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World Athletics suspends 2020 Olympics period till Dec. 1

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World Athletics has suspended the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from April 6 until November 30, 2020.

According to a statement on the website of the world athletics governing body, the decision followed consultation with its Athletes’ Commission, Area Presidents and Council.

The statement added that during this period, results achieved at any competition would not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.

”Results will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions, but they will not be used to establish an athlete’s qualification status.

”Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on Dec. 1, 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee.

”The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was originally,” the statement read.

The statement quoted World Athletics President Sebastian Coe as saying he was grateful for the detailed work and feedback from the Athletes’ Commission and Council.

”They believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation.

”They also think it is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions,” Coe said.

The statement, however, noted that athletes, who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified.

”But they will be eligible for selection by their respective Member Federations and National Olympic Committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period.

The end of the Olympic qualification periods are May 31, 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and June 29, 2021 for all other events,” the statement read.

NAN recalls that the 2020 Olympics Games earlier scheduled to hold between July 24 and Aug. 9, 2020 has been rescheduled to hold from July 23, 2021 to Aug. 8, 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide
(NAN) 

 

 

Bushrah Yusuf: 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

Bosnian Premier League among worst in world for coach stability: survey

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A new study by the Football Observatory (CIES) shows that Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the worst countries in the world in terms of job stability for coaches.

Using data from 2015 to 2019, the Bosnian league is characterized by frequent coach changes, ahead of only the leagues of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Bolivia. The average number of coaches changed per club in Bosnia during this period is seven.

In contrast, the best country for coaches to work in is judged to be Sweden, where only 2.6 coaches have changed on average per club for the period covered by the survey.

(XINHUA)

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Analysis: German “Clasico” attracting worldwide audience

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Talking about football in the difficult days of the COVID-19 crisis means talking about the German Bundesliga.

The upcoming duel between second-placed Borussia Dortmund and league leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich is attracting worldwide attention.

With Germany one of the few countries to have restarted its domestic football league, a three-digit number of countries is to broadcast the delicate duel of Germany’s leading sides at the Signal Iduna Park.

Marketing officers from both clubs and the league association might be delighted considering the publicity effect, while fans eagerly wait for another footballing delicacy.

The worst fears of football being played behind closed doors leading to less quality have not been realized. By contrast, sides like Bayern, Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig gave plenty of evidence that the so-called “ghost games” have a particular charm.

Football behind closed doors seems an advantage for technically advanced sides, as football is reduced to its core activity without being affected by significant impact from the outside. In Dortmund and Bayern, two such sides are going to face off this Tuesday evening.

Fans now puzzle over the question of what will decide the nail-biting duel.

Statistics talk about the crucial starting point. To win the 2019/20 Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund (57 points) have to beat Bayern (61) to retain any realistic chance.

However, Bayern also have tough fixtures against fifth-placed Monchengladbach and third-placed Leverkusen in the remaining six rounds.

Neither side appears to be affected by the unfamiliar atmosphere in having to play without a cheering crowd. Both Dortmund and Bayern seem to have used the six-week hiatus to recharge and perform at an impressively high level.

This is all the more surprising for Dortmund, as the team of Lucien Favre typically relies on the support of up to 80,000 fans, including 25,000 forming the so-called Yellow Wall.

Dortmund vs Bayern is not only the battle of a team of enchanting young talents challenging established stars, but the thrilling duel of the league’s top-scoring sides.

Bayern’s 80 goals in 27 matches set a new record, but Dortmund are only narrowly behind on 74.

The Bavarians’ coach Hansi Flick has led the side back to success, revitalizing the team spirit. At the same time, he has brought the best out of established stars such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, youngster Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski.

However, Dortmund might have found its suitable tactical 3-4-3 system just in time. The side established a solid defense around leader Mats Hummels next to full-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi.

Upfront, a gifted line of attackers such as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt is doing a good job of compensating for the loss of injured team captain Marco Reus.

(XINHUA)

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Opinion: Post-pandemic world needs better globalization, not less

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Even at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the world, beef from New Zealand, red wine from Chile, and detergent from Germany remain just a click away to Chinese customers.

This offers a glimpse of how globalization has led to the creation of a highly integrated world web of interdependence and altered the way of living in many parts of this closely connected global community.

The ravaging pandemic, however, has jolted global supply chains and halted much of cross-border travels. It has also exposed once again some of globalization’s deep-seated deficiencies, and prompted many in academia, politics and the press to debate whether this marks the beginning of an end to this historic process.

It is not the first time that globalization has been questioned or assaulted in times of turbulence. Between the 2008 global financial crisis and this pandemic, sharp criticism against globalization was heard fueled by rising waves of trade protectionism and economic nationalism.

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a rally in Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, calling on the government to resign for the national financial crisis, Nov. 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a rally in Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, calling on the government to resign for the national financial crisis, Nov. 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

Nevertheless, being a natural process driven by the combined forces of technological breakthroughs, as well as the free flow of people and profit-thirsty capital, globalization has brought down trade and commerce barries, shrunk production costs, stimulated technological cooperation, integrated global markets and financial systems, created inestimable jobs and wealth, and raised living standards throughout the world over the centuries since the Age of Discovery.

These upsides of globalization are unmistakable, and will not be wiped out by a single global crisis. Arjun Appadurai, a U.S. globalization studies expert, argued in an opinion piece published by the Time magazine earlier this month that “globalization is here to stay,” and de-globalization efforts are no more than “wishful thinking.”

Thus the international community, instead of trying to turn inward and break away from each other, should come even closer and make globalization work better for everyone.

Pedestrians’ silhouettes are seen at the Apple store inside the Grand Central Terminal in New York, the United States, Nov. 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Pedestrians’ silhouettes are seen at the Apple store inside the Grand Central Terminal in New York, the United States, Nov. 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Pedestrians’ silhouettes

The first task should be for countries worldwide to make global production and supply chains more risk-resilient. This pandemic will not be the last one. Other unknown risks and new challenges are likely to emerge in the future.

While some Washington politicians are talking about reshoring the production of critical medical and technological supplies back to the United States, others like Shannon K. O’Neil, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that governments and boardrooms should add redundancies to the global manufacturing processes.

Information technologies have also been considered key to rendering future global supply chains more resilient. The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested in an article published on its website last month that companies should stop recording data like ships’ cargo on paper, and start digitizing their supply chain processes so as to make sure critical information can always be available.

Whatever the proposals — reshoring, multi-sourcing or digitizing, China, with its comprehensive industrial advantages, will remain a critical part of any future global supply chains.

“I don’t think China‘s role as a major source of manufacturing is going to be eliminated. They will continue to be so,” said Morris Cohen, a professor at The Wharton School, told Deutsche Welle last month.

Photo taken on Jan. 7, 2020 shows China-produced sedans at Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Photo taken on Jan. 7, 2020 shows China-produced sedans at Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai, east China.

(Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Secondly, the international community should jointly enhance global economic governance and further boost global free trade.

In mid-April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19, probably the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

To forestall that nightmare scenario, governments should at the moment better coordinate their macro-economic policies so as to maintain market stability, prop up employment, conduct stimuli proportional to the ongoing pandemic, and restore global growth through such multilateral economic platforms as the Group of 20.

Also, they should give even stronger support to the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the core. Right now, because of Washington’s intentional obstruction, the WTO’s Appellate Body, which has arbitrated international trade disputes over the past 25 years to ensure fairness, has been left inquorate.

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 shows the abbreviation WTO on the wall of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 shows the abbreviation WTO on the wall of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

The Financial Times, a British newspaper, argued in a recent editorial that the WTO is needed more than ever so that it can “underpin the open global economy we will all need on the other side of the pandemic.”

The U.S. administration should curb its protectionist impulses, and actively and fully back the existing global economic governance system.

The third front should be strengthening international cooperation so that countries worldwide can better respond to their shared non-conventional security challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globalization is now far more than just economic integration. As the global village is highly interconnected, the human race needs to ramp up, not to dial down, trans-border cooperation in a bid to jointly tackle common challenges like deadly contagions, climate change, terrorism and cyber attacks, problems no country can solve single-handedly.

The most immediate mission should be stepping up global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster the backbone-role the World Health Organization has been playing in coordinating global endeavor to beat humanity’s common enemy.

The fourth task is to make globalization more inclusive for all. The pandemic has further revealed that globalization has not turned out to be a rising tide lifting all boats, and that it could further widen the global gap between the rich and the poor.

In a WEF research report earlier this month, which focuses on epidemics like H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, and Zika in 2016, and traces out their distributional effects in the five years following each event, the Gini coefficient, a commonly-used index of inequality, has gone up by nearly 1.5 percent on average.

In the United States, the world‘s largest economy, the outbreak recession has kicked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of their jobs, while many are facing a dire choice between protecting their health or their jobs. Also, several racial minority groups account for a disproportionate number of the COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country largely due to lower living and working conditions as well as a lack of access to health care. In Wisconsin alone, a U.S. state with a 6-percent Black population, African Americans account for about half of its outbreak fatalities, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

A man rides bicycle passing by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., the United States, on May 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A man rides bicycle passing by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., the United States, on May 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The pandemic offers decision-makers worldwide a chance to bridge those wealth and health gaps through refashioning policies like reordering tax codes, introducing universal health care coverage, and promoting common development through international cooperation in regions like Africa and the Middle East so as to make sure that the dividends of globalization can be shared by all global villagers.

Following the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage markets in 2007, shock waves swept financial sectors in all corners of the world, and the most serious financial tsunami since the Great Depression of the 1930s kicked in. Globalization then encountered a major setback. Yet despite all the second-guessing about it at that time, countries worldwide rose to the occasion and jointly steered the global economy through the uncharted waters and back onto the track of recovery.

Buyers talk with an exhibitor at the 126th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China‘s Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

Buyers talk with an exhibitor at the 126th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China‘s Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

“Our fractured world needs agile governance and smarter globalization,” Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the WEF, once said.

The world will never be the same when this pandemic comes to an end, and neither will the process of globalization. The human race has every reason to repeat what they did in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and work together to help this unstoppable trend take a turn for the better.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Commentary: Post-pandemic world needs better globalization, not less

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Even at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the world, beef from New Zealand, red wine from Chile, and detergent from Germany remain just a click away to Chinese customers.

This offers a glimpse of how globalization has led to the creation of a highly integrated world web of interdependence and altered the way of living in many parts of this closely connected global community.

The ravaging pandemic, however, has jolted global supply chains and halted much of cross-border travels. It has also exposed once again some of globalization’s deep-seated deficiencies, and prompted many in academia, politics and the press to debate whether this marks the beginning of an end to this historic process.

It is not the first time that globalization has been questioned or assaulted in times of turbulence. Between the 2008 global financial crisis and this pandemic, sharp criticism against globalization was heard fueled by rising waves of trade protectionism and economic nationalism.

Nevertheless, being a natural process driven by the combined forces of technological breakthroughs, as well as the free flow of people and profit-thirsty capital, globalization has brought down trade and commerce barries, shrunk production costs, stimulated technological cooperation, integrated global markets and financial systems, created inestimable jobs and wealth, and raised living standards throughout the world over the centuries since the Age of Discovery.

These upsides of globalization are unmistakable, and will not be wiped out by a single global crisis. Arjun Appadurai, a U.S. globalization studies expert, argued in an opinion piece published by the Time magazine earlier this month that “globalization is here to stay,” and de-globalization efforts are no more than “wishful thinking.”

Thus the international community, instead of trying to turn inward and break away from each other, should come even closer and make globalization work better for everyone.

The first task should be for countries worldwide to make global production and supply chains more risk-resilient. This pandemic will not be the last one. Other unknown risks and new challenges are likely to emerge in the future.

While some Washington politicians are talking about reshoring the production of critical medical and technological supplies back to the United States, others like Shannon K. O’Neil, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that governments and boardrooms should add redundancies to the global manufacturing processes.

Information technologies have also been considered key to rendering future global supply chains more resilient. The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested in an article published on its website last month that companies should stop recording data like ships’ cargo on paper, and start digitizing their supply chain processes so as to make sure critical information can always be available.

Whatever the proposals — reshoring, multi-sourcing or digitizing, China, with its comprehensive industrial advantages, will remain a critical part of any future global supply chains.

“I don’t think China‘s role as a major source of manufacturing is going to be eliminated. They will continue to be so,” said Morris Cohen, a professor at The Wharton School, told Deutsche Welle last month.

Secondly, the international community should jointly enhance global economic governance and further boost global free trade.

In mid-April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19, probably the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

To forestall that nightmare scenario, governments should at the moment better coordinate their macro-economic policies so as to maintain market stability, prop up employment, conduct stimuli proportional to the ongoing pandemic, and restore global growth through such multilateral economic platforms as the Group of 20.

Also, they should give even stronger support to the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the core. Right now, because of Washington’s intentional obstruction, the WTO’s Appellate Body, which has arbitrated international trade disputes over the past 25 years to ensure fairness, has been left inquorate.

The Financial Times, a British newspaper, argued in a recent editorial that the WTO is needed more than ever so that it can “underpin the open global economy we will all need on the other side of the pandemic.”

The U.S. administration should curb its protectionist impulses, and actively and fully back the existing global economic governance system.

The third front should be strengthening international cooperation so that countries worldwide can better respond to their shared non-conventional security challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globalization is now far more than just economic integration. As the global village is highly interconnected, the human race needs to ramp up, not to dial down, trans-border cooperation in a bid to jointly tackle common challenges like deadly contagions, climate change, terrorism and cyber attacks, problems no country can solve single-handedly.

The most immediate mission should be stepping up global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster the backbone-role the World Health Organization has been playing in coordinating global endeavor to beat humanity’s common enemy.

The fourth task is to make globalization more inclusive for all. The pandemic has further revealed that globalization has not turned out to be a rising tide lifting all boats, and that it could further widen the global gap between the rich and the poor.

In a WEF research report earlier this month, which focuses on epidemics like H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, and Zika in 2016, and traces out their distributional effects in the five years following each event, the Gini coefficient, a commonly-used index of inequality, has gone up by nearly 1.5 percent on average.

In the United States, the world‘s largest economy, the outbreak recession has kicked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of their jobs, while many are facing a dire choice between protecting their health or their jobs. Also, several racial minority groups account for a disproportionate number of the COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country largely due to lower living and working conditions as well as a lack of access to health care. In Wisconsin alone, a U.S. state with a 6-percent Black population, African Americans account for about half of its outbreak fatalities, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

The pandemic offers decision-makers worldwide a chance to bridge those wealth and health gaps through refashioning policies like reordering tax codes, introducing universal health care coverage, and promoting common development through international cooperation in regions like Africa and the Middle East so as to make sure that the dividends of globalization can be shared by all global villagers.

Following the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage markets in 2007, shock waves swept financial sectors in all corners of the world, and the most serious financial tsunami since the Great Depression of the 1930s kicked in. Globalization then encountered a major setback. Yet despite all the second-guessing about it at that time, countries worldwide rose to the occasion and jointly steered the global economy through the uncharted waters and back onto the track of recovery.

“Our fractured world needs agile governance and smarter globalization,” Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the WEF, once said.

The world will never be the same when this pandemic comes to an end, and neither will the process of globalization. The human race has every reason to repeat what they did in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and work together to help this unstoppable trend take a turn for the better.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

6 million Australians download “world-leading” COVID-19 tracing app

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The Australian government’s coronavirus tracing app has hit six million downloads, announced Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health, and Stuart Robert, the Minister for Government Services on Sunday, describing the COVIDSafe app as “world-leading.”

“Australia continues to be a world leader in testing, tracing, and containing the coronavirus and I would encourage all Australians to contribute to that effort and download the COVIDSafe app today,” Hunt said in a statement.

The app, which uses Bluetooth to keep a record of fellow users that a person has been in close contact with, was designed to boost authorities’ contact tracing capabilities.

“Remember, as state and territory health officials start to use the COVIDSafe app as part of their tracing efforts, they will only have access to contact information for those people you may have come in close contact with-that is, 1.5m or less for a duration of 15 minutes or more.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously said that in order for the app to be effective at least 40 percent of Australia’s 16 million smartphone users should download it.

As at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, a total of 7,109 cases have been reported in Australia, including 102 deaths and 6,506 have been reported as recovered from COVID-19, according to Department of Health.

The department also said that the number of new cases in the last 24 hours is four.

(XINHUA)

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World Youth Chess Championships postponed

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World chess governing body FIDE announced on Friday that the 2020 World Youth Chess Championships, originally slated for September 2020 in Romania, will be postponed.

“The FIDE Management Board received and duly examined a request from the World Youth Chess Championship 2020 organizers; and there still exists a large degree of uncertainty in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote the FIDE on its website, announcing that the championship will be postponed to a later date, with the new schedule to be announced no later than four months before the start of the event.

(XINHUA)

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Live COVID-19 updates: Brazil climbs to second in cases worldwide, India reports highest daily spike

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil registered a record number of new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, with 20,803 cases reported, and exceeded 1,000 deaths in one day for the third time, the government said on Friday.

According to the Ministry of Health, the total number of confirmed cases rose to 330,890, while deaths in the country rose to 21,048 with a daily increase of 1,001, which put the fatality rate at 6.4 percent.

– – – –

NEW DELHI — India’s federal health ministry Saturday morning reported 137 new deaths and 6,654 more positive cases due to COVID-19 since Friday in the country, taking the number of deaths to 3,720 and total cases to 125,101.

This is the highest one day spike in COVID-19 cases so far in the country, showed the data.

– – – –

SEOUL — South Korea reported 23 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday, bringing the total number of infections to 11,165.

The daily caseload stayed above 20 for the second straight day. Of the new cases, four were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,204.

– – – –

BEIJING — The impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the asset quality and credit risks of Chinese banks is limited and short-lived, an analyst said.

As China implements pro-growth policies, the fundamentals of the financial sector will gradually improve, supporting the stable growth of banks, especially large-scale ones, said Tang Shengbo, head of China financial research for Nomura, a financial service firm.

– – – –

WASHINGTON — Across the United States, Asian American health-care workers are facing a rise of racial hostility, which has left them in a painful position on the front lines of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent report of the Washington Post.

Some COVID-19 patients refuse to be treated by them, and when Asian American doctors and nurses leave the hospital, they face increasing harassment in their daily lives, too, said the report, noting Asian Americans represent 6 percent of the U.S. population but 18 percent of the country’s physicians and 10 percent of its nurse practitioners.

(XINHUA)

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Brazil climbs to second in COVID-19 cases worldwide

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Brazil registered a record number of new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, with 20,803 cases reported, and exceeded 1,000 deaths in one day for the third time, the government said on Friday.

According to the Ministry of Health, the total number of confirmed cases rose to 330,890, while deaths in the country rose to 21,048 with a daily increase of 1,001, which put the fatality rate at 6.4 percent.

On Thursday, Brazil established another record by registering 1,188 deaths in one day.

With the new daily increase, Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, overtook Russia Friday to become the country with the second largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, just behind the United States.

According to the government, 135,430 people have recovered from the disease so far.

The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country, has been the most heavily affected by the virus, with 5,773 deaths and 76,871 confirmed cases, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 3,657 deaths and 33,589 cases, and Ceara, with 2,251 deaths and 34,573 cases.

(XINHUA)

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World Bank approves 90-mln-euro package for Belarus to combat COVID-19

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The World Bank has approved a 90-million-euro (about 98 million U.S.-dollar) package to help Belarus combat COVID-19, BelTA news agency reported Friday, citing the bank’s representative office in the country.

The package aims to help Belarus take effective and timely actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the country’s national healthcare system, said the report.

It will address the healthcare system’s immediate needs for medical equipment, supplies, and training to treat severe cases of COVID-19, as well as personal protective equipment for health workers, the World Bank office said.

The package will also finance communications activities to promote social distancing and best hygiene practices, and strengthen public health laboratories and epidemiological capacity for early detection, confirmation, and reporting of cases.

(XINHUA)

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Health

World Fistula Day: UNFPA tasks all to sustain Hamlin’s aspiration of ending fistula

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The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has called on the global community to sustain late Dr Catherine Hamlin’s aspiration of ending the preventable condition of fistula.

Dr Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director, UNFPA, made the appeal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria by Mrs Kori Habib, the Media Associate of UNFPA Nigeria, in Abuja on Friday.

Kanem called for a synergy of all stakeholders in accordance with the vision of late Dr Hamlin targeted at overcoming fistula and its consequences, especially in protecting lives of young women and babies at the rural communities.

“Let us work in Dr Hamlin’s memory towards fulfilling her lifelong dream and our long-held aspiration to eliminate this preventable condition.

“In doing so, we will help protect the health and human rights of the poorest and most vulnerable women and girls,” she said.

According to her, on this International Day to End Fistula, the memory of the late Dr Catherine Hamlin, who passed away in March this year, looms large.

The executive director explained that it was time to not only treat women and girls with fistula with focus on the physical injury itself, but also on the scars created by stigma and discrimination.

Kanem called for a replication of Hamlin’s charitable organisation which brought hope and healing to women and girls, raising global awareness of fistula and spurred innovative efforts to end it.

She attributed likely increase in obstetric fistula on the absence of timely medical treatment as a result of serious childbirth injury occasioned by prolonged and obstructed labour.

“Poor women and girls in rural areas are especially at risk. The disproportionate incidence among the poor of this debilitating and sometimes life-threatening condition is a reflection of social and economic inequities and of unequal enjoyment of the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health.

“Even in the best of times, they are more likely to lack access to skilled health personnel. Child marriage and early childbearing are among other contributing factors,” the executive director said.

She, however, said that while fistula has been virtually eliminated in developed nations, hundreds of thousands of women and girls in the developing world still live with this debilitating condition.

Kanem assured that as leader of the global Campaign to end Fistula, UNFPA would continue to provide funding and support for fistula prevention, treatment and social reintegration programmes.

“Since 2003, we have enabled more than 113,000 women to undergo obstetric fistula repair surgery.

“Last November, the world convened in Nairobi to celebrate the tremendous gains of the past 25 years in advancing the health and rights of women and girls.

“With a deep sense of urgency, purpose and hope, leaders from around the world – from presidents to the grassroots, from refugees to royalty, from youth activists to CEOs  – committed to accelerating action to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.”

The executive director described the moment as a time “the commitment is being tested like never before”.

“As health systems struggle to respond to COVID-19, the pandemic stands to take a huge global toll on maternal and newborn health.

“Already, the crisis is compounding the economic, social and logistical barriers that women and girls face in accessing sexual and reproductive health services.

“Even where services are available and accessible, fear, misinformation and stigma related to COVID-19 are deterring some pregnant women from seeking obstetric care.”

Kanem, therefore, expressed the determination of UNFPA towards accelerating efforts aimed at achieving their global ambition of ending fistula by 2030, the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said: “Towards that end, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic must ensure the delivery of essential sexual and reproductive health services, including midwifery services and emergency obstetric care.”

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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World Culture Day: Nigerians call for protection, promotion of cultural heritage

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Some Nigerians resident in the FCT, have called on government at all levels to take responsibility by protecting and promoting Nigeria’s cultural heritage, as the World marks the 2020 Day for Cultural Diversity.

Some of the respondents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Thursday in Abuja, said the preservation of Nigeria’s cultural heritage was imperative if the country would completely liberate itself from the clutches of imperialism, which was clearly destroying the country’s natural values.

Mr Nnamani Ogbonna, a civil servant, said the preservation of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage such as; respect for elders, traditional marriage systems and abhorrence for gay relationships, was imperative.

“We should not allow foreign influence on our culture. Their cultures, such as indecent dressing, is not part of our culture.

“Section 21 of the Constitution puts a responsibility on federal and state governments to protect, preserve and promote Nigeria’s culture.

“Government at all levels should not forget that responsibility,” Ogbonna said.

He also called on the National Assembly to enact laws that would abolish cultures that were alien to us as a black, decent race.

He commended the National Assembly for halting plans to legalise gay relationships, which he described as alien to the Nigerian culture.

Mr James Kindness, a businessman, said that the benefits of cultural diversity could not be listed.

“In those days, women only wear beads on their waist, tie a piece of clothe to cover their breasts, and there were no issues, but today, diverse positive cultures have been imbibed.,” he added.

Mr Ola Joel, also a civil servant, advised Nigerians to appreciate and promote the country’s diverse cultures, adding that cultural diversity was significant for national growth.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development, is celebrated every May 21. (NAN)

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

 

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Spotlight: With creativity, self-reliance, businesses worldwide seek opportunities in COVID-19 pandemic

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While the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to global economy and trade, many businesses across the world are seeking new opportunities to survive the crisis with creativity, self-reliance and adjustments to local conditions.

At the restaurant Cozy in Vilnius, Lithuania, mannequins dressed in fashion pieces of local designers and brands from 19 boutiques have been placed to fill the space between dining tables.

At each table, customers can find information about the exhibited items and where each piece can be purchased.

This is part of an initiative launched by a few dozen restaurants and cafes in Vilnius Old Town, which allows restaurants to maintain the required indoor social distancing and meanwhile helps designers gain customers’ attention, said Go Vilnius, the official development agency of Vilnius.

“Empty tables inside our restaurant look rather odd, and we don’t have any way to remove them,” said Bernie Ter Braak, owner of Cozy, who proposed the idea with a local fashion designer.

“Therefore, we decided to reach out to our neighbors and fashion boutique stores, and invited them to use our empty tables to showcase their newest collections,” the restaurant owner said.

In Zambia, producing and selling masks have compensated for the downturn in the main businesses of both tailors and street vendors.

Street vendor Robert Musonda based in Lusaka, who sells ladies clothes and footwear, said the coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected many small-scale traders like him.

“When I noticed that my sales were going down and the demand for face masks was rising, I decided to approach a friend of mine who is a tailor to make face masks of different kinds and for different income groups,” he said. “Selling face masks has helped me to stay afloat. I think it is always important to diversify and look at other income-generating opportunities.”

In Namibia, some young people have turned to entrepreneurship as COVID-19 shutdowns have increased job losses.

T-shirt, jacket and other clothing printing for resale to larger companies has been the bulk of business for Fillemon Shuuya under his own brand Feelingz Nation, which has helped him navigate the difficult time of the coronavirus outbreak.

The statistics graduate from the University of Namibia, aged 25, who came to the capital of Windhoek from the small northern town of Ondangwa, said he turned to the clothing industry partly because he could not find a full-time job.

Rwandan coffee farmers have discovered an efficient way to sell their products in the pandemic — through livestreaming promotion in countries where e-commerce is popular, such as China.

On Thursday, 3,000 bags of coffee beans from Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company were sold out in a second on an online promotion via livestreaming after Wei Ya, an internet hipster in China, announced the start of auctioning to over 10 million viewers.

“It was very impressive seeing about one and half tons sold in a second, it is amazing,” coffee farmer Ernest Nshimiyimana recalled the experience when watching the promotion on T-Mall, an online shopping platform of China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Due to the pandemic, countries across the world have imposed anti-virus restrictions, and the shipping cost of cargo flights has sharply increased, said Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company’s managing director David Ngarambe.

“Being able to market coffee to millions of customers via live streaming removes the barrier between a farmer and end customers,” said Nshimiyimana, the coffee farmer.

To promote tourism in Britain, the English Tourism Week — an annual celebration of the tourism industry dedicated to showcasing England’s tourism offer — is also going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event, scheduled for May 25-31, is dedicated to “showing support for the industry, the millions of people who work in it and the hundreds of thousands of businesses impacted,” said Andrew Stokes, director of England’s official tourism agency VisitEngland.

As part of the celebration, VisitEngland is asking Members of Parliament to share photos and social media posts from their favorite English holiday destinations, as well as to record video messages for use on social media platforms.

(XINHUA)

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World Bank approves $48m to help Uganda contain locust plague

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The World Bank said its board of executive directors has approved $48 million to help Uganda fight a desert locust invasion threatening livelihoods.

The funds, under the Emergency Locust Response Programme, will help Uganda monitor and manage locust swarms to limit the growth of existing and new desert locust populations, the bank said in a statement.

The funds will also provide livelihood protection and restoration to the affected households, communities and vulnerable groups.

“The project is expected to support 950,000 direct beneficiaries and about 1.2 million indirect beneficiaries in the locust-affected districts,’’ the bank said.

“The outbreak could undermine development gains and threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of Ugandans.’’

With support from other development partners, Uganda has started the fight against the migratory insects.

The country deployed over 2,000 soldiers and 835 civilian personnel, including agriculture extension workers, to contain the locusts.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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World Bank approves 48 mln USD to help Uganda contain locust plague

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The World Bank on Thursday said its board of executive directors approved 48 million U.S. dollars to help Uganda fight a desert locust invasion threatening livelihoods.

The funds under the Emergency Locust Response Program will help Uganda monitor and manage locust swarms to limit the growth of existing and new desert locust populations, the bank said in a statement.

The funds will also provide livelihood protection and restoration to the affected households, communities and vulnerable groups.

“The project is expected to support 950,000 direct beneficiaries and about 1.2 million indirect beneficiaries in the locust-affected districts,” the bank said.

“The outbreak could undermine development gains and threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of Ugandans,” it noted.

With support from other development partners, Uganda has started the fight against the migratory insects. The country deployed over 2,000 soldiers and 835 civilian personnel, including agriculture extension workers, to contain the locusts.

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19 making world’s worst humanitarian crisis worse in Yemen: UN

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The humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen — already the world‘s largest such humanitarian emergency — is getting worse because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the United Nations on Thursday.

Epidemiologists estimate that the virus could spread faster, more widely and with deadlier consequences in Yemen than in many other countries, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, quoting the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as saying.

While testing kits remain in short supply, aid agencies are operating on the basis that community transmission is taking place across the country, he said. An estimated 16 million people in the first half of May were reached with awareness-raising activities.

“We, along with our partners, are focusing on effective case management and protecting the public health system, and on scaling up awareness and risk communication interventions,” said Dujarric.

UN staff, both in and out of Yemen, have been working to deliver critical programs to help deal with the humanitarian situation, especially COVID-19 cases, he told a virtual press briefing.

“It’s clear to us that the number of cases is probably under-reported given the state of affairs in Yemen,” the spokesman said, referring to the civil war now in its fifth year. “This should serve as yet another reminder why we need to see a stepped-up political process and acceptance of that process by the parties.”

Yemen has a sizable population of almost 30 million people, according to the UN Population Division.

(XINHUA)

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World Culture Day: Embrace culture to create wealth, Runsewe tells youth

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Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), on Thursday advised Nigerian youth to embrace the nation’s rich culture and its opportunities for wealth creation.

Runsewe gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on the commemoration of World Culture Day, celebrated annually on May 21.

He said that Nigeria was endowed with a rich  cultural heritage, and its potential had yet to be fully explored

The director general urged the youth to look inward  for areas to create wealth and be gainfully employed through culture, rather than toiling endlessly to leave the country.

Runsewe said that many had lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea due to desperation to travel through authorised routes.

He listed areas in which youths could benefit in the country as textile, cuisine, pottery, arts, crafts, sports, music, languages, among others.

According to him, youths should tap into such areas, make their contribution and turn Nigeria into a great country.

“There are numerous local sports content our youth can develop and transform to wealth. We have traditional sports of Kokowa (wrestling), Dambe (Boxing), Ayo, Abula (volleyball) and more.

” Mastery of these games can attract  international recognition; likewise our local fabrics such as making of adire and aso-oke. These are areas the youth should look into.

He also urged parents to  guide their wards to prevent them from travelling abroad  aimlessly.

” Our herbs are still very much available to be developed; these are our cultural content which have not been well developed locally for international recognition.

” So, Nigerian youths must be able to think inward and groom what is ours here in the country, so that we can trully be the giant of Africa ,” he said.

The NCAC boss said that the lockdown period induced by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic should be opportunity for Nigerian youth to engage in meaningful ventures and not be idle.

He implored Nigerians to have some self appraisal and reflection on how far they had been instrumental to the growth of nation’s culture on a day like this.

” We must all learn to respect, value and take pride in our culture, it is our identity as a nation, we must guard it jealously,” he said.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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COVID-19 economic stimulus: States to get $1.5bn from World Bank — NEC

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The World Bank has got a proposal of 1.5 billion dollars to states as part economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

Ahmed briefed State House correspondents on Thursday after the virtual National Economic Council (NEC) meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The first ever virtual NEC meeting and the fourth for the year, was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

“The World Bank maintains that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria will lead to severe amplified human and economic cost, which will move the country into a recession.

“The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate fiscal relief for the FG.

“This will also involve policy-based policy budget support for the Federal Government, focusing on measures to maintain macro financial stability and create fiscal space for proposed stimulus.

“The World Bank package has also got a proposal of 1.5billion dollars for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states and it will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.’’

According to her, the immediate fiscal relief for the states will include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by end of September.

She said that by the end of September, the 1.5 billion dollars plan would have been disbursed to the states.

“We are looking at an average of between N150billion to N200billion based on the plan to the 36 states.

“ These are states that have already made some particular commitments and achievements so that they will be able to get immediate disbursements of parts of these funds.’’

Ahmed said that the ministry made a presentation to the council on the structures that the Federal Government was looking at and putting in place, or had put in place to tackle the challenges of COVID-19.

According to her, the country is in a very difficult and challenging time, facing a very significant economic downturn that has not been seen in the history of the country.

She said that the global economy was also facing the sharpest reversals since the great depression as it had both health and economic consequences.

Ahmed said that COVID-19 had resulted in the collapse in oil prices.

“This will impact negatively, and the impact has already started showing on the federation’s revenues and on the foreign exchange earnings.

“Net oil and gas revenue and influx to the federation account in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to N940.91billion.

“This represented a shortfall of N125.52 billion or 31 per cent of the prorated amount that is supposed to have been realised by the end of that first quarter.

“40 per cent of the population in Nigeria, today, is classified as poor; the crisis will only multiply this misery.

“The economic growth in Nigeria, that is the GDP, could in the worst case scenario, contract by as much as minus -8.94 per cent in 2020.

“ But in the best case,  which is the case we are working on, it could be a contraction of minus -4.4 per cent, if there is no fiscal stimulus.

“But with the fiscal stimulus plan that we are working on, this contraction can be mitigated and we might end up with a negative –0.59 per cent.’’

The minister said that the president set up the Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee in addition to the COVID-19 Response Committee that had been set up, the COVID-19 PTF as well as the Crisis Management Committee.

She said that the Federal Government was committed to supporting the financial viability of states, including the suspension of payments in respect of commitments, debts that have been secured with ISPOs by the states at the federal levels.

“So, we have already implemented suspension of deductions of a number of loans that have been taken by the states from April and also in May.

“The Economic Sustainability Committee is responsible for providing overall strategic vision, policy direction and general oversight of the implementation among others,’’ she said.

She said that some of the measures to mitigate the COVID-19 impact on the economy included the N500 billion stimulus package that the president had approved.

Ahmed said the package also included the increase in the social register by one million households to 3.5million for cash transfer programmes and palliatives and other social safety net programmes.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

 

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Kenya secures 43 mln USD from World Bank for desert locust response

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The World Bank said Thursday it has approved 4.6 billion shillings (43 million U.S. dollars) credit to help Kenya respond to the threat posed by the desert locust outbreak and to strengthen the government’s system for preparedness.

Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank country director for Kenya said the locust attack could worsen food security later this year and a possible rise in food prices without immediate intervention.

“We are working with other development partners to provide, restore and enhance the livelihoods of affected farmers, pastoralists and vulnerable households that have been affected by the locust attack and are food insecure,” he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The East Africa nation has suffered from the worst desert locust invasion in 70 years that has affected the already vulnerable northern region of the country.

The locust swarms, which crossed into Kenya from Ethiopia and Somalia in December 2019 and have since spread to 28 counties, pose a severe food security threat to about three million people.

The World Bank said the emergency locust response project will provide immediate surveillance and locust management measures to halt the spread of the pests.

Vinay Kumar Vutukuru, World Bank Task Team Leader for Kenya said the project will further strengthen the ministry of agriculture‘s ongoing efforts in managing the locust attack.

(XINHUA)

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World Culture Day: NICO advocates promotion of cultural diversity

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The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), has called on Nigerians to appreciate and promote the diverse cultures in the country, saying cultural diversity is essential for national development.

The institute gave the advice as the citizens joined the global community to mark the 2020 World Cultural Day.

The Day is celebrated on May 21, every year. However, this year’s edition was bereft of the funfare due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Bridgette Yerima, the Director overseeing the office of the Executive Secretary, made the call in a statement issued by her Media Aide, Mr Caleb Nor, on Thursday in Abuja.

She  noted that it was only when we appreciated the importance of intercultural interaction, diversity and inclusion that our collective dream of sustainable development and peaceful co-existence could be achieved.

 “Our charge to political leaders, religious leaders, youth leaders, opinion moulders and Nigerians generally is for everyone to demonstrate commitment to do something to promote diversity,” she said. 

“You can learn a language different from your mother tongue, adorn an attire, cook and eat traditional food from another culture, visit tourist sites and museums in other parts of Nigeria, as we celebrate 2020 World Culture Day.

“More importantly as we mark this day, let us bear in mind the imperative of cultural diversity to national development as it is to mankind what biodiversity is to nature,” she said. 

According to her, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, celebrated every year on May 21, globally was declared by the United Nations General Assembly.

The declaration came by Resolution 57/249 in 2002, following the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity as adopted by UNESCO General Conference in 2001.

She said the Universal Declaration was made in recognition of cultural diversity as a critical factor in development in terms of economic growth and as a means to achieve a more satisfying intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.

Mrs Yerima further stated that the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was a veritable platform and opportunity to underscore the value and potential of culture.

It also highlights and promotes the appreciation of cultural diversity in fostering peaceful co-existence and sustainable development in a country like Nigeria known for its ethnic and religious plurality.

The executive director added that the Institute as a stakeholder in the implementation in 2005 UNESCO convention on the protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions had demonstrated its commitment to the goals of the convention by implementing well-articulated programmes. 

“The Institute through its Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) encourages Nigerians to speak languages other than their mother tongue. 

“Studies have shown that three-quarters of the major conflicts in the world have a cultural dimension.

“It is our belief that through our Indigenous language programme, the gap between divergent cultures will be largely bridged.

“Also through the Institute’s Cultural Clubs in secondary schools, we have been able to foster cross-cultural interaction among Nigerian youth. 

She said that the programme helped them appreciate the value of cultural diversity through activities of the club as well as the Children’s Cultural Extravaganza where the young people were exposed to the beauty of other cultures.

Yerima said the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in conjunction with its culture parastatals and other critical stakeholders had continued to organise programmes and activities geared towards drawing national attention to the beauty of cultural diversity.

 This, according to her, also fosters a deeper understanding of its benefits in line with the 2020 Johannesburg Declaration, and ‘it is, therefore, pertinent to know that our rich diversity remains a veritable source of our collective strength.

 

Edited By: Ebere Agozie/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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World Bank names Harvard professor Carmen Reinhart as chief economist

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World Bank Group President David Malpass on Wednesday announced that Harvard University professor Carmen Reinhart has been appointed as its new vice president and chief economist, effective on June 15.

“I am very pleased to welcome Carmen to the World Bank Group, as we boost our efforts to restore growth and meet the urgent debt and recession crises facing many of our client countries,” Malpass said in a statement.

“Carmen has dedicated her career to understanding and surmounting financial crises in both advanced and developing economies in order to achieve growth and higher living standards,” he said.

Reinhart, an economist on international finance and financial crises, is widely known for her award-winning scholarly history book on financial disasters, “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, written with Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff.

The appointment came after the World Bank announced Tuesday that its emergency operations against COVID-19 have reached 100 developing countries, home to 70 percent of the world‘s population.

The assistance marks a milestone in implementing the World Bank’s pledge to make available 160 billion U.S. dollars in grants and financial support over a 15-month period to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the economic shutdown in advanced countries.

In an interview with The Harvard Gazette published Wednesday, Reinhart warned that the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is morphing into a financial crisis.

“If it’s not over on the disease, it’s not over on the social distancing and the business closures, and therefore, it’s not over on the balance sheet effects. That makes it a financial crisis until the core health problem gets resolved,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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