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New Perm. Sec. tasks labour ministry staff on teamwork

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New Perm. Sec. tasks labour ministry staff on teamwork

Development

Mr William Alo, the new Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, has urged staff members of the ministry to embrace teamwork in order to achieve set goals.

Alo gave the advice in a statement signed by Mrs Rhoda Iliya, Deputy Director of Press in the ministry and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

The statement quoted the new Permanent Secretary as making the call when the outgoing Permanent Secretary, Mrs Ibukun Odusote formally handed over to him.

He said that imbibing the culture of teamwork would not only engender the realisation of set goals within the ministry but also support national development.

“We have to work together as one family because we have one goal of contributing our quota towards national development.

“I am an advocate of teamwork, I assure the management and staff of the ministry of a harmonious relationship, we shall work towards a common goal,” he said.

Alo promised to bring his experience to bear in accomplishing the task before him, adding, “we shall ensure that ethics and hard work are encouraged”

He commended the efforts of the outgoing permanent secretary, who he described as an astute administrator, saying, “your work has lifted the ministry to a greater height”

The new permanent secretary pledged his readiness to improve on the legacies and accomplishments achieved by previous leaderships in the ministry.

Earlier, Odusote had appreciated staff members of the ministry for their support and commitment towards achieving group goals.

“Your support to me was outstanding, it made my time in the ministry very memorable,” she said.

 

Foreign

Mongolia reports 2 new COVID-19 cases, 193 in total

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Mongolia reported two new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, taking its total to 193, the country’s National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) said Saturday.

“A total of 255 tests for COVID-19 were conducted across the country on Friday and two of them were positive,” the NCCD’s head Dulmaa Nyamkhuu told a daily press conference.

The latest cases are Mongolian students who returned home from Russia via Altanbulag border point on May 28, Nyamkhuu said.

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

One more patient has recovered from the disease, raising the total number to 71, said the official.

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

(XINHUA)

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Health

NCDC announces 328 new COVID-19 cases, total infections now 11,844

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The Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded 328 new cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 11, 844.

The NCDC announced this on Friday through it’s official Twitter handle, saying that as at June 5, 2020, 328 new confirmed cases and 10  deaths were recorded in the country.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The health agency said that till  date, 11844 cases had been confirmed, 7815 active cases, 3696 cases have been treated and discharged and 333 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

It stated that the 328 new cases were reported from 14 states- Lagos(121), FCT(70),Bauchi(25), Rivers(18), Oyo(16), Kaduna(15), Gombe(14), Edo(13),Ogun(13), Jigawa(8), Enugu(6), Kano(5), Osun(2), Ondo(2).

The NCDC said that there is no cure yet for COVID-19, but, its supportive management of cases involve: management of symptoms , management of pre-existing conditions, Supplemental oxygen therapy, treatment of bacterial infection, and ensuring patients that were  well-nourished and hydrated.

The NCDC, however, called on Nigerians not to  pull down their mask down their chin.

“You can speak, cough or sneeze inside your mask, then wash or dispose properly,” it said.

NAN reports that one of the ways Africa Center for Disease Control is supporting the COVID-19 response in Nigeria was by deploying epidemiologists and volunteers to work with national and state level staff in carrying out outbreak investigation, contact tracing and other response activities.

 


Edited By: Chidinma Agu and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Britain, EU close new round of trade talks, little progress made

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Britain and the European Union (EU) closed their fourth round of trade talks on Friday with little progress made, their chief negotiators said.

“Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in tone. Negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome,” Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said in London after the talks via video links.

“We are close to reaching the limits of what we can achieve through the format of remote formal rounds. If we are to make progress, it is clear that we must intensify and accelerate our work,” he said.

“We need to conclude this negotiation in good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreements reached,” he added.

“Any such deal must of course accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues,” he added.

Also on Friday, Michel Barnier, the EU‘s chief negotiator on Britain’s exit from the EU, said in Brussels that there have been no significant areas of progress after the end of the fourth round of talks with Britain on their post-Brexit relations.

The EU has always been open to the possibility of an extension to the transition period, he said.

The latest round of intensive negotiations between Britain and the EU started on Tuesday via video links due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After this final scheduled round of talks now between the two sides, the focus will switch to a crucial meeting reportedly to take place later this month between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Johnson has insisted he will not extend the transition period beyond Dec. 31, with Britain and the EU facing the prospect of conducting trade under World Trade Organization rules if there is no agreement.

Britain quitted the EU on Jan. 31. The two sides started their negotiations for a new partnership in Brussels on March 2, which ended on March 5 with big divergences.

Britain has insisted that it wants a Canada-style relationship based on a comprehensive free trade agreement, supplemented by separate international agreements.

The kingdom has maintained that it will be a fully independent and sovereign country from Jan. 1, 2021, with no alignment with EU law and no jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

(XINHUA)

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New Zealand has no new COVID-19 case for 15 consecutive days

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New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 for 15 consecutive days, said a statement of the Ministry of Health on Saturday.

The combined number of confirmed and probable cases stays at 1,504, of which 1,154 are confirmed, it said.

New Zealand currently has 1,481 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, unchanged from Friday. There is only one active case in the country.

There is no one receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19, and the death toll remained at 22.

New Zealand is increasingly confident that there is no current community transmission, said the Ministry of Health.

“The ministry will continue to monitor closely for any new cases in New Zealand and review the control measures needed to prevent and manage any spread of COVID-19 — including the possible use of masks by the public,” said the Ministry of Health, responding to the latest guidance from the World Health Organization on the use of masks for control of COVID-19.

The total number of tests completed to date is 291,994, an increase of 3,007.

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 Alert Level 2. The general public are encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app, developed by the New Zealand government to facilitate contact tracing and case identification. It has currently recorded 511,645 registrations.

(XINHUA)

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New Zealand aims to eliminate COVID-19 against winter odds: ministry

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New Zealand is aiming to eliminate the COVID-19 virus despite challenges posed by the winter season, New Zealand Ministry of Health said Friday.

“The government is aiming for elimination of the COVID-19 virus or as close as possible to elimination, which will be backed up by intense surveillance to detect re-emergence of the virus, and prompt a public health response if new cases are found,” said a spokesperson from the ministry.

New Zealand has not reported any new case of COVID-19 in 14 consecutive days, promoting hope that the country could be one of the first nations in the world to eliminate the virus.

However, as the country enters the winter season from June, looking out for COVID-19 cases while seeing an increasing number of the usual respiratory viruses in winter will be a challenge.

“This is one of the reasons for the strong measures that have been taken,” said the spokesperson. “There is an ongoing possibility of putting alert levels back up again over the coming months if COVID-19 re-emerges and cannot be rapidly contained.”

Most illnesses caused by respiratory viruses are more common in the winter months. Influenza shows a very seasonal pattern, with increased illness, hospitalizations and deaths reaching a peak in the winter months in New Zealand.

“How the virus causing COVID-19 responds to colder temperatures is yet to be known, but it is assumed that any respiratory virus including COVID-19 will spread more easily in winter months because people are spending more time indoors and being closer to each other,” said the spokesperson.

“While this doesn’t mean the disease is more severe, but there could be more risks of spreading,” added the spokesperson.

According the ministry, to date, more than 1.744 million flu vaccines have been distributed nationwide to general practices, pharmacies, occupational health providers, district health boards and other vaccinators this year. Over 800,000 eligible people have been vaccinated so far this year, compared with just over 700,000 in 2019.

June, July and August are the winter months in New Zealand. Average temperatures in the winter months range from 1.5-15.5 degrees Celsius from south to north in the country.

(XINHUA)

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New York state governor unveils police reform agenda in wake of George Floyd death

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Governor of the United States state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced a reform agenda to address police brutality, especially against minority communities, following the death of Minnesota man George Floyd.

The “Say Their Name” agenda will make prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers transparent, ban chokeholds and make false race-based 911 reports a hate crime, said Cuomo at his daily briefing.

Meanwhile, the state’s attorney general will work as an independent prosecutor for deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement, he said.

“Mr. Floyd’s murder was the breaking point of a long list of deaths that were unnecessary and abusive, and people are saying ‘enough is enough,'” said Cuomo.

The governor pointed out that stopping police abuse vindicates the “99.9 percent of police who are there to do the right thing” and would also make the community-police relationship work better, he added.

Cuomo said New York should lead the charge and he would work with the state legislature to pass the agenda next week.

Confrontations — some times violent — between protesters and police have erupted during demonstrations nationwide during the past week. The governor said Thursday’s incident in Buffalo of upstate New York between two officers and a 75-year-old man was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”

In a video circulating online, two heavily-armed officer pushed the man, who approached them alone during a protest over George Floyd’s death, while asking him to move back.

The man tripped and fell backward with his head hitting the ground. Blood was seen coming from his head while no officer came to tend him immediately, as the video showed.

“Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat?” Cuomo questioned. “It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. How did we get to this place?”

The governor said he had spoken with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and they agreed that the officers involved should be immediately suspended, a decision that was announced late on Thursday.

Cuomo said he had also spoken on the phone with the old man, who was in serious condition but is “thankfully alive.”

“I believe the district attorney is looking into it from a possible criminal liability point of view, and I applaud the district attorney for moving quickly,” the governor added.

(XINHUA)

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UN preparing for gradual reopening of headquarters in New York: spokesman

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The United Nations is making preparations for the phased reopening of its headquarters in New York, said a spokesman on Friday.

Preparations are going through a senior emergency management group, which exists just for the COVID-19 crisis, with inputs from various UN departments, guided by the UN medical authorities, and in close contact with the host city of New York, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“They will meet again very soon to give some guidance to the secretary-general as to when to move to a next step, which could see a kind of phased reopening,” he told a virtual press briefing.

The United Nations is identifying critical staff that would need to be in the building. The reopening would also depend on the wishes of member states, he said.

“Preparations are under way in terms of signage, in terms of workspaces. But we’re taking it… one phase at a time,” he said. “We don’t want to rush this. But we do want to be able to move forward when we feel it is safe to have an uptick in the number of people that will be allowed in the building at any one time.”

The current lockdown, which began on March 16, lasts till the end of June.

(XINHUA)

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Greek gov’t aims for one in three new vehicles to be electric by 2030

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To mark World Environment Day on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented the government’s plan for promoting electromobility, and the target is for one in three new vehicles in the country to be electric by 2030.

“Currently in our country, the share of electric vehicles barely exceeds 0.3 percent. A land with so good green energy potential has a limited penetration of electromobility,” he said.

“The national electromobility development plan is one of the main pillars of our environmental policy aimed at replacing polluting fuels,” Mitsotakis explained, according to press release e-mailed by his office.

“Even today, our national goal is less ambitious than the targets of other countries: one in three new vehicles in Greece to be electric by 2030,” he said, adding that he hoped that Greek citizens will embrace the plan so that the government can set more ambitious targets soon.

Under the plan, the state would offer financial incentives to companies and individuals to switch to electric vehicles, which would cover about 25 percent of the cost for about 14,000 new electric cars, Mitsotakis said.

Combined with tax exemptions, the total benefit per vehicle would be around 10,000 euros (11,310 United States dollars), he said.

The funds allocated for this purpose would reach 100 million euros over a period of 18 months, he added.

Electric cars would also be exempt from parking fees for two years and charging costs would be deductible from taxable income, the Greek leader said.

Financial incentives would also be provided for the installation of charging points and the purchase of electric motorbikes and bicycles.

The government also aims to increase the number of electric buses on Greek roads.

In an upcoming tender for new buses to be used in public transportation in Athens and Thessaloniki, a significant percentage would have to be electric vehicles, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis said.

To facilitate coordination between the central government, the local administrations and the market, two ministries and 19 agencies signed a so-called “green agreement” on Friday pledging to implement the plan as soon as possible. (1 euro = 1.13 United States dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Oman reports 770 new COVID-19 cases, 15,086 in total

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The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Friday 770 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 15,086.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, all new cases, including 343 Omanis, are related to community contact.

Meanwhile, the total recovered cases of COVID-19 reached 3,451, while five new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 72.

(XINHUA)

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