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Old Students Association donates sports equipment to school in Kwara



The old students association of Government Secondary School (GSS) Ilorin has donated some sports equipment to the school as part of efforts aimed at reviving sports activities in

the school.

At the equipment’s presentation/commissioning on Wednesday at the school premises, the school’s 1985 set led by Mohammed Akanbi presented equipment for six sports.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the equipment are those for basketball, cricket, scrabble, badminton, tennis and volleyball.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Wale Obalola, a member of the association, said the 1985 class deemed it fit to make the presentation to complement the school’s already-constructed facilities.

He added that the effort was also aimed at keeping the school, particularly the students, relevant in sports in the state and the country at large.

“The class of 85 came together and brainstormed on how to ensure the school continues to thrive in sports. So, we decided to purchase these equipment to complement the facilities on ground.

“We also realised that at the end of the examinations in the school, the students usually have little or nothing to do.

“But with these facilities and equipment on ground, the students will be fully engaged, instead of roaming around,’’ Obalola, who is also who also manager of the Kwara Sports Stadium Complex in Ilorin, said.

Reacting to the gesture, Tiamiyu Bashir, the school’s Acting Principal of GSS, described it as a remarkable feat.

“We have now readjusted the school’s academic system and programme to accommodate sports activities.’’

He assured that the school would make a massive and good use of the facilities and equipment to keep the students active in sports.

NAN reports that several staff of the school and members of the old students association were present at the occasion, alongside officials from Kwara’s Ministry of Sports.(NAN)


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


Institute urges NPA to include stakeholders in review of concession agreement



The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT Nigeria) on Saturday urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to include stakeholders in the review of the port concession agreement.

The President of the institute, Mr Ibrahim Jibril, made the appeal on an Instagram Live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunnah of the MaritimeTvNews.

The programme was themed,” Supply Chain Management: Domesticating Best Models for Port Efficiency”.

According to him, for any port to be efficient, it must meet the expectations of its users and in that regard, that expectation must be competitive.

“It is obvious that in recent years, we have entered into some models which are expected to improve the efficiency of our ports as component of the supply chain. The activities at the ports must be in sequence with the life cycle of any cargo in transit.

“That model is the port concession arrangement we entered over a decade ago and the essence was to bring private hands in and take away cargo handling from the NPA.

“NPA is still in the process of reviewing that concession agreement; it has not been concluded.

“The only observation is that they have not taken on board other stakeholders who can bring in other ideas to have a near perfect agreement.

“This was the mistake they made at the initial agreement and as they are about reviewing the agreement, it is expected that they will include other stakeholders to draw up the agreement to forestall some of the challenges hindering efficiency at the ports,” he said.

He noted that unfortunately, the agreement did not take into consideration the social repercussion of the concession itself as it would have included port access in that agreement.

“If we had tinkered with it then, this problem would have been solved by now,’’ Jibril added.

The institute’s boss said that a certain radius within the two main ports would be designated port areas and there would be control of movement of vehicles and the terminal operators would be fully involved in that in conjunction with government.

“I think that the agreement was a little bit flawed in that direction and that is why we have seen that for several years after the concession.

“We keep paying severance benefits to port workers who at times became disenchanted and stopped work and this introduced inefficiency in the way we had handled cargo at the seaports,” he said.

Jibril noted that after a decade and evaluating the situation at the port, he could quite say that some of the ports had been quite efficient but that was not to say that we had achieved what we wanted at the port.

He said that there were certainly some fundamental constraints and the first issue was that most of the seaports were like river ports, saying that they could not attract large vessels because of their shallow channels.

He listed other challenges as piracy, saying that they were hoping that with the Deep Blue Project that government had embarked upon, it could see to the near end of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The CILT Nigeria boss said that NPA had introduced a few measures to improve the efficiency of port operations such as the Vessel Tracking System, which was supposed to give the country a port domain awareness of all vessels that were coming in to berth.

He pointed out that NPA was seriously working on a single window platform so that importers would have one portal to contend with and also creating holding bays to reduce congestion on the bridges and road access to the ports.

Jibril said that for ports operations efficiency, there was need to integrate all the four modes of transportation to the ports, noting that this could be achieved through the implementation of the National Transport Policy.

“The best thing that will happen to Nigeria is if we can achieve intermodal means of transportation. We need to have a plan which can be achieved from the National Transport Master Plan got from the National Transport Policy.

“Government decided to focus on the rail because this is the mode that moves the largest quantity of goods across the nation cheaper and safer.

“There is also the need for private sector involvement in the railway construction so as to open doors for more efficient railway transport mode in the country,” he said.

He also called for the regulation of pricing in the transportation industry and also for other services at the ports, saying that multiplicity of charges would not bring about efficiency in the system.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Tanzania to hold major annual trade fair




Tanzanian authorities said on Saturday the 44th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) will be held from July 1 to 13 with all COVID-19 precautions in place.

A statement by the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued in the capital Dodoma said the DITF held annually at the J. K. Nyerere grounds in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam will observe all guidelines issued by health authorities to protect exhibitors and visitors against COVID-19.

Themed Industrial Economy for Employment and Sustainable Trade, the 44th DITF will introduce business-to-business virtual meetings to avoid mass gatherings, said the statement.

Visitors and exhibitors to the 44th DITF can also access the trade fair through live streaming and virtual exhibition, added the statement.

Products to be exhibited at the trade fair include food and beverages, textiles, garments and yarns, manufacturing equipment and building materials.

Others are automobiles, electrical articles, chemicals and cosmetics, timber and furniture, engineering products, machinery, information technology and agricultural products.


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Zambia FM holds virtual meeting with UN Special envoy for Great Lakes Region




Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji held a virtual meeting on Friday with the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region Xia Huang, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Malanji told the special envoy that Zambia was committed to the implementation of the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region.

Zambia, which was currently hosting over 20,000 DRC refugees, is eager to promote lasting peace, security and political stability in the region, according to a release from the foreign ministry.

According to him, the persisting political, security and humanitarian challenges in the Great Lakes Region had affected the implementation of the peace agreement.

He informed the special envoy that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect the implementation of the peace agreement framework because it had led governments in the region to shift their priorities.

On his part, the UN special envoy assured the Zambian minister of his continued availability to work closely with countries in the region on the peace and security agenda and on key issues linked to regional integration, sustainable and economic development.

Xia said the UN Peace Building Commission was expected to convene a meeting next week where he would seize the opportunity to mobilize international support for the Great Lakes Region.

The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the region was signed in 2013 and it seeks to address the underlying causes of humanitarian crises, political instability and underdevelopment in the Great Lakes Region.


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108-year-old Italian woman in nursing home recovers from COVID-19



Fatima Negrini, a 108-year-old woman from northern Italy, has joined the ranks of the very few centenarians who have recovered from COVID-19.

“God forgot about me,” Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera quoted Negrini as saying in its Saturday edition, reporting that the woman turned 108 on Wednesday.

The paper published a picture of the wheelchair-bound Negrini in front of a chocolate and cream cake, flanked by a carer with a giant heart-shaped birthday card.

The card said, “Fatima 108 We Love You!!! S. Faustino.”

Negrini has been a resident for many years of the Anni Azzurri San Faustino nursing home in Milan, a spokesman for the facility told dpa.

She caught the novel coronavirus in April and tested negative in mid-May, and was “always” an asymptomatic COVID-19 patient, he added.

According to Corriere, Negrini has three sons aged 89, 88, and 78, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Italy is one of the countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus, and the impact of the pandemic has been particularly hard on nursing homes in Milan’s Lombardy region.

On Friday, the Italian Civil Protection agency reported 33,774 fatalities, the world’s fourth-highest death toll after the United States, Britain, and Brazil.

In Negrini’s nursing home, several residents died. “Fatima hasn’t realized yet who is no longer around,” Laura Catena, the assistant in the birthday picture, told Corriere.

The San Faustino facility is part of the KOS group, an Italian private healthcare operator which last year bought German nursing home group Charleston.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Ole! La Liga fires up again after old foes unite



After an almighty push by all parties concerned, Spain’s La Liga roars back into action next week after a three-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with matches taking place every day and with everything to play for.

The season resumes on Wednesday in bizarre circumstances with the second half of a Segunda Division match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete that was abandoned in December due to offensive chanting.

The (re)starting gun will be properly fired with Thursday’s derby between Sevilla and Real Betis, while champions Barcelona play their first game on Saturday away to Real Mallorca, with title rivals Real Madrid hosting Eibar on Sunday.

All matches will be played without spectators for safety reasons, although broadcasters plan to replicate crowd noise for television viewers, which will include a minute of applause for Spain’s more-than 27,000 COVID-19 victims.

While clubs such as Eibar and Racing Santander expressed their disquiet about returning and a Cadiz player at first refused to turn up for training, Spain has been largely united by a desire for football to return to lift the mood in one of the worst-affected countries in the world by the virus.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has led the campaign to get the season back on track, warning early on that not completing the campaign could lead to a collective loss of one billion euros ($1.13 billion) in forfeited broadcast revenues and prize money.

Old wounds between Tebas and federation president Luis Rubiales resurfaced in the early stages of negotiations.

But after an eight-hour meeting organised by junior sports minister Irene Lozano in April, they finally pledged to work together to ensure the season was completed.

“How we act in this pandemic and the measures we take will determine how the world looks in the next few years and they were conscious of that and their need to co-operate,” said Lozano of the unlikely meeting of minds.

As part of the commitment, La Liga increased its funding to the ministry and federation, while the latter lifted a ban on matches on Mondays and Fridays, paving the way for matches on every day of the week.

Spain’s footballers have welcomed the return of the season, although they concede it will not be the same without the supporters.

“It’s going to be a very strange sensation. Football is all about the fans,” said Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente.

Spain coach Luis Enrique went further: “Playing matches without supporters is sadder than dancing with your sister,” he said.

“But we have to understand this is a global business and even though the spectacle will be very different, it can help us pass the time and get through this moment.”

Barcelona led the table by two points over Real when the season was paused in March and the two rivals are braced for one of the tightest title races in recent memory.

The fight for Champions League football is even closer, with five teams vying for third and fourth place.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (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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Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra holds first concert after COVID-19 lockdown




The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the golden hall of Vienna’s Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, on June 5, 2020. The first concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was held on Friday after a COVID-19 lockdown at Vienna’s Musikverein. Only 100 guests are allowed in the concert hall because of government regulations. (Photo by Dieter Nagl/Xinhua)


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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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Biden crosses threshold to clinch Democratic presidential nomination




Former United States Vice President Joe Biden on Friday crossed the threshold for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to an estimate by the Associated Press (AP), locking up a contest for the White House with incumbent President Donald Trump.

The AP projected that Biden, now the sole remaining presidential candidate in the Democratic Party, has won 1,993 delegates to the national convention, surpassing the benchmark number of 1,991 needed for nomination.

The estimate came as Biden swept through primaries in seven states and the District of Columbia Tuesday. Although the votes were still being counted, Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who suspended his presidential campaign in April but remained on the ballot, failed to reach the 15-percent threshold, handing more delegates to Biden.

“It was an honor to compete alongside one of the most talented groups of candidates the Democratic party has ever fielded — and I am proud to say that we are going into this general election a united party,” Biden said in a statement Friday night.

This year’s presidential election comes at a time when the United States is plagued by the coronavirus pandemic that has frozen the national economy, and, more recently, when nationwide protests against racial injustice have persisted for over a week following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the custody of white police in Minneapolis.

“The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together,” Biden said.


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