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Water level of Africa’s largest lake starts falling towards normal

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Water level of Africa’s largest lake starts falling towards normal

The water level of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, has started falling towards normal after rising to a record high, a hydropower company in Uganda said.


Eskom Uganda Limited tweeted that the water level has tremendously reduced to 13.24 meters after months of water spilling at Nalubaale and Kiira Power Plants in the eastern Ugandan district of Jinja.

The water spilling, authorised by the government to normalise the water level, started on Feb. 28.

The company said the water spilling will continue until the level normalises.

The water level of the lake shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, on May 7, rose to 13.42 meters compared to its previous high of 13.41 meters recorded in 1964.

The high water level has affected residents living near the shores and cut off businesses for entities there including some luxury hotels.

Experts attributed the rise to torrential rains, environmental degradation and urbanisation.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Babatunde Abdulfatah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

Australia records deadliest day of pandemic as Melbourne cases surge

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Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has experienced another record-breaking daily increase in COVID-19 cases and related deaths, making it the country’s deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic.


The state recorded 725 new virus cases and 15 COVID-19-related deaths, including a man, aged 30 years, Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said on Wednesday.

Both figures mark the worst day of the pandemic for the state, as well as nationally, since the pandemic started.

The death toll from the virus in Victoria is now 162, while it is 247 nationally.

Most of the new cases and deaths overnight were in Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne.

For more than a month, Victoria has consistently recorded triple-digit daily case numbers amid a second wave that broke out in Melbourne in late June.

The state’s previous record was 723 new cases on July 30.

Earlier this week, Andrews declared a state of disaster and imposed tough new restrictions on Melbourne, including a night-time curfew and closing down businesses, retail shops and manufacturing.

Andrews said, on Wednesday, that essential workers will be required to show they have a permit to leave their homes if asked by the Police from Thursday onwards.

While healthcare workers and police officers can use their official identification, all others have to apply for the permit online.

Restrictions, which are in place until Sept. 13, also prohibit residents from travelling more than five kilometres from their home to go grocery shopping or exercise.

All recreational activities and weddings have been banned and face masks are mandatory.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Over 6,800 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast in 2020

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The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said, on Tuesday, that 6,848 illegal immigrants have been rescued and returned to Libya so far in 2020.


IOM said the rescued immigrants include 474 women and 364 minors, adding that 115 illegal immigrants have died and 180 gone missing on the central Mediterranean route in 2020.

“A total of 9,225 illegal immigrants were rescued and returned to Libya in 2019, while 270 people died and 992 were missing,’’ the IOM said.

The fall of the Muammar Gaddafi’s government in 2011 had created a state of insecurity and chaos in Libya.

This made the country, a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.

Immigrant shelters in Libya are overcrowded with immigrants, despite repeated international calls to close them.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Economy

Dollar slips as yields dive on recovery worries

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The dollar fell in Asia on Wednesday, hitting a five-month low on the yuan.


This is as the latest coronavirus relief package stalled in Congress and United States yields sank on the prospect that further monetary easing might be needed to support the economy.

A hardening perception that the United States recovery is lagging Europe has buttressed the euro, which has repelled a rebound in the dollar and rose back above $1.18 on Wednesday.

At the same time speculation that stalemate over fiscal policy in Washington could leave the Federal Reserve with more to do, has hastened a steady decline in United States yields – undermining the dollar more broadly.

Sterling, the Australian dollar and the kiwi all climbed back toward pre-pandemic highs, while the yen rose and gold soared as real yields plumbed record lows.

“United States economic outperformance, relative to the eurozone and Japan, is no longer guaranteed given the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ said Tai Hui, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s chief strategist in Asia.

“Dollar interest rates are also converging to other developed economies’ interest rates, which means that the dollar is less appealing,’’ Hui said.

He added it is difficult to see the Fed easing policy ahead of its global peers.

The Australian dollar led gains among the majors with a 0.4 per cent rise to $0.7189.

Ten-year Australian government debt now yields about 31 basis points more than 10-year United States government debt, up from 16 basis points two months ago.

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.3 per cent to $0.6646, catching some support from a surprise dip in the jobless rate.

The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 105.60 per dollar and sterling edged higher to $1.3091.

Even the Chinese yuan, which had struggled to capitalise on the dollar’s weakness amid simmering Sino-United States tensions, forged higher to a five-month top of 6.9570 per dollar in onshore trade.

Other Asian currencies also made gains, notably the Malaysian ringgit, which was stronger than 4.2 per dollar for the first in five months.

The dollar has been sliding since March, but its prime antagonist in recent weeks has been the euro, which in July posted its best month in almost 10 years.

That has the common currency more or less back where it began life in 1999 and has many investors convinced it can keep climbing as a Europe-wide fiscal relief package anchors recovery and allays perennial worries about the bloc’s stability.

“Right now, looming long-term negative United States issues – like the dollar’s reserve status as the United States and China decouple – are at the forefront of FX concerns and not the euro’s structural problems,’ said Deutsche Bank strategist, Alan Ruskin.

“The door to $1.20+ remains wide open,’’ he said.

For now, eyes are on Washington where White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of this week.

The next economic updates are due later on Wednesday, with services surveys in Britain and Europe in the morning and United States private payrolls data around 1215 GMT.

Investors expect steady services growth in Europe and a slowdown in the United States in hiring, with surprises on any front likely to illuminate the apparent divergence between Europe and the United States

Analysts at ING have also noted that equity investors have yet to really buy into the European recovery story – and say a pile-in could provide even more support to the currency.

“Buy-side surveys suggest that investors are still heavily overweight United States equities, especially tech stocks, and are minded to rotate into the Eurozone and see the euro as cheap,’’ said ING’s global head of markets, Chris Turner.

“If that rotation comes to pass … then euro/dollar may be a $1.25 story after all.’’

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19

Oil prices snap four-day winning streak as COVID-19 cases grow

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Oil prices fell for the first time in four days on Wednesday, slipping from as much as five-month highs as mounting coronavirus cases worldwide and in the United States undercut market confidence about a potential pickup in fuel demand.


Brent crude was down four cents, or 0.1 per cent, at $44.39 a barrel by 0449 GMT.

It finished 0.6 per cent higher on Wednesday – the highest close since March 6.

West Texas Intermediate oil was down eight cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $41.62 a barrel.

The contract ended Tuesday trading 1.7 per cent higher, its highest close since late July.

Coronavirus cases continued to rise in the United States, and deaths are at more than a 1,000 a day while dozens of states have had to pause or scale back plans to reopen their economies.

Still, a big fall in United States inventories of crude oil provided a bottom to prices.

Crude inventories were down by 8.6 million barrels in the week to Aug. 1 to 520 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a drop of three million barrels.

Official figures from the United States Department of Energy are due out later on Wednesday.

“It would be safe to say that United States crude oil inventories are in a firm downward trend,’’ if the official numbers confirm last week’s drop, ING Economics said in a note.

Helping support sentiment were signs that talks between Democrats in Congress and the White House on a new package of coronavirus relief started moving in the right direction, although the two sides remain far apart.

United States factory data this week also showed an improvement in orders, which some analysts saw as offering relief to concerns about risks to any recovery.

Japan’s services sector contracted for a sixth consecutive month in July, data showed on Wednesday.

This is suggesting activity in the world’s third-biggest economy and fourth-biggest oil importer remained under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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