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Defence/Security

Over 800 police personnel participate in fitness exercise in Enugu

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No fewer than 802 police officers drawn from squads, departments and divisions of Enugu State Police Command took part in a fitness exercise in Enugu metropolis on Saturday.

Speaking to NAN after the exercise, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Suleiman Balarabe, said that the police would continue to use sports to create partnership with sister security agencies.

Balarabe, who was represented by the Command’s Sports Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, said that the exercise had been veritable opportunity for personnel of various security agencies to interact and understand each other.

He noted that the synergy among security agencies had been able to bring crime to its barest minimum in the state as well as “made Enugu State the safest in the country.”

According to him, we are currently partnering at security duty levels, where we are already doing joint patrols.

“The Nigeria Police will also make sure that apart from this monthly exercise session, sister security agencies will be carried along in other sports and social functions of the command,” he said.

Speaking, one of the participant, Mr Justin Agu, said that the exercise had helped to improve relationship between the police and other security agencies, especially the NSCDC in the state.

Agu, who is a Superintendent, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), said, “it is better we work in synergy to easily achieve our common purpose, which is to ensure the protection of lives and property.”

NAN reports that the exercise started at the police command headquarters with warm-up exercises.

The participants then turned at CIC Road and later terminated at their starting point, which is the police command headquarters, for warm-down exercises.

 

Stanley Nwanosike: 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

Health

Africa’s COVID-19 cases now over 115,000 – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday reported that coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Africa as at May 26, had risen to over 115, 000.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, gave the update on its official twitter handle @WHOAFRO.

“There are over 115,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 46,000 recoveries and 3,400 deaths,” it said.

The figures showed that South Africa, Algeria and Nigeria had the highest reported cases in Africa.

According to the report, South Africa had 23,615 cases and 418 deaths followed by Algeria with 8,503 cases and 609 deaths, while Nigeria had 8,068 confirmed cases and 233 deaths.

It stated that Ghana had 6,808 reported cases and 32 deaths, while Cameroon recorded 4, 890 confirmed cases and 165 deaths.

The report said Lesotho, Seychelles and Namibia were countries currently with the lowest confirmed cases in the region.

It said Lesotho had only two confirmed cases with zero death; Seychelles had 11 reported cases and zero death, while Namibia recorded 21 confirmed cases with no death.

Meanwhile, as at May 25, the novel coronavirus had infected more than 5.4 million people and killed over 344,000 worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Economy

Oil prices: NECA urges aggressive policies to sustain economic recovery

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), has urged fiscal and monetary authorities to develop more aggressive and decisive policies to sustain economic recovery in the wake of further reduction in oil prices.

The Director-General of NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, who made the call on Tuesday in Lagos said, “in our analysis of the country’s economy, we observed a strong correlation between global oil prices (brent) and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between Q1 2014 and Q1 2020.

“This indicates that the direction of growth is pretty much determined by the direction of oil prices, it can be adduced that a dollar increase in global oil prices corresponds with average 0.1 per cent rise in growth.

“A similar trend was witnessed in Q2 2017, when the country exited from recession, it was not buoyed by government policies, but rather rebound in oil prices.

“This calls for a more drastic management of the country’s economy from the global shock of oil prices.”

The director-general noted that the slowdown in the GDP growth reflected the earliest effects of the disruptions on non-oil economy, coupled with an escalating war of words between the U.S. and China which resulted to low demand in global oil.

He said that the lockdown of the country’s economy commenced in April due to the pandemic, and therefore, the real impact of COVID-19 on the economy would be felt in the Q2 GDP result.

“We anticipate contraction in the second quarter, as the economy witnessed a six week’s lockdown on the commercial nerves of the country, and similar trend witnessed in global economy.”

However, China was an exception with consumption of fuel due to opening of industrial hubs and transportation could portend mild positive growth pattern due to demand for crude oil,” he said.

Olawale said that a more coordinated stimulus packages targeted at the worst-hit sectors of the economy would sustain the economy from experiencing contraction of 8.9 per cent as predicted.

“Creating enabling environment for the non-oil economy to be the major contributor to the revenue profile will salvage the economy from external shocks.”

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ese E. (NAN)  Ekama

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Foreign

Over 170 Mongolian nationals return home from Russia amid COVID-19

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A total of 171 Mongolian nationals returned home from Russia on a chartered flight on Tuesday, according to Mongolia’s State Emergency Commission.

The people will be isolated at designated facilities for 21 days, the commission said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, a total of 1,248 people are under treatment or in isolation at designated facilities across the country, it said.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the country has evacuated around 10,000 nationals on chartered flights, buses or trains from COVID-19-hit countries, according to the commission.

“Our country will evacuate more than 590 nationals from Russia on trains via Altanbulag border point in the coming days,” Lkhanaajav Munkhtushig, director general of the consular department at the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference.

So far, Mongolia has confirmed 141 COVID-19 imported cases, including four foreign nationals.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Ukraine reports 339 new cases, total over 21,500

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Ukraine added 339 new COVID-19 patients in the past 24 hours, with a total of 21,584 cases, 644 deaths and 7,575 recoveries as of Tuesday, the country’s health ministry said.

Since the epidemic started in Ukraine, 1,581 children and 4,183 health workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The number of recoveries from coronavirus exceeded the number of new cases registered in the past 24 hours in 14 out of 24 regions of Ukraine, according to the data published on the website of the Coronavirus Epidemic Monitoring System of the National Security and Defense Council.

On May 20, the Ukrainian government introduced adaptive quarantine starting from May 22 till June 22.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Backgrounder: Steps in U.S. national security legislation over the decades

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Countries across the globe, including the United States, make every effort to safeguard national security and ensure the fundamental basis for their stability and development.

The United States has in recent decades taken a series of steps to strengthen national security through legislation and law enforcement.

The National Security Act of 1947 provides a legal basis for the U.S. government to craft foreign policy and establish military organizations, and has been a constant source of strengthening America’s national security over the years.

The National Security Council (NSC) is among the institutions that presidents use to handle long-term problems and more immediate national security crises. The NSC includes the president, vice president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

For instance, then President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the NSC meetings to make key foreign policy decisions, while John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson preferred to work more informally through trusted associates.

To achieve the act’s stated goal of providing a comprehensive program for future national security, the former Department of War and the Navy Department merged into the Department of Defense, which also includes the Departments of the Army and Air Force.

As it also serves to coordinate national security with the intelligence community and its many capabilities, the legislation created the CIA, the government’s primary civilian intelligence-gathering organization, and established the position of director of central intelligence (DCI).

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the director of national intelligence (DNI), a U.S. government cabinet-level official, to replace the DCI as head of the 17-member U.S. Intelligence Community.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Congress greenlighted the Patriot Act, which covers Section 215, one of the most controversial programs for domestic and international surveillance.

The section, officially called the “business records” provision, authorized the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) bulk collection of telephone metadata – information that includes who called whom when, but not what was said.

In June 2015, then President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, which includes a new surveillance program aimed at ending more than a decade of bulk collection of telephone records by the NSA.

But it makes records already held by telephone companies available for broad searches by government officials with a court order.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Iran allows reopening of restaurants, cafes after 2 months of closure over COVID-19

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Restaurants and cafes reopened in Iran on Tuesday after over two months of closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mohsen Farhadi, an Iranian deputy health minister, on Tuesday said that all the restaurants will restart their activities observing certain health protocols.

Besides, the cafes will begin their services without offering tobacco, said Farhadi in a video press conference. The use of Hukka is very popular in the Iranian tea houses and cafes.

Iran has gradually eased restrictions on economy and cultural activities since early April. The country suspended economic, sports and cultural activities since early March following the reports of first COVID-19 cases on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Rainbow appears in sky over village following heavy rain in Yemen

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A rainbow appears in the sky over a village following heavy rain in Dhamar province, Yemen, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

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Foreign

Mongolia reports 4 new recoveries from COVID-19

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Mongolia reported four COVID-19 recoveries, with the total recoveries in the country standing at 37, the country’s National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) on Tuesday.

The NCCD conducted 193 tests for COVID-19 on Monday and the results were all negative.

As of Tuesday, Mongolia has confirmed 141 COVID-19 infections, including four foreign nationals.

All the confirmed cases were imported, mostly from Russia.

There have been no local transmissions or deaths reported in Mongolia so far.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Eid-el-Fitr: CAN lauds Muslims over compliance with govt COVID-19 directives

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The Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), Oyo State Chapter, has commended Muslims in the state for complying with government directives on Eid-el-Fitr celebration amidst COVID-19.

This is contained in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Benjamin Akanmu, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan.

Akanmu felicitated with Muslims on the successful completion of the 30 days fasting, commending them for observing Eid-el-Fitr prayer in their various homes in compliance with government directives.

“On behalf of the entire Christians in Oyo State, I congratulate all Muslims throughout the world, particularly those in Oyo State on the Eid-el- Fitr celebration.

“I pray God Almighty to accept all our prayers and grant everyone more grace to witness more of it in good health,” Akanmu prayed.

He described as high commendable their obedience to the directives on public gathering which signified the humility in Yoruba culture.

“We as religious leaders should also not forget to continue to lead by example. Moreso, we are directed by God to honour and obey the laws of the land as well as those in authority,” he said.

The CAN chairman admonished all to be patient with the government and support every effort put in place to drive COVID-19 out of Nigeria.

Akanmu also urged Muslims to always apply the lesson learnt during the holy month of Ramadan to every aspect of their lives and relationship with other people.

Besides, he called on Muslims and adherents of other religions to live in love, peace and harmony with one another.

The CAN chairman stressed the need for both Muslims and Christians to comply with the restriction orders as well as other guidelines reeled out by government and experts.

“With collective efforts of all we can kick the stubborn virus out of Nigeria.

“We must not relent in contributing to the religious harmony enjoyed in the state while also praying for the nation.

”I will love to implore you all to continue to pray for our state and Nigeria as a nation to ensure that the country survive the hardship ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he urged.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

S.Korea begins “no mask, no ride” policy on buses, taxies over COVID-19

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South Korea began the so-called “no mask, no ride” policy on buses and taxes on Tuesday to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 while using public transportation.

Beginning Tuesday, taxi and bus drivers will be allowed to limit or refuse the ride of passengers who do not wear face masks. Drivers will be required to put on masks when passengers are on board.

Amid emerging worry about the COVID-19 infection while using public transportation, the health authorities allowed drivers to temporarily refuse passengers without masks.

As of Sunday, nine bus drivers and 12 tax drivers had been confirmed positive for the COVID-19.

By law, public transit drivers of bus, taxi and railway are banned from refusing passengers without proper reasons.

As the local law provides no legal grounds, the authorities cannot take administrative penalty on passengers without masks, so the authorities eased rules to allow drivers to refuse the passengers.

Meanwhile, subway passengers will be strongly advised to wear face masks while on board beginning on Tuesday.

The subway staff will encourage passengers to put on masks directly or via the subway announcement as it is not possible for check all the passengers.

From Wednesday, all passengers on domestic and international flights will be required to wear masks while aboard. Some of the domestic airlines have forced passengers to put on masks.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Rwandan scientists conducting research on immunity of recovered COVID-19 patients

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Scientists in Rwanda are carrying out research aimed at finding out whether people who recovered from the COVID-19 in the country got specific antibodies to the virus, an official said Monday.

“There is ongoing research to find out whether recovered patients got immunity to the virus, which can help in developing treatment,” Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, said in a news program.

Initial tests revealed that some antibodies appear immediately and some are delayed, while other people do not have the antibodies but remain healthy without the virus, he said, adding that health personnel will continue to follow up on recovered patients.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rwanda reached 336 as of Monday, with zero death and 238 recoveries.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Historic planes fly over southern California to commemorate U.S. Memorial Day

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Historic planes flew over southern California Monday to salute veterans and frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers on U.S. Memorial Day.

A total of 18 World War II-era planes performed the flyover from noon in Riverside County and soared over national cemeteries, memorial parks, hospitals, medical centers, airports and the USS Iowa Museum in Riverside County, Orange County and Los Angeles County.

The salute was organized by the Commemorative Air Force Inland Empire Wing Operations, a non-profit and all-volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of military aircraft.

A C-53D Skytrooper transport plane, manufactured in 1943 in California, participated in the D-Day invasion in 1944, and known as the “D-Day Doll” nowadays, led the formation joined by C-47 Skytrain transport aircrafts, T-6 Texans trainer aircraft and P-51 Mustang fighters on the 90-minute “Thank You” tour.

Some U.S. veterans were invited to attend as special guests of honor for the flight, said the organizer in a Facebook post.

Several flyovers have been conducted to honor southern Californian frontline workers in the past few weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds demonstration team’s formation flights over Los Angeles and San Diego on May 15.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Aussie police arrest pair over 400kg of meth stashed in hot sauce shipment

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Australian police have arrested two men and seized large amounts of cash in relation to a shipment of 800 bottles of sriracha hot sauce used to smuggle roughly 400 kg of methylamphetamine into the country.

Police revealed on Tuesday that two men, aged 50 and 21, had been arrested during which detectives seized over half a million Australian dollars (367,528 U.S. dollars) in cash.

The shipment of hot sauce was intercepted in October 2019, with officers seizing the drugs, worth an eye-watering 300 million Australian dollars (196.8 million U.S. dollars).

At the time, five other men were also arrested and charged in relation to the crime, whose cases remain before the courts.

Following further investigations police swooped on two others on Friday, arresting the 21-year-old during a vehicle stop and the 50-year-old soon after.

During a subsequent search of the older man’s vehicle, police seized a money counting machine, a mobile phone and cash, including 63,000 Australian dollars, 1000 euros and 1000 U.S. dollars.

Investigators also located a further half a million Australian dollars (367,528 U.S. dollars) in cash inside a cooler bag in the boot of the vehicle.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Buhari celebrates Kwara Governor’s mother at 90

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Alhaji A. G. F. AbdulRazak and his son AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, the incumbent Governor of Kwara on the occasion of the Governor’s mother’s 90th birthday.

The mother of the Governor and wife of the first lawyer in northern Nigeria, Alhaja Raliat Amope AbdulRazaq, a philanthropist and founder of the Raliat Foundation, will be 90 on Tuesday.

In a congratulatory message released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Monday, President Buhari commended the celebrant for ”bringing happiness and joy to so many people within and around her community”.

He prayed to Allah to grant her many years of service to the family, her community and the nation.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa agrees on bailout with German government

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The German Government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, both sides announced on Monday.

The deal, which provides for aid and equity measures worth nine billion euros ($9.8 billion), is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The German government said that Lufthansa had been profitable before the pandemic, but is now facing the biggest financial crisis in its history.

The pandemic has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes.

At one point, the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

The stabilisation package takes into account the needs of the company, as well as the needs of taxpayers and its employees.

The status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo, was a major factor in talks.

The German economic stabilisation fund, set up by the government during the coronavirus crisis to be able to acquire stakes in important companies in an emergency, approved the deal earlier on Monday.

Lufthansa’s executive board also approved the deal.

As part of the bailout, the government would receive a 20-per-cent stake in the company.

Some of the conditions, Berlin has set before it will take part, include more stringent environmental protections.

The stabilisation fund will also make a silent capital contribution of up to 5.7 billion euros in Lufthansa’s assets.

The interest rate is planned to increase from an initial four per cent to 9.5 per cent.

A loan of up to three billion euros is also planned with the participation of the state-owned KfW bank and private banks with a term of three years.

According to the announcements, conditions will include a waiver of future dividend payments and two supervisory board seats will be filled in coordination with the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government had been in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take-off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authority plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa.

Merkel is reported to have said “this will be a hard struggle’’.

Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said on Monday that a number of questions still needed to be clarified with the European Commission regarding the deal and that Berlin would “fight and work” to ensure that Lufthansa could continue to operate as before in Germany.

European Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the deal would be subject to special conditions.

However, a spokeswoman for the watchdog did point out that the rules for coronavirus aid in cases such as that of Lufthansa provide for “additional commitments to preserve effective competition’’.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: Iran reopens Muslim shrines on Eid al-Fitr after 2-month closure over COVID-19 pandemic

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The Iranian authorities on Monday allowed partial reopening of the Muslim Shiite shrines across the country after more than two months of closure over the coronavirus pandemic.

During the opening hours between an hour after dawn and an hour before dusk, the worshippers, however, were still not allowed to enter the interior covered spaces where the saints’ tombs lie, according to a statement by the health authorities.

Social distancing regulations must be obeyed, the statement noted.

In most of the shrines, the worshippers were checked for their body temperatures upon entrance and were asked to wear masks, the local media reported.

The reopening coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Muslim festival of breaking the fast at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Along with other holy shrines across the country, Imamzadeh Saleh, an imamzadeh mosque located at Tajrish Square in Tehran’s northern Tajrish district, opened early morning on Monday.

The courtyard of the shrine had already been disinfected and incoming people were asked by the attendants to use their own prayer mats and books.

“Life without spirituality has no meaning. Worship is central to our life,” said a middle-aged attendant of the shrine, standing inside the courtyard and instructing the worshippers with health directives.

Iran’s health authorities announced the closure of all shrines across the country on March 17 as the country was struggling to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Sitting on a stretched prayer mat at a quiet corner of the yard of Imamzadeh Saleh, a young man facing toward the saint’s tomb was citing verses from the holy Quran.

“Praise God for this moment, on this happy Eid. People should appreciate the change of situation,” said the young man, who only identified himself as Matin, a Persian Literature student at Iran’s Islamic Azad University.

The Iranian health ministry on Monday confirmed a total of 137,724 cases of the COVID-19 in the Islamic republic, including 7,451 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Jordan’s public, private sectors to resume work after over 2-month stoppage

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Both the public and private sectors in Jordan will resume work on Tuesday after more than two months of stoppage as part of the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, the government said Monday.

The working hours for the public sector will be from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The work stoppage in Jordan started on March 21.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian health ministry said three cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, bringing the overall number to 711.

The kingdom has so far carried out 165,109 tests for coronavirus after 1,936 were added on Monday, according to the ministry.

On April 27, China‘s State Development & Investment Corporation, a key partner of Jordan’s Arab Potash Company, donated medical supplies worth 1.2 million U.S. dollars to help Jordan fight COVID-19.

Also in April, Urumchi, capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, also donated a batch of medical equipment to Jordan’s Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.

(XINHUA)

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General news

NANNM orders members in JUTH to sit at home over alleged negligence of welfare, lack of safety

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The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) chapter, has ordered its members working at the hospital’s isolation centre to sit at home over alleged negligence of their welfare and lack of safety.

The Chairman of the chapter, Mrs Mercy Lenka, told newsmen on Monday during a protest action in Jos that the order was necessary as the members were risking their lives working under difficult and stringent conditions at the centre.

Lenka said that the nurses were risking their lives and those of their family members through their mode of interaction with the COVID-19 patients at the centre.

She stressed that the standard practice in other parts of Nigeria and the world was for special accommodation to be provided for the nurses, and not living with their families while caring for patients.

She also bemoaned the lack of a special room created for suspected cases at the hospital, saying that only a screen demarcated with clothing material was available for the suspected cases at the casualty unit.

The chairman decried the lack of incentives, insurance and hazard allowances for the nurses at the isolation centre, saying that in spite of the incidences at the hospital, the state government had not taken any action.

“Our members and other patients are at risk of getting infected with the disease at the unit.

“Particularly, we are taking this action because a patient was managed in the ward and it turned out that he became a suspected patient and the result turned out to be positive.

“All the people who nursed this patient were tested because of the exposure and then a nurse working at the centre tested positive.

“ We raised an eyebrow when we saw the temporary arrangement made by the hospital for suspected cases, which was just a cloth demarcation at the casualty unit.

“We also called the attention of the infectious unit of the hospital, but they said the patients will not be kept for up to two hours there for their samples to be taken.

“It will interest you to know that a patient has been there since Friday, while a patient was brought last night presenting classical symptoms of COVID-19, yet his samples are yet to be taken.

“This is a risk to other patients at that unit and the nurses there who do not have Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs),’’ she alleged.

The union leader said that nurses at the centre would only return to duty if they were provided with accommodation, incentives and hazard allowances, and threatened that failure to provide a special room for suspected cases awaiting results may warrant a total strike of nurses in the hospital.

“Nurses at the centre must be tested before they resume as some may be positive and still going back to put their families at risk, which is in irony of our advocacy against community transmission.

“Even if the Federal Government has not implemented the hazard provisions, the state task force should handle this matter,’’ Lenka said.

She alleged that nurses in some isolation centres in the state had been given accommodation, and wondered why it was not so for those in JUTH.

The NANNM chairman assured that if their requests were granted, the nurses would resume work immediately at the centre.

In his reaction, the Plateau Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, said he was unaware of the development, but would get details from the Chief Medical Officer of JUTH.

“We will try to look into their grievances and correct them in the interest of all and sundry,” Lar assured.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Plateau government had on May 21 announced that three health officials tested positive to COVID-19.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: CAN seeks roundtable over reopening of churches, mosques in Ogun

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The Ogun Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for a meeting between leaders of religious groups and the state government to discuss modalities for the reopening of worship centres.

The Chairman of the state chapter of CAN, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, made the call in Abeokuta on Monday.

Akin-Akinsanya said the meeting had become necessary to sustain the gains recorded by the state in its ongoing efforts at flattening the curve of the spread of the coronavirus.

The clergy’s call is coming on the heels of the planned expansion of the current phase of the eased lockdown in the state necessitated by the coronavurus pandemic.

Gov. Dapo Abiodun had on Friday, announced that the current phase of the eased lockdown would terminate on Sunday.

The governor also said that the second phase, which would commence on June 1, would be accompanied with a further ease of the lockdown and expansion of the windows of relaxation.

Akin-Akinsanya in a statement, suggested a meeting with the government to analyse the achievements and challenges posed by the pandemic in the state “with a reflection of the realities of the days going forward”.

“We appreciate the positive strides and successes of the state government, particularly during this trying period of the global pandemic.

“The Ogun chapter of the CAN profoundly appreciates the great efforts and laudable initiatives taken by our state government to combat the negative impacts of the ongoing plague.

“The technological and technical innovations deployed to date by the government have been largely responsible for the curb of the expected surge in Ogun; given that the state is Nigeria’s index case.

“The government really deserves commendation for the management of the situation in spite of sharing technically non-delineated border towns with the Lagos State which is the national epicentre of this dreaded pandemic.

“We, therefore, applaud the systematic and carefully orchestrated steps taken by our government to minimise the deleterious effects of the COVID-19.

“We also appreciate the various palliatives provided by the state government for the body of Christ and the general public at large which had undoubtedly provided succour to the masses,” he said.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Lufthansa agrees bailout with German government

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Bailout

Berlin, May 25, 202 The German government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said on Monday.

The deal, thought to be worth up to nine billion euros (9.8 billion dollars) is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

Lufthansa is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes. At one point the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

Passenger traffic ground to a virtual standstill from mid-March, though Lufthansa’s freight business has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

Government sources said the deal would be “within the framework” of a rescue plan that foresees the airline receiving a bailout totalling some nine billion euros in exchange for a 20-per-cent government-owned stake in the company.

The proposed deal was put forward by a government committee set up under legislation enacted in March establishing a fund designed to stabilise the economy.

A key point in the talks held behind closed doors in recent weeks is that a government stake of this size would not give it a majority vote capable of blocking key decisions taken by Lufthansa management.

Another major issue is the status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government was in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

Among the conditions likely to be set by competition authorities is the existence of an “exit strategy” for state involvement in the airline.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authorities plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa. Merkel is reported to have said: “This will be a hard struggle.”

EU Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the German government taking stock in Lufthansa would be subject to special conditions.

EU state aid rules enable member states to support companies affected by the outbreak, including those active in the aviation sector,” said a spokeswoman.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for any disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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