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Coronavirus Foreign Worldwide

Iran’s deputy health minister says he has coronavirus

Workers from the Korea Pest Control Association, wearing protective gear, spray disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a market in Seoul on February 24, 2020.
Workers from the Korea Pest Control Association, wearing protective gear, spray disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a market in Seoul on February 24, 2020.

‘I too have been infected with coronavirus,’ Harirchi said in the video apparently shot by himself

Iran’s deputy health minister confirmed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.

Iraj Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference in Tehran on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.

At the time he denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people had died from the virus in the Shiite shrine city of Qom, saying he would resign if the number proved to be true.

In a video broadcast on state television, the deputy minister put on a brave face as he admitted he was infected.

“I say this to you from my heart, look after yourselves.”

Iran’s deputy health minister has tested positive for the coronavirus, as the country struggles with one of the worst outbreaks outside of China.

Embedded video

“I too have been infected with coronavirus,” Harirchi said in the video apparently shot by himself.

“I had a fever as of last night and my preliminary test was positive around midnight,” he said, adding, “I’ve isolated myself in a place since. A few minutes ago, I was told that my final test was final, and now I am starting medication.” 

On the same day, Iranian member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi also announced he had contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, as the official death toll in the country rose to 15 on Tuesday, still the largest outside mainland China, where over 80,000 people have been infected and more that 2,700 died to the disease. 

Sadeghi, an outspoken reformist, said he was not hoping to survive and called on the government to release political prisoners from jails to make sure they do not get infected.

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News

Jewish Community Centers across US receive wave of bomb threats

Bomb threats have been received at 54 Jewish community centers in 27 US states and one Canadian province since Donald Trump became president a month ago
Bomb threats have been received at 54 Jewish community centers in 27 US states and one Canadian province since Donald Trump became president a month ago

More than 50 JCCs in 23 states received similar messages via email on Monday

Dozens of bomb threats were sent to Jewish community centers across the United States on Monday, with police opening an investigation into the incident. 

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, more than 50 JCCs in 23 states received similar messages via email. 

Law enforcement official do not believe the threats are credible, but have open an investigation and are currently searching for the source of the material.

JTA reported that none of the emails name the specific institutions in question or contained anti-Semitic language.

The incident recalls a similar episode in 2017 when Michael Kadar, a 19-year-old American-Israeli citizen, made successive bomb threats via telephone calls to JCCs across the globe, including the US, New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He was later convicted and sentenced to prison for 10 years.

“Having faced similar threats in 2017, our JCCs have protocols in place to respond to such scenarios,” Doron Krakow, President of the JCC Association, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the immediate and ongoing response from law enforcement across the country.”

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Foreign News

18 children among 52 hurt in Germany car ramming: police

Police officers investigate the car of the man who drove into a carnival procession on February 24, 2020 in Volkmarsen near Kassel, central Germany.
Police officers investigate the car of the man who drove into a carnival procession on February 24, 2020 in Volkmarsen near Kassel, central Germany.

A 29-year-old local man plowed his car into the traditional ‘Rose Monday’ carnival procession

A car that rammed into a carnival procession in central Germany Monday injured 52 people, including 18 children, police said, adding that the perpetrator’s motive remains unclear.

“Among the victims are 18 children (while)… at present 35 people are still undergoing treatment in the hospital and 17 were already able to leave,” police in Hesse state posted on Twitter Tuesday.

A 29-year-old local man plowed his car into the traditional “Rose Monday” carnival procession in the small Hessian town of Volkmarsen on Monday afternoon, drawing a massive response from police and emergency services.

The incident came just days after a racist gunman killed nine people with migrant backgrounds in Hanau, also in Hesse, prompting fears of a repeat attack.

But authorities have stopped short of calling the carnival incident an attack, saying the driver was himself injured and could not be questioned immediately after he drove into the crowd.

Nevertheless, prosecutors in Frankfurt have opened an investigation against the German national on suspicion of attempted homicide.

Eyewitness have described the driver plowing through a barrier in a silver car and driving straight through the crowd at high speed.

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Foreign News

‘You can’t box to keep everyone happy; you have to box for the win’ – Anthony Joshua finally replies Wilder after he was criticized for ‘running around all day’ against Ruiz

On Saturday night December 7, British-Nigerian boxer Joshua reclaimed his four heavyweight belts lost in June 1 to Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz, but he was roasted by his undefeated rival, Wilder who claimed Joshua’s win over Ruiz was like that of a ‘weak champion’, saying he ran around the ring to avoid being knocked out by Ruiz.

Reacting to Wilder’s statement, Joshua said;

“That’s Wilder’s opinion.” A lot of people don’t have a good bone in their body to say a positive thing anyway. I outboxed the heavyweight champion of the world for 12 rounds. I don’t think I lost a round. Maybe one

“I come in there with a great game plan, I’m successful. Isn’t that good enough?

“You can’t box to keep everyone happy; you have to box for the win. And I feel like when I’m at home celebrating, he’s there talking about negativity. Negative energy breeds failure so I’m just going to keep a positive mindset and build on that victory”.

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Foreign News

Cabo Verde Airlines announces direct Lagos-Cape Verde flights

Cabo Verde Airlines announces direct Lagos-Cape Verde flights

National carrier of the Cape Verde Islands, Cabo Verde Airlines will commence direct flights from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Verde on 9th December 2019. This was made known today at a media briefing to officially launch the airline to the Nigerian public.

The airline’s Boeing 757-200 will fly 5 times a week from the Lagos International Airport to its hub in Sal, Cape Verde.

Jens Bjarnason, CEO and President, Cabo Airlines said: “We are excited to add the most populous country in Africa as one of our destinations. Nigeria has a vibrant travel sector and we look forward to servicing our customers and connecting them to Cape Verde and beyond, seamlessly.

Bjarnason stated that passengers can look forward to comfort, quality and a memorable travel experience on their aircrafts which have 161 Economy class seats and 22 Executive Morabeza Premium Class seats.

Tariye Orianzi, Nigeria Country Manager, Cabo Verde Airlines said of the airline “We are targeting African entrepreneurs, leisure and business travellers as well as world travellers with our competitive pricing and offers, including a Cape Verde stopover program at no additional ticket costs. Interestingly, Cape Verde is a member of ECOWAS making it visa free for Nigerians“.

“Cape Verde has some of the most beautiful untouched natural Islands in the world. We hope to bring the Cape Verdean culture and colours to all corners of the world, as our mission suggests – connecting four continents while also serving as the gateway for fast travel. We also believe the addition of this route will improve tourism in Africa” she added.

Cabo Verde airlines will commence operations on the Lagos – Sal, Cape Verde route from December 9, 2019 with flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Other destinations the airline flies to include Washington DC, Boston, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Paris, Luanda, Dakar and several cities in Brazil – Recife, Porto Alegre, Salvador and Fortaleza.

About Cabo Verde Airlines

Cabo Verde Airlines is a scheduled airline whose new hub operates at the international airport on the island of Sal. Since November 2009 it has been an active member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Cabo Verde Airlines is the air flag carrier of the Republic of Cape Verde, owned in 49% by the State of Cape Verde and 51% by Loftleidir Cabo Verde, an Icelandic investment firm majority of which is owned by the Icelandair Group.

It was established in 1958, as a public enterprise when it absorbed the then called Aero Club of Cabo Verde. Up to 1984, the company operations were restricted to the domestic market for eight (8) of the nine (9) inhabited islands of the archipelago.

As an international operator, Cabo Verde Airlines has been implementing regularly the ever more demanding requirements in the area of aeronautical security, imposed not only by the European Union but also by the United States of America. In February of 2009, the company acquired its registry in the IOSA program of IATA. In May 2018, TACV changed its name to Cabo Verde Airlines. It is certified as IOSA Operator, the IATA Operational Safety Audit Program

Categories
Foreign Government News president

NEWS:How Nigeria Got Hit With A $9.6 Billion Judgment Debt In London

Nigeria has received a legal hiding after a UK court awarded a private company a US$9.6 billion judgment debt against the West African nation. The ruling has generated significant attention in both domestic and international media. This is understandable given that the sum amounts to 20% of the country’s foreign reserves. This means it poses a significant threat to its economy.

The big question is: What went wrong? How did Nigeria end up in this costly situation? For the answer, we must look back to January 2010 and a gas supply contract that went horribly wrong.

The Background Story

On 11 January 2010 Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), a company based in the British Virgin Islands, signed a contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria. This contract is called a gas supply and processing agreement. Nigeria’s government agreed that, over a 20-year period, it would supply natural gas (wet gas) to P&ID’s production facility.

In return, P&ID would process the wet gas by removing natural gas liquids and return approximately 85% of it to the government in the form of lean gas. This lean gas was to be returned at no cost to the Nigerian government.

Based on this agreement, Nigeria was supposed to arrange for the supply of wet gas to P&ID’s gas processing facility which it intended to build in the country’s Cross Rivers State. This required the government to construct pipelines and arrange facilities for transporting the wet gas. The government failed to do this for three years.

P&ID viewed this failure as a repudiation of the contract. In simpler terms, this means that the government renounced their obligation under the contract. Consequently, in March 2013, P&ID began an arbitration action against the government before a London tribunal.

Clause 20 of the agreement, which both parties signed, provided that any disputes were to be resolved by arbitration with the seat of arbitration being London, England or any other place agreed by the parties. Nigeria tried to contest this, but its appeal to have the tribunal sit in Nigeria failed.

At the tribunal, P&ID claimed that it had invested $40 million in the project even though it had not acquired the land or built any facilities for gas processing. It claimed damages of about US$6.6 billion dollars: the amount of the net income it would have earned over the 20-year period of the agreement.

In response, the government argued that the damages claimed were not a fair and reasonable consequence of the government’s breach of the agreement. This is because P&ID never commenced building the gas processing facility. It also argued that P&ID should be awarded only three years’ worth of income as by that time, the company should have found some other profitable investment which would reduce its losses from the breach.

Similarly, the government objected to the measure of estimated expenses and income stream which P&ID used to calculate its damages claim.

The tribunal’s decision

In July 2015 the tribunal decided that by failing to fulfil its obligations, the government had repudiated the agreement. P&ID was therefore entitled to damages.

In January 2017, the tribunal by a majority of 2 to 1 made a final award of US$6.597 billion together with interest at the rate of 7% starting from 20 March 2013 until payment is made. The 7% interest reflects what P&ID would have paid to borrow the money or earned by investing the money in Nigeria.

Following the tribunal’s award of damages, in March 2018, P&ID brought an action before the Queen’s Bench Division of the English Commercial Court. It wanted permission to enforce the damages awarded by the tribunal. Despite delays by the Nigerian government, on 16 August 2019, the court made an order enforcing the tribunal’s final award which now stands at about $9.6 billion.

In making this award, the court noted that the damages awarded were purely compensatory and not intended to punish the Nigerian government. The court also confirmed that there were no public policy grounds on which the award should not be enforced. This decision converts the arbitration award to a legal judgement.

This case perhaps highlights issues with Nigeria’s ability to effectively manage its oil and gas resources as well as its facilities. Between January and June 2019 alone, it is reported that Nigeria lost 22 million barrels of crude oil.

These losses have been largely attributed to pipeline vandalism and aged pipelines. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation recently spent billions on oil pipelines maintenance. But other problems, such as corruption and fraud in awarding security surveillance contracts for pipelines, persist.

Next steps

The $9.6 billion appears to be the largest amount of damages awarded against Nigeria to date. Evidence however suggests this is not the first time that Nigeria has failed to meet its contractual obligations. In 2016 it was reported that investors in Nigeria’s power sector threatened to pull out due to the government’s failure to meet its contractual obligations.

This case also demonstrates an ongoing issue with the government’s attitude to critical infrastructural projects. The Mambila hydroelectric power project is a case in point. In spite of the huge potential offered by the project, it has been plagued by several controversies ranging from corruption and embezzlement of funds to the “irregular” awarding of contracts, and a general lack of political will.

The Nigerian government is yet to pay the judgement debt. Allegations of domestic and international conspiracy surrounding the agreement continue to abound. For now, the government has said that it intends to appeal the amount awarded.

Categories
Celebrity Entertainment Lifestyle Music News

Music: Nicki Minaj Announces Retirement To Focus On Family

American superstar, Nicki Minaj says she has “decided to retire and have a family”.News Agency of Nigeria reports that the rapper made the announcement on Thursday via her Twitter page @nickiminaj.She said, “I’ve decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, [X] in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checking me.

“Love you for LIFE,” the post reads, closing with emojis.”The Grammy-nominated rapper is dating a man called Kenneth Petty and has hinted that they are planning to get married.

Apart from music, the 36-year-old has appeared in several Hollywood films and has her own radio show.It was not clear whether or not the post was serious, a plea for attention, or, as the second sentence suggests, an act of spite toward naysayers.

In August, she said on her Queen Radio show that she and boyfriend Kenneth Petty will be married “in 80 days.”After releasing a string of mixtapes in the 2000s, Nicki Minaj joined Drake on Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment.Her debut album Pink Friday came out in 2010 and has since released mega-hits like ‘Super Bass’, ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Starships’, which established her as one of the world’s biggest female rappers

Her solo albums have sold millions as well as her collaborations with Ludacris, Usher, David Guetta, Madonna, Ariana Grande, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.She has been nominated for ten Grammys, won five MTV Video Music Awards and broken the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a solo female artist.Away from music, her film appearances include ‘The Other Woman’ and ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’.

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News Xenophobia

Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest

Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest

A distraught Nigerian lady has narrated her ordeal in the hands of some hoodlums who attacked her during the anti-xenophobic protest which went sour in Lagos. 

According to the lady, her car was not tinted and those that attacked them could clearly see they were everyday people like them. She further revealed that the first person to wield a stick in her direction was a woman, which was followed up with a vicious attack by the men. 

She disclosed that blood trickling was trickling from her face, arms and leg after her car’s front and rear screen was shattered by stones thrown at her by her attackers. 

She wrote “Nigeria is sick.
This happened to me yesterday. Less than 5 minutes from my house. You claim you are protesting the killing of Nigerians in South Africa so what do you do? You try to kill Nigerians in Nigeria too.

“I wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was exactly where I was meant to be – on my way home after a long day at work. My car wasn’t tinted, so they could clearly see the occupants were everyday people like them. The first person to wield the long stick in my direction was a woman. Then the men joined in. My driver kept shouting ‘e bend, e bend’ so I adopted a brace position. Just as I did, rocks flew into the car, right where I sat, one of them with such force that it crashed through the window and ripped off the seat fabric.

“They surrounded my car and broke both the front and rear glasses and all the windows. And did they leave us? No, they kept chasing, as though telling themselves the havoc they had wreaked wasn’t nearly enough. How my driver managed to get us out remains a mystery (remind me to never complain about him again, lol)

“With glass pieces all over me and blood trickling from my face, arms and legs, we kept driving. Chevron Drive was the only relatively sane place around so I called my friend, Nkem who went above and beyond to take care of us, not minding glass pieces all over her house.
I’ve been checked and I’m fine. My head hurts cos there are still splinters all over my hair. But my heart hurts more because I live in a sick country. This country is starting to devour its own but we will not be afraid of the arrows that fly by day…”

Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Xenophobia: Lady shares photos of injuries she sustained and damages done to her car after being attacked in Lagos protest
Categories
Government News

MTN, DSTV, Shoprite Deserve To Be Shut Down, If Attacks On Nigerians Persist-Orji Kalu

If the South African government do not do more to protect the lives of Nigerians, there should be no reason to allow them to operate freely in Nigeria. All their enterprises deserve to be closed down including MTN, DSTV, Shoprite among others. In the spirit of brotherhood, we have supported them. Our doors have always been opened but it’s time we retaliate by shutting our doors.”

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has described as wicked and mindless the onslaught unleashed on Nigerians by South Africans, noting that arresting the attackers is not enough.The Senate chief whip said all South African businesses deserved to be closed down including MTN, DSTV, Shoprite, among others.

Kalu, a former governor of Abia State in a statement by his media team on Tuesday was quoted as saying, “The gruesome killings, looting, arson of properties belonging to Nigerians and attack of Nigerian Embassy in South Africa is ill-conceived, disheartening and wicked.“How can any sensible person attack and burn a fellow human being just because he or she has a feeling to do so?

Those mindless criminals who attacked and prevented law-abiding Nigerians to freely conduct their businesses must be made to pay for their crimes. Arresting them is not enough.”Continuing, he added, “If the South African government do not do more to protect the lives of Nigerians, there should be no reason to allow them to operate freely in Nigeria.

All their enterprises deserve to be closed down including MTN, DSTV, Shoprite among others. In the spirit of brotherhood, we have supported them. Our doors have always been opened but it’s time we retaliate by shutting our doors.”

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for dispatching a special envoy to the South African government, Kalu urged the federal government to hasten their intervention and institute stiffer measures against South Africa.He added that the federal government should no longer be patient on invoking the United Nations (UN) law on hate and all forms of xenophobic attacks against South Africa so as to make its government take the issue seriously.

Categories
News

South Africa: Scores held after looting, anti-foreigner protests

Shops plundered, cars burned in Johannesburg as trucks torched in KZN amid rallies linked to anti-foreigner sentiment.

A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019 [Michele Spatari/AFP]
A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019 [Michele Spatari/AFP]

Police have arrested scores of people in South Africa‘s commercial capital, Johannesburg, after protesters looted what appeared to be foreign-owned shops and set fire to cars and buildings.

At least 70 people were arrested, the police said in a statement on Monday,in the second outbreak of urban rioting in a week.

Hundreds of people marched in Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) earlier in the day, demanding foreigners leave, according to local news agency News 24.

They targeted “shops they believed to be owned by foreign nationals”, the news website reported.

Police fired rubber bullets at looters as burned cars were stranded on the roads.

“Police are condemning all acts of violence directed at the businesses and the looting of shops described as those of foreign nationals by criminal opportunists,” the office of the provincial commissioner said in a statement on Facebook.

Police also said they were investigating a death in Hillbrow, a residential neighbourhood in central Johannesburg, where a “member of the public” was allegedly shot by a group. 

“At this stage [we] are still interviewing several people to establish the motive,” it said. 

Pedestrians pass burnt out cars on the side of a street on the outskirts of Johannesburg Monday Sept. 2, 2019. Police had earlier fired rubber bullets as they struggled to stop looters who targeted bu

Pedestrians pass burnt-out cars on the side of a street on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Monday, September 2, 2019 [The Associated Press]

Officials dismissed reports that the ongoing attacks were xenophobic.

“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”

In a statement on Monday, the South African Human Rights Commission said it was “deeply concerned by violence, looting, arson and vandalism plaguing much of Johannesburg.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria‘s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama reacted strongly to the scenes of violence on Monday.

“Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection,” he said on Twitter. “Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.”

In 2015, Nigeria had recalled its ambassador to South Africa following a spate of attacks against immigrants.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from other parts of the continent, including the Southern Africa region, with many moving from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in search of work.

The unrest started on Sunday when an old building in the CBD caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people. It then spread to two eastern suburbs and to the executive capital, Pretoria, where local media reported shops burning in Marabastad – a central business area largely populated by economic migrants.

Last week, hundreds of protesters in Pretoria set fire to buildings, looted mostly foreign-owned businesses and clashed with police, who fired rubber bullets at the crowds. The chaos broke out after local taxi drivers clashed with alleged drug dealers in the area, according to the Sowetan newspaper. 

On Monday, a pamphlet circulating on social media, seen by The Associated Press news agency, encouraged South Africans to chase foreigners out of their communities.

The pamphlet, attributed to a group called the Sisonke Peoples Forum, accused foreigners living in South Africa of selling drugs and stealing jobs, both common refrains during the regular flare-ups of violence against foreigners in the greater Johannesburg area in recent years.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party said: “These incidents are due to a failing economy in which more than 10 million South Africans cannot find work.”

Both the ruling African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance have been accusedof stoking xenophobia.

Looters take items from an alleged foreign-owned shops during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019 as angry protesters loot alleged foreign-owned shops today in a new

Looters take items from an alleged foreign-owned shop during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019 [Michele SpatariAFP]

The violence comes amid a wave of protests in the transport industry linked to anti-foreigner sentiment. 

Zambia‘s government on Monday called on Zambian truck drivers to avoid travelling to South Africa and those already in the country to park their vehicles “until the security situation improves”.

Truck drivers in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) started a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. KZN police said 11 trucks blocked the road to Richards Bay Harbour, one of the deepest natural harbours in Africa.

They told AFP news agency that at least four vehicles had been torched.

At least 20 people had been arrested “in connection with incidents related to protests within the trucking industry”, KZN police said.

Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, police chief for KZN province, said they had intensified patrols along major routes.

Sipho Zungu, chairman of the All Truck Drivers Foundation, told AFP his group had had “nothing to do with the strike”, but stressed that it was fighting for the employment of South African drivers. 

“People of South Africa are hungry, they are sitting at home.. while companies in South Africa are employing foreigners … [because] its cheap labour. We are hungry and angry,” Zungu told AFP.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), which has over 200,000 members, also distanced itself from the violence.

South Africa’s Road Freight Association told local media in June that more than 200 people have been killed in attacks on foreign truck drivers since March 2018.