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Newly-elected ASUU-LASU executives to collaborate with others to maintain peace



The newly elected executive of Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos State University (ASUU-LASU), Ojo, has promised

to collaborate with other stakeholders to maintain peace and sustain giant strides in the institution.


The ASUU-LASU Chairman, Dr Ibrahim Bakare, said this while speaking with newsmen after the union’s first congress on Wednesday in Lagos.


Bakare said since p

eace was very vital and key to move the institution forward, the union would do everything to negotiate for the welfare of its members in a civilised manner.

“Our focus and direction is to rescue and give ASUU-LASU a new direction and not see everyone as our enemy.

“We need to know that negotiations does not have to lead to crises, we can manage every issue in a civilised manner by using modern languages and technologies in dealing with crises.

“We need to maintain the peace in LASU so that all the gains and good things in LASU will not be destroyed because we had it so rough in the past,” he said.

Bakare said that in the past, LASU was tagged the most volatile institution, but now, the story has changed.

“Today, we have better structures completed and ongoing structures that will be completed within months in collaboration with different local and international companies

“We want more of this achievements and we should be part of the solutions of LASU and not the problems,” the ASUU official said.

According to him, the new ASUU-LASU executive was inaugurated following the dissolution of the former executive.

“We were surprised that the parallel congress led by the former dismissed ASUU-LASU executives also wanted to have their meeting at the same venue.

“We are very peaceful and procedural people, we felt the peace we are enjoying should not be truncated and we instantly informed appropriate authority but they did not show up.

“Well-meaning members of ASUU-LASU attended the congress with joy because the affairs of the union was conducted with innovative manner and members were allowed to hear their views without using unprintable names,” he said.

Bakare said that the new ASUU-LASU executive would present to management demand for academic allowances, new salary structure, completion of staff accommodation, completion of ASUU-LASU secretariat, amongst others.

He said that the national leadership of ASUU should embrace fairness, justice and good conscience in dealing with ASUU-LASU matter.

“Unfortunately, the national leadership became biased in its efforts to resolve the crises.

“We suggested that they should change their strategies of dealing with the matter.

“I will advise ASUU national leadership to rethink their stand or position if they want genuine relationship to exist between this branch and the top.

“It is the mandate of our congress that we are executing and we remain committed to it and through the mandate we shall achieve overall peace that will sustain the giant strides of this institution,” Bakare said.

Commenting on the matter, LASU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN), said that the former ASUU-LASU executives were dismissed from the service of LASU in accordance with the university regulations guiding the conduct of staff and in line with global best practices.

“The dismissed staff  were; Dr Akinloye Oyewunmi, Dr Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, Dr Tony Dansu and Dr Adebisi Aboderin-Shonibare and their dismissal from Lagos State University subsists.

“The legality of the newly elected executed members of ASUU-LASU is valid,” Fagbohun said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi


COVID-19 cases in Philippines surge to 18,638 with 552 newly reported cases




The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 18,638 after Department of Health (DOH) reported 552 more infections on Monday.

The DOH said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 3,979 after 70 more patients have survived the disease. The death toll also increased to 960 after three more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.

According to the DOH, 231 of the daily reported cases were in Metro Manila, 99 cases in the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines and 202 cases were reported in other parts of the country.

The DOH added that 20 overseas Filipinos workers repatriated by the government have also tested positive for the virus.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH has yet to validate around 6,800 results.


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Feature: Newly-weds tie knot without wedding parties in Syria




“I had been dreaming about my wedding day for two years, but this dream remains a dream,” said Rama whose wedding party was limited to a small family gathering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like all other brides, Rama couldn’t have her dream wedding as all wedding halls in Syria were closed as part of the government instructions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This case applies to all Syrian areas, but in Sweida province in southern Syria, the impact on wedding parties was bigger as the tradition of the people there is to have a three-day wedding with several activities done by the bride and the groom as well as their families. But now, everything has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had been planning our wedding for several months and we wanted it to be a big wedding attended by all our friends and family members, but now we can’t have the day we envisioned,” said the bride.

Rama and her groom held a small gathering at the house of her father-in-law. Xinhua reporter in Sweida attended the small party but didn’t witness any form of traditional celebration as people maintained social distancing.

Roa Sobeh, another 26-year-old bride, had two choices; either to postpone her wedding for another year or to get married in these circumstances.

She finally settled to have her wedding now than to push it back another year.

“I decided to have my wedding sooner and I think I can make another party when the situation gets better,” the new bride told Xinhua, adding that safety is more important.

Her husband, Khaled, 31, told Xinhua that most weddings in Sweida have been either canceled, postponed, or done on a low scale.

He also pointed out that some of the newly-weds found in the current situation a chance to get married without additional fees as doing the wedding on a lower scale doesn’t cost much.

“Everything is expensive these days, and maybe this is an opportunity for people to get married without worrying about the high cost of weddings nowadays,” he said.

In Sweida, which is largely inhabited by the Druze minority in Syria, the clergymen of the Druze minority also empathized the government’s instructions to maintain social distancing and shut down wedding halls.

Sheikh Hamoud Hinnawi, a revered Druze sheikh, told Xinhua that the people in Sweida have largely abided by the social distancing and minimizing the wedding parties as a result of the COVID-19 infections.

A total of 122 COVID-19 infections have been reported in Syria, including 41 recoveries and four deaths.


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COVID-19 cases in Philippines surge past 18,000 with 862 newly reported cases




The number of the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 18,086 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 862 more infections on Sunday night.

The DOH said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 3,909 after 101 more patients have survived the disease. The death toll also increased to 957 after seven more patients have succumbed to the viral disease.

According to the DOH, 244 of the reported cases were in Metro Manila, 81 cases in the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines and 302 cases were reported in other parts of the country.

The DOH added that 235 overseas Filipinos workers repatriated by the government have also tested positive for the virus.

The government has repatriated more than 25,000 overseas Filipinos workers displaced by the global pandemic.

The Philippines, which has been under quarantine since mid-March, will gradually loosen lockdown restrictions in the capital Manila and some parts of the country on Monday to restart the economy crippled by the pandemic.

“As more sectors and industries begin to operate, let us continue cooperating with authorities in enforcing quarantine protocols,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque stressed the need to stay at home, to wear face masks when outside and avoid crowd to break the chain of transmission of the deadly virus.


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COVID-19 cases in Philippines surpass 16,000 with over 1,000 newly-reported cases




The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines on Friday reached 16,634, after the health authorities reported 1,046 more cases in the country.

The Department of Health (DOH) said in a daily bulletin that, of these, 46 are newly validated cases while 1,000 are delayed cases.

According to the DOH, the number of recoveries further climbed to 3,720 after 122 more patients have survived the disease. The death toll also increased to 942 after 21 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night said that quarantine restrictions will be eased in Metro Manila and several provinces in the country starting from Monday (June 1) amid a steady increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.


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Science & Technology

NBC urges newly licenced television outfit to abide by broadcasting codes



The Acting Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Prof. Amstrong Idachaba, has urged operators of the newly-licenced free television station to abide by the nation’s broadcasting codes.
Idachaba spoke on Friday when the management of the station known as ‘Our TV’ paid him a courtesy visit and formally presented the station’s set-up box to the commission in Abuja.
He said broadcasting in Nigeria came with responsibilities of abiding by the broadcasting code and carrying contents that were devoid of divisive tendencies.
Idachaba thanked management of ‘Our Tv’ for demonstrating uncommon commitment to the promotion of local content in Nigeria.
He assured the station of the support and cooperation of NBC management in making sure it succeeded.
He encouraged the organ to be focused and dedicated in the promotion of unity among Nigerians and to ensure that they represented Nigeria well at the global stage.
‘‘We commend you for your continued commitment to the broadcast industry. I am quite sure you have invested your resources, time and energy in promoting broadcasting in Nigeria.
‘‘We are glad that part of what you are putting up is largely indigenous, production line for set-up boxes. I take cognisance of the fact that you are already creating jobs for the Nigerian youth.
‘‘Be sure that whatever contents you carry must promote image of Nigeria, culture and conditions. You must bring Nigerians together; you must not bring hate or divisiveness.
“We hope you become good ambassadors representing us at international hub.
“When you do that I can assure you that the current management of NBC and even in the future will give you all the support that you require,” Idachaba said.
Earlier, Mr Onochie Amasiani, the Managing Director, Trefoil Networks, Owners of Our TV, said they were at the commission to formally inform the management about the station and present the set-up box to the commission.
Amasiani solicited for NBC’s support and promised to partner the commission to meet with the company’s corporate social responsibilities as guided by the enabling Act and regulations.
He described ‘OurTv’ as an expression of local content, adding that the TV was fully integrated in Nigeria by Nigerians, transmitted on the Nigerian satellite Nigcomsat1R, received by set-up box made in Nigeria, and managed by a Nigerian company.
‘‘We are here to present the baby that NBC licenced to us a couple of years back and to inform the commission that it is alive and kicking and healthy and ready to go.
‘‘We are the pioneer users of NigComSat because we believe in Nigeria and confident that this has come to stay.
“The local content and progress made so far has reinforced our belief that this is the way to go,” Amasiani added.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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People transport newly-picked durians in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand




A man transports newly-picked durians in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand, May 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

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Oil & Gas

NNPC tasks newly-recruited graduate trainees on commitment



Malam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has urged the organisation’s newly recruited graduate trainees to be  committed to their duties.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC,  Dr Kennie Obateru, made this known in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.

He said that Kyari, through a virtual platform session with the new employees in Abuja, as part of their onboarding programme, advised them to go the extra mile in achieving extraordinary results for the NNPC.

“This is a company you will love to work for. But more than that, you will stay here and build a very fulfilling career.

”I have been around here for 29 years, and I have enjoyed every moment of it,” Kyari said.

The managing director  said that  it was also imperative for the new staff to work harmoniously with old ones in making the corporation become the National Oil Company (NOC) of choice.

He enjoined the graduate trainees to come up with ideas that would assist NNPC in crude oil exploration, refining, marketing, supplying and distribution of petroleum products.

Kyari, who described the trainees as excellent minds that represented the corporation’s future,also assured them of top management support, adding that the NNPC had always promoted gender equality.

“From top down of the corporation, gender inclusiveness is reflected”, he said.

Kyari said that it was important for them to always to uphold the  corporation’s values of respect for the individual, integrity, transparency, accountability and professional excellence.

He said that the corporation was committed to creating the right environment for the new entrants’ career growth and development.

According to the statement, one of the trainees, Safula Karanga from Gombe State, in response, commended Kyari for his good  leadership stlye that was also reflected in the recruitment process.

Karanga also thanked the NNPC Chief for the corporation’s medical interventions to the 36 states of the Federation in the fight against COVID-19 transmission.

Another entrant, Oluwatobi Ayo Yusuf, from Lagos State, according to the statement, thanked the NNPC for the vision of providing a level playing field for all the participants in the recruitment process.

Yusuf said that the recruitment process was the most transparent exercise that he had ever participated in Nigeria.

Similarly, Onianwa Vin-Kingsley, is quoted as saying that the recruitment was remarkable, urging  other public and private organisations to emulate the NNPC in their recruitment processes.

Another trainee, Onyeulo Ikenna, a first-class graduate of Chemical Engineering, is quoted as saying  that he was happy for  the employment without knowing any godfather.

Enyi Ada, from Rivers State, according to the statement,  also said that her  NNPC  recruitment experience had  removed her earlier fear  that the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt the recruitment.

“We are a special people who have been onboarded at a challenging time like this,” she said.

Bolarinwa Simeon, a civil engineer, also said that the  recruitment process was transparent and credible from the computer-based test interview.

Suleiman Mahmud, on his part, is quoted as describing the appointment as miraculous, because he  applied on the last day of the submission of application.

Edited By: Victor Asije/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Financial conditions worsen dramatically for newly-unemployed Americans amid COVID-19 outbreak: Fed report




Financial conditions worsened dramatically for people who experienced job loss or reduced hours in March as COVID-19 swept across the United States, according to a report released Thursday by the Federal Reserve Board.

In April, fewer adults reported that they were at least doing okay financially six months earlier, said the latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.

A smaller supplemental survey showed that 43 percent of adults were “doing okay” financially, and 29 percent were “living comfortably,” down from 75 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the fall of 2019.

“The survey data show that early in the public health crisis, a larger fraction of Americans were facing financial hardship than in the fall of 2019,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle W. Bowman.

The declines in self-reported financial well-being were concentrated on those who lost a job or had their work hours cut, the report showed.

Among adults not experiencing a job loss or reduction in hours, 76 percent were at least okay financially in April.

Among those who experienced a job loss or hours reduction, however, 51 percent indicated that they were doing at least okay financially in April, whereas 48 percent were “finding it difficult to get by” or “just getting by.”

Some 19 percent of all adults reported either losing a job or experiencing a reduction in work hours in March, the report showed, while noting that some people took on new or additional employment in the month.

Nine in 10 people who were furloughed or lost a job said that their employer indicated that they would return to their job at some point, according to the report.

However, in general, people were not told specifically when to expect to return to work.

The report also showed that consistent with the employment declines in March, many people have experienced income declines. Twenty-three percent of all adults, and 70 percent of those who lost a job or had their hours reduced, said their income in March was lower than in February.

The survey was released one day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the COVID-19 crisis raises “long-term concerns,” and warned that a prolonged recession and weak recovery could lead to an extended period of low productivity growth and stagnant incomes.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported a staggering 20.5-million job loss in April, which erased a decade of job gains since the global financial crisis and pushed the unemployment rate to a record 14.7 percent.

Powell said the COVID-19-induced job crisis has disproportionately weighed on lower-income households and families.

Teasing data from the survey, he said among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than 40,000 dollars a year lost a job in March.

“This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words, as lives are upended amid great uncertainty about the future,” Powell said, adding that he expects unemployment to peak next month.


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In pics: view of newly remodeled Omonia Square in Athens, Greece




A visitor poses for photos at the newly remodeled Omonia Square, a historic landmark in Athens, Greece, on May 14, 2020. The new face of Omonia Square, featuring a big illuminated fountain, was unveiled on Thursday by Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis. (Photo by Lefteris Partsalis/Xinhua)

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