Japan’s ruling party on Tuesday kicked off official campaigning for its leadership race after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to health issues in late August amid a historic recession and a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Japan’s government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida filed their candidacies as was widely expected, vying to succeed Abe.
Abe will quit his job as premier as soon as his successor is chosen in mid-September.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will hold the intra-party race on Monday and an extraordinary parliamentary session will be convened on Sept. 16 to nominate the country’s new prime minister.
The LDP’s new leader will almost certainly become the next prime minister, since the party controls the powerful lower house.
Suga, 71, the right-hand man of Abe, promised to succeed the premier’s policies, including much-touted “Abenomics” economic policies.
Ishiba, 63, who took the LDP’s leading posts such as secretary general and chairman of its policy research council, said, “I will dedicate all my strength to this race to create a new Japan.”
Kishida, 63, said, “I would like to offer a vision of how the LDP can be in turbulent times.”
In August, Abe was diagnosed with a recurrence of an intestinal illness, called ulcerative colitis, after visiting a hospital twice.
In July 2007, the disease forced Abe to abruptly quit as prime minister, only one year into the job.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Maharazu Ahmed
Food Council to ensure reduction in fertiliser price – Gov. Bagudu
The National Food Security Council says it will ensure the reduction on the cost of NPK fertiliser from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag as earlier ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in April to boost food production in the country.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Council, disclosed this when he, alongside Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the National Food Security Council at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Bagudu explained that the implementation of the president’s directive was informed by the fact that production of the commodity had been normalized in the country following the reopening of Indorama plant in Rivers.
He said the plant was closed because of COVID-19 related deaths.
The governor also expressed optimism that prices of food items and goods would soon be coming down judging by the data obtained and made available to him.
He explained: “Yes, I said food prices for crops have started coming down. That was from data collated and made available to me in my state and from a pre-meeting with all the commodity association and farmer groups prior to the National Food Security Council meeting.
“I have been going round my state in the last one week and have seen further drops in prices and it makes sense and is self-explanatory. Harvest is coming in, harvests of millets, maize and of rice.
“Yes, we had a lot of devastating floods that affected the rice crop but again, there is upland rice that is being harvested that has not been affected by flood.’’
The governor attributed the increase in the prices of foodstuff to bulk purchase of food commodities for distribution as COVID-19 palliatives by the three tiers of government and wealthy individuals.
“The CACOVID was buying food items for the coronavirus pandemic response in bulk at a peak of the beginning of the season, at a time when demands are not high. So, it contributed to the high cost.
“The global lockdown also contributed because of lack of movement of food items. But now, harvests are coming in and it is good.
“Yes, there are some states that experienced huge draught but that has been overcome by the food coming from elsewhere.”
Bagudu assured that despite the flood disasters in parts of the country this year, which he said was worst that previous ones, “there won’t be food crisis’’.
He added: “Is there going to be goods crisis? No, by God’s grace. Yes, flooding is devastating. Unfortunately, that is part of life. We have a good eco-system where immediately after flooding we can plant again.
“In fact, the farmers are more confident because the risk of flooding has reduced.
“So, what is important is for us to mobilise and ensure we time properly and is part of the reason Mr President has been working very hard because that is what bothers him most, how to deliver to Nigerians.
“That is why since last week and a week earlier, the challenge has been ‘come up with how we can intervene so that farmers, fishermen and those in husbandry can resume economic activities as quickly as possible.’
“In fact, one of the key initiatives as the very first intervention of the national food security council, was to recognize how to support people to resume economic activity following the disaster.
“That is why in 2018, N23 billion was spent to support farmers in 14 states as well as another N8 billion to support some states that were affected by conflict and the need for people to resume economic activity.’’
Also, Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, expressed confidence that the prices of food items would come down as harvest season has begun and more commodities are arriving markets across the country.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Spurs’ League Cup match called off due to COVID-19 cases at Orient
Tuesday’s League Cup third round match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed after a number of Orient players tested positive for COVID-19, the Football League has said.
Orient announced on Monday that some of their players had tested positive and that its Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities would be closed until further notice.
“Tonight’s (Tuesday night’s) Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this (Tuesday) evening as scheduled,” an EFL statement said.
“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders with regard to the implications of the decision not to play tonight’s game and a further update will be provided in due course.”
Tottenham also confirmed the match was off.
It was not clear whether Tottenham had been awarded victory by default or whether the match would be re-scheduled.
Orient, who play in the English football league’s fourth-tier had also informed Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic prior to the public release of the information.
They are three of their most recent opponents.
It is a bitter blow to Orient who would have been looking forward to a 150,000 pound (190,935 dollars) windfall with the game scheduled to be screened live on Sky Sports.
Orient owner Nigel Travis said they had been looking forward to a welcome financial boost.
This is because the coronavirus pandemic ended last season early and continues to rob small clubs of matchday revenue with fans not permitted to attend games.
“The coronavirus has added 1.5 million pounds to our losses and this game would have contributed about 150,000 pounds to offset those losses. So, this is a big blow,” he said.
“We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place,” he added.
“If we don’t play the game and are forced to forfeit, it’s a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn’t work. It would be an incentive not to test.”
Tottenham actually paid for the COVID-19 testing of Orient’s players and staff which produced a significant number of positives, Travis confirmed.
“We are working with the EFL to see how it happened and the possible cause,” Travis said.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
King of Jordan, Abdullah seeks end to Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Tuesday that the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was through the two-state solution in accordance with international law and the United Nations (UN) resolutions.
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the one conflict that started with the UN’s formation and that continues to fester to this very day,” Abdullah told the United Nations General Assembly.
He added that the only way for a just and lasting peace “is an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the 1976 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in mutual peace and security.
“We cannot resolve this conflict without working to preserve Jerusalem for all humanity as a unifying city of peace.”
He called on the UN not to rest “as long as injustice and lack of peace persist anywhere in the world.
“The UN must not rest, we must not rest,” he added.
According to him, the coronavirus has exposed the cracks in the global system.
He called for rethinking the role of the UN and other multilateral organisations “to become more impactful in dealing with challenges old and new, be they pandemics or regional conflicts.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Putin calls for space peace treaty, offers coronavirus vaccine to UN
Speaking to the United Nations via video link Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for an international treaty to prohibit weapons in space and offered Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to UN employees for free.
Putin made the call while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly via video link.
“Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance.
“In particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices,” Putin said.
He also said that the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic had renewed the need for removing trade sanctions.
Russia has been under crippling sanctions by Western powers since it annexed a part of neighbouring Ukraine six years ago.
“Freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions, and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalising global growth and reducing unemployment,” Putin said, based on a transcript published on the Kremlin’s website.
While emphasising the need for a treaty to ensure peace in outer space, Putin said: “Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim