources said the deal would be “within the framework” of a rescue plan that foresees the airline receiving a bailout totalling some nine billion euros in exchange for a 20-per-cent government-owned stake in the company.

The proposed deal was put forward by a government committee set up under legislation enacted in March establishing a fund designed to stabilise the economy.

A key point in the talks held behind closed doors in recent weeks is that a government stake of this size would not give it a majority vote capable of blocking key decisions taken by Lufthansa management.

Another major issue is the status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government was in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

Among the conditions likely to be set by competition authorities is the existence of an “exit strategy” for state involvement in the airline.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authorities plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa. Merkel is reported to have said: “This will be a hard struggle.”

EU Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the German government taking stock in Lufthansa would be subject to special conditions.

EU state aid rules enable member states to support companies affected by the outbreak, including those active in the aviation sector,” said a spokeswoman.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for any disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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



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.


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



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)


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Coronavirus-hit Kremlin spokesman discharged from hospital: media reports



Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday was discharged from the hospital where he was treated for the COVID-19 infection, local media reported.

Interfax news agency reported that Peskov would have to stay at home in isolation for another two weeks.

On May 12, Peskov was hospitalized for coronavirus infection and was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, according to Interfax.

TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying that he will gradually start working from home.

Among Russian officials, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova, Science and Higher Education Minister Valery Falkov and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev had been confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus. All have recovered.


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Thai COVID-19 vaccine researchers to conduct tests on humans later this year



Thai COVID-19 vaccine research team on Monday said it will be recruiting human beings for vaccine trials later this year following an ongoing three months test on monkeys.

“We injected the vaccine into 13 long-tailed macaques on Saturday. The animal testing will take three months and results are expected by the end of August,” said Dr. Kiat Rakrungtham, director of the Chulalongkorn University’s Vaccine Research and Development Center, also part of the Thai COVID-19 vaccine research team.

“So by August, if the trial on monkeys is successful, our team will use the best viable antibodies from these monkeys to produce doses of vaccine for human trials,” said Kiat, “we are looking into recruiting volunteers and each will receive two injections each.”

The Thai team in researching the mRNA vaccine, is comprised of the Thai National Vaccine Institute, Chulalongkorn University’s Vaccine Research and Development Center and the University’s Department of Medical Sciences and some private sectors.

“A factory in Canada will be contracted to produce the vaccine for the human trial, which is planned for October,” said Kiat.

Before the vaccine is administered to all participants, it will be first tested on 30 to 50 volunteers to determine its safety, he said.

“If it passes, the vaccine will be administered to more than 250 people to test its ability to activate the immune system,” said Kiat, “after that, the vaccine will be given to the remaining volunteers to test its efficacy in preventing COVID-19.”


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Commentary: Fighting COVID-19 with spirit of shared future for humanity



As COVID-19 still rages on globally, devouring lives and battering the economy, the urgency and significance of overcoming the pandemic with the spirit of building a community with a shared future for humanity have become even greater.

The deadly pandemic, the most serious global public health emergency since World War II, has spread to more than 210 countries and regions, affected more than 7 billion people and claimed over 300,000 lives.

The social and economic interests of all countries are closely intertwined in the era of globalization. The virus is a new litmus test of the capability of the international community to respond to a collective hazard.

Though the global health cause has recorded remarkable progress compared to years before, the surprisingly high infection and mortality rates of COVID-19 challenge people to reflect anew on our vulnerabilities.

Few countries can win the battle alone. The strength and wisdom of all mankind need to be pooled to strengthen prevention and control of the virus.

In battling the pandemic, special attention needs to be paid to poor and developing countries and regions, to which material, technological and personnel support must be provided.

Over the past months, China has been doing everything within its abilities to help other countries in need by providing supplies and dispatching medical experts, clear proof of its firm stance in upholding the concept of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Indeed, global cooperation and unity are of vital significance for humanity to defeat the virus and stay safe.

Some U.S. politicians, however, going against people’s aspiration for peace and health, have scapegoated others and smeared China‘s all-out fight against the virus.

Their remarks and actions, so often laced with and driven by racism and ideological prejudice, are political spinning at best, and bullying and hegemonism in nature. They are certainly not conducive to overcoming the common foe of mankind.

Looking back at history, the human race grew and developed in their struggles against various diseases and disasters. Countries around the world have to be aware of the fact that the entire world has become a community with shared future. Cooperation and solidarity are the only and a sure way to defeat the grave challenge.


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Woods, Manning beat Mickelson, Brady in charity match



Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning held off a late challenge to beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady 1Up in a charity golf match in Florida on Sunday that raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, and two-time Super Bowl winner, Manning, jumped out to a three-hole lead on the front nine at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound.

While Woods’s booming drives and Manning’s solid putting saw the pair dominate the early holes, five-time major winner, Mickelson, and Brady won the 11th and 14th to shave the lead to one.

However, they were unable to force extra holes after Woods delivered a dagger putt on 18 as darkness descended on his home course.

The shot of the day came from Brady on the seventh when he holed out from the fairway just after NBA great Charles Barkley, working as a commentator, had been giving the quarterback a hard time for his ice cold start.

“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” Brady said with a smile.

But Brady, who joined Tampa Bay in March after 20 years with New England, had little time to revel in the moment.

After giving a short speech where he told his wife and kids he loved them, the six-times Super Bowl winner then split the seat of his pants while retrieving the ball from the cup.

Woods, who lost to Mickelson in a $9 million winner-take-all challenge in 2018, congratulated Manning and Brady for their performance in the team match play event, dubbed The Match: Champions for Charity.

“We all came together and were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said.

“I take my hat off to Tom and Peyton. This is our arena, this is what we do for a living. I couldn’t imagine going on the field and do what they do,” he added with a laugh.

The competition comes 2-1/2 weeks before the PGA Tour plans to resume its season on June 11 at Colonial.

Woods last competed in February and then withdrew from a number of tournaments with a back injury before the PGA Tour decided to cancel a slew of events because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He has said he is healthy and will be ready to go when the Tour resumes.

Mickelson finished third in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February and missed the cut in his next two starts.

Manning, who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, retired in 2016 as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards and is the only five-time winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Analysis: German “Clasico” attracting worldwide audience



Talking about football in the difficult days of the COVID-19 crisis means talking about the German Bundesliga.

The upcoming duel between second-placed Borussia Dortmund and league leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich is attracting worldwide attention.

With Germany one of the few countries to have restarted its domestic football league, a three-digit number of countries is to broadcast the delicate duel of Germany’s leading sides at the Signal Iduna Park.

Marketing officers from both clubs and the league association might be delighted considering the publicity effect, while fans eagerly wait for another footballing delicacy.

The worst fears of football being played behind closed doors leading to less quality have not been realized. By contrast, sides like Bayern, Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig gave plenty of evidence that the so-called “ghost games” have a particular charm.

Football behind closed doors seems an advantage for technically advanced sides, as football is reduced to its core activity without being affected by significant impact from the outside. In Dortmund and Bayern, two such sides are going to face off this Tuesday evening.

Fans now puzzle over the question of what will decide the nail-biting duel.

Statistics talk about the crucial starting point. To win the 2019/20 Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund (57 points) have to beat Bayern (61) to retain any realistic chance.

However, Bayern also have tough fixtures against fifth-placed Monchengladbach and third-placed Leverkusen in the remaining six rounds.

Neither side appears to be affected by the unfamiliar atmosphere in having to play without a cheering crowd. Both Dortmund and Bayern seem to have used the six-week hiatus to recharge and perform at an impressively high level.

This is all the more surprising for Dortmund, as the team of Lucien Favre typically relies on the support of up to 80,000 fans, including 25,000 forming the so-called Yellow Wall.

Dortmund vs Bayern is not only the battle of a team of enchanting young talents challenging established stars, but the thrilling duel of the league’s top-scoring sides.

Bayern’s 80 goals in 27 matches set a new record, but Dortmund are only narrowly behind on 74.

The Bavarians’ coach Hansi Flick has led the side back to success, revitalizing the team spirit. At the same time, he has brought the best out of established stars such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, youngster Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski.

However, Dortmund might have found its suitable tactical 3-4-3 system just in time. The side established a solid defense around leader Mats Hummels next to full-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi.

Upfront, a gifted line of attackers such as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt is doing a good job of compensating for the loss of injured team captain Marco Reus.


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Enugu FA shifts burial of ex-chairman, Ofo-Okenwa, to July 24



Enugu Football Association (EFA) says the burial ceremony of its late chairman, Chidi Ofo-Okenwa, has been shifted from June 10, to July 24, to accommodate members of the state’s football family.
The Enugu FA Secretary, Francis Ugwu, who disclosed this to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, said the shift in date was communicated to the FA by the diseased’s family.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Chidi Ofo-Okenwa died on Tuesday, May 5, after a brief illness.
Okenwa was also the Chairman of Nigeria National League (NNL) and a board member of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) before his death
Okenwa hailed from Akpugo Town in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State. He will be buried in Akpugo.
According to Ugwu, ”I wish to inform you that the family of the late Chidi Ofo-Okenwa has shifted the burial date to July and it is no longer June 10 as earlier scheduled.
“The shift in date is due to the appeal from members of the state’s football family within and outside the country asking to be given the opportunity to participate in the burial ceremony.
“There is hope that the inter-state movement or lockdown will be over before the new date,” Ugwu said.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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S. Africa to start human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June



South African researchers, in cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, will start a ground-breaking human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June.

The South Africa-based Ezintsha research group at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and U.S.-based Canary Health Technologies will collaborate on the trial, the researchers said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The trial will determine whether a highly accurate, non-invasive, disposable breath test that could detect virus before symptom onset could be on global market before the end of 2020.

The rapid breath test, if successful, can deliver results on site in less than five minutes, thus quickly detecting persons at risk to reduce transmission.

Using exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) found in human breath as biomarkers of the virus, this diagnostic test (COVID-19 RT BAP) could potentially identify those who are acutely infected with COVID-19 as well as those who have not yet developed clinical symptoms, according to the statement.

The initial phase of the trial will see the collection of breath samples from 150 people – both COVID-19 positive patients and those who do not have the virus. They will be asked to breathe for three minutes into the device. The device will then translate their breath biomarkers into electronic signals which will be transmitted to a centralized “lab in the cloud” for analysis.

The human trial is due to start in South Africa by the end of June, with preliminary results expected by the end of July. Similar trials are also planned in the UK and the U.S.

“We are very excited to partner with Canary on this game-changing technology. The holy grail is a real time, point of care device which can capture Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC as biomarkers,” said Prof. Francois Venter, an infectious diseases expert and Head of Ezintsha.

This could revolutionize testing for COVID-19, to then build a base to detect many other diseases, he said, adding that a non-invasive and accurate test that healthcare workers can carry in their pockets is a win-win for all.

Raj Reddy, CEO of Canary Health Technologies, said his institution is thrilled to collaborate with Ezintsha which is a world-class research unit focused on health innovations.

“We are confident that our highly responsive sensors and proprietary software can detect COVID-19 in less than five minutes without the need of a lab,” he said.

This handheld device with disposable sensors is ideal for use in doctors’ offices, nursing homes, airports and should be available before the end of the year, according to Reddy.

“We aim to set the gold standard in COVID-19 detection,” he said.

If this initial phase of the human trial is successful, Canary Health Technologies will seek to move quickly into a pivotal trial with a larger sample size for expedited regulatory approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other markets, for global use, the statement said.


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Foreign ministers recommit to German-Russian cultural cooperation



German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Monday recommitted their countries to closer cultural cooperation at the opening of an annual conference held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a welcome speech read out online to mark the start of the 23rd Potsdam Meeting, a German-Russian discussion forum, Maas said he hoped the pandemic would help the two countries pursue a positive agenda.

“We should not draw back from our joint responsibility at this point.

“This year’s meeting will focus on the effects of the pandemic on foreign and security policy.

“The coronavirus pandemic will, in the immediate future, be one of the most important factors in developing joint approaches in foreign policy in the global economy to boost cooperation between countries,’’ Lavrov said.

He added that Germany and Russia would focus on the leading role of their countries in a rapidly changing world.

The Potsdam Meetings, set up by the German-Russian Forum in 1999, run parallel to the Petersburg Dialogue, established in 2001.

Report says the forums aim to promote understanding between German and Russian civil societies.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye (NAN)

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Germany reports more than 178,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19



New infections with COVID-19 in Germany remained under last week’s average as the number of confirmed cases increased by 289 within one day to 178,570, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Monday.

Over the course of last week, an average of 561 daily cases had been reported by the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.

According to the institute, the death toll from COVID-19 in Germany increased by 10 to 8,257 on Monday, resulting in a fatality rate of the confirmed cases of 4.6 percent.

The estimated number of people in Germany who had already recovered from COVID-19 increased by around 800 within one day to 161,200 on Monday, according to the RKI. So the number of people currently infected with COVID-19 in Germany decreased and stood at 17,370.

On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that relaxations had to preserve the proportionality of the restrictions. She was very pleased “that the current infection situation makes it possible to allow and make possible many things again that had only been there to a limited extent for a few weeks.”


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Eid-el-fitr: IPMAN seeks prayers for peaceful coexistence



The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called on Muslim faithful to pray for  unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians during the Eid-el-fitr celebration.

IPMAN’s President, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo made the call in a statement issued on Monday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the Federal Government had declared May 25 and 26 as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-fitr celebration.

Okoronkwo said the lessons of the holy month of Ramadan include fervent prayers, piety, goodwill and sacrifice which were all critical for nation building and national development.

He said: “On behalf of the National Executive of IPMAN and its Board of Trustees, I want to felicitate with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they mark Eid-el-fitr.

“I urge them to continue to pray for the unity and peaceful coexistence of our beloved nation during this critical moment.

“We are all aware of the challenges posed to our economy by the COVID-19 pandemic and crash in global crude oil prices and we believe that with prayers and sacrifices, Nigeria will surmount these challenges.”

Okoronkwo said IPMAN, on its part would continue to support the government’s policies and regulations aimed at bringing sanity to the petroleum sector and improving the nation’s economy.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Oil & Gas

NNPC says top management appointments on merit



The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says professional competence, adherence to the principle of transparency and accountability informed the recent top management appointment executed in the first week of March.

Dr Kennie Obateru, the spokesman for the corporation made this known in a statement issued in Abuja, on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the corporation in March disengaged some of its staff and appointed new top management staff.

The appointments elicited criticisms from some Nigerians and some Niger Delta leaders.

Obateru explained that the principle of federal character was also a factor in the progression of the newly appointees.

He said many top management officers of the corporation were moved to new positions, while some were promoted based on their verifiable track records of performance.

“Some Chief Operating Officers, Group General Managers and Managing Directors of subsidiaries were affected in what some industry analysts described as the most objective placement exercise in the recent history of the National Oil Company.

Topping the list of the changes, he said, was the re-deployment of the erstwhile Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream, Mr Roland Ewubare, to the Ventures and Business Development Directorate as COO.

He said that under the arrangement, Ewubare, got an additional responsibility of business development, besides managing the group’s ventures.

NNPC spokesman said Ewubare’s position as COO Upstream was taken over by Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, erstwhile Chief Operating Officer in charge of Downstream directorate.

He noted that Adetunji was a first-class Mechanical Engineering graduate of the University of Lagos and started his over 30 years career as a maintenance Engineer and later a project Engineer in Lever Brothers Nigeria Limited (Unilever).

Obateru said  that the recent top management appointment also received affirmative action with the re-deployment of Ms Lawrencia Ndupu to the Downstream.

He said that Ndupu was a Physicists and renowned explorationist and started her working career in NNPC in January 1986, adding that through the years, she has held many key positions.

Obateru added that Mr Bala Wunti, the erstwhile Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company was appointed as the new GGM of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

“With a chain of experience spanning close to 30 years, Wunti who hailed from the North East, was the initiator of ‘Operation White,’ a system put in place to promote transparency and accountability in the distribution of petroleum products across the country.

“The list also included Mr Lawal Sade as the new Managing Director of the NNPC Trading Company, a subsidiary of corporation.

“ Before then he was the MD of NIDAS, a shipping arm of the NNPC. Mr. Sade had been essentially a marketer in the last 20 years with impressive outcomes.”

Obateru stated that the exercise kept in place Mr Adokiye Tombomieye, from the South-South, as Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, a highly strategic position in the corporation.

The NNPC spokesperson explained that the new appointments depicted a leadership of the corporation determined on ensuring placement of square pegs in square holes.

He said this was done while not losing sight of geographical spread, in respect of staffing.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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