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Defence/Security

Police in Imo nab man for allegedly faking abduction of wife, 2 children

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Police Imo have arrested one Obinna Anusiem from Umuima Atta in Njaba Local Government Area of the state for allegedly faking the kidnap of his wife, Chinyere and their two children.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Anusiem, 34, was among the 28 suspects arrested by the Police Command in Imo and paraded in Owerri on Friday for alleged various crimes.

The new Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state, Mr Isaac Akinmoyede, told journalists that the suspect reported at Njaba Police Station that his wife and two children were kidnapped on April 12 by his cousin, Okechukwu Anusie.

Akinmoyede, however, said that upon “discreet investigation” by the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, it was discovered that the suspect (complainant) was actually behind the purported aduction.

He said that it was further discovered that the suspect hid his wife and children in his in-law’s house in Okwudor community in the area.

The police chief said: “He hid them there and maliciously accused Okechukwu of kidnapping them because of land dispute and other family misunderstanding.

“He has confessed commiting the crime. The suspect will soon appear in court.”

The suspect said that he faked the kidnap to punish his cousin who he accused of selling their family land and diverting the proceeds to his personal account without giving him a dime.

“I did not kidnap my wife and children. I only took them to my wife’s place because I want the police to arrest him for selling our land. Please forgive me,” Obinna said.

The new CP said further he would adopt the community policing strategy in fighting crime in the state.

He said, “Imo is peaceful. I met a peaceful atmosphere when I came but I will not allow any criminal to operate freely in the state.”

He also warned officers and men of the command against human rights abuse and receiving bribe.

According to him, any operative caught induging in sharp practices will face severe sanctions.

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

Ikechukwu Iweajunwa: 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

Foreign

Helicopter hit during anti-IS operation in western Iraq

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An Iraqi army helicopter was slightly hit by a machinegun on Monday during an operation by Islamic State (IS) militants in the western province of Anbar, the Iraqi military said.

The incident took place when an army force destroyed IS positions and seized weapons and explosives during an operation to hunt down IS militants in a desert area near the two of al-Rutba, some 400 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

It said that the troops were backed by two helicopter gunships and during the operation the helicopters pounded three IS vehicles, but one of the vehicles was carrying a heavy machinegun and opened fire at the helicopters.

One of the helicopters was slightly damaged, but managed to return to the base safely, the statement added.

Earlier in the day, an Iraqi army source told Xinhua that one helicopter was shot down after being attacked by the extremist IS militants in south of al-Rutba.

The incident came as the Iraqi security forces are carrying out operations to hunt down IS militants in the desert and rugged areas in the provinces of Anbar, Salahudin and Nineveh as well as the border areas with Syria.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.

However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, launching frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.

(XINHUA)

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Maldives to draft responding policy as COVID-19 cases rise to 1,395

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The government of the Maldives said it will draft a responding policy as the country’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,395, local media reported here Monday.

Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen was quoted in state-owned Public Service media saying that a policy is being formulated in consultation with healthcare workers on how to govern the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Ameen said the experiences of the lockdown enforced on the capital region of Greater Male since April 15 will influence policy. The policy will include regulations on opening hours of private health operators as well as the establishment of a medical response team to evaluate patients before they are admitted to the hospital.

The COVID-19 has strained the healthcare system of the Maldives, Ameen said, emphasizing the need for decentralization. The government plans to create tertiary hospitals in five regions of the island as part of a long-term plan to provide trained healthcare workers to all regions.

These new hospitals will be equipped with laboratories, x-ray rooms, and ultrasound scanning facilities, with a total of 19 OPD consultation rooms, six private rooms, three ICU beds, three NICU beds, two operation theatres, and eight wards with twelve beds each.

Meanwhile, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said 24 additional COVID-19 cases were recorded as of 4:30 p.m. local time on Thursday including four Maldivians, 18 Bangladeshis and two Indians.

A total of 144 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the Maldives with four deaths reported so far.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19: WHO advises on healthy diets

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Eating healthy diet is important during the COVID-19 pandemic as food and drink can affect the body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO said this in a statement on Monday from Geneva.

It said that no food or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, adding that healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems.

“Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer,” it said.

WHO said that for babies, a healthy diet means exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, with the introduction of nutritious and safe foods to complement breastmilk from six months to two years and beyond.

“For young children, a healthy and balanced diet is essential for growth and development. For older people, it can help to ensure healthier and more active lives,” it said.

The health agency gave tips for maintaining a healthy diet, stressing that consumption of variety of food, including fruits and vegetables was nutritious.

“Every day, eat a mix of wholegrains like wheat, maize and rice, legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, with some foods from animal sources like meat, fish, eggs and milk.

“Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.

“For snacks, choose raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and unsalted nuts,” it said.

It advised that salt intake should be reduced, adding that it should be limited to five grammes, equivalent to a teaspoon a day.

WHO advised that moderate amounts of fats and oils should be eaten, saying that replace butter, ghee and lard with healthier fats like olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil when cooking.

“Choose white meats like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat; trim meat of visible fat and limit the consumption of processed meats.

“Select low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products; and avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially produced trans-fat.

“Try steaming or boiling instead of frying food when cooking,” it said.

WHO added that intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavoured milk drinks should be limited.

“Choose fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate. When other dessert options are chosen, ensure that they are low in sugar and consume small portions.

“Avoid giving sugary foods to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods given to children under two years of age, and should be limited beyond that age,” it said.

The health agency advised that people should stay hydrated by drinking enough water, adding that good hydration was crucial for optimal health.

“Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is a simple way to limit your intake of sugar and excess calories,” it said.

It advised people to avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use, stressing that alcohol was not part of healthy diet.

“Drinking alcohol does not protect against COVID-19 and can be dangerous,” it warned.

WHO maintained that frequent or excessive alcohol consumption increases immediate risk of injury, as well as causing longer-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.

“There is no safe level of alcohol consumption,” it said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Sport

Woods, Manning beat Mickelson, Brady in charity match

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Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning held off a late challenge to beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady 1Up in a charity golf match in Florida on Sunday that raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, and two-time Super Bowl winner, Manning, jumped out to a three-hole lead on the front nine at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound.

While Woods’s booming drives and Manning’s solid putting saw the pair dominate the early holes, five-time major winner, Mickelson, and Brady won the 11th and 14th to shave the lead to one.

However, they were unable to force extra holes after Woods delivered a dagger putt on 18 as darkness descended on his home course.

The shot of the day came from Brady on the seventh when he holed out from the fairway just after NBA great Charles Barkley, working as a commentator, had been giving the quarterback a hard time for his ice cold start.

“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” Brady said with a smile.

But Brady, who joined Tampa Bay in March after 20 years with New England, had little time to revel in the moment.

After giving a short speech where he told his wife and kids he loved them, the six-times Super Bowl winner then split the seat of his pants while retrieving the ball from the cup.

Woods, who lost to Mickelson in a $9 million winner-take-all challenge in 2018, congratulated Manning and Brady for their performance in the team match play event, dubbed The Match: Champions for Charity.

“We all came together and were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said.

“I take my hat off to Tom and Peyton. This is our arena, this is what we do for a living. I couldn’t imagine going on the field and do what they do,” he added with a laugh.

The competition comes 2-1/2 weeks before the PGA Tour plans to resume its season on June 11 at Colonial.

Woods last competed in February and then withdrew from a number of tournaments with a back injury before the PGA Tour decided to cancel a slew of events because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He has said he is healthy and will be ready to go when the Tour resumes.

Mickelson finished third in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February and missed the cut in his next two starts.

Manning, who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, retired in 2016 as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards and is the only five-time winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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General news

Buhari condoles with media industry over Waheed Bakare’s death

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President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the media industry, particularly Nigeria Union of Journalists and Nigeria Guild of Editors, over the passing of the Saturday Editor of New Telegraph, Waheed Bakare.

The President’s condolence message was released by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Monday.

President Buhari also sent condolences to family of the deceased and management of New Telegraph Newspapers.

The president described the editor’s death as a collective loss to the media and the nation that he served passionately with his talent.

He prayed that God would receive the soul of the departed, and comfort all that mourned him.

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Foreign

Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 110,000: Africa CDC

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 111,348 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 3,348 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, in its latest continental situation update report issued on Monday, showed that some 44,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Monday afternoon.

Figures from the Africa CDC also showed that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa with 22,583 confirmed cases, Egypt with 17,265 confirmed cases, Algeria with 8,306 confirmed cases, and Nigeria with 7,839 confirmed cases.

The Africa CDC said that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

The continental disease control and prevention agency added that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread across all 54 African countries.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Senegal reports 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, total reaching 3,130

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Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action on Monday reported 83 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 3,130 in the country.

Of the 83 new cases, 79 are follow-up contact cases and four community-transmission ones, ministry spokesperson Aloyse Waly Diouf told a daily briefing on the pandemic.

A total of 1,091 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, he said.

An additional 59 patients recovered from the disease, bring the total of recoveries to 1,515. The number of patients in intensive care units rose to 15, Diouf said.

The death toll remains at 35 across the country.

Senegal, which reported the first confirmed case on March 2, now has a total of 3,130 cases, including 2,761 follow-up contact cases, 89 imported ones and 280 community-transmission ones.

President Macky Sall on Sunday urged citizens to stay vigilant and observe preventive measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Although the situation appears to be stabilizing in the country, Senegal faces a possible rise of imported cases from neighboring countries.

Its northern neighbor Mauritania reported a surge of confirmed cases last week, while Mali on Monday reported nine new cases in the western region of Kayes, right next to the border with Senegal.

Across Senegal’s southern border, Guinea-Bissau on Sunday reported 64 positive cases out of 84 samples tested.

Senegal’s state of emergency over the pandemic, declared on March 24, was extended early May to last through June 2. Residents are subject to a 9 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew and required to wear masks at all public places.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian PM says to deal with Gaza issues through int’l third parties

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The Palestinian government on Monday said it will deal with all affairs related to Gaza Strip through international third parties after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the abolition of all agreements with Israel and the United States.

“Anything we need to send to Gaza, we will send through the International Red Cross Society and the United Nations, and in all cases, we will remain committed to our people wherever they may be,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye at a press conference in Ramallah city.

Regarding the patients from Gaza who need medical care, Ishtaye said that they will be treated inside the strip, especially cancer patients, as medicine and medical equipment will be sent to the coastal enclave through the World Health Organization.

The prime minister said that services such as personal documents or passports for residents of Gaza will also be delivered through an international third party.

Meanwhile, the government is still studying a solution to the issue of access of goods into the Gaza Strip through the Israel-controlled border crossings, he said.

Last Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the abolition of all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States in protest against the Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, and apply Israeli laws on settlements built in the occupied territory.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Analysis: German “Clasico” attracting worldwide audience

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Talking about football in the difficult days of the COVID-19 crisis means talking about the German Bundesliga.

The upcoming duel between second-placed Borussia Dortmund and league leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich is attracting worldwide attention.

With Germany one of the few countries to have restarted its domestic football league, a three-digit number of countries is to broadcast the delicate duel of Germany’s leading sides at the Signal Iduna Park.

Marketing officers from both clubs and the league association might be delighted considering the publicity effect, while fans eagerly wait for another footballing delicacy.

The worst fears of football being played behind closed doors leading to less quality have not been realized. By contrast, sides like Bayern, Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig gave plenty of evidence that the so-called “ghost games” have a particular charm.

Football behind closed doors seems an advantage for technically advanced sides, as football is reduced to its core activity without being affected by significant impact from the outside. In Dortmund and Bayern, two such sides are going to face off this Tuesday evening.

Fans now puzzle over the question of what will decide the nail-biting duel.

Statistics talk about the crucial starting point. To win the 2019/20 Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund (57 points) have to beat Bayern (61) to retain any realistic chance.

However, Bayern also have tough fixtures against fifth-placed Monchengladbach and third-placed Leverkusen in the remaining six rounds.

Neither side appears to be affected by the unfamiliar atmosphere in having to play without a cheering crowd. Both Dortmund and Bayern seem to have used the six-week hiatus to recharge and perform at an impressively high level.

This is all the more surprising for Dortmund, as the team of Lucien Favre typically relies on the support of up to 80,000 fans, including 25,000 forming the so-called Yellow Wall.

Dortmund vs Bayern is not only the battle of a team of enchanting young talents challenging established stars, but the thrilling duel of the league’s top-scoring sides.

Bayern’s 80 goals in 27 matches set a new record, but Dortmund are only narrowly behind on 74.

The Bavarians’ coach Hansi Flick has led the side back to success, revitalizing the team spirit. At the same time, he has brought the best out of established stars such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, youngster Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski.

However, Dortmund might have found its suitable tactical 3-4-3 system just in time. The side established a solid defense around leader Mats Hummels next to full-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi.

Upfront, a gifted line of attackers such as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt is doing a good job of compensating for the loss of injured team captain Marco Reus.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Trump warns he may move Republican convention site from North Carolina

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U.S. President Donald Trump warns that he may move the Republican National Convention from North Carolina set for August if the event faces state social distancing restrictions as a result of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to halt campaign rallies.

Some have raised concerns that the large formal nominating conventions that are typically packed with delegates could raise safety issues.

Trump said on Twitter that if Democratic Governor Roy Cooper does not immediately answer “whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied,” then the party will find “with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”

The conventions include prime-time TV speeches that serve to kick off the final sprint toward the November presidential election.

The Republican event is set to start Aug. 24 in Charlotte.

Cooper’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Democratic National Convention, which was postponed by a month because of the coronavirus, is set to begin Aug. 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A spokeswoman for the DNC event said earlier this month “we continue to remain in constant communication with federal, state, and local public health officials and will follow their guidance to determine how many people can safely gather in Milwaukee this August.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

COVID-19 cases in Belarus rise to 37,144

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Belarus reported 946 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking its total to 37,144.

Of all the country’s confirmed cases, 14,449 people have recovered so far, while 204 people with chronic diseases have died from the epidemic, according to the health ministry.

As of Monday, over 463,000 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted across the country, the ministry said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

AU commission chief urges Africans to drive toward self-sufficiency

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Marking Africa Day, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Monday underlined the need for Africans to chart their own course that seeks own solutions for problems of varied natures.

“In a world in which multilateralism is sorely tested, Africa must stop expecting solutions from others,” said the chairperson.

Reiterating that the African continent is endowed with enormous resources, the chairperson called for inward-looking and self-reliance approach, which will be a catalyst for the renaissance of African nations.

Mahamat said Africa mobilized itself from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling that a continental response strategy was developed and implemented promptly.

“We should however redouble efforts, determination and perseverance in strictly implementing the pillars of the strategy. We should go beyond the present situation, by preparing for postpandemic conditions in the world.”

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now AU, on May 25, 1963.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

China-Thailand railway agreement likely be signed in October: Thai transport minister

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The “Contract 2.3” for the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway between Thailand and China is likely to be signed in October, said Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Monday.

Saksayam made the announcement after attending a virtual meeting of the 28th Thai-Chinese Joint Committee with Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of China‘s National Development and Reform Commission.

The minister said the Thai and Chinese team had agreed that the contract, estimated at 50.6 billion baht (1.58 billion U.S. dollars), involves the cost of purchasing track, electricity systems and machinery, as well as procurement of train carriages and training.

Under the contract, 80 percent of the payment will be made in the U.S. currency and the remaining 20 percent in Thai baht.

There is a total of 14 contracts involved in the 253-km rail route from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast as a part of the Sino-Thai high-speed train project, linking Bangkok to Nong Khai, bordering Laos.

Saksayam said depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, there is a possibility that the signing might take place earlier than October.

The minister said that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will preside over the signing ceremony at the Government House, and according to the plan, the first 253-km leg of the railway will commence service in year 2023.

(XINHUA)

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General news

N1.9bn Karu mega bus park will ease traffic congestion along Maraba – Abuja road, says Gov. Sule

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State says the N1.9 billion Karu mega bus terminal, when completed, will  ease traffic congestion on the Mararaba- Abuja corridor.

Sule, who congestion spoke on Monday after inspecting ongoing work at the site of the project at Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area of the state, said various motor parks in the area would be collapsed into the bus terminal.

According to him, the terminal will serve the FCT, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and other states , when completed.

He added that the choice of Karu for the project was due to its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and large population in the area with overwhelming transportation demand.

Sule, who inspected the project as part of activities to mark his one year in office, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work so far.

He noted that although the project was being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it had now reached 28 per cent completion instead of the targeted 45 per cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor was taken round the project by the Project Consultant, Mr Shehu Tukur, who assured him of quality job.

 

 

 

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General news

Eid-el Fitr: Onyeama donates palliatives to Muslim community, 10,000 households in Enugu

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The Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, on Monday in Enugu donated palliative items through his foundation, ‘Kwusike Foundation’, to the Muslim community in the state.

Onyeama said that the gesture was in furtherance of his assistance to the residents of the state in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The minister also said that the move was to enable the Muslim faithful in the state to have an eventful Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

He said that the pandemic had imposed much difficulties on Nigerians and the rest of the world, adding that it was more difficult at a time the Muslim faithful were celebrating Sallah.

He urged the Muslim faithful to face the pandemic with prayers as well as abide by the safety protocols recommended by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Responding, the Leader of the Hausa Community in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Sambo, said that the gesture could not have come at a better time than when they were celebrating Sallah.

Sambo said that the pandemic had affected their means of livelihood and well-being and commended Onyeama for the intervention.

“We have sacrificed a lot as a result of this pandemic and I pray that God will continue to unite us and give our leaders the wisdom to lead,” he said.

Meanwhile, Onyeama said that he had taken delivery of no fewer than 10,000 bags of 10kg rice which was the third tranche of his intervention in the state.

The minister said that he discovered that a lot of vulnerable people in the rural communities were not reached during the distribution of the first and second tranches of the palliative items.

“In this third tranche, our target is to supply no fewer than 10,000 households with food items and protective equipment,” he said.

Onyeama said that the process would continue until the entire state was covered.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Japan lifts state of emergency over coronavirus for entire country, ushers in era of “new normal”

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency in the five remaining prefectures still under restrictions, including Tokyo, as the spread of the virus has largely been brought under control.

“Today the government will lift the state of emergency across the nation. We’ve set some of the most strict criteria in the world to lift the declaration, and we concluded that prefectures across the country have met that standard,” the Japanese leader told a press conference.

The five prefectures that had remained under restrictions were Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Hokkaido.

The lifting of the state of emergency came after the government’s coronavirus advisory panel showed support for the move earlier in the day.

The emergency measures were issued first for Tokyo, Osaka and five other urban areas on April 7, before being expanded nationwide in mid-April and with the deadline extended thereafter until the end of May.

The advisory panel had been focusing on criteria for the emergency period being lifted which was based around the number of newly reported cases over the past week, the availability of medical resources, and the capacity to provide virus tests and monitor the spread of the virus.

“The advisory panel has agreed that all prefectures no longer need to be under a state of emergency and that lifting the declaration is appropriate,” Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, adding that the situation would be closely monitored and reviewed every three weeks.

Nishimura also said that social and economic activities, including large-scale events, would be phased back in, although people would still be asked not to travel across prefecture lines until the end of the month.

The government, while showing caution amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been keen to see the economy fully reopened as the five prefectures that had remained under emergency restrictions account for around one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

Data released by the government showed that Japan’s economy shrank for a second straight quarter in the January-March period and entered a technical recession under the impact of the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office said the economy shrank by an annualized real 3.4 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter.

The decrease in the quarter corresponds to a 0.9-percent decline on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the Cabinet Office said.

The Japanese leader is now tasked with ushering in a “new normal” for the society, which balances the rejuvenation of the economy with guarding against an explosive second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Abe had said earlier that another state of emergency could be declared if the country is faced with a second wave of infections.

“Our businesses and daily routines will be completely disrupted if we continue with strict curbs on social and economic activity. From now on, it’s important to think about how we can conduct business and live our lives while still controlling the risk of infection,” Abe said.

He said wearing face masks in public should be kept up and social distancing measures maintained. Abe also said that teleworking does not need to be immediately halted as medical experts have warned that relaxing too many restrictions too soon could trigger another wave of infections.

As for the greater Tokyo area, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike offered her thanks to the people for their efforts to help contain the pneumonia-causing virus, but warned them to remain cautious and not to let their guards down.

“There could be a second or third wave of infections so I need to ask the citizens of Tokyo for their continued cooperation,” Koike said.

Under Koike’s stewardship, the Tokyo metropolitan government has set out a roadmap toward resuming economic and social activities in the nation’s capital. The roadmap has been divided into three phases.

Phase one, which could kick off as soon as Tuesday, will see restrictions begin to be eased on museums and libraries. Restaurants and bars in this phase will be allowed to stay open until 10:00 p.m., beyond the previous closing time of 8:00 p.m. under the prior emergency measures.

The second phase, possibly to begin at the end of the month, involves easing the restrictions for cinemas and theaters and cram schools, while the final phase will allow restaurants to stay open until midnight and amusement parks and pachinko parlors to reopen, although high-risk businesses like karaoke bars, gyms and hostess bars will be requested to stay closed.

Professional sports, including baseball and basketball leagues, will be allowed to resume without spectators from June 19, according to the government’s latest plans issued Monday.

High schools that fall under the auspices of the Tokyo metropolitan government will be phased back in, with students rotating between classes and online learning. The number of students attending regular classes will be gradually increased, with the situation being constantly monitored, Tokyo officials said.

For the city to move to the next phase, there must be fewer than 20 daily infections on average across a week, with the percentage of untraceable cases remaining below 50 percent. The number of total weekly infections must be lower than the previous week, while the number of seriously ill, testing capacity and medical facilities’ occupancy rates will also be factored in, the officials said,

“Recently, the number of new cases in Tokyo has been relatively low. If this welcome trend continues, we may progress along the roadmap more quickly than expected. We want to be flexible,” Koike has said.

According to the latest figures on Monday evening from the health ministry and local authorities, 17 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed nationwide, bringing the total to 16,628 cases.

The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus, including those from a cruise ship that had been quarantined in Yokohama, totals 864 people.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Kwara records 4 new COVID-19 cases

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The Kwara government says it has recorded four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 74, as of May 24.
Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the state Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement issued on Monday in Ilorin.
Ajakaye said that out of the 1,112 tests so far conducted, 1,030 tested negative for the coronavirus, while 44 were active out of the remaining 74 cases.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its verified website, stated that 34 patients had so far been discharged and one death recorded in the state.

Edited By: Joe Idika and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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General news

Bayelsa deputy speaker donates palliatives to constituency

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Mr Michael Ogbere, the Deputy Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly has donated palliatives of  bags of cassava flakes (garri) to  Ekeremor Constituency 3 which he represents.

Ogbere at the ceremony in Ekeremor on Monday noted that both the rural and urban communities of the constituency from the coastal end were locked down due to the  viral Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said that the donation was a  gesture on his part of encouraging and reaching out to his people in this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured the people that the challenges at hand were temporary and would soon pass away by the grace of God.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that during the ceremony, Mr Moses Akinfe, the Special Adviser to the deputy speaker, said the donation was made to  ameliorate the excruciating negative effects of the ongoing interstates lock-down on the people.

NAN reports that constituency members from Ekeremor Ward 11 and Ward 12 took delivery of the items evenly distributed to all the 23 riverine communities through the leadership of the Community Development Chairmen.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Tanzanian police kill 7 suspected armed gangsters in business capital

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Tanzanian police killed seven suspected armed gangsters in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam after their robbery attempt became abortive, a senior police officer said on Monday.

The suspected gangsters were killed at midnight on Sunday as they planned to raid a warehouse for construction materials in the business capital, said Lazaro Mambosasa, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander.

“Acting on intelligence reports, a special anti-crime police task force trailed a vehicle in which the suspected bandits were driving towards Mwenge area,” Mambosasa told a news conference.

He said when the suspected gangsters realized that they were being followed by the police they started firing at the law enforcers who fired back killing the suspects on the spot.

“When police searched the vehicle used by the suspects they found a pistol with three rounds of ammunition, two gas cylinders, machetes, a mobile telephone and a rope,” said Mambosasa.

He said the gas cylinders were to be used for breaking into the warehouse.

On May 11, police gunned down four suspected armed robbers after an exchange of fire in the east African nation’s western region of Kigoma.

(XINHUA)

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Merkel urges vigilance as officials probe restaurant virus outbreak

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Health officials in north-western Germany were pursuing an investigation into a coronavirus outbreak at a restaurant in Lower Saxony on Monday, as the number of people testing positive rose.

Seven people initially tested positive for coronavirus after visiting the Alte Scheune restaurant in Moormerland, a municipality in the district of Leer in the north-western state, earlier this month.

That number had increased to 14 by Sunday, while four additional cases of people who had contracted the virus since then were also reported.

A total of 118 people have been placed under quarantine at home, up from an initial 50.

Regional authorities in Leer district said it was likely that the four additional infections had occurred following visits to the restaurant.

The outbreak is the first to have taken place in a restaurant since they were allowed to reopen in stages across Germany’s 16 states from May 9.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the governments of Germany’s states to be “courageous and watchful” as they ease restrictions imposed since mid-March to contain the pandemic.

Speaking through her spokesman Steffen Seibert, Merkel backed continuing “binding instructions” on social distancing, restriction of contact and hygiene rules.

Recommendations were insufficient, Seibert said, as federal officials continued discussions with their state-level counterparts on how to proceed with further easing.

The number of cases of the novel coronavirus had risen to more than 178,500 by Monday morning, according to figures from the individual states compiled by dpa.

At least 8,252 people diagnosed with the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen have died, up from 8,229 on Sunday morning.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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