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Real Madrid scrape 3-2 win over Levante



Real Madrid earned a nervy but vital 3-2 win at home to Levante in La Liga on Saturday.

The hosts took a three-goal lead by halftime but conceded twice in a shoddy second-half display which left them clinging on for all three points at the Santiago Bernabeau.

Karim Benzema headed Real in front after 25 minutes when he met a cross from Dani Carvajal.

The France forward struck again a few minutes later with a well-taken finish after latching on to a pass from James Rodriguez.

Brazil midfielder Casemiro stretched Real’s advantage right before halftime with a gut-busting run to meet a cross from compatriot Vinicius, but Levante hit back shortly after the interval through former Madrid forward Borja Mayoral.

Levante reduced the deficit to one goal with 15 minutes to go thanks to a near-post header from Gonzalo Melero and twice came close to levelling in stoppage time.

But Real scraped the victory to move on to eight points after four games. (Reuters/)

Edited by Felix Ajide


Economic Watch: China leverages monetary tools to channel funds into real economy




China‘s central bank introduced two new monetary policy instruments this month to directly channel funds into the real economy, another sign that the country’s monetary policy will not slide into quantitative easing.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said that, starting this week, it would use 400-billion-yuan (about 56.37 billion United States dollars) of a special re-lending quota to purchase 40 percent of inclusive loans to small and micro businesses, issued by local banks from March 1 to Dec. 31.

Another policy instrument that the PBOC introduced allows small and micro businesses to apply for deferring their inclusive loan repayments, maturing by end-2020 to March 31, 2021, with penalty payment exempted.

Both policy instruments are aimed at helping small and micro enterprises maintain cash flow, gain easier access to loans, and lower the financing cost, the central bank said. It added that these tools are more market-oriented, inclusive and direct, compared to previous policies.

The PBOC‘s move came just days after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized that China‘s measures of a sizable scale are designed to provide vital relief to businesses and to revitalize the market.

China‘s previous measures to recover the economy in the face of challenges brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic were seen by some as below expectations.

In response to such viewpoints, Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session, that the government will not flush China‘s economy with liquidity.

China will ensure that measures taken are well-focused and effective, and the prescription is precise, said Li.

The central bank’s innovative monetary tools are an example of how China is striving to make small and micro businesses — an important part of the real economy — truly benefit from government policies, according to market analysis.

Direct purchase of inclusive loans will lower the debt costs of banks and help with replenishing liquidity, said Li Qilin, chief economist of Yuekai Securities, adding that small firms can then get more credit support.

According to the PBOC, the 400-billion-yuan funds will be offered to local banks via an intermediary special-purpose vehicle, which won’t charge interest for banks, making it effectively interest-free.

Local banks will be encouraged to issue new inclusive small and micro credit loans of nearly 1 trillion yuan, compared to over 300 billion yuan issued last year, the central bank estimated.

By offering local banks incentives equal to 1 percent of the principal to be extended, the central bank said it expected to provide a total of 40 billion yuan, at most, to support about 3.7 trillion yuan in extended loans.

Other enterprises with special difficulties, such as foreign trade companies, could discuss possible loan extension timelines with their banks, the PBOC has said.

Pan Gongsheng, vice governor of the PBOC, said the two new instruments are short-term policies created at a special time, and are different from quantitative easing in nature and scale.

Compared with some developed economies, China still has space for normal monetary policy to support the economy, Pan said.


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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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News Analysis: Egypt’s real-estate sector resilient though impacted by COVID-19




As the Egyptian economy suffers a slowdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the real-estate sector stayed resilient to the market fluctuations, according to economic and property experts.

“No country in the world will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic unscathed especially at the economic level,” said Waleed Gaballah, professor of financial and economic jurisdictions at Cairo University.

“Egypt’s economy was hit by contraction of tourism, a decline of remittances of Egyptians abroad and unsurprisingly reduction in revenues from the Suez Canal, which is extremely sensitive to global trade and economic growth,” Gaballah told Xinhua.

However, in a country of over 100 million people, the demand for housing continues to outstrip supply. The expert added that people always look upon the real-estate sector as “the most secured investment.”

In 2019, some 500,000 Egyptians sought to buy apartments whether for living in or investing, according to the country’s official statistics agency.

“Sales of properties have been impacted in March and April which usually constitute high sales months in Egypt after the cancellation of Cityscape, the largest real-estate event in Egypt,” said Saad Husseiny, sales manager at Property Consultancy, a leading real estate company.

The curfew and the stop of contracts of some employees especially in the tourism and aviation sectors in the wake of the virus made clients reluctant for concluding some deals.

But Husseiny believed that it’s “merely a matter of delay of the purchase process” for a certain short period rather than real losses.

“Egypt’s real-estate sector is strong and flexible,” he added, expecting the second half of 2020 will compensate the losses of the previous months and bring the annual revenues to normal level by the end.

He noted that the country’s big developers have offered discounts on some units and expanded the terms of installments to encourage more sales.

Unlike other sectors, the construction sector in Egypt resumed 100 percent of on-site operation at the beginning of April, nearly two weeks after the government initially imposed a curfew in the middle of March to control the spread of the COVID-19.

As part of measures undertaken to stimulate the market, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) in March reduced interest rates by 300 basis points, its biggest rate cut on record, setting the lending rate at 10.25 percent.

Gaballah stressed the CBE‘s move has helped businesses to withstand pressures during the pandemic and experience cheaper debt.

Workers have returned to the country’s construction sites while the sanitation measures are fully implemented to preserve their health, according to an agreement between the minister of housing and the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors under the supervision of the prime minister.

Moreover, the government has embarked on an ambitious urban-expansion plan spearheaded by the New Administrative Capital east of Cairo in addition to further expansions in different provinces and regions of the country.

Chinese construction giant, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation is continuing to push ahead the project there. At the CBD site, Egyptian and Chinese engineers and workers are sparing no effort to advance construction, while actively implementing pandemic prevention measures.

“The state and private developers pushed the construction works ahead actively in the sites along with implementing the anti-coronavirus precautionary measures to maintain the power of that vital sector,” Husseiny explained.

He added the country’s developers are exerting tremendous efforts to deliver units on time and gain the confidence of customers.


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Respect and good care? What older Americans really get in this “Older Americans Month”




(Source: Xinhua)

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Real Madrid forward, Bale, questions critics of golf hobby



Real Madrid forward, Gareth Bale, says he is still confused that his love for playing golf has caused a stir in Spain.

Bale also  questioned why other elite sportsmen were not criticised for playing the game.

In spite of winning four Champions League titles with Real, and scoring crucial goals in three finals, Bale still divides opinion in Spain due to a perceived lack of commitment as well as  poor injury record, which the Spanish media have often blamed on his passion for playing golf in his spare time.

Last year, he celebrated Wales’ qualifying for Euro 2020 by posing in front of a banner reading ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that Order’.

This caused a vicious backlash,  leading to Real fans booing and whistling him in his first game back for the club.

“A lot of people have problems with me playing golf,” Bale told U.S golf podcast The Eric Anders Lang Show.

“I don’t know what their reason is, because I have  spoken to doctors and everybody is fine with it.

“The media has this perception that it is not good for me, you should be resting, it can cause you injuries.

“(U.S. basketball player) Steph Curry plays maybe on the morning of a game. If I play two days before a game, it is like ‘what is he doing?’”

According to Bale, who has built a golf course in his back garden in Wales,  he plays on a handicap between three and four and plays golf at least twice a day when the football season is over.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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We will make Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality — Sanwo-Olu’s Aide



Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, says his administration will make the Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality.

The governor’s aide said this during an online CovInspiration Show organised to mark the first year in office of Gov. Sanwo-Olu.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the social media show, moderated by UN Youth Ambassador, Dayo Israel, was stream on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram in compliance with physical distancing rules occasioned by COVID-19.

Adeyoye said: “I can tell you we have begun to see the projects that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr Obafemi Hamzat are putting together – projects like Fourth Mainland Bridge.

“I pray that it comes up alive! In December, we opened up bids and after evaluation, 31 people came up.

“It will be my greatest joy when I see that project come alive even if it is not finished in this first four years.”

The special adviser said that the preferred bidder for the project would be made known soon.

According to her, the government is in the process of awarding contract for the regional road project that will be a relieve to the residents along the Lekki Epe Expressway.

Speaking on Sanwo-Olu’s achievements in the last one year in works and infrastructure, Adeyoye said that the governor had done a lot through the Public Works Corporation (PWC).

“The Ojota Road is under construction, four roads will be commissioned in Shomolu, Ladipo and Akinwunmi in Mushin.

“Epeme in Badagry, which is a six kilometer road; this is a road that will boost the tourism potential in Lagos State.

“Also, 31 networks of roads in Ojokoro, all these roads were in the last one year either being commissioned or to be commissioned,” she said.

According to her, work is ongoing on Ijede road in Ikorodu, while the Pen Cinema Bridge and Lagos Badagry Expressway will be completed by July/September, respectively.

Adeyoye, however, urged residents to desist from throwing refuse in drainages and burning tyres on the road, saying it affects the durability of the roads.

Adeyoye also noted that burning of tyres on road did not only affect the durability of road infrastructure, but also led to pollution and environmental hazards.

“It behoves on all to keep the road in good condition and we should all be responsible and take ownership of those assets.

“When drainages are cleaned regularly, the roads are likely to last longer,” she said

On Abule-Egba-Oshodi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) road, the special adviser said that contractors were working and that the project would be completed.

LAMATA is up and doing on the supervision of the project and it will be completed soon. l assure you that all projects will be completed, government is a continuum,” she said.

Earlier, the host, Israel, said that the decision to host the cabinet members on CovInspiration (Online) show was to ensure sustenance during COVID-19 partial lockdown.

Israel, who is a Board Member of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), said that the show afforded cabinet members opportunity to stay in their comfort zones and speak with viewers.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu has announced plans to commission some projects in the state to commemorate his first year anniversary on Friday.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Afghanistan closer to realizing peace than ever: FM




The fast-moving events in recent months have taken Afghanistan closer to peace than ever, but the road ahead is far from smooth, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session.


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Lagos-based real estate practitioner drums support for creative industry



A Real Estate practitioner, Mr Olabisi Akanbi, has urged private sectors to partner governments at all levels to reposition the creative industry in Nigeria.

Akanbi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Labor Groups (Real estate and automobile company) Lagos, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

He said that governments alone cannot do everything hence the need for the private sectors also to intervene with more strategic private investment as a solid buffer to boost Nigerian creative industry.

“I read a report in foreign journal that explained how foreign investors are rushing into the Nigerian business environment in spite of the COVID19 pandemic.

“This is due to the low risk perception of our country, if Nigerian business owners fail to see what these foreigners are seeing then it will be to our loss and their gain.

“The main reason I am investing in the creative industry space and other private business owners can plug into creative industry because there are a lot of untapped talents on the streets.

“More fresh injection of funds is needed in the industry and I encourage my colleagues in the private sector to tap the huge human resource goldmine,” Akanbi said.

Akanbi added that the private sectors need to know that creative industry was a major contributor to the gross domestic product in Nigeria.

“Creative industry is not an entirely hopeless situation because the industry has proven that it is a key contributor to the Nigerian digital economy.

“The evident is the increase in revenue from online audio and visual content streaming, the pandemic has only tasked us to be more creative and strategic.

“As a real estate player, I also borrow some principles from my business to apply in my intervention in the creative industry by aligning ourselves with a talented and creative artiste such as “Dotman,” Akanbi said.

NAN reports that Labo Group which has primary interests in real estate and automobile last month signed talented singer, Dotman whose real name is Olatunji Oladotun Alade to help reposition his career under its subsidiary, Labo Entertainment.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Real time trading, helping capital market to thrive — shareholders’ association



Mr Eric Akinduro, the Chairman, Shareholders’ Association, Ibadan Zone says real time trading is helping the Nigerian Capital Market to thrive in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Akinduro made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.

He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for being proactive in setting machineries in motion for such a time as this.

“As one of the players in the market, I can say that the market is really encouraging.

“It is very active in the sense that we are getting more bullish period (Stock Market characterised by rising share prices).

“Economically, if we should look at it, by now we should not have such a thing because there is not much activity in the economy.

“But when you look at our market at times, what is driving our market is quite different from finance, as we can see it in the market presently,’’ he said.”

He noted that the market was not feeling the heat of the present pandemic and lockdown occasioned by the novel COVID-19.

“The lockdown has not really affected the market negatively because we can see that some of the companies are really performing well now.

“But one thing we know which I am quite sure of is that we are going to see the likely reverse aspect of the market at the end of the day.

“It may not be in the long term but in the short term because the market is one that is progressing,” he said.

The trend we are passing through presently would affect the market but it would be in the long term.

“When we look at some of these companies that are in the market, they are really making good business now.

“And at the end of the day, the report they will give as their quarterly report will be very encouraging, I am quite sure,” he said.

According to him, the manufacturing companies, beverages and others are earning good money now unlike some other sectors like hotels and the likes.

“Some of the companies will surely give us good reports but we cannot rule out that the market will definitely feel the heat after this period. 

“But one thing I know is that, it is not going to be for the long term but for the short term and at the end of the day the market will definitely correct itself.

“This will make investors to keep on enjoying themselves,” he said. 

Akinduro also said the electronic means of transactions had been effective and helpful in the capital market.

“It seems our operators of the capital market have helped our economy by going ahead of this current situation.

“The leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange at this present time envisaged this and has put every stock broking firm on their toes to ensure that they are up to the task. 

“As you can see now, there is no physical trading but trading is going on online and investors are participating.

“That is why when you have leadership they should see challenges ahead before it turns to problem. 

“They have envisaged this before now and we thank God that the real time trading is really helpful to investors now and we are enjoying it.

“If I have anything to buy today and I instruct my broker before noon, I get the alert that is to show us the proactiveness of the NSE and the capital market.”

Akinduro said if NSE had planned for such a time as this, he believed there would not be any way the investors could be participating in the market as at now. 

“They are aware of this and have put a tough strategy in place so we don’t feel the heat of the lockdown on the market as everything is going on as it ought to be,” he said.

NAN reports that the association has members in Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States.


Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)


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