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UK Prime Minister, Johnson pledges to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday pledged that the UK would leave the European Union on Oct. 31.

He added that London would secure a new and “better” deal with Brussels.

“And so I am standing before you today to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong.

“We are going to fulfill the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the European Union on Oct. 31, no ifs or buts.

“And we will do a new deal, a better deal,” the new prime minister said.

Johnson stressed he was convinced that a deal without checks on the Irish border and without the backstop clause was possible.

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Belarusian president names new prime minister, cabinet members

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday named the country’s new prime minister and cabinet members, the presidential press office said.

Roman Golovchenko, who previously served as chairman of the State Military Industrial Committee, was appointed as new prime minister.

Lukashenko appointed Nikolai Snopkov, former ambassador to China, as first deputy prime minister.

Dmitry Krutoy, previously serving as first deputy prime minister, was appointed as deputy head of the presidential administration.

Lukashenko appointed Yuri Seliverstov as new finance minister.

On Wednesday, Lukashenko dismissed his government ahead of a presidential election set for Aug. 9.

(XINHUA)

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UK Prime Minister hosts global vaccine summit June 4

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The British High Commission in Nigeria says the UK Prime Minister will host a Global Vaccine Summit on June 4.

The commission,  in a statement on Tuesday, said that the summit would  bring together, leaders from around the world to a virtual event to pledge their support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

It said the aim was to further  protect  300 million children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio.

According to the commission, the global vaccine summit aims to raise at least 7.4 billion US Dollars to help Gavi save up to 8 million lives.

It said that the UK would continue its global leadership on tackling preventable deaths and stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.

According to the statement, the UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor, and on April 29,  the International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of 330 million Pounds a year over the next five years from the aid budget to protect 75 million children from preventable diseases.

It said that Gavi was a crucial partner in the fight against infectious diseases globally, including Coronavirus.

The commission said that with the support of UK Aid, Gavi had immunised over 760 million children in the world’s poorest countries, saving more than 13 million lives.

According to the commission, between 2000 and 2023 Gavi has committed over 3 billion US dollars alone to Nigeria to combat diseases like Measles, Meningitis and Yellow Fever.

Speaking on the upcoming Summit, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said: “Producing a vaccine for COVID-19 is a priority for the UK government as this will help save lives in Nigeria and globally from the deadly virus.

“Gavi is already working hard with partners to ensure any future vaccine that is safe and effective is delivered at scale around the world.

We welcome Gavi’s partnership with Nigeria over the years, which has helped to fight diseases such as yellow fever, meningitis and measles by improving immunisation rates and strengthening the health systems across the country.

“I welcome the international recognition Nigerians have received for their role in supporting the global effort to find a cure and stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

” Gavi’s has also given recognition to the Nigerian Public Health and Health Promotion Specialist, Dr Obinna Ebirim, for his tireless and passionate advocacy for equitable access to vaccines and sustainable immunisation financing in Nigeria,” Laing said.

Commenting on the upcoming summit, Health Promotion Specialist, Dr Obinna Ebirim said:

“Gavi is known to supporting health systems by ensuring  that vaccines get to the last mile where they are used to vaccinate children and prevent diseases.

“As we move toward the Global Vaccine Summit to be hosted by the United Kingdom, I call on countries and donors to support the work Gavi is doing, ” Ebirim said.

He said that supporting Gavi meant assisting vaccination programmes in poor and remote communities around the world including Nigeria.

“ One of the things we have learnt from COVID-19 pandemic is that what affects the health of one country affects the health of everyone, ” Ebirim said.

He noted that the UK had committed an additional 20 million Pounds through the African Union’s new ‘Africa anti-COVID -19 fund’ to recruit and deploy health experts where they were needed most, to tackle the pandemic.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

 

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Police arrest suspect over threats against Israeli prime minister

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Israeli police on Tuesday said it arrested a suspect over alleged threats against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media.

The Police’s national cyber unit identified the suspect as a 21-year-old man from northern Israeli.

According to Israeli news outlet ynet, the suspect is an Israeli soldier, and was set to appear before a court in central Israel on Tuesday.

“A few days ago I filed a complaint with the police about a series of threats to kill me and my family,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“Today, to my regret, I was forced to file another complaint against a despicable person who detailed how he plans to kill me and my family,” he added, attaching a screenshot of a threat against him.

The screenshot included a suggestion to behead the Netanyahu family and hang their bodies from the balcony of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

In May, police said Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, had filed complaints over threats and incitement against him.

In recent weeks, Netanyahu has been the subject of protests both for and against him, as his corruption trial began last week, making him the first sitting prime minister in the country’s history to stand trial.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister was officially indicted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in January.

Following three general elections in less than a year, Netanyahu was sworn in last month as the head of an emergency unity government including his Likud party and the centrist Blue and White Alliance of his former main rival Benny Gantz.


Edited By: Halima Sheji/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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British PM leaves 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister’s Questions

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister’s Questions in London, Britain, May 20, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

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Lesotho Prime Minister formally announces resignation

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Lesotho’s embattled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Tuesday formally announced his retirement during a public broadcast.
“The right time to retire has finally arrived,” he said.
Thabane did not mention the ongoing investigation into the murder of his first wife, Lipolelo, which has led to repeated calls for his resignation.
The investigation was opened in January. Thabane’s present wife Maesaiah has been charged with murder and attempted murder and currently on bail.
Thabane also appeared in court in February in connection with the murder, but was not charged.
Police said at the time of his court appearance that the couple would be charged alongside his wife because they had a common purpose.
However, Thabane did not mention whether he was going to be charged in his resignation speech, but thanked his wife and family for their ongoing support. He also promised to back his successor.
The 80 year old Thabane, who has had a long political career in the tiny mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa, announced his intention to retire from politics in January.
He has since come under increasing pressure to step down.
The formal resignation came shortly after the Council of State, which advises King Letsie III, instructed him to resign and named the current Finance Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro, as Prime Minister designate.
Thabane told supporters in his home constituency of Abia on Monday that he had stepped down as premier, but not as Head of the party.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Entertainment

Amazon Prime snags Bollywood premieres, angering theatre owners

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Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming service, will screen several new Indian films originally meant for release in theatres this month, sparking protests from cinema owners as the novel coronavirus outbreak upends Bollywood.

India has been under a strict lockdown since March 25 to battle the virus, leaving about 9,500 theatres shut and depriving Bollywood of box-office revenue.

So producers of seven films, including two Bollywood movies starring A-listers, such as Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan, will stream the movies directly on Amazon Prime Video following a deal, the company said in a statement on Friday.

“Gulabo Sitabo”, a family comedy with Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, which was set for release in April, will now stream directly on Amazon Prime Video in June, as will “Shakuntala Devi”, a biopic of the Indian mathematician of the same name.

Two of India’s biggest cinema chains, Inox and PVR, which were meant to screen “Gulabo Sitabo”, bemoaned the decision.

INOX will be constrained to examine its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures in dealing with such fair-weather friends,” Inox said in a statement.

The producers’ guild said the comments from Inox were “abrasive and unconstructive”.

PVR Chief Executive Kamal Gianchandani told the Indian Express on Thursday after Amazon announced it would stream “Gulabo Sitabo” that he was disappointed by the news.

The other five films in the Amazon deal were productions from the prolific southern-language film industry.

Streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix had in the past signed deals with Indian studios for digital rights, but mainstream releases have always prioritised theatrical revenues first.

In China, regulators aim to protect the industry by enforcing rules to stop movies premiering online, in particular by strictly managing “theatrical window period” requirements, a period for movies to be screened in cinemas before they could be shown elsewhere.

But analysts said the Amazon deal in India was likely the beginning of a broader trend, as lingering fears of coronavirus infection and lower discretionary spending keep people away from multiplexes and single-screen cinemas.

“There will be a reset in the way that producers and studios think about their portfolios,” Vijay Subramaniam, director and head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, India, told Reuters in an interview.

Subramaniam said Amazon, which competes in India with Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar, did not see acquisition costs going up for the streaming platform.

Bollywood is a huge draw for India’s burgeoning online audiences, who – driven by cheap data and smartphones – are spending more time watching content online than ever before.

The media reported that more producers in Bollywood and the southern-language industry were in talks with streaming platforms for direct-to-digital releases.

Last month, theatre owners in the southern state of Tamil Nadu threatened to boycott well-known actor Suriya over his decision to stream his film on a digital platform.

That film, “Ponmagal Vandhal” is part of the seven-film slated that Amazon announced on Friday.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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UK prime minister to present plans to ease COVID-19 lockdown measures on Sunday

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would present the government’s plans to ease the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown on Sunday.

“We will, of course, be setting out the details about that plan on Sunday,” Johnson said on Wednesday during his first appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament after undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

The prime minister was questioned by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer regarding the decision to publish the plan on Sunday, giving lawmakers little time to debate which measures will be relaxed.

“The reason for that is very simple. We have to be sure that the data is going to support our ability to do this.

“But that data is coming in continuously over the next few days.

“We’ll want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of these measures on Monday,” Johnson said.

The UK has been in lockdown since March 23, after the government observed a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

At present, UK citizens are only allowed to leave their homes to travel to work, to shop for essentials, for medical appointments, or to exercise once per day.

On Tuesday, the UK overtook Italy to register the second-highest COVID-19 death toll since the start of the outbreak.

Only the U.S. has confirmed more coronavirus-related deaths.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that 693 people had died due to complications from the disease over the preceding 24 hours, a significant rise from the 288 deaths announced on Monday.

In total, the UK has confirmed almost 195,000 cases of the disease.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Russian Prime Minister tests positive for coronavirus

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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced that he had contracted the coronavirus and requested that his first deputy be appointed as acting prime minister

Mishustin made the announcement during an online conference with President Vladimir Putin.

He said that he would remain in self-isolation for the time being, but added that his cabinet would continue to operate and that he would stay in touch.

“In light of this situation, I would like to address all Russian citizens to take the threat of the coronavirus infection and its spread seriously.

“We have the May celebrations ahead of us and I urge all of you to stay home [during them] and follow all safety rules to prevent the spreading of the disease,” Mishustin said.

The PM also suggested that his first deputy, Andrey Belousov, be appointed as acting prime minister until he gets well and is able to fully return to work.

Putin has accepted Belousov’s candidacy and wished Mishustin to get well as soon as possible.

“What happens to you right now can happen to any of us, I have always said that. […] You, your cabinet, presidential administration are in the zone of high risk [of infection],” Putin told the prime minister.

The president also announced that all crucial decisions on supporting the Russian economy during the pandemic will be cleared with Mishustin before being signed.

He also thanked the prime minister for all the work he and his cabinet have done so far and expressed hope that he will be able to continue to take an active part in the cabinet’s activities, despite his illness.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

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Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Nabian tests positive for COVID-19

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Prime Minister Nuno Nabian of Guinea-Bissau and several other senior officials have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Lusa news agency reported on Wednesday.

Nabian and at least three other members of his government are infected, Lusa quoted Health Minister Antonio Deuna as saying in a televised address.

A government source told Lusa that the other infected officials are Interior Minister Botche Cande and two secretaries of state, Mario Fambe and Monica Buaro.

The cases are related to a senior Interior Ministry official who has died, Lusa reported.

Guinea-Bissau had recorded 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death by Wednesday, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The small country, which has a population of about 1.8 million, is considered one of Africa’s most volatile states, with 16 coup attempts since it gained independence in 1974. Four succeeded.

Nabian has served as Prime Minister since February.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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