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Saudi Arabia imposed tax on e-cigarettes, soft drinks

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Tax

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax said a 100 per cent tax would be levied on electronic cigarettes and products used in them, and a 50 per cent tax on sugared drinks.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, already had a 100 per cent tax on cigarettes and tobacco products, a 100 per cent tax on energy drinks and a 50 per cent one on fizzy drinks.

The authority took the decision on May 15 and it became effective from Saturday after publication in the official gazette.

The taxes fall under the category of selective taxes on products deemed harmful to public health.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, introduced a five per cent value-added tax (VAT) in January 2018 to improve non-oil revenue generation after a plunge in oil prices from mid-2014 bruised its revenues.

The IMF on Thursday said the VAT introduction had been successful, but that the Saudi government should consider raising the rate, which is low by global standards.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia on Sunday said that it had deposited 250 million dollars in the Central Bank of Sudan, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The deposit is part of a joint Saudi-United Arab Emirates 3-billion-dollar aid package to Sudan announced in April.

It was agreed that 500 million dollars would be provided by the two countries as a deposit in the Central Bank of Sudan to strengthen its financial position, alleviate pressure on the Sudanese pound and help stabilise the exchange rate.

The remaining amount will be allocated to meet the urgent needs of the Sudanese people, including food, medicines and oil derivatives.

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UN General Assembly President arrives Nigeria to rousing welcome

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Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), arrived Nigeria to rousing welcome on Thursday night on a five-day official visit to the country.

Muhammed-Bande, who arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja at 11:45pm, was received by the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Ms Comfort Lamptey, Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Amb. Samson Itegboje, among others.

The UNGA president, who was visiting Nigeria for the first time since his inauguration in September, had as part of his entourage, his Chef de Cabinet Mari Skåre, Senior Adviser Alex Tope, Special Assistant Muyiwa Waheed Onifade, Advisor Emanuel De Jesus Da Costa Tilmann and Communication Adviser Kristina Klein.

Muhammed-Bande, while speaking to the Nigeria News Agency during his first official visit to the country since his inauguration as UNGA President said he was excited to be at home and to learn about the issues relating to the Regional Expert Conference on the Human Rights Situation of Older Persons in Africa.

“Well I’m excited to be here and also very keen to learn about issues at home, but basically we are here to discuss issues of ageing in relation to how the life of the aged are advanced”, he said.

For being the second Nigerian to be elected UNGA President in 30 years and how this reflects on the nation, Muhammad-Bande advised that Nigerians continue to do the things that endears us to the international community and make our nation proud.

“I think that we should continue to do the kinds of things that makes us acceptable to others by doing our bit in the international community and doing also great things for our country,” he added.

Similarly speaking on his experience so far as President of the UNGA Muhammad-Bande credited his good start to the support he enjoyed from his colleagues.

“I’m happy that the support of all colleagues has gotten us to a good start”, he said.

NAN reports that Muhammad-Bande is in Nigeria to attend a Regional Expert Conference on the Human Rights Situation of Older Persons in Africa as an Inter-sessional Event of the United Nations General Assembly Open-ended Working Group on Ageing.

The conference, which is for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons, will hold in Abuja on Nov. 25.

It will have as participants, governments, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, academia, older persons, regional organisations as well as intergovernmental institutions and United Nations organisations.

The Conference will also witness the participation of non-African member states and is open to a global audience.

It is also expected to provide a better understanding of progress made and challenges faced in ensuring those rights, as well as exchange-related experiences and lessons lea

While in Nigeria, Muhammad-Bande will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, and the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen.

He will also visit the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja as well as the reconstructed UN House.

Muhammad-Bande’s election, was the second time that Nigeria has produced the president of UNGA in three decades and since joining the UN as its 99th member in 1960.

The first was in 1989, during the tenure of late Gen. Joseph Garba, which was usually described as a flamboyant era.

PAM /YEE

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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Burkina Faso, Cape Verde says climate change affects the region

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Climate

-Edeni

Abuja, Nov.21, 2019( NAN) Parliamentarian from Burkina Faso and Cape Verde on Thursday said that Climate change was one of the major challenge affecting the countries.

The Parliamentarian said this during their countries reports at the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament held in Abuja.

Hon. Jeremie Sankara, Member of the Parliament from Burkina Faso said that Climate change has adversely affected the rural development due to the constant decline in rainfall.

He said that degradation has affected 34 per cent of land in the country which represents more than nine millions hectares of arable lands.

“Climate change is adversely affecting rural development, owing to the constant decline in rainfall in terms of volume and quality of precipitation as well as high temperatures, upsurge in the number and intensity of floods, droughts and wind storms.

“These extreme weather conditions hampers the performance of agricultural, livestock and animal production systems which had lead to increase population movement as well as serious humanitarian problems and economic losses.”

According to him, the government is set to implement a specific action plan to improve on the agricultural production.

“To improve the living conditions as well as the production and consumption patterns of the people to prevent environmental degradation and the degradation of the living environment.

“The government has fast-tracked the implementation of Specific actions and measures defined in the second National Rural Sector Programme (PNSR 11) to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production in the country.”

He said that to facilitate the transition to free economy, the government would take actions to improve environmental governance, promote the reduction of green house gas emissions and enhance the resilience of grassroots communities to climate change.

Hon. Carlos Delgado from Cape Verde delegation said that Climate change is a major challenge in the country.

He said that integrated policies are being implemented in the field of environment, aiming at ensuring greater environmental sustainability, competitiveness and territorial organisation.

“It should also be noted that Cape Verde faced three conservative years of drought with very low rainfall; the country has faced and continues to face serious problems with lack of grazing for animals.

“The government has been required to implement emergency mitigation plans to address years of drought, fortunately, it has been able to count on some of its partners.

“Cape Verde continues and will continue to participate in global and regional environmental research networks, particularly those dealing with investigation of its effects of the phenomenon of climate change.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament which commences on Nov. 20 will end on Dec. 14.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Morocco seizes 3.657 tonnes of cannabis in anti-smuggling raid

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Morocco seizes 3.657 tonnes of cannabis in anti-smuggling raid

Cannabis

Rabat, Nov. 21, 2019 (Xinhua/NAN) The Moroccan police on Thursday said  that they seized 3.657 tonnes of cannabis in an anti-smuggling raid near the Northern city of Nador.

According to a police statement, two suspects, aged 37 years and 40 years, with connections to international drugs rings were arrested during the raid late Wednesday.

The statement said that investigations are underway to uncover more accomplices.

A car and a large quantity of equipment were also seized.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said that in spite of efforts to crack down on cannabis cultivation in the past decade, Morocco remains one of the world’s largest producers of the narcotic plant.

The Moroccan security authorities seized more than 112 tonnes of cannabis and its derivatives by Sept. 15 this year, official statistics show.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Chinese scientists develop lab grown meat from animal cells

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Meat

Nanjing, Nov. 21, 2019 (Xinhua/NAN) Chinese scientists have produced 5 grams of meat cultured from animal muscle stem cells, according to a university in east China’s Jiangsu Province.

The Nanjing Agricultural University announced this on Thursday that the team led by Zhou Guanghong harvested the meat after cultivating pig muscle stem cells for 20 days.

It is the first meat developed from muscle stem cells in China, according to the China Association of Agricultural Science Societies, which conducted an evaluation of the technology.

Current manmade meat mainly refers to plant based meat that is made by extracting plant proteins from soybeans, peas, wheat and other vegetables and grains with a similar taste to that of meat fibers.

Cultured meat, however, is produced by painlessly harvesting animal cells and nurturing them to create muscle tissue.

According to Zhou, the cultured meat they developed has similar texture and color to ordinary minced pork, but safety evaluations and large scale production technology are required before it hits the market.

Plant based meat has already come onto the market.

Impossible Foods Inc., an American company that develops plant based substitutes for meat products, made its debut on the Chinese mainland at the second China International Import Expo earlier this month in Shanghai to seek opportunities in China.

A Chinese team in Beijing also introduced plant based meat into the market in September by selling mock meat stuffed moon cakes.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim downing of spy drone near Saudi border

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim downing of spy drone near Saudi border

Claims

Sanaa, Nov. 21, 2019 (Xinhua/NAN) Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Thursday claimed they shot down a spy drone near Saudi Arabia border.

The group’s al-Masirah TV reported “our air defense downed a spy drone belonging to the Saudi-led coalition in al-Sawh area near the border of the Southern Saudi region of Najran.’’

There was no immediate confirmation from the Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling the Iran-allied Houthi group in Yemen for over four years.

The coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. (Xinhua/NAN)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Acting Lega serie A chief named after 2018 election irregularities

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The Italian football federation (FIGC) has appointed a provisional president of the Lega Serie A to replace Gaetano Micciche, who resigned after the revelation of irregularities in his election. The federation on Thursday approved the appointment of Mario Cicala, the head of FIGC’s supervision body, as acting Lega chief until the Serie A clubs vote in a new president in an election set for December 2.

Cicala would take full charge only in case the Lega fail to appoint a new boss; he would then have to organize new elections before March 2020.

Micciche quits his job this week before the FIGC closed investigations into his election in March 2018.

Federation president Gabriele Gravina said that no counting of the votes followed what was described as an election by acclamation, which contravened Lega’s secret ballot rules and invalidated the procedure.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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