Chief Minister of India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu K Palaniswami on Monday pledged to donate his eyes.
“An eye donation for the visually impaired is the best donation. After realising the benefits of the sacred eye donation, I pledge to donate my eyes,” Palaniswami wrote on twitter.
The chief minister was presented a certificate by the principal secretary.
Palaniswami also launched a dedicated website of the state health and family welfare department to help people interested in eye donation.
“Since many prospective donors were not aware of how to go about for eye donation, this website will help create a registry of such persons and also spread awareness on the subject,” a statement issued by local government said.
The chief minister’s pledge coincided with the national eye donation fortnight.
Reports said Tamil Nadu remains at the forefront in eye and organ donation across India.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Olympics: Japan to require COVID-19 tests for athletes, draft shows
Organisers of next year’s delayed Olympic Games will require coronavirus tests of foreign athletes upon their arrival in Japan, draft measures released on Wednesday show.
Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan will face the same requirements, according to the measures, which are still being discussed.
Although foreign athletes and other participants will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period, virus tests will be required on arrival and departure, under the plan.
Organisers also propose to limit travel within Japan for athletes, who will be restricted to such places as towns hosting national delegations and training sites.
The pandemic, which has infected more than 31.3 million people and killed about 964,000 worldwide, has prompted hard questions about the viability of next year’s Games, even as new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has emphasised their importance.
Japan has avoided the kind of explosive outbreak suffered by nations such as the United States, India and Brazil, with roughly 80,000 infections and about 1,500 deaths to date.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Gov. Sule urges IFAD, World Bank to support women-small-holder farmers
Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has called on the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank and the Federal Government to jointly support women- small-holder farmers in the state.
Gov. Sule made the call on Tuesday when he played host to Hajiya Fatima Mukhtar-Buhari, the Market Enterprise Development Advisor of the Federal Government of Nigeria/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme Nigeria, and her team at Government House, Lafia.
According to the governor, IFAD’s support can go a long way toward value chain addition because Nasarawa State being predominantly agrarian, is also a commercial agriculture drive of the present administration.
The governor added that the inclusion of Nasarawa State among the nine states that will benefit from IFAD’s intervention, was not by accident.
According to him, the state has the agricultural potential to take over from Benue as the food basket of the country.
“By the time most of our commercial agricultural programmes , as well as the small holder farming programmes are fully incubated, Nasarawa State will take over from Benue as the food basket of the nation.
“The state will require support in the areas of value chain addition by the time the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Awe Local Government Area, covering 68 hectares of land becomes operational.
“Also, when the 10, 000 hectares of land in Doma being developed by Olams Food start operating, the state will require support for our growers who are mostly women.
“We want IFAD and the World Bank to support the women, because women are excellent farmers of rice,” the governor said.
According to him, it is the practice around the world, particularly in Thailand and in India, that women can also play key role as out growers.
The governor added that IFAD, the Federal Government and the World Bank could come together and support women in the state.
Earlier, Hajiya Mukhtar-Buhari said that Nasarawa State was selected by IFAD among eight states because of its enormous agricultural potential and its support for small, medium and large scale businesses.
She said the visit was part of the implantation support mission of IFAD and value chain development programme.
According to her, this focuses on enhancing of productivity and profitability of small-holder farmers and small scale agro processors by improving their access to market and capacity.
She said that of the 63 local government areas across the selected nine states, 100,000 households, 91,000 small holders farmers, 8,000 processors and 1000 traders would benefit from the intervention, aimed at reducing poverty.
Edited By: Deji Abdulwahab/Peter Dada
Indian Prime Minister stresses need for UN reform
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for reforms at the UN.
Modi said this at a high-level meeting at the UN to mark the 75th anniversary of the organisation.
The event opened the high-level week of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, which will run until Sept. 29.
For the first time, the leaders’ speeches are shown in the video conference mode due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
“We pay tribute to all those who’ve advanced the cause of peace and development under the UN flag, including in UN peacekeeping missions, where India has been a leading contributor.
“However… the original mission remains incomplete,” Modi said.
He said work still needed to be done in preventing conflict, ensuring development, addressing climate change, reducing inequality and using digital technologies.
“The declaration also acknowledges the need for reform of the UN itself. We cannot fight today’s challenges with outdated structures without comprehensive reforms. The UN faces a crisis of confidence.
For today’s interconnected world, we need a reformed multilateralism that reflects today’s realities, gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges and focuses on human welfare,” Modi said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
FG urges states to provide infrastructure for film industry devt.
The Federal Government on Monday called on states to provide necessary infrastructure for the growth of the film industry to create wealth and employment for youths.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja while inaugurating the Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government is partially commercialising the NFC to effectively discharge its mandate to plan, promote, organise and co-ordinate the development of the motion picture industry in the country.
Inaugurating the committee, the minister underscored the need for states to invest in infrastructure to boost the film industry because of its potentials to create jobs and boost the economy
Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, is the second largest employer of labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.
The minister also noted that Nollywood could perform better if the needed infrastructure such as film houses and enabling environment were provided.
In a comparative analysis, the minister disclosed that Nigeria has only 142 cinema houses compared to South Africa with 782 cinema houses.
According to him, the US has 40,393 cinema houses while India and China have 11,209 and 50,976 cinema houses respectively.
“You cannot have a successful film industry without adequate cinema houses because the major revenue source of the industry is exhibition .
“The most successful film in Nigeria today is “Wedding Party 1 and 2” that grossed about two million dollars within a week through the cinema houses.
“You can imagine a gross of 2 million dollars using only 142 cinema houses, and how much the film would have grossed if we have about 1000 cinema houses for exhibition,” he said.
“That is why it is important to appeal to our state governments to invest in infrastructure in the industry.
“I do not think it will be too much for the state government to ensure they build one cinema house in each local government area of their states to give us an additional 774 cinema houses in the country.
“In India, 14 million people attend cinema daily and I can imagine the impact it will have on the economy,” he said.
The minister also underscored the need for states to look into building purpose-built arenas for concerts and shows to encourage creative artists.
“I will advise state governments to look into having arenas in each senatorial district or one in the state capital.
“I do not know of any place where we have purpose-built arena today because most places where we have concerts are not purpose-built.
“We have artists in Nigeria that can sell out anywhere in the world; Burna boy, Wiz Kid and Davido sold out in Arena 02 in London and in other big arenas over the world.
“The biggest arena in Nigeria which is not even purpose-built can only accommodate about 7000 people whereas the Arena 02 in London accommodates up to 20,000 people,” he said.
The minister also canvassed for easy acquisition of land and tax waivers for artistes and investors who would like to build cinema houses or invest generally in the industry.
He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting the film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.
The minister noted that the intention of the administration is to make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa,
He said though the film industry had been largely driven by the private sector, the Federal Government had been supporting the industry by providing enabling environment and funding.
“In 2013, there was “Project Nollywood” in which the government made available to the sector about 17 million USD for the growth and promotion of the industry.
“I am also aware of the various multilateral injection of funds to this industry and we have also embarked on revolutionary reforms to reposition the industry,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said with the tremendous potentials of the film industry to reposition the nation’s economy, the government needed to play a prominent role.
Okoh said that the government was reforming the NFC to take the leading role in harnessing the potentials in the sector.
He, however, clarified that the reform process “is not a privatisation of the corporation but the commercialisation of this important enterprise and agency of government.”
“The clarification is that in this reform process, there is no transfer of ownership, no sale of shares and no privatisation of the entity.
“It is basically to ensure the resident value of the enterprise and its commercial viability,” he said.
He said the steering committee being chaired by the minister would consider and approve the recommendations submitted by the project delivery team for the commercialisation of the corporation.
Other members of the steering committee inaugurated by the minister were Okoh, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Grace Gekpe and the Managing Director of NFC, Chidia Maduekwe.
The Director Information and Communication of BPE, Dikko Mohammed, will serve as the Secretary of the committee.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)