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South Africa joins call for change on climate policies

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Several hundred people of all ages, races and affiliations gathered near the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Friday to join the global call for more action against climate change.

“Act now or there will be hell and high water” and “Don’t be a fossil fool” were some of the messages adorning posters as the sweltering heat seemed to beat down its own warning.

A giant papier mache sun, a bird puppet with fiery wings, stilt walkers and a schoolboy in a panda suit added to the festive atmosphere of the peaceful march.

Teen activists Tariro Banganayi and Natalie Kapsosideris pleaded with the crowd to put more pressure on a government, which they claim is “stealing the youth’s future.”

South Africa has been criticised for its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Earlier this year, the town of Kriel in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga was named in a Greenpeace report as being the second-worst sulphur dioxide pollution hotspot in the world.

Trade unions, representing the workers of large companies accused of putting profits before pollution also attended the march.

These companies “pay high taxes to the government” and so have “massive influence,” said Banganayi, adding that it is the poorest people, who will be most affected by the crisis.

According to the UN, Africa will be severely affected by a “warming world,” which will have implications on rainfall and temperature.

West Africa is a climate change hotspot, with the Sahel region possibly the most affected area in the world, according to the report.
Similar marches took place in Uganda and Kenya on Friday.
FAT/SN

Edited by Fatima Sule/Silas Nwoha

Foreign

South Australia set for space industry boom in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

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About two billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion United States dollars) are invested in Australia’s space industry, the nation’s space agency has revealed.

According to the 2019 State of Space Report published recently by the Australian Space Agency (ASA), there are 88 space projects worth a combined two billion Australian dollars in the pipeline across the country from July 2018 through to June 2028.

South Australia (SA), where the ASA is headquartered, is on track to receive one third of the total investment but only nine percent of that from private space companies.

The ASA was formed in July 2018 with the goal of increasing the value of Australia’s space industry to 12 billion Australian dollars (8.02 billion USD) and creating 20,000 new jobs by 2030.

Steven Marshall, the Premier of SA, told News Corp Australia that the growing space industry would have a key role to play in helping the Australian economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.

“There is a new importance placed on national resilience and sovereign capability since the COVID-19 crisis, which offers opportunities for homegrown innovation,” he said.

“The space sector is one area that can certainly play a role in this.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Monsoon hits India’s southern state of Kerala

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Southwest monsoon Monday hit India’s southern state of Kerala, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.

“Southwest monsoon has set in over Kerala today, the 1st June 2020,” IMD in a brief statement said.

The southwest monsoon over Kerala has thus marked the commencement of the four-month-long rainfall season in India.

IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra had said they are expecting favourable conditions to develop from Monday.

“As per our first stage of monsoon forecast, which was issued on April 15, we are expecting normal monsoon condition with 100 percent rainfall over the country during September. However, we will be releasing the second stage of the monsoon forecast tomorrow,” Mohapatra was quoted by a local news agency as having said.

Earlier on May 15, IMD had said the onset of southwest monsoon was likely to be delayed by four days and the monsoon was expected to arrive on June 5.

India receives around 70 percent of its annual rainfall during the monsoon period.

Agricultural activity in India is largely dependent on monsoon.

The monsoon normally sets in over Kerala around June 1 and advances to other parts northwards and subsequently covers the entire country around July 15.

IMD has issued a yellow alert for nine districts of the state on Monday.

The alert has been issued for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Malappuram, and Kannur districts on June 1.

Meanwhile, a cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal has escalated the progress of monsoon in India this year. IMD has predicted that India will receive a normal monsoon season this year.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on higher alert level: president

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Some COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on a higher alert if special interventions fail to contain the pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

Different approaches have been introduced to deal with high-infection areas, known as hotspots, and low-infection areas, which require vigilance and surveillance, Ramaphosa said during a virtual engagement with the South African National Editors Forum.

The remarks came a day before the country is set to lower the alert level from four to three, under which 8 million people will be allowed to return to work as most economic sectors in the country reopen.

“We are re-opening most areas of the economy so that people can earn a living, and so that this immediate health crisis does not result in a permanent economic crisis,” Ramaphosa said.

But hotspots where confirmed cases rise at a fast rate remain a concern, particularly after the further easing of restrictions, the president said.

Special interventions will be made in hotspot areas by deploying dedicated, multidisciplinary teams to contain the outbreak, including epidemiologists, doctors, nurses and community health workers, he added.

As of Sunday, the country reported 32,683 cases of COVID-19 with 683 deaths. The Western Cape, the hardest-hit province, recorded 21,382 cases with 503 deaths.

“It is of utmost importance that we reduce the rate of spread in the Western Cape and we do everything possible to prevent other parts of the country from following a similar trajectory,” Ramaphosa said.

Each hotspot will be linked to testing and quarantine facilities, and additional hospital beds when necessary, with a close focus on tracing contacts and isolating them so as to prevent further transmission, Ramaphosa said.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

Sri Lanka begin training on Monday, South Africa to follow suitp

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A select group of Sri Lanka cricketers, mainly bowlers, will return to training on Monday, amid efforts to restart the game after the coronavirus shutdown, the cricket board said on Sunday.

Professional cricket has been suspended since March because of the pandemic, with Sri Lanka’s home series against England and South Africa among its casualties.

Thirteen players will check into a hotel for a 12-day residential camp at the Colombo Cricket Club, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.

“The players taking part in the camp represent a general squad chosen from across all formats, and primarily consist of bowlers, as they need more time for conditioning before going into active competition,” it said.

A coaching and support staff of four will oversee the training, during which players will not be allowed outside the hotel premises and the practice venue.

The SLC would ensure everyone at the training camp adhered to the government health regulations, it added.

Sri Lanka are preparing to host India for a limited-overs series in July.

However, India’s cricket board has said it will wait for more clarity regarding curbs on international travel before making a decision on the tour.

On Saturday, South Africa also allowed training and playing of professional non-contact sport, a decision welcomed by its cricket board.

“This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket,” Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, said in a statement.

CSA’s COVID-19 steering committee will meet on Monday to draw up a protocol for the return to training and playing, he added.

On Saturday, Britain allowed elite competitive sport in England to resume behind closed doors from Monday, in compliance with strict conditions.

ERO/a6

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Defence/Security

CLO commends FG, I-G for creating additional police zonal command in south-east

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The Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation  (CLO) in Anambra, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, on Sunday commended the Federal Government for creating an additional police zonal command in the south-east.

Ezekwueme, who made this commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu, also applauded the Inspector-General of Police Mr Mohammed Adamu for the creation.

The new Zone 13 command comprises Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States.

“There is no doubt that the new zonal command will certainly improve security architecture in the South-East geo-political zone.

“It will further close the rank between the Police and the residents of the three states,’’ Ezekwueme said.

The CLO chief also commended the I-G for choosing Anambra as headquarters of the newly created Police Zone 13 Command.

CLO commends the police commissioners of the three states for their efforts toward improving security of lives and properties.

“Worthy of commendation is the patriotic, conscientious and diligence of some divisional police officers (DPOs) in the discharge of their duties, especially their quick response to complaints at their various divisions,’’ he said.

Ezekwueme also called on the police commissioners and state governors in the new zonal formation to dismantle illegal and illegitimate revenue agents on major highways within their states.

“These miscreants, especially those at River Niger bridge-head in Onitsha, are disgrace and nightmare to the government and Nigerians.’’

NAN reports that before now, only one police zonal command existed in the South-East, which is Zone 9, with its headquarters in Umuahia, Abia.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

19th “Chinese Bridge” contest held in southern Vietnam

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The final round of the 19th “Chinese Bridge,” an annual Chinese language proficiency competition, for southern Vietnam was held in Vietnam’s southern Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

A total of 26 students from 12 colleges in southern Vietnam participated in three sections of quiz, speech and talent show in the nearly 10-hour-long competition, themed “One World, One Family,” winning applause and cheering from the audience with their fluent Chinese and outstanding talent.

Vo Nguyen Quynh Nhu, a student at Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, won the first prize of the contest and will represent the country together with the winner of northern and central Vietnam in the “Chinese Bridge” competition in China.

Nhu said she started to learn Chinese by coincidence and had been fascinated by the beauty of Chinese language and culture ever since. “I will work harder to learn Chinese and understand the Chinese culture more deeply and comprehensively. After graduation, I would like to work in fields related to Vietnam-China friendship and improve cultural exchanges between the two countries,” she said.

Pham Tan Ha, vice president of Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said in a speech at the competition that the “Chinese Bridge” competition is expected to help students deepen their understanding of Chinese language and culture, adding that the contest was organized despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and had attracted many students who have passion for Chinese study.

Chinese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Wu Jun told Xinhua that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the China-Vietnam diplomatic ties and is of great significance, and that the increasing exchanges and cooperation between China and Vietnam have brought the two peoples closer.

The young generation of China and Vietnam should improve the cultural exchanges and mutual understanding and jointly promote the shared future of humanity for the two countries, he said.

The contest was co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and the Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and organized by Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Magnitude-5.4 earthquake rattles southern Philippines

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An offshore earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook Davao Occidental province in the southern Philippines on Saturday night, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 9:06 p.m. local time, hit at a depth of 101 km, about 202 km southeast of Sarangani town.

The institute said the tremor was also felt in the towns of Alabama, Malungon and Kiamba in Sarangani Province and Tupi town in South Cotabato Province.

The institute said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks but will not cause damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire“.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

13 new COVID-19 cases reported in southern Libya

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The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Friday announced 13 new COVID-19 cases in the southern city of Sabha.

The center said in a statement that it received 423 suspected samples, 410 of which tested negative and 13 positive, adding that the new infections have been detected in Sabha.

The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases so far is 118, including 41 recoveries and five deaths, according to the center.

Due to the rise of infections in the city recently, the UN-backed government decided to ban the entry into and exit from Sabha and impose a 24-hour curfew for seven days starting from Thursday, in order to fight the pandemic.

A series of protective measures have been taken by the Libyan authorities against the virus, including closing the country’s borders, mosques and schools, and imposing a curfew.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Nubian ibexes seen in Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel

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A Nubian ibex is seen by a road in Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel, on May 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Shang Hao)

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