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NDE, Rep. member, train 50 youth in trades in Jigawa



The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in collaboration with Rep. Magaji Aliyu of Birnin kudu/Buji Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, has trained 50 youths in five trades in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, the state NDE Coordinator, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar- Jamo,said the collaboration was aimed at addressing challenges of unemployment in the area.

He said the directorate was always ready to partner with other individuals and groups on various skills training programmers for youth.

Represented by Alhaji Muhammad Kwaimawa, Abubakar-Jamo called on the trainees to use the skills they acquired to become self-reliant and employers of labour in the future.

Earlier, Aliyu’s aide on Women and Youth Economic Empowerment, Alhaji Nura Tanko, said the beneficiaries received two months training on leather works, tailoring, mechanics and beads stringing.

He said a similar training programme would soon commence in Surko, Lafiya and Kiyako wards in the area.

The District Head of Birnin kudu, Alhaji Garba Jibrin, commended the NDE and Aliyu for the successful conduct of the training in his domain.(NAN)



Ethiopian expert says Africa can learn from Chinese pandemic management system




China is an able and willing partner of Africa and countries in the African continent can learn from the Chinese development and pandemic management system, an Ethiopian expert said on Saturday.

Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, noted that the African continent currently accounts for a small fraction of the infections globally.

However, Costantinos told Xinhua that “African countries have taken a disproportionate hit due to plummeting oil and commodity prices and weaker currencies, which ramp-up external debt servicing costs.”

Costantinos, also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, stressed that China is probably the only nation that can address the challenges faced by the global South in improving economic governance and curtailing corruption.

According to the latest figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the African continent had surpassed 171,206, as the death toll from the pandemic surged to 4,766.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that more than 75,083 people who had been infected with COVID-19 had recovered across the continent so far.


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Edo records more than 50 cases of gender-based violence during virus lockdown



Edo Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues says more than 50 cases of gender-based violence were recorded during the coronavirus lockdown in the state between April and May.

Mrs Maria Edeko, the Commissioner of the ministry, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin on Saturday.

The commissioner said that nearly 20 of the reported cases had to do with rape, defilement, and incest.

“We had an upsurge in gender-based violence in the state during the lockdown period from April to May.

“We had a case of a father, who committed incest with the daughter and a case of a tenant, who repeatedly defiled a co-tenant’s daughter and impregnated her.

“The girl is now in our custody while the violator is being investigated,” Edeko said.

She urged mothers to be extra vigilant, saying that violators were in most cases  well-known persons to the victims.

She also urged people to see gender-based violence as a problem that should  be tackled head on.

The commissioner also said that many family disputes were recorded during the lockdown period as many couples were not used to staying together for a long time.

“Most of the time, everyone goes to work, but during the lockdown, the bad sides of couples were seen and this resulted in increase in violence.

“Lack of enough money to take care of the home was also a cause of domestic violence especially among persons working in the private sector, who were not paid salaries,” she said.


The commissioner added that the ministry had been involved in discussions on gender-based violence and counselling of couples on how to live peacefully during the lockdown at the community level.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


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Indonesia plans to recruit volunteers to help contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic




Following the involvement of the military and police personnel in efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesian government now plans to recruit volunteers to help make a new normal scenario in the country possible.

The plan was made as the government still lacks personnel in the fields in its efforts to curb the surging number of the COVID-19 patients in the country, despite the recent deployment of military and police personnel to help discipline people in exercising health protocols.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy has gained approval from President Joko Widodo to recruit volunteers who are expected to help trace more people likely infected with the virus.

The minister said after attending a recent cabinet meeting that the president had the rapid tests optimized according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards by considering the ratio of the total population.

The president told a cabinet meeting that the target of 10,000 COVID-19 rapid tests per day has been reached, and he now wanted to increase the target to 20,000 tests or even 30,000 tests daily across the country.

The president said that massive COVID-19 tests should be carried out to provide more accurate results and complete picture of Indonesia’s readiness to enter the new normal life.

According to an international data organization, Our World in Data, per June 5 Indonesia only carried out 0.94 rapid test per 1,000 population.

As Indonesia has over 260 million people, the optimum number of rapid tests should be at least 30,000 per day, and it is in line with the president’s expectation.

According to Minister Effendy, only one-fifth of the tracing can be carried out under the 30,000 rapid tests, and therefore, a massive tracking has to be correctly and carefully made.

The minister asserted that the 30,000 rapid tests per day was expected to be carried out to support the government’s efforts before lifting the large-scale social restrictions.

For the purpose, the government plans to recruit volunteers who have health and medical educational and training backgrounds, including the final-semester students majoring in midwifery, nursing, and public health to participate in the massive rapid test program.

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 993 within one day to 30,514, with the death toll adding by 31 to 1,801, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Saturday.

According to him, 464 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 9,907.

The pandemic has spread to all the 34 provinces in the archipelagic country. However, as of 12:00 p.m. Jakarta time on Saturday, no more positive cases were found in five provinces, namely, Aceh, Bengkulu, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.

The government has recently deployed soldiers and policemen to four provinces, namely, Jakarta, West Java, West Sumatra and Gorontalo as well as 25 districts/cities which have been applying the large-scale social distancing policy.

The Indonesian Armed Forces’ Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said his soldiers have been posted in public areas including traditional markets, tourist sites, traffic, shopping centers, railway and bus stations where the health protocols are implemented.

The cooperation among the stakeholders was expected to meet the people’s wish that they would resume activities free from the COVID-19 infections, Tjahjanto said, hoping that the R0 (a measure of a disease’s potential) would drop to 0.7 or even lower in the four provinces and 25 districts/cities.

According to the chief, nearly 350,000 army men and policemen have been sent to 1,800 points of the health protocols in those provinces and districts/cities.


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World Environment Day: Nigerians must recognise interdependence of all lives on earth – CSOs



Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), has called on Nigerians to collectively recognise the interdependence of all lives on earth.

Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman, Board of Trustees of CSDevNet, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday.

Choji spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED).

NAN reports that the WED is celebrated annually on June 5 and the theme for 2020 is “Celebrate Biodiversity”.

Choji said that biodiversity was the foundation that supports all lives on land and below the water.

“It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance and climate change mitigation.

“Changing, or removing one element of this web, affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences.

“Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture and acceleration of climate change have pushed nature beyond its limit,’’ he said.

According to him,  the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life.

CSDevNet believes this year’s WED represents a call upon our collective conscience as Nigerians to be guided by the shared misery caused by the recent global pandemic.

“It also recognises the fragile linkages that human health and existence have with nature.

“The naked realities of the economic and social insecurity we are faced with has never been more obvious.

“If we still fail to see the connection between human health, human rights, human progress with nature now, then we open ourselves to an even more ominous future.’’

He added that Nigeria was blessed with natural elements, but that in its drive to industrialise and develop, a pathway was adopted which had led the country to where it is today.

“That is the rapidly changing climate laced with extreme indicators of poverty.”

According to him, to find our way back to the days of our flourishing flora, fauna and wide vegetation types, we must all continue to find ways to co-exist with nature.

He said that federal, state and local governments must ensure all remaining wild spaces are protected; implement efficient systems of waste management and adopt a circular economy.

Choji added that Nigerian government must ensure the observance of strong environmental impact assessments, implementation of all environmental guidelines and norms across sectors, especially extractive activities in coal, oil and gas.

“We must begin to build green infrastructure and support green enterprises as a pathway to a cleaner, healthier future,’’ he said.

The activist told NAN that the private sector needed to account for the environment in supply chains and financing, and adopt green measures.

“As civil societies and individuals, we need to rethink what we buy and use, and manage our consumption of all resources responsibly.

“Our youths must become committed gatekeepers of a green future.

“The quality of our lives and the survival of our population is dependent on these actions.

“As we work to build back our economy, let us not forget the cost of losing our fragile ecosystems that provide us good health, clean air, water and food,’’ he said.

He told NAN that economic growth could no longer be achieved at the cost of ecological imbalance.

“Well-balanced ecosystems, rich in biodiversity is fundamental to human existence, health, peace and progress.

“It is time to for us to wake up; this world environment day is time for nature,’’ he added.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Mongolia’s capital holds annual book festival to promote reading amid pandemic




The 27th annual Ulan Bator Book Festival is underway here to promote a reading culture, especially among children and youth, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three-day festival starting on Friday is held both online and offline for the first time, attracting around 500 authors, publishing houses, organizations as well as thousands of readers.

Co-organized by the city’s cultural department and non-governmental organization Nomiin Soyolt Yertunts (World of Book Culture) under the auspices of the country’s education ministry, the festival includes a wide range of activities such as meetings between authors and book lovers, book exhibitions and the launch of new books.

As of Saturday, Mongolia has confirmed 193 COVID-19 infections, including four foreign nationals.

All the cases are imported ones, mostly from Russia, with no local transmissions or deaths reported so far.


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Makinde flags off construction of commission’s secretariat



Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has flagged off the construction of a secretariat for the Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board.

Makinde said at the occasion in Ibadan that the idea of constructing the office complex came from the Local Government Service Commission.

He promised that his administration would give support for the completion of the project within 11 months.

In about 11 months, we will be coming back here to commission the edifice. So, I thank the chairmen and chairpersons of the local government areas and the local council development areas.

”Everybody came together to buy into the vision, and by that singular action, we were able to raise substantial amount needed for the construction of the structure.

I congratulate the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board. It is your idea and baby and we will support you to see to its completion,” he stated.

The governor also said that the state government had commenced the gradual rehabilitation of its secretariat which had been left to degenerate over the years.

”The rehabilitation process will not abate until the entire structures are given the desired face-lift,” Makinde said.

In his goodwill message Mr Olusegun Abatan, the Secretary of Nigeria Union of Pensioners in Oyo State, described the flag off of the office complex as historic.

Abatan praised the governor for effecting the payment of about N5 billion gratuities to retired workers of ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals.

He described Makinde’s administration as purposeful, saying it had so far paid N1.98 billion to retirees of primary schools while local government retires got about N3.2 billion.

Abatan added that the efforts of the Makinde administration had culminated in the socio-economic development witnessed in the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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4 soldiers killed, 17 wounded in clash with rebels in southern Philippines




Four soldiers have been killed and 17 others wounded in a clash with about 40 suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels in a remote village in the Philippines’ Sulu province, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

Major Arvin Encinas of the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the 40-minute fighting broke out around 8:20 a.m. local time on Friday in a village near mountainous Patikul town, a known stronghold of the extremist group.

Encinas said two Abu Sayyaf bandits were also killed in the fighting.

The troops are maneuvering for an assault when they engaged with about 40 Abu Sayyaf terrorists, he added.

Abu Sayyaf is considered the smallest but one of the most violent extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has an estimated 400 fighters, is active in the impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

The group is responsible for the series of kidnappings, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the Mindanao region.

The group, which has been terrorizing the Philippines’ southern region since the 1990s, preys on foreign tourists, businessmen and fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from Indonesia and Malaysia, hiding them in Philippine jungles or remote islands.


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Coronavirus pandemic to cost Australia over 348 bln USD over 10 years




The coronavirus crisis will cost more than 500 billion Australian dollars (348.3 billion United States dollars) of the Australian budget over the next decade, a report found.

According to Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) projections released on Friday, the budget deficit will peak at 191 billion AUD (133 billion United States dollars) in financial year 2020-21 compared to a 6.1 billion AUD (4.2 billion United States dollars) surplus projected by the government prior to the pandemic.

The budget will then remain in deficit until at least 2030, the PBO report found, with a projected cumulative deficit of 528 billion AUD (367.8 billion United States dollars).

The government’s net debt is expected to rise to 15 percent of GDP, or 550 billion AUD (383.1 billion United States dollars) by 2029-30.

With unemployment expected to rise to 10 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the PBO found that personal income tax collections would fall 9 billion AUD (6.2 billion United States dollars) in 2019-20 and by a further 47 billion AUD (32.7 billion United States dollars) in 2020-21.

Tax collections in 2029-30 are expected to be 14 billion AUD (9.7 billion United States dollars) lower than previously projected as a result of the pandemic.

Responding to the report, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that governments would have to spend carefully over the next 10 years to reign the debt in.

“So I would stress that is why, more than ever, we have to be careful about the expenditure we are engaged in. It has to be well measured, it has to be well targeted, it has to be time limited,” he told reporters on Friday.

“The best way to raise revenue is to get people back into jobs and your economy moving forward.”


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Feature: Chinese bus company commits to keeping Cuban drivers safe during COVID-19 pandemic




Cuban drivers from the Guanabo bus station on the outskirts of the capital city of Havana received around 1,000 face masks donated by China’s Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co. to help minimize the risk of infection during the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Jorge Hernandez, who has been driving buses in Havana’s metropolitan area for nearly 40 years, said the donation is welcome due to the high demand for face masks among people working in public transportation.

The 59-year-old bus driver said that wearing a face mask while driving is something he could not have ever imagined. “Yutong is not only taking care of the maintenance and technical conditions of the buses we drive, but also helping us keep safe during the pandemic,” he said.

Like Hernandez, close to 80 drivers from the Guanabo bus station start work early in the morning to transport health professionals and essential service workers.

Havana’s provincial public transport company has acquired around 1,080 Yutong buses, nearly 700 of which have active routes in the city of 2 million people during the COVID-19 emergency.

China has had the capacity to look far beyond our health system and has provided a helping hand to different sectors of Cuban society,” said Migdalia Aguero, 48, a Cuban nurse on board a Yutong shuttle bus in Havana.

Oscar Naury, 56, general director of the Guanabo bus station, said that during the coronavirus outbreak, no more than 20 people are allowed on board the buses at a time, and the use of face masks is compulsory for both drivers and passengers.

Workers at the Guanabo bus station have also implemented disinfecting procedures, including a rigorous handwashing process, cleaning surfaces, and disinfecting doors, seats, and other areas frequently touched by passengers.

“We clean the buses early in the morning and late at night, and use virus-killing disinfectant. There are many things we can still learn from China about disinfecting protocols,” he said, adding that buses made by Yutong Bus Co. are comfortable and meet Cuban passengers’ needs.

Cuba suspended national bus, air, and train travel across the country in the second half of March and subsequently prohibited public transportation from functioning in metropolitan and rural areas in early April as part of a governmental strategy to curb the spread of the epidemic.

Yutong Bus Co. has started to distribute around 100, 000 face masks to public transportation workers at nearly 20 bus stations to which the Chinese company provides technical assistance in the Cuban capital.

Wang Tong, head of the company’s branch in Cuba, has been handing out face masks to local bus station personnel and getting insight into the protocols they have adopted to combat the coronavirus.

“These face masks will help protect drivers and passengers from contracting the virus. We are committed to the wellbeing of workers in the public transportation sector in Cuba,” she said.

Full buses have become a common feature in everyday life in Havana due to economic restrictions and the United States blockade against the island, which bars the Caribbean nation from acquiring vehicle parts from the United States market.

Cuba has imported more than 10,700 Yutong buses since 2005, and these vehicles transport 80 percent of passengers on the island and also benefit the tourism sector.

According to Yutong Bus Co., among the company’s plans for a post COVID-19 scenario in Cuba is the continued introduction of hybrid and electric buses and the support of the country’s efforts to save fuel in the public transportation sector.

Yutong Bus Co. is celebrating its 15th anniversary on the island this year, the very same year China and Cuba are marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.


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