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Ministry warns against ‘racism’ of linking people in country’s northeast with COVID-19

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Ministry warns against ‘racism’ of linking people in country’s northeast with COVID-19: The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday directed states to take action in cases of harassment against north-eastern people in India, which have increased with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

It has also asked states to sensitise people as the harassment is “racially discriminatory, inconvenient and painful”.

With coronavirus cases rising in India, exponentially, verbal and physical attacks on people in the country’s north-eastern states have also increased, as many are targeting them for their facial features that resemble those of average Chinese nationals.

The coronavirus outbreak, which first case emerged in China’s Wuhan city, has triggered rampant discrimination against northeast Indians due to their Mongoloid features.

“There have been cases where people of northeast including the athletes and sports persons have been harassed by linking them to COVID-19.

“This is racially discriminatory, inconvenient and painful to them,’’ the Ministry of Home Affairs said in an order dated 23 March.

It, however, came after the Delhi police booked a man on Sunday for allegedly spitting on a woman from Manipur and attacking her with racial slurs and calling her “corona”.

In another similar incident, Angellica Aribam, a woman from the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur lodged a complaint against a man identified as Mayank Sikarwar for allegedly attacking her with the racial slur “Chinki”, used for northeast Indians with Mongoloid features.

According to the country’s anti-racism legislation, use of the slur is a punishable offence with up to a five-year jail term.

People from seven north-eastern states, known as the seven sisters, are often discriminated against for their facial features.

The easternmost region of India comprised seven states, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.

According to the Health Ministry, India has a total 415 positive cases, with seven deaths and 23 recovered patients.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India’s premier research lab, told media that they have ordered 1,200 ventilators and are stepping up the testing of suspected cases.

Edited By: AbiodunOluleye/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

 

Abiodun Oluleye: 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

General news

Ministry to support NGOs to sensitise women on dangers of cancers

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The Ministry of Women Affairs on Friday pledged to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to sensitise Nigerian women on the dangers of breast and cervical cancers.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, made the pledge, while receiving COVID-19 protective materials from an NGO, OCI Foundation, in Abuja.

Tallen appreciated the organisation’s support to collaborate with the ministry and their selfless services in the advocacy for girls, women on cervical and breast cancers.

“The mandate of the ministry is to empower women and children resulting from crisis, humanitarian situations and indeed COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world.

“I commend your efforts; what you are doing is in line with the UN advocacy for HeForShe as women cannot do it alone, we appreciate,” the minister said.

She, however, said that the ministry would continue to support the NGO morally and technically, in programming and advancing the course of women and vulnerable groups in the country.

Tallen said the ministry was committed to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to promote welfare and rights of vulnerable groups to access preventive and quality healthcare services.

Earlier, the Head of Advocacy of the Foundation, Mr Sam Agwa, said that their visit was to solicit the support of the ministry on their promotion initiative.

According to Agwa, the initiative seeks to introduce anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer teachings into the curriculum of all Nigerian senior secondary schools.

“It also creates anti-cancer awareness for our women and children in ways that facilitate early empowerment,” he said.

Ogwa also said the presentation of anti-COVID-19 materials, including hand sanitisers, handwashing soaps and customised face masks from the OCI Foundation, was to support the ministry as the workers are gradually resuming duty.

“We also join the Federal Government and other healthcare leaders in calling on every
Nigerian to practice preventive measures including safe social distancing, regular handwashing and sanitising, wearing of face masks, and staying indoors as much as possible,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Turkey launches financial package for exporters amid COVID-19: ministry

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Turkey has launched a financial support package to protect exporters from the impact of coronavirus, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan announced on Friday.

The package, called the Stock Financing Support Package, has come into use through Turkey’s Eximbank, according to a press release issued by the ministry.

“The stock financing loan will provide convenience for our exporters, whose stocks increased due to low demand and canceled orders,” Pekcan said in the release.

As part of the package, the Credit Guarantee Fund set a 10 billion Turkish liras (1.47 billion U.S. dollars) limit for Eximbank.

The 7.25 percent interest rate credit’s limit will be 25 million Turkish liras for SMEs and 50 million Turkish liras for other firms.

Trade with Ankara’s main partners in Europe and the Middle East were hit by measures to contain the COVID-19. Turkey’s exports fell 41.6 percent year on year in April, according to official data.

Turkey has so far reported over 153,000 cases of coronavirus and 4,249 deaths, but the number of daily cases is falling and there has been a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions to kickstart the economy.

(XINHUA)

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CPEC contributes to Pakistan’s national development: Pakistani foreign ministry

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The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said on Friday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under the Belt and Road Initiative, is a transformational project contributing positively and transparently to Pakistan’s national development.

Pakistan’s statement came after Alice Wells, outgoing principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the U.S. State Department, recently criticized the CPEC projects and defamed China-Pakistan relations.

It is reiterated that CPEC, a long-term project, has helped address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation in Pakistan, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We have reiterated many times that our total public debt relating to CPEC projects is less than even 10 percent of the total debt. Moreover, the public debt obtained from China has a maturity period of 20 years and the interest is 2.34 percent. If grants are included, the interest value slides down to about two percent,” the statement said.

“The claims made by some of the commentators and public officials on Pakistan’s debt obligations relating to CPEC are contrary to facts,” it added.

The statement said Pakistan believes that regional economic connectivity will provide a critical stimulus for creating broad-based growth across the region.

“Pakistan and China have several mechanisms to discuss matters of mutual interest. Both countries are regularly in touch to address those issues bilaterally,” according to the statement.

The statement said Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and are engaged in prompting peace, development and stability in the region based on the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and shared development.

The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan said on Thursday that the recent remarks of Wells about CPEC are irresponsible and totally baseless, “just a repetition of her same old tune.”

“The CPEC is an important cooperation project between the Governments of China and Pakistan. It has always adhered to the principles of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and transparency. The planning and implementation of the projects are carried out by the two sides through thorough consultations based on equality and scientific study,” the embassy said.

(XINHUA)

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Germany’s emissions trading to start with higher CO2 price: ministry

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Germany’s national emissions trading would now start with a fixed CO2 price of 25 euros (27 U.S. dollars) instead of 10 euros per ton in 2021, the Environment Ministry (BMU) announced on Wednesday.

“The higher CO2 price makes fossil fuels more expensive and brings us closer to our climate goals,” said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze.

The increased CO2 price corresponded to seven euro cents per liter of petrol, eight euro cents per liter of diesel and heating oil as well as 0.5 cents per kilowatt-hour of natural gas, according to BMU.

A fixed price increase to 55 euros was planned until 2025. According to BMU, the certificate price would then be determined by an auction model in a price corridor of 55 euros to 65 euros per ton of CO2.

The additional earnings from national emissions trading would be used in full to “reduce the burden on households and businesses via the electricity bill,” added Schulze.

With the new rule, the so-called EEG reallocation charge, a levy for the expansion of renewable energy in Germany, would be reduced, benefiting households and businesses, according to BMU.

(XINHUA)

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Agriculture

Gov. Bello tasks ministry on improved animal husbandry

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Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, on Wednesday, charged the state Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to intensify efforts on animal husbandry production as an integral part of his administration’s agricultural transformation agenda.

Bello made this appeal when he visited the state Livestock Improvement and Breeding Centre at Tagwai Dam in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

The governor lamented that the progress and process of developing unique species of cattle at the centre was slow and promised to meet with the ministry to fast track its development.

“The previous administration imported many of the Bonsmara breed from South Africa with the hope that by now, we should have been doing artificial insemination, so that over time, we will be able to improve on our local breed, especially the bokolo breed.

“It is a wonderful programme but unfortunately, I have to find out why we have not made much progress,” he said.

According to him, the whole idea of the centre is to have improved generation of cattle for more qualitative milk and beef production.

He disclosed that the state government had partnered with a South African firm on Bonsmara, a disease-resistant cattle semen supply.

“The state government has sponsored four veterinary doctors to South Africa for training in artificial insemination,’’ he said, adding that there would be an improvement on the production of milk.

The governor said that a crossbreeding between the Bonsmara and the local boakolo species of cattle production were effective in the state, saying it was time for such an effort to be redoubled.

He said that with the Bobi Grazing Reserve, it was time for government to assist the herdsmen with artificial insemination to get the rare cattle of 500kg- 600kg that could produce high quantity of milk of 10 litres per day instead of two litres daily.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

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Foreign

4 PKK members killed in northern Iraq: Turkish ministry

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Four members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed by Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq, said Turkey’s defense ministry on Wednesday

“Four PKK terrorists were neutralized in Metina region of northern Iraq after they were detected by reconnaissance and surveillance activities,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Turkey’s anti-terror operations continue without let-up, the ministry noted.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply terrorists in question surrendered or killed or captured.

Turkish security forces have long been conducting operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and in northern Iraq where the group has hideouts.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, launched a 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state which cost the lives of more than 40,000.

(XINHUA)

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General news

COVID-19: C’ River deserves commendation, says Federal Ministry of Health

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A seven-man team from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Monday commended Cross River State Government for being proactive in the fight against  COVID-19.

Dr  Omobolanle Olowu, Leader of the team, told journalists after visiting the 100-bed isolation centre in  Adiabo, Odukpani LGA, that Cross River

was proactive to ensure safety of the state.

She said the state would have had cases  if it had left its borders open when the pandemic started early in the year.

Olowu said, however, that the state still needed Federal Government’s assistance in upgrading its reference laboratory to be able to effectively test for COVID-19.

“The Obong of Calabar was particularly worried that the state does not have enough testing centres.

”We are going to take this back to the Minister of Health so that one or two laboratories would be established in the state.

“It is a concern for everybody in the nation because not much testing is carried out in the state.

”We don’t want Cross River to be a reservoir of COVID-19, when others will be getting out of it,” she said.

In her remarks, Dr Betta Edu, Chairman, Cross River COVID-19 Response Team, said the state had been carrying out effective surveillance and testing with samples sent to Irua in Edo, as well as  Ebonyi and Abuja.

“We need funding to keep our borders both interstate and international shut.

”We need the Federal Government to come and set up a vaccine manufacturing and research centre in Cross River.

“We need the Federal Government to purchase face masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face shields from Cross River for the whole country.

”We need to and get other African countries to come and buy from the state instead of China,” she said.

The chairman added that the  state needed its own testing centres.

“We need to upgrade  the machines, softwares and catridges in the laboratory to be able to effectively test for COVID-19,” she said.

Earlier, the team paid a courtesy visit to the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu (V), who appealed to NCDC to create more testing centres in the state.

“This virus has shaken the world. It is like a war.

”This administration must start looking into effective development of its health sector,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the team  visited the 100-bed isolation centre in Adiabo,  Mayne Avenue Primary Healthcare Centre, and Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Infectious Disease Hospital, designated as a testing centre.

The team also visited the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Isolation Centre and the state’s garment factory which is producing face masks.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Foreign

Turkish airstrikes kill 3 PKK members in northern Iraq: ministry

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Turkish security forces killed three members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defense ministry said Monday.

“Three PKK terrorists, identified by reconnaissance and surveillance in the northern Hakurk region in Iraq, were neutralized by an air operation,” said the ministry in its Twitter account.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply terrorists in question surrendered or killed or captured.

Turkish security forces have long been conducting operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and in northern Iraq where the group has hideouts.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, launched a 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state which cost the lives of more than 40,000.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Pakistan welcomes signing of agreement between Afghan political leaders: foreign ministry

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Pakistan welcomed the signing of an agreement between political leaders in Afghanistan to end a political deadlock, the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said Sunday night.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who also claimed victory in the presidential election, inked an agreement on Sunday to end the political deadlock following last year’s presidential election, Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter.

Abdullah will head the High Council for National Reconciliation that will lead the peace process with the Taliban, according to Afghan media.

“At this critical juncture, it is vitally important that all Afghan leaders work together constructively in the supreme interest of the Afghan people and help bring lasting peace and stability to the country affected by decades of violence and conflict,” the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement, signed in February, has created a historic opportunity, which must be seized by all Afghan stakeholders to advance the goals of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“It is critical that the intra-Afghan negotiations commence at the earliest, culminating in a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” the statement said, adding that all Afghan parties must honor their respective commitments, work with perseverance and a sense of common purpose, and also guard against the machinations of any spoilers, from within and without.

Pakistan reiterated its commitment to continue to support a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbors, according to the statement.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Saudi’s coronavirus cases top 50,000- ministry

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The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia topped 50,000 on Saturday, the Health Ministry said.

A ministry official reported 2,840 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 51,980. That was up from an average of around 1,500 new cases a day over the past week.

The death toll in the kingdom increased by 10 to 302, the official said on state TV.

Saudi Arabia recorded its first COVID-19 infection on March 2, several weeks after the initial outbreak in Asia.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Foreign

2 PKK members killed in northern Iraq: Turkish defense ministry

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Turkish military killed two members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defense ministry said on Saturday.

“Two PKK terrorists, who were detected in northern Iraq’s Zap and Avachin region during the reconnaissance and surveillance activities, were neutralized by airstrikes,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Our operations against the terrorist organization PKK continue resolutely,” it added.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkish security forces have long been conducting operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq where the group has hideouts.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, launched a 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state which caused the lives of more than 40,000 people.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Cuba not to reopen borders yet: ministry

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Cuba will not reopen its borders for the moment, its Ministry of Tourism said Friday.

“Borders will not be reopened for the moment, nor will the touristic services be restored, in keeping with guidelines to protect national health security,” according to a release on the ministry’s official website.

“Cuba is working on the improvement of hotel and non-hotel facilities as well as developing hygiene and health protocols to face the beginning of tourism operations,” it added.

Cuban authorities said on Friday that there are currently 4,142 foreigners staying on the island.

On March 31, Cuba announced a decision to suspend international flights as part of its measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Since the first confirmed cases in the country were reported on March 11, Cuba has so far reported 1,840 infections with 79 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

COVID-19 deaths in Egypt rise by 21 to 592: health ministry

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The death toll from COVID-19 in Egypt rose by 21 in the last 24 hours to 592, the health ministry announced Friday.

The number of the confirmed cases in the country grew by 399 to 11,228, while the number of recoveries rose by 137 to 2,799, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

Egypt announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Feb. 14 and the first death on March 8, both foreigners.

The highest daily infections registered in Egypt stood at 495 on May 8, while the North African country saw on April 28 the highest single-day fatalities of 22.

The Egyptian government has recently started to ease restrictions and gradually reopen services and offices that have been halted since mid-March, amid a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

The most populous Arab country is implementing a nationwide nine-hour nighttime curfew during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Russia, U.S. maintain cooperation to ensure safety of troops in Syria – Foreign ministry

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Cooperation is ongoing between Russia and the U.S. toward safeguarding the security of their troops stationed in Syria and preventing dangerous incidents, according to an official.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who made this known to Sputnik on Friday, pointed to the joint statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump issued on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam on Nov. 11, 2017.

The document outlined the “fundamental understanding between Russia and the U.S. in their fight against the Islamic State (IS terrorist organisation banned in Russia)”.

“In particular, the document has outlined the determination of the two countries to defeat the IS in Syria and continue efforts until the group is completely abolished,” Syromolotov said.

He further cited Moscow and Washington as acknowledging in the document, the importance of “maintaining military communication channels, or deconfliction communications, to ensure the security of Russian and U.S. military.

“Such interaction is still ongoing and has made it possible to prevent dangerous incidents and continue the fight – of Russia on one front and the U.S. and its allies on another – against the IS.”

The armed conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011.

In August 2015, Syrian President Bashar Assad asked Russia for military assistance in countering the armed opposition forces and terrorist organisations.

The government forces regained control over most of territories by 2017, but terrorists have retained several strongholds located chiefly in the country’s north.

The U.S. has been primarily cooperating with a group of Kurdish and Syrian opposition fighters, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Last October, Trump ordered his troops to leave Syria, saying that their mission was accomplished, although part of the military has remained to guard the oil infrastructure in the northeast.

Approximately at the same time, Turkey invaded the north of Syria with a declared mission to clear it of what it designates as Kurdish terrorists.

The epicentre of escalation is now the Idlib province, which was turned into a demilitarised zone under an agreement between Russia and Turkey in 2018.

Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Ankara and Moscow last October, Turkish and Russian military have continued to conduct regular patrols in the area.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: German finance ministry expects tax revenues to fall by 81.5 bln euros in 2020

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Germany would have 81.5 billion euros (88 billion U.S. dollars) less tax revenues in 2020 than last year, the German Ministry of Finance announced on Thursday.

However, the coronavirus crisis would be financially manageable despite the loss of taxes and remaining uncertainties “thanks to the good budgetary policy of recent years,” said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The government had adopted a range of measures to help companies and employees during the coronavirus crisis, for example, by increasing financial support for short-time work or providing loans for companies and businesses.

“All these measures were important and right. All these measures have an impact on the tax revenues of the state,” the ministry noted. The expected tax losses in 2020 would be caused by a drop in company profits, a drop in sales as well as an increase in short-time work caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Furthermore, part of the expected tax decline was due to the fact that the government had introduced regulations on tax deferrals and loss carryback that aimed at reducing the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, according to the ministry.

“These measures will have a positive effect in the following years, as the additional liquidity of many companies secured their continued existence and thus tax revenues,” the ministry noted.

For 2021, the ministry estimated that tax revenues in Germany could increase again by 10.4 percent to 792.5 billion euros.

“We have invested a lot of tax money to help employees and companies through this difficult time,” stressed Scholz. The next step would be to use targeted measures to get the economy moving again, “so that industry, trade and commerce can get back into business better.”

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) noted on Thursday that the tax estimates confirmed “our gloomy expectations.”

“Large parts of the public budgets are collapsing,” said Joachim Lang, head of the BDI. In this situation, tax increases and capital levies would be the “absolute wrong way to compensate for these extraordinary revenues shortfalls.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Egypt to keep restaurants, schools, sports facilities closed to curb COVID-19 – Ministry

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The Egyptian Health Ministry, on Thursday, announced that all restaurants, schools and universities, gyms and sports facilities will remain closed to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

The decision is part of a three-stage anti-coronavirus plan in preparation for the gradual return of normal life in the country, the government said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

All social gatherings, including weddings and funerals, will also remain suspended, according to the decision.

The plan, expected to be implemented at the beginning of June, aims at “balancing returning to normal life and maintaining precautionary measures,’’ according to a previous government statement.

The first stage of the plan “should be applied immediately and entails strict measures to avoid relapses’’, which will last two weeks and end when the number of new cases start to decrease.

The second stage with “medium measures” will last 28 days after the end of the first stage.

The third stage includes lenient measures that should be implemented until the World Health Organisation declares the global risk has reduced to a low level.

The final version of the government plan, which involves the ministries of higher education, health and the presidential health advisor, is expected to be announced by the end of the holy month of Ramadan, according to a previous televised speech by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

Egypt has so far recorded 10,431 coronavirus cases, including 556 fatalities.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Pakistan repatriates 24,466 nationals due to COVID-19: foreign ministry

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Pakistan said on Thursday that a total of 24,466 nationals have been repatriated so far due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Pakistan started repatriation of its nationals in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in different countries.

The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan has established a special unit to monitor the overall evolving situation and coordinate with the countries missions abroad to facilitate and repatriate Pakistani nationals across the world.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our missions across the world, continue to provide overseas Pakistanis with relief and assistance wherever required,” Aisha Farooqui, spokesperson of the foreign ministry said at her weekly briefing.

“Our embassies and consulates are working round the clock in facilitating repatriation of our citizens back home, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders,” she added.

Giving details of the repatriation, she said 570 Pakistani nationals were brought back from the United States on two special flights in the past few days.

“These are the first two of the six special charter flights arranged for our stranded citizens in the United States,” Farooqui said.

She said a special cell namely the Crisis Management Unit is working at the foreign ministry round the clock with a dedicated team to monitor the phased repatriation of Pakistanis across the globe in the wake of the rising threat of COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt to keep restaurants, schools, sports facilities closed to curb COVID-19: health ministry

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The Egyptian health ministry announced on Thursday that all restaurants, schools and universities, gyms and sports facilities will remain closed to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

The decision is part of a three-stage anti-coronavirus plan in preparation for the gradual return of normal life in the country, said the government in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

All social gatherings including weddings and funerals will also remain suspended, according to the decision.

The plan, expected to be implemented at the beginning of June, aims at “balancing returning to normal life and maintaining precautionary measures,” according to a previous government statement.

The first stage of the plan “should be applied immediately and entails strict measures to avoid relapses,” which will last two weeks and end when the number of new cases start to decrease.

The second stage with “medium measures” will last 28 days after the end of the first stage.

The third stage includes lenient measures that should be implemented until the World Health Organization declares the global risk has reduced to a low level.

The final version of the government plan, which involves the ministries of higher education, health and the presidential health advisor, is expected to be announced by the end of the holy month of Ramadan, according to a previous televised speech by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

Egypt has so far recorded 10,431 coronavirus cases, including 556 fatalities.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

COVID-19: Enugu lawmakers task health ministry on measures to combat spread

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Enugu State House of Assembly has charged the state Ministry of Health to ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The House Committee chairman on Health, Mr Sam Ngene, gave the charge when the committee visited the Ministry on Wednesday.

Ngene said that putting all the necessary measures in place would go a long way in ensuring that the rising cases of COVID-19 pandemic was effectively handled.

Ngene, representing Enugu South Urban Constituency, noted that the state government  was doing everything possible to prevent explosion of the virus, as witnessed in many states of the federation.

The committee chairman gave assurance that the seventh assembly would complement the efforts of the ministry legislatively towards containment of Covid-19 in the state.

Another member of the committee, Chinedu Okwu, commended the ministry for its efforts to tackle on the pandemic so far.

He however, urged it to carry out more test in order to get the real numbers of those affected with the coronavirus in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, while responding , said the state government had approved Group Life Assurance for medical workers and State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA.

He said this would help boost health work morals to give their best in the fight against the virus.

Obi said that Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had also approved special healthcare allowance for the 124 frontline workers managing coronavirus patients.

He added that the Frontline workers would enjoy the allowance till the end of Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

The commissioner told the lawmakers that the 221 bedded isolation and treatment centres were located in Enugu and Nsukka.

He explained that citing centres in different places was to help in managing suspected cases of the virus.

The lawmakers later inspected level of work at the state Infectious Disease Hospital, formerly known as Colliery Hospital.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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Palestinian health ministry says teenager killed by Israeli soldiers

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Palestinian medical sources declared on Wednesday that a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot by Israeli soldiers in a refugee camp near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a press statement that the boy, Zeid Qaisiya, was shot in the head with live ammunition during an Israeli raid into the UN-run refugee camp.

Four others were injured, two of whom were shot in the upper body parts, but are reportedly in moderate condition.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army spokesperson said in a statement that the Israeli army was searching for the wanted Palestinians inside the refugee camp, when their forces were attacked by stones and Molotov cocktails.

The army’s statement said that the soldiers responded by opening fire against the Palestinians.

Fatah party then accused Israel in a press statement of seeking escalation in the West Bank in order to “draw the situation into chaos.”

This comes one day after an Israeli soldier was killed after being hit by a rock during a military operation in the northern West Bank village of Ya’bad near Jenin city.

After the incident, the Israeli army arrested at least 16 Palestinians, including children and women, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.

Tensions in the West Bank are mounting against Israel’s intention to annex wide areas of the occupied West Bank.

(XINHUA)

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