Foreign

In pics: hill of plastic garbage at Terjun landfill, Indonesia

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Photo taken on June 2, 2020 shows a hill of plastic garbage at Terjun landfill, Medan, Indonesia. (Photo by Jefri Tarigan/Xinhua)

https://nnn.ng/in-pics-hill-of-plastic-garbage-at-terjun-landfill-indonesia/

Foreign

Why FG is investing massively in railways, seaports — Amaechi

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The Federal Government’s focus on railway and seaport development is a necessity to drive the nation’s economy, according to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.


Amaechi stated this at the virtual 15th Annual Kaleidoscope Global Business Conference hosted by the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York on Sunday.

“Many Nigerians have asked why the construction of railways.

“Eighty per cent of the cargoes we have in Nigeria are mostly imported, because the Nigerian economy is yet to generate enough production.

“However, the president is of the view that if we must produce, we must have infrastructure that enables that production, hence the focus on transportation, power and works,” he said.

The minister said although the railway project had started before the President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation’s seaports were not included in the design.

He stated that one of the first things the administration did was to rework the plan to link the rail network to seaports across the country.

“So, we started with the Apapa seaport. We are working there now and I believe by December, we should conclude the Lagos-Ibadan rail line extension into the port.

“We then added the Warri Seaport, the Calabar seaport and Tin Can Island. We are making sure that all of them include seaports,” Amaechi said.

According to him, contract for the 386km rail line from Kano to Maradi in the Republic of Niger will be awarded on Wednesday.

He added contract award for the 1,500km eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri would follow on Sept. 30.

The minister highlighted other rail line projects in the country, including Abuja to Itakpe, and Itakpe to Warri, which he said had been completed

He said the Warri line would also be extended to the Warri seaport being developed by the federal government.

Amaechi also highlighted the government’s seaport digitalisation programme, which he said would be completed in 2021.

Mr Gurjit Singh, former Indian Ambassador to Germany, Indonesia and the African, described Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

Singh, who is the Chairman of the CII Task Force on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, said the Nigerian rail sector had the potential to drive the nation’s development as was the case in India.

He urged Nigeria to take advantage of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor initiative to access public private partnership funding for its infrastructure projects.

Organised by United States-based Kaleidoscope Business Project, the event brought together Nigerian state governors, ministers, business executives and prospective foreign investors.

The participants included Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Samuel Ortom of Benue and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara,

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, and the Minister of State for of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, also participated.

They took turns to highlight the investment opportunities that abound in their respective states and sectors in addition to the invest facilitation and security measures in place.

Welcoming the participants, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, said the conference was part of the government’s efforts to open more windows of business opportunities in Nigeria to the world.

“With the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, this Conference aims at identifying those investors that are able, willing and committed to long term direct investment into the Nigerian economy.

“And it goes without saying that those from the Nigerian side are as desirous to meet investors in order to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

“Let me emphasise the need for us to jointly work together to enhance NIgeria economic growth and industrialization on our shared values and sound principles of mutually beneficial partnership and on a win-win business matrix,” Okoyen said.

 

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/why-fg-is-investing-massively-in-railways-seaports-amaechi/
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COVID-19

China testing 11 COVID-19 vaccines, 4 undergoing stage 3 trials — Minister

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China is conducting clinical trials of 11 vaccines against the coronavirus disease, four of which are in phase 3, the country’s Science and Technology Minister Wang Zhigang said on Friday.


“At the moment, 11 vaccines have entered the phase of clinical trials, four of them are already in phase 3,” Wang said while speaking at the Zhongguancun forum in Beijing.

According to the minister, Chinese researchers focused on the development of five types of COVID-19 vaccine at once.

The vaccines are a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, an inactivated vaccine, an adenoviral vector-based vaccine, a nucleic acid-based vaccine, and a live attenuated influenza vaccine.

“The COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread around the world, it has not yet been taken under full control, and with the arrival of the autumn-winter season, there is still a possibility of a return to what it was initially.

“The situation in the prevention and control of the epidemic remains serious.

“The virus knows no boundaries, we need to join forces, provide each other with assistance and support in order to overcome difficulties together,” Wang said.

One of the Chinese vaccines is being developed by China National Biotec Group, which said earlier in September that around 50,000 people from several countries were participating in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Another vaccine, which is also in Phase 3 of the trials, was created by Sinovac, which is testing the vaccine in several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Indonesia.

 Similarly, China is leading in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 and thus Beijing does not need to steal vaccine-related data from other countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday,

Wang said this while commenting on media reports claiming that Chinese hackers had allegedly stolen data on coronavirus vaccine development from Spain.

Earlier in the day, El Pais newspaper reported, citing sources informed about cyberattacks, that hackers from China had allegedly stolen information from Spanish centres working on coronavirus vaccine.

According to the publication, cyberattacks targeting research centres were carried out from several countries, mostly from Russia and China, and in the case of Spain, it is known that the hackers had acted precisely from China.

“China strongly opposes and fights against all forms of cyberattacks and cybercrime, and this position is clear and unchanging.

“I would also like to add that China is one of the world leaders in [anti-coronavirus] vaccine research and development.

“We do not see any need for any illegal means to obtain a vaccine,” Wang said.

According to the spokesman, cyberattacks are the common enemy of all countries, and China hopes that other countries will not draw so many reckless and irresponsible conclusions if they do not have any evidence.

At the same time, Spanish scientists are now working on dozens of vaccines against COVID-19, with none of them having entered the clinical trial stage yet.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/china-testing-11-covid-19-vaccines-4-undergoing-stage-3-trials-minister/
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Coronavirus

Red Cross warns coronavirus is driving discrimination in Asia

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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.

ACO/

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/red-cross-warns-coronavirus-is-driving-discrimination-in-asia/
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General news

Boeing, FAA failures to blame for 737 MAX crashes: United States House report

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Two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed all 346 passengers and crew aboard were the “horrific culmination” of failures by the planemaker and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a United States House panel concluded after an 18-month investigation.


The crashes “were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event,” the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Democratic majority said in its highly critical report released on Wednesday.

“They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”

The 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 near Addis Ababa which killed all 157 aboard.

In October 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX had crashed in Indonesia killing all 189 on board.

“Boeing failed in its design and development of the MAX, and the FAA failed in its oversight of Boeing and its certification of the aircraft,” the report said, detailing a series of problems in the plane’s design and the FAA’s approval of it.

Boeing said it “learned many hard lessons as a company from the accidents … and from the mistakes we have made”.

It said it had cooperated fully with the House committee and that revised design work on the 737 MAX had received intensive internal and external review involving more than 375,000 engineering and testing hours and 1,300 test flights.

The FAA said in a statement it would work with lawmakers “to implement improvements identified in its report.”

It added it was “focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organisation, processes, and culture.”

The report said Boeing made “faulty design and performance assumptions” especially regarding a key safety system, called MCAS, which was linked to both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.

MCAS, which was designed to help counter a tendency of the MAX to pitch up, could be activated after data from only a single sensor.

The FAA is requiring new safeguards to MCAS, including requiring it receive data from two sensors, before it allows the 737 MAX to return to service.

The report criticised Boeing for withholding “crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots” including “concealing the very existence of MCASfrom 737 MAX pilots.”

The FAA “failed to ensure the safety of the traveling public”, the report said.

Lawmakers have proposed numerous reforms to restructure how the FAA oversees aircraft certification.

A Senate committee will take up a reform bill Wednesday.

Lawmakers suggested Boeing was motivated to cut costs and move quickly to get the 737 MAX to market.

“This is a tragedy that never should have happened,” House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio told reporters.

“We’re going to take steps in our legislation to see that it never happens again as we reform the system.”

ERO

(
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/boeing-faa-failures-to-blame-for-737-max-crashes-united-states-house-report/
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