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U. S. woman crosses Channel four times in record-breaking swim

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U.S. endurance swimmer Sarah Thomas has become the first person to swim across the English Channel four times without stopping, refuelling only on a liquid formula during her 54-hour feat.

The 37-year-old woman from Colorado performed her record-breaking swim a year after receiving treatment for breast cancer, and dedicated her achievement to fellow cancer survivors.

She came ashore on a beach near Dover on the south coast of England on Tuesday morning exhausted and with a sore throat from all the salt water.

“I was throwing up. I was sick. I was really just pretty numb.

“There were a lot of people on the beach to meet me and wish me well.

“That was really nice of them, but I feel just mostly stunned right now. I just can’t believe we did it,” she said.

In theory, the route that Thomas swam should have been 80 miles (130 km) long but due to strong currents in the Channel she in fact swam 130 miles (210 km).

She said she saw lots of fish and jellyfish along the way.

Previously, four swimmers had crossed the water between England and France three times without stopping.

Thomas consumed only a liquid diet during her swim.

Her support crew, following her in a boat, would throw her a bottle containing a mix of carbohydrates, electrolytes and some caffeine, with a little apple juice to improve the flavour.

“That’s what I ate most of the way,” she said.

Upon arrival, she tried to celebrate with champagne but found it did not go down well. She did manage to eat some M&M chocolates.

“Hopefully I can sleep the rest of the day. I’m pretty out of it and pretty tired right now, for sure,” she said. (Reuters/)

BOG/JPE/SN

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Silas Nwoha

 

 

 

 

Foreign

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

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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.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

CBN adjusts timelines for reversals of complaints on electronic channels

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has adjusted timelines for reversals or resolution of refund complaints on electronic channels with effect from June 8.

The CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Okorafor explained that the move was aimed at further enhancing service quality, particularly quick refunds when customers experience failed transactions, dispense error or dispute.

He said the adjustment on failed “On Us Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions,” when customers used their cards on their bank ATMs, would now be instantly reversed from the current timelines of three days.

He added that where instant reversal failed due to any technical issue or system glitch, the timeline for manual reversal should not exceed 24 hours.

The director further stated that on refund for failed “Not on us ATM transaction”, where customers used their cards on other bank’s ATMs, should not exceed 48 hours from the current three to five days.

He said resolution of disputed and failed POS or Web transactions should be concluded within 72 hours from the current five days.

According to him, all banks are directed to resolve backlog of ATM, POS and web customer refunds within two weeks.

Meanwhile, Okorafor noted that the key service providers in Nigerian payment system had also committed to establish integrated dispute resolution platform for the industry and enhance their payment system infrastructure and processes to reduce incidences of transaction failure.

“Members of the public are therefore requested to refer to the updated guidelines for the operation of electronic payment channnels on the bank’s website www.cbn.gov.ng for further details”.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Iran expects greater performance from Swiss payment channel

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday urged Switzerland to play an effective role to improve the performance of a payment mechanism, Tasnim news agency reported.

In a phone conversation with President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga, Rouhani welcomed the initiative of Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) for transactions with Iran and stressed the need for the channel to become more operational.

He expressed the hope that Switzerland will do more to enhance the efficiency of the payment channel and help Iran’s financial resources in some countries become operational via this channel.

The SHTA was originally designed in October 2019 to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran to tackle the problems emerged in Iran’s financial transactions under the U.S. sanctions.

Initial transactions were successfully conducted in January 2020 which demonstrated the viability and effectiveness of the SHTA.

On Jan. 30, Abdul Nasser Hemmati, the governor of Iran’s central bank, said that if the Americans really claim to avail the supply of medicine and agricultural goods to Iran, they should ease banking mechanisms to transfer and procure resources for commodities.

(XINHUA)

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Environment

LASG working on thorough evacuation of silt in drainage channels — Commissioner

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The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, says Lagos State Government will focus more on silt evacuation to ensure proper flow of drainage channels in the state.

Bello made this known during the Phase II inspection of the ongoing drainage clearing exercise by the Lagos State Government on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the commissioner was accompanied by Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Mr Joe Igbokwe, Permanent Secretary, Drainage, Mr Olalekan Shodeinde and other senior officials in the ministry.

NAN also reports that the drainage channels visited included the System 2, Fola Agoro, Opeyemi Fola Agoro Collector drain, Somolu, Aloe, Akobi Crescent, Drainaging of Ojo Niyun by Park Lane Channel Collector Drain.

Other drainage channels visited included the NTA 7,/Alaka Channel (System 4) Alaka, Dredging of Carter Drainage Channel, Idi Araba drain, Railway, Alaka, Otumara Costain Under bridge, Herbert Macaulay, Nathan Collector Drain and dredging of Bush Arowojobe Channel.

According to Bello, it is better to allow evacuated silt taken from the canal to drain for some time because it is usually wet and heavy.

He said that at least two or three days were enough for the silt to dry, saying that the ministry had noticed abandonment of silts around some places which would be addressed as soon as possible.

“Our observation so far is that we still have some problems in some areas and in most parts, the drainage evacuator had done tremendous job in evacuation of drainage channels in the state.

“We have asked the engineers in charge of some drainages that we are not comfortable with what they did and to go back and start all over again.

“We have been able to stabilise the environment structure in the state. We are working toward stabilising the structure of waste management we have.

“Similarly, the drainage management have been reinstalled as a result of drainage abandonment in the last four years; Idi Araba drainage was an evidence of drainage abandonment,” Bello said.

He said that the Idi Araba drainage had been evacuated, saying that it remained the upstream that needed to be evacuated to ensure proper flow of water channel.

Igbokwe said that the team had been to 25 drainage channels so far to ensure possible reduction of flooding in the state.

He urged Lagos residents to stop dumping of refuse into the canal

to complement government efforts at clearing the drainage channels.

Shodeinde said that many channels had been cleared which gave water easy passage, adding that the exercise continues till September 2020 to get the state ready for the October peak.

He urged residents to vacate from the setback – the minimum distance which a building or other structure must be from the canal – to enable the government excavate cutaway at the setback of the canal.

Shodeinde also urged residents to always maintain their tertiary drain to avoid small drains in the streets. .

AIC /

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Idi Araba/ LUTH drainage channels.

 

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Science & Technology

YouTube highlights 5 channels to keep homes tidy

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YouTube on Thursday highlighted five video channels that could help keep homes tidy and in the process exercise to fight stress and anxiety.

Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communication Officer, Google West Africa, said in a statement in Lagos that one way of fighting stress and anxiety according to experts is the act of cleaning as an exercise.

Kola-Ogunlade said that with personal and home hygiene gaining increased importance in recent times, the following YouTube channels were jam-packed with inspiration for getting your house in order room by room literally.

He said that `Simply Nikki’, `Jessica Tull’, `Clean my Space’, `Jansen’s DIY’ and `Belinda Selene’ were the five YouTube channels.

According to him, Simply Nikki, a messy pantry happens to the best of us, unless we happen to have a healthy dose of OCD.

“Nikki Thot of Jamie and Nikki fame, shares how she’s using her time at home to clean up her pantry and make it look like something out of the pages of a magazine.

‘’Bathrooms and small spaces in general can very quickly get very out of hand.

‘’The folks over at Jansen’s DIY a channel dedicated to home improvement, life hacks and DIY-related topics, have compiled a list of 20 ways to organise and create storage space in small bathrooms,’’ he said.

Kola-Ogunlade said if one had been tossing old newspapers, cardboard boxes, plastic bags, old tools and useless toys in garage for years and “wants to stop the cycle, Jessica Tull is here for you’’.

According to him, get inspired as she transforms her complete disaster of a garage into an orderly sanctuary.

The communication Officer said that a cluttered, untidy and dirty bedroom could be affecting your quality of life without you even realising it.

Kola-Ogunlade said that waking up to a tidy and organised bedroom could increase your productivity, improve your mood and even help you sleep better.

He said that Melissa from Clean My Space not only showed you how to clean your room, but also how to do it like a cleaning professional.

According to him, If you feel inspired enough to take on an extreme home clean, clean along to Belinda Selene.

Kola-ogunlade said Selene had decided to use her social distancing time to give herself a kickstart in productivity and take her mind off things.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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General news

COVID-19: CDA moves to fumigate streets, clear drainage channels

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Ifedapo Community Development Association (CDA), Surulere, Lagos, will begin fumigation of the area on Sunday, May 10, starting from Tejuosho market and parts of Ojuelegba to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the association, Mr Babatunde Sodipe, made this known on Saturday during a media briefing to thank stakeholders for COVID-19 palliatives received in the area.

He explained that the community which comprised residential areas and markets, needed to be fumigated, sustained and staggered through various market-approved days.

“We will begin fumigation of the streets under this CDA tomorrow Sunday and we will continue this initiative because COVID-19 is a deadly virus,” he said.

Sodipe said that a special COVID-19 task force set up by the CDA was carrying out house-to-house sensitisation to let the residents know that the virus was real and deadly.

He added that market sensitisation as well as enforcement of provision of hand washing devices were made available in shops in the various plazas and shops in the market.

He said that the CDA would begin immediate evacuation of drainage channels to avert flooding ahead of the rainy season and solicited youth’s empowerment in the community.

He pledged the resolve of the new leadership to ensure security and development while calling for more government support in the area.

“We will put in our best to ensure we make you proud. You have chosen us as your representatives and we pledge to do our best in accomplishing the tasks ahead of us.

“We use this medium to humbly call on the government and all involved in community existence to please do the best they can to ensure that our local communities thrive.

“There are several areas within our communities that need urgent government and private sector intervention and the area of youth development and rural infrastructure cannot be left out.

“More can still be done to alleviate the troubles of the masses at the grassroots and we look up to you all for equitable, fair and accountable leadership strides.

“We believe in the government of the day and trust in their leadership capacities to move us all in the right direction as we progress,” Sodipe said.

He pledged the commitment of his team to the State, Local and Federal Governments as well as other community stakeholders.

He thanked all tiers of government, House of Representatives Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, elders of the community, past and current councillors for their contributions toward giving palliatives to community.

“We do not want the gestures to go unappreciated,” Sodipe said.

Mr Patrick Apan an Ex-officio of the CDA, also appealed for more emphasis on youths’ empowerment to tackle problem of non-development in the area.

Mr Adedamola Osho an elderly citizen in the area commended the new leadership for their efforts and appealed that the palliatives meant for the area should be increased because of its huge population.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

British coastguards rescue over 20 migrants in Channel

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British coastguards rescued mlre than 120 migrants trying to cross the English Channel on seven small boats, French maritime authorities said on Friday.

“The rescue took place in the night from Thursday to Friday,’’ a spokesman for the Maritime Prefecture for the Channel and North Sea said.

Border coastguards in Britain and France have intercepted numerous attempted crossings in recent months as migrants have repeatedly tried to travel from destinations in Asia and Africa to Britain.

“It’s little wonder people living in France’s refugee camps are desperate to make this dangerous crossing, given the awful conditions they face there,” Clare Moseley, founder of the Care4Calais charity, said in a statement.

She was referring to difficulties in implementing social distancing measures to fight COVID-19 in the camps.

“These people are fleeing terrifying situations in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.

“They aim for the UK because they want to be safe,” Moseley said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Science & Technology

Google proposes five channels for home fitness

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Google on Monday proposed  five channels to help gym, a home fitness routine, so as not miss out of regular work out during the lockdown.

Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communication Officer, West Africa said in Lagos that it was easy to start missing out on regular routine being cooped up at home and looking after kids.

Kola-Ogunlade in a statement noted that turning a gym routine into a home routine is not as hard as one might think.

He said that the YouTube channels were good places to start looking for work out and stretches to keep one fit and fabulous.

According to him, the five channels were Six pack factory, Forbes, Renow Health or The Mayo Clinic, Popsugar Fitness, Littlesport and MadFit.

”Six Pack Factory has a wealth of home routine one can try out in just 15 minutes to burn body fat.

 ”YouTuber Peter Carvell also offers diet and motivational tips to help you stay on track and work towards your fitness goals.

”Do it at your desk – if you’re not used to working at home, your setup can be less than ideal – resulting in a sore neck, shoulders and back.

“Check out these easy routines from Forbes, Renown Health or The Mayo Clinic to help keep you in tip-top shape,” Kola-Ogunlade said in a statement.

He also said that Go to class if one prefer to follow a fitness class, POPSUGAR Fitness was just what one needed.

Kola-Ogunlade said that PopSugar offers a variety of different workouts, from 10-minute stretch classes to 15-minute calorie burning workouts and more.

According to him, Kid around – get the kids involved in your daily routine and make it fun for the whole family.

Little Sports is a channel devoted to providing workouts tailored specifically for kids, including many that can be done indoors

He said that Get intense for those who like their fitness at high intensity, MadFit has a wide variety of at-home, no-equipment high-intensity workouts.

The Communication Officer said from upper body to full body, and attack or a good morning stretch – MadFit has it covered.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Health

EU’s €50m donation to be channeled to support COVID-19 response-SGF

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The European Union (EU) 50 million Euros donation to Nigeria will be channeled to the “One COVID-19 Basket Fund” for the national pandemic response plan.

NAN reports that on April 6, Nigeria and the UN launched the “One COVID-19 Basket Fund, framework, to mobilise over two million dollars from the UN system for the procurement of essential medical supplies that will boost the efforts of the Nigerian Government in containing COVID-19 and caring for those confirmed cases in need of serious medical attention.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who is also the Presidential Task Force (PTF) Chairman, disclosed this on Tuesday  in Abuja, during the  PTF daily briefing on COVID-19 in the country.

The SGF said that President Muhammadu Buhari received the contribution.

“The money will be channeled through the  basket fund to facilitate rapid procurement of equipment, consumables, supporting socio-economic interventions for vulnerable groups and other aspects of treatment and critical care continuum.

Mustapha said that the President’s extension of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT by 14 days, was a difficult decision to make, but the government was convinced that this was the right thing to do.

“The evidence is clear. The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable,” he said.

Mustapha called on Nigerians not to lose the gains achieved thus far; but they must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission, urging them to endure a little longer.

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said that Treatment Centre Accreditation Team was working and had set out guidelines for their work.

Ehanire said that the team would also be conducting random spot checks on Isolation and Treatment facilities nationwide.

The Minister disclosed that over 9, 000 persons of interest have been followed up in contact tracing; most of them have completed their 14 days isolation.

“Government notes early evidence of community transmission, which reinforced the call for physical distancing, the use of masks in public places, as well as strict personal and respiratory hygiene.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said as at 9.50 p.m., April 13 there are 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. 91 have been discharged with 10 deaths.

The centre said that the 343 were recorded from 19 states of the federation.

It stated that Lagos remained the epicenter with 189cases, 56 cases in FCT, 20 in Osun, 14 in Edo, 11 in Oyo, 11 in Bauchi and Kaduna, 6 Akwa Ibom and Kastina has 5 cases.

Kwara has 4 cases, Ogun, 9, Kano 3, 2 each in Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Ondo and Rivers, while Benue, Niger, and Anambra has one each.

The European Union (EU) 50 million Euros donation to Nigeria will be channeled to the “One COVID-19 Basket Fund” for the national pandemic response plan.

NAN reports that on April 6, Nigeria and the UN launched the “One COVID-19 Basket Fund, framework, to mobilise over two million dollars from the UN system for the procurement of essential medical supplies that will boost the efforts of the Nigerian Government in containing COVID-19 and caring for those confirmed cases in need of serious medical attention.

Nigeria and the UN launched the “

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who is also the Presidential Task Force (PTF) Chairman, disclosed this on Tuesday  in Abuja, during the  PTF daily briefing on COVID-19 in the country.

The SGF said that President Muhammadu Buhari received the contribution.

“The money will be channeled through the  basket fund to facilitate rapid procurement of equipment, consumables, supporting socio-economic interventions for vulnerable groups and other aspects of treatment and critical care continuum.

Mustapha said that the President’s extension of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT by 14 days, was a difficult decision to make, but the government was convinced that this was the right thing to do.

“The evidence is clear. The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable,” he said.

Mustapha called on Nigerians not to lose the gains achieved thus far; but they must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission, urging them to endure a little longer.

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said that Treatment Centre Accreditation Team was working and had set out guidelines for their work.

Ehanire said that the team would also be conducting random spot checks on Isolation and Treatment facilities nationwide.

The Minister disclosed that over 9, 000 persons of interest have been followed up in contact tracing; most of them have completed their 14 days isolation.

“Government notes early evidence of community transmission, which reinforced the call for physical distancing, the use of masks in public places, as well as strict personal and respiratory hygiene.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said as at 9.50 p.m., April 13 there are 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. 91 have been discharged with 10 deaths.

The centre said that the 343 were recorded from 19 states of the federation.

It stated that Lagos remained the epicenter with 189cases, 56 cases in FCT, 20 in Osun, 14 in Edo, 11 in Oyo, 11 in Bauchi and Kaduna, 6 Akwa Ibom and Kastina has 5 cases.

Kwara has 4 cases, Ogun, 9, Kano 3, 2 each in Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Ondo and Rivers, while Benue, Niger, and Anambra has one each.

Rabi’u Sani Ali

Rabi’u Sani Ali

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