Braimoh who represents (APC-Kosofe II) at the Lagos State House of Assembly told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the 9th NASS had started on a good plane and speed.
“The Senate of the 9th National Assembly has kick-started on a good plane and speed. The election of its leadership was characterised by democratic norms and practices.
“Lobby, consultations, meetings, pleadings settlements, compromise and other mutual understanding procedures were orders of the process.
“Like in any functional democracy, there must be interests and desires by candidates; freely expressed,’’ Braimoh, a former Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC said.
He said that the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) had also played the role expected of it in terms of articulation, aggregation, evaluation and selection of who gets what position.
The lawmaker said that the concomitant of all these ground works culminated in the seamless conduct of the inaugural plenary of the senate and the election of its key functionaries.
“Against this background is the general expectation of the new leadership to hit the ground running and unfetter itself from the clogs and avoidable worries with which the erstwhile leadership befuddled and beclouded itself with.
“Government stands on a tripod of the executive, legislature and judiciary. It is therefore incorrect as widely believed even by some legislators or judicial officers that the executive constitutes the government.
“Indeed the stakes are equal but the executive only stands as the centre. The principles of separation of powers and checks and balances are sacrosanct and non-negotiable.
“However it must not be forgotten that the powers are intricately and delicately fused in such a way that no arm can completely function in isolation of the two others,’’ Braimoh, a legal practitioner said.
According to him, the legislature occupies a strategic position as the supplier of funds and legal instruments for executive actions.
The lawmaker said that the NASS should even set agenda and precipitate the pace and tempo of the executive.
“This is especially so as the executive and the majority of the legislators are from the same political persuasion with a common manifesto,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Lawan was elected Senate President on Tuesday at that inaugural session of the 9th National Assembly.
Lawan pulled 79 votes to defeat his rival, Ali Ndume who scored 28 votes.
Small aircraft crashes in Rome, one passenger missing
A small airplane crashed into the Tiber River in Rome shortly after takeoff on Monday.
Hours after the crash landing, police were still searching for one of the two passengers who was officially listed as “missing,” though a police officer told Xinhua the passenger was “feared dead.”
According to the police, the small aircraft carried a flight instructor and a flight student from the small Roma Urbe Airport in the northern part of the Italian capital. The instructor was able to disengage from the aircraft and was easily rescued and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. But the student was unable to escape.
Police said the plane left the airport at around 3:30 p.m. local time Monday. Police did not say which of the two passengers was piloting the plane or why it went off course and into the river.
The identities of the two passengers have not been released.
As of 7 p.m. local time, a police officer said a team of police and firefighters continued to search for the missing student.
The Roma Urbe Airport is the smallest of Rome’s three airports and the only one within the city limits. It is dedicated to small civilian aircraft.
Children’s Day: Imo govt. to send palliatives to orphanage homes
The Imo Government on Monday said it would be visiting and donating palliatives to orphanage homes, juveniles in correctional centres and other vulnerable groups on May 26.
The Commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Group in Imo, Mrs Nkechinyere Ugwu, disclosed this at a news conference.
Ugwu said the visit would be part of the ministry’s activities to mark the 2020 International Children’s Day celebration on May 27.
She said the essence of the visits would be to reassure the orphans at the orphanages and juveniles at the correctional centres in the state that government had not abandoned them.
She said the ministry had braced up against any kind of abuse against the girl-child and vulnerable groups in Imo.
“We will not tolerate harassment of the girl-child in Imo; we will rise to protect their rights at any time.
“International Children’s Day is a day set aside to lay emphasis on the protection of children’s rights.
“We are also doing our best to encourage girl-child education and to discourage all forms of abuse and molestation against the girl-child,’’ the commissioner said.
She urged parents to ensure that the girl-child was given early orientation on what constituted abuse to them, while also advising children against negative relationships.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Senegal reports 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, total reaching 3,130
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.
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.
EU must present united front to shield pandemic-hit banks- regulator
European countries need to join forces to shield their banks from the effects of the coronavirus, one of the bloc’s top regulators said on Monday, potentially using a 500 billion euro (545 billion dollars) EU recovery fund to do so.
The remarks from Jose Manuel Campa, who leads the European Banking Authority (EBA), will rekindle a divisive debate about whether rich countries such as Germany should support banks of poorer neighbours such as Italy.
Campa made his comments days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron proposed an EU recovery fund to help the bloc’s worst-hit members to rebuild their economies after the coronavirus outbreak.
“Here, the EU recovery fund could play a role,” Campa told Reuters.
The EBA says that European banks have built a capital buffer of over 430 billion euros, which should be more than enough to cover losses resulting from a rise in unpaid loans as businesses such as travel agents and restaurants struggle to ride out the pandemic.
Berlin recently dropped its long-standing opposition to joint borrowing by EU countries, backing a 500 billion euro recovery fund to give grants to countries stricken by the outbreak.
“Extending that to banks, however, is likely to stir up stiff opposition.
“I’m expecting a wave of NPLs (non-performing loans) in the next two or three quarters, how much is difficult to say,’’ said Campa, referring to unpaid loans.
Spain, to repair its financial system, set up a so-called bad bank to deal with toxic loans.
“The use of bad banks to segregate non-performing loans has proven useful.
“Germany had bad banks, while countries like Ireland used asset-management agencies in the same way. It could be used again,” Campa said.
Germany, where unemployment is low and borrowers are less likely to default, has vehemently opposed any pan-European move.
He argued that it would leave Germany on the hook for the problems of lenders in countries with mounting unpaid debts.
“Banks are resilient and stronger than before the last crisis.
“But we don’t know how the crisis will evolve. It is best to act sooner rather than later,” Campa noted.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Group backs senate’s call for suspension of electricity tariffs increment
A group, the Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibilities Initiative (ECRRI) on Monday backed Senate’s call for suspension of increment in electricity tariffs by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
NAN reports that the Senate, had during recent plenary advised the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the increment to mitigate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians and businesses.
Fadairo said the move had shown that the lawmakers had the interest of ordinary Nigerians who are being subjected to exploitative bills by the DisCos at heart.
He said: “We, as an electricity consumer group have been against any form of increment in tariffs because we feel it is not justifiable.
” Now with the economy being ravaged by Coronavirus, it is only proper that any move to increase tariffs be put on hold because Nigerians are struggling to survive.”
The ECCRI president also commended the Senate for its ongoing probe of the privatisation of the power sector.
He urged the lawmakers to do a thorough job that would help put the sector back on track.
Fadairo said: “It is our belief that the privatisation of the power sector has failed because the nation is still struggling to provide electricity for citizens.
“We believe that the procedures and processes which led to it must be reviewed if Nigerians are to enjoy quality supply of electricity.”
According to him, the privatisation model of the telecommunications sector which has made the industry vibrant today should be emulated in the power sector.
“We have to look at increasing power generation, transmission and distribution to end users and also examine whether those currently saddled with the responsibility have the capacity of actualising that.
” It is not good enough that a nation of almost 200 million people generates less than 5, 000MW of electricity.
“We cannot achieve economic growth and national development under this situation, “Fadairo said.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Australia’s life expectancy stagnates amid worsen social inequality: study
Despite recording a steady increase for the past several decades Australia’s life expectancy has begun to stagnate, local research disclosed on Monday, with growing social inequality being blamed for the change.
The University of Melbourne led research analyzed data from Australia’s death registry for 2006-2016, identifying socioeconomic status and geographic location as two major contributors to differences in life expectancy.
Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which in 2016-2018 was 80.7 years for males and 84.9 years for females, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
However, a slowing in the decline of premature deaths among lower socioeconomic and non-urban populations, has tempered growth in the population’s overall life expectancy.
Meanwhile there has been no slowdown in the rate of mortality decline in the highest socioeconomic areas of major cities.
Between the ages of 35-74, the premature death rate for those of worse socioeconomic status was double that of those in the highest category.
Similarly, people living in the most disadvantaged geographic locations suffered a roughly 40 percent higher premature death rate than those in major cities, with the gaps widening in the early part of the century.
Co-leader of the research, Professor Alan Lopez from the University of Melbourne said decisive actions were required from government to address the issue, adding that the ongoing COVID-19 might worsen social inequality.
“Reducing this widening gap in mortality will require a significant shift in policy, with a stronger emphasis on the context and stressors prevalent among regional, rural and low socioeconomic groups,” Lopez said.
“The advent of COVID-19 might well exacerbate this already unfavourable trend due to increased stress and unemployment hitting the least well off hardest, which could well have a flow-on effect in terms of poorer health behaviours and access to health care.”
“This ought to be a key consideration in government policy responses to COVID-19,” he said.
Senegal reports 71 new confirmed cases of COVID-19
Senegalese Ministry of Health and Social Action reported on Sunday 71 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 3,047 in the country.
These 71 new infections came from 889 tests done in the past 24 hours, health ministry Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.
For the second consecutive days, there is an imported case detected by the ministry, while the number of new community transmission cases are dropping to 4.
He also announced that 40 more patients were cured, bringing the total number of recovery cases to 1,456.
The ministry also confirmed the death toll rose to 35 in the country.
Senegal is celebrating the end of the Ramadan month this weekend. The government and some spiritual leaders have invited the population to unite with their families through phones and internet in order to avoid travelling between regions, given the serious situation of community transmission spreading.
Senegal is in state of emergency until June 2, with a curfew imposed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. It is also mandatory to wear masks at all public places.
Eld-el-Fitr: Ondo senator urges Muslims to remember indigent persons
Sen. Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, has urged Muslim faithful across the country to remember the poor as they celebrate the Eid-el-Fitr.
Tofowomo in a statement signed by his Media aide, Mr Olumide Akinrinlola in Okitipupa on Sunday, described Eid-el-Fitr as a time to present gifts to loved ones after the fasting period.
“Eid-el-Fitr is a festival after the long fasting and prayers; a festival of love when gifts are shared among loved ones to celebrate the answers to their prayers.
“This year’s celebration coincided with COVID-19 which have caused economic hardship for the masses. Muslim faithful should remember the poor and assist them with gifts to cushion the effect of the pandemic,” Tofowomo said.
While wishing Muslim faithful happy celebrations, he, however, urged them to abide by all government precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 for them to stay safe and live.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Sen. Tinubu urges graduates to acquire entrepreneurial skills
Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, has urged graduates to acquire entrepreneurial skills to be able to compete in the labour market, especially during the post COVID-19 period.
Tinubu gave the advice at the closing ceremony for the Work Experience Programme (WEP) organised for graduates in her constituency.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme started in November 2019 with no fewer than 260 graduates across the constituency who underwent the internship programme.
The exercise was conducted with the purpose of empowering youths with requisite work ethics, inculcating customary code of polite behaviour and promoting positive workplace culture.
They empower youths in the Lagos Central Senatorial District via ensuring employability and adequate preparation for the labour market.
Tinubu, represented by
Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, one of the facilitators at the programme, said apart from acquiring certain employability skills, graduates needed self-confidence to succeed in the job market.
The senator said that the programme was designed to make the participants ready for the labour market, which she said was highly competitive and hostile.
According to her, employers are looking beyond degree holders in today’s dynamic world, noting that most companies want graduates with skills that match available jobs.
She said that graduates need to acquire digital skills to be able to compete in the labour market.
“So far, 245 interns were involved in the exercise and 185 have been posted to different organisation, both the government and private establishments,” Tinubu said.
She said that conmmunication skills, leadership skills, interactive skills, analytical skills and IT proficiency were parts of the major requirements needed by today’s employers, urging graduates to improve themselves.
”We always say there is rise in the unemployment rate that graduates left schools for so long and they are still at home.
”But, the reality is that the jobs are not there; and many graduates do not have the skills and competencies to compete and pick up the few jobs.
”So, our young people must know that to get a job, they have to be ready. They need to acquire the right skills.
”We are in a digital economy; l urge them to engage other people and strive to acquire skills that could get them the better opportunities of being employed,” she said.
Tinubu said she conceived the idea of WEP to equip graduates with relevant skills to enhance their employability in the labour market and make them have practical work experience.
“They undergo training under the programme in government and private establishments.
According to her, the programme is committed to the wellbeing and welfare of the people of her constituency.
She, therefore, urged graduates to improve their confidence level for success.
In his remarks, Mr Omiyale Adejare, the Chairman Yaba LCDA, commended Tinubu for the kind gesture, saying it was a laudable programme.
Adejare said the programme would impact positively on the lives of the people.
He called on other politicians to emulate such in planning and developing youths in their district.
Adejare advised youths not to relent on their efforts, urging them to continue to search for knowledge in order to empower themselves.
A participant, Opeoluwa Akintola, a graduate of University of Lagos, also commended Tinubu for the programme, saying that it would go a long way to uplift graduates in the area.
Also, Miss Yetunde Shitta-Bay, a graduate of Public Administration, also expressed her appreciation for the N40,000 given to each participant.
Shitta-Bay advised youths not to depend solely on white collar jobs, urging them to have other means of livelihood to eradicate unemployment in the society.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
S. Africans allowed essential travel abroad amid coronavirus pandemic
The South African government on Saturday approved essential travel for its nationals who want to return to countries where they are based.
Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council.
South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for one of the following reasons: work, study, family reunion, taking up permanent residency and receiving medical attention, Motsoaledi said.
South Africa imposed travel restrictions in mid-March as part of the measures put in place to fight COVID-19, only allowing travel between countries under special circumstances.
Under the new policy, South Africans wishing to return to countries where they reside are required to provide necessary documentation. Moreover, if returning by road or connecting via flights, they need to submit permission from each transiting country.
The announcement came amid a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
As of Saturday, South Africa has recorded a total of 21,343 cases, the highest number in Africa, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Over the past 24 hours, the country has reported 1,218 cases, the highest single-day surge since March 5.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 407, up by 10 from Friday.
Eid-el-Fitri: Sen. Buhari, Odebunmi calls for fervent prayers against pandemic
Two members of the National Assembly from Oyo State, Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari and Rep. Segun Odebunmi, have felicitated with Muslims in the country as the world celebrates Eid-el-Fitri.
Buhari, APC-Oyo North, urged Muslim faithful to be more steadfast in their prayers and supplications to Almighty Allah who is capable of making everything possible.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, also urged the people not to limit their service to Almighty Allah to Ramadan.
He urged them to be more consistent and be at peace with every member of the society irrespective of their religion or political affiliation.
“Nigerians should also obey the guidelines and order laid down by the government on COVID -19. Our people should always ensure social distancing, regular hand washing and avoid public gathering,” he said.
The senator reinstated his commitment to qualitative representation and development of his constituency.
In his message, Odebunmi congratulated Muslims on the completion of Ramadan 1441 A.H, expressing optimism that coronavirus would soon be a history.
Odebunmi, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information and National Orientation, said that it was painful that this year’s Ramadan commenced and ended during the pandemic.
“Though this is not the best moment in our nation, but we need to intensify our prayers and commitment to Almighty God to forgive our sins and heal the land,” he said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Sen. Gyang urges Muslims to imbibe virtues learnt during Ramadan
Sen. Istifanus Gyang, (lateau North) has urged Muslims to imbibe the godly virtues learnt during the Ramadan as they celebrated Eid-el-Fitr.
Gyang in a goodwill message by his Special Assistant on Media and Protocol, Musa Ashoms, on Saturday in Jos, said that the period called for sober reflection on the lessons learnt.
“The Ramadan period is one for self examination, instilling godly fear, penance, avoidance of evil in thought and action, sharing and caring, seeking peace and doing good works among other godly virtues,” he said.
Gyang, who is also the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, wished the Muslim Ummah the corresponding blessings of Ramadan which culminated in the Eid-el-Fitr prayers.
The lawmaker while wishing the Muslim faithful a solemn and blessed Eid-el-Fitr celebration, urged them to comply with all the preventive protocols of COVID-19.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Eid-el-fitr: Sen. Al-Makura urges continuous compassion for the needy
Sen. Umaru Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South) has congratulated Muslims across the country on completion of the 30 days mandatory fasting and urged them to continue to show compassion to those in need.
This is contained in a statement signed by the senator and made available to newsmen in Lafia on Saturday.
Al-Makura urged them to sustain and put to use all the teachings of the Ramadan.
“Ramadan fasting teaches us the values of love, justice, equity and unity among other cherished virtues.
“As the Holy Month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslim faithful should assess their conduct and align their behaviors to the teachings of Islam, ” he said.
Al-Makura explained that an important aspect of the adherence to the teachings of the just concluded Holy Ramadan was the continuous compassion for those in need.
“As a result of the lessons which bequeath to us through Ramadan fasting, we are expected to continue to demonstrate understanding and tolerance toward one another and show compassion to those in need,” he said.
The senator also urged Nigerians to rally round the administrations of President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State to enable them to succeed and deliver more dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
“I want to solicit for fervent prayers from all my supporters and well wishers to enable me translate my mandate into true and fair representation,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
UN chief saddened by passenger plane crash in Pakistan
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was saddened by the loss of life and injury in a passenger airline crash in Karachi, Pakistan, said his spokesman on Saturday.
The secretary-general extended his deep condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the people and government of Pakistan. He wished a swift and full recovery to those who were injured, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.
A passenger plane of the Pakistan International Airlines crashed into a densely populated residential area in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday. Rescue teams have recovered 97 bodies from the debris, the Pakistani army said on Saturday.
Some 17 people on the ground got multiple injuries, but all in stable condition, said press reports. Flight PK-8303 was flying from the eastern city of Lahore with 91 passengers and eight crew members on board.
Sen. Folarin appoints ‘YSO Elodyper’ as media aide
Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central) has appointed Mr Shakirulah Olaniyi, popularly known as YSO Elodyper, as his Special Adviser on Media.
Folarin, a former Senate Leader, made this known in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Oyo- born journalist was before his appointment the Editor of Pacesetter News, an online newspaper.
NAN also reports that Olaniyi had also served as a media aide to former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala.
A graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Olaniyi was also formerly a principal aide to a former Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government, Hon. Olamiju Alao-Akala.
Folarin, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, in the statement, wished him well in his new job.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
China to send medical experts to Republic of Congo on COVID-19
Zhao Lijian said the expert team was organized by the National Health Commission and consisted of experts selected by the Hebei Provincial Health Commission.
COVID-19 worsens pre-existing financial vulnerabilities: IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Friday that pandemic-triggered economic crisis is “exposing and worsening financial vulnerabilities” that have built up during the past decade, warning of more instability and a new financial crisis.
After a decade of “extremely low rates and volatility,” there are three potential weak spots in the global financial system: risky segments in global credit markets, emerging markets, and banks, two IMF officials wrote in a blog.
“Should the ongoing economic contraction last longer or be deeper than currently expected, the resulting tightening of financial conditions may be amplified by these vulnerabilities, causing more instability or even a financial crisis,” the officials said.
The blog, part of a special IMF series on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was authored by Tobias Adrian, financial counsellor and director of the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, and Fabio Natalucci, deputy director of department.
Noting that risky segments of credit markets have expanded rapidly since the global financial crisis, they said potential fragilities include borrowers’ weaker credit quality, looser underwriting standards, liquidity risks at investment funds, and increased interconnectedness.
Policymakers should act decisively to contain COVID-19‘s fallout and support the flow of credit to firms, the IMF officials said, urging regulators to encourage asset managers to be prudent and use all available liquidity management tools to address risks.
“Once the crisis is over, a comprehensive assessment of the sources of market dislocations and underlying vulnerabilities it unmasked should be conducted,” they said, highlighting that policymakers should consider whether including nonbanks in the regulatory and supervisory perimeter is warranted, given their expanded role in risky credit markets.
On emerging markets, the IMF officials noted that they saw capital outflows of over 100 billion U.S. dollars since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly twice as big (relative to GDP) as those experienced during the global financial crisis.
Noting that the prolonged period of low interest rates encouraged both borrowers and creditors to take more risks, they said the resulting surge of portfolio inflows into riskier asset markets contributed to the buildup of debt and in some cases resulted in stretched valuations in emerging and frontier markets.
The IMF officials said emerging markets should manage external pressures by allowing their exchange rate to depreciate. “If exchange-rate movements become disorderly, authorities should consider intervening in foreign exchange markets,” they said.
They also suggested temporary capital flow management measures may have to be used in the face of substantial outflows.
On banks, the officials said profitability has been a persistent challenge for banks in several advanced economies since the global financial crisis, noting that extremely low interest rates have compressed banks‘ net interest margins.
A simulation exercise conducted for a group of nine advanced economies indicates that a large fraction of their banks, by assets, may fail to generate profits above their cost of equity in 2025, according to the blog.
Various strategies to preserve and strengthen capital should be considered, including restricting dividend payouts and share buybacks, they continued, echoing recent remarks by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, who urged halting bank dividends and buybacks in light of the COVID-19-induced economic contraction.
In the coming years, authorities will need to take on some of the structural challenges banks face, the two IMF officials said. For example, financial sector authorities should incorporate the potential impact of low interest rates in their decisions and risk assessments.
UN expresses concern over military courts’ death sentences in eastern Libya
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Friday expressed concern over a number of death sentences issued by military courts in eastern Libya.
“We have been informed of at least 13 death sentences issued by the Benghazi High Court and four by an al-Bayda Court, in potential violation of Libya’s international human rights law obligations,” the UNSMIL said in a statement.
There have been reports that defendants have not been permitted to present their cases, or have evidence against them examined, and that following trials, sentences have been handed down secretly, with no written, reasoned judgements provided to defendants or lawyers, which is of deep concern to the UNSMIL, said the statement.
Hundreds of defendants are detained in prisons in eastern Libya, most of whom were arrested during the east-based army a few years ago.
According to international and local human rights organizations, most of the defendants did not have a fair trial, as judgments were passed in secret and far from the media.
Libya has been suffering chaos and political division since the 2011 uprising that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Finnish FM rules out loosening travel restrictions with neighboring countries soon
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Friday said that full admittances of travel into Finland from neighboring Sweden and Estonia would still take time.
Talking to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Haavisto said a “Nordic travel bubble” is unlikely in the near future as the infection rate in Sweden is higher than in Finland, Norway or Denmark.
The “Nordic Bubble” is a zone supposed to be created by Nordic countries, allowing their citizens to travel freely between each other under certain conditions.
Commenting on the idea put forward by Lithuania this week that Finland in the North and Poland in the south could join the newly established “Baltic corridor” of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, to allow their citizens to move freely among them, Haavisto said it’s too early for Finland.
Haavisto’s comments followed a strong warning on Wednesday by Finland’s key epidemic official, Mika Salminen, director at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Salminen cautioned against border relaxation towards Sweden, saying that “admitting Swedes into Finland will be a health risk.” .
Earlier on Friday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said at a press conference that he does not believe relations with Sweden will be affected, “even though Finland hesitates about opening the borders to Swedish tourists.”
According to the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, as of Friday afternoon, Finland has confirmed 6,537 COVID-19 cases, up by 44 from a day earlier. The death toll remained at 306 as no new death was reported in the last 24 hours.
Turkish forces send 30 truckloads of logistics to Syria
The Turkish forces on Friday sent 30 truckloads of logistics to Turkish observation points in northeastern Syria, state news agency SANA reported.
The logistics were sent to the Turkish observation points in Ras al-Ayn city in the countryside of Hasakah province in northeastern Syria, said the report.
On May 18, the Turkish forces sent shipments of logistics to consolidate its positions north of Ras al-Ayn.
The Turkish forces have captured several areas in northern Syria following battles with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces that erupted in October 2019.