Beirut explosion: France, Iran, Czech Republic offer help to Lebanon  



French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted that his country is sending a rescue team and tons of medical aid to help Lebanon deal with the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.

Macron’s office says 55 rescue workers and a mobile health unit capable of treating 500 victims will be flown out from Paris and should arrive in Beirut in the late afternoon.

About 10 French emergency doctors are also to be sent to back up Beirut’s hospitals, and French troops on duty with the United Nations in southern Lebanon have already joined in rescue efforts.

Similarly, the Iranian foreign minister on Wednesday expressed his condolences and offered help after the massive explosion in Beirut.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Lebanon … stay strong,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in a tweet.

He said that Iran was prepared to offer Lebanon any help and support the country needed.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has said that it is sending a team of rescuers to Lebanon.

A special unit of the fire brigade, which is specialised in rescuing people buried under rubble, is to depart on Wednesday afternoon, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

The unit includes five search dogs with their handlers and 30 additional staff.

A spokesperson for Czech President Milos Zeman said he was praying for the victims of the blast and their relatives.

On Tuesday, an explosion of unconfirmed origin in the port of Beirut killed at least 100 people and wounded some 4,000, according to the Red Cross. (dpa/NAN

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


FG launches 25m tree planting, distributes cooking gas cylinders



The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that tree planting would stimulate green environment and help to check the impact of climate change and deforestation in communities across the federation.

Tallen said this on Friday during the Federal Government’s launch of the National Cooking Gas Distribution and Tree Planting programme at Onueke in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi (LGAs)

She urged the local government chairmen to embark on tree planting in their areas and ensure that it became part of people’s national life.

She said that 1,000 cylinders would be distributed to each of the 774 LGAs in the country.

The minister said that the programme was targeted at indigent women and girls in the rural areas.

She said that WHO’s report indicates that emission from cooking stoves kills about 4.3 million people annually through air pollution and indoor-smoke inhalation, leading to respiratory disease and death.

“This event is to create public awareness, particularly women and other stakeholders, on the dangers of using firewood for cooking their health and environmental implications,” she said.

The Chairperson of the event, Mrs Princess Ngbada, commended the federal government for choosing the state to launch the programme.

Ngbada, a former Coordinator of New Partnership for Africa Development in Ebonyi, expressed optimism that the use of cooking gas would drastically preserve the forest and reduce the health hazard of cooking with firewood.

Gov. David Umahi, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Kelechi Igwe, hailed the programme and promised that the state government would key into it.

The state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mr Rebecca Ogbuewo, pledged that the state government would effectively enforce the tree planting to protect the environment.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme entails the planting of 25 million trees as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sam Oditah
Source: NAN




Continue Reading

General news

GBV: C/River community ends “money woman” practice



Becheve community in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River has abolished the “money woman” practice in the area to put an end to gender based violence and infringement on the rights of the girl-child.

Becheve is a community where unborn and young girls are been exchanged as a need to repay debts or settlement for monetary favours.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the tradition has lived with the people since their existence in the community.

In a news conference on Thursday in Calabar, Paramount Ruler of Obanliku, Uchua Amos Item, said the practice was now abolished because they have become archaic.

According to him, the practice was harmful to the girl child, adding that the girl child deserves equal fundamental rights like the male child.

He said that the culture that was practiced before, gave the person who inherits a girl child as a repayment for his debt the absolute right to do whatever he want with the girl.

Item said if children comes out of such a relationship, the person who inherited the girl as repayment also owned the children.

“Money woman is an archaic culture that was practiced in Becheve community where a young girl is being exchanged for monetary favours or used to settle debts.

“The victim had no right of her own because the traditional laws stipulated so. This act used to potent danger because the innocent child doesn’t know what she is going into.

“Another bad thing is that the girl has no right to education. As a civilised generation, we have gone back to repeal that culture and we have agreed traditionally to put an end to the money woman practice,” he said.

He stated that anyone who tries to re-introduce the practice would be sanctioned accordingly.

Item called on the Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, European Union and the United Nations to come to their aid to help them sustain the abolishment.

Earlier, Mr Monday Osasah, the Executive Director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, facilitator of the Spotlight Initiative, said the centre recorded tremendous success in facilitating for an end to the practice.

Osasah explained that the Spotlight Initiative was a joint European Union and United Nations initiative aims to support Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices.

He said that the initiative focuses on interventions that are truly transformative, with specific target populations that are furthest behind with dedicated strategies.

Osasah said that the pronouncement made by the Paramount Ruler has changed the extant customs and traditions in Obanliku to allow women in the area to have equal right to inheritance like properties.

He said that women could equally be awarded chieftaincy titles and be active members of the traditional councils of chiefs.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said it was a thing of joy to see that the age-long practice has been put to an end.

Tallen, who was represented by Mrs Victoria Lar, Head of Women Rights in the Ministry, gave assurance that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to help the girl-child achieve her goals.

Commissioner for Women Affairs in Cross River, Mrs Rita Ayim, called on women in the state to always report any case of violence against them to the ministry for prompt actions.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
Continue Reading


Red Cross warns coronavirus is driving discrimination in Asia



The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Thursday warned the novel coronavirus is driving discrimination towards vulnerable communities in Asia, including migrants and foreigners.

The humanitarian agency surveyed 5,000 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Pakistan and found about half blamed a specific group for spreading the coronavirus, with many mentioning Chinese people, immigrants and foreigners.

“It is particularly concerning that both national migrant and foreign workers are blamed for the spread of COVID-19 as they are quite vulnerable already,” Dr Viviane Fluck, one of the lead researchers and the agency’s Asia Pacific community engagement and accountability coordinator, told Reuters.

She said there should be more focus on combating rumours that are linked to underlying power dynamics and structural issues of inequality.

Over half of the Indonesians surveyed blamed “foreigners and rule-breakers” while in Myanmar, the groups most often thought to be responsible were people from China and other foreigners.

“In Malaysia, two-thirds blamed a specific group, most frequently mentioning migrants, foreign tourists and illegal foreigners,’’ the researchers said.

Malaysian authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented migrants and refugees in May in a crackdown the United Nations said could push vulnerable groups into hiding and prevent them from seeking treatment.

Police said at the time the operation was aimed at preventing people from travelling amid movement curbs.

In Pakistan, most people surveyed blamed inadequate government controls on the Iranian border, followed by nationals including pilgrims coming back from Iran and then people from China.

In all four countries, higher education had a small impact on whether respondents blamed a specific group, with university graduates slightly less likely to hold certain people responsible, the researchers said.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
Continue Reading


FIFA Ranking: Nigeria moves up by two spots, now world 29th



Nigeria’s Super Eagles have moved up by two spots in FIFA’s ranking for September to place 29th after more than six months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the ranking placed on the world football governing body’s website on Thursday, Nigeria garnered 1493 points during the period under review without playing any match.

The movement also placed Nigeria as the third in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia who garnered 1555 and 1506 points respectively.

On the global scene, with the exception of Uzbekistan’s 2-1 friendly victory over Tajikistan, the countries back in action have all been European.

The successful staging of these games was nonetheless encouraging for teams from other confederations as they seek to resume international fixtures in the weeks ahead.

The 54 UEFA Nations League games which took place across Europe at the beginning of September had an immediate impact on the oca-Cola World Ranking, which had remained unchanged since April 9.

While there had been no movement among the leading quartet —- in descending order: Belgium, France, Brazil and England —- Portugal (5th, up 2) have moved into the top five.

This was as a result of victories over Croatia (8th, down 2) and Sweden (18th, down 1).

Other countries moving in the right direction are Spain (7th, up 1), Italy (12th, up 1), the Netherlands (13th, up 1), and Germany (14th, up 1).

Each of them gained one place respectively in the global classification.

Wales (21st, up 2) climbed two rungs but remain just outside the top 20.

Russia, hosts of the last FIFA World Cup, are further back in 32nd.

But they had the biggest gain in this edition, ascending six places courtesy of wins over Serbia (31st, down 2) and Hungary (52nd, unchanged).

In spite of not playing, Iran (30th, up 3) moved into the top 30 after Serbia and Turkey (32nd, down 3) dropped points.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru and Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
Continue Reading

Edo 2020: Sorting, counting of votes start Edo election: No offender will go unpunished, police warn Ekiti Police slam N5m on wanted man over alleged robberies, kidnappings World Bank Projects: Zamfara Gov’t tasks communities on maintenance  Military arrest 11 suspected members of a cult group in Jos FG seeks collaboration with Agric stakeholders to curb post-harvest losses LASG seeks quality healthcare service for increased patients’ patronage NPA expects 13 ships with petroleum products, others at Lagos port EPL: Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin shine as Everton batter 10-man West Bromwich Albion Lawyer advocates leadership training for youths 3-storey school  building collapses in Lagos Edo election: Security team investigates reports of gunshots Edo poll: Gov. Obaseki faults INEC preparations Flooding: Kebbi Gov’t assures farmers on dry season farming FUOYE pledges to appoint VC, Registrar, others based on merit Minister, senator commend INEC on Edo election Electorate, observer commend conduct of election in Edo Zamfara APC: Sen. Marafa’s loyalists react to expulsion of Sirajo Garba, 125 others Flood: 1 out of 14 passengers rescued in Sokoto mishap  Edo Election: European Centre decries non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols Edo election: FRSC certifies 496 vehicles to convey electoral materials, personnel Gov. Ganduje urges Muslims to pray for peace, stability Edo 2020: Card Readers fail to authenticate fingerprints in Esan West, Central Rivers: NEMA engages stakeholders on flooding challenge Foundation donates food, other gifts items to widows in Abuja Nasarawa APC pass Vote of Confidence on Gov Sule  Plateau: NFC trains 60 youths in Modern Film Techniques Edo Election: Obaseki queues up to vote Edo: Presiding Officers, Observer commend electoral process in Ward 4 Gunmen invade relaxation spot in Kogi, kill one, injure many Edo 2020: Voters observe social distancing Motorists decry deplorable roads in Southern Kaduna Ember Months: FRSC urges motorists to drive patiently, apply controlled-speed Edo Polls: Ize-Iyamu votes at Ugboko ward 4, commends conduct of Election NDLEA clarifies stand on drug integrity test for intending couples  Edo election: Presiding officers insist on no face masks, no voting Edo 2020: Massive turnout of voters witnessed at polling units Troops rescue 22 kidnapped victims in Zamfara, Katsina Restriction order in Edo: Motorists, travellers stranded in Okpella FEMA alerts Abuja residents of severe flood Ibadan Poly sacks lecturer over alleged sexual misconduct Edo governorship election begins orderly amid massive securirty, movement restriction COVID-19: NCDC announces 221 new cases, total infections rise to 56,956 Women affairs minister urges Ebonyi Govt. to check early girl-child marriage Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says Whirlwind Bayern Munich dismantle Schalke 8-0 in season opener FG set to support 1.7 million businesses, individuals — Minister Niger Govt opens Minna-Bida road to articulated vehicles Laloko wants 25% of local players in Super Eagles