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Pan Ocean deepens Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure, completes 3 key projects



Pan Ocean deepens Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure, completes 3 key projects

Lagos, Nigeria April 29, 2019 Pan Ocean Oil Corporation (Nigeria) Ltd. says its powerline system projects will minimise vandalism and mitigate the loss of revenue to the Federal Government and oil and gas companies operating in the northern fringe of the Niger Delta.

Mr Collins Akinkugbe, its General Manager, OML 147 Asset,  said in a statement on Monday in Lagos that the pipeline was installed using Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method to ensure minimal ecological and environmental disruption during construction and operation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Pan Ocean is the contractor in OML 147 in Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Akinkugbe said those projects were set to significantly boost infrastructure in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Akinkugbe said the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline, a 67-kilometer X 20 inch, was a low-risk underground pipeline that would evacuate crude oil from Amukpe to Escravos Export Terminal.

The general manager said that the pipeline system had the capacity to deliver 160,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Akinkugbe stressed that the pipeline was installed using Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method to ensure minimal ecological and environmental disruption during construction and operation.

He that it is the longest of its kind in Africa.

“The Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Processing Plant will supply lean gas to the NIPP Power Plant located at Ihobbor, Edo State and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to households across Nigeria.

“The third project, OML 147 Early Production Facility at Owa-Alidinma is expected to process 11,000 barrels of crude oil and 90 million standard cubic feet of gas daily when fully operational.

“With the support of our joint venture, financial and technical partners, our team delivered these world-class projects safely and with the highest consideration for environmental impact,” said Akinkugbe.

He said the company was set to deliver infrastructure that would bring operators in the northern fringe of the Niger Delta closer to zero gas flare.

According to him, it will also ensure monetization and commercialisation of gas resources and stability of revenue from the location of the Amukpe-Escravos pipeline while it improves power supply and the attainment of the national gas plan.

“The three projects establish Pan Ocean as a fully integrated energy, oil and gas industry player and will enable the company serve a more diverse clientele drawn from the manufacturing industry, power sector, households and other segments of the economy.

“In particular, the full commencement of the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline positions Pan Ocean is a major player in the international oil and gas logistics business.

“The projects are relevant to the communities where they are sited as they provide a platform for socio-economic empowerment of the people and communities.

“The successful completion of these projects demonstrates Pan Ocean’s resilience in the face of diverse challenges in the operating environment.

“We persisted despite the many obstacles encountered because we believed we could deliver these projects.

“These are key growth projects, not just for Pan Ocean and the communities in which we operate, but also the Nigerian economy,” said Akinkugbe.

The projects are the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline Project (AEPP), Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Processing Plant Phases I & II and OML 147 Early Production Facility at Owa-Alidinma.


Kenyans adopt new greeting habits amid coronavirus pandemic



As COVID-19 cases take an upward trend in Kenya, reaching 2,093 on Tuesday, citizens are adopting new greeting habits, such as elbow bumps, which are helping people socialise as they maintain hygiene and keep social distance to curb the spread of the disease.

With handshakes, hugs, cheek kisses, and shoulder bumps among other forms of salutations dead, thanks to the new coronavirus pandemic, new forms of greetings considered safer are taking root in Kenya, both in official and informal circles.

One such a greeting that is taking the east African nation by storm is elbow bump as citizens consider it much safer.

From the old to the young, men and women, elbow bumps have now become the official greetings of Kenyans both in formal and informal settings like homes.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto cemented the greeting in Kenya’s formal circles on Monday when they used it during independence celebrations in Nairobi, the capital.

Wearing masks, clenching their fists and smiling, Kenyatta and Ruto bumped their elbows to greet each other.

Their greeting did not only acknowledge the popularity of the salutation amid the pandemic, but it also confirmed to citizens that they can use it.

Several dignitaries at the event that was attended by few government officials and opposition leaders also used the elbow bump to greet each other.

“I have been using the elbow bump since last month.

“Some people have been comfortable with it, others are not, avoiding contact but when I saw the president use it on Monday, I felt happy, that this is the greeting for those of us who are used to handshakes,” said Gilbert Wandera, a businessman in Nairobi.

Wandera, who sells computers, had shunned any form of contact greeting when the disease broke out to maintain hygiene.

But I changed my mind as people embraced face masks and other sanitation measures.

“Besides, elbow bumps are a little safer because chances that you will touch your face with the elbow are nil,” he said.

The greeting has also been embraced in households, corporate offices, operators of public transport vehicles commonly known as matatus, commuters, motorbike taxi riders and traders among others as it quenches citizens’ thirst to shake hands.

Besides elbow bumps, other forms of greetings that Kenyans are using include foot taps and hand on my heart – what the World Health Organisation recommends.

But these are not as popular as elbow bumps.

Another culture that has taken root in the east African nation, thanks to the pandemic is the wearing of face masks.

Initially, wearing of masks was seen as a mark of style mainly done by the sophisticated or wealthy, but it has now been embraced by all citizens, with thousands hardly venturing out of their houses without the gadget.

“I am also finding myself maintaining the 1.5m social distance in public places naturally.

“No one is reminding me to keep distance in supermarkets, at ATMs, in public transport vehicles or in the office.

“And this is what many other people are doing.

“It is now a culture that is helping curb the disease,” said Victoria Selima, a government auditor.

Initially, funerals in the east African nation would attract hundreds of people, some who would stay at the affected families’ homes for days mourning.

But with COVID-19, citizens have learnt to keep away from the events without being forced by government officials, noted Victor Mulanda, who traveled to western Kenya on Monday from the capital for a funeral.

Rashid Aman, Kenya’s health chief administrative secretary, noted Tuesday that citizens must be responsible and embrace new norms to beat the disease that is currently deeply entrenched in community across the east African nation.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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COVID-19 cases in Japan rise by 31 to reach 17,031




Japan has reported 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases with the total reaching 17,031, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities on Wednesday.

The number excludes the 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at a total of 918 people, according to the health ministry, with the figure including those from the cruise ship.

In Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan‘s outbreak, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 12 to reach 5,295, followed by Osaka Prefecture with 1,783 infections.

Kanagawa Prefecture, meanwhile, has recorded 1,373 infections, Hokkaido 1,102 cases, Saitama 1,002,Chiba 904, while Fukuoka Prefecture has recorded 786 cases of COVID-19, according to the latest figures on Wednesday.

The health ministry said there are currently a total of 102 patients considered severely ill and are on ventilators or in intensive care units.

The ministry also said that in total, 15,425 people, including 654 from the cruise ship, have been discharged from hospitals after their symptoms improved.


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Italian president awards honours to 57 Heroes of Virus Pandemic



Italian President Sergio Mattarella has given honours to 57 people who distinguished themselves in the country’s battle against the novel coronavirus.

The 57 were each given the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Mattarella’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

One of the awardees was Maurizio Cecconi, an Italian doctor whom the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) hailed in April as one the three global heroes of the pandemic.

Cecconi, head of the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department of Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, “galvanised the world to prepare for the tsunami of COVID-19 disease to come,” JAMA wrote.

Another recipient was Mahmoud Lufti Ghuniem, a Lebanese-born delivery bike rider and former nurse, who bought 1,000 face masks and donated them to the Red Cross.

Awards also went to Irene Coppola, who invented a see-through face mask to allow lip-reading by deaf people, and Alessandro Bellantoni, a taxi driver, who gave a free 1,300-kilometre ride to a 3-year-old girl suffering from cancer.

More honours went to ambulance drivers, nurses, hospital security guards, and cleaners, teachers, nursing home assistants, doctors, scientists, and people, who raised funds or donated to the needy.

“The awards, attributed to individuals, symbolically represent the collective effort of many of our fellow citizens in the name of solidarity and constitutional values,” the presidency said.

Italy is one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, it had reported around 233,500 infections and more than 33,500 deaths from the coronavirus.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Spanish PM says “worst is over” while seeking final extension to state of alarm




Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told lawmakers on Wednesday that “the worst is over” while addressing the Spanish Congress, the lower chamber of the Parliament, in a debate which will see the sixth and final extension of the state of alarm.

“It’s been three months that seemed never-ending. Today, with caution, we can say that the worst is over,” Sanchez said.

Spain had imposed the state of alarm on March 15 to control the spread of the coronavirus. The two-week extension will prolong the Spanish government’s emergency powers to June 21.

“I am proud to preside the government of a country that has shown discipline, solidarity and responsibility. Since March 11, when the global pandemic was declared, the government has had no other goal than to save lives,” Sanchez said, according to Spanish best-selling newspaper El Pais.

He also defended Spain‘s strict lockdown measures. “There was no other way. We accept one of the strictest confinements in Europe. It has been terribly hard, but it has also been tremendously effective and we are coming out of the tunnel,” Sanchez said.

Spain is currently advancing in the government’s four-stage plan to ease the restrictions imposed by the state of alarm, which is the first of three emergency levels a Spanish government can apply under exceptional circumstances.

Spain registered no death from COVID-19 on Monday, the second consecutive day without new death reports, health authorities said on Tuesday.

As of Monday, 27,127 people in Spain had succumbed to COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak. The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 239,932.

Sanchez also told lawmakers that his cabinet will unify existing prevention measures under a new law in order to avoid new outbreaks.


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Death of reality TV show star in Japan spotlights cyber bullying



Death of reality TV show star in Japan spotlights cyber bullying


Tokyo, June 3 The recent death of Hana Kimura, a bubbly, pink-haired 22-year-old wrestler and reality TV show star, has spotlighted a rise in cyber bullying in Japan and prompted swift official pledges to do more to protect victims.

Kimura, a cast member on the popular programme “Terrace House,” was found dead at her home on May 23 from an apparent suicide after being deluged with negative comments on her social media feeds.

Acutely aware of the public debate spurred by her death, Japan’s ruling party is holding hearings from this week to consider legal changes that will help cyber bullying victims seek justice.

“People must understand where the line between constructive criticism and abuse lies,” Junko Mihara, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who is leading the party’s team on online harassment, told Reuters.

Kimura’s death has been a lightning bolt as many Japanese spend more time online because of coronavirus lockdown measures.

Celebrities, politicians and companies have all weighed into the debate.

In a 2018 Ipsos poll, Japan ranked the highest among 28 countries saying cyber bullying prevention measures were insufficient, but among the lowest for public awareness about online abuse.

Google data showed the number of reported cyber bullying cases at schools more than doubled in the four years to 2018.

Yet the legal recourse for victims – a lengthy court process to impel internet service providers to identify anonymous posters before those posters can be sued – has not changed since a law was established in 2001, before Twitter or Facebook were created.

Experts and victims have welcomed the political momentum to update the law.

“On the internet, the balance between freedom of speech and dignity is completely skewed, with no protection in place for personal dignity,” said Daisuke Tsuda, an author of several books about online media.

But Tsuda cautioned against knee-jerk regulation that could allow authorities to regulate content on social media, preferring changes to legislation that would expedite the process of identifying anonymous posters.

Indonesian-Japanese Kimura was a cast member on the latest season of “Terrace House,” a show produced by Japan’s Fuji Television Network and distributed globally by Netflix, which put six young people in a home together and let viewers watch their daily interactions.

Unlike the globally franchised “Big Brother” there’s no end goal or major prize and the series became known for its gentler story lines and general lack of high drama.

But some critics claim it did have a darker side, particularly via a panel of celebrity watchers who provided sometimes biting commentary on the house members.

Kimura, who was introduced as a fun-loving jokester, attracted increased negative attention online after upbraiding a housemate for ruining one of her wrestling costumes.

Kimura was also attacked for her appearance, with many posts calling her ugly and a few calling her a “gorilla,” an apparently racist reference to her Indonesian heritage.

On May 23, she posted images of bloodied, apparently slit wrists on Twitter and wrote that she was hurt by posts telling her to “die” and “disappear.”

“I wanted to be loved. I’m sorry for being weak,” she wrote just hours before her death. Authorities have not formally announced the cause, but police investigators reportedly found a suicide letter at her house.

Fuji TV president Ryunosuke Endo said he was sorry for not giving Kimura the “delicate and consistent” support she needed.

The network has deleted several tweets linked to the current season, including one promoting the costume incident, and cancelled the rest of the current season. It said it had no plans to make a new series.

Netflix extended “sincere condolences” to Kimura’s family in a May 23 tweet, and declined to comment further. The season remains available on the streaming service’s Japanese platform.

Along with lawmakers, internet service providers have sensed the mood around Kimura’s death.

Yahoo Japan has said it would share its technology with other social media to detect abusive posts, and launch a review panel including legal experts this month.

Twitter said it “would like to take action as soon as possible” against online abuse, while Instagram urged customers to use its reporting tools and contact emergency services.

Smiley Kikuchi, a comedian who has long received online abuse stemming from a false rumour he was involved in a murder case, said the internet had moved faster than legislation.

“People are getting the abuse I got over 20 years in just six months now. That’s how quick and devastating the damage is. And yet the law has barely,” he told Reuters.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Former Japan international Kanazaki tests positive for COVID-19




Former Japan international footballer Mu Kanazaki has tested positive for COVID-19, his club Nagoya Grampus has announced.

The announcement was a hard blow for the J-League, which last week decided to resume the first division league season on July 4 behind closed doors.

Nagoya said that club staff will resume work from home because of Kanazaki’s infection.

Kyodo news agency said that the 31-year-old Kanazaki had a headache and a 38.5 degree celsius fever after a group training session on Friday. He underwent a test for the coronavirus on Monday, with the positive result being released the following day. He is currently hospitalized in the Aichi Prefecture.

The number of confirmed cases has continued to rise in Japan since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency two weeks ago. A total of 34 new infections were reported in Tokyo on Tuesday, marking the first time since May 14 that new daily infections topped 30.


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Interview: We learn much from China in fighting COVID-19 pandemic, says Israeli expert




Israel has learned a lot from China in combating COVID-19 pandemic and hopes there will be more scientific cooperation between Israel and China in the future, an Israeli expert said recently.

If I have to make a list of why we had such good results in Israel, part of it is because we were able to learn from China,” Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of School of Medicine at Hebrew University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Commenting on China‘s performance in its fight against the pandemic, she said Chinese physicians and scientists were “wise enough and responsible enough” to publish information, which helped the world save lives.

To her, it’s really important that everybody looks at what happened in China because China is the first country in the world to fight against the pandemic and has a lot of knowledge that “we don’t have yet.”

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Medicine of Hebrew University has applied full scientific and medical expertise and resources to combating the novel coronavirus, such as designing rapid diagnostic kits, developing vaccine, conducting molecular epidemiology studies to identify susceptible and resistant populations, Ben-Yehuda said.

“Humans now have the first signs of solutions, but we are not there yet,” she said, adding that humans have to be modest since “the virus is stronger than us and the battle is not over.”

While the pandemic has brought adverse effects, good things have also emerged, she said, referring to collaboration.

She stressed the pandemic is a battlefield that leaves no place for competition and everybody has to work together to make changes.

On Israel-China cooperation in COVID-19 research, Ben-Yehuda noticed that through the pandemic the world understands the strength of China‘s medicine and researches. “We really feel that China today is at the top of the world in research,” she said.

Ben-Yehuda said her school is now building a national animal BSL-3 laboratory to be used for experiments in collaboration with China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

“Also, we plan to cooperate with Zhejiang University in China to collect big data from both countries to fight diseases, because understanding the differences between patients is the base of precision medicine.”

Ben-Yehuda said her school has started several PHD exchange programs with some Chinese universities, which provide more opportunities for the cooperation between young scientists from Israel and China.

“We will raise generations for whom doing research with China will be part of their day-to-day life.”

“I believe that we will see more and more collaboration from all over the world, and I hope that Israel will be one of the major collaborators,” Ben-Yehuda said.

On a postpandemic world, the expert believed humans should learn lessons from the crisis and think together on how to avoid the next pandemic.

It’s not only a biological and medical issue, but also a social, psychological and economic one, she stressed.


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UN chief asks for protection of people on the move during pandemic




UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday asked for protection of people on the move in face of COVID-19.

In a video message for the launch of a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on people on the move, Guterres asked countries to develop a new mindset on human mobility.

The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to re-imagine human mobility. Four core understandings must guide the way,” he said.

First, exclusion is costly and inclusion pays. An inclusive public health and socio-economic response will help suppress the virus, restart the economies and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, said Guterres.

Second, human dignity must be upheld in face of the pandemic. Lessons should be learned from the handful of countries that have shown how to implement travel restrictions and border controls while fully respecting human rights and international refugee protection principles, he said.

Third, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Diagnostics, treatment and vaccines must be accessible to all, said the UN chief.

Fourth, people on the move are part of the solution, he noted. “Let us remove unwarranted barriers, explore models to regularize pathways for migrants and reduce transaction costs for remittances.”

Guterres expressed gratitude to countries, especially developing countries, that have opened their borders and hearts to refugees and migrants, despite their own social, economic and health challenges.

Those countries offer a moving lesson to others in a period when doors are closed. It is essential that those countries are provided with increased support and full solidarity, he said. “We all have a vested interest to ensure that the responsibility of protecting the world‘s refugees is equitably shared and that human mobility remains safe, inclusive, and respects international human rights and refugee law.”

People on the move, such as refugees and internally displaced persons who are forced to flee their homes from violence or disaster, or migrants, face three crises rolled into one: a health crisis, a socio-economic crisis, and a protection crisis, said Guterres.

People on the move are exposed to the virus often in crowded conditions where social distancing is an impossible luxury, and where basics such as health care, water, sanitation and nutrition are often hard to find.

This impact will be even more devastating to the large number of people on the move who live in least developed countries. One third of the world‘s internally displaced population live in the 10 countries most at risk for COVID-19, he said.

People on the move often work in the informal economy without access to social protection. In addition, the loss of income due to COVID-19 is likely to lead to a colossal 109-billion-U.S.-dollar drop in remittances. That’s the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of all official development assistance that is no longer being sent back home to the 800 million people who depend on it, said the UN chief.

People on the move face a protection crisis as more than 150 countries have imposed border restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. At least 99 states make no exception for people seeking asylum from persecution. At the same time, fear of COVID-19 has led to skyrocketing xenophobia, racism and stigmatization, he said.

And the already precarious situation of women and girls is ever more dire, as they face higher risks of exposure to gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation, he said.


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Zoom’s customers and sales rise as pandemic changes working life



Video conferencing app Zoom doubled its sales forecast for the year and posted considerable gains in total revenue and customers, it said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.

The company disclosed that it had 30 times the amount of users compared to December results as the coronavirus pandemic forced employees to work from home office.

The global disruption to working life reshaped the company from a corporate tool to a digital hangout space.

Eric S. Yuan, chief executive and founder of Zoom, said the crisis had driven demand for the service as people “integrated Zoom into their work, learning, and personal lives.”

The company did not disclose active user numbers.

This was in keeping with its previous practices, CNBC reported.

Zoom said it now has more than  265,000 corporate customers with more than ten employees – an increase of 354 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Some 769 customers – twice as many as a year earlier – spent more than 100,000 dollars a year on Zoom’s services.

Total revenue nearly tripled for the quarter to reach 328.2 million dollars compared to 122 million a year earlier.

The huge spike made the company raise its full-year sales forecast to between 1.78 billion to 1.8 billion from 915.0 million.

But it has not been all smooth sailing, with the tech company facing bans from governments and corporations due to privacy and security concerns.

In the wake of the criticism, Zoom invested heavily in cloud and security software, increasing the company’s cost of revenue by 330 per cent to 103.7 million.


Edited by  Emmanuel Yashim

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